Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ukraine situation ( September 10 , 2014 ) -EU Postpones Sanctions Against Russia, Hopes for De-escalation оf Ukrainian Crisis: Source ......... Russian preempts EU Sanctions that haven't actually been imposed by cutting natural gas to Poland......Ukraine situation - battlefield , political fronts from Ukraine / Russia , Europe and US...

Russia-Iran Oil-for-Goods Contracts
Representatives of the Russian and Iranian governments met in Tehran yesterday for the 11th meeting of the Iran-Russian Trade Council, where details of a ground breaking oil-for-goods swap between the two heavily sanctioned countries were revealed.
With both countries now sanctioned by the West, Russia and Iran have been in extensive negotiations on how to facilitate Iranian oil exports without breaching the UN Security Council nuclear deal that was agreed between Iran, Germany and the five UN Council permanent last January.
Sanctions on Iran had reduced Iranian oil production from 2.5 million barrels per day (BPD) down to between 1 million - 1.5 million BPD. Under the UN’s nuclear deal, Iran can only now export up to 1 million BPD. Iran has the world’s 4th largest oil reserves and both Russia and Iran are large producers and exporters of oil.
On August 5, Russia and Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on oil-for-goods exchanges under which Russia could take 500,000 BPD of Iranian oil exports in returns for providing goods, services and equipment to Iran. This deal was said by Russian media to have been directly negotiated previously by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Yesterday in Tehran, details of one of these oil-for-goods deals became apparent, when an oil-for-power-plants was announced as part of a wide ranging economic cooperation agreement that was signed between the two parties. The trade agreement is said to be worth up to €70 billion.
According to the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, the power plants deal will consist of Russian energy engineering company TECHNOPROMEXPORT providing services for the construction of seven thermal power plants by 2017 in return for oil supplies to Russia. TECHNOPROMEXPORT had already negotiated their deal with Iran earlier this summer. It was only the payment terms that had not been revealed.
According to the Iranian Fars news agency, current Iran-Russia trade was worth $5.1 billion in 2013, and the new wide-ranging Russian projects will include construction and renovation of Iranian power plants and power grids, as well as other transportation and aviation projects such as possibly relocating the production and assembly of Aviastar-SP Tuplolev TU-204 passenger aircraft to Iran.
Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, who attended the talks and signed an agreement with Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, said that “Iran and Russia had intensively worked to remove obstacles such as method of payment for trade exchanges”.

Moazzemi also said that “We have started a serious job with the Chinese and Russians (in the energy sector) in such a strong way that the oil minister has now been appointed as the head of Iran-Russia joint economic commission instead of the foreign minister.”
Moazzemi then elaborated “We have also started a serious job with the Chinese which will be revealed to the public in the future.” 


Itar Tass.....

Putin to take part in SCO summit in Dushanbe

 September 11, 3:16 UTC+4
Afghanistan, Ukraine, SCO development on agenda
MOSCOW, September 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Dushanbe on Thursday to take part in a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
“It is a landmark summit for us as after Dushanbe Russian will take over presidency in the SCO from Tajikistan,” Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov told Journalists on Wednesday.
On Thursday evening, ahead of the official summit’s programme, the heads of delegations will meet at a gala concert and a dinner. On Friday, September 12, the Council of the Heads of State will meet first in a narrow format and later in an extended format, involving representatives from SCO observer countries /Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan/. Turkmenistan’s president and heads of a number of international organizations have been invited to the summit as guests.
The final document - the Dushanbe declaration - is expected to focus on consolidated approaches of the member states to the SCO development and to acute international issues.
According to Ushakov, at their narrow-format meeting the SCO heads of state will discuss cooperation in the sphere of security and efforts to improve the SCO activities. They will also exchange views on the situation in the region and in the world.
“Traditionally, major attention at a narrow-format meeting will be focused on informal discussion of the situation in Afghanistan,” Ushakov said. “We hope the meeting will yield a consolidated position of the SCO member states, who stand for Afghanistan’s development as an independent, neutral and peaceful states and support the central, coordinating role of the United Nations Organization in efforts on the Afghan settlement and assistance to the Afghan people.”
He also said that Russia planned to come out with an initiative to organize in Russia a SCO top-level conference on Afghanistan and invite SCO member states, observers and partners, as well representatives from other countries and international organizations concerned. The previous such conference was held in Moscow in March 2009.
Another topical international problem to be discussed at the SCO summit will be the Ukrainian crisis. “It is planned to include into the Dushanbe declaration provisions on the Ukrainian developments,” Ushakov noted. “It will be noted that the SCO heads of state stand for the soonest restoration of peace in Ukraine, for continuation of the negotiating process to finally settle the crisis in that country.” The SCO leaders, according to Ushakov, commend the Minsk protocol signed after consultations of the Contact Group on Ukraine.
Ushakov also stressed that the SCO member countries reiterated their readiness to step up efforts against terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, trans-border organized crime and other challenges. The declaration will set a task of intensifying multilateral and bilateral ties in the areas of culture, science and technology, innovation, education, etc.
Apart from that, the summit is expected to yield documents regulating accession to the organization for new members. Ushakov reminded that India, Pakistan and Iran had applied for SCO membership. “However due to the United Nation’s current sanctions, Iran’s admission will be apparently postponed,” he said, adding that India and Pakistan could be granted full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization already at its next summit in Russia’s Ufa in July 2015.
The SCO summit is also planned to make a decision to elaborate a draft strategy of the SCO development till the year 2025 /in this event, the strategy may be adopted at the Ufa summit in 2015/ and a decision on joint celebrations on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory in WWII.
Apart from that, Putin will hold separate meetings with the leaders of China, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan /on September 11/ and with the leaders of Kazakhstan and Iran /on September 12/.
After the Dushanbe summit, Russia will take over the presidency in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization from Tajikistan. The next SCO summit will be held in Russia’s city of Ufa on July 9-10, 2015 along with the summit of the BRICS (an acronym standing for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Observer states are Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka have a status of partners in dialogue.

Italian Minister: Russian countersanctions inflict 100 million euro loss on economy

 September 11, 2:55 UTC+4
Russia’s embargo inflicted most losses on small and midsized farms supplying fruits, cheese and meat products
ROME, September 11. /ITAR-TASS/. European sanctions imposed on Russia and Moscow’s countersanctions have inflicted a loss of up to 100 million euros on Italy’s economy, Italian Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi said Wednesday.
“Losses from export shrinkage as a result of European sanctions and countersanctions on the part of Russia due to the Ukrainian crisis total not more than 100 million euros,” Guidi said.
According to representatives of the Northern League opposition party who accuse the government supporting the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions of violating the country’s national interests, Italy is sustaining losses of some 15 billion euros.
Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March. The West and Kiev refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia despite Moscow’s explanations that it was legal.
The West announced new sectoral sanctions against Russia in late July over Moscow’s position on Ukrainian events, in particular, what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in mass protests in Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.
In response, Russia imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.
Russia’s embargo inflicted most losses on small and midsized farms supplying fruits, cheese and meat products. Italy’s Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies announced that it opened access to EU-allocated funds for support of affected agricultural producers.
INFOGRAPHICSEconomical sanctions against Russia Economical sanctions against Russia
The USA, EU, Canada and Australia have introduced sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
Last year, the volume of Italian food exports to Russia, including wine unaffected by restrictions totaled 706 million euros.
The list of products whose imports Russia banned as part of its response sanctions to Western nations includes cattle meat (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), pork (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), poultry meat and all poultry edible by-products, salted meat, pickled meat, dried meat, smoked meat, fish, clams and other water invertebrates, milk and dairy products, vegetables, edible roots and tuber crops.
The list also contains fruit and nuts, sausage and analogous meat products, meat by-products or blood, as well as products made of them, ready-to-eat products including cheeses and cottage-cheese based on vegetable fats.
Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in protests in the southeast of Ukraine, which started after Crimea refused to recognize the authorities propelled to power during a coup in Ukraine in February and reunified with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
Fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR), have killed hundreds of civilians, brought massive destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s southeast.
The Ukrainian warring sides agreed on cessation of fire during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belarusian capital Minsk on September 5. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day.

EU Postpones Sanctions Against Russia, Hopes for De-escalation оf Ukrainian Crisis: Source

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

EU delayed the implementation of new sanctions against Russia.
22:39 10/09/2014
Tags: sanctionsEuropean UnionUnited StatesUkraineRussia
MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti) - EU delayed the implementation of sanctions against Russia, hoping that long-term ceasefire in eastern Ukraine will be maintained, a EU diplomatic source told RIA Novosti.
“Of course, we know that much attention was paid to the fact that we decided to delay implementation of new sanctions. We want to give Russia a chance to show its willingness to be honest and to show that it aims for de-escalation of situation in Ukraine. We want the ceasefire to be real and long-term,” the source said.
Earlier, Reuters reported that the ambassadors to the European Union countries have failed to reach a decision whether to implement new sanctions against Russia, and will continue discussions on Thursday.
According to the agency, Germany was pushing for sanctions to be implemented, while several other EU countries wanted to postpone the decision as the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is holding.
If the EU countries agree on implementation of new sanctions tomorrow, they could be published in the Official Journal of the European Union on Friday.
On Monday, the European Union officially adopted a new round of sanctions againstRussia over its alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis. The new sanctions list reportedly includes Russia’s Rosneft, Gazpromneft and Transneft energy firms, as well as state-run companies with a turnover of more than $27 billion annually.
Over the past few months, the United States and the European Union introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against the Russian economy, unjustifiably blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.
As the Ukrainian crisis escalated, the United States persuaded its allies to add Russian individuals and entities to their own blacklists.

Ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine Completely Observed: National Security and Defense Council

Topic: Malaysia Airlines Boeing Crashes in Ukraine

Spokesperson for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Andriy Lysenko asserted ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine was being entirely respected
21:47 10/09/2014
Tags: ceasefireAndriy LysenkoUkraine
KIEV, September 10 (RIA Novosti) - The ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine is being entirely respected; no firing was registered as of 12:00 GMT, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Andriy Lysenko told the press Wednesday.
“As of 12:00 GMT in the counter-terrorism operation area, both sides were adhering to the ceasefire. No new firing has been reported,” the official said.
Lysenko noted that the situation near Debaltseve (a city in the Donetsk region) remains tense; however, there are no active military clashes. The local population is leaving the city using private transport.
“If there are requests to the local authorities, which are present over there, concerning the organization of evacuation … the Ukrainian military will be providing the security of these convoys,” the press secretary stressed.
Since mid-April, Kiev has been carrying out a military operation against the pro-independence movement of the country’s South-East. According to latest UN estimates, over 2,700 have been killed in the fighting. During a meeting of the Contact Group on reconciliation of the Ukrainian crisis held September 5 in Minsk, representatives of the pro-independence forces and the Ukrainian government agreed on a ceasefire that came into force on the same day. However, both sides have subsequently accused each other of violating the agreement.

Zero  Hedge ......

What Petrodollar: Russia, China To Create SWIFT Alternative

Tyler Durden's picture

If, when in February Victoria Nuland infamously launched a (not so) covert campaign to replace the ruling Ukraine president oblivious to the human casualties, resulting in a civil war in east Ukraine, NATO encroachment along the borders of Russia, and a near-terminal escalation in hostilities between Ukraine, Russian, and various regional NATO members, the US intention was to provoke the Kremlin so hard that the nation with the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources would jettison the US Dollar and in the process begin the unraveling of the USD reserve currency status (as much as Jared Bernstein desires just such an outcome) it succeeded and then some. Because in the end it may have pushed not just Russia into the anti-petrodollar camp... it appears to have forced China in it as well.
According to Itar-Tass, Russia and China are discussing setting up a system of interbank transactions which will become an analogue to International banking transaction system SWIFT, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told PRIME on Wednesday after negotiations in Beijing.
"Yes, we have discussed and we have approved this idea," he said.
But wait: wasn't it the UK's desire to force Russia out of SWIFT just two weeks ago?  Why yes, and the fact that Russia is happy to do so, and on its own terms, once again shows just who has all the leverage, and who really needs, or rather doesn't, the US Dollar.
More from Tass:
Russian authorities wanted to decrease the financial market’s dependence on SWIFT since the introduction of the first U.S. sanctions, when international payment systems Visa and MasterCard denied services to some Russian banks owned by blacklisted individuals.

According to Shuvalov, Russia has been also discussing establishment of an independent ratings agency with China. Concrete proposals will be made by the end of 2014, he said.

As regards China’s payment system UnionPay cooperation with the yet-to-be-established Russian national payment system, Shuvalov said that UnionPay is ready for a full-scale collaboration and will provide all infrastructural capacities for that.
The conclusion will be a repeat of what we have said every single time we report on the Eurasian alliance's drift away from the petrodollar, as stated most recently two weeks ago:
We will merely say what we have said previously, and it touches on what will be the most remarkable aspect of Obama's legacy, because while the hypocrite "progressive" president who even his own people have accused of being a "brown-faced Clinton" after selling out to Wall Street and totally wrecking US foreign policy abroad, is already the worst president in a century of US history according to public polls, the fitting epitaph will come when the president's policies put an end to dollar hegemony and end the reserve currency status of the dollar once and for all, thereby starting the rapid, and uncontrolled, collapse of the US empire. To wit:

In retrospect it will be very fitting that the crowning legacy of Obama's disastrous reign, both domestically and certainly internationally, will be to force the world's key ascendent superpowers (we certainly don't envision broke, insolvent Europe among them) to drop the Petrodollar and end the reserve status of the US currency.

And once China and Russia show that not only can it be done but thanks to US prodding it has been done, expect other countries to promptly follow the anti-SWIFT axis on their own...

Russian Retaliation Begins: Gazprom "Limiting EU Gas", Cuts Poland Supplies By 20% In Past Two Days

Tyler Durden's picture

Over the weekend, we commented that in response to Europe's latest, and most serious, sanction round which would finally impact Russian energy giants Rosenft, Gazprom Neft (but not Gazprom) and Transneft, "suddenly the stakes for Russia, and thus Europe, just got all too real, as Putin will now have no choice but to really ramp up the retaliatory escalation, which following the food ban can only mean one thing: a staggered reduction in gas flow to Europe."
And while Europe appears to have blown its load prematurely, with the sanctions leaked before Europe actually has the consensus to implement them (it is now a daily threat by Europe which is screaming that it will impose the sanctions any minute yet not actually doing so), Russia has no such moral quandaries and three days following our forecast, here comes Gazprom confirming once again that it is perfectly happy to play the "mutual defection" strategy in the ongoing and ever escalating game theory between Europe and Russia for one simple reason: it has all the leverage.
From Bloomberg:
In other words, this is only the beginning as Ukraine has clearly made the case that it will plug its gas reserve gap using "reverese flow" of Russian gas in transit to Europe. More importantly, this follows news earlier today from Poland’s PGNiG which said Gazprom lowered supply by 20%-24% in past 2 days.
So is this the beginning of the quite literal, ahead of the winter, European cold war? It looks like it, although for now it is all covered up in diplomacy with Bloomberg reporting that the Russian exporter "set volumes of daily natgas deliveries to Poland at level of end of last week due to preparations for heating season in Russia, Gazprom official says by phone, asking not to be identified in line with corporate policy." That, and conveniently Gazprom decided to "carry out some maintenance work at its pipeline system in Russia." Some maintenance work which suddenly saw Poland, which is 80% reliant on Russian gas, receive up to a quarter less Russian gas...
Finally, Gazprom noted that it also has to pump additional 7.3bcm of fuel to local underground inventories for winter in next month.
To be sure, Poland refused to tip its cards, and quickly commented that it won’t be hurt "as its underground storage is full", as was to be expected simply to avoid giving Russia all the leverage, something we also explained previously, when we observed in "Here Is Why Europe Just Launched The "Nuclear Option" Against Russia" that the Europe's 2014 winter war will be between the amount of gas held in European reserves, and how long Russian companies can go without obtaining European funding.
Gazprom’s press service declines to provide immediate comments, although none is needed after taking a quick look at the European dependence on Russia gas map conveniently placed below.

Wednesday, September 10

11:55 GMT:
Ukrainian border control personnel have started erecting “a wall” at the border with Russia, the press service of Kiev’s military operation announced on its official Facebook account. Known as ‘the Wall Project’, is meant to equip a reinforced barrier between the two neighbors.

Security forces are planning to arrange a total of 1,500km of trenches and tunnels, over 8,000 trenches for equipment, 4, 000 of bunkers and 60km fence.
08:40 GMT:
Kiev will not acknowledge any kind of independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told the government. The draft law, which would give a special status for Donetsk and Lugansk Regions as part of the ceasefire agreement, states that they will remain parts of a unitary Ukraine, the president said.
“Everything goes back to Ukraine. There’s no talk about a federalization,” Poroshenko told the ministers.
Meanwhile the regions insist on independence from Kiev.
“Whatever laws Ukraine adopts is Ukraine’s internal business,” First Deputy Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Andrey Purgin told RIA Novosti. “We are a sovereign state that hopes to have friendly relations with Ukraine.”

Tuesday, September 9

22:19 GMT:
Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko confirmed Russia's readiness to contribute to the peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, the Kremlin's press service said on Tuesday.
"Vladimir Putin confirmed readiness of the Russian Federation to continue to promote the peaceful settlement of the crisis," the press statement reads.
The presidents also agreed to continue to address the issues that have arisen in connection with the Association Agreement between Kiev and the EU. Putin also noted the importance of a sustainable ceasefire in the southeastern part of the country.
21:53 GMT:
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has arrived in Moscow, where he will hold a meeting to coordinate the investigation of the Flight MN17 crash in eastern Ukraine.
"Just arrived in Moscow: one more day for joint meetings. Pray that everything goes well," Hussein wrote in his Twitter.
On the eve of his visit to Moscow, Hussein, a group of 30 experts and the Malaysian police held a meeting in Kiev with the head of the investigative team, Vladimir Groisman, Itar-tass reports.
18:02 GMT:
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) has published documents containing a declaration of its sovereignty and guidelines on how to hold talks with international organizations.
The document, published by the DNR government’s press service, says all DNR authorities must act according to the sovereignty declaration at international talks, and act on the basis of solving international disputes by peaceful means and the non-use of force.
The decisions were passed by DNR, based on the Minsk contact group consultations on the Ukrainian conflict on September 5.
17:10 GMT:
Ukraine's National Council for radio and television has published a list of Russian channels banned in the country by a Kiev administrative regional court. Fifteen major Russian TV channels, including such networks as Channel One’s world network, RTR-Planet, NTV-MIR, Rossiya-24, Ren-TV, Life News and Russia Today have been banned for rebroadcast on Ukrainian television and the country’s cable networks.
Russia's Foreign Ministry has said the move violated media freedom. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, has previously said that "banning programming without a legal basis is a form of censorship."
09:50 GMT:
Anti-government fighters are going to hand over to Kiev the remaining 863 Ukrainian prisoners of war by the end of the week, the official website of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic says.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke about 1,200 captured Ukrainian troops being released.
The anti-government forces claim that 311 of their fighters are being held captive by Kiev’s military.
The exchange of prisoners was part of the ceasefire agreement signed between Kiev and the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
09:35 GMT:
Moscow is counting on negotiations over the DNR’s and LNR’s status to begin shortly, and hopes the ceasefire consolidates, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.
09:24 GMT:
Moscow expects the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine to be consolidated over the course of the next few days, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
09:19 GMT:
The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is largely being observed, with Kiev and self-defense forces ensuring Moscow that they have no plans to break the truce, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated at a press conference, as quoted by RIA Novosti.