SOCHI – Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is Supreme Commander-in-Chief, issued the order to begin a sudden large-scale naval drill in the Black Sea on Thursday.
A sealed envelope with the order was delivered to the defense minister today at 04:00, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Taking part in the exercise are 36 warships based in Sevastopol and Novorossiysk, aircraft, and up to 7,000 troops.
In accordance with international practice, Russia does not have to notify its partners, including NATO, about the drill, if it involves up to 7,000 servicemen. "Under international practice, it is a sovereign right of any country to hold scheduled or emergency drills," the press secretary said.
MOSCOW – An unscheduled check is underway in formations and units of the South Military District, the Black Sea Fleet, airborne troops and military transport aviation, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
"At the instruction of the Russian president, a range of measures is being carried out starting Thursday to run an unscheduled check of combat preparedness and military efficiency of forces in the south of the country. This sweeping check is being carried out with the view of evaluating the readiness of armed forces to fulfill tasks and identify problem issues in the development of military capability.
"Taking part in the drill are up to 7,000 servicemen, 250 armored vehicles, up to 50 artillery guns, 20 warplanes and helicopter gunships and 30 warships," Konashenkov said.
SOCHI – Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that Prosecutor General’s Office inspections of non-governmental organizations are probing into the legality of actions by all bodies of state power and regional, municipal, and public organizations.
“I believe that in this case all checks are expected to establish to what extent the activity of this or that non-governmental organization agrees with the laws of the Russian Federation,” Putin said.
He also asked Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to exercise control over the process to avoid excesses.
BOCHAROV RUCHEI – President Putin has promised state and financial support to Yekaterinburg if a decision is adopted to conduct an international exhibition EXPO- 2020 in this city.
At a meeting with a group of senior officials of the International Bureau of exhibitions Putin declared that " if you make a decision to hold the EXPO-2020 in Yekaterinburg we guarantee additional support to the development of the infrastructure of the city".
The state allocations will primarily be used for the development of the road infrastructure and the airport, Putin said. He assured that the Russian business would join the project, for instance, offering assistance to hotel construction if more hotels are needed.
MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the first “Building Social Justice” conference of the Russian Popular Front in Rostov-on-Don, southern Russia, on March 29, the Kremlin press service reported on Thursday.
The conference of the Russian Popular Front will discuss how to implement the provisions of Putin’s pre-election article “Building Justice – A Social Policy for Russia,” which he had written prior to the 2012 presidential elections.
MOSCOW – The Russian government has approved the scope of the measures to encourage the regions to attract the investments, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting of the Russian government on Thursday after the debates over this issue and an appropriate report by Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
Medvedev noted that all documents should be produced before October 1.
MOSCOW – Russian Defense Ministry plans drafting 153,200 young men of call-up age to the Armed Forces during the spring drafting session that will last from April 1 through to July 15, Colonel General Vassily Smirnov, a deputy chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff told a news conference Thursday.
“This number of conscripts is quite enough to maintain the appropriate manning and combat readiness levels at the branches and services of the Armed Forces,” Gen Smirnov said.
“A total of 49,700 conscripts who will be sent to the Army units are qualified specialists and as many as 46,800 of them have received training at the outlets of the Voluntary Association for Assistance to the Army, Air Force and Navy /DOSAAF/,” he said.
MOSCOW – The revenues of the Russian national telecommunications company Rostelecom reached 321.3 billion roubles in 2012 that is seven percent higher than the figure in 2011. The Rostelecom net profit went down 17% to 35.24 billion roubles, the company said in its reports.
“The structure of the revenues has changed drastically in favour of growing segments, which include the mobile communications, the broadband Internet access and the paid television,” Rostelecom noted. The cost effectiveness on the OIBDA (the Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization) indicator has made 36.9% thanks to vigorous development of the mobile communications business.
MOSCOW – Former president of the Rostelecom national telecommunications company Alexander Provotorov will receive a 200.88-million-rouble compensation for early termination of his powers, according to the decision by the company board published on Thursday.
"The board's decision is to terminate the powers of Rostelecom president Alexander Provotorov on March 17, 2013 /last workday/ and cancel the contract with him. Provotorov will be paid a lumpsum compensation of 200,880,000 roubles," according to the decision posted on the Rostelecom website.
MOSCOW – According to the latest data more than 720,000 HIV-positive people are registered in Russia today, Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of the Federal AIDS Prevention and Control Center, told the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation on Thursday.
“At the beginning of March more than 720,000 HIV-positive people were on our files. At the moment the AIDS death toll stands at 130,000,” he said.
He recalled that more and more people got infected with HIV via sexual intercourse rather than via drug abuse.
MOSCOW – Inspections at nongovernmental organizations aim to expose among other things the organizations of extremist nature, a spokesperson for the Office of Russia’s Prosecutor General told reporters Thursday.
“The Prosecutor General’s Office is inspecting the compliance of public, religious and other nonprofit associations with legislation in line with a plan for operations of the Office in January-June 2013,” Marina Gridneva, the spokesperson, said.
She indicated that the plan was endorsed in December 2012 and appropriate instructions were issued the prosecutors of Russia’s constituent regions.
BAIKONUR – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said there are no disagreements between Russia and Kazakhstan over the Baikonur cosmodrome at present, at the first meeting of the intergovernmental commission over Baikonur on Thursday.
"At present, we have no disagreements over the Baikonur launch site. Everything's is fully coordinated," Shuvalov said.
"We've come to terms; the program of manned flights for 2014-2015 will be coordinated with Kazakhstan by September 1, 2013," the deputy premier said.
YEKATERINBURG – It is planned to spend about 15 billion US dollars for the creation of the Expo Park in Yekaterinburg, chief architect of the city Mikhail Vyatkin told Itar-Tass on Wednesday before the presentation of the potential Expo site to a delegation of the International Exhibitions Bureau (Bureau International des Expositions, BIE).
The Expo Park, if Yekaterinburg wins in the bidding for the right to host the exhibition, will be located on the southern shore of the largest and most picturesque pond in Yekaterinburg – Verkh-Isetky Pond.
MOSCOW – Moscow and Bangkok have agreed to strengthen cooperation to avoid incidents involving Russian tourists in Thailand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday after talks with his Thai counterpart Surapong Tovichakchaikul. Lavrov said that 1,300,000 Russian tourists had visited Thailand last year.
“We appreciate the attention of the country’s authorities to securing their interests and lawful rights,” the Russian foreign minister emphasized.
“Today, we have agreed to continue our interaction to minimize and ideally exclude incidents, which sometimes occur to our compatriots. We are grateful to Bangkok for being ready to work in this direction,” Lavrov went on to say.
MOSCOW – Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves climbed by 2.4 billion dollars (or by 0.46 percent) from 520 billion dollars to 522.4 billion dollars as of March 15-22, the External and Public Relations Department of the Central Bank said on Thursday.
ASTANA – Kazakhstan will establish a state commission on problems of the transition to the Latin alphabet by September 2013, MP Aldan Smailov from the Committee on social and cultural development of the Kazakh Majlis said on Thursday.
The task to switch over to the Latin alphabet by 2025 was set forth by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev last December. In a reply to a deputy inquiry lodged with the government it said that the state commission would be set up on September 1, 2013 by a presidential decree, the MP said.
LANGKAWI ISLAND, Malaysia – A Malaysian delegation is going to visit Russia later this spring to consider various options for upgrading the country’s fleet of MiG-29N fighter jets, the first deputy general director of the arms exporting company Rosoboronexport, Viktor Komardin, has told the media. He is leading a joint delegation of Russian Technologies and Rosoboronexport at the LIMA 2013 show.
LANGKAWI ISLAND, Malaysia – The Sukhoi holding company has signed a contract with the Malaysian Defense Ministry for the maintenance of Su-30MKM jet fighters. The contract concluded on the sidelines of the LIMA 2013 exhibition is 100 million dollars worth, the show’s organizing committee said.
The contract provides for the supplies of spare parts and maintenance of 18 Su-30 MKM fighter jets, provided under a Russian-Malaysian contract of 2003 in 2007-2009.
LANGKAWI ISLAND, Malaysia – Russia and Malaysia have started talks on supplies of the Igla portable surface-to-air missile systems and the Pantsir S1 air defence missile gun systems, Rosoboronexport deputy director-general Viktor Komardin said.
Speaking at the LIMA Exhibition on Thursday, Komardin said, “Brazil shows interest in the Igla portable air missile defence systems and the Pantsir S1 air defence missile gun systems. We gave them draft contacts and started talks.”
LANGKAWI ISLAND, Malaysia – The first front-line aviation complex, also known as a fifth generation jet, will enter duty in Russia’s Air Force in 2016, the Air Force commander-in-chief, Viktor Bondarev, told the media at the LIMA-2013 exhibition.
According to earlier reports Russia’s Air Force was to get the first jet fighter of this type in 2015.
LANGKAWI ISLAND, Malaysia – The YAK-130 Aerobatic Group will be created in Russia as soon as planes of this modification are built in a simplified variant, Russian Air Force Chief Viktor Bondarev told journalists in the lobbies of the LIMA-2013 Air Show.
"As soon as the industry builds such planes we are ready to train aerobatics pilots to fly them," Bondarev said.
LANGKAWI ISLAND, Malaysia – Russia formally stays on the shortlist of the participants in a tender for the delivery of six Russian refuelling aircraft to India. The Russian airplane Il-78 lost to the airliner A330 MRTT produced by the Airbus Company in the tender, Deputy Director General of the Russian main arms exporting company Rosoboronexport Viktor Komardin told reporters at the Langwaki International Marine and Air Show LIMA-2013 on Thursday. Komardin heads the united delegation of the Russian state-run corporation Rostechnologii and Rosoboronexport at the arms show.
LANGKAWI ISLAND, Malaysia – Vietnam will receive the first two out of six Russian-made non-nuclear submarines (project 636) in late 2013 or early in 2014, a representative of the Russian delegation at the LIMA 2013 international show told ARMS-TASS. According to him, mechanical run tests of the first submarine will be over in summer. The acceptance tests are expected to start in September. The second submarine is to undergo mechanical run tests in May while the acceptance tests are scheduled for late 2013.
“Both submarines will be handed over to the customer late in 2013 or early in 2014,” the Russian delegation source went on to say.
PARIS – The foundations for advancement in all spheres – from the economy to culture have been laid in the relations between the major French and Russian companies. This point of view was expressed by the participants in the meeting of the Franco-Russian Dialogue Association that was held under the chairmanship of President of the OJSC Russian Railways (RZD) Vladimir Yakunin and Vice President of the party Union for a Popular Movement of the French parliament MP Thierry Mariani.
PARIS – JSC Russian Railways (RZD) will establish a subsidiary in Poland for the traffic of the international trains, RZD Vice-President Mikhail Akulov told reporters on Thursday.
“We have developed with European consulting companies the whole algorithm to set up a subsidiary in Poland, the plan of these actions is clear for us and now we began developing a solution on the issue,” he said.
A new company will primarily purchase the dining cars for the international trains.
PARIS – French and Russian railway workers have agreed develop scientific activities and train personnel for high-speed transport.
A document to this effect was signed by Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin, SNCF President Guillaume Pepy, rector of the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering Boris Levin, ENPC director Armel de La Bourdonnaye and CNAM rector Christine Forestier.
The agreement envisages coordinating scientific and technical activities, organising the work with the use of French and Russian scientific and technical potential, and training personnel for high-speed railway transport.
BELGRADE – Engineers of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry will start clearing mines on the territory of Serbia by April 1, the spokesperson to the Sector for Emergency Management of the Interior Ministry said on Thursday.
This year Russian engineers will clear mines in Serbia on the area of over 300,000 square metres in compliance with the memorandum of understanding that was signed by the Serbian Interior Ministry and the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry in 2012. The document expires at the end of 2022.
BEIJING – China and Russia will expand military-technical cooperation on the mutually advantageous base, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Yang said, “As for Chinese-Russian military-technical cooperation, I can note that recently mass media have made many publications on this topic.”
The spokesman declines to confirm or deny reports saying, “Both parties will expand it on the mutually advantageous basis.”
MINSK – Belarus intends to implement a major project in the petrochemical sector with the attraction of Kazakhstan, Deputy Prime Minister of the Belarusian government, co-chair of the Belarus-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Cooperation Commission Mikhail Rusy said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“The project for the production of terephthalic acid on the basis of Kazakhstan’s paraxylene is in the active stage of development, and in April experts from Astana will arrive in Minsk to prepare the ‘step-by-step’ schedule of the works,” he said.
MINSK – Uzbekistan’s drive for joining the CIS free trade zone agreement will be discussed at a session of the Council of Heads of Government due to take place in Minsk on May 31, CIS Executive Committee chairman Sergei Lebedev told journaliss on Thursday.
“We hope very much that Uzbekistan will become the ninth country, which will join the CIS free trade zone agreement,” Lebedev said.
Six states ratified the agreement. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan continue the process. “We hope that this process will be over this year,” Lebedev added.
MINSK – Countries members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are planning to hold an informal summit in Kyrgyzstan in May, CSTO’s Secretary-General Nikolai Bordyuzha said at a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday.
“The president received information on preparation for the forthcoming informal CSTO summit, which is to take place in Kyrgyzstan in May,” a source at the presidential press service told Itar-Tass.
BISHKEK – Kyrgyzstan’s authorities intend to reserve the right to inspect NATO cargoes, which will follow from Afghanistan through the republic’s territory by land transport, according to a draft law, which was submitted to the parliament on Thursday.
In May 2012 Kyrgyzstan and NATO signed an agreement on the Alliance’s cargoes transit after the international coalition started withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
“In compliance with the agreement, NATO is planning to transport ISAF cargoes by the Afghanistan-Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan route,” the draft law says.
TBILISI – Foreign Ministers of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, Maya Pandzhinidze, Elmar Mamedyarov and Ahmet Davutoglu, signed a plan to expand inter-departmental cooperation in 2013-2015 in Batumi on Thursday.
“The document embraces all spheres such as the economy, energy, the environmental protection, culture, education, sports, youth etc.,” Pandzhikidze told journalists.
She said, “The implementation of the plan of action will facilitate the strengthening and development of relations between the three countries within the bilateral and trilateral formats.”