ULAN UDE – Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Russia’s oil major Rosneft not to practice on its monopolistic positions and obey by all requirements of the Federal Antimonopoly Service.
“Virtually, you are enjoying a monopoly position not only on Sakhalin but in other regions as well. So, I hope the company will not abuse its monopoly position and will comply with all requirements of the antimonopoly laws and will work under control of the Federal Antimonopoly Service,” he told Rosneft’s president Igor Sechin in a videoconference on Thursday.
ULAN UDE – At least 15 billion U.S. dollars will be needed to fund the construction of infrastructure and a liquefied natural gas production facility on Russia’s Far Eastern Sakhalin Island, president of ExxonMobil Development Company Neil Duffin told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a videoconference on Thursday.
According to Duffin, Exxon Mobil is cooperating with Russia’s oil major Rosneft on projects in the Arctic, in the Black Sea, and on Sakhalin. The company, in his words, is negotiating an optimal solution as concerns the LNG facility construction project on Sakhalin.
ULAN UDE – The Russian governments has to reshuffle the ineffective Federal Forestry Agency, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the State Council presidium over increasing the effectiveness of the timber sector of the Russian Federation on Thursday.
"Obviously, the officials responsible for the development of the timber sector cannot cope with their tasks," Putin said, adding that the agency needed an urgent reshuffle which is the government's decision.
MOSCOW – Political experts have noticed a positive dynamics in Vladimir Putin's rating as a possible president to be elected in 2018.
When Putin was elected president a year ago a total of 17 percent wanted him to remain president for the next successive presidential term. Now, the number of such people rose to 22 percent, Deputy director of the Center for studies of the political market Alexei Zudin told Itar-Tass, commenting on the results of a poll conducted by the Levada Center.
ULAN UDE – Russia is leading in the world for the area of forests and is ranked second for the forest reserves, but the country’s share in the world production of timber products is on the decline depending on the degree of wood processing. Governor of the Novgorod Region Sergei Mitin, who heads the working group that drafted a report for a meeting of the Russian State Council presidium, cited this data at this meeting.
“Over one million and 100,000 people work in the Russian forestry industry, they work in 60,000 enterprises,” Mitin recalled.
ULAN UDE – The Russian Economic Development Ministry decreased the projected GDP growth rate in 2013 from 3.6 percent to 2.4 percent, and adjusted the inflation rate to 5.8 percent from 5.6 percent.
"The GDP will grow at 2.4 percent," Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach told reporters.
Capital outflow in 2013 might reach 30 to 35 billion dollars. Investments in fixed capital are expected to make up 4.6 percent. Oil prices in 2013 are expected to be at 105 dollars per barrel with subsequent decrease to 100 dollars. Commenting on downward adjustment of the GDP rate, Klepach explained it by low exports and insignificant investments in capital stock.
MOSCOW – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held a meeting with the leaders of the State Duma factions of the A Just Russia Party and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Sergei Mironov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russian prime minister’s spokesperson Natalia Timakova told reporters on Thursday.
“This meeting was held as part of several consultations with the leaders of the State Duma factions that the prime minister holds before his annual report over the government’s activities in the State Duma,” Timakova noted.
MOSCOW – Russian citizens have the right to visit Macedonia without visas or any other conditions until March 2014, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
On March 12, 2013 the government of the Republic of Macedonia made a decision to grant citizens of Russia the right of a visa- free entry to Macedonia from March 16, 2013 until March 15, 2014 without any additional conditions, including conditions stipulated in the Agreement in effect at present, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
SALEHARD – The number of radioactive facilities which remain on the Russian Northern Sea Route is below 10 percent , Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky told an international conference devoted to problems of ensuring technogenic and environmental security in the Arctic region.
Operations to remove radioactive isotope thermal-electric generators from navigation facilities on the Northern Sea Route continue in the framework of a federal program on ensuring nuclear and radioactive security, Olersky said.
SALEKHARD – Two new nature parks and a wildlife reserve will be established in Russia’s Arctic sector, according to Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Denis Khramov.
In 2013, the Beringia national park was set up on the Chukotka Peninsula. It will be incorporated into the network of ecological and sports tourism.
Today, there are 23 protected areas, including 11 wildlife reserves, three national parks and nine federal wildlife refuges, in the Russian Arctic sector.
SALEKHARD – The Arctic Council member-countries in May will sign an agreement on cooperation in case of sea oil spills in the Arctic, Russia's Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Alexander Chupriyan told an international conference on technological and environmental safety in the Arctic on Thursday.
He recalled that the first-ever intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic was signed in 2011.
Chupriyan said the second international agreement, to be signed in May, 2013 would address such issues as cooperation in the event of oil spills in the Arctic and coordination of efforts in eliminating their effects.
MOSCOW – Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves tumbled by 10.7 billion dollars (or by 2.03 percent) from 527.6 billion dollars to 516.9 billion dollars as of March 29-April 5, the External and Public Relations Department of the Central Bank said on Thursday.
MOSCOW – Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) and Pakistani law enforcement agencies will conduct joint operations against Afghan drug mafia, FSKN director Viktor Ivanov said at the meeting with representatives of the Pakistani National Defence University on Thursday.
MOSCOW – Russian Union of Rescuers has raised 20 tons of humanitarian aid for the Syrians who have suffered from the armed conflict in their country, officials at the Information Department of the Ministry for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense /EMERCOM/ told Itar-Tass.
MINSK – Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko called for broader use of Customs Union opportunities in cooperation with Russian regions. "I'm convinced that partnership relations cannot be built solely on the basis of trade. We need to create joint production and more intensive cooperation which is aparticularly pressing issue given the favorable conditions that are being created within the scope of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space," he said at a meeting with Penza region governor Vasily Bochkaryov on Thursday.
MINSK – It is economically inexpedient to build terminals for gas intake and liquefaction in neighbouring countries’ ports to supply it to Belarus, Energy Deputy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Mikhadyuk said, “We’ve discussed liquefied gas’ supplies to Belarus. To this end, it is necessary to build terminals for gas intake and liquefaction in ports.”
MINSK – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has come out with a proposal to set up a joint Russian-Belarusian light industry holding.
“Let us set up a holding, let us pool our efforts to buy raw materials, manufacture goods, and win tenders to ultimately improve this sphere,” he said on Thursday at a meeting with governor of Russia’s Penza region Vasily Bochkarev.
YEREVAN – Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisyan and chairman of the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Viktor Khristenko have signed a memorandum on cooperation between EEC and the Armenian government. The text of the document was made available to Itar-Tass at the administration of the Armenian government on Thursday.
Among key areas of cooperation the document lists “trade policy, including simplification of trade procedures, technical regulation, standardization and measures to ensure the uniformity of measurement, harmonization of sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary standards and requirements.”
KIEV – Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said on Thursday he might take a decision to dissolve national parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.
“When they tell me ‘Come on, disband the parliament,’ I know I can act in a harsh way, but only as a last resort,” he said. “We are not that rich to indulge in elections every now and then. It will be us who are to pay for them.”
According to the Ukrainian leader he had instructed lawyers to check the legitimacy of the laws passed by the parliamentary majority at a session that was held outside the Verkhovna Rada session room on April 4.
KIEV – Ukraine’s agrarian sector badly needs at least ten billion U.S. dollars of annual investments to overhaul its physical infrastructure, president of the Ukrainian Agrarian Business Club, Alex Lissitsa, told a news conference on Thursday.
In all, in his words, the agrarian sector needs some 50 billion U.S. dollars.
KIEV – Ukraine cut its gas imports by 17 percent, or by 1.5 billion cubic meters, in January-March 2013 to 7.1 billion cubic meters, the press service of Ukrtransgaz reported on Thursday.
Over this period, a total of 20.3 billion cubic meters of gas were transported via Ukraine to consumers in European and CIS countries, or by 17 percent less than in the same period of 2012. At the same time, Ukrtransgaz fully satisfied all natural transportation requests of European consumers, Andrei Datsyuk, the director of Ukrtransgaz central dispatcher office, said.
KIEV – Amount of natural gas stored in underground gasholder facilities of Ukraine’s national company Ukrtransgaz totaled 6.8 billion cubic meters /bcm/ as of April 1, 2013, which is 9% or 0.6 bcm less than on the same date a year ago.
The company’s press service said Thursday the offtake of gas from the storage facilities has totaled 13.6 bcm since the beginning of the 2012/2013 heating season and the indicator roughly correspond to the figures for the 2011/2012 heating season.
Ukrtransgaz has twelve underground gasholder facilities with a total storing capacity for 31 bcm.
All in all, Ukraine has thirteen underground gasholder farms but one of them is run by Chernomorneftegaz company.
TBILISI – The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office plans to create a special team of investigators to probe into the legal aspects of the 2008 August war, Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili told the media on Thursday.
“The purpose of that group is to investigate the legal aspects of whether war crimes really took place,” Kbilashvili said. The range of persons to be investigated will be determined after the group gets down to work.”
TBILISI – Georgia’s government believes that it is important to study the circumstances of the 2008 war.
State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexei Petriashvili told reporters on Thursday that he did not “trust the conclusion that the parliamentary commission drew in the autumn 2008. I’m not confident. I want all facts to be studied impartially”.
MOSCOW – Georgia will export the Borjomi mineral water to Russia, an official told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
"The certificate of registration of the mineral water "Borjomi" in the Russian market has been approved," head of the Rospotrebnadzor Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare Gennady Onishchenko said.
TBILISI – Georgia prioritises the normalisation of relations with Russia, deputy speaker Manana Kobakhidze said.
“The normalisation of relations with Russia is the process, which should be made in line with Georgia’s strategic goal – integration into the EU and membership in NATO,” Kobakhidze told journalists on Thursday.