Turkey thinks that the UN plan on maritime exports of Ukrainian grain is viable and implementable, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said following the June 8 talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. The Russian top diplomat said that, according to the Turkish side, Ukraine was ready to either demine its sea ports or ensure safe passage for vessels in order to export grain.
Soon after the meeting between the two diplomats, Ukrainian Ambassador to Ankara Vasily Bodnar told CNN Turk that Kiev would agree to renew the maritime grain exports only in exchange for security guarantees such as anti-ship armaments and the participation of the naval forces of third countries in the protection of its waters. He emphasized that there had been no agreements on the issue between Ukraine, Turkey and Russia.
The West, above all, the US, is hardly likely to openly yield to Russian demands to lift sanctions in exchange for grain export, according to Researcher at the Center for North American Studies at the Russian Institute of the World Economy and International Relations IMEMO Alexey Davydov. Mainly, regarding US domestic politics, this may hurt the Democrats’ chances in the November elections amid the evident anti-Russian consensus and solidarity with Ukraine among the US establishment. If any concessions do take place, they won’t be made public, the expert thinks.
The conditions for the grain exports expressed by the Ukrainian envoy are absolutely unacceptable for Russia, according to Deputy Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics Dmitry Suslov. Essentially, the diplomat’s statement means that Kiev is not really concerned about the food crisis and is using the grain export issue exclusively to receive Western anti-ship missiles or Western naval ships near Odessa in order to significantly weaken the Black Sea fleet. According to the expert, now Ukraine has practically expressed this absolutely openly.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta: What Asian countries can offer Russia in exchange for cheap oil
Amid the US-led Western sanctions against Moscow, the deliveries of Russian oil to China and India in May reached record-high volumes. Overall, the countries of the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) began to purchase more Russian oil than all of Europe. Russia is selling raw materials at a 30% discount and is ready to increase supplies, while APAC countries so far are only ready to buy cheap energy products while increased investments or the participation in Russian projects are mere talk.
Director of the National Energy Security Fund Konstantin Simonov says that Russia doesn’t yet have other options to maintain the high level of oil exports besides the supplies to the Asia-Pacific region. In order to achieve full-fledged cooperation and investments, it is necessary for a mutual seller-buyer dependence to emerge, the one Russia had with Europe when it was taking up to 40% of its energy market. In order to attain this, long-term contracts are needed. The expert noted that under the conditions of Europe and the US destroying the global oil market, such contracts would profit both suppliers and buyers.
According to Associate Professor at the Russian Government’s Financial University Valery Andrianov, the competition between Asian-Pacific countries also plays into Russia’s hands. There are several major players on this market and the major buyers of Russian oil are currently China and India who are competing in many spheres. The professor noted that while China has embarked on a post-pandemic recovery, the Indian economy is booming as was projected, so this competition will only expand.
According to Simonov, due to Europe’s destructive actions, a global redistribution of the market is underway, with the breakup of all the usual ties and logistics flows which is particularly apparent on the LNG market, as well as with oil and coal. In this situation, Russia stands a good chance of concluding mutually beneficial long-term contracts with the Asian-Pacific partners and create infrastructure to increase deliveries in the eastward direction.
Andrianov concurs, contending that the sanctions war unleashed by the West leads to the destruction and defragmentation of global energy markets. Nowadays, new international energy alliances will emerge based on increased investments on the part of consumer states into the oil and gas complexes of producing countries. Asian companies will aspire to cement partnerships with Russia in the oil and gas sphere regardless of current global prices for oil and gas, the expert explained.
Kommersant: Ukraine against foreign inspectors visiting Russia-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear plant
Kiev is against a visit by Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi to the Zaporozhye NPP controlled by Russia, Ukraine’s Energoatom chief Pyotr Kotin said on Wednesday. Kiev accuses Grossi of playing along with Russia as well as cautions that it cannot guarantee the safety of foreign inspectors. The IAEA chief explains his aspiration to visit the largest nuclear plant in Europe by his concerns for its security.
Meanwhile, considering that currently the Kiev regime is not controlling this territory, an IAEA delegation may get there only through reaching agreements with the Russian side. At the end of May, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to journalists that talks on the matter were underway between Moscow and the IAEA leadership coordinating the details of the visit.
Director of the PIR Center Vladimir Orlov in a conversation with Kommersant said that the security situation at the Zaporozhye plant was "not a simple one but not critical." In his opinion, the visit by the IAEA delegation may be useful but only if it’s not politicized and it is not turned into a "show for reporters." "Otherwise, of course, it’s actually good for the IAEA director general to come personally and inspect the conditions under which a nuclear power station is functioning in the zone of a special operation," the expert said.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Romania eyes swallowing up Moldova
Moldova’s Defense Minister Anatolie Nosatii discussed reequipping the Moldovan army with his Romanian counterpart in Bucharest on Wednesday. Meanwhile, in Chisinau, a member of the Romanian parliament Ion-Marcel Ciolacu asserted that Moldova did not need military aid since Romania is its shield. Moldovan left-wing political parties revealed that Moldova and Romania were plotting to merge.
Moldova’s former Defense Minister Vitalie Marinuta told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that "nowadays, unfortunately, residents do not support the unification of the two countries, the majority of citizens are against NATO and Romania." Chairman of the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia Dmitry Konstantinov told the newspaper that the Gagauz are wary of Moldova re-arming since it has no one to fight.
That said, ex-Moldovan President Igor Dodon took to his Telegram channel to say that "a military and political annexation of our country to Romania is in the works, with the renunciation of neutrality."
He asserted that "President Maia Sandu and her foreign masters are following the Ukrainian scenario, stirring up a deliberate destabilization of the situation," and the West "wants to use Moldovans as cannon fodder in the geopolitical battle that is currently unfolding in the region."
Izvestia: Russian expert virologist weighs in on monkeypox
Careful monitoring by doctors and scientists of the monkeypox outbreak will decrease its rates of spreading, virologist and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Lukashev said in an interview with Izvestia. Currently, they are significantly lower than the spread rates of COVID-19 so the risk of a new pandemic is low. The expert also explained how stopping vaccination against smallpox impacted the spread of the disease and noted that the new threat is not nearly as dangerous as HIV.
The expert noted that the number of new monkeypox infections observed worldwide lately is unprecedented. "This is caused by the fact that approximately in 1980 they stopped inoculating people against smallpox considering it completely eradicated. The vaccine against it was partially protecting against monkeypox as well. Since then, human herd immunity with regards to these diseases was gradually decreasing. And at some point, a critical mass of people accumulated whose systems were not familiar with the smallpox virus."
According to the expert, the monkeypox spread rates so far are not causing alarm yet the concern caused by the emergence of this infection means that the disease will be better monitored and contained. "I think that the risk of the pandemic is low. First of all, the virus is not spreading as efficiently as, for example, COVID-19. Secondly, it can be stopped by simply rejecting excessive habits or certain behavior models," the expert explained.
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