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Press review: NATO says Kiev likely caused missile crash and balanced text caps G20 event

Top stories from the Russian press on Thursday, November 17th

Vedomosti: NATO backs away from escalation over missile crash in Poland

NATO does not consider the incident with the fallen missile in Poland a deliberate action by Russia, according to Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the US-led military alliance. Based on preliminary data, the incident was most likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired in response to Russian shelling. Nonetheless, NATO did not blame Kiev, holding Moscow ultimately liable for the incident, Vedomosti reports.

The West realizes that what happened is an incident that is unavoidable when conducting military operations, Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations Fyodor Voitolovsky told the newspaper. NATO does not want to escalate, especially considering that, most likely, it was a Ukrainian anti-missile. Throughout the special operation, Russia has done its utmost to avoid direct conflict with the alliance, according to the analyst. The Russian Armed Forces were compelled to act in the presence of NATO intelligence personnel and instructors in Ukraine, and measures to avert escalation were successful.

The episode highlights the crucial need for communication between Russia's military and the US-led bloc in preventing such incidents, according to Voitolovsky.

Any further military-technical initiatives in response to the missile crash in Poland are unlikely to constitute a major change of current approaches, Researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations Dmitry Stefanovich believes. According to the expert, there are no "magic wands" capable of producing impenetrable "umbrellas" for air defense and missile defense. NATO may accelerate the deployment of increasingly modern air defense systems along its eastern border, but the format and territory remain unknown, Stefanovich explained.


Vedomosti: Russian diplomacy helps attain balanced G20 declaration

G20 members were able to agree on the final declaration following the summit, which ended on November 16 in Bali, Indonesia. According to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Western countries tried to make this declaration politicized and use wording that would imply a condemnation of the actions of the Russian Federation on behalf of the entire G20, Vedomosti writes. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that Russia worked tirelessly to ensure a balanced final document.

Thus, the declaration emphasized the role of the G20 as a forum for global economic cooperation, especially given that nowadays the world has to solve serious economic problems. The majority of the G20 "strongly condemned the war in Ukraine". However, the document acknowledged the different views among member countries on the situation [in Ukraine] and the sanctions. On November 15, the Washington Post also wrote about China's disagreement with the word "war" when describing Russia’s special operation in Ukraine.

The Russian leadership considered it important to preserve the institution of the G20 and not create a precedent where the G20 summit meeting would end without the adoption of a final document, said editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine Fyodor Lukyanov. According to him, Russian diplomacy and Lavrov personally put in a lot of efforts to soften the wording and add a clause about the presence of different points of view in the G20. The Group of Twenty is still a promising and representative institution for Russia and when the current crisis subsides, the members of the club will return to constructive work, the expert believes.


Izvestia: Expert weigh in on Trump’s chances at 2024 primaries

Ron DeSantis, who was re-elected by a landslide as Governor of Florida on November 8, may be Donald Trump’s chief rival in the future Republican primaries, American experts told Izvestia. The former president officially announced his bid for the 2024 presidential race on November 15. However, after the midterm congressional elections, his popularity has fallen short, as many are pointing their fingers at Trump for the failure of the much-anticipated "red wave". However, given that the GOP doesn’t have a single high-powered contender to counter the ex-president, Trump retains a high chance of winning the primaries.

Leading Researcher at the Center for International Security at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations Victor Mizin noted that a serious split is emerging within the Republican Party. "Trump retains control of the party's bureaucratic structure, but there are fundamental contradictions. A number of lawmakers and experts believe Trump should be ousted because he tarnishes the party's reputation," he told Izvestia.

Trump's chances of winning are far lower than what they used to be, Senior Fellow and Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution Michael O'Hanlon told Izvestia. However, he has a certain advantage, since he has already been in the president's chair, the expert pointed out.

Trump might lack the necessary momentum, and if the Republicans have one strong alternative candidate, like DeSantis, it will be very difficult for Trump, professor of history at the American University in Washington Peter Kuznick believes.


Izvestia: Moldova may hand over warehouses with Russian ammunition to Ukraine

Despite its neutrality, Chisinau decided to move closer to NATO, Izvestia writes. Moldovan President Maia Sandu said she was ready to transfer part of the territories of her own country to Ukraine for several years. Moldova explained that it means those parts where Russian ammunition depots are located. Meanwhile, Chisinau is also ready to provide its territory to increase the mobility of NATO’s forces.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said that the EU will include the Balkans, Moldova, and Ukraine in a project to step up military mobility for the rapid deployment of NATO combat forces. In response, Sandu wrote on Twitter that the Moldovan authorities have joined forces with Brussels in order to help Ukraine.

If Moldova brings everything under a single European standard, it can turn into a transit state for NATO military equipment, Izvestia writes. Chief Researcher at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolay Mezhevich believes that Chisinau can transfer the territory where the warehouses with Russian weapons are located to Kiev.

Political scientist Igor Ivanenko agrees, noting that the issue of transferring an arsenal with Soviet weapons to Ukraine by Moldova depends primarily on the position of Western countries. "If they make such a decision, Chisinau will implement it without much hesitation," he said.

"I'm not sure that the Transnistrian authorities will agree to this. As for cooperation with NATO, there is a provision in the constitution according to which Moldova is a non-aligned, neutral country. Without changing the fundamental law, there is no prospect of joining NATO," Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov commented.


Kommersant: Poland eyes purchases of Russian oil in 2023

Poland’s largest, state-owned oil refiner and distributor, Orlen, expects to continue getting Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline in 2023, despite statements by the Polish authorities about their intention to refuse such supplies amid the EU’s embargo on sea shipments of Russian from December 5, 2022, Kommersant writes. According to the newspaper’s sources, Orlen applied to Transneft to receive 3 mln metric tons of oil through Druzhba in 2023. Transneft confirmed receiving applications from Polish consumers for 2023, but refused to comment on specific companies and volumes.

Transneft told Kommersant, commenting on the supply plans for 2023, that in addition to the existing applications from consumers using the transportation route along the southern branch of the Druzhba oil pipeline in the direction of Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic in transit through Ukraine, there are applications from consumers in Poland for 2023 via Belarus. Transneft Vice President Sergey Andronov did not disclose who sent the applications or their volumes.

Orlen told Kommersant that the request submitted to Transneft was a technical notice of demand in the event of the execution of contracts for the supply of Russian oil, which are still binding for PKN Orlen. "This is a standard procedure, solely a reservation of potential capacity" of the oil pipeline, the Polish company added, emphasizing that PKN Orlen "will comply with all applicable requirements and sanctions, both nationally and internationally."

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