Izvestia: Russia and US to discuss Ukraine in August
The meeting between Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and US State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker will be held in Moscow in the last two weeks of August, sources in diplomatic circles told Izvestia. According to a source close to the administration of the Russian president, the Russian side intends to explain in detail all the points of the Minsk agreements, which were never carried out by Kiev.
"An agreement was reached on the forthcoming meeting between Volker and Surkov on Ukraine. It will be held in Moscow before the end of August. Most likely, in the last two weeks," the source told the newspaper.
According to the source close to the presidential administration, the parties will discuss settling the situation in Ukraine and preventing the conflict’s escalation. Compliance with the Minsk agreements by the parties to the conflict - Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic - will be the main focus of the talks. "Moscow will present facts indicating that Kiev is not complying with the agreement, and will explain Ukraine's obligations under the Minsk agreements," the source told Izvestia.
Ukrainian political scientist and director of the Kiev Center for Political Studies and Conflictology Mikhail Pogrebinsky told Izvestia that Volker has not yet talked about the fact that Kiev is obliged to implement the Minsk agreements.
"In his interviews the diplomat spoke only of obligations of Moscow, Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic. Volker gives the impression of a person who is not sufficiently informed on the events in Ukraine," he told the newspaper, adding that since this is the first meeting between Surkov and Volker, they are likely not to make any serious decisions.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Economies of Russia and Ukraine drift further apart
The Ukrainian government canceled an agreement with Russia on cooperation in the export of military products to third countries. According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the news looked like a response to Russia's opening of a railroad section allowing to bypass the Ukrainian territory when traveling to the south of Russia. However, experts told the newspaper there has been no cooperation "in exports to third countries" with Ukraine for three years, since Ukraine stopped exporting military and dual-use goods in Russia in August 2014.
According to the newspaper, at the time Ukraine expected that to be a strong blow to the Russian defense capabilities, as exports included engines for cruise and strategic missiles, combat helicopters, etc. However, "domestic firms have already replaced most of their components for Russian military equipment", Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.
Rosatom told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the company currently does not depend on Ukraine in terms of supplies of materials and services. "All available contracts for the supply of our nuclear fuel to Ukrainian nuclear power plants are fulfilled on time and are paid by the Ukrainian side," the Rosatom communications department added.
Experts interviewed by the newspaper note that the "umbilical cord between the Russian and Ukrainian industries is drying up". In recent years, turnover between the two countries has also fallen. Russia imported goods and services from Ukraine in 2010 for $10.7 bln, in 2015 - $5.6 bln. In the first half of 2015, Ukrainian exports to Russia reached $2.7 bln, in 2016 - $1.7 bln. The main share of Ukraine's supplies to Russia includes raw materials - aluminum oxide, electricity, paper and cardboard.
"Ukraine had a very powerful research and production complex, manufacturing anti-aircraft missile systems, armored vehicles, electronic intelligence systems. Severing cooperation ties with Russia will lead to a gradual decay of industry in the country. A vivid example of this is the deplorable state of such a once famous enterprise as Antonov," Colonel-General Anatoly Sitnov, Chief of Armaments of Russia’s Armed Forces in 1994-2000, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Kommersant: Russia could jump in on Indonesia's booming aircraft demand
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov continued his Asian tour with Indonesia - the country actively interested in the Russian military-industrial complex. Lavrov and the Indonesian partners reassured each other that this is not the only opportunity for cooperation, Kommersant writes. In particular, the Russian Minister supported the presentation of the Irkut MC-21 plane held in Jakarta earlier.
According to the newspaper, Jakarta is interested in purchasing the Russian Irkut MC-21 civil aircraft, which is now undergoing flight tests, as well as the third-generation of 636 Varshavyanka submarines, and Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft.
"Our aircraft is very attractive from the point of view of minimizing operating expenses," Vice President of Irkut corporation Vladimir Sautov told Kommersant, noting that the corporation "approaches Indonesian partners not from a competitive position, but a long-term technological cooperation." At the same time, Sautov believes "it is still too early" to talk about any specific deals, since now the focus is on promoting the aircraft.
Luca Amante, representative of Indonesian airline Susi Air, told Kommersant that the country's air market is experiencing "explosive growth" - the largest orders for Boeing and Airbus in Asia come from Indonesia, and passenger turnover reached 95 mln people last year.
According to the newspaper, Russian business expect to continue strengthening ties with Indonesia in the sphere. Thus, on August 4, Rostec and the Indonesia State Trading Company have already signed a memorandum of cooperation for the counter trade program for the delivery of the Sukhoi Su-35 multipurpose fighter aircraft to Jakarta. A Russian diplomatic source told Kommersant the agreement includes partial payment for airplanes by goods produced in Indonesia, for example, rubber.
The mutual trade turnover between the countries is growing - in 2016, the figure reached $2.6 bln (Russian exports - $403 mln, imports - $2.2 bln). According to Lavrov, the goal is to reach $5 bln in trade turnover. The exact steps for consolidating the dynamics will be discussed at the 12th session of the Russian-Indonesian Joint Commission on Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation, which will be held in Moscow in October.
Kommersant: InBev, Efes unite businesses in Russia and Ukraine
The world leader in beer brewing Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and Turkish Anadolu Efes agreed to create a joint venture pooling their assets in Russia and Ukraine. According to Kommersant, if the deal goes through, the merged company AB InBev-Efes will take up to 27% of the Russian beer market. In the long term, it will have to compete with the current leader Carlsberg.
"The deal will happen through the merger of our companies' assets, no monetary transactions will be conducted," Dmitry Shpakov, President of Sun InBev (Russian subsidiary of AB InBev), told Kommersant.
The merger will take place in a declining market, which is a classic way to retain and even grow a company’s share, Managing partner at Goltsblat BLP law firm Andrey Goltsblat told the newspaper. According to him, for AB InBev and Efes the deal presents a chance to keep production facilities and ensure their load is balanced.
"According to my estimates, based on the experience of assisting such deals, the integration process can take from one to three years," the expert said.
Carlsberg is the current leader of the Russian beer market with a 33% share, Kommersant writes. AB InBev and Efes have 12.2% and 15%, respectively, Heineken - 12.3%. Thus, by merging, AB InBev and Efes will be able to reach 27%. "In the coming years, the market situation will depend on the policy and strategy of the new player regarding product range, distribution, as well as plans for distribution of production capacities and logistics services," expert on retail-audit at Nielsen Russia Marina Lapenkova told Kommersant.
According to the newspaper, AB InBev believes that the merged company would strive to become the number one on the Russian beer market. By merging, the companies will have a stronger position in price negotiations with retail chains, which could mean that competition will toughen.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Moldova seeks to slash Russia’s influence by tightening Internet regulation
Moldova’s Parliament is going to discuss bills on Internet regulation - adoption of the new laws might lead to the abuse of power of special services, which will have the right to monitor and block any network. Deputy Bogdan Tirdea told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that control over the Internet is a direct continuation of the fight against Russian propaganda, initiated by the Moldovan authorities.
"Economic and political provocations are being prepared against Russia, including those directed against Russian peacekeepers. A multilateral anti-Russian strike is planned," Tirdea told the newspaper, talking about the bill.
According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, if the law is adopted Moldova will stop broadcasting Russian TV channels, selling books in Russian and the usage of the Russian language will be narrowed in general. However, according to Tirdea, this is not the extent of the fight with Russian influence in Moldova - "economic, political and, maybe, military measures will be taken," The establishment of joint checkpoints with Ukraine on the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border is one of the planned steps, according to the paper.
According to many experts interviewed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the initiatives on regulating the Moldovan information space has a number of serious flaws.
Petru Macovei, Executive director of the Association of Independent Press, secretary of the Press Council, told the newspaper, "The current situation with regulation of the Internet in Moldova is more or less acceptable, it might very well worsen in the near future with this desire of the authorities to tighten the screws. The bill gives law enforcement structures an excessive amount of authority to block certain Internet resources, and also impose the obligation on providers provide investigating authorities with more information than is accepted in a democratic society."
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