Mark Rutte said that he is not against the idea of a meeting of the leaders of the European Union with the Russian president. However, he himself does not intend to participate in such a summit
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that he will not participate in the Russia-EU summit if it takes place in the format of a meeting between Vladimir Putin and the heads of the 27 EU members. This is reported by the publication De Telegraaf.
Rutte added that he has nothing against Putin’s meeting with the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. “But I myself will not take part in this meeting,” he added.
According to the NOS TV channel, Rutte clarified that his unwillingness to participate in the summit is connected with the case of the crash of a Malaysian Airlines plane in the Donbass in 2014. As a result of the disaster, 192 Dutch citizens were killed. According to the international investigation team, several people who are currently in Russia are involved in this case. In Moscow, the conclusions of the investigation are considered premature.
In addition to the Netherlands, the leaders of Lithuania and Latvia also spoke out against the summit with Putin’s participation. For example, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called a possible summit “an attempt to secure a jar of honey by coming into contact with a bear”.
On the eve of the British newspaper Financial Times reported that the idea of the first Russia-EU summit in seven years was proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She considered that the European Union should make contact with Russia after Putin held talks with American President Joe Biden in Geneva.
Merkel’s initiative was supported by French President Emmanuel Macron. On Thursday, the proposal to hold the summit was also welcomed by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
EThe European Union has agreed on the introduction of sectoral sanctions against Belarus. They affect the oil sector, the production of potassium chloride, and also restrict access to European capital markets.
The European Union has imposed sectoral sanctions against certain sectors of the Belarusian economy, organizations and individuals. This is stated in the statement of the EU Council, published on June 24.
The sanctions affect the oil sector, the production of potassium chloride, and also restrict access to European capital markets.
“The Council today introduced new restrictive measures against the Belarusian regime in response to the escalation of serious human rights violations in Belarus, brutal repression against civil society, the democratic opposition and journalists, as well as the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk on May 23 and the related detention of journalists Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapieha,” the report says.
Sectoral sanctions against Belarus suggest:
Prohibition on the sale, supply or transfer of equipment, software and technologies for monitoring, as well as interception of telephone communications and the Internet.
A ban on the sale, supply or transfer of dual-use goods that can be used by Minsk for military purposes.
Prohibition of trade with Belarusian producers of petroleum products and potash fertilizers, as well as goods for the production of tobacco products.
Restriction of access to the EU capital markets, insurance and reinsurance of the Belarusian government, state bodies.
A ban on financing projects of the Belarusian public sector by the European Investment Bank. EU member states should limit the participation of their banks in Belarusian state projects.
European organizations are prohibited from using financial instruments, investment services and transferable securities of Belarusbank, Belinvestbank and Belagroprombank.
In 2020, Belarus ‘ exports to the EU countries amounted to $5.5 billion, according to the data of the National Statistical Committee of Belarus (Belstat). This is 19% of the total export of goods of the republic and 49% of its exports to countries outside the CIS. The volume of accumulated foreign direct investment (FDI) of the EU in Belarus as of 2019 amounted to 3.2 billion euros, according to the data of the European Commission.
Belarus has government Eurobonds in circulation in the amount of about $3.3 billion with maturities in 2023 & ndash;2031 (about 18% of the country’s total external public debt). Some Western investors have already sold off these bonds, citing reputational costs and incompatibility with the principles of ESG (environmental, social and corporate Responsibility), Reuters reported in June. However, according to Reuters, Belarusian sovereign notes are still in the portfolios of such European holders as UBS (Switzerland), NN IP (the Netherlands), Aberdeen Standard Investments (Great Britain).
Until recently, European multilateral institutions also continued to allocate small loan funds to Minsk. As of March 31, 2020, Belarus ‘ debt to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Northern Investment Bank of the Scandinavian and Baltic Countries amounted to $110 million, according to last year’s prospectus of Belarusian Eurobonds. In addition, last year the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved the provision of a loan to Belarus for €15 million to support the healthcare system.
According to the Comtrade international database, in 2020, the EU countries imported potash fertilizers from Belarus for $206 million. Including Poland & mdash; for $77.6 million, Belgium & mdash; for $49 million. Potassium is also part of the Belarusian complex fertilizers (NPK), one of the elements of which is potassium, the import of such fertilizers to the EU from Belarus amounted to another $116 million, it follows from the Comtrade database.
The export of tobacco products from Belarus has been classified since 2016 (as well as the supply of weapons, radioactive elements, and precious metals). But, according to Eurostat, in 2020, the import of tobacco and beverages from Belarus amounted to only 19 million euros.The import of petroleum products from Belarus to the EU countries in 2020 amounted to $289.5 million (including $85 million to Poland, $142 million to the Baltic states).
Peskov said that Russia would not like to repeat such incidents, but if necessary, it is ready to respond harshly to provocations if foreign partners go too far
Destroyer HMS Defender
The violation of the Russian borders off the Crimean coast by the British destroyer Defender is a deliberate provocation. This was stated by the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov.
“We believe that the destroyer committed a provocation. We are sorry, because it was a deliberate and prepared provocation. We are concerned about such actions of the British ship, ” he said.
Such actions in the Kremlin are considered unacceptable and do not comply with international law. Peskov noted that the border service and the armed forces will continue to respond to such provocations harshly, but in strict accordance with the norms of international law.
“We do not want to deduce a trend from this and do not want to assume that such actions can enter the system,” Peskov stressed.
When asked if the Russian authorities would include the UK in the list of unfriendly countries in connection with the incident with the destroyer, the press secretary said that he “does not know anything about this”.
To the words of Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who promised, if necessary, to “bomb at the target” in case of new violations of Russian borders and international law, Peskov said that Russia will take measures if the actions of foreign partners go “too far”.
“We can appeal to common sense, demand respect for international law. If this does not help, we can bomb not just on the course, but also on the target, if colleagues do not understand, ” Ryabkov said earlier on Thursday.
On June 23, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the destroyer of the Royal Navy Defender violated the maritime borders of Russia near Cape Fiolent in the Crimea. The ship went deep into 3km territorial waters, did not respond to warnings and left Russian waters only after firing and dropping bombs on its course.
In London, they denied the violation of the borders by the ship, saying that Defender, in compliance with the norms of international law, carried out a peaceful passage in the territorial waters of Ukraine. The British Ministry of Defense denied the bombing of the course and reported that the shooting from Russian patrol ships was mistaken for an exercise.
However, the BBC correspondent Sijonatan Beal, who was on the destroyer at the time, said that the ship’s captain deliberately entered the territorial waters of Russia, before putting the crew and weapons on alert.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the official statements of the United Kingdom false, the British ambassador to Russia was summoned to Smolenskaya Square.
Viktor Medvedchuk, who is under house arrest in Ukraine, is being searched, as is his party colleague Taras Kozak
People’s Deputy of the Opposition Platform For the Life of the Ukrainian Rada, Renat Kuzmin, said that the security forces are again conducting searches at one of the leaders of the faction, entrepreneur and opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
The SBU confirmed that both Medvedchuk and his colleague Taras Kozak were conducting investigative actions. “The investigators of the SBU and the State Security Bureau are conducting operational investigative actions within the framework of criminal proceedings, in which People’s Deputies Medvedchuk and Kozak are notified of suspicion,” Interfax reports the statement of the department.
“Today, since the very morning, prosecutors and investigators have again descended on Medvedchuk with regular searches. This time they are searching not only the party office, offices and homes of the closest associates… This time they also came to the mother of Medvedchuk’s wife with searches and are seriously trying to find evidence of the son-in-law’s high treason,— Kuzmin claims.
On May 13, the Pechersk Court of Kiev sent Medvedchuk under house arrest. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky called this the first step towards reducing the number of oligarchs in the country.
Viktor Medvedchuk is Vladimir Putin’s godfather (the Russian president is the godfather of his daughter), one of the richest businessmen in Ukraine (12th place in the Forbes list, his fortune is estimated at $620 million). He is charged with treason and violation of the rules of warfare. There are three episodes in the case: the transfer of material anda documentary database of a gas field in the Black Sea; the transfer of data on the location of a “secret military unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” to a fellow party member Taras Kozak, who was in Russia at that time; the creation of an organization that, according to investigators, collected data from Ukrainians, recruited them and distributed propaganda.
The Chancellor called for an open dialogue between the European Union and Putin. On the eve of the FT reported that Berlin and Paris proposed to hold the first Russia — EU summit in seven years
The European Union should develop common mechanisms for negotiations with Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin. This was stated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking with a government message in the Bundestag.
“I believe that the EU should seek direct contact with Russia and the Russian president.”..”We need mechanisms for a unified and common response to Russia’s actions,” Merkel said.
She noted that due to its geographical location, the EU is responsible for what is happening in the Eastern Partnership countries-Ukraine, Belarus, and the Western Balkans.
The Chancellor welcomed the resumption of dialogue between Moscow and Washington at the level of top officials, but stressed that this is not enough, “the EU must also create formats for dialogue, there is no other way to solve conflicts,” Merkel explained.
Merkel addressed the Bundestag for the last time with a government message. After the parliamentary elections, which will take place in September, she will leave the post of German Chancellor.
Against the background of the general deterioration of relations between Moscow and Brussels, Merkel and other German politicians have repeatedly stated the need for an open dialogue with Russia. However, on the eve of the center-right bloc of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), led by Merkel, approved an election program that states the need to continue sanctions pressure on Moscow.
The CDU/CSU called Russia a threat to German values, accused it of direct threats against NATO, cyber attacks, disinformation and propaganda.
At the same time, sources of the Financial Times reported that Merkel offered to organize a summit with the participation of the leaders of the European Union and Russian President Putin. According to the newspaper, the initiative was supported by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The FT reported that the ambassadors of France and Germany have already started discussing a possible meeting with diplomats from other European countries. In particular, they are preparing proposals that could somehow change relations with Russia.
Deputy Minister Ryabkov demanded that NATO respect international law. And if these calls “colleagues do not understand”, Russia can strike not at the course of the ships, but at the target
Destroyer HMS Defender
Russia will defend the inviolability of its borders by both diplomatic and military methods. This was stated by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in connection with the incident with the British destroyer in the Black Sea, Interfax reports.
“We can appeal to common sense, demand respect for international law. If this does not help, we can bomb not just on the course, but also on the target, if our colleagues do not understand, ” the deputy minister said.
Ryabkov noted that the inviolability of the Russian borders is an “absolute imperative”. “We will guard all this both by diplomatic and political means, and if necessary by military means,” he stressed.
The Deputy Foreign Minister warned against provocative actions of all those who violate the Russian borders “under the slogans of free navigation”.
The anecdotal nature of the situation when the border is violated by a destroyer called “Defender” (Defender) should not in any way set it up in a light-weight way. This is a very serious moment, we condemn the actions of the British side, we are outraged by their behavior and note that balancing on the verge of such a collision is fraught with grave consequences, ” Ryabkov added.
The incident with the destroyer Defender of the Royal Navy of Great Britain occurred yesterday near Cape Fiolent in the Crimea. As reported by the Russian Defense Ministry, the ship violated the country’s borders and plunged into territorial waters for 3 km. The crew did not respond to the warnings, so the patrol ship fired several shots, and the Su-24M fighter dropped four bombs on the course of the destroyer. After that, the ship left Russian waters.
The British Ministry of Defense said that Defender did not violate the borders, but followed an internationally recognized corridor. “The British Navy ship made a peaceful passage through the territorial waters of Ukraine in accordance with international law,” London said.
Having shot towards the ship, the crew, as reported by the British authorities, took it for military exercises conducted by the Russian fleet. The fact of dropping bombs on the course of the destroyer was denied by the Ministry of Defense.
Later, the BBC correspondent Sijonatan Beal, who was on board Defender, reported that the ship violated the border intentionally. According to the journalist, before entering the Russian territorial waters, the crew of the destroyer was alerted, and the weapons were put on alert. Beale explained that the ship’s captain intended to go deeper into the territorial waters, since this was the only possible safe passage in this area.
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, called the statements of the British military department a lie and pointed out the discrepancy between the official position of London and the reports of the journalist from the ship. The British ambassador to Russia will be called to Smolenskaya Square in connection with the incident.
Rthe Ottoman “intervention” in Libya has turned into something that has geopolitical consequences for the United States, the State Department said. Moscow has repeatedly denied its involvement in the Libyan conflict
Russia’s participation in the affairs of Libya affects the geopolitical interests of the United States, a senior State Department official said at a briefing.
“The Russian intervention in Libya has turned into something that has geopolitical consequences for the United States. The Russians have infiltrated the southern flank of NATO. They project influence on the countries of Black Africa, ” the official said.
According to him, Libya is the largest supplier of oil and gas, which is still a factor in global economic issues.
The representative of the State Department also warned that Libya could turn into “another ungovernable space” in which “terrorists can act with impunity”.
After the overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, it was not possible to form a single governing body in Libya. A dual power was established in the country: on the one hand, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (PNS) led by Prime Minister Faiz Sarraj, on the other hand, the interim government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Abdurrahman al-Thani, which was supported by Khalifa Haftar, commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA).
The confrontation lasted until October last year. Then the members of the committee, which included five military units from the PNS and the LNA, signed a ceasefire agreement in Geneva. In February, during the Forum of the Libyan Political Dialogue held under the auspices of the UN in Switzerland, a single government and a presidential council were elected, which plays the role of the head of state. They should prepare and hold presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya in December.
The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of participating in the Libyan conflict, in particular, it stated the presence of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Private military company (PMCs) in the republic. In May last year, the African Command of the US Armed Forces (Africom) claimed that Russia had transferred MiG-29 and Su-35 fighters, as well as Su-24 bombers to Libya to support the LNA,members of its Aerospace Forces. In July of that year, Africom stated that mercenaries from the Wagner PMCs were engaged in mining areas of Tripoli.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly stressed that there are no Russian soldiers in Libya. If there are Russian citizens in Libya, they do not represent the interests of the Russian state, ” President Vladimir Putin said.
Permanent representatives of the EU countries have agreed on sectoral sanctions against Belarus. They can be accepted this week
The Committee of Permanent Representatives of the European Union has agreed on a package of sectoral sanctions against Belarus, sources told TASS and RIA Novosti. The information was also confirmed by a source of RBC.
It is expected that the sanctions list will be published in the official journal of the EU after the final approval by the EU leaders at the summit in Brussels, which will be held on June 24 & ndash;25.
On June 21, the package of sectoral sanctions against Belarus was agreed by the foreign ministers of the EU countries. According to the head of the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry, Jean Asselborn, the restrictions will also affect the export of potash and petrochemical products to the European Union, as well as the financial sector of Belarus, writes DPA.
Earlier this week, the European Union imposed new sanctions against Belarus. 78 people fell under the restrictions, including the son of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Dmitry, the daughter-in-law of the Belarusian leader (Lilia Lukashenko, the wife of the eldest son of President Viktor), the head of the Ministry of Transport of Belarus Alexey Avramenko and the director of the aviation Department Artem Sikorsky, Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin, as well as Russian businessman Mikhail Gutseriev.
The EU has also imposed sanctions against eight organizations. Among them are the automakers MAZ and BelAZ, the New Oil Company and Belaeronavigation. Following the EU, the United States, Great Britain and Canada also imposed sanctions against a number of Belarusian citizens and organizations. Belarus has promised that Western sanctions will not remain unanswered.
The European Union has imposed new sanctions against Belarus “in connection with the escalation of serious human rights violations in Belarus and the violent suppression of civil society, the democratic opposition and journalists”. Among other things, we are talking about the suppression of protests in the republic, which began after the presidential elections. Most Western countries did not recognize the victory of Alexander Lukashenko and condemned the violence during the dispersal of demonstrators. The President of Belarus himself called the elections legitimate. In his opinion, the protests in the country are led from abroad.
In addition, the EU considers the landing of a Ryanair passenger plane in Minsk on May 23 to be “forced and illegal”. The airliner was en route from Athens to Vilnius, but after the bomb was reported, it landed urgently in Belarus. The information about mining was not confirmed. While the plane was in Minsk, two passengers were removed from it-Roman Protasevich, the former editor-in-chief of the opposition Telegram channel Nexta, and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega. They were later arrested.
In turn, the Belarusian authorities insist that the crew of the Ryanair plane independently decided to urgently land in Minsk in accordance with international aviation safety rules. According to the President of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko, Western countries are using the incident with the Ryanair liner to “rock the situation to the level of August last year”, when protests began in Belarus after the presidential elections.
The Russian military, who opened a warning fire on the course of the destroyer Defender, made it clear that “Crimea is a fortress, and the borders of Russia are locked,” Aksenov said. The British Ministry of Defense denied firing towards the ship
The head of the Crimea, Sergey Aksenov, called the incident with the British destroyer Defender in the Black Sea a provocation and said that “Russia should not be tested for strength”. He wrote about this on his page in the social network in “VKontakte”.
According to Aksenov, the Russian military “promptly and effectively” responded to the incident.
“They fired warning shots, made it clear that Crimea is a fortress, and the borders of Russia are locked,” he said.
For those who “had the stupidity to try Russia for strength”, “it always ended badly”, the head of the republic added.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, on June 23, the British destroyer Defender sailed 3 km beyond the Russian border in the Black Sea near Cape Fiolent in the Crimea. According to the ministry, after Defender did not respond to preliminary warnings about the violation of the state border, the Russian patrol ship opened warning fire on the course of the destroyer, and the Su-24M aircraft dropped four high-explosive fragmentation bombs in front of it. After that, the Defender left the Russian territorial waters.
The Russian Defense Ministry demanded that Britain investigate the incident and summoned the British military attache. In turn, the British Defense Ministry said that there were no warning shots in the direction of the destroyer and no bombs were dropped in front of it. The ministry suggested that it was a training shooting of the Russian military, and added that the ship was making a peaceful “routine” crossing through the territorial waters of Ukraine.
Later, the BBC correspondent Jonathan Beale, who was on board the Defender ship, reported that the Defender was deliberately going to go 19 km deep into the territorial waters of the Crimea. “The captain insisted that this was the only possible safe passage in the area,” the journalist said. According to him, the ship’s crew was alerted, and the weapons were put on alert.
After the journalist’s report, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the reports of the British Ministry of Defense about the incident a lie. “Who is lying: the British Ministry of Defense, a British journalist of the BBC TV channel or the British embassy in Moscow? The answer is there. This time & mdash; the British Ministry of Defense and the British Embassy. Well, it’s not all right for the British special services to substitute the BBC, ” said the official representative of the department, Maria Zakharova.
According to a reporter on board, the captain of the British destroyer claimed that this was the safest way. The ship’s crew was alerted, and the weapons were put on alert, he claims
Destroyer HMS Defender
The BBC correspondent Jonathan Beale, who was on board the Defender ship, reported details of the incident with the British destroyer off the coast of Crimea.
The material of the Bill claims that when the British warship approached the territorial waters of the Crimea, its crew was alerted, and the weapons were put on alert. “Defender was deliberately going to go deeper into the 12-mile zone of the territorial waters of the Crimea. The captain insisted that this is the only possible safe passage in the area, ” the BBC journalist quotes.
He claims that two Russian coast guard ships tried to block the path of the British destroyer, one of which approached the Defender at a distance of 100m. Beale says that the destroyer received “increasingly threatening warnings”, one of which spoke about the possible opening of fire if the Defender did not change course. “We heard some shots in the distance, but we thought they were out of reach,” Beal said.
According to the journalist, the destroyer was accompanied by about 20 Russian military aircraft.
As previously reported in the Russian Defense Ministry, on June 23, a British destroyer violated the Russian border in the Black Sea near Cape Fiolent in the Crimea and did not respond to preliminary warnings, then a Russian patrol ship was forced to open a warning fire, and a Su-24M bomber dropped four high-explosive fragmentation bombs in front of the intruder ship. After that, Defender left the Russian territorial waters.
The British military department claims that there were no warning shots in the direction of the destroyer and no bombs were dropped in front of it. They suggested that it was a training shooting of the Russian military. The ministry said that the ship was making a peaceful passage through the territorial waters of Ukraine.
The destroyer Defender entered the Black Sea on June 14 together with the Dutch air defense frigate Evertsen, after which the Black Sea Fleet began tracking their actions. Before reaching the coast of Crimea, Defender visited the port of Odessa.