Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Ukraine. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Ukraine. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη, Φεβρουαρίου 24, 2015

Gazprom: gas supplies to Ukraine can stop in two days

There's 219 million cubic meters of Russian gas left that Ukraine has prepaid for, no new prepayments have been submitted yet, Russian gas giant Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller told journalists on Tuesday.
According to Miller, supplying 114 million cubic meters of natural gas to Ukraine will lead to cessation of deliveries which will jeopardize natural gas supplies to Europe.

On Monday Ukraine's Naftogaz claimed that Russia had breached the agreements reached in Brussels by no supplying the prepaid ammounts of gas to Ukraine..............http://tass.ru/en/economy/779275

Σάββατο, Φεβρουαρίου 21, 2015

Obama to weigh next steps on Ukraine 'in next few days' (John Kerry)

U.S. President Barack Obama will evaluate the next steps in dealing with the conflict in eastern Ukraine in the coming days, including arming Ukrainian forces and sanctions against Moscow, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.
"In the next few days I anticipate that President Obama will evaluate the choices that are in front of him and will make his decision as to what the next step will be," Kerry told a news conference after meetings with his British counterpart.

"There are serious discussions taking place between us and our European allies as to what those next sanctions steps are to be and when they ought to be implemented," he said.

Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 18, 2015

Germany says peace plan for Ukraine 'damaged' not dead

Germany condemned the seizure of a strategic east Ukrainian town by pro-Russian rebels on Wednesday as a "massive violation" of a ceasefire, but said it was too early to call the broader Minsk peace plan dead or ratchet up sanctions against Moscow.

The withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the encircled town of Debaltseve on Wednesday was a blow to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's efforts to clinch a negotiated solution to the year-long conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

But Berlin appears to be hoping that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who the West accuses of actively supporting the rebels, will respect other aspects of a peace plan agreed last year in the Belarus capital, now that the rebels have achieved their goal of capturing Debaltseve.
Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert pointed to a resolution by the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday as a positive signal. Backed by Russia, the resolution called on all parties in eastern Ukraine to stop fighting and to implement the Minsk peace deal.

"The German government resolutely condemns the military actions by the separatists in Debaltseve. It is a massive violation of the ceasefire that went into effect on Sunday," Seibert said.
"We believe the Minsk process is under strain, it has perhaps been damaged, but we still believe it makes sense to continue working. The UN resolution appears to send a signal in the right direction."

Merkel, speaking later at a gathering of her conservative party in eastern Germany, did not mention the developments in Debaltseve, but said she wanted to work with Russia, not against it, to restore peace in Europe.

Some German politicians, including Juergen Hardt, a defense expert in her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said the siege of the town was reason to consider tough new sanctions against Moscow.
But Merkel's spokesman was more cautious, saying more punitive measures hinged on developments on the ground in eastern Ukraine.
"If the fighting doesn't stop after the fall of Debaltseve, new sanctions are likely," said Ulrich Speck of the Carnegie Europe think tank.
"I don't think yet that the 'nuclear economic option', cutting off Russia from SWIFT, is going to happen," he added, referring to the international bank transaction system.
Although Merkel's pursuit of dialogue with Putin is popular at home, the rebel advance has left her vulnerable to critics abroad, among them hawks in the U.S. Congress, who have accused her of naively persisting with diplomacy in the face of repeated broken promises by Putin.
In a statement on Tuesday, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham accused Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, who negotiated the ceasefire last week with Putin and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, of "legitimizing the dismemberment of a sovereign nation in Europe".
They have called on President Barack Obama to send defensive arms to the Ukrainian army, a step Merkel opposes and cautioned against during a visit to Washington earlier this month. The rebel siege of Debaltseve could increase pressure on the president to ignore her warnings and send such weapons.
"The open question is what Putin does now," said a senior German official who requested anonymity.
"Is Debaltseve another step in a process that goes even further or does Putin now have an interest in sticking to the other aspects of the Minsk agreement? If Minsk does fall apart then there will have to be consequences." 

Δευτέρα, Φεβρουαρίου 09, 2015

Obama says has not made a decision on lethal weapons for Ukraine

US President Barack Obama said on Monday his administration is looking at all options in handling the crisis in Ukraine, but he has not yet decided whether the United States will provide arms.

"The possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that is being examined, but I have not made a decision about that yet," he said, speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House.

Separately, Merkel said that while there have been setbacks on reaching a diplomatic solution with Russia over Ukraine, such efforts will continue. She does not see a military solution to the crisis, she added.

 [jpost.com by Reuters]


Σάββατο, Φεβρουαρίου 07, 2015

Europe, Russia talks on Ukraine agree to work on possible joint document

A tripartite meeting on the Ukraine crisis involving Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ended here early Saturday with a commitment to working on a "possible joint document."

The nearly five-hour talks saw the leaders agree to draft a "possible joint document" that would include ideas proposed by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday.

The meeting was "constructive and substantial" and efforts would be continued to draw up a "possible joint document" on the implementation of the Minsk agreements reached in the Belarussian capital of Minsk in September, Peskov said.

The Minsk agreements were aimed at committing the Kiev government and the pro-independence militants to an immediate ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, but failed when the two sides broke the five-month truce in January.

There will be a telephone conversation in the Normandy format on Sunday when preliminary results of Friday's meeting will be reviewed, he said, referring to talks in France in June that involved Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The French and German leaders have left the Kremlin and whisked straight to the airport without announcing the outcome of their talks.

Officials from the European delegations remained in Moscow to continue the talks ahead of the four-way phone call on Sunday.

  • The European pair's talks with the Kremlin strongman were seen as a big diplomatic push to prevent the 10-month conflict in east Ukraine from spilling out of control as Washington mulls supplying lethal weapons to Kiev.
The visit also reflects the EU's serious concern over a further deterioration of the situation in Ukraine driven by the threatened shift of military support, analysts say.

This visit was Merkel's first to Moscow since the start of the Ukraine crisis while Hollande had made a brief stopover in December.

Prior to the visit to the Kremlin, Hollande and Merkel first visited Kiev on Thursday to discuss with Poroshenko ways to peacefully settle the crisis in the eastern European country.

The trip also exposed a potential, maybe long-lasting rift between the United States and its European allies over Ukraine.

Both of the European leaders brokered a first ice-breaking meeting in June 2014 with Putin and Poroshenko.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Kiev on Thursday to talk with Poroshenko about US military support, did not travel to Moscow with the European leaders.

"Are we sure that we would be improving the situation for the people in Ukraine by delivering weapons?" German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen asked at a security conference on Friday in Munich.

The violence in Ukraine has killed over 5,300 people since April 2014, with almost 200 killed within in the last two weeks as fighting intensified sharply.

  Source:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn


Πέμπτη, Φεβρουαρίου 05, 2015

Washington’s actions deadlock Russian-US relations (Russian Foreign Ministry)

Washington is intentionally dead-locking the Russia-US relations, and it will take a long time to get out of that deadlock, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday...

According to Lukashevich, the reason behind the US policy is simple: to interfere with natural integration processes in the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

"The US military budget allocates $640 million for Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine to enable them to counteract Russia," Lukashevich said.

"If the United States has switched over to fixing special appropriations in its budget designed to counteract Russia, the process has really gone too far. Russia has no doubt that the White House, which is playing a senseless game of sanctions, has set on a course of confrontation (with Russia). But now, the talk is about plans to finance some subversive activities directed against our country. That is raising tensions in Russian-American relations to a new level," Lukashevich stressed.

"Such concepts vividly prove that the US policy line is brought down to pure geopolitics. Its aim is to tear away Ukraine and other neighboring countries from Russia by all means and without fail," the Russian diplomat stressed.

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 29, 2015

Ukraine’s Naftogaz sues Gazprom for $6 billion in Stockholm arbitration (Gazprom’s report)

The Ukrainian national energy company Naftogaz is claiming $3.2 billion compensation from Gazprom in a lawsuit filed with the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal for lower gas transit via Ukraine and related interest, according to a report released by Gazprom on Thursday...
Naftogaz’s total claim together with interest amounts to $6.2 billion, the Russian gas giant said in its financial statements for the first nine months of 2014.

The Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal will hold oral hearings on mutual claims filed by Gazprom and Ukraine’s national energy company Naftogaz not earlier than in February-March 2016, the Russian gas giant said in its IFRS financial statements released on Thursday.

Naftogaz filed a claim with the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal on October 13, 2014, seeking to "oblige Gazprom to pay a compensation of $3,200 million (and related interest) to Naftogaz Ukraine for the failure to provide gas for transit," the Russian gas giant’s financial statements said.

Naftogaz also seeks to acknowledge that the transit tariff stipulated in the gas contract with Gazprom "should be revised in such a way as provided in further written statements of Naftogaz Ukraine in line with key principles of the Swedish contractual law," the report said.

Russia’s gas transit to Europe via Ukraine totaled 58.9 billion cubic meters in 2014 compared with 83.9 billion cubic meters in 2013 and 92.2 billion cubic meters in 2009....................http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/774077

Παρασκευή, Ιανουαρίου 23, 2015

Russia ‘Holds Keys’ to End Ukraine Crisis, US State Department Says

Russia is responsible for resolving the conflict in Ukraine and ending the violence in the region, US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said during a press briefing on Friday...

“Russia holds the keys to peacefully resolving a conflict [in Ukraine]. It started and bears responsibility to end the violence which has devastated the lives of so many innocents in Donesk and Luhansk,” Psaki said.

Psaki added that the United States “remain deeply concerned by the increasing violence and bloodshed in Eastern Ukraine,” which she said had resulted from “a surge in Russia-backed separatist attacks against the ceasefire line.”
  • “Separatists leaders have publically stated their intention today to take more territory,” Psaki said during the press briefing.
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis and continues to urge parties involved to establish direct dialogue.....

Τρίτη, Ιανουαρίου 20, 2015

Russia to lift discount for shipments of natural gas to Ukraine

The discount of $100 on the purchase of one thousand cubic meters of Russian natural gas that Russia provided to Ukraine as part of the "winter package" will be lifted from April 1, 2015, the head of Gazprom, Alexei Miller said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The conditions of the winter package will remain in effect till the end of March, and from April 1, the discount that was provided by the Government of the Russian Federation, will cease to have effect. From April 1, gas supplies to Ukraine will be carried out strictly in accordance with the contract," said Miller.

In accordance with the winter plan, the price of Russian gas for Ukraine in November-December made up 378 dollars (given the discount to the contract price of $100 per thousand cubic meters).


Δευτέρα, Ιανουαρίου 19, 2015

Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine and EU uninterrupted (Ukraine's Naftogaz)

Russia is supplying gas to Ukraine and the EU according to plan, Ukraine's Naftogaz said on Monday.
"The information circulating in the media that Russian gas has stopped going to the EU through Ukraine dates back to 2009 and has nothing to do with the current situation. As of 2015, there were no breaks in Russian gas deliveries to the Ukraine GTS," the statement said.

The CEO of Russia's Gazprom gas giant said in mid-January that risks persist for gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine as the latter falied to import the necessary ammounts of natural gas in November and December due to financial difficulties.

Earlier reports said Ukraine imported 572.2 million cubic meters of Russian gas in the first two weeks of January. Besides direct supplies from Russia, Ukraine gets reverse gas supplies from Slovakia and Hungary.................http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/771883

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 15, 2015

Bulgarian PM proposes creating gas hub on border with Turkey

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said on Thursday at a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry that he favored the idea of creating a gas hub on the border with Turkey.
“An intersystem gas pipeline with Greece should be built using European money.

Besides, I acquainted our partners with our joint idea with the European Commission to build a gas hub on the Turkish border, if the project (for the construction of a gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey) is really implemented,” Borisov said.
  The Bulgarian premier also confirmed a ban on shale gas extraction in Bulgaria using the hydraulic fracturing method.  “We have stated on numerous occasions that unless a technology is found to guarantee the absence of environmental problems in the most fertile part of Bulgaria, we’ll keep the moratorium on shale gas extraction. Our position is clear and understandable to our partners,” the Bulgarian premier said.
Gazprom head Alexey Miller said on Wednesday that EU countries should hurry up with the construction of infrastructure to receive Russian natural gas from the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project. “They have a maximum of several years for this. This is a very tight schedule. To comply with it, work for the construction of new trunk gas pipelines should be started in EU countries right now. Otherwise, these gas volumes may be redirected to other markets,” the Gazprom head said.
The Turkish Stream gas pipeline project is the sole route for Russia’s future supplies of 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe currently delivered via Ukraine, Miller said.
The Gazprom head made this statement in response to a question about the fate of Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project.
“The project is closed. The Turkish Stream is the sole route, which can deliver 63 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas transited across Ukraine so far. There are no other options,” Miller said.
  • Gazprom has notified its European partners about its Turkish Stream gas pipe plans and now their task is to create the necessary gas transport infrastructure from the border of Turkey and Greece, the Gazprom head said.



Τετάρτη, Ιανουαρίου 14, 2015

No Reason to Revise Gas Deal With Ukraine in April (Alexander Novak, Russian EM)

Russia sees no reason to reach a new agreement on gas deliveries to Ukraine after the so-called 'winter package' deal expires at the end of March, as all the terms are already outlined in the existing contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday.

"We are talking about current deliveries schedule and the financing regime, in other words — about conditions that have been, in one way or another, stipulated in the existing contract [betwen Rusia's Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz]," Novak said following talks Maros Sefcovic, the Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union.

"So far, we see no reason to sign a new document," Novak said.


Δευτέρα, Ιανουαρίου 05, 2015

Gazprom concerned over Ukraine’s possible siphoning off of Russian gas

The possibility of siphoning off of Russian natural gas by Ukraine has increased with the onset of cold weather, CEO of Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom Aleksei Miller was quoted by Rossiya 1 TV channel as saying on Monday. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has received the Gazprom head.

The Russian premier said that Moscow wants to deal with Ukraine as a reliable partner.

“But what you say makes one think of the developments and the way gas consumption takes place in Ukraine,” Medvedev said. According to him, prompt decisions must be made depending on the situation with gas consumption volume, if necessary, and in accordance with the made decision on the price discount Russia offered to Ukraine for the coming period - until March 31, 2015.


Τετάρτη, Δεκεμβρίου 24, 2014

Ukraine’s Naftogaz transfers $1.65 bln to Russia’s Gazprom under Brussels agreements

Ukraine’s Naftogaz has transferred 1.65 billion U.S. dollars to Russia’s Gazprom as repayment its gas debts, Naftogaz said on Wednesday.

Thus, in line with the agreements reached in Brussels, Naftogaz has paid 3.1 billion U.S. dollars in two tranches to pay for 11.5 billion cubic metres of gas supplied by Gazprom in November-December 2013 and April-June 2014. The first tranche of 1.45 billion U.S. dollars was transferred on November 4.

In October, Gazprom and Naftogaz reached an agreement to resume Russian gas supplies to Ukraine on condition Naftogaz repays its 3.1 billion U.S. dollar debt. In early December, Naftogaz made an advance payment for gas supplies in December.


Τρίτη, Δεκεμβρίου 23, 2014

Russia to Halt Gas Sales to Ukraine if Kiev Fails to Repay $1.65Bln

Russia will stop gas sales to Ukraine if Kiev fails to repay $1.65 billion of its gas debt to Russia, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Tuesday.

"Under the agreement, there will be no supplies in January if the debt of $1.65 billion remains unsettled," the minister said.

Novak said the price of Russian gas for Ukraine is estimated to range between $340 and $360 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of 2015.

"Our [previous] discussions in the month of October were based on price forecast of $360. At the moment, the price may be lower… I think, [it will be at] $340-$360," he said.

The Minister said that after the discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters, granted by Russia's Gazprom to Ukraine's Naftogaz, expires on April 1, the price of Russian gas to Ukraine will amount to about $440. According to Novak, Moscow is ready to consider a request for a new discount, but so far Ukrainian authorities have not asked for it.

After a six-month break, Russia resumed gas sales to Ukraine on December 9. A temporary agreement between Moscow and Kiev, in force during the cold season, stipulates that Ukraine should repay $3.1 billion of its $5.3-billion gas debt.

Ukraine's state-run oil and gas company Naftogaz repaid $1.45 billion of its gas debt to Gazprom in early December and allocated $378 million as prepayment for future supplies of 1 billion cubic meters of gas.

On Monday Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchishin told journalists that Ukraine so far has purchased some 300 million cubic meters of Russian gas under the so-called "winter package."

On the same day in an interview on Rossiya-24 television Novak expressed hope that Russia and Ukraine will continue their cooperation in gas deliveries even after the ten-year contract on gas transit and supply between Gazprom and Naftogaz expires in 2019.



Τετάρτη, Νοεμβρίου 26, 2014

Question of gas supplies from Russia to be settled soon (Ukrainian energy minister)

The question of natural gas supplies from Russia will be resolved in the near future, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yury Prodan has told the media.

“I believe that this year there will be gas supplies from Russia. A rather serious drop in air temperatures is due, so more than 100 million cubic meters will be taken out of the underground storages. I believe that the question of supplies will be resolved in the near future,” Prodan said.

Asked about the date when supplies might begin he speculated that supplies of gas from Russia would be quite possible in December.

As it was stated earlier, Ukraine plans to import up to 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas by the end of this year.


Τετάρτη, Νοεμβρίου 05, 2014

Obama takes midterm hit (Result will not impact continuity in Sino-US ties)

The Republicans achieved sweeping midterm election wins on Tuesday, seizing control of the US Senate in a blow to President Barack Obama that will limit his political influence and curb his legislative agenda in his last two years in office, said analysts.

Republicans won in places where Democrats were favored, like a Senate race in North Carolina, pulled out victories where the going was tough, like a Senate battle in Kansas, and swept a number of governors' races in states where Democrats were favored, like Obama's home state of Illinois.

They also strengthened their grip on the House of Representatives, and when the new Congress takes power in January, will be in charge of both chambers of Congress for the first time since 2006.

Obama will hold a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, the White House said. He is likely to address how he plans to work with Republicans.

Obama, first elected in 2008 and again in 2012, called Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to the White House on Friday to take stock of the new political landscape.

The Republican surge will force Obama to scale back his legislative agenda and limit his ambitions to either executive actions that do not require legislative approval, or items that might gain bipartisan support, such as trade agreements and tax reform.

It will also test his ability to compromise with newly empowered political opponents who have been resisting his legislative agenda since he was first elected.

But Republicans, hoping to win the White House in 2016, will also be under pressure to show Americans they are capable of governing after drawing scorn a year ago for shutting down the government in a budget fight.

Republicans winning control of both chambers of Congress may lead to tougher diplomatic stances. This could include stronger attacks against the Islamic State militants as hawkish Republican Senator John McCain is expected to run the powerful Armed Services Committee when the US Congress convenes in January, said Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in an interview with the Global Times.

"Other issues like the Iran nuclear talks might also be at risk as Republicans have rebuked Obama for being weak," said Ni.

  • As the US is mired in multiple diplomatic dilemmas, including in Ukraine and the Middle East, the new congress might push interventionist policies to counter its waning influence, Shi Yinhong, a professor with the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

Election Day polling by Reuters/Ipsos found a dour mood among the electorate with less than one-third of voters believing the country is headed in the right direction.

Roughly 40 percent of voters said they approved of the job Obama is doing as president, though they were split over whether they expected the economy to improve or worsen in the coming year.

Directly after the midterm elections, Obama will make a state visit to China from November 10 to 12 when he attends the APEC summit in Beijing. He is also expected to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a relatively informal setting.

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai told reporters Tuesday that he does not think the election result will influence Sino-US ties, as China policies of the last eight US presidents have been strongly consistent.

"It is hard to expect breakthroughs in the Sino-US relationship, especially where there are differences when Obama's influence has taken such a blow, even if he hopes to," said Shi. "But the two countries will definitely continue cooperating in fields including climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, fighting Ebola and Afghanistan," he added.

  • The White House tried to play down the prospect of sharp changes in strategy after the election, saying Obama would seek common ground with Congress on areas like trade and infrastructure.

Jay Carney, Obama's former spokesman, said he expects Obama to make an "all-out push" on his priorities, regardless of the makeup of Congress.

Source: Reuters-Global Times

EU to Continue Financial Aid Provision for Ukraine's Gas Debt Repayment (Official)

The European Union intends to continue the provision of financial assistance to Ukraine to help the country repay its debt for Russian gas, EU Ambassador to Russia Vigaudas Ushatskas stated Wednesday.

"Our aid reaches billion euros, including what we have already given and will give [to Ukraine]. We have been helping to reach a treaty between Russia and Ukraine on the whole range of complex gas issues. And we will allocate the amounts that will be needed to pay off [debts for] gas," Ushatskas told Ekho Moskvy radio.

According to him, the European Union and Russia share common interests in stabilizing the situation in Ukraine.

"Neither Russia, nor the European Commission, nor the IMF should be some kind of 'auntie' that would care for Ukraine all the time... Of course, this requires internal political, economic and social reforms for Ukraine not to be proclaimed as the most corrupt political system. On this basis the European Union highlights the unprecedented volumes of aid to Ukraine," Ushatskas added.

Ukraine's state oil and gas company Naftogaz said Tuesday that it had transferred the first tranche of $1.45 billion of its gas debt to Russia.

The final round of gas talks on October 30 between Russia and Ukraine, brokered by the European Union, ended with the signing of the so-called winter package agreement securing gas supplies to Ukraine until March.

Under the agreement, Russia will resume its delivery of gas to Ukraine at a price of $378 per 1,000 cubic meters till the end of 2014 and $365 for the same amount in the first quarter of 2015, while Kiev must pay Gazprom $3.1 billion of its debt to the company before the end of the year.

Gazprom switched Ukraine to a prepayment system for gas deliveries over its debt of more than $5 billion in June.
(RIA Novosti)

Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 03, 2014

West slams leadership votes in east Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not officially responded to the vote yet.

Pro-Russian separatists in the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk went to the polls to choose leaders for their self-proclaimed republics, bringing the rebellion in the country's industrialized east to a climax in a move likely to exacerbate tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis.

Alexander Zakharchenko, 38, a mining electrician-turned-rebel leader, on Monday won the election for leadership of the "Donetsk People's Republic (DPR)," the separatists' political and military stronghold in eastern Ukraine.

The Mir Luganshchine (Peace to Luhansk Region) movement, headed by Igor Plotnitsky, a former Soviet army officer, won the election in the "Luhansk People's Republic (LPR)," reported Russia's TASS news agency.

Ukraine's pro-Western president, Petro Poroshenko, denounced the vote on Sunday night as a "farce [conducted] under the barrels of tanks and machine guns." He said it violated a internationally brokered truce deal reached in the Belarussian capital, Minsk, which had also been signed by Russia on September 5.

Europe on Monday warned Russia to respect Ukraine's unity. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the elections went "against the letter and spirit" of the Minsk agreement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert also said Monday that current developments in eastern Ukraine ruled out any premature lifting of EU economic sanctions against Russia and if the situation worsened, further sanctions may be necessary.

Earlier, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini issued a statement slamming the polls as "a new obstacle on the path toward peace in Ukraine."

The angry European response raised the temperature in the West's dispute with Russia, which has repeatedly denied supporting separatists in east Ukraine.

The US has also advised Russia not to use the election results as an excuse for bringing troops into Ukraine, Mark Stroh, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, told TASS on Monday. "The United States will not recognize any results announced from this so-called 'election,'" Stroh added.

Despite tough statements from the West and the risk of additional sanctions, Russia backed the separatist elections after the voting results were released.

  • "We respect the will expression of the residents of [Ukraine's] southeast. The elected representatives have got the mandate for their practical efforts aimed at the restoration of normal life in the regions," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement Monday.
  • "We are ready to constructively promote the Ukrainian crisis settlement together with our international partners," said the statement.

Separatist leaders described the polls as a step toward formalizing their de facto independence from Ukraine after seven months of fighting in which the United Nations says more than 4,000 people have died.

  • However, Kiev will likely to continue attempts to resolve the rebellion by force following the elections, analysts believe.
  • "The Ukrainian army is still numerically superior. The party of war in Kiev is strong. Kiev will not recognize these elections and this means that shelling and provocations will continue until the resumption of armed actions," Sergey Mikheyev, director general of the Caspian Cooperation Institute in Russia, told TASS.

Moscow on Monday also went on to urge Kiev to cancel military operations in southeast Ukraine, Russian State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told TASS on Monday after the elections.

Karasin said that the elected representatives of the DPR and LPR "have enough powers to develop a stable dialogue with Kiev authorities."

"There is one more condition - the commitment to the Minsk agreements on September 5 and 19," he added, seemingly in response to wide denunciations from the West.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has not officially responded to the vote yet. His first word could come on Tuesday when he is due to appear at a Red Square ceremony in Moscow marking National Unity day.

Kiev Agrees With IMF to Pay for Russian Gas During Winter Period From Own Exchange Reserve

Kiev has agreed with International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it will pay for Russian gas during the winter period from Ukraine's exchange reserves, the country's national bank said.

"We managed to agree with IMF that the payments for the gas can be made from our own exchange reserves and IMF will support us. That is why we are confident we can support all the payments to Gazprom on the recent gas agreement," the Head of Ukraine's National Bank Valeriia Gontareva said at the press briefing.
Earlier on Monday, Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan told RIA Novosti that Kiev has not yet paid for Russian gas, but aims to do so in the near future...................http://en.ria.ru/business/20141103/195047378/Kiev-Agrees-With-IMF-to-Pay-for-Russian-Gas-During-Winter-Period.html

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...