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Homeআন্তর্জাতিকOperation in Ukraine stems from Russia’s right to self-defense : Putin

Operation in Ukraine stems from Russia’s right to self-defense : Putin

Operation in Ukraine stems from Russia’s right to self-defense : Putin

 

Dhaka June 19 2022 :

 

Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News Digest by Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on 19.6.2022.

 

INSIDE RUSSIA

Agreements worth almost $100 bln concluded at SPIEF, says organizing committee

PETERSBURG, June 18. /TASS/. More than 690 agreements totally worth over 5.6 trillion rubles ($99.8 bln) have been concluded at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Adviser to Russian President, Executive Secretary of the SPIEF Organizing Committee Anton Kobyakov told reporters on Saturday.

“By now 691 agreements worth 5.639 trillion rubles have been signed. Of course, we only announce figures that are not commercial classified information,” he said.

Around 14,000 people participated in the forum this year, Kobyakov said. “Around 14,000 people representing 130 countries, including Russia, participated in the forum, 79 countries sent official representatives,” he said.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum organized by the Roscongress Foundation is running from June 15 to 18. This year’s forum is dubbed: ‘New Opportunities in a New World’. TASS serves as the event’s official photo hosting agency and the information partner.

 

Duma to pass laws on Putin’s proposals announced on SPIEF shortly, says top legislator

MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. Russian State Duma MPs will do their best to pass the laws required for the implementation of measures announced by President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum as soon as possible, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Saturday.

“As far as the legislative backing of the president’s proposals is concerned the State Duma will do its best for the laws to be passed as soon as possible,” the speaker wrote on his Telegram channel.

In his speech Putin “offered a whole number of specific steps to support people and the economy,” according to Volodin. Moreover, the Russian leader stressed that “being independent, self-dependent, sovereign and ensuring future development” is the main thing for Russia now, the Duma speaker noted.

 

Europe is committing energy suicide – Russian oil chief

Igor Sechin of Rosneft says European nations are losing its competitive power to the US

European states are shooting themselves in the foot by imposing restrictions on Russia, according to Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft.

“Europe is committing energy suicide by imposing sanctions on Russia,” Sechin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). “They [European states] lose their identity and competitive power to the US.”

The Rosneft chief also said the sanctions have done away with the “green transition,” as the European leaders no longer need it for “market manipulation, since more blunt and radical approaches are being applied.”

According to Sechin, what remains of Europe’s “green rhetoric” completely contradicts actual practice, as the the nations across the region seek to find sources to replace Russian oil at any cost.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the sanctions a double-edged sword, saying Western leaders have caused significant damage to the economies of their nations by imposing the restrictions. Putin added that the EU’s direct losses from the sanctions could exceed $400 billion in one year, and the costs will be shouldered by EU citizens.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

 

Russia to help rebuild Donbass — trade minister

The necessary assistance for reviving the region’s metal industry is already underway, Denis Manturov has told RT

Moscow will throw its full support toward helping the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics revive their war-torn economies, Russia’s trade and industry minister, Denis Manturov, told RT on Friday.

“We have met with the heads of both republics for detailed talks over plans for economic reconstruction,” Manturov said on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

According to Manturov, Russia will provide advisory support and carry out a process audit for the metal industry in the Donbass republics, as well as help the sector start shipping its output to Russia and other nations.

The Construction Ministry said it would also help rebuild and manage critical infrastructure and prepare for the winter. Schools, hospitals and daycare centers, as well as housing, will be the priorities.

The Donbass republics have already signed cooperation agreements with several Russian regions. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has recently announced that 300 specialists from the city are already working to restore the water supply in Donetsk.

Meanwhile, DPR leader Denis Pushilin said on Friday that a deal had been signed to buy food and building materials from Iran. He added that Donetsk plans to sell metal, cast iron, mining equipment, fertilizer, and other goods to the Islamic Republic.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

 

Lithuania’s ban on transit of some goods to Kaliningrad region illegal – governor

KALININGRAD, June 18. /TASS/. Lithuania’s measures banning the transit of some goods from Russian regions through its territory to the Kaliningrad region are illegal and run counter to provisions of the agreement on Lithuania’s accession to the European Union, Governor Anton Alikhanov said in a video address on Saturday.

Alikhanov said earlier that Lithuania’s railways company had notified the railways company of the Kaliningrad region that they would ban the transit from Russia to the region of the goods that are subject to EU sanctions imposed on Moscow.

“These steps are illegal and may entail far-reaching implications for Lithuania and the European Union. In particular, I would like to quote a few paragraphs from the Joint Statement on EU Enlargement, with references to international agreements, the documents which both the European community and the Russian Federation acceded to,” Alikhanov said.

Alikhanov pointed out that the signatories to the 2004 agreement on Lithuania’s accession to the EU reaffirmed that they “will apply in practice the principle of freedom of transit of goods, including energy, between the Kaliningrad Region and the rest of Russian territory.”

“In particular, we confirm that there shall be freedom of such transit, and that the goods in such transit shall not be subject to unnecessary delays or restrictions and shall be exempt from customs duties and transit duties or other charges related to transit,” Alikhanov quoted the Joint Statement.

Tit-for-tat measures

The governor added that the Kaliningrad Region would call on the Russian federal authorities to take tit-for-tat measures against Lithuania unless this ban is lifted.

“Unless these illegal restrictions on the transportation of goods from the Kaliningrad Region are lifted by our European neighbors, we will propose that the federal authorities take respective retaliatory measures,” the governor said adding that the issue was being considered.

 

Roscosmos suggests that S7 transfers Sea Launch to state – CEO

The structure of the floating platform includes the floating launch platform “Odyssey” and the command ship

MOSCOW, June 19. /TASS/. Roscosmos suggests that S7 transfers the Sea Launch floating platform to the government so that the state corporation becomes able to restore it, CEO of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV Channel.

“We suggested another option, transferring this launch center to the government so that we find an opportunity later in Roscosmos to deal with its rehabilitation,” Rogozin said.

The Sea Launch comprises the Odyssey floating launch platform and the command vessel. Its home port of call was Long Beach in California. S7 Group purchased it in 2016. In 2020, the Sea Launch sailed to a shipyard in the Russian Far East. The complex has launched 32 Zenit rockets earlier.

 

OUTSIDE RUSSIA

Russia hopes for US common sense in NPT Review Conference matter – embassy

WASHINGTON, June 18. /TASS/. Russia hopes that common sense would prevail in the United States in the matter of holding the Tenth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Russian Embassy in the United States said.

Commenting on an article by Adam Scheinman, the US President’s special representative for nuclear non-proliferation (SRNN), the embassy said: “Judging by the official’s remarks, Washington plans to use this specialized multilateral platform for raising issues that are non-essential to the NPT issue.”

“It would be a serious mistake that aggravates the already strained situation regarding the goal of reinforcing the non-proliferation regime, set before the international community,” the embassy said in a statement, posted in its Telegram channel.

“We hope that Washington and its allies would have sufficient political will and common sense to put the interests of preserving NPT above timeserving goals,” the statement reads. “Russia is poised for cooperation with all interested parties in order to hold the review conference in a constructive manner, to reaffirm commitment to provisions of the treaty and to the task of strengthening it.”

The Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is held every five years. The tenth edition of the event was to be held in New York back in May 2020, but was postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

 

Assange’s Extradition to US is a Signal to All Journalists Who Expose America’s Crimes, Scholars Say

Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the extradition order for Julian Assange on 17 June, after Washington’s victory in the UK court reversing a ruling by a British magistrate in 2021 that the WikiLeaks founder faced a high risk of suicide in the US.

“The decision issued by the UK Home Office approving the extradition of journalist Julian Assange is deeply devastating,” laments Taylor Hudak, journalist and editor at AcTVism Munich. “The western world is sending a message to all journalists and publishers that if you publish information in the public interest that embarrasses the US Empire and exposes its crimes you may face incarceration in a maximum security prison.”

The British Home Office stated on Friday that “the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange. Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that while in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

The tussle over whether to extradite Assange has been going on since 2019. Despite the British magistrate deciding in Assange’s favour in early 2021, the US appealed the ruling and won. In March 2022, the UK Supreme Court prevented the WikiLeaks founder from appealing the lower court’s ruling against him. A month later, District Judge Paul Goldspring formally approved the extradition of Assange in a brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

“It is appalling that the Home Secretary would approve to extradite an award-winning journalist and publisher, Julian Assange, to the country that plotted to assassinate him,” says Hudak referring to the bombshell revelation from Yahoo News in 2021 of an alleged CIA plot to kidnap or kill Assange in 2017. “On this fact alone, it is inconceivable that Mr Assange would be treated fairly in the US. It is clear that his life would be in grave danger.”

Hudak argues that Assange is unlikely to have a fair trial if extradited to the US. She highlights that neither the press nor the public would have access to cover and observe the legal proceedings.

“Additionally, Mr Assange’s life will be at stake,” the AcTVism Munich editor warns. “The UK Magistrates’ Court ruled in 2021 that it would be oppressive to extradite Assange under Section 91 of the UK Extradition Act of 2003, and in fact, the High Court judges upheld this ruling but reversed the decision on baseless and unreliable US assurances.”

Legal Fight for Assange is Continuing

Assange has only 14 days to appeal the British government’s order. “Today is not the end of the fight. It is only the beginning of a new legal battle,” Stella Assange, Assange’s wife, told the press on Friday.

“Assange’s legal team is still willing to fight for Julian Assange,” says Andy Vermaut, a Belgian human rights activist from the International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Liberties (AIDL). “The nightmare continues, and more and more legal knowledge is needed to save Julian Assange. But it seems to become a dark tunnel.”

According to Vermaut, the looming legal battle is likely to be focused on such issues as the right to free expression and apparent political motivation behind Washington’s relentless efforts to extradite the WikiLeaks founder.

“We all know it was politically motivated, but what right do we have to defend our basic liberties and fundamental rights?” the Belgian activist asks. “Where is the credibility to protect whistleblowers and defenders of journalistic freedom and international law these days?”

The World Council for Public Diplomacy and Community Dialogue, whose members include Vermaut as a member of the European Federation on Journalists, is deeply divided over the United Kingdom’s decision. According to Vermaut, the UK appears to be “under heavy political pressure from the US to extradite Julian Assange.”

Everyone should continue to fight for Assange’s freedom “and thus fight for a free press and the public’s right to know,” says Hudak, arguing that “journalists in particular have an obligation to stand by one of their own”.

Human rights organisations, whistleblowers, and journalists took to social media to call upon the UK and US not to extradite Assange and drop the case against him on Friday.

“Hard to believe, but it looks real,” tweeted former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden on 17 June referring to London’s extradition order. “Every serious press freedom group in the world has protested this. It is an appalling symbol of how far the British and American governments’ commitment to human rights have declined… Britain is casting an Australian publisher into oubliette for publishing what even the US admits was true.”

The US indicted 50-year-old Assange, who is Australian, on 18 federal charges which carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison over alleged espionage and hacking which led to the publication of classified diplomatic cables and sensitive military reports from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by WikiLeaks. The shocking revelations exposed the US military’s misconduct and alleged war crimes in central Asia and the Middle East.

Assange spent approximately seven years at the Ecuador Embassy in London between 2012 and 2019 to escape possible extradition over exposure of the Afghan and Iraq war logs. In late 2019 his political asylum status was revoked. Since then, Assange has been held at Belmarsh maximum-security prison in south-east London.

 

China offers lifeline to Russian airlines

China is ready to supply Russian airlines with spare parts for aircraft, Chinese Ambassador to Moscow Zhang Hanhui said on Friday.

“We are ready to supply spare parts to Russia, we will set up the cooperation. Now, [airlines] are working [on this], they have certain channels, there are no restrictions on the part of China,” the ambassador told TASS.

After the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February, the EU and the US imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia, banning the leasing and supply of aircraft to the country, and prohibiting exports to Russia of goods and parts for the aviation industry. Boeing and Airbus stopped servicing planes operated by Russian airlines, sparking fears that the majority of the country’s fleet would be grounded within months.

It was reported in March that Chinese firms had refused to supply Russian airlines with aircraft parts due to concerns over facing secondary sanctions from the US. Russia later said it would increase its reliance on the domestically-built Sukhoi Superjet airliner and would start producing parts in the country.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

 

Macron names conditions for Russia visit

The French president says he would go to Moscow in exchange for certain “gestures” from President Vladimir Putin

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has said he would not rule out traveling to Russia and meeting with President Vladimir Putin, but only if certain preconditions are met. Paris supports Ukraine but will take measures to avoid any escalation of the conflict, the French leader told TF1 TV on Friday while visiting Kiev.

Macron believes his continued contact with Putin does not affect France’s relations with Ukraine. He also said he plans to continue engaging with the Russian president on humanitarian issues such as food security.

The French leader said some people do not understand his policy of maintaining contact with Russia, but he “thinks it is France’s role” to continue to do so. Asked whether he would visit Russia, Macron said it would require certain preconditions and “gestures” on the part of the Russian president.

He did not specify what exactly he wants Russia to do, but added that he would engage with Putin in a “transparent way” and only when it is “useful.” The French president also defended his earlier statement that it is vital that Russia is not humiliated over its actions in Ukraine.

France made this mistake with Germany after WWI, and it led to a situation in which the peace was lost when WWII broke out, he noted.

Earlier this week, Macron called on Kiev to return to the negotiating table and resume talks with Moscow. The president suggested that France could serve as a mediator, adding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “is going to have to negotiate with Russia.”

At the time, Macron warned that prolonged hostility with Russia is not a viable long-term solution for European security. On Friday, he said that gasoline and food prices in France continue to rise due to the conflict, and “we have to take exceptional decisions in exceptional times.”

Macron arrived in Kiev on Thursday together with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. During the visit, he voiced support for Ukraine’s EU candidacy status.

Moscow expressed hope that the four leaders will help Kiev adopt a more “realistic” stance on the conflict, saying that supplying more arms to Ukraine will only prolong the suffering of its people and bring more devastation.

Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

 

SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE

Operation in Ukraine stems from Russia’s right to self-defense

The Russian president pointed out that, in general, the modern world “is going through an era of fundamental changes”

  1. PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine is a decision by a sovereign country, based on the right to defend its security, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the plenary meeting of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.

“In the current situation, against a backdrop of soaring risks and threats, Russia’s decision to conduct a special military operation was a forced one. It was very hard to make it, but it was forced and necessary. It was a decision by a sovereign country that has an unconditional right based on the UN Charter to defend its security,” Putin said.

He added that it was also “a decision aimed at protecting our citizens, the residents of the people’s republics of Donbass, who had for eight years been exposed to genocide by the Kiev regime and the neo-Nazis, who enjoyed the full patronage of the West.”

The West “not only sought to implement the ‘anti-Russia’ scenario, but also conducted an active military development of the Ukrainian territory. It literally pumped weapons and military advisers into Ukraine, and it continues to do this now.”

“To be honest, no one pays any attention to the development of the economy, to the well-being of the people living there. They just don’t give a damn about it. In the meantime, they did not spare money on creating a NATO stronghold in the East, directed against Russia and on cultivating aggression, hatred and Russophobia,” Putin stressed.

He pointed out that, in general, the modern world “is going through an era of fundamental changes.”

“International institutions are collapsing and security guarantees are being devalued. The West has emphatically refused to fulfill its earlier obligations. It has turned out to be simply impossible to reach any new agreements with it,” Putin concluded.

 

Ukraine reveals huge weapons losses

Ukraine has lost up to half of its heavy weapons and Western supplies are unable to fill the gap, military has said

Ukraine has lost up to 50% of its heavy-weapons stock, including 400 tanks, a top commander, Volodymyr Karpenko, revealed earlier this week amid the ongoing Russian military offensive in his country.

In an interview with National Defense Magazine, Karpenko said that “as a result of active combat,” equipment losses have amounted to 30-40%, sometimes up to 50%, compared to pre-conflict levels.

So, we have lost approximately 50 percent. … Approximately 1,300 infantry fighting vehicles have been lost, 400 tanks, 700 artillery systems.

Ukraine’s deputy minister of defense Denis Sharapov, in the same interview, revealed that Western supplies do not cover Kiev’s needs.

“We have received a large number of weapon systems, but unfortunately with such a massively expendable resource, it only covers 10 to 15 percent of our needs,” Sharapov said.

He did not disclose the exact number of pieces Kiev requires but stressed that the “need for heavy artillery systems is measured by hundreds.”

“We need artillery, we need artillery rounds, infantry fighting vehicles, combat vehicles, tanks. We really need air-defense systems and the multiple-launch rocket system,” he said.

The supply of high-precision weapon systems is also important, Sharapov added, as the Ukrainian military believes that such systems would give it “an edge over the enemy, the upper hand in this war.”

The deputy minister acknowledged the issues Western countries have to deal with while arranging weapons transfers to Ukraine, including obtaining permission for technology transfers from all the subsystems’ owners. However, Sharapov stressed “not all politicians understand the gravity of what is going on in Ukraine.”

“That is why we would like to take this opportunity … to draw the attention of the entire world once again that this is a war not only back in Ukraine, this is the war that impacts the entire world,” he said.

Karpenko was a bit more specific and gave an estimate of Ukraine’s needs.

“Think about this: one brigade occupies around 40 kilometers of the fence line. That means that to cover the active combat conflict we need 40 brigades. Every brigade is 100 infantry fighting vehicles, 30 tanks, 54 artillery systems – just for one brigade, and we have 40 of them,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Russia has been constantly warning the West against “pumping up” Ukraine with weapons, claiming that it will result in the prolongation of the conflict and to a variety of long-term problems. Moscow has also made it clear that its forces would consider any foreign weapons in Ukraine as a legitimate target.

The disclosure of numbers of equipment losses came less than a week after Ukrainian presidential aide Alexey Arestovich revealed that the country’s Armed Forces had lost around 10,000 personnel since the beginning of the Russian offensive in late February. Arestovich claimed, however, that Moscow’s losses are several times bigger. He offered no evidence to support his assertion.

The figures released by the Russian Ministry of Defense on the Ukrainian Army’s losses are significantly higher than those cited by Arestovich – 23,367, as of April 18.

Russia has not revealed its more recent losses – neither of equipment, nor of personnel. Earlier this month, the head of the Russian Duma’s defense committee, Andrey Kartapolov, claimed that, due to changes in military strategy, the Russian Army has “practically ceased to lose people.” That is why, he said, the Defense Ministry has not updated information on the losses since March, when it reported 1,351 military personnel had been killed.

In April, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia had suffered “significant losses of troops” and it was “a huge tragedy.”

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Kherson Region’s head of penal service comes under attack – source

KHERSON, June 18. /TASS/. A bomb went off in the car of Yevgeny Sobolev, head of the Kherson Region penal service, who was taken to a hospital, a law enforcement source told TASS.

His official’s life isn’t in danger, the source said.

“The car of the head of the penal service was blown up. His life isn’t in danger at the moment. He’s been hospitalized,” the source said.

In mid-March, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Kherson region was under a complete control of Russian troops. At the end of April, a military-civilian administration was formed to run the region. The region has a dual-currency system, allowing both the ruble and hryvnia as legal tender. Cellular communications use the Russian international code +7, and transmission of Russian TV channels has been started.

 

Ukrainian city bans Russian language

Russian will be banned in Nikolaev’s schools from September 1, a member of the local council revealed

The Russian language will be restricted in the schools of the southern Ukrainian city of Nikolayev, City Council Executive Committee member Ekaterina Stokolias said on Saturday.

In a Facebook post, she stated that the decision was made by the committee on Friday.

“From September 1, no clubs, courses, junior classes or educational designs with the Russian language. Finally! Thank you to all my colleagues!” Stokolias wrote.

She added a drawing depicting a cat holding a heart in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The captions to the picture are “Language matters” and “Everything matters.”

The announcement in Nikolayev came as Ukrainian Deputy Education and Science Minister Andrey Vitrenko revealed earlier this month that the authorities plan to change the school curriculum in several subjects, including foreign literature, world history and the history of Ukraine. In particular, the world-famous novel ‘War and Peace’ by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, which chronicles Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, will be dropped.

“Such things will not be studied in Ukraine. Everything that glorifies the orc troops will disappear from the program of foreign literature,” Vitrenko explained.

He also said that discussions are underway about whether any Russian writers should remain in the curriculum.

In April, Ukrainian Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language Taras Kremen called for the replacement of the Russian language in those schools where it was still being taught by other subjects, such as, for example, the history of Ukraine, the Ukrainian language, English or math.

Although since the start of Moscow’s military operation the Ukrainian authorities have been stepping up the restrictions on the Russian language, Kiev had banned Russian works of art – and teaching of the language – long before the current conflict. In March 2019, the Ukrainian government prohibited some 40 works of art due to their mention of Russian businesses, artists, social networks, internet portals, the USSR or Soviet political figures.

In 2019, a wide-ranging piece of legislation called “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language,” championed by then-President Petro Poroshenko, was passed. It officially made Ukrainian the only state language and decreed that it must be the primary language in many fields, including public administration, media, and education. Despite Russian being a common mother tongue in much of Ukraine and predominant in many cities in both the east and south of the country, it was not granted an exception in the law, although many of the provisions have been implemented gradually.

Moscow has been voicing concern for many years over the clampdown on the Russian language in Ukraine. Last September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “discrimination against the Russian language in Ukraine has reached the scale of a disaster.”

 

Filming of houses allegedly destroyed by Russian strikes organized in Nikolayev

MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. The Ukrainian security services have arranged the filming of private houses in Nikolayev, which were allegedly razed to the ground by the Russian military’s strikes, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, said on Saturday.

“According to reliable information, it has been established that in Nikolayev, the Ukrainian security services organized preparations for video footage showing private houses allegedly destroyed in bombardments by the Russian Armed Forces, so local residents were left homeless. More than 40 actors were employed for the shooting, and all the participants were paid a cash reward of $25,” he said.

According to Mizintsev, the video is expected to be released later by the Western and Ukrainian media in order to blame the Russian armed forces for indiscriminate strikes against civilian targets.

“We again focus the attention of the entire world community on the fact that such fake news, cultivated by the Ukrainian ‘lie factory’ by order of Western handlers, contain no reliable and objective information. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are exceptionally humane to the civilian population and do not hit civilian infrastructure,” the general said.

INSIGHTS

RIAC: British Sanctions Against Patriarch Kirill. Forgiveness and Humility in Response

Ivan Timofeev

The UK Treasury has published another list of Russian individuals subject to financial sanctions. Along with 11 other Russians, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is included. The use of restrictive measures against Patriarch Kirill represents is a new stage of escalation in relations between Russia and the West. Sanctions may affect the foreign activities of the Moscow Patriarchate. However, the political consequences are far more important. Whether willing or not, London is adding a religious dimension to the hornet’s nest of its current problems. At first glance, a technical and relatively minor political move can have disproportionately serious consequences.

Sanctions against Patriarch Kirill make the conflict between Russia and the West a clash of religious values. You can argue as much as you like that these are not sanctions against the Russian people; that the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill are allegedly imposed for supporting the Russian authorities in their policy on the Ukrainian issue, that the British authorities have nothing else in mind, that this is a purely legal issue, and not a reason for a value conflict, etc. This will also include analytical notes by Russophobes on how the ROC is used as a tool of “soft power” in the post-Soviet space and beyond. The problem, however, is that we do not only live in a world of bureaucratic schemes and technocratic politics. We live in a much more complex world, where bureaucratic machinery collides with the psychology of large masses of people, with symbols, with the complexity and diversity of perceptions and, most importantly, the possibility of using all this complexity for political purposes. It is not so important who exactly ends up using all this energy. It is important that a hostile measure against a religious leader will inevitably add fuel to the fire. It will expand the dimensions of the conflict, shifting it from a purely secular arena into the realm of religious feelings. Russia is a rather secularised society. It is difficult to expect that the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill will lead to the effects that a similar move would have, for example, on an Islamic community, in the event of similar actions being taken against an Islamic leader of a similar magnitude. However, it is hardly worth underestimating the religious factor, especially given the difficult historical background. At first glance, technocratic action releases forces that are very difficult to control. The West has already encountered the factor of political Islam, generated by difficult relations with individual Islamic countries. Now the almost-forgotten contours of faults between Christian denominations are added here. It is sympathetic that earlier sanctions against Patriarch Kirill were discussed as one of the measures of the sixth package of EU sanctions, but were not included in the final version. A scaling up of the British initiative is not out of the question, and will complicate things much more.

At the same time, the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill do not bring the British authorities one iota closer to the implementation of the declared goals of the sanctions policy. Formally, they must “change the behaviour” of the person under sanctions. That is, in the bureaucratic scheme, after the imposition of sanctions, Patriarch Kirill must refuse to support the Russian authorities on the Ukrainian issue. At the very least, sanctions should “raise the price” of such support. What will actually happen? The Church’s support for the Russian authorities will only increase. The ROC is likely to face some material damage from the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill, but it will also only increase the energy of the consolidation of Church and state. In other words, the sanctions will have the opposite effect of what’s expected and will be a disservice.

The UK Treasury has published another list of Russian individuals subject to financial sanctions. Along with 11 other Russians, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is included. The use of restrictive measures against Patriarch Kirill represents is a new stage of escalation in relations between Russia and the West. Sanctions may affect the foreign activities of the Moscow Patriarchate. However, the political consequences are far more important. Whether willing or not, London is adding a religious dimension to the hornet’s nest of its current problems. At first glance, a technical and relatively minor political move can have disproportionately serious consequences.

Sanctions against Patriarch Kirill will do nothing to achieve the stated goals of British sanctions — to counter “Russian aggression” against Ukraine. Church support for the Russian government will only become more decisive. However, they will give rise to additional new risks, which will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to control. The British officials, by zealously “punishing” the Russian religious leader, are doing a disservice to their own country and the rest of the Western community. Religion is an extremely sensitive topic, capable of heating up any conflict at an uncontrollable speed.

Let’s start with the possible material consequences of the sanctions for Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Orthodox Church. Blocking financial sanctions mean that individuals under UK jurisdiction are prohibited from engaging in any financial transactions with the blocked persons. Their assets are frozen. That is, formally they remain the property of the blocked person, but it is practically impossible to use them. One of the key questions is whether such restrictions on Patriarch Kirill affect the property of the ROC in the UK, as well as its activities? At first glance, the answer is no. The list of blocked persons did not include the Moscow Patriarchate as an institution. There are no legal entities subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate among them.

However, they may still have problems in connection with the concept of ownership and control. Part 4 of the December 2020 UK Financial Sanctions General Guidelines clarifies that blocking sanctions apply to any entity that is directly or indirectly owned or controlled by a person subject to blocking sanctions. Here we mean, first of all, property relations. The British regulator applies the “50% rule” when the criterion for control is the ownership of shares of 50% or more of a controlled entity. Such a rule is quite applicable for companies and corporations, but not for the Church. Patriarch Kirill heads the Russian Orthodox Church, but cannot be considered its “owner”. However, the Guidelines contain other control criteria. For example, such a criterion could be the expectation that the person may be able to carry out the activities of the organisation in accordance with its requirements. Its decryption is again more suitable for business. So, for example, the concept of such opportunities includes the appointment of a board of directors or key managers, control of the bank accounts of the organisation or its economic resources. But its application to other legal entities, including those subordinate to or associated with Patriarch Kirill, is not ruled out. That is, there is an element of legal uncertainty.

The main difficulty here may arise in connection with the so-called excessive compliance of foreign counterparties of the ROC. Today, the practice has developed when foreign counterparties are forced to excessively comply with the law, due to the threat of administrative and even criminal measures against violators of the sanctions regime, as well as the uncertainty of some rules. In other words, it is easier to over-execute and refuse a transaction than to carry it out with the risk of subsequent problems with the regulator. Especially excessive compliance is typical for banks, which are the most vulnerable due to their large number of transactions, and are frightened off by the experience of some violators incurring multi-million (and sometimes billion) fines for failing to meet the requirements of sanctions regulators.

Moreover, British sanctions may also affect the excessive compliance of banks and counterparties in other jurisdictions. The procedure for monitoring a counterparty through databases of sanctioned persons will inevitably reveal to them the connection of any institution of the Moscow Patriarchate with Patriarch Kirill. Again, from a procedural point of view, this will mean, at a minimum, transactional delays, regardless of whether it is under British jurisdiction or not. Such delays today are due to the very connection of the deal with Russia, even if there are no persons under sanctions involved. The appearance of such persons increases the risk of disrupting the transaction.

At the same time, in comparison with the material side of the issue, the political consequences seem to be much more important. Sanctions against Patriarch Kirill make the conflict between Russia and the West a clash of religious values. You can argue as much as you like that these are not sanctions against the Russian people; that the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill are allegedly imposed for supporting the Russian authorities in their policy on the Ukrainian issue, that the British authorities have nothing else in mind, that this is a purely legal issue, and not a reason for a value conflict, etc. This will also include analytical notes by Russophobes on how the ROC is used as a tool of “soft power” in the post-Soviet space and beyond. The problem, however, is that we do not only live in a world of bureaucratic schemes and technocratic politics. We live in a much more complex world, where bureaucratic machinery collides with the psychology of large masses of people, with symbols, with the complexity and diversity of perceptions and, most importantly, the possibility of using all this complexity for political purposes. It is not so important who exactly ends up using all this energy. It is important that a hostile measure against a religious leader will inevitably add fuel to the fire. It will expand the dimensions of the conflict, shifting it from a purely secular arena into the realm of religious feelings. Russia is a rather secularised society. It is difficult to expect that the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill will lead to the effects that a similar move would have, for example, on an Islamic community, in the event of similar actions being taken against an Islamic leader of a similar magnitude. However, it is hardly worth underestimating the religious factor, especially given the difficult historical background. At first glance, technocratic action releases forces that are very difficult to control. The West has already encountered the factor of political Islam, generated by difficult relations with individual Islamic countries. Now the almost-forgotten contours of faults between Christian denominations are added here. It is sympathetic that earlier sanctions against Patriarch Kirill were discussed as one of the measures of the sixth package of EU sanctions, but were not included in the final version. A scaling up of the British initiative is not out of the question, and will complicate things much more.

At the same time, the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill do not bring the British authorities one iota closer to the implementation of the declared goals of the sanctions policy. Formally, they must “change the behaviour” of the person under sanctions. That is, in the bureaucratic scheme, after the imposition of sanctions, Patriarch Kirill must refuse to support the Russian authorities on the Ukrainian issue. At the very least, sanctions should “raise the price” of such support. What will actually happen? The Church’s support for the Russian authorities will only increase. The ROC is likely to face some material damage from the sanctions against Patriarch Kirill, but it will also only increase the energy of the consolidation of Church and state. In other words, the sanctions will have the opposite effect of what’s expected and will be a disservice.

What can the Russians do in response? Surely there will be a temptation to adopt “mirror and symmetrical” actions, such as adding British religious figures to our lists. Such an action on our part will only lend weight to the British move, show that we think in the same terms. If in other areas retaliatory measures can be justified, then in the subtle world of religious issues, caution and prudence are advisable. Linear circuits do harm here. Forgiveness and humility can do much, as a great moral force.

First published in the Valdai Discussion Club.

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