Money: EU Mulls Relaxing Russian Sanctions - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Money EU Mulls Relaxing Russian Sanctions

17:45  02 june  2016
17:45  02 june  2016 Source:   ibtimes.com

PM Modi meets Ali Khamenei, boosts India-Iran ties

  PM Modi meets Ali Khamenei, boosts India-Iran ties The two countries pledged to combat terrorism and radicalism as they signed 12 agreements including a "milestone" pact on developing the strategic Chabahar port, giving a boost to economic partnership in the post-sanctions era. India also committed around $500 million for the important port in Iran's southern coast, which will serve as a"point of connectivity" between India, Afghanistan, Commonwealth of Independent States countries and East Europe.

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The European Union says it is considering more sanctions against Russia as part of what it calls diplomatic efforts to end the crisis in Ukraine. “I want to restate that the European Union continues to believe that there can only be political solution to the crisis.

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MOSCOW — Political differences within the European Union have come into sharp relief over a debate on whether to extend sanctions on Russia. As the Kremlin looks to leverage the divisions between member states over the issue, experts said that the relaxation of the punitive restrictions is likely by as early as the beginning of 2017.

President Vladimir Putin visited Greece, one of the most vocal supporters of easing sanctions, last week, just a few days after the Kremlin released Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian servicewoman held in Russia, in a gesture widely seen as a bid to reduce tensions between Moscow and Kiev.

Three ministers warned about frosty relations with Russia

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The European Union is considering imposing sanctions against Russia due to its intervention in Ukraine and the Crimea region. EU Foreign Affairs ministers strongly condemned “the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces”

The EU could target state-owned Russian banks in a bid to toughen up the bloc’s sanctions linked to the Ukraine crisis. EU leaders struck a tentative deal last week to add more names of individuals and companies to the bloc’s sanctions list.

“The wavering is pretty clear in Europe,” said Philip Hanson, a professor and expert on the Russian economy and Russia-EU relations at Chatham House think tank in London.

Leaders of the 28-member bloc are set to decide whether to extend sanctions on Russia during a summit at the end of June. Any decision must be unanimous.

Battered by low oil prices and the sanctions, Russia’s economy is currently enduring its longest recession for two decades and the Kremlin appears to be doing as much as it can do to influence the EU’s decision. Former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Tuesday that sanctions cost Russia the loss of up to 1 percent of its gross domestic product every year.

RTX2EK27 © Provided by IBT US RTX2EK27 Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (right) attend a news conference, after their meeting in Athens on 27 May 2016. Photo: Reuters

Rosneft profits tumble by 80 percent

  Rosneft profits tumble by 80 percent Russian oil giant Rosneft said Wednesday that low oil prices in the first quarter of the year had haemorrhaged its profits, with tumbled by 80 percent. The company reported a first-quarter net profit of $200 million, after having recorded profits of $1 billion during the same period last year. Rosneft's total revenue suffered a 32.6 percent drop, falling to $14.5 billion, slightly exceeding the expectations of analysts quoted by Russia's Interfax news agency. The company said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), a measure of underlying profitability, also fell by 26 percent to $3.7 billion.Oil prices hit in January a low of nearly $25, a level not seen since 2003 and sending shockwaves through the global oil industry, which has been forced into massive layoffs and numerous bankruptcies.While prices have recovered to rise above $50 this week, they are still far below the $100-plus level of just over two years ago, when a global supply glut sent prices on a downward slide.Rosneft head Igor Sechin said in a statement that the company was focusing on "business efficiency" by reducing extraction costs amid rampant inflation and "negative market conditions."Sechin added that the company had nevertheless maintained a "stable level of operating cash flow" to pay for all planned investments and fulfil its financial obligations.

Those sanctions included the closure of two Russian compounds used for intelligence purposes and expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the country. The EU has been at the forefront of sanctions on Russia , but it's nervous about the sanctions being mulled in US Congress.

The sanctions , the recrimination that Russia has put against American and EU countries - exports, imports, etc. - the Austrian Institute [of Economic Research] RT: If fresh sanctions are approved, what kind of measures can Brussels apply to retaliate and defend its business deals with Russia ?

Voices calling for a re-think of the sanctions regime have been heard much louder in recent weeks in the European capitals of Berlin and Paris. Previously France and Germany had been staunch supporters of the measures, which were imposed in three waves by the EU in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for anti-Kiev rebels in eastern Ukraine.

European leaders previously maintained that sanctions can only be lifted when Russia complies with its obligations under an 2015 EU-brokered Minsk agreement between Russia and Ukraine. But they appear now to be publicly moving away from this position even amid a recent spike in violence in eastern Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday that an “all or nothing” approach compelling Russia to comply with the Minsk agreement was not working. Sanctions aren’t an end in themselves but “should lead to a political solution,” Steinmeier said.

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Ambassadors from the 28 EU members convene in Brussels later on Wednesday to discuss the possible levying of a new package of sanctions against Russia . After confirming the new measures on Monday evening

European Union foreign ministers have gathered in the city of Brussels to consider applying further sanctions on Russia following the recent downing of a Malaysian Airlines plane in Ukraine. EU ministers held a meeting in the Belgium capital on Tuesday, calling for stern measures against Mosco.

Influential German newspaper der Spiegel reported Monday that officials in Berlin are considering options including eliminating travel restrictions on Russian parliamentarians, reducing the period for which sanctions last before they must be renewed from six to three months, or relaxing the sanctions regime in exchange for Russian support in holding elections in eastern Ukraine.

And in a further sign that EU-Russia ties were warming, European Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker said earlier this week that he would attend the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum next month in Russia — the first head of a European institution to visit Russia since fighting broke out in Ukraine in 2014.

RTX2D03X © Provided by IBT US RTX2D03X European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker looks on during a meeting at the Capitol Hill in Rome, Italy, May 5, 2016. Photo: Reuters

“Opinions in the European Union haven’t changed but the atmosphere is changing,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, the head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow, which advises the Kremlin and other government institutions.

Petropavlovsk mulls buying Kamchatka Gold

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At a summit on Thursday EU leaders warned Russia that they will consider sanctions over its role in the Syrian conflict if Moscow does not stop “crimes” in the devastated city of Aleppo. As the bloc’s 28 leaders met in Brussels for a crucial discussion on their future strategy to deal with Moscow, EU

The European Union says it will consider further sanctions against Russia next month following the seizure of three intruding Ukrainian military vessels in Russian waters. Kneissl said the EU would consider sanctions depending “on the exposition of facts and the further conduct of both parties”.

Officially, Moscow denies it is pushing for sanctions to be lifted. "The issue of sanctions is not our problem. We did not impose them, we took measures to respond to them," Putin said last week.

But Russian diplomatic efforts in recent weeks appear to have been focused on EU countries, including Hungary, Italy, Austria and Greece, which stress Russia’s importance as a trade partner, an energy supplier and its role in attempts to end the war in Syria. Other EU member states, particularly Britain, the Baltic republics and Poland, argue sanctions are essential to contain Russia’s imperial ambitions.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras condemned sanctions Friday during a joint press conference with Putin in Athens. And Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó promised last week after a meeting in Budapest with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that sanctions would not be extended automatically.

RTSFPF2 © Provided by IBT US RTSFPF2 A woman inspects debris while standing outside her damaged house, which according to locals was caused by recent shelling, in the village of Staromikhailovka, outside the separatist-held city of Donetsk, Ukraine, May 24, 2016. Photo: Reuters

Dyke criticises Euro stewarding

  Dyke criticises Euro stewarding FA chairman Greg Dyke has told UEFA that stewarding at England's Euro 2016 match with Russia was "unacceptable".FA chairman Greg Dyke has told UEFA that stewarding at England's Euro 2016 match with Russia was "unacceptable" and warned he has "serious concerns" about security for Thursday's clash against Wales.

KIEV, Ukraine — Russia faces further sanctions from the European Union on Thursday over its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula as tensions in the region remained high despite the release of a Ukrainian naval commander.

EU and Western countries put sanctions in place against Moscow after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, shortly before pro- Russian rebels began waging a war for autonomy in Ukraine's The bans were directed at national banks, weapons' imports and exports and the Russian oil and gas industry.

Russia is cautious about appearing too heavy-handed in its attempts to woo European countries, according to expert Lukyanov, “Russia’s activity [aimed towards lifting the sanctions] could have the opposite effect,” he said.

Russia handed suspended disqualification from Euro 2016

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Stiffer EU sanctions against Russia after the downing of flight MH17 could harm European countries nearly as much as they impact Russia . European governments are expected to discuss a list of possible new targets for Russian sanctions on Thursday, although some European countries worry

With Washington still mulling tightening the anti- Russian sanctions , the EU is poised and ready to retaliate against this possible move. US President Donald Trump has not yet determined his position as to whether Russia had interfered in the US elections in 2016; also, he is yet to take a decision on the

Analysts and experts contacted by International Business Times said the changing EU rhetoric means they expect the sanctions regime to be relaxed in early 2017 after discussions in six months time around the deadline for the next sanctions extension.

But there are still many differences between the two sides. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that it was too early to talk about lifting the measures. There is also serious resistance in Kiev to implementing aspects of the Minsk agreements and the Kremlin is unlikely to be prepared to offer any significant concessions over Ukraine, which is considered by many to be a red line.

The Russian economy is showing a few tentative signs of recovery: reducing the need for Russia to seek a repeal of sanctions.

And during a senior government meeting last week in Moscow Putin slapped down former Finance Minister Kudrin when he suggested geopolitical tensions be reduced to stimulate the economy, according to the Vedomosti newspaper. Putin reportedly replied that he would always defend Russia’s sovereignty — even if it meant the country falling behind economically.

“There are limits to what Putin is prepared to offer,” said Chatham House’s Hanson.

Petropavlovsk becoming a go-to company for Russian gold deals .
It’s perhaps not surprising that with its long-standing connection to the international capital markets through chairman Peter Hambro, and its long-standing exposure to the Russian gold mining scene through chief executive Pavel Masovskiy that Petropavlovsk PLC (LON:POG) is becoming a go-to vehicle for consolidation in Russian gold. “A lot of people have said it’s great to see Petropavlovsk back in business,” says Hambro. He’s referring to a tough time the company went through a while back when it was obliged to undertake a major recapitalisation. Since then though shares in Petropavlovsk have outperformed the gold price, and one reason is that deal flow has been coming thick and fast. Add in a move to underground mining at the key Pioneer mine that could get underway as early as this summer and there’s plenty going on. “We have four strings to our bow at the moment,” says Hambro. First is the underground mining. Then there are three deals that Petropavlovsk has either done, or is likely to do. The first involves long-standing plans to develop a pressure-oxidation plant that will be able to treat refractory ore from the company’s Pokrovskiy and other mines. At one stage the development work on this plant hit a funding shortfall that was related to the 2011 fall in the gold price. But in April of this year Petropavlovsk signed a US$120 mln funding deal with GMD gold, a local group which also has refractory ore that needs treating.

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