1. WASHINGTON, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – The Group of Seven (G7) is ready to introduce new sanctions against Russia over Moscow’s stance on the crisis in Ukraine, the joint statement said Wednesday.
2. MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – The third phase of EU penalties on Russia will eventually backfire, and the fact that the new economic sanctions are less harsh than Washington wanted them to be indicates that the 28 European nations are well aware of this impact, an expert with the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels said Wednesday. “Of course, given the economic interconnectedness, there will also be an economic impact on the European Union,” Hrant Kostanyan said. “This depends on the area of the sanctions. There is also geographic proximity. Sanctions could have been much harsher. They aren’t that harsh. This is being done gradually.”
3. MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Poland is going to pay a great price for agreeing to sanctions against Russia, an independent Polish expert told International Information Agency Rossiya Segodnya Wednesday. “The introduction of sanctions against Russia will certainly deal a heavy blow to the Polish economy, but Polish politicians haven’t realized it yet,” Andrzej Schensniak said. Schensniak stressed that despite Poland’s political focus on Europe it remains very much dependent on Russia in terms of its energy imports and transit. “The oil and gas sector is likely to bear the brunt [of EU sanctions] since it was created as an integral part of the [country’s] cooperation scheme with the Soviet Union and now with Russia,” the pundit said.
4. BRUSSELS, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – The new round of sanctions against Russia announced by the European Union do not target the country’s natural gas sector, a source at the European Commission told reporters Wednesday. “The gas sector is completely and totally excluded from the scope of sanctions we are going to publish tomorrow,” the source said. The European Union agreed Tuesday on a new set of sectoral economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, which limit Russian state-owned financial institutions’ access to EU capital markets, impose an embargo on trade in arms, establish an export ban for dual-use goods for military end users and curtail Russian access to sensitive technologies, particularly in the oil sector. The sanctions are to be published on July 31 and go into effect on August 1. Russia’s envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, said last week that the sanctions were “a road to nowhere” and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said such actions toward Russia were a way to conceal protectionist measures in the interests of certain companies.
5. NOVO OGARYOVO, Moscow Region, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russia could loosen the tightening grip of western sanctions on its economy by improving the economic climate in its far-eastern territories, designated as “advanced development zones” in a bill that may be laid before the Duma in autumn, Russia’s Far East Development Minister said Wednesday. Speaking at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka said the plan to make the region a lucrative investment opportunity for foreign business is “probably the best response to attempts to thwart Russia’s development by throwing foreign policy obstacles in its path.” Advanced development zones are export-oriented zones with preferential conditions for businesses. Their creation signals Russia’s strategic Asian pivot that comes amid toughening penalties on its exports to Europe. According to the minister, a special committee in charge of the development project has drawn up a list of the region’s 4,400 largest companies that today export $10 trillion worth of products to the Asia-Pacific Region. “The first five memorandums of understanding have already been signed with foreign investors,” Galushka said. The minister added that a draft law on advanced development zones may be submitted to the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, during the autumn session. In June, the Far East Development Ministry unveiled a targeted support program for the region that is expected to attract some $65 billion in investment.
6. MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Washington’s newest update to the list of sanctioned Russian banks will not affect Visa or MasterCard operations in the country, the companies’ representative offices in Russia told RIA Novosti Wednesday. “These sanctions prevent blacklisted banks from accessing US capital markets and do not affect our activities,” a MasterCard representative said. Visa explained the US-imposed restrictions do not compel it to block operations at any Russian banks.
7. MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian banks, targeted by US and EU sanctions, will be supported by the Russian Central Bank if necessary, the Central Bank’s press service said in a statement Wednesday. “In light of the US and EU sanctions targeting some Russian banks, the Central Bank of Russia states that the financial institutions operate normally, providing all the necessary services to clients, including money transfers and bank cards transactions,” the press release said. “Appropriate measures will be taken, if need be, to provide support to the enlisted organizations in order to protect the interests of their clients, depositors and creditors.”
8. BRUSSELS, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – New EU economic sanctions banning supplies of technologies and equipment for Russian projects in the oil sector are expected to affect exports worth 115 million euros ($153.8 million), an EU source told reporters Wednesday. “This will hit trade estimated at around 115 million euros per year,” the source said, adding that the figure is based on the data of the European Commission on exports to Russia in the previous years. EU exports to Russia of certain equipment and technologies linked to energy sector are to be preliminary approved by the competent authorities of the European Union. Export licenses will be denied if products are destined for deep water oil exploration and production, Arctic oil exploration or production and shale oil projects in Russia.
9. MOSCOW, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Sanctions against Russia will negatively affect Austrian businesses, Christoph Leitl, head of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce stated Wednesday, as reported by The Local website. “As (sanctions) are now, we expect exports to fall around 20 percent this year versus last year and in tourism the collapse in Russian guests is already very strikingly tangible,” he stated, quoted by The Local website. Leitl is one of the opponents of strengthening sanctions against Russia. “I am still against sanctions, but if the politicians decide otherwise then of course one is bound to this,” he noted, quoted by The Local website. Analysts suggest that the sanctions will hit Austrian banks the hardest, especially Raiffeisen.
10. EU Sanctions Against Russian Oil Sector to Affect Exports Worth Over $150 Mln. NOVO-OGARYOVO, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s defense industry is capable of producing all parts and military hardware on its own, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday. “Some things are evident for all of us. First of all, we are absolutely capable of doing everything on our own. Absolutely everything,” Putin said at a meeting devoted to import substitution. “Our task is to insure ourselves against risks of non-compliance with contracts by our foreign partners,” the president added. “We need to ensure reliable and timely supply of required components and monitor their quality closely.” Putin said that although he saw no particular risks for the Russian defense industry, “all difficulties should benefit us, because we should launch our own production where it did not exist before.”
* More to be added as we receive data.