Calling Russia ‘threat to humanity’ puts Obama’s sanity in doubt – PM Medvedev

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, left, gives interview to CNBS in Moscow. Right: journalist Geoff Cutmore.(RIA Novosti / Ekaterina Shtukina)

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, left, gives interview to CNBS in Moscow. Right: journalist Geoff Cutmore.(RIA Novosti / Ekaterina Shtukina)

RT news

Published October 15, 2014

The Russian PM has suggested that Obama’s charges against Russia were caused by a “brain aberration” and added that such rhetoric saddened him.

I am very upset by the fact that President Obama, while speaking from the United Nations’ podium and listing the threats and challenges humanity is currently facing, put Ebola in first place, the Russian Federation second and the Islamic State organization was only in the third place. I don’t even want to comment on this, this is some sort of aberration in the brain,” Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with CNBC television.

The top Russian official stressed that his country was not isolating itself from the rest of the world, but sought mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign nations. “We want to communicate with all civilized peoples on friendly grounds. Of course, this includes our partners from the United States of America, but for this the situation must be leveled,” Medvedev said.

However, the Russian PM also noted that the Western sanctions have inflicted considerable damage to Russia’s cooperation with the US, and without cancellation of this policy there can be no return to partnership.

Let us be frank, it was not us who invented these sanctions, they were invented by our partners in the international community. As our saying goes, let God be their judge. Without any doubt we can survive these sanctions, I am sure that sometime later the sanctions will evaporate, simply cease to exist. But there is no doubt that they have dealt some damage to our relations.”

Medvedev ruled out the possibility of an immediate reset in relations between Russia and the West, adding that he expected the process to composed of at least two stages.

What sort of reset can be there under such conditions? We must first distance from this all and return to a normal position, at least to the starting position and only then we can start elaborating on the development of relations in the future,” he said.

The Russian PM also stressed that Russia can and will find new partners for routine trade and normal investment projects.


Officials and members of the European Parliament in Brussels (AFP Photo)

Officials and members of the European Parliament in Brussels (AFP Photo)

EU adopts new sanctions against Russia to come into force in ‘next few days’

A new package of sanctions against Russia has been adopted by the EU. Previous reports said the “further restrictive measures” were aimed at targeting three major oil companies, as well as the defense sector.

According to a Monday statement by the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the new package was adopted through written procedure, “deepening the targeted measures of 31 July.”

“The sanctions aim at promoting a change of course in Russia’s actions destabilizing eastern Ukraine,” the statement reads.

Although it was previously reported that the new sanctions could come into force by Tuesday, the final EU decision did not specify the date when they will be applied, only saying it “will take place in the next few days,” leaving time “for an assessment of the implementation of the cease-fire agreement [in Ukraine].”

“Depending on the situation on the ground, the EU stands ready to review the agreed sanctions in whole or in part,”Van Rompuy’sstatement reads.

Over the weekend, some EU diplomats told Reuters that the sanctions could be lifted if the ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and militia forces holds. The truce was agreed last week.

“A ceasefire must hold for sanctions to be lifted,” the agency quoted a senior EU diplomat as saying.

According to some EU representatives, the sanctions could “even get ridden off entirely.”

Despite some shooting over the weekend, “overall the ceasefire held,” an OSCE security watchdog said on Monday, adding that “it is still shaky.”

The new package of sanctions is reportedly aimed at Russian state-owned oil companies, particularly Rosneft, Transneft, and Gazpromneft.

On Monday, Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev warned that Russia may shut its air corridors to Western airlines if the next round of European sanctions hits Russia’s energy sector.

In order to be approved, the restrictive documents needed to be signed by all 28 member states of the European Union. There were reports that the decision did not go through at once, and an EU ambassadors emergency meeting had to be called, as some governments had second thoughts on the new ‘punishment’ for Moscow.

“The ceasefire is an enormous step forward and with that comes the possibility of a political solution…There is quite a strong appetite across Europe for saying we want a political solution here, we don’t want a ramping up of the economic pressure,” British opposition MP and peace campaigner Jeremy Corbyn told RT.

If new EU sanctions hit energy sector, Russia may close airspace – Medvedev

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned Russia may shut its air corridors to Western airlines if the next round of European sanctions hit Russian energy companies.

“If there are sanctions related to the energy sector, or further restrictions on Russia’s financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically,” Medvedev said in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper, published on Monday.

EU ministers will gather on Monday to discuss new sanctions against Russia and are rumored to be introduced on Tuesday. The prime minister promised a strong retaliation if the West slaps Russia with more sanctions.

“We could impose transport restrictions,” Medvedev said, adding, “We believe we have friendly relations with our partners, and foreign airlines of friendly countries are permitted to fly over Russia. However, we’ll have to respond to any restrictions imposed on us,” the prime minister said.

After sanctions hit Aeroflot’s low-cost subsidiary Dobrolet in late July, Medvedev discussed with ministers the possibility of limiting, of even completely blocking, European flights to Asia that overfly Russia.

“If Western carriers have to bypass our airspace, this could drive many struggling airlines into bankruptcy. This is not the way to go. We just hope our partners realize this at some point,” he told Vedomosti.


Dobrolyot plane lands in Simferopol

Flying over Russian airspace saves Western airlines headed to Asia at least 4 hours of flight time, which adds up to about $30,000 per flight.

Lufthansa said it could potentially lose more than €1 billion in three months if it does not use Russian airspace. Lufthansa, along with British Airways and Air France, are the largest EU airlines. US airlines currently don’t operate over Siberian airspace.

Many low-cost airlines have decided not to launch new routes to Russia, with the threat of sanctions possibly a factor. Last week Ryanair ditched plans to establish a Dublin-St. Petersburg route, and easyJet, another European-based airline, dropped its plans to develop a London-St. Petersburg service.

Medvedev didn’t specify whether the blocked airspace would also apply to cargo and delivery companies, such as UPS and FedEx.

Oil at stake

EU sanctions, which will reportedly be introduced on Tuesday, will ban Russia’s three main oil companies- Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, and Transneft – from raising long-term (longer than 30 days) debt on European capital markets, according to the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

Rosneft – Russia’s largest oil producer – was added to the US sanctions list on July 16 and was put on the EU list on July 29. Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer, Novatek, also was added to the blacklist in July, along with a ban on the export of hi-tech oil equipment needed in Arctic, deep sea, and shale extraction projects to Russia.
Gazprom Neft is the oil subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Transneft is Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline company that exports all of Rosneft’s crude oil, and 56 percent of Russia’s crude exports.

Sanctions likely won’t apply to privately-owned Russian oil groups such as Lukoil and Surgutneftegaz.

The EU will also reportedly follow America’s lead on banning goods that can have dual military and civilian use from Russian companies that also supply the Russian military, the WSJ reported Sunday. On July 16, the US blacklisted several defense sector companies include Almaz-Antey Corporation, the Kalashnikov Concern and Instrument Design Bureau, as well as companies such as Izhmash, Basalt, and Uralvagonzavod.

“Sanctions are always a double-edged sword. Ultimately they end up backfiring and end up hurting those who are first to impose restrictions,” Medvedev said.

The EU has agreed on the new sanctions but said they could be delayed or even cancelled if Russia shows willingness to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

On Friday Kiev introduced a ceasefire to calm fighting between the Ukrainian army and anti-government forces, but fighting and shelling continued in the country’s east.

Siberia flights

Siberia flights




Sanctions Do Not Scare Russia – Medvedev

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attending the North Caucasian Youth Forum "Mashuk-2014" in Pyatigorsk, August 12, 2014.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attending the North Caucasian Youth Forum “Mashuk-2014” in Pyatigorsk, August 12, 2014.


© RIA Novosti. Alexander Astafyev

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

PYATIGORSK, August 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday said sanctions against Russia are not scary and any attempts of forced pressure on the country will not work.

“Sanctions are not scary for our country, and we understand that very well. Our country is strong. And no matter who tries to pressure us, we will nonetheless live in our beloved country, develop it, invest money [in it], and build our own state,” Medvedev said during a Q&A session with members of a youth forum.

“Attempts of forced pressure on our country have never worked, and you understand that very well. And they won’t work now,” Medvedev added.

The United States, the European Union and their allies have introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against Russian companies and individuals since Crimea’s reunification with Russia in March. In a more recent incident in July, the United States and the European Union introduced sectoral sanctions targeting Russia’s defense, energy and banking sectors.

On Thursday, Russia responded by introducing a one-year ban on agricultural and food product imports from the countries that have imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis, namely the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.

Banned products include meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. The embargo may cost the European Union a whopping $16 billion in export losses.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament adopted in its first reading a law that would allow Kiev to impose 29 different types of sanctions against Russia, including the transit of energy resources through its territory.

The new law would allow the blocking of stocks, the limit of sales operations, as well as partially or fully halting flights and the transit of goods through Ukrainian territory. It also gives the government the right to annul or freeze licenses on certain activities, including mining operations.

Medvedev Says US, EU Companies Clearly Show Intention to Continue Work in Russia

Dmitry Medvedev attends meeting of Russia's trade representatives to foreign countries

Dmitry Medvedev attends meeting of Russia’s trade representatives to foreign countries

MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow has received «clear signals» from US and European companies about their intention to continue work in Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

«We have received quite clear signals that European and American companies are set to continue work with Russian partners. Time is ripe now to use non-political formats and pay attention to small and medium-sized business who generally demonstrate a less politicized approach,” Medvedev said at a meeting with trade envoys.

Russia aims to maintain mutually beneficial cooperation with Europe, which remains a major trading partner for Russia.

“The Ukrainian crisis has really complicated our relationship with Europe. Sometimes these events are called a dividing range between the past and the future of Europe. We [Russia] do not think so. We continue focusing on mutually beneficial cooperation. EU will remain our main trading partner for a long time,” Medvedev said.

The United States and European Union accuse Russia of meddling with Ukraine’s internal affairs, and have already introduced targeted sanctions against a number of Russian officials and companies. The Western sanctions have been extending gradually since their initial introduction after Russia’s reunification with Crimea.

After the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine on July 17, Washington has been pushing the EU to implement further sanctions against Moscow.

The European Commission is expected to introduce a new package of sanctions targeting Russia’s financial and defense sectors on July 24.

Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly called the language of sanctions counterproductive and said these measures would have a boomerang effect on European economy.