Daily: 30/12/2021

Кримського політв’язня Івана Яцкіна етапували в Кемеровську область Росії – адвокат

Засуджений українець «потребує медичного обстеження після перенесеного голодування і надання йому медичної допомоги»

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Russia’s ‘Gas Pivot’ to China Poses Challenge for Europe

Gazprom, Russia’s giant state-owned energy company, is slated to finalize an agreement in 2022 for a second huge natural gas pipeline running from Siberia to China, marking yet another stage in what energy analysts and Western diplomats say is a fast-evolving gas pivot to Asia by Moscow.

They see the pivot as a geopolitical project and one that could mean trouble for Europe.

Known as Power of Siberia 2, the mega-pipeline traversing Mongolia will be able to deliver 50 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to China annually. It was given the go-ahead in March by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and when finished it will complement another massive pipeline, Power of Siberia 1, that transports gas from Russia’s Chayandinskoye field to northern China.

Power of Siberia 2 will supply gas from Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula, the source of the gas exported to Europe. Western officials worry that the project could have serious geopolitical implications for energy-hungry European nations before they embark in earnest on a long transition to renewables and away from fossil fuels.

For months Western leaders and officials have been accusing Russia of worsening an energy crunch that’s hit Europe this year and threatens to deepen during the northern hemisphere winter. Gazprom has shrugged off urgent European requests for more natural gas. In the past few weeks Gazprom has at times even reduced exports, say industry monitors.

The energy giant maintains it has been meeting the volumes of gas it agreed to in contracts, but Gazprom has been accused by the International Energy Agency and European lawmakers of deliberately not doing enough to boost supplies to Europe as the continent struggles with unprecedented price hikes and the increasing risk of power rationing and plant stoppages.

The new Sino-Russian energy project, which Putin discussed with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, during a December 18 video conference, will give Moscow even more leverage when price bargaining with Europe and boost China as an alternative market for gas, according to Filip Medunic, an analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“Russia remains Europe’s main gas supplier, but Europeans urgently need to understand the changes it is currently making to its energy transport infrastructure—as these changes could leave Europe even more at Moscow’s mercy,” he outlined in a study earlier this year.

Speaking after his conference call with Xi Jinping, the Russian president told reporters that the pipeline’s route, length and other parameters have been agreed to, and a feasibility study will be completed in the next several weeks.

The Kremlin has been eager to expand its energy market in China, which will need more gas in coming years to substitute for an eventual phasing down of coal, according to Vita Spivak, an energy analyst at Control Risks, a global consulting firm. Spivak told a discussion forum earlier this month that Kremlin officials are anxious to “exploit the opportunity” especially “considering there is a good working relationship between the two capitals.”

The Power of Siberia 2 pipeline has been championed by Putin, she said.

McKinsey, the strategic management consulting firm, estimates Chinese demand for gas will double by 2035. That will be a godsend for Russia. European governments are already setting out plans on how to transform their energy markets—how they will generate, import and distribute energy and shift to renewables and, in some cases, nuclear power. Russia needs to diversify into Asia to prolong its profits from its vast natural gas resources as Europe slowly weans itself off Gazprom supplies.

But Europe will remain dependent on Russian gas in the near future and Moscow has been busy re-ordering its complex network of pipelines, shaping them for wider economic and political purposes, say energy and national security analysts. Currently it supplies Europe through several pipelines—Nord Stream I, TurkStream and another from Yamal that terminates in Germany after transiting Belarus and Poland.

And it has just completed the controversial Nord Stream 2 underwater pipeline, which connects Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, circumventing older land routes through Ukraine. Nord Stream 2 has yet to receive final approval by German authorities.

Washington has long warned of the risk of Nord Stream 2 making the EU in the short term even more dependent for its energy needs on Russia and potentially vulnerable to economic coercion by the Kremlin. The planned Power of Siberia 2 pipeline will be able to pump into China around the same amount that Nord Stream 2 would be able to transport to Europe, giving the Kremlin more options about who gets the gas and at what price.

A senior European diplomat told VOA that Gazprom’s refusal to come up with additional supplies during the current energy crunch already “demonstrates Russia’s questionable motives about how ready it is to use the energy market for purely political purposes.” He added, “As it diversifies to China, it will give the Kremlin more opportunities to turn off and on supplies to Europe but reduce considerably any financial risks for Russia.”

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«Планували заново»: в СБУ пояснили, як затримували підозрюваного ката «Ізоляції»

«Говорити про якесь прикриття Куликовського з боку спецслужб немає підстав», – стверджується у листі відомства

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ОАСК відкрив провадження за позовом Януковича до Верховної Ради – Совгиря

Суд призначив розгляд справи з викликом сторін на 16 лютого, заявила народна депутатка

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Iran Says Rocket Launch Sent 3 ‘Research Payloads’ Into Space 

Iran has used a satellite launch rocket to send three research devices into space, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday, as indirect U.S.-Iran talks take place in Austria to try to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal. 

He did not clarify whether the devices had reached orbit. 

Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programs in the Middle East, has suffered several failed satellite launches in the past few years due to technical issues. 

Spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said the Simorgh satellite carrier rocket, whose name translates as “Phoenix”, had launched the three research devices at an altitude of 470 kilometers (290 miles). He did not give further details. 

“The intended research objectives of this launch were achieved,” Hosseini said, in comments broadcast on state television. “This was done as a preliminary launch … God willing, we will have an operational launch soon.” 

Iranian state television showed footage of what it said was the firing of the launch vehicle. 

Thursday’s reported space launch comes as Tehran and Washington hold indirect talks in Vienna in an attempt to salvage a nuclear accord that Iran reached with world powers and that former U.S. president Donald Trump abandoned in 2018. 

The United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s civilian space agency and two research organizations in 2019, claiming they were being used to advance Tehran’s ballistic missile program. 

Tehran denies such activity is a cover for ballistic missile development. 

Iran launched its first satellite Omid (Hope) in 2009 and its Rasad (Observation) satellite was also sent into orbit in June 2011. Tehran said in 2012 that it had successfully put its third domestically-made satellite, Navid (Promise), into orbit. 

In April 2020, Iran said it successfully launched the country’s first military satellite into orbit, following repeated failed launch attempts in the previous months. 

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Іран заявляє про запуск ракети для «космічної дослідницької місії»

Запуск відбувся на тлі складних переговорів у Відні між Тегераном та світовими державами щодо історичної угоди 2015 року,

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Денісова назвала «катуванням» повернення Саакашвілі до в’язниці

За словами уповноваженої з прав людини, стан здоров’я політика «критичний і викликає занепокоєння»

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Російське видання «Медиазона» розповіло, за що потрапило у реєстр «іноагентів»

«Медиазона» – російське онлайн-видання, засноване у вересні 2014 року учасницями гурту Pussy Rio

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Маркарова: всі питання щодо України будуть вирішуватися разом з Україною

«Наші партнери розмовляли з нами до будь-яких перемовин, після перемовин», зазначила посол, говорячи про контакти США та Росії

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Оператор «Північного потоку-2» і «Газпром» заявили, що новий трубопровід готовий до подачі газу

Новий трубопровід, що проходить дном Балтійського моря, складається з двох паралельних ниток, здатних транспортувати загалом 55 мільярдів кубометрів газу на рік

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Чемпіонат світу з хокею серед молодіжних збірних скасували через ситуацію з COVID-19

Рішення скасувати один із найбільших міжнародних хокейних турнірів у час, коли він вже почався, стало першим в історії

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Росія: Путін обіцяє допустити білоруські підприємства до російських державних закупівель

Як заявив президент Росії, допуск білоруських виробників до державних закупівель «підвищить рівень конкуренції на ринку»

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Biden, Putin to Hold Call Over Stepped Up Security Demands

President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will speak Thursday as the Russian leader has stepped up his demands for security guarantees in Eastern Europe.

The two leaders will discuss “a range of topics, including upcoming diplomatic engagements,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement announcing the call.

The talks come as the U.S. and Western allies have watched the buildup of Russian troops near the border of Ukraine, growing to an estimated 100,000 and fueling fears that Moscow is preparing to invade Ukraine.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Wednesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken “reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s borders.”

Price said the two discussed efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia.

Putin said earlier this week he would ponder a slew of options if the West fails to meet his push for security guarantees precluding NATO’s expansion to Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Moscow submitted draft security documents demanding that NATO deny membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet countries and roll back its military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.

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