Press review: US B52s won’t halt Taliban assault and Gazprom accident threatens LPG price

Press review: US B52s won’t halt Taliban assault and Gazprom accident threatens LPG price

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Top Stories from the Russian Media

Izvestia: “Russian-German relations have a solid foundation” – Russian Ambassador to Berlin

Russia and Germany have forged solid relations that are going through a difficult phase due to Berlin’s recent policy towards Moscow, which includes sanctions. Nevertheless, the two countries still have many common areas of mutual interest, Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergey Nechaev said in an interview with Izvestia. He also spoke about the recognition of vaccination certificates at the national level and the upcoming parliamentary elections in Germany in September.

Russian-German relations have a solid foundation, formed over the long years of our joint history,” the ambassador said. “At the moment they are going through a difficult phase, which is due to the line chosen by Berlin in relation to our country, including illegitimate sanctions against Russia,” he noted, adding “Nevertheless, Russia and Germany still have a large number of common topics and areas of mutual interest, including expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, economic, energy, investment areas.”

Talking about the upcoming parliamentary elections in Germany on September 26, Nechaev noted that Russia is ready for dialogue and cooperation with the legitimately elected German government. “We hope that the future ruling government of Germany will be committed to constructive dialogue and mutually beneficial partnership with Russia,” he added.

As for the Nord Stream 2 project, it remains a commercial initiative by a group of companies that includes five large European energy concerns (Uniper SE, Wintershall Dea, OMV, Shell, and Engie), the ambassador noted. “The project has received all the necessary permits and is being implemented in full compliance with the laws of Germany and the EU,” he told Izvestia.

Russia is currently in talks with Germany on the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates. “Back in the spring of 2021, Russia turned to its German partners through diplomatic channels with an initiative to launch consultations on the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates at the national level. Our proposal is still ‘under consideration’,” Nechaev emphasized.

Media: Russian athletes smash Olympic target, but miss out on gold medals

The Tokyo Olympics have come to an end. On August 8, the athletes competed for the last 13 sets of medals, after which the organizers held the closing ceremony of the 2020 Games. Russian athletes exceeded the target set by President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov by taking home 71 medals instead of 50-60, showing the best overall medal haul since 2004. On the other hand, only 20 out of the 71 medals were gold, which is the lowest number in the team’s entire post-Soviet history. In the unofficial standings, the Russian team took only fifth place – its worst position ever at the Summer Olympics.

Fifth place in the medal standings, due to a series of failures on the final two days of the Olympics in Tokyo, is the lowest position Russian athletes have ever finished in the entire history of the Summer Olympics, Kommersant writes. “This, however, is not a performance that should be equated with a failure. Both a decent set of medals and an abundance of missed – it seems, solely due to unfortunate circumstances – chances make it look like a step forward compared to the previous Olympics,” the newspaper notes. 20 gold, 28 silver, and 23 bronze medals are a pretty impressive set, more solid than it was in Rio de Janeiro and even pre-crisis London.

“Although all these places are, of course, very conditional,” Izvestia writes. According to the newspaper, the staffing of the team from Russia was not optimal due to sanctions. For example, for athletics, the country was represented by only 10 people.

Vedomosti emphasizes there were no doping scandals involving Russians at the Tokyo Games, “although many feared them.” Russian athletes performed well in a number of non-traditional sports for the country – for example in taekwondo and 3×3 basketball. “For years, Russian sports have been relying on its ‘traditional’ disciplines like wrestling or synchronized swimming, and the emergence of new medal sports is an infrequent case for Russia,” the newspaper writes.

Vedomosti: US bombers unlikely to help contain Taliban onslaught

Armed formations of the Afghan Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia), have established control over two administrative centers of provinces from August 6. This is the first time since 2001, when a US-led coalition intervened in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks, Vedomosti writes. For 20 years, the Taliban failed to completely capture a single provincial center, but now they are rapidly regaining control over the country.

By the end of June, the bulk of the forces of the United States and its allies had left Afghanistan. Earlier, in May, the Taliban launched an offensive against government troops, which sharply intensified in June. The US Air Force began providing air support for the Afghan army using B-52 strategic bombers based in Qatar, Vedomosti writes.

According to Alexander Ermakov, expert from the Russian International Affairs Council, using B-52 bombers by the US Air Force can provide significant assistance and even turn the tide of a separate clash between the Afghan army and the Taliban. However, the B-52 is unlikely to be able to turn the tide of hostilities, even in one single province. Moreover, they will not be able to radically change the situation throughout Afghanistan, Ermakov added.

According to a source close to the Ministry of Defense, the seizure of provincial centers could free up Taliban forces, which could then be sent to operations against Kabul.

Izvestia: Russia discusses uniform rules for entry of tourists with Spain and Italy

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) is in talks with Spain and Italy on unifying requirements for travelers, the organization told Izvestia. They also recently appealed to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with an appeal to restart international tourism without waiting for the end of the pandemic. ATOR proposes to work out the issue of unifying the rules of entry for all travelers in advance, including recognizing vaccination certificates.

ATOR emphasized that the tourism sector should be ready, even before the borders are opened. “It is possible that for several more years we will be traveling, presenting certain documents,” ATOR Vice President Dmitry Gorin told Izvestia. “Our initiative is aimed at simplifying the border crossing process and check-in formalities through a unified set of documents. That is why we turned to UNWTO, which unites representatives of the tourism sector of all countries,” he added.

ATOR Vice President noted that Rome and Madrid are already taking steps to welcome Russian tourists, despite the closed borders and the existing difficulties with recognizing the Russian vaccine – Italian and Spanish missions have already begun to issue tourist visas to Russian citizens.

At the same time, the WHO told Izvestia that in the current conditions quarantine can be canceled for those who have already recovered from coronavirus, while the European Travel Commission (ETC) told Izvestia that they support the initiative to unify the rules of entry.

Kommersant: Gazprom plant accident threatens market with LPG shortage

The accident at Gazprom’s Urengoy plant could lead to a shortage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) on the Russian market and problems in the fuel and petrochemical sectors, Kommersant writes. Prices for this raw material on the stock exchange have already broken new records and, according to experts, will continue to grow. Given the scale of the accident, experts expect repairs at the plant to take months.

According to Petromarket estimates, exports of LPG will decrease by 66%. On August 6, the Ministry of Energy already recommended that manufacturers redistribute LPG supplies from exports to the domestic market to meet the needs of the population. At the same time, Kommersant’s sources in the markets are confident that export restrictions will see prices go up.

According to the newspaper’s sources, at best, the current capacity of the Urengoy plant will be cut by half. Head of the Industry Research Center Andrey Kostin told Kommersant, the shortage of LPG will mostly affect the transport and utilities sectors since most of the settlements in Siberia are not supplied with gas.

The Radical Outlook is not necessarily responsible for the quotes in the Press Review

Copyright © Tass News Agency

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The Radical Outlook

The Radical Outlook is an online news web Portal designed for in-depth news analysis from the Eurasian region and beyond. It is Founded by a geopolitical analyst Shahzada Rahim.
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