The handling capacity of the KSK grain terminal is 6 million tons per year, up to 7 million tons after the reconstruction is completed in 2021; in 2020, the terminal handled more than 5.1 million tons of grain. The share of KSK in Russian grain exports in 2020 was 12%. And I hope that today’s agreement is only the first step towards the switch of enterprises in the Russian logistics industry to low-carbon energy sources,” she added. The “green port” project will enable the use of electricity generated from low-carbon energy sources (RES) to facilitate exports from Russia with minimal CO2 emissions, which, in turn, will affect the reduction in NUTEP and KSK’s estimate indicators in reporting on indirect greenhouse gas emissions and other indirect carbon emissions for their customers. One of the first steps this agreement provides for is the supply of electricity generated from wind energy to the largest terminals in the Azov-Black Sea region of Russia: NUTEP Container Terminal and KSK Grain Terminal in Novorossiysk – both are a part of DeloPorts, a stevedore asset of the group). Atomenergopromsbyt, which is part of NovaWind, the wind energy division of Rosatom, acted as a partner in the project. Depending on the methodology adopted by the European Union, the indicators could reduce the “carbon tax” on exports to the EU for Russian exporters.   In many ways, it becomes the key to competitiveness and long-term commercial success. “Currently, more and more companies are choosing the path to sustainable business development. ROSATOM

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Delo Group, Russia’s largest transport and logistics holding, and Atomenergoprom, a company of state atomic corporation Rosatom consolidating all Russian civil assets, signed on April 13 an agreement for joint actions to promote switching of logistics terminals to low-carbon energy sources. “Rosatom is consistently implementing a strategy for low-carbon energy production based on nuclear and wind power,” Lyakhova said. The terminal’s customers include the largest international lines. KSK and NUTEP became the first large port infrastructure facilities in Russia to announce a switch to renewable energy. According to the agreement, from January 1, 2022, the terminals will be powered entirely by wind-generated electricity, Rosatom said. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the International exhibition TransRussia-2021 by Delo Management Company CEO Igor Yakovenko and Rosatom Business Development head Ekaterina Lyakhova. The annual handling capacity of NUTEP is 700,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the container turnover of the terminal in 2020 reached 487,000 TEUs. The share of NUTEP in the container turnover of the Azov-Black Sea basin is 61%, in Russia – 9%. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Russia’s Delo Group and Rosatom switch Novorossiysk port terminals to wind power

By New Europe Online/KG

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The Karmalinovskaya wind farm began supplying electric power and capacity to the wholesale electric power and capacity market from April 1, 2021.

EPA-EFE//FELIPE TRUEB

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The Uzbek Energy Ministry has announced the signing of a new Presidential Decree on measures for the development of renewable and hydrogen energy in Uzbekistan that will lead to the construction of a hydrogen energy infrastructure, driving energy efficiency and security in the Central Asian country. The proposed hydrogen energy infrastructure, and introduction of further renewable energy sources into Uzbekistan’s energy mix, requires the implementation of scientific research. The announcement builds upon existing measures taken by Uzbekistan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy/resource consumption via energy-saving technologies, and increasing the use of renewable energy sources. This Decree follows an agreement signed earlier this year between the Uzbekistan Energy Ministry, Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and US’ Air Products for the development of hydrogen and renewable energy in Uzbekistan. In the fields of hydrogen energy and renewable energy, the Institute will implement scientific and practical research; develop innovative projects; analyse modern global development trends; and seek to achieve technological leadership in infrastructure provision. The Decree outlines measures to support a widespread introduction of innovative technologies to develop hydrogen energy and renewable energy sources; build a hydrogen energy infrastructure to promote energy efficiency and security; and enable Uzbekistan’s transition to a green economy. “Today’s Decree supporting the construction of a hydrogen energy infrastructure, and further development of renewable energy sources, is a great step forward in this process,” he added. In 2018, Uzbekistan ratified the Paris Agreement with the aim of developing clean energy sources, committing to reduce specific greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP by 10% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.   “Uzbekistan is committed to tackling climate change and introducing environmentally friendly, renewable energy sources into the country’s energy mix,” Uzbekistan’s Energy Minister Alisher Sultanov said on April 9. The Decree has considered structural changes in demand for energy resources, and focuses on the development of  hydrogen energy, which alongside renewable energy sources, are environmentally friendly and can help Uzbekistan achieve a green economy, the Uzbek Energy Ministry said. A research centre for hydrogen energy, and a laboratory for testing and certification of renewable and hydrogen energy technologies, will also be created as part of the Institute, the Uzbek Energy Ministry said. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Uzbekistan formalizes hydrogen energy strategy

By New Europe Online/KG

An electrolyse stack in the hydrogen power plant of the APEX Energy company in Laage, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. This research will be carried out by the National Research Institute of Renewable Energy Sources (“the Institute”), newly created by today’s Decree under the Ministry of Energy.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson reminded that wind energy remained an attractive investment despite the pandemic. The bigger wind farms are increasingly being turned into business entities with their own management teams and financial reporting, capable of raising debt on their own. And there are not enough staff in the permitting authorities to process the applications, not even the existing volumes let alone the higher volumes needed for our climate and energy goals. “The challenge currently facing the sector therefore lies not in access to capital, but in accessing a pipeline of investable projects. According to WindEurope, wind farms continue to be financed with 60-80% debt and 20-40% equity. So is the money. “But this is much less than what Europe needs to deliver its 2030 climate and energy goals. The EU needs to build 27 GW of new wind energy a year to deliver its new 55% emission reduction target. The revision of the EU Renewables Directive in the ‘Fit for 55’ package needs to tackle this. Banks lent a record €21bn of non-recourse debt to new wind farms in 2020. Another important trend is the growing role of corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) in supporting the financing of wind farms, WindEurope said. The investments cover 20 GW of new capacity that will be built in the coming years, 13 GW of it in the European Union. Most Member States are not meeting the permitting deadlines set out in the EU Renewable Energy Directive. Each new turbine generates €10 million of economic activity in Europe. But the right policies are missing, notably on the permitting of new farms where rules and procedures are too complex. Turkey was the 5th biggest investor with €1.6 billion, Poland 6th with €1.6 billion. The money’s out there, but not enough new projects are coming through,” WindEurope said. Governments need to simplify their permitting and ensure there are people to process the permit applications. Large projects boosted the offshore numbers, including Dogger Bank in the UK which will be Europe’s largest wind farm when completed and Hollandse Kust Zuid in the Netherlands. Europe confirmed €43 billion of investments in new wind farms in 2020, the second highest amount on record and 70% up on 2019,Wind Europe said in its annual report “Wind Energy Financing and Investment Trends,” adding that €17 billion was for onshore wind, covering 13 GW of new capacity and €26 billion was for offshore wind, covering 7 GW of new capacity. EPA/JESUS DIGES/FILE PICTURE

Germany and France invested the most in onshore wind, new WindEurope report shows

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Europe needs more wind energy to deliver its 2030 climate and energy goals, WindEurope said in a report on April 13. Investors are working hard to address this gap by delivering innovative capital structuring solutions that help make new projects happen,” Northam said. “The technology is available. Corporate and industrial energy consumers are increasingly keen to source power directly from wind farms, the trade body said, adding that 2020 saw 24 new wind energy PPAs covering more than 2 GW of capacity, signed across a range of sectors including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, telecoms and ICT. This confirms wind energy is perfectly positioned to support Europe’s economic recovery from COVID. Bank finance remains crucial, and more and more of it is project-specific rather than corporate debt, especially in offshore wind.   And the expansion of wind energy envisaged in the National Energy and Climate Plans can create 150,000 new jobs by 2030,” Dickson said. But last year’s investments cover only 13 GW of new wind capacity in the EU, WindEurope said. Permitting rules and procedures are too complex, which delays projects and adds costs – this results in fewer projects being developed. Dickson stressed that Europe wants more wind energy to deliver its climate and energy goals. EPA/JESUS DIGES

A wind turbine farm in Spain. Green Investment Group Europe head Edward Northam said wind projects present an extremely attractive opportunity for investors because they are one of the most mature, proven renewable technologies that can be delivered at scale. Germany and France invested the most in onshore wind. “Given the right revenue stabilisation mechanisms are in place, there is plenty of capital available to finance wind. According to the trade body, permitting remains the main bottleneck. France also financed its second and third offshore wind farm. The Netherlands were next with €8 billion. Then France (€6.5 billion) and Germany (€4.3 billion). The EU’s new 55% emissions reduction target for 2030 requires 27 GW a year of new wind energy in the EU. Otherwise there’s no point having a higher renewables target,” he said. The UK accounted for €1 3billion of the €43 billion investments. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>EU’s 55% emissions cut target for 2030 requires 27 GW a year of new wind energy

By New Europe Online/KG

epa05517478 The sun sets over the wind turbine farm of El Perdon in Navarra, Spain, 31 August 2016. The main problem is the slow rate of permitting of new wind farms.

Asked if this signals a change in attitude in Berlin, Yafimava said that is a minority view whereas the attitude of the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has remained unchanged, namely that construction must be completed. We will inform about further planning in due time,” the spokesperson added. With over 95% of the pipeline complete, Washington may not be able to stop the Nord Stream 2 project. “We agree with European governments and the EU Commission that US sanctions actions against companies conducting legitimate business in the EU on the Nord Stream 2 project are contrary to international law and a violation of Europe’s energy sovereignty,” the Nord Stream 2 spokesperson argued, adding that it is up to these governments and the European Commission to protect companies operating in Europe from unlawful extraterritorial sanctions. Peter Beyer, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Germany’s coordinator for transatlantic relations reportedly called for a temporary halt to the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas to give Merkel’s government time to work on resetting ties with the US. “If any of the alleged third-party interference incidents resulted in violation of that prohibited area it would be for the Danish authorities to take measures to stop it,” she explained. In early January, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reportedly said the federal government will not change its position on Nord Stream 2. Meanwhile, Nord Stream 2 said the company does not comment on speculations on US sanctions actions on the project. There are approximately 93 kilometres in Danish waters and approximately 28 kilometres in German waters to be laid. “But I’d argue there won’t be much on offer from Europe/Germany as they know that the US itself is weary of imposing sanctions on European companies and the damage it would do to US-Europe relations,” Yafimava said. “I would expect Nord Stream 2 to do as much pipe-laying as possible and as fast as possible by using both Fortuna and Cherskiy,” Katja Yafimava, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told New Europe on April 9. EPA-EFE/JENS KOEHLER/FILE PICTURE

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As the new US administration under Joe Biden is reportedly weighing additional sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, the pipelay barge Fortuna is continuing pipelay works in the Danish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the pipelay vessel Akademik Cherskiy is implementing preparatory works prior to commencing pipelay. On January 18, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said the EU opposes unilateral sanctions affecting EU companies conducting legitimate and lawful business activities as is the case of the legislation vis-à-vis Nord Stream 2. “My view remains that the Biden administration wants to stop/complicate the project but does not want to sanction any European companies involved in it,” Yafimava said, explaining that the February sanctions report only listed the Russian Fortuna and its owner. At the same time, the Oxford energy expert argued that the Biden administration wants to “trade” its non-imposition of sanctions on European companies in exchange for something – a quid pro quo. follow on twitter @energyinsider The pipelaying vessel had traveled more than 10,000 kilometers from Nakhodka, Russia to the Baltic Sea. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Berlin, Moscow await next US steps on Nord Stream 2

By Kostis Geropoulos
Energy & Russian Affairs Editor, New Europe

The Russian pipelayer vessel Akademik Cherskiy is at anchor in Binz, island Ruegen, northern Germany, May 10, 2020. “Therefore, one could expect the US to ratchet up the sanctions threat during the period preceding the adoption of the next sanctions report at the end of May with the aim of scaring more European companies away from the project,” Yafimava said. “Approximately 121 kilometres or 5% remain. Asked what are the next steps after Nord Stream 2 is completed in Danish waters and when is it supposed to come into operation, Yafimava said, “I think Nord Stream could finalize construction of both strings in 2021, but the start of operations appears more uncertain – subject to German NRA certification and whether the politics will be able to influence this independent entity’s decision – and could be anything between winter 2021-22 and winter 2023-24”. “Halting Nord Stream 2 construction would dramatically weaken the Germany’s position vis-à-vis the US in respect of the aforementioned quid pro quo and would only enable the US to drive a tougher bargain,” Yafimava said. Regarding alleged incidents with other vessels and low-flying “foreign planes” reportedly appearing close to Nord Stream 2’s vessels, Yafimava explained that according to the Danish maritime authority notice to mariners, there is a temporary prohibited area with a radius of 1.5 nautical miles around Fortuna and Cherskiy. “The commissioning of Nord Stream 2 is in the interest of Europe’s energy security, European consumers, and EU economic competitiveness,” the spokesperson said. “As of March 31, a total of 2,339 kilometres out of 2,460 kilometres or 95% of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline have been laid, a spokesperson for Nord Stream 2 pipeline told New Europe on April 9.

style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Energy Week Central Asia & Mongolia 2021 highlights renewable energy project potential

By New Europe Online/KG

epa05563683 A photograph made available on 30 September 2016 showing a wind turbine at the site of the highest wind park in Europe at the Griessee, near the Nufenenpass in the Swiss south Alpes, Valais, Switzerland, on 23 September 2016. EPA/OLIVIER MAIRE

EPA/OLIVIER MAIRE

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Central Asia’s promising renewable energy projects, including Uzbekistan’s clean energy ambition and reaching its climate action goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and dependency on fossil fuels will be the focus of a leading energy conference later this month. The high-level international investment conference Energy Week Central Asia & Mongolia 2021 (https://camoenergyweek.com/) will take place on a virtual event platform on April 27-29 bringing together the authorities, project operators of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Mongolia, as well as IFIs/DFIs, multinational energy companies. The conference will highlight promising construction projects, current and planned tenders, reforms, support schemes and financing of renewable energy, supply chain sustainability after the pandemic and other pressing issues. The main objective of the event is to facilitate cooperation with international companies and financial institutions to attract foreign investment and advanced technologies to foster the deployment of projects in the field of hydropower, solar and wind energy, hydrogen energy, as well as energy storage systems. The list of speakers and guests include Senior Investment Officer, Renewable Energy Department, FMO; Senior Investment Specialist, ADB; Principal Banker, EBRD; Head of Department of Perspective Development and Capital Construction, Electric Stations (Kyrgyzstan); CEO, Sainshand Salkhin Park; Director, National Renewable Energy Centre (Mongolia); Deputy Chairman of the Board, Thermal Power Plants (Uzbekistan); Head of Strategic Development and Standardization Department, National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan; Head of the Tariffs, Pricing and Market Department, Energy Regulatory Commission of Mongolia; Deputy General Director, Chakan HPP and CEO, SolarTech. The four wind turbines of this wind park were developed by the company SwissWinds GmbH and are inaugurated on, 30 September 2016.

My client didn’t have permission to print them. All I’ve read are stories about wanting to understand. Biot is telling the truth in this regard. Everything about this case is certainly an earthquake for international relations, and it is all happening in Italy. We could autonomously verify which documents he could actually access in his position. FLICKR
RVD: Of course the economic situation is very difficult in the family. Sometimes people might have more than one sim card for various reasons. I have to reiterate that in terms of secret and classified documents, there are very rigorous procedures when giving permission to individuals to have this access. It was only in the news, I don’t know then why the media said that and I don’t know what their sources were. They must be printed. Italy has since expelled the Russian allegedly involved in the case, as well as another embassy official. The seized documents have yet to be fully scrutinized by the presiding judge. NE: As the Russian Embassy was involved in the case, what was the relationship between your client and the Russian diplomats? The judge said the evidence showed the officer used four different mobile phones and “had no scruples betraying his duty and the trust of the Italian for personal economic reasons.”

New Europe (NE): How would you define the documents that the accused officer gave to the Russians? NE: You had the chance to discuss these issues with important American journalists about the perception on the other side of the Atlantic about the suspected involvement of a NATO ally passing on secret information to the Russians regarding NATO. You have to know that for this crime you could get a life sentence. From the communications and from the places where they were, it’s clear that they were being used by his sons. What kind of access did he have to classified documents? In the investigation file, this fact was never mentioned. Without trying to understand. This led him to have access to evaluation and policy documents, but not to documents for the management of operations or details about the capabilities of NATO”. Italian naval officers. RDV: It is very simple, the sim cards were registered for different family members. Roberto De Vita (RDV): First, we have to take into consideration the sort of documents available to Biot. Obviously, he had his own phone. NE: Do you think that your client could have been in such a difficult economic situation as to justify committing a potentially criminal act like handing over secrets to an adversary? The problem here is that this case started from an assumption. About the relationship with the Russian embassy official, my client will explain everything in detail during the next interrogation session. Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio called the issue a “hostile act of extreme gravity.” The Italian media has quoted the judge presiding over the case as saying that the officer’s actions were “not isolated or sporadic, but well-planned”. Even Ambassador Gianpiero Massolo, who was Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared that there could not have been any damage to NATO or national security. Some media reported that my client met a Russian officer during a reception at an embassy, about this I can stress that Biot never entered a Russian Embassy or Consulate, or any other countries’ diplomatic missions. Since the beginning of the case, when he was arrested, Boit was very clear that he never had access to documents that were deemed “state secrets” or highly classified. These problems were related to the disability of his youngest daughter. RDV: My perception is that from a NATO, but also from an international, point of view that they took into consideration this case as it was presented by Italy. It is easy to verify what kind of information is being transited on a daily basis from like Biot. The Italian naval officer was arrested after Italy’s special operations force allegedly caught him in a parking lot handing over a flash drive with documents stored on it to an individual from the Russian Embassy in exchange for €5,000. The answer is very clear, I think. It is then important to say that highly classified documents can’t be seen on a PC because they undergo another procedure. through different layers, where the truth was. It is possible to concretely verify which secret information Biot had access to. It is easy to verify all this because there is a specific office that tracks all classified material that could be compromised. The other phones were being used by other family members. What is your feeling about that? In this case, I don’t think that this is the correct way to handle this matter. WIKIPEDIA

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Amid the fallout of an espionage case involving an Italian naval captain, Walter Biot, and his alleged passing on of classified information to Russia’s intelligence services, New Europe spoke with Roberto De Vita, one of Biot’s attorneys, about the case. This is the first issue, but the other idea is to understand if it was worth it for him to commit this kind of crime. He also claimed not to have access to information or documents that concerned national security or operational activities. Also, from the Russian side, there was always a quiet attitude about the whole situation. RDV: First of all, there wasn’t any relationship between my client and the Russian citizen in question, or other countries’ embassies or consulates. There has been a communication mistake, at the beginning of this case, that had a negative impact on my client, but also on public opinion at an international level. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>INTERVIEW with Roberto De Vita: Italy’s espionage scandal

By Federico Grandesso
Italian Editor, Journalist

The Palazzo Marina, headquarters of Italy's Navy Staff, in Rome. So, if this was true, should we wonder why he supposedly did it for only €5,000? At the same time, I felt, in Italy, there were a lot of emotions even before anyone understood the real facts. An Italian officer was caught in a car with a Russian diplomat. NE: One element that the media underlined was the use of four different sim cards by your client, can you tell me more about this? To give you a better clarification on this, we should consider what Lorenzo Guerini, the Italian Defense Minister, said in front of the parliament’s defense committee: “The officer had a position that authorized him to see classified material, but his responsibilities did not feature command or management activities. As we can trace everything, I can also exclude the possibility that my client could have ever met the Russian official at a reception in an Italian institutional place. What was only highlighted is that the documents are listed as ‘highly confidential’, and therefore as an assumption, they are supposed to be relevant in terms of national security. My client confirmed then that he never took part in such events. The place where Biot was working was not an operational command, and it is not dealing with strategic detailed activities, but it is only dealing with policies and producing analyses, but not from an intelligence point of view. Nobody can deny this fact, and because of this, we excluded the possibility that highly sensitive documents could have been in the hands of Biot. From east to west, there was an immediate understanding that this issue could be downplayed. I still haven’t read any specific news from the US or other NATO countries about the situation. The documents’ author can easily be confirmed, as well as who has security clearance to access the information. This speech from the Defense Minister confirms that the security of the country and of NATO was never put in danger.

According to the Uzbek Energy Ministry, this ground-mounted project will significantly increase Uzbekistan’s current solar PV installed capacity and contribute to the Government’s plans to boost energy generation capacity to 30 GW, including 5 GW of solar by 2030. The signing of the PPA with National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan, IA with the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, with Phanes Group took place on April 1. Solar energy is an important part of this strategy and Phanes Group’s assistance will contribute to the success of this latest project,” Khodjaev said. Earlier, Ravnaq-bank and Phanes Group signed a memorandum of cooperation and cooperation in implementation of projects and initiatives. UZBEKISTAN ENERGY MINISTRY

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Dubai-based international solar energy developer Phanes Group have signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Investment Agreement (IA) for a 200 MWАС grid-connected solar PV plant in Nurata, Navoi Region, Uzbekistan. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Dubai-based Phanes Group inks agreements to develop solar power plant in Uzbekistan

By New Europe Online/KG

(L-R) Artikov Sobirjon Sadullaevich, first deputy chairman of the board for the implementation of investment projects, capital construction, localization, expansion of cooperative relationships in industry and information technology of National Electric Networks of Uzbekistan and Phanes Group CEO Martin Haupts sign the Power Purchase Agreement in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “With this agreement Phanes Group shares the vision for Uzbekistan’s clean energy ambition and reaching its climate action goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and dependency on fossil fuels.”
Uzbekistan’s Deputy Energy Minister Sherzod Khodjaev hailed the Power Purchase and Investment Agreements between the Uzbek government and Phanes Group. The PPA and IA between Phanes Group and the Uzbek government includes the technical and commercial terms for building, owning and operating a 200 MWAC solar PV project including facilities connecting to Khimiya 220/110 kV Substation, Uzbekistan’s Energy Ministry said in a press release on April 6. “Uzbekistan earned the Economist’s title of country of the year in 2019 and the nation is now regarded as a rising powerhouse in Central Asia,” Phanes Group CEO Martin Haupts said. Ravnaq-bank CEO Tursunov Iskandar Bakhtinurovich noted that recently renewable energy sources generate high interest among the industry community, and Uzbekistan also strives to follow modern trends in development of the power industry, especially as the country has a great natural, technical and economic potential for the large-scale implementation of such projects. “Our country is strongly committed to a low-carbon strategy and increasing the share of renewable energy in our energy mix. Ravnaq-bank will act as a coordinator between Phanes Group, the international developer of solar energy, and the state organizations of Uzbekistan.

As the project nears completion, a few ideas have been tossed around that do not involve stopping it cold and the train wreck that ensues. Another idea that could be realized in conjunction with the first proposal would be to charge a special tax – we at New Europe are calling it the “Navalny Tax”, in reference to the political prisoner and leader of Russia’s anti-Putin opposition, Alexey Navalny – on all gas delivered via Nord Stream-2. On that one, the real work is for the lawyers and diplomats. EPA-EFE/FABIO FRUSTACI

EPA-EFE//FABIO FRUSTACI

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The nearly complete Nord Stream-2 pipeline may not be the perfect storm, but it does present Washington and Berlin with a list of terrible options. Navalny was detained after his arrival to Moscow from Germany on 17 January 2021.  
Again, more work for the lawyers and diplomats. By New Europe
The European political newspaper

epa08963958 A view of a large poster depicting Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny behind bars with a dove freeing him from detention, by an unidentified street artist known as Harry Greb, in downtown Rome, Italy, 25 January 2021. A Moscow judge on 18 January ruled that he will remain in custody for 30 days following his airport arrest. Navalny urged Russians to take to the streets to protest against President Putin’s rule. A US-EU foundation with precisely that focus could be established and at least partially funded from the proceeds from the Navalny tax. Much has been written about the near-fatal impact on the United States’ outreach to its European allies if the Biden Administration does what it believes is needed to block the project’s rush to completion, all in the name of reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas supplies, and the potential for “weaponization of energy” that this project hands Moscow. One objective would be to make Nord Stream-2 less competitive than older pipelines.   
What if guarantees could be worked out so that the countries currently receiving transit fees for Russian gas shipments would receive the same payments in the future, no matter how much gas is diverted through Nord Stream-2?            
The second but critical objective would be to support democratization projects in and around the former Soviet Union. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Nord Stream-2: Why not establish a Navalny tax?

The first response it received, however, was something I should have predicted. Conservatives need to do the same; the current drudgery of ideas – so far that there are any – is hardly inspiring. If there’s one thing that I admire about the political Left – well, it might be the only thing – it’s their willingness to occasionally embrace out-of-the-box ideas (I’m trying very hard to write ‘radical’ here). Before I give the details, I should first explain that there is something of a stereotype of British conservatives that more often than not turns out to be fairly accurate. I found myself rather in sympathy with this fictionalised portrayal of the old battleaxe, as Christopher Hitchens once called her, since I have lately had cause to think much the same. There’s nothing remotely admirable about pretending everything is fine when knife crime is at all-time high, and it isn’t as though we can pull together when the problem is within our own borders. This isn’t because  I find the subject matter disinteresting, but is instead due to a fear that it’s going to be overly American and riddled with inaccuracies; besides, with the recent Harry and Meghan drama dominating headlines and social media, I’ve rather had my bellyful of the Royals lately, monarchist though I am. Yet something the other day did catch my interest. To Europeans, this might explain how Brexit happened. Well, again, I had stressed that the military would be under direct police authority and direction. I explained that there is precedent for this, and highlighted the security measures taken over the 2012 Olympics, as well as comparable practices employed by our European friends, whose military and police forces are far more closely entwined than our own. Although in truth I may be looking too deeply into this, since the man I’m thinking of wrote ‘there’ when he meant ‘their’. My phone’s YouTube app autoplayed itself onto a scene from the show in which Margaret Thatcher is bemoaning her difficulties as leader of the Conservative Party (and what that says about my YouTube search preferences you must judge for yourselves). Middle-aged, of course, and while usually middle class, will often defend to the hilt the social and economic higher-ups to whom they’d love to belong. “The Army isn’t trained to do the police’s job,” it said, apparently ignoring the part of my post in which I’d explained how the military would have to go through months of re-training to do what I suggest. This is an enduring problem with British conservatives, with their view that ‘Dunkirk spirit’ and the much-vaunted British stiff upper lip will see us through any difficulties. The only comment on my post, therefore, was not surprising. EPA-EFE//JESSICA TAYLOR

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As a patriotic sort of chap, I have taken great pains to avoid watching The Crown. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Tory Story: Why Britain’s Conservatives need to change

By Timothy Ogden
A UK-born freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, focusing on defence matters

epa08969121 A handout photo made available by the UK Parliament shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson during Prime Ministers Questions in the House of Commons in London, Britain, 27 January 2021. It was, if I say so myself, rather well reasoned, argued, and researched – and as I seem to recall writing at the time, desperate times call for desperate measures. Although UK street crime is apparently completely beyond control, nobody is proposing anything other than “get the money for 20,000 more police officers”, which fails to acknowledge the complaints of police officers who claim they are not properly trained, equipped, or prepared to deal with what they are asked to face. Besides, the response is usually “there’s no money” – hence my suggestion to bring in military personnel, who currently aren’t doing much beyond helping to distribute vaccines, and whose impending reduction in size in the latest Defence Review will be accompanied by increased use of technology and robotics. If you were wondering why the current Conservative government seems so listless and uninspired, perhaps this might explain it: they are people who crave power, but have absolutely no idea what to do with it once they’ve won it. I should make it clear that those two ideas are things that I prize about the culture most, but the way in which they’ve been used is something that I find vexing. Indeed, I’d say that it’s far more in the Dunkirk spirit to do something radical about the problem of crime in Britain than it is just to grumble online hark back to days gone by, and think the issues will simply resolve themselves. To remain on the issue of knife crime, I’m not sure I’d feel any better if the government did actually put 20,000 more police on the streets, since they’ve basically admitted to being too terrified or too poorly trained to do anything about the problem anyway. Besides, it’s hardly a good endorsement of the British people that the only reason they’ve stopped stabbing each other is that now they might actually get caught. In the clip, she says something along the lines of her Tory MPs being “stuck in their ways….they have no imagination”. Take, for instance, the subject matter of a piece I published on these pages, in which I argued that if Britain’s street crime problem is as bad as the media are claiming and the police admitting, our Armed Forces – who currently have no wars to fight – might be called in to land their manpower. EPA-EFE/JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT: JESSICA TAYLOR / UK PARLIAMENT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the PM's questions in the House of Commons. Note: I must say, although I don’t approve of any slashes to the military budget and remain wary of robotics, I do rather like the idea of a Terminator with a cut-glass British accent: for ‘I’ll be back’, see ‘I shall return momentarily’, and for ‘Come with me if you want to live’, use ‘Would you mind awfully joining me in the event you wish to prolong your lifespan…?’
Indeed, I was so pleased with my idea that I even rewrote it and posted it on the Conservative Party’s policy ideas forum; again, desperate times, desperate measures. You might find the left-wing media sneering at these people as the ‘golf-club sweater brigade’, but again, if you are unfortunate or unwise enough to visit a British golf club, you’ll see that there’s something in it; boozy red faces complaining about their wives or the government, talking with great authority and questionable accuracy about policy, patronising anyone under the age of 35, and occasionally speaking with censorious admiration of strongmen figures like Vladimir Putin. “On no account should this be a police state”.

 
When it comes to Ukraine, the spectre of another potential Russian military offensive is by no means welcomed but does present certain political advantages for Kyiv to exploit. For Putin, it might be more severe than most. Given the diverse set of domestic problems with no end in sight, it is unlikely to resonate positively with locals who remain laser-focused on government accountability and exiting the pandemic. The recent success of three Russian submarines punching their way through Arctic ice is all too choreographed and a preview of what state propaganda has planned. Furthermore, the aid package included radar units for countering artillery; support for satellite imagery and analysis capability; and equipment to support military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures. Some countries have even gone ahead and brought back the draft because Russia’s recent behaviour has the Baltic republics and Central Europe rattled. While there is a political imperative to change the domestic narrative, the risk-reward paradigm for raising tensions with Ukraine is mismatched. With national standards of living on the decline and pent-up social frustrations simmering over COVID-19, Putin can no longer disregard the domestic unease engulfing the country. None more glaring than the lack of judicial reform. Add in the national outrage over the assassination and imprisonment of Alexey Navalny, and suddenly the question of regime survival is not so trivial. With Russian forces massing on Ukraine’s border, he unexpectedly finds himself in a position to present an image of a country under siege and desperately in need of western aid. EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

A Ukrainian soldier fires a rocket propelled grenade launcher during a training session near the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Petersburg, over the removal of a popular regional governor serves as the truest proof of the political trouble the Kremlin is in.  
For someone who is lotted for being a master tactician, Putin has mishandled this situation. Should the Kremlin go ahead with a military operation, they would do well to temper expectations. Another $150 million is slated to Kyiv, should both the State and Defense Departments certify that Ukraine has made sufficient progress on key defense reforms. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>A ‘burn’ on the Ukrainian border

By Roger Hilton
Defense and Security Fellow, GLOBSEC

epaselect epa04689116 An Ukrainian serviceman of the ‘Donbass battalion’ fires a rocket propelled grenade launcher during a training session at a shooting range near of the eastern city of Mariupol, Ukraine, 01 April 2015. Though this equipment will not change the military balance, it will allow Ukrainian forces to increase their lethality and force Russian authorities to go to greater lengths to conceal the deaths of servicemen from a wary public back home. This unpleasant sensation is exactly what could happen to Russian President Vladimir Putin if he continues his foolish statecraft with his southern neighbor. Eastern Europe is seeing an upswing in military exercises, people training to be reservists and talk of resuming conscription. Should the former Dresden KGB resident select the former, it would be a failure on two fronts. The sight of summer protests in Khabarovsk, not cosmopolitan Moscow or St. With the vaccine rollout inside Ukraine behind schedule and stubborn corruption hindering foreign investment, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s western supporters remain underwhelmed by the state of progress he promised. A mortar mine tail in the Ukrainian village of Shyrokino. Just last month, the Pentagon announced a $125 million military aid package for Ukraine, that included two Mark VI patrol boats to defend its territorial waters. With his political legitimacy at stake, Putin is looking to recreate this winning political strategy by distracting locals with foreign escapades and promises of future imperial grandeur. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 01 April urged the warring parties in Ukraine to follow through on their February truce and implement the rest of the promises aimed at ending the conflict. Even more troubling, is news that the White House will appoint a special envoy to lead negotiations on halting the final stages of the project’s construction. Berlin’s support of the project, already under heavy scrutiny, will only be intensified as Moscow’s actions only serve to confirm existing preconceptions of Germany’s NATO Allies. It would be ineffective in changing the current domestic narrative and indirectly further Ukraine’s long-term strategic goals of tighter relations with the United States and NATO membership. Consequently, Ukraine as the next battleground to project this political policy is logical due to its proximity and Russia’s overwhelming escalation domination. His 2014 annexation of Crimea catapulted his sluggish approval ratings and subdued growing dissatisfaction with his governance. These calls for support have been heeded by the Biden Administration with both action and rhetoric. Furthermore, it concentrates Western governments to the failures of the Minsk Accords and puts a new spotlight on the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission reports in the Donbass, which continues to report countless ceasefire violations and fatalities. Above all else, this violent prospect has reawakened western fatigue in the bilateral conflict, that had slid down the global security agenda with the onset of Covid and the American-China rivalry. Signs of a Russian military build at the Ukrainian border are well documented and suggest preparations are underway for an imminent invasion or at a bare minimum some extreme sabre-rattling. Finally, any operation resulting in Russian casualties would surely raise the media profile of the International Memorial Society, a national NGO that reports on Russian soldiers killed in action, which holds great respect throughout much of the country. Although Russian citizens long tolerated the pervasive kleptocracy under the Putin regime, the current levels of graft have reached a breaking point. On the diplomatic stage, the evolving security situation has provided Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minster Dmitry Kuleba with newfound ammunition to attack the credibility of Russia as a strategic and reliable partner with Germany vis-à-vis the Nord Stream II pipeline. EPA-EFE//SERGEY VAGANOV
If that speculation were not enough to send Putin into a tailspin, the announcement that the Biden Administration was seriously exploring Ukrainian membership in NATO might have sent him into anaphylactic shock. The word ‘gorilka‘ is derived from the verb ‘gority‘, which means ‘to burn’ in Ukrainian. None of which are accomplished by invading Ukraine. Not only will any foreign adventure fail to sway his popularity, but it will reinforce the value of NATO and continue to legitimize a path for Ukrainian membership. Like most short-sided strategies, there is a high likelihood to get burned. EPA-EFE//ROMAN PILIPEY

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If you have been to Ukraine, you have surely tried ‘gorilka‘, the national vodka-style spirit. Of all the cardinal sins adversaries can commit against the Kremlin, none is more offensive than the prospect of NATO membership to perceived vassal states. To be clear, Putin has been in a similar predicament and survived.

The conclusion was reached after more than 80 cases in Europe were reviewed, 18 of which were fatal. European Union 2021 / EMA Twitter Page

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it has found a possible link between the Coronavirus jab, developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca and the Oxford University and the occurrence of blood clots. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>EU medicine regulator finds possible link between AstraZeneca jab and blood clots

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

EMA’s safety committee (#PRAC) has concluded its review of very rare cases of unusual blood clots with AstraZeneca #COVID19 vaccine. “However, the PRAC has confirmed that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing Covid-19 overall outweigh the risks of side effects,” said Emer Cooke, EMA’s executive director. The Chair of EMA’s safety committee, Sabine Straus said that “although most of the cases occurred in people under 60 years and in women, due to different ways the vaccine in being used in different countries, PRAC did not conclude that age and gender were clear risk factors for these very rare side effects.”
PRAC said that the blood clots occurred in veins in the brain and in arteries, together with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding, noting that “one plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, leading to a condition similar to one seen sometimes in patients treated with heparin.” 
The EU agency stressed that although the chance of having this side effect is very low, it is imperative that the receivers of the jab be aware of the possibility in order to get prompt medical treatment. “EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria,” the Amsterdam Based company said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“Today, the United States is imposing sanctions on the Republic of Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) pursuant to Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms export entity, by procuring the S-400 surface-to-air missile system.  
Not a full arms embargo
Washington’s list of sanctions is less than a full arms embargo; readers will also recall Turkey had previously been ejected from the American F-35 fighter jet program. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>US sanctions for Turkey’s S-400 procurement come into effect

By Alec Mally
Director for Global Economic Affairs at IPEDIS

Russia's S-400 missile system on display

Sanctions had been announced by Trump administration last December

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The State Department revealed on April 5 that previously announced US sanctions on Turkey’s military-industrial sector would come into effect on April 7 with the publication of a US Federal Register notice.  
In legal terms, the sanctions applied to Turkey are considered secondary sanctions under CAATSA because the Turkish companies opted to conduct transactions with entities previously listed on the US List of Specified Persons (LSP).   Nonetheless, media reports of exploratory statements/trial balloons from Turkish officials regarding a similar arrangement continue to circulate. Washington and some of Turkey’s NATO allies had objected strenuously to this procurement decision, noting that sanctions were likely, but Turkey refused to back down. export licenses and authorizations to SSB and an asset freeze and visa restrictions on Dr. A similar scenario for the S-400’s would have them stored in their shipping boxes or transferred to third countries, but Turkey’s activation of the S-400 system’s radars would now seem to preclude a solution of this type.    
US sanctions under the CAATSA law, or the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (Public Law 115-44), were initially announced by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on December 14, in response to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia.   This is a reference to the transfer of Russian S-300s purchased by Cyprus in the late 1990s to the Greek island of Crete, to avoid having the system bombed by Turkey while under installation in Cyprus. Ismail Demir, SSB’s president, and other SSB officers.”
Those other senior SSB officers to be sanctioned have now been named. The American-made F-35 multirole combat aircraft, the most sophisticated fighter plane in the world, during an air policing operation led by NATO at the Keflavik Air Base in Iceland. The focus of the US sanctions is a relatively narrow band of Turkey’s defense industrial structure, much of which remains highly dependent on US technology and requires US authorization for technology re-exports. EPA-EFE//MICHAEL KLIMENTYEV
Readers of New Europe may recall that the Trump administration took the initiative last December to design and announce sanctions ahead of a looming Congressional deadline at that time, which as a result gave the Executive Branch more freedom to design the sanctions program.  
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shake hands during a joint news conference in the Kremlin in Moscow following their talks on further cooperation between the two respective countries. Previously, the three titles of CAATSA had been focused on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The sanctions include a ban on all U.S. elections. They include Faruk Yigit, SSB’s vice president; Serhat Gencoglu, SSB’s head of the Department of Air Defense and Space and Mustafa Alper Deniz, program manager for SSB’s Regional Air Defense Systems Directorate. Under CAATSA, the LSP is the list of Russian entities that are considered “primary sanctions targets” due to previously identified Russian foreign policy decisions in Ukraine, cyberspace, and intrusion in the 2016 U.S.  
The State Department explained last December 14 its rationale for the sanctions.   EPA-EFE//GIUSEPPE LAMI
The Crete model
Since December, there have been occasional Turkish media reports that something like the “Crete model” might be fleshed out and agreed to allow US sanctions to be removed.

Smoke rises from chimneys of gas boiler houses in Moscow. Fake news spread by Moscow continuously poured gasoline over the fire, leading to vandalism and street fights. All these factors deeply frighten Putin as he looks to remain in power for years to come. For the Kremlin, external incursions are not just a matter of rebuilding its power and influence nearly thirty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The general sentiment of uncertainty is governed by the massive army presence in Kaliningrad, especially because Russian aircraft are fond to be in frequent violation of Baltic air space. EPA-EFE//MAXIM SHIPENKOV
The tsar’s chair is shaking in the Moscow cold
Russia is in a full pandemic and economic crisis. This new mixture is far more powerful than the full scope of Russia’s historic military might. According to a RAND corporation report and a recent Swedish report, NATO would have great difficulty in protecting the Baltic states against a full-blown direct attack of Russia. But it’s a problem for me.”
The Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, but were only militarily free from post-Soviet influence in 1998. (U.S. Furthermore, the Baltics know that Russia has never lacked the theoretical ability to occupy their capitals – Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn. Russian incursions into other countries have left the world in shock.  
This atmosphere of hostility was followed by a full-blown cyberattack on Estonia’s government institutions, banks and newspapers. The Kremlin’s hand in the crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in Belarus and its role as a mediator – with specific self-interests – following the most recent Nagorno-Karabakh War between Azerbaijan and Armenia, were operations that were not carried out nearly as deftly as in Georgia and Ukraine. Roostat, the Federal Statistics Service, identified a 7.9% increase in food and beverages costs, with an extra increase of 1.2% registered as of this February. The number rises to 36% in Latvia (including 53% in the Latvian capital, Riga) and 4.5% in Lithuania. In 2015, after Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea, Putin was interviewed by Charlie Rose, a former American talkshow host. EPA-EFE//YURI KOCHETKOV

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During the events that unfolded in Georgia in 2008 and later in Ukraine in 2014, Russia has demonstrated great resolve in attaining geopolitical leverage by using brute force within manageable risks. Russia was the biggest divided nation in the world. By Cristian Rosu
A communications consultant and political analyst who has collaborated with several publications in Romania and abroad on issues in the fields on politics and international relations. Regardless, Russia’s intelligence services – the FSB (the successor to the KGB) and GRU – will try to destabilize the Baltics, even if those actions do not risk sparking a full-blown war with NATO. As a result, Putin’s external incursions into neighboring countries and his tsar-like public appearances are meant to mollify the fact that he simply cannot offer Russia a better economic future without reforms that would severely weaken his personal power. This has helped fuel the Kremlin’s confidence in its ability to carry out various forms of warfare abroad. Opposition demonstrators take part in an unauthorized protest in support of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny in St. Consequently, that realization has, in the years since the statue incident, prompted the three Baltic states to vastly improve their cyber-defense capabilities. The Baltics are now full members of NATO and the European Union, but are still wary of Russia and its tendency to pressure governments through aid from Russian-speaking minorities living abroad. A decision by the Estonian government to move a statue located in the country’s capital, Tallinn, which was dedicated to Soviet Red Army soldiers killed in World War II became a hot-button dispute between Estonian and Russian speakers. According to jamestown.org, 57 of the 85 constitutive territories of Russia (including the illegally annexed Crimea region) ran a deficit last year. Though they remain in danger as a result of the geographic positions, as NATO members the Baltic States have a powerful ally that can act as an effective strategic defense buffer in the event that Moscow makes any attempt to launch an incursion into one of the three countries. The anti-Putin movement was enabled by, amongst other things, Russia’s weakened economy. Putin has been a great exploiter of his and his country’s interests and has perfected the poisonous recipe of offering the prospect of a new Russian Empire in the face of growing economic and social unrest. Navalny has also garnered growing public support from the United States, Germany and some in the European Union’s institutions, as well as from rival factions within Russia’s power structures. The event revealed the depth of Russia’s strategy to fully destabilize neighboring countries with sizeable Russian-speaking minorities. This ethno-linguistic puzzle has always been firm ground for Russian mischief. Putin took advantage of the opportunity to reiterate his desire to reunite all Russian-speaking peoples with the Russian Federation, saying in the interview: “Do you think it’s normal that 25 million Russian people were ‘abroad’ all of a sudden? Joshua Leonard)
The threat from Russia has, in fact, ceased to be a long line of tanks ripping through the countryside of Eastern Europe, in a relentless march towards one of the region’s national capitals. For the first time since coming to power more than two decades ago, Putin is now facing a formidable opponent who carries significant political and social clout that has led to Navalny gaining loads of popular support throughout the country. Whenever Vladimir Putin wants to bring people together and relieve social or elite pressure, he organizes a war meant that plays on the idea that Russia is under siege. epa08366724 (FILE) Russian military servicemen march during the Victory Day parade, marking the 74th anniversary of the victory in the World War II over Nazi Germany, in Red square in Moscow, Russia, 09 May 2019. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

Russian military servicemen march during a Victory Day parade on Moscow's Red Square. Soldiers from the Latvian Army stand in formation before the start of a multi-national military exercise. The imprisonment and growing popularity of opposition leader Alexey Navalny has not helped the situation in any respect. A cybernetic attack that was organized by Russia’s intelligence services against Estonia in 2007 is a perfect example of how the Kremlin manipulates certain issues to drum up support from Russian-speaking minorities. Beyond the West’s economic sanctions, which did play a significant part in crippling segments of the Russian economy, and a lot of coverage in the Western media, Moscow was not subjected to considerable punishment for Russia’s actions. In order to save himself, yet again, Putin would need a forceful external action that would help him regain credibility and that prompts the Russian population into enduring more cold and hungry winter in order to expand on Putin’s neo-imperial ambitions. Army Europe photo by Spc. This economic unrest that is simmering throughout the country is further compounded by a band of powerful oligarchs that cannot be happy to see that London and Paris are not as willing to offer them either refuge or shopping sprees anymore. Russia also uses his military assets.  
Rattling the ethnic beehive is not the only ace up Kremlin’s sleeve. 30 years of actual siege for the Baltics
Putin is no stranger to building and riding on propaganda. According to gazeta.ru, cited by jamestown.org, several Russian experts have suggested that the Duma, Russia’s parliament, will have to pass legislation for the introduction of free food stamps for bread, milk and sugar for the poor. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>How real is the Russian threat to the Baltic States? Instead, Moscow’s means of applying pressure has greatly diversified in recent years and includes a mix of tactics, disinformation and fake news, propaganda, messianic prophecies, Russian capital, organized crime and money hidden deep in certain offshore fiscal paradises that are at the core of Russia’s power that it uses against the Baltics and other countries in Europe. There was no actual firm military answer from NATO. A study released by the Moscow Economic School in 2019 shows the collective deficit of all regional budgets in Russia is running as high as $9.09 billion or 677 billion rubles, the highest level recorded in the last 14 years. EPA-EFE//ANATOLY MALTSEV
The problems that Putin is now facing have a direct link to the downfall of Russians’ living standards. It’s not a problem? Petersburg, Russia, January 31, 2021. The single fact remains that if Navalny hadn’t had some internal support, he would have ceased to be an issue for the Kremlin long ago. The turmoil caused by COVID-19 to Russia’s economy has overlapped with growing concerns over perpetual grip on power and, ultimately, who will succeed him when his term comes to an end in 2036. According to reports on 16 April 2020, Russia postpones the annual Red Square World War Two parade over coronavirus. Russia’s internal complexities with regards to its economic and political dynamics push the Kremlin to consistently search for temporary silver-bullet solutions. Well, maybe not for you. This leads him to formulate policies that focus on returning Russia to the great power status that it enjoyed during the Soviet period. According to available stats, 25% of Estonian citizens speak Russian as their primary language. An increasing percentage of the Russian public has begun to adopt Navalny’s message about the future of the country.

Elemental Holding Vice President Michal Zygmunt said the project reflects the strategy of Elemental Holding focusing on the recovery and refining of critical raw materials, with the application of low-carbon-footprint technology and innovations. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide a loan of up to €25 million to Elemental Holding, which is a Polish company engaged in the collection and recycling of platinum-group metals and electrical waste, for a pioneering new facility to treat spent lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and other waste containing metals that are critical for e-mobility. The facility entails the deployment of state-of-the art innovative technology supplemented and co-financed by the Polish National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) with the support of the European Commission. The plant will produce secondary metals and other materials that can be reused as raw materials for new batteries or other applications, providing an essential service in the lithium-ion batteries value chain, the EBRD said, adding that these batteries are a core component of electric vehicles, sales of which are forecast to overtake those of petrol- and diesel-powered cars as the transition to a low-carbon economy progresses. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Poland builds first recycling plant for car batteries with EU help

By New Europe Online/KG

The EBRD will provide a loan of up to €25 million to Elemental Holding for a new facility to treat spent lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and other waste containing metals. The production and use of recycled batteries and metals can lead to carbon savings as high as 98 per cent compared to their primary counterparts, as well as to a more efficient use of scarce natural resources. Facebook

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With the help of the European Union, Poland will become the site of the first facility in the EU for recycling both car batteries and other waste containing metals, in response to the rapid rise of electric vehicles. “The EBRD is actively supporting Poland’s ambitious agenda to become a low-carbon economy and has already financed several large e-mobility projects with domestic and foreign investors,” he said. EBRD Manufacturing and Services Director Frederic Lucenet said this is an outstanding example of how new technology and progress with the green economy are working hand in hand. According to the bank, the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the circular economy in the e-mobility sector.

That lesson being establishing the connection between providing a consistent, fair, and legally based investment climate that would lead to consistent economic growth, an investment space that would energize economic growth and which is prepared to incorporate western investment dollars to grow Ukraine’s economy and encourage job creation. Because within this story, there are revealed the practices within Ukraine’s still dominant oligarchic business culture despite years of promised reforms. That negotiated agreements would be honored and contractual obligations be fulfilled. This was an illegal act according to Ukrainian energy laws which prevent electricity producers from being disconnected from the energy grid without their permission. In Ukraine’s courts? Third, they are comfortable in their manipulation of the country’s court system at every level. Being mindful of the potential economic fruits for consumers that would benefit through competitive pricing and/or in product or service availability by offering free market-based alternatives and choices. That is, operating and conducting business based on ‘trust’ and ‘fair play’. That is, establishing a free market based on the rule of law. As Ukraine’s politicians call for increased FDI by Western partners, it is not out of line for foreign investors to have the right to assume that business would be conducted in ‘good faith’. That is, establishing an effective legal and regulatory regime applicable to all and applied with fairness and honesty. To date, this illegal disconnection has caused more than $2.2 million (CDN) in monetary damages to TIU Canada. His latest book is "Ukraine – A Lament of a Promise". The current legal battle between TIU Canada, a mid-cap company focusing on Ukraine’s renewables sector and the notorious and recently US sanctioned oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky, is a sad and cautionary story for foreign investors who want to do business in Ukraine. Finally, cleaning up the courts and providing petitioners with the opportunity of receiving just decisions. That is, pursuing anti-monopolization efforts that would free up a corrupt economy which would then attract foreign investment capital in the context of a freer and competitive marketplace. Canadians were once again looking at Ukraine as an investment option. Ukrainian oligarchs are not wealth creators, but parasites who rely on controlling monopolies, continuously fighting against the establishment of free market competitive conditions. Discussions with both active and retired Western diplomats reveal an admittance of failure to articulate a broader connection between Western economic interests and Ukraine’s business practices. So how is this a cautionary story? Unfortunately, in Ukraine, after years-long efforts at judicial reform, most judges do not resist the temptation of literally selling their decisions for money. Thus, despite numerous promises and public declarations, successive governments continue to fail to transform the country’s business culture, especially in regard to the moral and legal foundations upon which sound business cultures are based. Since the EuroMaidan Revolution of 2013-14, successive governments have failed to demonstrate that they have learned and incorporated the most important lesson in regard to attracting sustained foreign investment. Second, oligarchs want to continue to benefit from government-guaranteed revenue streams. That is, respecting the foreign investor and recognizing the pivotal role that foreign investors play in Ukraine’s economic growth while providing some semblance of protection against internal manipulators. Ukraine, along with its Western partners and investors from the West, would show wisdom in heeding the lessons of the cautionary story represented by TIU’s fight against the oligarch Kolomoisky and his partners. In dispute, is the illegal disconnection of its 10.5 MW solar station from the electricity grid. The oligarchic intention is to maintain and expand monopolistic business practices that would maintain their hold on essential infrastructural investment and operations. It continues because individuals in government are too afraid of the consequences of standing up to these forms of intimidation, and don’t feel that they can rely on the integrity of the judicial system to halt such practices. EPA/MYKHAYLO MARKIV

Ukraine's most notorious oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky. In a foreign court? These practices continue, especially in regard to small and mid-cap investors, because in Ukraine it is still an expected, assumed, and accepted form of business practice. Their constant strategic goal is to keep out and firmly dissuade foreign investors from penetrating Ukraine’s potential growth opportunities in the renewables sector and to prevent market competition. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accepted the resignation of Dinpropetrovsk governor Igor Kolomoisky and replaced him with Valentyn Reznychenko, the presidential press service reported. Following two years of strenuous work, research, and construction, the Calgary based TIU Canada was opening its first solar energy station and becoming the first major investor under the new Canada Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA). Ukraine was finally going green and developing its domestic electricity resources to end its dependence on Russian energy. epa04678001 A picture made available on 25 March 2015 shows Igor Kolomoisky, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk region, at the Presidential Office in Kiev, Ukraine, 30 April 2014. How long will such stories be the norm and not the exception? However, despite multiple appeals and discussions, including direct talks with Kolomoisky, NFZ management proceeded with disconnecting TIU Canada from the substation on the morning of March 2, 2020, for supposed repairs within an indefinite timeframe. Through the application of diplomatic pressure? As Roman Washchuk, who served as Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine from 2014-2019, said, “It is clear Ukraine cannot succeed without rule of law ensuring a level playing field for foreign investors, including protection against oligarchic abuse.”Where does a mid-cap company such as TIU find fair and just relief in its fight against Ukraine’s most notorious oligarch, whose behavior has warranted recent US government sanctions for corruption to add to his existing investigation for fraud and money laundering? But the real question is why after the bloodshed of Euromaidan in 2014, are such practices continuing and tolerated? The oligarchic practice assumes that if a foreign investor cannot be dissuaded from walking away from their investments, either through acts of intimidation or direct business ‘raids’, they will ultimately flee the jurisdiction because the foreign investor is made to feel that they will not obtain fair recourse in the province of Ukraine’s judicial system. EPA-EFE//MYKHAYLO MARKIV

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It was a sunny, but bitterly cold January day in Nikopol in 2018, a typical industrial city on the Dnieper River in Ukraine’s southwestern heartland. And secondly, to assume that any disputes will be fairly resolved, if not through direct negotiation between parties, then through legal recourse based on the principle of ‘fair relief’ absent of corrupt intention. They admit that lack of sustained diplomatic pressure on Ukraine’s successive governments has failed to illustrate to Ukraine’s leaders the relationship between Western orientated business practices and its future economic growth and overall security, in addition to its quest in transforming its civic culture. Based in Kyiv, Polakiwsky is a noted writer and lecturer. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>TIU Canada vs Ukrainian oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky

By Yuri Polakiwsky
Canadian-born veteran political commentator, strategist, and consultant specialising in foreign policy and transatlantic relations. That is, showing a commitment to punishing or restraining unfair business practices. Three years later, the optimism is gone and the villain, in this case, is not Russia, but Ukraine’s own oligarchs.