Press Digest: Putin and Poroshenko agree plan for gas and Donbass disputes

As statements by Vladimir Putin have made clear, Moscow has managed to “reach an agreement with its Ukrainian partners on gas supplies to Ukraine, at least during the winter period.” Source: AFP / East News

As statements by Vladimir Putin have made clear, Moscow has managed to “reach an agreement with its Ukrainian partners on gas supplies to Ukraine, at least during the winter period.” Source: AFP / East News

RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on international events, featuring analysis of the bilateral meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Milan, U.S. criticism of Russia’s decision to station tactical nuclear weapons in Crimea, and a report on the hunt for a ‘Russian submarine’ outside Stockholm.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on the results of the meeting in Milan between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Oct. 17. At the political level, the two heads of state agreed on solutions to natural gas issues, and on the normalization of the situation in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. However, Kiev believes that problems may arise in the process of policy implementation.

As statements by Vladimir Putin have made clear, Moscow has managed to “reach an agreement with its Ukrainian partners on gas supplies to Ukraine, at least during the winter period.” However, the solution of this problem depends on locating financing, the newspaper writes. After the meeting in Milan there was also an announcement on another concession – Russia is willing to recalculate the total amount of Kiev’s gas debt, this time taking into account the $100 discount, in which case the debt will be $4.5 billion, instead of the previous $5.3 billion.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes that at the same time, the Russian president stressed that the resumption of gas supplies can only take place upon prepayment. The newspaper reminds its readers that the EU had previously expressed a willingness to provide financial guarantees, but would not go as far as paying for Ukraine’s gas.

In a separate editorial piece, Nezavisimaya Gazeta draws attention to how the crisis in relations between Moscow and Brussels has exposed problems in Russia’s relations with its partners in the Customs Union.

The publication writes that the Russian authorities have accused the European Commission of allowing the re-export of products from EU countries – in the EU, companies can legally offer deliveries of products that are under sanctions through third-party countries such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Serbia and Switzerland.

According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the Russian authorities should be questioning their colleagues in partner countries of the Customs Union, which are taking advantage of open borders to promote re-export to Russia of the same products about which Moscow has warned Brussels. “The fact that Moscow’s sanctions did not serve as a warning signal to Russia’s partner countries in the Customs Union has also been noticed in the EU countries,” emphasizes the newspaper.

Kommersant

According to the newspaper Kommersant, members of U.S. Congress have harshly criticized Russian military’s plans to place tactical nuclear weapons carriers in Crimea. This, according to the publication, refers to the stationing of Tu-22M3 strategic bombers and operational-tactical Iskander-M missile systems. The Russian Ministry of Defense has decided to deploy self-contained groups in Crimea, due to the sharply aggravated situation in Ukraine and the presence of foreign troops in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders.

According to the American legislators, these actions constitute a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union in 1987, as well as agreements between the Russian Federation and NATO signed in 1997, which allowed Russian military representatives to be present on the alliance’s bases and facilities. As a result of this, the congressmen have demanded a complete cessation of all contacts between NATO and the Russian military.

NATO was quick to announce that the expansion of the Russian military presence in Crimea would lead to “an increase of tensions in Europe”, but this has had no effect on Russian military’s plans, says Kommersant.

Moskovsky Komsomolets

MK (Moskovsky Komsomolets) informs its readers that the Swedish military is carrying out an intelligence operation in the Stockholm archipelago with optical surveillance devices and vessels with precision sensors. The fact is that the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, citing its own sources, has reported that they have found an accident-damaged Russian submarine among the islands of the archipelago. Ostensibly, Swedish radio monitoring services recorded a signal at a frequency the Russian Navy uses in emergencies.

MK notes that the Ministry of Defense of Russia has denied the information about a possible incident with one of their submarines. The ministry’s spokesperson said that the Russian Navy’s submarines are carrying out their tasks in areas of the oceans in accordance with set plans.

In the end, a large-scale search operation by the Swedish Armed Forces unearthed no proof that it was an accident-damaged Russian submarine in the waters of the Stockholm archipelago. However, since the “underwater activity has not abated,” it has been decided to extend the search operation for the unidentified object for another two days.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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