Digest of headline news as of 9:30 p.m. Moscow time on June 10:
BUSINESS & FINANCE
*** PUTIN WANTS OFFSHORE OIL, GAS PROJECTS TO USE RUSSIAN EQUIPMENT
President Vladimir Putin demanded that the Industry and Trade Ministry get across to Russian companies developing the continental shelf that the objective is to purchase the equipment they need primarily from Russian manufacturers.
The president raised this issue last week at a meeting in Astrakhan of the presidential commission for the development of the fuel and energy sector. He returned to this issue at a meeting in Arkhangelsk on the development of this region.
*** LUKOIL TO SELL FIRST 160,000 CARATS OF DIAMONDS IN SEPT
Lukoil plans to sell its first batch of 160,000 carats of rough diamonds in September, the Russian oil company's president, Vagit Alekperov told President Vladimir Putin during a visit to the Grib mine and processing plant.
"We haven't yet sold any diamonds. We're working with the [State Precious Metals and Gemstones Repository] Gokhran, which will only give its appraisal in September," he said.
*** RUSSIA QUALIFIES TO BUILD NPP IN ARGENTINA
Russia has qualified to build a nuclear power plant (NPP) in Argentina, the deputy director of Russian State Nuclear Energy Company Rosatom, Kirill Komarov, told journalists.
*** ROSATOM READY TO ASSIST NUCLEAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT IN INDONESIA
The Rosatom state corporation is prepared to assist in developing Indonesia's nuclear energy sector, Rosatom deputy head Kirill Komarov said at the Atomexpo 2014 forum in Moscow on Tuesday.
"Concerning Indonesia, we are located at the very start of the path," he said.
Indonesia's government is thinking about developing nuclear energy and nuclear technologies for use at medical centers, in scientific research, etc., he said.
*** RUSSIA TO USE 100 BLN RUBLES FROM NWF TO FINANCE CONSTRUCTION OF HANHIKIVI NPP IN FINLAND
Russia will use 100 billion rubles in funds from the National Welfare Fund (NWF) to finance the construction of the Hanhikivi nuclear power plant (NPP) in Finland, Deputy Economic Development Minister Nikolai Podguzov said during the Atomexpo 2014 forum in Moscow on Tuesday.
"With the NWF funds, the government is planning to invest around 100 billion rubles in this project," he said.
Podguzov added that the size of the funds "could float" since financing the plant takes place in euro.
*** QIWI ANNOUNCES SPO, IT AND SHAREHOLDERS TO SELL UP TO 29.5% OF ENLARGED CAPITAL
QIWI Plc has announced a secondary public offering (SPO) in which it and its shareholders will offer up to 29.5% of enlarged charter capital.
The company said it had filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed underwritten public offering of an aggregate of 7,973,330 of its Class B Shares represented by American Depositary Shares (ADSs), of which 1,993,330 Class B Shares represented by ADSs will be issued and sold by the company and 5,980,000 Class B Shares represented by ADSs will be sold by certain shareholders. The underwriters of the offering will have the option to purchase up to an additional 299,000 Class B Shares represented by ADSs from the company and 897,000 Class B Shares represented by ADSs from the selling shareholders.
*** RUSSIAN WATCHDOG BANS BEEF IMPORTS FROM NEW ZEALAND PROCESSOR
Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has banned imports of beef from New Zealand's Taylor Preston Limited.
Laboratory tests on product from the processor detected the presence of mesophilic aerobic and facultative anaerobic microorganisms.
*** THREE FUNDS INVEST $3 MLN IN IT GROUP GILLBUS
Venture funds InVenture Partners, Intel Capital and FinSight Ventures have invested $3 million in Gill Business Systems (GillBus), a Russian-Ukrainian group of IT companies, the funds said in a statement.
GillBus develops inventory distribution systems (IDS) for the travel market and online ticket sales.
*** CENTRAL BANK BOARD TO ESTABLISH NEW NATIONAL CARD SYSTEM OPERATOR JUNE 16
The Central Bank of Russia's board of directors will establish a new company to create a national payment cards system, at a meeting on June 16.
"We'll set the operator up in June 16," Georgy Luntovsky, a Central Bank first deputy head, told reporters at the State Duma.
*** CENTRAL BANK COULD START CIRCULATING COINS WITH NEW RUBLE SIGN NEXT WEEK
The Central Bank of Russia might start putting coins with the new ruble sign into circulation next week.
"We've received some of the coins and we'll put them into circulation next week," Georgy Luntovsky, a Central Bank first deputy head, told reporters at the State Duma.
*** GAZPROMBANK COULD PLACE EUROBONDS IN JUNE, POSSIBLY THIS WEEK - SOURCE
Gazprombank is thinking of placing Eurobonds in June and could do so imminently, a banking sector source with knowledge of the bank's plans told Interfax.
"If markets are favorable the placement could even take place this week," the source said.
These will be euro-denominated notes, the source said.
*** SBERBANK SIGNS COOPERATION AGREEMENTS WITH TWO MOROCCAN BANKS
Sberbank of Russia has entered into a cooperation agreement with two Moroccan banks, Attijariwafa Bank Group and Banque Centrale Populaire, Sberbank said in a press release.
"At the signing ceremony Sberbank was represented by Andrey Ivanov, Head of Trade Finance and Correspondence Relations Division at Sberbank CIB, and Attijariwafa Bank Group and Banque Centrale Populaire were represented by, Chairman and CEO Mohamed Elkettani and Group Chairman Mohamed Benchaaboun, respectively," the press release says.
"The agreement envisages cooperation between Sberbank and these two major Moroccan banks, including interaction with Sberbank CIB, the corporate and investment banking business of the Sberbank Group. The documents establish priority areas of cooperation in banking, namely: trade finance, the documentary business, correspondent banking, syndications, custody services and financial markets," Sberbank said.
*** VTB SIGNS COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH MOROCCAN ATTIJARIWAFA BANK
VTB has concluded a cooperation agreement with Moroccan Attijariwafa Bank, VTB said in a press release.
"The document provides for cooperation on investment, documentary credit operations, as well as project and trade financing," the press release says.
The agreement will expand VTB's opportunities on the African continent and boost business between Russia and Morocco, VTB's First Deputy President and Chairman of the Management Board Vasily Titov is cited as saying.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
*** FSB: ACTIVITY OF ELEVEN EXTREMIST GROUPS STOPPED IN SIBERIA IN PAST TWO YEARS
Security services continue to neutralize terrorists and extremists in the Siberian Federal District. The activity of eleven terrorist and extremist groups was stopped in the past two years, Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov said.
"Over the past two years alone the activity of eleven groups of international terrorist and foreign extremist religious organizations has been uncovered and stopped in that district," Bortnikov said at a meeting of the National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC) on Tuesday.
The number of youth radical right groups has been growing in the region; "they are advocating and resorting to terror and violence in pursuing their goals," he indicated.
*** FSB: CRIMINAL CASE OPENED AGAINST V-DAY TERROR ATTACK PLOTTERS
The Federal Security Service department in the Moscow city and region has opened a criminal case against a group of Russian citizens contemplating a terror attack in the Moscow region on V-Day, May 9.
"They planned to stage the terror attack with a blast of a homemade bomb packed with shrapnel [bolts, screws and nails] during May 9 celebrations of the 69th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War [of 1941-1945] in the Moscow region," the FSB public relations center told Interfax on Tuesday.
*** SHOIGU: CSTO DEFENSE MINISTERS MAP OUT MILITARY COMPONENT'S DEVELOPMENT
The development of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military component was mapped out at a meeting of the CSTO Council of Defense Ministers, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday.
"We have exchanged opinions about the military strategic situation and conditions in the CSTO responsibility zone which are taking shape under the influence of global trends and events evolving in neighboring regions for the past few months. We have also discussed military cooperation in the CSTO format and planned further steps in the development of the organization's military component," Shoigu said.
*** CSTO DEFENSE MINISTERS CONFER ON MUTUAL SUPPORT AMID EXTERNAL THREATS
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) defense ministers discussed mutual support amid mounting external treats at the Moscow meeting, Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Arkady Bakhin said.
"Possible ways of mutual support of CSTO member states amid escalating external threats and political and economic pressure have been considered," he told reporters on Tuesday.
The defense ministers spoke about conditions in the CSTO responsibility zone and the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine. They also planned the development of the CSTO military component.
*** PROGRESS RESUPPLY SHIP SINKS IN PACIFIC OCEAN
The Russian resupply ship Progress M-21M has been deoribited and sunk in non-navigable waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Mission Control Center told Interfax-AVN.
"Ballisticians said spaceship debris, which did not burn in dense layers of the atmosphere, splashed down," a Mission Control Center spokesman noted.
Earlier reports said the spaceship undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at 5:33 p.m. Moscow time on Monday.
*** EMBASSY IN DELHI HAS DATA ON TWO RUSSIANS KILLED, ONE MISSING IN CAR ACCIDENT
The preliminary data made available to the Russian Embassy in New-Delhi suggest that two Russians have been killed as a result of a road accident in India.
"The data is still being clarified. Local police shared the following preliminary information with the embassy: two Russians were killed, one went missing, and about 12 people were injured," spokeswoman for the Russian Embassy to India Tatyana Kopylova told Interfax on Tuesday.
*** REFUGEES FROM SOUTHEASTERN UKRAINE APPEAR IN POLAND
Border guards at the Shegeni border crossing registered 23 Ukrainian citizens seeking refugee status in Poland over the past weekend, Ukraine's State Border Guard Service said in a press release on Tuesday.
They include three families with children who fled fighting in the Ukrainian cities of Kramatorsk, Luhansk, Donetsk and Antratsyt.
"The parents have said they decided to leave Ukraine because of the absence of appropriate conditions and security in their home region, where fighting keeps escalating. Some of these citizens have also reported threats of revenge and persecution," it said.
*** UKRAINE'S MEMBERSHIP IN NATO NOT ON AGENDA - POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER
Ukraine's membership in NATO is not on the agenda, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
"We do not think Ukraine's rapprochement with the European Union is a threat to Russia. Ukraine's membership in NATO is not on the agenda now," he said at a press conference after talks with his Russian and German counterparts.
*** RUSSIA WON'T INTRODUCE SANCTIONS IF UKRAINE SIGNS ASSOCIATION DEAL WITH EU - LAVROV
Russia will not introduce sanctions against Ukraine, if Kyiv signs an association agreement with the European Union, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We are not obsessed with 'the sanction itch' typical of some of our partners. We will not introduce sanctions against Ukraine and we will get back to a normal, most-favored nations trade regime," he said at a press conference after informal talks with his Polish and German counterparts.
"Privileges will be taken away, because if they are saved the CIS free trade agreement will be violated. That's all," Lavrov said.
*** DONETSK "PEOPLE'S MAYOR" PONOMARYOV DISMISSED - DONETSK DEFENSE MINISTER
The "people's mayor of Slovyansk," Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, has been dismissed, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic's defense minister, Igor Strelkov, said on Facebook on Tuesday.
"The so-called people's mayor Ponomaryov has been dismissed for engaging in activities incompatible with the goals and tasks of the civil administration. I cannot provide further details for now," he writes.
*** HALF OF SLOVYANSK BUILDING "RAZED TO THE GROUND" BY UKRAINE ARMY - MILITIA
Militiamen of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Repubic" have claimed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have destroyed half of buildings in the city of Slovyansk.
"I can say that 50% of the city's buildings have already been razed to the ground," "Southeast Front" spokesman Kostyantyn Knyrik told Interfax on Tuesday.
Furthermore, there have been disruptions to the city's electricity and water supply, he said.
*** BELARUS KGB REPORTS ATTEMPT TO HIJACK KUTAISI-MINSK PASSENGER PLANE
The Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) has reported that an attempt was made on Tuesday to hijack a Kutaisi-Minsk passenger airplane.
"The pilot in command received a written message from a passenger on the airplane, who threatened to blow up the airliner and demanded that the plane be diverted to one European country," a KGB spokesman told Interfax.
*** TOP U.S. OFFICIAL DENIES PLANS TO PLACE MISSILE DEFENSE SHIELD IN UKRAINE AND GEORGIA
The United States has no plans to deploy elements of its missile defense shield in Ukraine and Georgia, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.
*** PRESIDENT ATAMBAYEV BLAMES WEAK AUTHORITIES FOR 2010 CONFLICT IN KYRGYZSTAN
The Kyrgyz-Uzbek conflict in June 2010, which claimed more than 400 lives, happened because of the weak authorities, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said in a statement posted on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of the tragic events in southern Kyrgyzstan.
"Enemies of Kyrgyzstan took advantage of the weak authorities and incited the conflict in June 2010," he noted.
A total of 440 people died, more than 2,000 were wounded and several dozens went missing.
Turkey's Atlas Global Airlines obtains approval for scheduled flights on Istanbul-Moscow route
Medvedev congratulates Uzbek president on his birthday, discusses future contacts
Memorandum signed in Amman determines de-escalation area borders in southwestern Syria - Russian Defense Ministry (Part 2)
Number of ceasefire breaches declines by 50% in Syria over past month - Russian General Staff
Russian Defense Ministry announces plans to create de-escalation area in Syria's Idlib province (Part 2)
Energy Ministry maintaining forecast for oil prices reaching $50-$60 per barrel in H2
Syrian troops take control of 150 km of border with Iraq, 211 km of border with Jordan; frontier outposts deployed - Russian Defense Ministry
RDIF has raised $30 bln from sovereign funds, expecting new investment from them - Dmitriev
Russia notifies U.S., Jordanian, Israeli reps of deployment of de-escalation area control forces to southern Syria in advance - Defense Ministry (Part 2)