Digest of headline news as of 7:00 p.m. Moscow time on August 2:
BUSINESS & FINANCE
*** MEDVEDEV SAYS ALL RUSSIAN ECONOMIC MODELS SHOULD BE BASED ON ASSUMPTION OF LENGTHY PERSISTENCE OF SANCTIONS, CURRENT OIL PRICES
The sanctions against Russia and current oil price levels are long-term and the Russian economy must not be allowed to become imbalanced under these circumstances, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
"The current prevailing prices on energy and commodities, and also the sanctions are unfortunately of a long-term nature for our economy and every kind of economic model being prepared at this point should be based on the assumption that these shocks will persist for a long time," Medvedev said when speaking to young scientists at the Terra Scientia on Klyazma River Russian Educational Youth Forum on Tuesday.
*** ROSNEFT, SWISSPRO CAPITAL MIGHT SETTLE $185 MLN DISPUTE
Rosneft and Cyprus-based Swisspro Capital might reach an out-of-court settlement in the Russian state oil major's lawsuit against Swisspro to collect $184.8 million in debt on an oil supply contract signed in March 2014, an Interfax correspondent reported from the court.
At the court hearing, Swisspro's representative said that the process of an amicable settlement of the dispute has begun. In light of this, he requested that the hearing be postponed for as long as possible.
Rosneft's representative confirmed the defendant's statement.
*** ENEL RUSSIA RAS NET PROFIT DROPS 42% TO 2.1 BLN RUBLES IN H1
Enel Russia posted a net profit of 2.142 billion rubles in H1 2016, down from 3.670 billion rubles in the same period last year, the company said in its RAS earnings report.
*** T PLUS PREPARING BOND PROGRAM TOTALING 30 BLN RUBLES; FIRST ISSUE COULD COME IN FALL
T Plus is preparing to place bonds and has selected Gazprombank and Alfa-Bank as organizers, according to company marketing materials.
T Plus is preparing a bond placement program, a company representative told Interfax. "We initially planned to raise up to 20 billion rubles through exchange bonds, but we see the market's great interest and are examining the opportunity of increasing the bond program to 30 billion rubles. Placement of individual tranches in the fall is possible, given a good market situation," the representative said.
*** TGK-2 FINALIZES PURCHASE OF ASSETS IN MACEDONIA
TGK-2 has completed formalities relating to purchase of 100% of Bitar Holdings Limited, which owns generating and heating grid assets in Macedonia, a TGK-2 representative told Interfax.
TGK-2 received direct control over 100% of Bitar Holdings on June 3, according to materials the Russian genco published on Tuesday.
"This is the final stage of the process for completing all necessary document formalities to complete the international deal stipulated in the agreement between TGK-2 and Kardicor Investments Limited," a company representative told Interfax.
*** POLYUS, ROSTEC CREATE JV FOR PARTICIPATION IN AUCTION FOR SUKHOI LOG, POLYUS HOLDS 51%
JSC Polyus, which belongs to PJSC Polyus, and Rostec's firm, RT-GR, on July 18 established LLC SL Zoloto with charter capital of 10,000 rubles, information on the SPARK-Interfax database said.
Polyus holds a 51% stake in the JV.
SL Zoloto was created for participation in the auction for the Sukhoi Log gold field, sources close to the companies told the Kommersant newspaper.
*** SHARE OF CIVILIAN PRODUCTS TO EXCEED 50% OF ROSTEC'S TOTAL REVENUE BY 2025 - CHEMEZOV
The Rostec state corporation is hopeful that civilian products will account for more than 50% of its overall revenue by 2025.
"The supervisory board's endorsement of our corporation's development strategy for the period up to 2025 became one of the key events of 2015 and the main topic of the yearly report. The ambitious indicator of revenue growth -17% a year - became one of the key components of the new strategy," Rostec head Sergei Chemezov said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
*** ROSOBORONEXPORT'S BOOK OF ORDERS GROWS TO $49.5 BLN - ROSTEC REPORT
The Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport (part of the Rostec state corporation) increased its book of orders for military-purpose products to $49.5 billion, Rostec said in its yearly report for 2015.
"The volume of Rosoboronexport's book of orders grew to $49.5 billion," the state corporation said in the report, seen by Interfax.
"Rosoboronexport delivered military-purpose products worth $12.7 billion [given the planned figures of $12.1 billion]," it said.
*** MAGNIT MIGHT PAY OUT 8 BLN RUBLES, OR 84.60 RUBLES/SHARE FOR H1
The board of directors of Magnit, Russia's biggest retailer, has recommended that shareholders vote at their extraordinary general meeting on September 8 to approve dividends for the first half of 2016 in the amount of 84.60 rubles per share or 7.999 billion rubles in total, the company said in a press release.
The date of record for dividends will be September 23.
*** INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT ON AIR SAFETY WITH EGYPT WAITING TO BE APPROVED BY RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY, TO BE SENT TO EGYPT THIS WEEK - SOKOLOV
The Russia-Egypt intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the area of safety on civil aviation has been drafted and is to be sent for approval to Egypt within the next few days, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told reporters on Tuesday.
"It has already been drafted and is currently waiting to be approved by the Foreign Ministry that has to send this text to the Egyptian side under the existing regulations. I suppose that this week [it is going to be sent to Egypt]," Sokolov said.
*** FAS APPROVES MERGER OF UNIASTRUM BANK TO VOSTOCHNY
The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has decided to approve the petition on the merger of Moscow's Uniastrum Bank to Vostochny Bank (Blagoveshchensk), the FAS said in a statement.
As a result of the deal Cyprus's Boc Russia (Holdings) Limited of Artyom Avetisyan, which controls Uniastrum Bank, will receive the right to distribute 40.01% of voting shares of Vostochny Bank.
*** IRAN TO MULL OIL SUPPLIES TO SLOVAKIA, CZECH REPUBLIC VIA UKRAINE
Iran will mull Ukraine's proposal about the possibility of transiting Iranian oil through the Ukrainian pipeline system to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh has said after talks with Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Ihor Nasalyk in Tehran on August 1.
According to the Iran Petroleum Ministry, Tehran is also ready to start cooperation in oil supplies directly to Ukraine, despite the fact that Ukrainian oil refining capacities are small and the country imports fuel.
*** NAFTOGAZ CLAIMING $26.6 BLN FROM GAZPROM; FACES $38.7 BLN IN GAZPROM CLAIMS
Naftogaz Ukrainy's claims against Gazprom in Stockholm arbitration total more than $26.6 billion, while the Russian gas giant's claims against Naftogaz total $38.7 billion, Naftogaz said in a statement.
". . .The total of claims against us is $38.7 billion including interest. Our side's claims exceed $26.6 billion. Hearings in both cases are scheduled in the fall," Naftogaz said.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
*** PUTIN TO VISIT BAKU ON AUG 8 FOR 1ST TRILATERAL MEETING OF LEADERS OF AZERBAIJAN, IRAN AND RUSSIA - KREMLIN
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Baku on August 8 at the invitation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to attend the first trilateral meeting of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia, the Kremlin press service said.
"Putin, Aliyev and [Iranian President] Hassan Rouhani are expected to discuss key issues of international and regional policy and the prospects for promoting practical cooperation, in particular in the energy sector and transport," the press service said.
*** RUSSIA SHOULD USE WTO'S DISPUTE SETTLEMENT OPPORTUNITIES MORE ACTIVELY - MEDVEDEV
Russia does not use the World Trade Organization's (WTO) dispute settlement mechanisms actively enough, but there is no alternative to the WTO, and Russia adheres to this principle, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the Terra Scientia youth educational forum on the River Klyazma in the Vladimir region on Tuesday.
Russia has some questions for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, as it believes world trade should not be fragmented, he said.
*** UNFREEZING OF RUSSIA-NATO COOPERATION ON AFGHANISTAN COULD START WITH RETURN TO HELICOPTER PROJECT - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
Moscow expects NATO to return to a project to purchase Russian helicopters for Kabul as the first step to unfreeze cooperation on Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president's special envoy for Afghanistan and director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's 2nd Asia Department, said.
"We had the helicopter project. It is necessary to return to it. It envisages NATO buying helicopters from us that the Afghans need and want. It is necessary to start with concrete things," he told Interfax after being asked what steps Moscow was expecting from NATO to unfreeze cooperation on Afghanistan.
*** LEGAL FRAMEWORK NEEDED FOR STRIKES AGAINST ISIL IN LIBYA - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
Airstrikes against positions of Islamic State (ISIL, terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) in Libya should strictly abide by international law, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department said in a commentary in response to the U.S. Air Force's bombardments of terrorists' positions in Libya.
"Russia has always spoken about the need of resolute actions to eliminate ISIL and other terrorist groups, no matter where they are, in strict compliance with the norms of international law," it said.
"At the same time, in our opinion, it is crucially important to promote close coordination of efforts of all states that are fighting terrorism," the ministry said.
*** RUSSIA'S QUOTA IN ODIHR OBSERVER MISSION AT U.S. ELECTIONS TO MAKE UP TO 15% OF ITS OVERALL COMPOSITION - RUSSIA'S CEC REPRESENTATIVE
The quota of Russian representatives, including the Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC), in the mission of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (ODIHR/OSCE) observers at the presidential elections in the United States amounts up to 15% of total composition of the mission, this issue is being negotiated with the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russian CEC member Vasily Likhachyov told Interfax on Tuesday.
"We have received an invitation to send our representatives within a range of 13%-15% of overall composition to the presidential elections in the U.S. This is Russia's quota in the ODIHR/OSCE mission at the U.S. elections. We are very actively working on this issue with the Russian Foreign Ministry now," Likhachyov, who is responsible for international monitoring issues in Russia's CEC, said.
*** ROSTEC EXPORTS MILITARY PRODUCTS WORTH $4.6 BLN IN 2015, BOOK OF ORDERS OF CORPORATION'S ENTERPRISES EXCEEDS $21.4 BLN - REPORT
The Rostec state corporation's exports of military products stood at $4.6 billion in 2015, the corporation said in its yearly report.
"The volume of the Rostec state corporation's exports of military products stood at $4.6 billion in 2015," it said.
"The volume of the book of orders of the corporation's enterprises exceeded $21.4 billion," it said.
*** WEST PUTS DIRECT PRESSURE ON RUSSIA'S PARTNERS IN MILITARY AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION SECTOR - ROSTEC'S REPORT
The West intends to interfere with Russia's military and technical cooperation with traditional partners, the Rostec state corporation said in its annual report.
"The economic sanctions initiators and their associates put direct pressure on our partners in military and technical cooperation, blocked the settlement systems and conducted the aggressive informational counteraction for the purpose of destroying the established foreign trade relations," the document sent to Interfax said.
*** RUSSIAN TRANSPORT MINISTRY SPECIALISTS TO VISIT TURKEY ON AUG 3-5 TO DISCUSS FLIGHT SAFETY - MINISTER
Russian Transport Ministry specialists will visit Turkey on August 3-5 to hold negotiations on flight safety, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told journalists on Tuesday.
"We will go together with a large government delegation. Specialists from the Transport Ministry, Rostransnadzor [the federal transport supervision service], and Rosaviatsiya [the federal air transport agency] will be represented in it at a high level. This delegation is supposed to work in Turkey from August 3 to 5. Perhaps they are already on their way. They'll discuss a range of issues, including aviation security at [Turkish] airports," he said.
*** SAVCHENKO GOES ON HUNGER STRIKE DEMANDING RELEASE OF UKRAINIAN CAPTIVES
Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian parliamentarian of the Batkyvschina faction, went on hunger strike for the purposes of speeding up the process of release of Ukrainian captives held in Russia and Donbas, Savchenko said.
"I explored all ways of standing up for the boys, as the world stood up for me. Now I will stand up for them, as I stood up for myself. One of the mechanisms to speed up the release was hunger strike against the inaction of the Ukrainian authorities. Starting today I again go on hunger strike against the inaction of the authorities all over the world in regard to the release of the Ukrainians held captive," she said at a press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday.
"The hunger strike will continue until a positive result is achieved," she said.
*** IOC MEMBERS SUPPORT IOC EXECUTIVE BOARD'S DECISION TO ADMIT RUSSIANS TO 2016 OLYMPICS
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) session has backed the IOC Executive Board's decision to admit the Russians to the Olympics in Brazil.
On Tuesday, at its 139th session the IOC has discussed the situation with the admission of Russia to the Olympics in Brazil due to doping problems. At the discussion IOC President Thomas Bach has delivered a report, and a number of members of the organization, including Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov, have also pronounced their speeches, after that Bach suggested voting on the issue of the IOC Executive Board's decision of June 21 and July 24. The IOC Executive Board decided to determine the conditions for the admission of the Russians to the Olympics on July 24.
Only one IOC member voted against it, the others supported the organization's executive board's decision in the voting.
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Russia to help improve Turkey-Syria contacts to make Adana agreement work - Lavrov
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U.S. AGREED ON ANKARA'S CONDITIONS, HEAVY WEAPONRY TO BE SEIZED FROM KURDISH YPG UNITS - TURKISH FM
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, WHICH GRANTED ASYLUM TO PEOPLE WHO LATER BECAME TERRORISTS, SHOULD TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEM - LAVROV TO INTERFAX
LAVROV TO INTERFAX: RUSSIAN MILITARY POLICE, ARMED FORCES IN SYRIA NOT YET AT CAMPSITES WHERE ISIS FIGHTERS ARE KEPT
LAVROV TO INTERFAX: THERE ARE UNCONFIRMED REPORTS THAT TERRORISTS ARE LEAVING CAMPS IN NORTHEAST SYRIA