Top stories from the Russian press on Monday, August 2nd, prepared by TASS
Izvestia: Iran’s deviation from nuclear deal delays lifting of sanctions - Russian envoy
Iran is departing further from its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which delays the lifting of sanctions on Tehran, Russian Permanent Envoy to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said in an interview with Izvestia.
"Iran is departing further from its commitments under the initial JCPOA. In fact, there is something irrational in it because if talks lead to an agreement, all these deviations will have to be reversed. The further Iran departs from its initial obligations, the more time the process will take, which will affect the timeframe for the lifting of sanctions," he pointed out. When asked how Russia viewed Tehran’s move to increase its enriched uranium stockpile, Ulyanov noted: "We certainly aren’t enthusiastic about it."
He did not rule out that Iran’s new authorities might correct the country’s position on some issues under discussion in the talks on restoring the Iran nuclear deal. "We don’t know what changes are possible in Iran’s approaches under a new president and a new government. One cannot rule out that Iran will correct its view on some of the issues discussed in Vienna," the Russian diplomat added.
The JCPOA can only be restored in its initial form, no new deal is possible, Ulyanov emphasized. "If we adopt this path, it’s going to take a very long time, or maybe forever, to reach a new deal. We should proceed from reality and reality is that the priority is to restore the initial nuclear agreement as soon as possible without exceptions and additions," the Russian envoy stressed. "There is no alternative to restoring the JCPOA in its initial version," Ulyanov concluded.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Ukraine seeking to boost military might with NATO’s help
Kiev is continuing with plans to resolve its territorial issues in Donbass and Crimea by force, which has been enshrined in Ukraine’s new Foreign Policy Strategy. The document lists six foreign policy priorities and nearly all of them are related to the improvement of the country’s military capabilities in one way or another. NATO countries have been actively assisting Ukraine in boosting its defense industry and armed forces, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.
Experts believe that the Kiev authorities, supported by their allies, may use force both in Donbass and Crimea. "Ukrainian forces already conducted mop-up operations near Donetsk and Lugansk in 2014-2015. And now, they seem to be improving the tactics, given the engagement of foreign troops," military expert Lieutenant General Yuri Netkachev noted. "The Americans and other NATO countries may take such actions under the guise of peacekeeping missions, like it happened in the Balkans 20 years ago, when NATO forces occupied Yugoslavia. These scenarios are being intended for Ukraine," he added.
"Ukraine is still weak. However, its NATO friends are helping the country build up military muscle," military expert Colonel Vladimir Popov pointed out. "The US is giving Ukraine patrol boats and anti-tank missiles, the United Kingdom is assisting in the establishment of naval bases, practicing teamwork aimed at ‘ending the occupation’ of some areas during joint exercises. Ankara is also a good helper to Kiev as it builds warships for Ukraine and provides it with combat unmanned aerial vehicles," the expert specified.
He pointed to media reports of a contract between Canada and Ukraine on the construction of a cartridge factory. "Ammunition production involving foreign partners makes it clear that Kiev is determined to significantly boost its weapon capabilities. And the adoption of a document outlining military goals proves that Kiev is gearing up to implement conflict scenarios in Donbass and Crimea," the expert emphasized.
Media: Russian ruble embarks on upward trend
Russia’s ruble, which usually tends to drop in August due to the vacation season and declining oil prices, may grow stronger against the dollar this August, analysts say. The trend has been set by the Russian Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve System, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes.
On July 23, Russia’s Central Bank raised its key interest rate by a whole percentage point to 6.5%, the sharpest move in the past seven years. Aside from anything else, it has increased the ruble’s appeal in carry trade operations. Moreover, the Central Bank’s statements and the latest data on weekly inflation do not imply a further tightening of monetary policy, which is why foreign investors prefer not to wait for more steps from the regulator and are boosting purchases of the ruble, commented head of the Financial Market Operations Directorate at Bank St. Petersburg Varvara Ponomareva.
The ruble strengthened in late July largely based on the global weakness of the dollar amid the US Federal Reserve System’s cautious rhetoric and a weaker than expected US GDP growth in the second quarter of 2021, FX and Rates Strategist at SberCIB Investment Research Yuri Popov told Izvestia.
No serious risks for the ruble are expected to arise in August as key rates are very attractive, Head of Foreign Exchange Transactions at MTS Bank Oleg Kochetkov noted. He expects the ruble’s rate to remain at the 72-75 level against the dollar and does not rule out that the Russian currency will strengthen in the near future amid a global dollar sell-off.
Kommersant: Russia, India learning to combat terrorists together
On Sunday, Russia and India launched the Indra-2021 land forces exercise, the second part of the drills that earlier involved the joint activities of the two countries’ warships in the Baltic Sea. This year, the drills are said to be aimed first and foremost at improving the counterterrorism capabilities of the parties, Kommersant writes.
The growing defense cooperation between the two countries is expected to confirm its crucial role in the Russia-India strategic partnership. The Russian-Indian drills, which have been taking place since 2003, are being held amid increasing terrorist threats in Central and South Asia. Notably, the focus on counterterrorism is rooted in the escalating conflict in Afghanistan.
Indian Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma will for the first time attend the exercise, which is taking place near Russia’s southern city of Volgograd. The Indra drills have a long history but this time, the parties decided to change the nature of the exercise in order to be able to counter new threats, the envoy told the newspaper. The regional and international situation has become more complicated, and so the two countries’ militaries will only continue to boost ties, the Indian ambassador added.
According to the newspaper’s Indian sources, New Delhi also plans to send a large delegation to the Russian-Belarusian joint military exercise Zapad 2021 (or West 2021), scheduled to be held in September.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Climate change may help Russia grow more crops
Climate change is having an impact on food production. It has already allowed Russia to become the world’s leading grain exporter and the country is expected to strengthen its positions in the future as agriculture is expected to boom first and foremost in Russia and Canada, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes, citing the Financial Times.
According to various estimates, the average annual temperature may rise by almost one degree by 2024, which poses a serious challenge for the economies of all countries, said Alexander Chulok, Director of the Center for Science and Technology Foresight at the Higher School of Economics’ Institute of Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge. Countries will have to respond on two tracks, he added.
On the one hand, governments will continue to use taxes, regulations and restrictions to make industries and agriculture greener. On the other, in Chulok’s words, in the coming decades, we will see a large-scale technological revolution in the climate field, which will primarily impact agriculture. We can already see active digitization and automation efforts in this area, as well as the evolution of nanotechnologies and the emergence of new energy saving technologies.
Climate change creates great possibilities for the development of genetics, breeding, various biological technologies and the use of Big Data Analytics. And these are the areas where Russia has strong positions, the expert pointed out.