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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Eastern Ukraine News

Russia Returns Ukraine Naval Ships before Summit

Russia on Monday handed back three naval ships it captured last year to Ukraine, something Kiev wanted to happen before a four-way peace summit on eastern Ukraine next month in Paris.The handover, confirmed by the two countries' foreign ministries, occurred in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.Russia seized the ships in the same area in November last year after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors. Moscow said the ships - two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat - had illegally entered its territorial waters.

Cargo Ships Caught in Russia-Ukraine Storm

Russia-Ukraine naval clash followed shipping holdups Ships bound for Ukrainian ports say they are held up while those bound for Russian ports go through.When the Island Bay cargo ship arrived from Beirut at the Kerch Strait, gateway to the Azov Sea, it sailed into a perfect storm of geopolitics and bad weather.The following day, Russia opened fire on three Ukrainian naval ships, impounded them and detained their sailors, some of them wounded. It then blocked the strait by putting…

Pic: Russian Navy

Face Off: Russia, NATO Maritime Incidents in the Baltic

Last week's frightening incident in the Baltic Sea, where Russian warplanes repeatedly buzzed the destroyer USS Donald Cook over a two-day period, left many Americans wondering why the U.S. Navy didn't simply splash the SU-24 attack aircraft. According to a report in Reuters, Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of intimidation by sailing a U.S. naval destroyer close to Russia's border in the Baltics and warned that the Russian military would respond with "all necessary measures" to any future incidents. Alexander Grushko, Moscow's ambassador, however, saw the issue differently.

Arctic Nations

Arctic Nations to Fight Climate Change Despite Russia Tensions

The eight Arctic Council nations pledged on Friday to do more to combat climate change that is shrinking the vast frigid region, with countries trying to put aside disputes over issues like Russia's intervention in Ukraine. Meeting in the Canadian town of Iqaluit, 300 km (200 miles) south of the Arctic Circle, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States pledged to work to address emissions of black carbon and methane. Both are seen as particularly harmful to the Arctic…

Russia Says Will React if U.S. Imposes New Sanctions

Russia will take counter measures if Washington imposes new sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday. The U.S. Congress has readied new sanctions on Russian weapons companies and investors in the country's high-tech oil projects, but U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to sign a corresponding bill into law. "We will not be able to leave that without an answer," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying. He did not say what form of counter-measure Moscow might take.

Oil Steady Below $110

New U.S. Brent crude oil was steady below $110 a barrel on Thursday, after hitting a six-week high in the previous session, as traders assessed whether rising tensions in Ukraine could disrupt supplies from Russia. With Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine and three separatists killed overnight in eastern Ukraine, prospects of defusing the crisis at talks in Geneva appeared slim. Prices were supported by strong U.S. employment data, which showed new applications for unemployment benefits are close to a 6-1/2 year low…

Brent Oil Up to $110 on Ukraine Tension

Brent crude rose close to $110 a barrel on Wednesday due to mounting tensions in Ukraine, while prices for U.S. oil fell after a report showed a huge build in stockpiles in the world's largest oil consumer. Ukrainian government forces and separatist pro-Russian militia staged rival shows of force in eastern Ukraine amid escalating rhetoric on the eve of crucial talks on the former Soviet state's future. Brent crude has been buoyed by the tensions between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Energy Takes Centerstage in U.S., Russia Dispute

President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday that Russian gas supplies to Europe could be disrupted if Moscow cuts the flow to Ukraine over unpaid bills, drawing a U.S. accusation that it is using energy "as a tool of coercion". In a letter to the leaders of 18 European countries, Putin made clear that his patience would run out over Kiev's $2.2 billion gas debt to Russia unless a solution could be brokered urgently. Russia has nearly doubled the gas price it charges Ukraine, whose economy is in crisis, since pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown two months ago.