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Press review: International probe into Bucha unlikely and EU purges Russian diplomats,Top stories from the Russian press on Wednesday, April 6th

Posted on April 6 2022, 14:31pm

Press review: International probe into Bucha unlikely and EU purges Russian diplomats,Top stories from the Russian press on Wednesday, April 6th

MOSCOW: Izvestia: Independent international probe into Bucha incident looks unlikely

Moscow views allegations of Russian troops’ involvement in crimes committed in the Ukrainian town of Bucha as a provocation, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzy made clear at the April 5 meeting of the UN Security Council. The killing of civilians in the Kiev Region has been the center of attention since April 3. The United Nations called for an independent probe but, according to experts interviewed by Izvestia, it will be highly difficult to conduct a UN-led investigation.

The UN Security Council did not plan to adopt any final documents, Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy told the newspaper. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the meeting reiterated the need for a probe. Kiev has announced plans to create its own "special mechanism of justice" to look into the incident and the European Union has expressed readiness to send experts to Ukraine. However, there have been no reports of a UN-led international investigation.

"What the secretary general said is just a good wish that’s not obligatory. It’s a decision made by the UN Security Council that would have been mandatory," Head of the Department of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Criminology at Moscow State Institute of International Relations Alexander Volevodz explained. "As far as the procedure goes, an investigation at the national level is possible, which would be conducted by the country on whose territory the crime was committed. The most important thing here is to establish the factual circumstances. As for the United Nations, the organization can form various commissions of investigations but it requires a consensus decision," he added.

According to experts, an international consensus is hardly possible at this point. "Given a serious and dangerous standoff between Russia and the West, there can be no agreement on any body," said Russian Civic Chamber member Sergey Ordzhonikidze, who served as United Nations Under Secretary General in 2002-2011. In his view, "there is currently no UN body to carry out this kind of investigations." "It’s more likely to be limited to UN Security Council meetings at this time," he noted.

Vedomosti: EU members unleash massive expulsion of Russian diplomats

A number of European Union countries are kicking out Russian diplomats. In particular, Italy, Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden have just announced such plans. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Bulgaria expelled Russian diplomatic workers earlier in March. Russian diplomats at the country’s mission to the EU are also being sent home, Vedomosti notes.

The massive purge will definitely impact Russia’s relations with the European Union, which have been already suspended in some sense, Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs magazine Fyodor Lukyanov emphasized. According to him, the agenda of bilateral relations is drying up though some connections, particularly in the energy sector, still remain. Given that the expulsion of diplomats can be carried out promptly, it may be presented as a reaction to the Bucha incident (Ukraine has accused Russian troops of killing civilians in that town, while Russian strongly rejected the accusations).

A delay in Russia’s response to the expulsion of diplomats from Germany may mean that Moscow’s reaction will go beyond the principle of reciprocity, Researcher at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations’ Center for European Studies Artem Sokolov noted. He does not rule out that apart from German diplomatic employees, German NGOs still active in Russia are also in danger. In particular, the Heinrich Boell Foundation, linked to the German Green Party, was on the verge of being closed a while ago. The organization was then supported by the Greens joining the German government but now, the same factor may become kind of "a black stain," the expert explained.

Lukyanov also points out that the expulsion of diplomats is not what influences the issuance of visas. However, the EU may be expected to fully abandon visa cooperation with Russia after a while, he said. 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Pyongyang admits possibility of nuclear strike on South Korea

South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong will take part in Thursday’s meeting of top diplomats from NATO members and partners. This rather unusual decision was made amid a rise in tensions between the two Korean states. Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, recently admitted that Pyongyang could carry out a nuclear strike on South Korea under certain circumstances. Meanwhile, South Korea’s national defense minister had said earlier that the country was capable of targeting any part of North Korea, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

The thing to understand is that what Kim Jong-un’s sister said was a response to the South Korean national defense minister’s statement, Leading Research Fellow at the Korean Studies Center, the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Far Eastern Studies Konstantin Asmolov pointed out.

"North Korea stressed that it would not be the first to attack. Seoul’s formal position is more resolute because the South Korean authorities believe that it’s possible to reunite with their northern neighbor by simply absorbing it," the expert explained.

According to Asmolov, there are numerous reasons why tensions on the Korean Peninsula are escalating. Apart from a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, those also include a China-US standoff and a decline in the United Nations’ authority. As a result, the entire world order is changing, affecting the troubled region.

"It turns out that no matter what, nuclear weapons are the crucial thing that helps ensure security. It became particularly obvious in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi, tempted by the West’s concessions, first wrapped up a nuclear program and was then ousted and killed. The North Koreans have taken these developments into account," Asmolov noted.

Izvestia: Russia working on new mechanisms for Eurobond payments

The Russian Finance Ministry and the Central Bank are working on new mechanisms for Eurobond payments, a ministry source told Izvestia. In the past month, Russia paid coupons on Eurobonds based on a special license from the US Department of the Treasury. However, according to American media outlets, the United States has halted debt payments from Russian government accounts frozen at US financial institutions.

There are various options to provide payments to foreign and domestic creditors, Promsvyazbank Chief Analyst Dmitry Monastyrshin noted. As for the former, a special procedure involving the opening of special accounts has been announced, while an early offer for dollar payments may be introduced for the latter.

Problems arise at the stage when foreign correspondent banks need to process payment orders. To avoid fines for violating sanctions, they act in an overly cautious manner, blocking transactions even when the slightest doubt emerges, Leading Debt Market Analyst at Otkritie Investment Alexander Shurakov noted. According to him, getting licenses from the corresponding regulators in Western countries may be a temporary solution.

Agents face payment issues that may lead to a technical default by companies, Finam Group analyst Alexey Kovalev stressed, adding that Russian issuers continue to service their Eurobond debts both in foreign currencies and in rubles.

According to Russian Agricultural Bank analysts, all Russian issuers, regardless of whether they are sanctioned or not, may face problems with the payment of coupons on Eurobonds. According to the Promsvyazbank chief analyst, even those Russian companies who haven’t been blacklisted, have almost no chance of attracting capital on Western platforms. Companies may enter the Asian market or take advantage of the Russian one.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta: EU looking for alternative to full energy embargo against Russia

Prohibitive customs duties, particularly on Russian gas, oil and coal, may be one of the measures that the European Union’s new package of sanctions will include. According to US media, Brussels is viewing such a step as a tool to limit Russian energy supplies, Rossiyskaya Gazeta notes.

It’s possible that the EU will impose duties on Russian gas and oil imports, but it will only lead to a rise in the prices of energy and car fuel in Europe, experts point out. As for Russian companies, they will be further motivated to promptly redirect energy supplies to the East.

A ban on Russian oil and gas imports will cause an energy crisis in Europe, which is why EU members are considering high duties on our energy, AriCapital Investment Strategist Sergey Suverov emphasized. According to him, such a move will raise fuel and utility prices for European consumers, Russian oil and gas companies will only face logistics issues and a lower cost-effectiveness, while Asian oil importers will benefit from the situation.

At the same time, Fuels and Energy Technology Development Institute expert Kirill Rodionov points out that the European gas market was able to get used to geopolitical risks in the past month so prices are unlikely to skyrocket unless major consumers in Western Europe (France, Germany and Italy) impose a physical ban on Russian gas imports.

As far as oil is concerned, Alfa Capital analyst Alexander Dzhioyev believes that given the current prices in the Middle East, the EU’s new initiatives are going to impose increasingly higher costs on European consumers.

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Press review: International probe into Bucha unlikely and EU purges Russian diplomats,Top stories from the Russian press on Wednesday, April 6th
Press review: International probe into Bucha unlikely and EU purges Russian diplomats,Top stories from the Russian press on Wednesday, April 6th
Press review: International probe into Bucha unlikely and EU purges Russian diplomats,Top stories from the Russian press on Wednesday, April 6th
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