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A Kherson city councilman has been accused of treason for releasing a Russian pilot. The case highlights an issue facing Ukraine as it investigates accused Russian collaborators. Kherson, a southern port, was the first major Ukrainian city taken by Russian forces after the invasion in February. "They couldn't hand him over to Ukrainian forces — there were no Ukrainian forces in the city at that time. The case highlights a challenge facing Ukrainian authorities after Russian forces retreat.
Russia's service sector contracts for second month running -PMI
  + stars: | 2022-12-05 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
The S&P Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for Russian services climbed to 48.3 after hitting an eight-month low of 43.7 a month earlier - but remained below the crucial 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. The latest PMI surveys - closely watched indicators of economy performance - show signs that Russian firms are tentatively recovering from the initial economic blow. A sister survey published last week showed Russia's manufacturing industry expanded at its fastest pace in almost six years during November. Export orders fell faster in November than a month earlier, S&P Global said, while domestic demand remained weak, with employment levels falling and prices for supplies and logistics on the rise. Reporting by Jake Cordell; Editing by Toby ChopraOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Russia's Kudrin accepts role as adviser to tech giant Yandex
  + stars: | 2022-12-05 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
MOSCOW, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Alexei Kudrin, who resigned as head of Russia's Audit Chamber last week, said on Monday he had accepted an offer from technology giant Yandex (YNDX.O) to become an adviser on corporate development. Yandex last month announced a review of a possible sweeping governance overhaul that would leave its major business units in Russia under new ownership. Sources told Reuters that Kudrin had been discussing the move to Yandex with President Vladimir Putin. Yandex confirmed that Kudrin was joining the company. A veteran of around 25 years in public service, Kudrin was finance minister for more than a decade between 2000 and 2011, and while maintaining close ties with Putin, Kudrin kept a relatively low profile in his current role as head of the Audit Chamber, Russia's public spending watchdog.
Russia has been pounding Ukraine's power infrastructure since early October, causing blackouts and leaving millions without heating as temperatures plummet. RESTORING POWERIn Ukraine, officials have been resorting to scheduled blackouts as they race to restore power. In Kherson, left largely without power when Russian forces abandoned the southern city last month, the regional governor said 85% of customers now had electricity. On the battlefront, Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces were holding positions along the front line, including near Bakhmut, viewed as Russia's next target in their advance through Donetsk. Russian forces trained tank and artillery fire on both cities and about eight other centres.
Russian forces in Ukraine are burning through ammunition faster than the country’s defense industry can replace it, U.S. National Intelligence Director Avril Haines said Saturday. Asked how fast Russia was using up ammunition, Haines said: “I don’t think I can give you precise numbers in this forum. Echoing previous statements from Biden administration officials, Haines said that Russia was using up precision munitions even faster than its conventional ammunition. The Biden administration previously said Russia has turned to North Korea to secure more supplies of artillery ammunition. Russian President Vladimir Putin was “surprised” at his military’s disappointing performance after its invasion of Ukraine in February, according to Haines.
LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The British government is looking at bringing in the military to help keep public services running if key workers, including in the state-run National Health Service, take strike action, the chairman of the governing Conservative Party said on Sunday. "We're looking at the military, we're looking at a specialist response force... a surge capacity," he said, adding that the military could be brought in to drive ambulances. Zahawi again blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine for fuelling energy price rises and inflation, calling on public sector workers to "come together". "There is a minimum safety level of delivery in place already, but the NHS will look at all contingency planning," he said. Reporting by Elizabeth Piper Editing by Gareth Jones and Susan FentonOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Summary OPEC+ to begin virtual talks at 1100 GMTNo discussions of Russian price cap so far - delegatesWill keep existing cuts in placeLONDON/DUBAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) - OPEC+ is poised to stick to its oil output targets when it meets on Sunday, four OPEC+ sources said as the alliance gathers after the Group of Seven (G7) nations agreed a price cap on Russian oil. Washington accused the group and one of its leaders, Saudi Arabia, of siding with Russia despite Moscow's war in Ukraine. OPEC+ argued it had cut output because of a weaker economic outlook. OPEC met virtually on Saturday without Russia and allies and did not discuss the Russian price cap, sources have said. OPEC+ begins talks at 1100 GMT with a meeting of the advisory Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) panel, followed by the full ministerial conference.
LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Britain's government is looking at bringing in the military to help keep public services running if key workers, including in the state-run National Health Service, take strike action, the chairman of the governing Conservative Party said on Sunday. "We're looking at the military, we're looking at a specialist response force... a surge capacity," he said, adding that the military could be brought in to drive ambulances. Workers at post and parcel company Royal Mail have held several rounds of strikes this year in a dispute over pay and working conditions and more strikes are planned this month. Zahawi again blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine for fuelling energy price rises and double-digit inflation, calling on public sector workers to "come together". "There is a minimum safety level of delivery in place already, but the NHS will look at all contingency planning," he said.
This year has been a tough one for the world's worst authoritarians: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Presidents Putin and Xi in early February 2022, just ahead of the Beijing Olympics, entered a "no limits" strategic partnership. Beyond that, President Putin has set back the Russian economy by more than a decade, and sanctions are only beginning to bite. Namely, the Chinese people accept restricted freedoms and fealty to the party so long as the party provides economic rewards and social security. A series of policy mistakes have slowed Chinese growth to just 3% in 2022, yet President Xi continues to prioritize party control over economic freedoms.
Summary No discussions of Russian price cap so far - delegatesOil prices have come under pressure from weak economyLONDON/DUBAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) - OPEC+ agreed to stick to its oil output targets at a meeting on Sunday, two OPEC+ sources told Reuters. The decision comes two days after the Group of Seven (G7) nations agreed a price cap on Russian oil. Oil prices have declined since October due to slower Chinese and global growth and higher interest rates. On Friday, G7 nations and Australia agreed a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil in a move to deprive President Vladimir Putin of revenue while keeping Russian oil flowing to global markets. Moscow said it would not sell its oil under the cap and was analysing how to respond.
Instead, Russia's failing war effort has raised doubts about Putin's hold on power. For now, Putin looks secure, but past Russian leaders have suffered at home for blunders abroad. By the following summer, the Germans had taken huge swathes of Russian-controlled territory and a million Russian soldiers were dead. Captured Russian soldiers after the defeat at Tannenberg, in present-day Poland, on August 30, 1914. After an ineffectual troop surge, Gorbachev gave up on trying to improve the situation, and the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan in February 1989.
MOSCOW, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Russia will not export oil that is subject a Western-imposed price cap even if Moscow has to accept a drop in oil production, President Vladimir Putin's point man on energy said on Sunday. "We are working on mechanisms to prohibit the use of a price cap instrument, regardless of what level is set, because such interference could further destabilise the market," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said. Russia will not operate under a price cap, even if Moscow has to cut production, Novak said. On Friday, G7 nations and Australia agreed a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil in a move to deprive President Vladimir Putin of revenue while keeping Russian oil flowing to global markets. Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy FaulconbridgeOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Bloody parcels containing the eyes of animals and explosives have been sent to several Ukrainian embassies and consuls across Europe, officials said late Friday. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said in a statement on Facebook that embassies in Spain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia and Italy had received packages containing the disembodied eyes of animals. Consulates in Naples, Italy, Krakow, Poland, and the Czech city of Brno had also been targeted, he said. Letter bombs were mailed to six addresses in Spain earlier this week, including the Ukrainian Embassy and the U.S. Embassy, as well as to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, causing security to be tightened. Farther south, the Ukrainian consul in Naples, Maksym Kovalenko, told the AP that his office received two letters containing fish eyes at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence expects the reduced tempo in fighting in Ukraine to continue in the next several months and sees no evidence of a reduced Ukrainian will to resist, despite attacks on its power grid and other critical winter infrastructure, the Director of National Intelligence said on Saturday. She said Russia was also looking to affect Ukraine's capacity to prosecute conflict and added that Kyiv's economy had been suffering very badly. Haines said she thought Russian President Vladimir Putin had been surprised that his military had not accomplished more. "I do think he is becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces in Russia. Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Michael Martina and Eric Beech; Editing by Daniel WallisOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
PARIS, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The West should consider how to address Russia's need for security guarantees if President Vladimir Putin agrees to negotiations about ending the war in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said in remarks broadcast on Saturday. In an interview with French TV station TF1 recorded during his state visit to the United States last week, Macron said Europe needs to prepare its future security architecture. "This means that one of the essential points we must address - as President Putin has always said - is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia," Macron said. Ukraine says negotiations are possible only if Russia stops attacking and pulls out its troops. The United States said at the time that the Russian demands were "non-starters".
On Friday, G7 nations and Australia agreed a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil in a move to deprive President Vladimir Putin of revenue while keeping Russian oil flowing to global markets. OPEC virtually met on Saturday without allies such as Russia and discussed mostly administrative matters, sources said. The ministers did not discuss the Russian price cap. Five OPEC+ delegates said on Saturday the OPEC+ meeting on Sunday would likely approve a policy rollover. On Friday, two separate OPEC+ sources said a further output cut was not completely off the table given concern about economic growth and demand.
Kremlin-linked Wagner Group recruited mercenaries from the Central African Republic to fight in Ukraine. It is active in the Central African Republic, where it works with the country's military and helps to combat rebel groups. Hundreds of rebels from the UPC surrendered last December after the CAR government and Wagner group promised incentives and further military work if they switched sides, The Daily Beast said. Those who returned to the Central African Republic have also had trouble working with the Wagner Group. The former rebels speaking to The Daily Beast also said that dozens of their colleagues have mysteriously disappeared in the Central African Republic.
UK crime agency arrests 'wealthy Russian' over money laundering
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Britain's National Crime Agency said on Saturday it had arrested a "wealthy Russian businessman" on suspicion of money laundering and other offences as part of a crackdown on corrupt oligarchs. The unidentified 58-year-old was among three men arrested by officers from the Combatting Kleptocracy Cell (CKC) on Thursday at a "multi-million pound residence" in London, the NCA said. He was detained on suspicion of money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the Home Office (interior ministry) and conspiracy to commit perjury, the NCA said. These included a number of asset freezing orders on accounts held by people linked to sanctioned Russians. Britain has so far sanctioned more than 1,200 individuals and over 120 entities following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Putin not sincere about peace talks now, says top U.S. diplomat
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
KYIV, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is not sincere about peace talks with Ukraine at this time, a top U.S. diplomat said on Saturday after meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other senior Ukrainian officials in Kyiv. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday he was prepared to speak to Putin if the Russian leader was interested in ending the war. This reaction from Russia, Nuland said, showed "how not serious they are". Nuland also met Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelenskiy's office, who expressed thanks for the billions of dollars worth of aid Washington has committed to Ukraine. "Ukraine's victory, which we are sure of, will be our joint victory," Zelenskiy's office quoted him as telling Nuland.
KYIV, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is not sincere about peace talks with Ukraine while he is taking the war to a new level of "barbarism" by trying to turn off the lights of civilians, a top U.S. diplomat said on Saturday. "And it's very clear, whether it's the energy attacks, whether it's the rhetoric out of the Kremlin and the general attitude, that Putin is not sincere or ready for that." U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday he was prepared to speak to Putin if the Russian leader was interested in ending the war. "Putin has taken this war to a new level of barbarism, taking it into every single Ukrainian home as he tries to turn off the lights and the water and achieve what he couldn't on the battlefield," Nuland said. "Ukraine's victory, which we are sure of, will be our joint victory," Zelenskiy's office quoted him as telling Nuland.
Today features my conversation with top strategist and economist, Ed Yardeni, on his recession outlook and what he sees as the US economy's biggest risks for 2023. Ed Yardeni, President of Yardeni Research Ed YardeniEd Yardeni is the president of Yardeni Research. Ed Yardeni: For the past year or so, the main issue for the US economy is inflation. EY: They can either continue to tighten until they cause a recession, but that's not my most likely scenario. I think either rates are going to go higher, causing a recession, which would bring interest rates down next year.
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Russia said on Saturday it would continue to find buyers for its oil, despite what it said was a "dangerous" attempt by Western governments to introduce a price cap on its oil exports. A coalition of Western countries led by the G7 group of nations agreed on Friday to cap the price of Russian seaborne oil at $60 a barrel, as they aim to limit Moscow's revenues and curb its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin and high-ranking Kremlin officials have repeatedly said that they will not supply oil to countries that implement the price cap. "Regardless of the current flirtations with the dangerous and illegitimate instrument, we are confident that Russian oil will continue to be in demand." The G7 price cap will allow non-EU countries to continue importing seaborne Russian crude oil, but it will prohibit shipping, insurance and re-insurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is sold for less than the price cap.
Russia has a "shadow fleet" of oil tankers to bypass western sanctions, the Financial Times reported. The EU has agreed on a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian oil after Poland wanted it set at just $30. Russia assembled what the industry described as the "shadow fleet" in a bid to counter new sanctions. Analysts estimate a shortfall as Russia still needs more tankers to maintain its export levels, according to the report. Rystad analyst Viktor Kurilov told the newspaper: "Russia needs more than 240 tankers to keep its current exports flowing."
Ukraine urges tougher Western squeeze on Russian oil prices
  + stars: | 2022-12-03 | by ( ) www.cnbc.com   time to read: +1 min
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Saturday for a lower price cap on Russian oil than the one agreed to by Ukraine's Western supporters, while Russian authorities called the $60-per-barrel cap harmful to free, stable markets. The cap is set to take effect Monday, along with an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea. "It would be necessary to lower it to $30 in order to destroy the enemy's economy faster," Yermak wrote on Telegram, staking out a position also favored by Poland — a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. The Russian Embassy in Washington insisted that Russian oil "will continue to be in demand" and criticized the price limit as "reshaping the basic principles of the functioning of free markets." A post on the embassy's Telegram channel predicted the per-barrel cap would lead to "a widespread increase in uncertainty and higher costs for consumers of raw materials."
NEW YORK, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The European Union's agreed $60 per-barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil will keep global markets well supplied while "institutionalizing" discounts created by the threat of such a limit, a senior U.S. Treasury official said on Friday. The official, speaking to reporters hours after EU governments persuaded holdout Poland to accept the cap, said the move will limit Moscow's oil revenues and divert billions of dollars away from its war in Ukraine. "By setting the price at $60 per barrel, we're institutionalizing the steep discount at which Putin has been forced to sell Russian oil, a discount that exists in part because the threat of the price cap has forced Russia to offer bargain deals to importing countries," the official said. In a separate statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the price cap would further constrain Russian President Vladimir Putin's revenues. "With Russia’s economy already contracting and its budget increasingly stretched thin, the price cap will immediately cut into Putin’s most important source of revenue," Yellen said.
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