Ukraine

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Iskander Khisamov, director of the Expert Council Analytical Center, has commented on Ukraine’s plans to quit the CIS. In his words, Kiev viewed the CIS as a format for relations with Russia. Ukraine considers Russia an aggressor and expected no benefit from further cooperation, said the expert. He predicts that Ukraine will turn into an appendage of Europe eventually.

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SOCAR to develop business in Ukraine

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) plans to continue development of business on the Ukrainian petroleum market. The company plans to expand the network of its fueling stations in Ukraine by 50% by fall 2014, Trend reports.SOCAR has 38 petroleum stations in Ukraine. They can be found in the Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, Nikolayevsk, Rivne, Cherkasy, Khmelnytskyi and the Poltava Oblasts. The company imports Euro-5 petroleum from Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

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The EU-US council for energy having a session in Brussels today has commended Ukraine’s efforts to diversity sources of natural gas, build a competitive energy economy, implement energy efficiency, achieve higher transparency on the market, integrate in the European energy market, Interfax reports.The council has confirmed commitment of Ukraine to the laws needed for realization of the strategic vision of full integration of Ukraine in the European energy market.The council was chaired by EU Chief Diplomat Catherine Ashton and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Georgia served as an example for post-Soviet states, noting that it had been sending troops for NATO operations and preparing to join the Alliance, ITAR-TASS reports.The term “security export,” according to Rasmussen, was made for non-members of the Alliance sending troops to its missions, most importantly to Afghanistan.

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said at an international investment conference of Dragon Capital that Ukraine will discuss details of gas contracts with Gazprom, ITAR-TASS reports.The PM is uncertain whether the existing Russian-Ukrainian gas deal is still in force and whether the price formula is preset or not.

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Right Sector websites blocked in Russia

Alexander Zharov, head of the Russian Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications, has told Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov that access to all websites of Ukraine’s Right Sector was blocked, RIA Novosti reports.This includes access to Facebook and Twitter.The Right Sector is a nationalistic organization in Ukraine. It has contacts with the Freedom Party that entered the ruling coalition after the change of power in Ukraine.

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The US House of Representatives has passed a bill today, offering economic aid to Ukraine and imposing sanctions against Russia. The US will freeze assets and set visa restrictions for certain Russian officials. Mikhail Khazin, president of the Neocon Consulting Company, told Vestnik Kavkaza that the impact of the sanctions would be illusionary in the context of the extremely unstable economic situation. He admitted that Russia was vulnerable to mass sanctions but no one would go for that due to losses that all sides would suffer.

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A spokesman for the Pentagon said that the US may send warships to the Black Sea to becalm European allies agitated by Russia’s policy in Ukraine, Interfax reports.A group of US officers plans to visit Europe to discuss joint military drills …

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Gazzayev predicts normalization of situation in Ukraine

Valery Gazzayev, head of the Organizing Committee of the Joint Russian-Ukrainian Football League, said that the situation in Ukraine will normalize, Sports.ru reports.The joint championship, in his words, will improve the quality of football in both states and serve their national interests.

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US congressmen approve sanctions against Russia and subsidies for Ukraine

The US House of Representatives has approved new sanctions against violators of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and Russian officials responsible for mass corruption. The sanctions need President Barack Obama’s signature, ITAR-TASS reports.The sanctions will also affect partners and families of the said officials.

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The Washington Post  publsihed an article headlined "The Obama administration is underestimating Putin’s ambitions." According to the authors of the article, former advisors to Georgia’s government Molly McKew and Gregory Maniatis, the US authorities still don't have a clear understanding of Russia's policies.

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Experts on John Kerry's visit to Azerbaijan

US Secretary of State John Kerry is going to pay a visit to Azerbaijan soon. Vestnik Kavkaza discussed the coming visit with Azerbaijani lawmakers Asim Mollazade and Rasim Musabekov and Deputy Head of the Plekhanov Russian Economic University Sergey Markov.

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Expert on Ukraine's presidential campaign

Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission stopped receiving applications of potential presidential candidates this weekend. 46 people submitted their applications. Among them are former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and chocolate tycoon Petro Poroshenko.

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Berlin, Paris, Warsaw offer to host conference on Ukraine

Foreign Ministers Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Germany), Laurent Fabius (France) and Radoslaw Sikorski (Poland) met in Weimar today and offered to host an international conference on Ukraine in one of their capital cities, Interfax reports.The …

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Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains topical problem – OSCE

According to the OSCE report for 2013, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains one of the main conflicts in the region, Trend reports.The document states that over 20 years have passed since the start of the conflict, yet no sustainable political solution has been made. The OSCE has hailed progress of the OSCE Minsk Group in encouraging dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have recently discussed the situation over Crimea at a meeting in Paris. US President Barack Obama has expressed an interest in a strong Russia and spoke out against a new Cold War, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney. He added that no new sanctions will be imposed on Russia for annexation of Crimea.

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Council of Federation backs scrapping of Black Sea Fleet deal with Ukraine

The Council of the Federation adopted a draft on determination of agreements on the Black Sea Fleet of the RF in the territory of Ukraine. The chairman of the Committee for International Affairs of the Council of the Federation, Mikhail Margelov, noted that “today when Crimea has become a constituent of Russia, the agreements lost any sense.”  “We are not leasing anything anymore,” ITAR-TASS cites him. The senator also added that determination of the agreements doesn’t contradict international obligations, and Russia has a right to stop them.

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Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said at a session with SCO military authorities that the so-called Arab Spring scenario in Ukraine may undermine the country, RIA Novosti reports.The minister noted that the people at power in Kiev were Neo-Nazis and Russophobes that could become a tragedy for both Ukraine and Europe as a whole. He reminded that nationalists were trying to suppress the Russian-speaking population in the eastern and southern parts of the country.

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