The decision to postpone sanctions was made in order to give the EU leadership the chance to evaluate the situation in Ukraine and change their decision at the last minute. Meanwhile, an American lobby group has defended Proton rockets from sanctions.
Donbas residents are returning home due to the cease-fire. In the wake of a temporary truce between the Ukrainian army and the Donbas region’s militia, refugees are coming home. Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes that at the Donetsk-Izvarino border checkpoint, a two-kilometer line has formed as pedestrians, cars and buses head for the Luhansk region. The daily notes that despite high temperature and long wait times, the mood is upbeat – people who fled the war-torn region are finally coming home. The newspaper quotes some of the refugees, who shared their stories. For example, one woman told how her children in Rostov region housed her during the war; as soon as the media reported the cease-fire, she, like thousands of other residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, decided to return. The daily highlights that the general atmosphere is positive – people hope to be able to return to a peaceful life and are sharing tips on how to rebuild – where to buy construction materials and supplies. A representative of the Federal Security Service told the newspaper that in just 24 hours, over fourteen thousand people crossed back to Ukraine through the Donetsk checkpoint.
Moskovskiy Komsomolets writes that the European Union has made an odd move. A new package of targeted sanctions against Russia has been approved. However, the public announcement and the date when they come into force have been postponed. The newspaper reports that this decision was made to give the EU leadership the chance to evaluate the situation in Ukraine and, possibly, change their decision at the last minute. The official statement published on Monday notes that the sanctions are designed to compel Russia to alter its policies towards Kiev, claiming that Russia is supplying the militia in Ukraine’s southeast with arms and soldiers. While the new measures are to come into effect as soon as they're published in the official journal of the European Union, the exact date has not been made public. European Council President Van Rompuy has said that the delay will be used to evaluate the compliance of parties in the Ukrainian conflict with the cease-fire plan; following the evaluation, the European Council may change their decision on certain sanctions or the whole package.
Meanwhile, an American lobby group has defended the Proton rockets from sanctions, Izvetia writes. The Khrunichev Center, which produces the Proton rockets, has protected its order portfolio and the business as a whole via professional lobbyists. The newspaper writes that according to its sources, in April the American subsidiary of the Khrunichev Center - International Launch Services (ILS), signed a deal with The Madison Group, which specializes in providing government relations (lobbying) services in high-tech fields as well as trade and transport. The newspaper notes that rumors of looming sanctions against Russia that target aerospace (in addition to other industries), began right around the time that the lobbying contract was signed. Moreover, these rumors largely came true: for example, Russian satellite producers cannot buy American components and NASA has frozen its contacts with Russia's Space Agency apart from the ongoing ISS program. The newspaper notes that launch rockets were also supposed to be sanctioned – however, this did not happen. Representatives of the ILS believe that they have The Madison Group to thank for that – the Proton rockets were determined to be essential for the global aerospace market.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday that Russia must boost its domestic aircraft production following Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, The Moscow Times writes. Meanwhile, one of his deputies said Moscow would develop a new long-range passenger jet with China. The daily notes that the need for domestic aircraft alternatives to Western juggernauts such as Boeing and Airbus has been highlighted by the crisis in Ukraine, which has forced Russia to ensure it does not need Western partners in sensitive industries if sanctions are ratcheted up. At the time, Russian airlines lease 90 percent of their planes from the West and sanctions left one airline grounded in August: Dobrolyot, a low-cost airline, the newspaper notes. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, said on Monday that Russia and China plan to sign an agreement in October to jointly produce a new long-range aircraft. At the same time, Russia intends to double the production of its newest civilian airliner, the Sukhoi Superjet 100, in 2015. In 2013, only 25 Superjets were made. The company said in August that it will produce 40 by the end of 2014, and reach an annual production level of 50 aircraft in 2015.
The Spanish government is preparing itself for a restless autumn, The Guardian writes, as it spends nearly one billion Euros on riot gear for police units and protest groups are preparing a string of demonstrations. The newspaper notes that since June, the interior ministry has tendered four contracts to purchase riot equipment ranging from shields to stab-resistant vests. The ministry also finalized its purchase of a new truck-mounted water cannon, an anti-riot measure that was used during Spain's dictatorship and the transition to democracy but has rarely been seen in recent years. The ministry said in its tender that the water cannon was necessary, "given the current social dynamic", the daily notes. Amnesty International in Spain said the purchase of riot gear was a worrying development. The newspaper quoted its spokesman: "They say they buy this material to control disturbances, but how exactly will it be used? In Greece we have documented how these water cannons, when used a short distance, can provoke severe injuries and commotion."
US drones are being flown over the "capital" of the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria, The Telegraph reports. This is part of a drive by America to target Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the jihadist group's elusive leader, the newspaper explains. Residents of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa have captured photo and video footage of remotely-piloted planes, which Western weapons experts have identified as American Predators, the same drones used in Pakistan and Yemen to attack suspected terrorists. The US has not publicly stated that it is flying drones over Syria, and the sightings over Raqqa are the first indication that it is doing so. The daily suggests the sightings are the clearest indication that US President Barack Obama has dramatically changed his policy, aggressively stepping up reconnaissance of IS positions as the US works to assemble an international coalition to fight the jihadists. The daily notes that Obama would be required to personally order a strike against the IS leader, weighing the advantages of his death against the risk of civilian casualties, but security experts believe he will make the decision to attack if the opportunity arises.