The foreign financial support which has been provided to Ukraine is not being used to keep the failing economy afloat but to pay for weapons contracts, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes.
Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports that the recently-achieved agreements on the Ukrainian cease-fire which were discussed in Minsk are rapidly changing, hinting that the final objective of finding a political resolution to the crisis which led to the war in the country's southeast will remain out of reach. The daily suggests that Ukraine's President Poroshenko and his supporters are using the 'peace plan' as a temporary solution to regroup and reinforce the army. According to the newspaper, the foreign financial aid that international bodies have provided is not being used to fuel the failing economy, but to pay for weapons contracts. The daily notes that despite the earlier remarks of Western countries that they would not arm Kiev, earlier this week they changed their tune. For example, Poland's Defense Minister said that there was nothing stopping Ukraine from importing arms; Pentagon's Chuck Hagel did not refute allegations of American weapon shipments to Ukraine. At the same time, the interpretation of certain points of the Minsk protocol is already widening the gap between Kiev and Donbas – representatives from the Donetsk and Lugansk republics point out that they do not prohibit independence, whereas Kiev claims the document only mentions that part of the republics will receive a 'special status' where the Ukrainian army may not get a foothold, the newspaper notes.
Kommersant reports that against the backdrop of sanctions from the European Union and United States, Russia has created a partnership with Iran – a country that has been subjected to international embargoes for years. The daily notes that Russian companies are ready to launch massive projects in Iran, and that Tehran hopes to increase its exportation of agricultural goods to Russia. The cornerstone of future cooperation will be exports of Iranian oil by Russian traders to third party countries, Kommersant highlights. Moreover, Alexander Novak, Russia's Energy Minister, following talks with his Iranian counterpart on Tuesday, has announced that the Russian company Techpromexport along with Iraian Tavanir will be building eight to nine new thermal power stations and modernize four blocks of active power stations, possibly designing them to use coal. The total volume of collaborative energy projects is expected to be in the range of twelve billion dollars; currently the total trade between the two countries is evaluated as being worth 1.5 billion dollars per year, the newspaper notes.
Meanwhile, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has announced that the country has lost more citizens in the so-called 'anti-terrorist' operations in the southeast than during the ten-year Afghan war. Moskovskiy Komsomolets notes that the total number of casualties is unknown according to the spokesman, who highlighted the need to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict. “Each war needs to end with peace. The sooner it happens, the fewer losses we will suffer”. The newspaper also notes that according to the World Health Organization, Ukraine is facing serious medical shortages; if drastic measures are not taken, medical facilities risk running out of vaccines in a month. The daily refers to Radio UN, which reported that the Ukrainian crisis has undermined efforts to reform the country's healthcare system. The article also notes that international health officials fear a polio epidemic in the country, as even before the conflict in Donbas, less than half of all children were vaccinated.
President Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice urged China to help respond to the growing threat of the radical Islamic State while meeting this week with top Chinese officials, The Washington Post writes. The daily notes that Rice received no commitment that Beijing would join the fight in Iraq; however, a senior U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “The Chinese expressed interest.” The daily notes that China has its own concerns about the rising threat of domestic terrorism by Islamist extremists, especially in the Xinjiang region of western China. American and Chinese aides are still discussing what a Chinese contribution would look like, said the senior official, declining to go into detail. During the visit, Rice also raised concerns about Chinese fighter jets intercepting American surveillance planes. The daily noted that US-Chinese relations have become strained recently, and Rice had a series of rough patches to smooth over. These include a recent interview in which Obama characterized China as taking a passive role when it comes to addressing international crises.
The Moscow Times writes that China is ready to invest 400 billion rubles ($10.7 billion) in the construction of a high-speed railway linking Moscow with Kazan. China Development Bank, which in April confirmed plans to invest $5 billion in Russia's Far East, is among the parties ready to facilitate construction of the 800-kilometer-long line, said Alexander Misharin, first deputy president of state-owned monopoly Russian Railways. The daily suggests this is a sign the Kremlin is looking to further strengthen its economic ties with Beijing to offset the effects of its standoff with the West over Ukraine. Trains with a top speed of 400 kilometers per hour will service the line, cutting the journey time from about 14 hours on regular trains to just 3 1/2 hours, the daily notes, adding that it was slated to be built by 2018 — in time for the World Cup association football championship, which Kazan will co-host with other cities.
Thousands of new cases of Ebola are expected in the coming weeks as the disease spreads "exponentially" through Liberia, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. The Telegraph states that more than 2,000 people have been killed in West Africa by Ebola since the outbreak began this year, including 79 health workers. The newspaper highlights that the UN's health agency has now warned that the response to the crisis is "not having an adequate impact" and efforts to contain the virus must be stepped up "three-to-four fold". The organization added that a shortage of hospital beds for infected patients in Liberia's Montserrado County and the use of public transport by Ebola sufferers turned away from hospitals would likely cause a surge in transmission rates. “Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially. When patients are turned away, they have no choice but to return to their communities and homes, where they inevitably infect others."