US Department of State announced that the United States and European Union are willing to withdraw sanctions against Russia if Moscow and militia in Ukraine's South East adhere to the agreements reached in Minsk September 5.
Kommersant reports that the United States has expanded the sanctions against Russia. Six Russian banks, including Sberbank, five energy companies, including Gazprom and five companies working in the defense sector were affected. American companies have until September 26 to shut down any existing joint ventures with Russian counterparts in the blacklist, the daily notes. At the same time, representatives of the US Department of State announced that the United States and European Union are willing to withdraw sanctions against Russia if Moscow and militia in Ukraine's South East adhere to the agreements reached in Minsk September 5. The companies in the blacklist have higher restrictions when accessing international capital markets, the daily notes. The US Department of the Treasury stated that new restrictions complement restrictions managed by the Department of Commerce, are similar to measures taken by the European Union and still leave room to further sanctions if required.
Russia's Presidential Aide Andrey Belousov stated late last week that Russia is ready to retaliate against a new package of sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. Novye Izvestia writes that according to sources in the Kremlin, Russia's foreign partners will receive the brunt of the damage done by the new developments as Moscow may restrict or even ban exports of cars, clothing and woodworking goods into Russia. The daily notes that public officials reiterated their stance on the embargoes. When Russia banned certain foodstuffs being exported by countries which imposed the previous round of sectoral sanctions, the decision had no effect on Russian consumers. Now officials once again assured the public that the ban, if it's imposed, will not only have no negative effect on consumers, but will actually improve the situation. Belousov told the daily on the sidelines of the Samara economic forum that Russia has a number of industries in which its foreign parters depend on Russia and not the other way around. However, experts interviewed by the newspaper warn that hasty decisions vis-a-vis trade embargoes may actually have a negative impact on the goods and labor market.
Meanwhile, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes that it's likely that the Western sanctions against Russia will be retracted shortly. Nikita Maslennikov, Finance and Economics Department Head of the Contemporary Development Institute, told the newspaper that the sanctions may be recalled as early as mid-October. The daily reminds that the likelihood of withdrawing sanctions was voiced by EU's leadership before they adopted the documents. At the same time the expert highlighted that steps like adoption of the new package of sanctions do not bode well for international relations and only deteriorate the situation. Quote “Admittedly, I'd call the latest package signed by the European Union mainly demonstrational. It correlates and corresponds to anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the United States.” end quote Maslennikov noted that it's necessary to respond to the sanctions – it would be logical and appropriate. Quote “In any case retaliatory measures have to be taken sensible so that domestic businesses and consumers do not get the short end of the stick.” end quote. The expert suggests that if proposed embargoes on cars and clothing are imposed, a transition period should be provided.
The Telegraph writes that Britain is set to impose restrictions on Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations and block activists moving to London. The decision follows a report by a senior diplomat which raised concerns over the group's links to extremists in the Middle East. The daily reminds that David Cameron asked Sir John Jenkins, the ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to compile a full report on the Muslim Brotherhood after Gulf allies put pressure on the government to curtail the movement's London-based operations. The article writes that officials privy to the drafting of Sir John's report said it had been handed over to Downing Street and a statement on its findings would be published before the end of the year. While it stops short of proposing a ban on the Brotherhood, it accepts some of the movement's activity amounts to complicity with armed groups and extremists in the Middle East and elsewhere, the daily notes. At the same time, a senior British official involved in the process said parts of the report are too sensitive to publish.
The Moscow Times reports that a convoy of more than 200 white trucks crossed the Russian border to deliver humanitarian aid to a war-torn Ukrainian city on Saturday. The daily notes that although this move was made without Kiev's consent, it was met with silence by Ukraine's leaders. The daily notes that the much-needed aid arrived as fighting flared again between pro-independence militia in Ukraine's south-east and government forces, which threatened to undermine the already fragile cease-fire in the region. By Saturday evening all Russian trucks had returned back to Russia. The newspaper reminds that in August, when Russia sent the first convoy of trucks over the border without waiting for Kiev's approval or oversight from the International Red Cross, Ukrainian officials quickly condemned what they called an invasion of Ukraine. On Saturday, no top Ukrainian leader mentioned Russia's latest delivery at all.
The Guardian writes that the prospect of Britain joining military action against the Islamic State (Isis) jihadi group moved closer as David Cameron led international condemnation of the ritualized killing of the British aid worker David Haines and threats against a second UK citizen, Alan Henning. The daily highlights that as western diplomats reported that several Arab states had offered to join a US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the insurgents, the prime minister said the UK was "ready to take whatever steps are necessary" to deal with the threat of Isis. The newspaper reminds that no Arab state has yet publicly promised to participate in military action, but the countries are believed to include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, whose aircraft recently bombed Islamist militia targets in Libya from bases in Egypt. A senior western source told the newspaper that Saudi Arabia felt so threatened by Isis that it was prepared to act in a frontline role. "There is a very real possibility that we could have the Saudi air force bombing targets inside Syria. That is a remarkable development, and something the US would be very pleased to see." Meanwhile, Cameron hinted that the UK would be prepared to join the US in conducting a bombing campaign against Isis as part of a wider alliance.