War of sanctions continues as Kiev prepares to offer greater autonomy to south-east regions
Experts believe that the European Union may soon withdraw its sanctions against Russia: Izvestia reports that according to experts, on the backdrop of escalating terrorist threats in the Middle East NATO and the EU require Russia as a strong partner. Maya Kosyanchich, press secretary of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union Catherine Ashton, said that the Foreign Affairs department will within a month evaluate how well the Ukrainian peace plan is being implemented. This evaluation will serve as a basis for adjusting the EU’s policy vis-à-vis Russia – sanctions may be revised or lifted, the newspaper notes. At the same time, the newspaper quotes Modest Kolerov, former head of the Interregional and Foreign Relations Department of the Presidential Administration, who said one should not trust statements made by the representative of the European Union. Quote “The third package of sanctions was adopted after the cease-fire agreement was reached. They’re a bit late with these claims. Ongoing violations of the cease-fire regime are caused by Kiev, thus the European Union must address their requests to Ukraine, not Russia.” End quote
Kommersant has an article on implementation of the cease-fire agreements reached in Minsk, specifically, greater autonomy of the Donbass region of Ukraine. The daily reports that Ukraine’s President Petr Poroshenko proposed a three year self-governance region in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions – the zones which are currently controlled by pro-independence militia. Poroshenko has also set the date for snap elections in soon-to-be-autonomous regions – November 9. These announcements, along with a Monday night meeting between Porotshenko and leaders of Verkhovna Rada factions suggest that Kiev plans to uphold its end of the September 5 agreements, with the final goal of seeking long-term political resolution of the crisis, the newspaper writes. The daily mentioned that Pavel Gubarev, head of the people’s militia of Donbass, told Kommersant that he was somewhat puzzled over the aspects of the ‘special status’ given to militia-controlled territory, adding that Kiev does not have authority over them anyway.
Meanwhile, the European Union has admitted that its economy will be severely undermined by Russian embargoes, which came as a response to anti-Russian sanctions. Moskovskiy Komsomolets writes that according to the representatives of the European Union, EU’s grocery business may take a hit evaluated at five point one billion Euros. The European Commission has previously estimated that the Russian food embargo would strip European agriculture businesses of five billion Euros. The daily reminds that September 3 the European Union’s executive body decided to provide assistance for European agrarians in the amount of 30 million Euros; this followed thirty two point seven million given to peach producers August 11 and one hundred twenty five million Euros given to fruit and vegetable farmers August 25. The newspaper highlights that experts believe the actual amount of losses for the European Agricultural export will exceed seven billion Euros. Losses for European exporters may skyrocket if Russia adopts new embargoes, the daily notes – lawmakers suggested banning European tobacco, alcohol and construction products.
The Moscow Times has an article on the possibility voiced Sunday by Ukriane’s defense minister of becoming a nuclear power again. The daily reminds that Defense Minister Valery Geletey told reporters at a news conference in Kiev: "If today we cannot defend [Ukraine], if the world will not help us, we will be forced to return to creating this weapon, which will defend us against Russia.“ Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's outspoken deputy prime minister in charge of the state armaments program, reacted to the suggestion with sarcasm. The article reminds that Ukraine is bound by the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty. A state can withdraw from the NPT at three months' notice in the event that "extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country." So far the only country that has followed this path is North Korea. Pyotr Topychkanov, coordinator of the Carnegie Moscow Center's nonproliferation program, told the daily “If Ukraine makes such a decision, it will essentially mean that its current political allies — the U.S., European Union and others — will have to abandon Kiev.” End quote.
The Guardian writes that more than six out of 10 people in England and Wales believe the government should bar an independent Scotland from using the pound, according to a poll conducted by Guardian and ICM. The daily reminds that the currency question has been a key referendum point with Westminster party leaders repeatedly making it clear that Scotland would not be allowed to use the pound; the independence campaigners claim they are bluffing and would eventually allow a union in the case of a yes vote. In any case, Monday's poll finds that 63% of voters in England and Wales believe that the UK should "refuse to negotiate" over a common currency area if Scotland becomes independent, more than twice as many as the 27% who would favour such talks beginning, the article highlights. This makes for a total contrast with Scotland, where 62% believe that a currency union should be negotiated. The newspaper also notes that around 50% of English and Welsh voters believe that "England and Wales should also have been given a say", while 45% have the opposite opinion.
The Telegraph writes that a coalition of at least 27 countries declared their resolve to defeat ISIS on Monday as the world was told that it’s had "no time to lose" in combating the terror group. French president François Hollande issued the warning as he hosted a conference in Paris – the newspaper calls it a meeting seen as a crucial step towards building a broad international coalition to combat the movement, which calls itself the Islamic State. The daily notes that the Islamic State now controls thousands of square miles of territory spanning the border between Syria and Iraq and may count as many as 30,000 fighters in its ranks. With the US having already carried out numerous air strikes, Britain is still on the fence regarding its role in the conflict. Philip Hammond, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, on Monday stressed that Britain "will play a leading role in this coalition," although he added: "We haven't made a decision yet about how we will be involved." The article also notes that Russia and China were represented in Paris, although their stance towards any possible UN resolution is unclear.