Press review: Belarus' new national security strategy and Russia, US butt heads at UN

MOSCOW:  Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko unveils the country's new national security strategy; Russia vetoes a Japan-US UN res...


MOSCOW:  Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko unveils the country's new national security strategy; Russia vetoes a Japan-US UN resolution on arms in space; and Cambodia easing into BRICS cooperation. These stories topped Friday’s newspaper headlines across Russia.

Izvestia: Lukashenko adapts military strategy to evolving threat landscape

Belarus has updated its military doctrine and strategic security concept. From now on, Minsk will allow itself to use preventive measures to deter any aggression. The two documents also provide a clearer picture of the country’s commitments as an ally. While experts see the geopolitical situation around Belarus as the key reason behind the updates, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko insists that his country has to respond appropriately to threats being posed to the region amid unwillingness on the part of the United States to resolve the Ukraine conflict.

A new aspect, biological security, has been added to the five key directions of national security, those being political, economic, social, demographic and scientific-technical. The Ukraine conflict, which poses a threat to Belarus’ southern border and beyond, has also been taken into account.

To Kirill Koktysh, associate professor of political theory at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), revamping the doctrines and adding new security aspects is a reasonable step. "The new spheres of biological, IT and space security will be heavily explored, including for military purposes, because of their scope," he said. "Therefore, it is quite sensible to incorporate them in the doctrine. For these are guiding documents that must be taken into account in decision-making across the entire power hierarchy," the expert explained.

In passing these new documents, Minsk focuses on external circumstances that affect the security of both Belarus and the Union State. "When they are adopted, national security strategies always factor in the concepts being used by neighbor states, or, let’s say, leading countries," Dmitry Ofitserov-Belsky, senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS), told Izvestia.

Kommersant: Russia vetoes US-Japan resolution on nukes in space at UN

Russia urged the United States to take measures toward developing international agreements aimed at preventing the militarization of space, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said after Russia vetoed a UN resolution sponsored by the United States and Japan calling on all nations to prevent the deployment of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction in outer space.

Russia viewed the US administration’s response to its veto as "an information provocation and a part of the propaganda war" on Moscow, Antonov said late on Thursday. According to him, "the Americans didn’t bother to explain what the 'added value' of the mentioned resolution is." "The 1967 space treaty already prohibits the deployment of WMDs in space. The US’ refusal to include the amendment that we proposed regarding the non-deployment of any kinds of weapons in space only illustrates Washington’s hypocrisy," he said.

Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya dismissed claims that Russia was promoting an arms race in outer space and failing to adhere to relevant commitments under international treaties as "absolutely absurd."

Five UN Security Council members voted for an amendment tabled by Russia and China before the UNSC considered the US-Japan resolution, namely Algeria, Guyana, Ecuador, Mozambique and Sierra Leone. Switzerland abstained. Seven countries - Great Britain, France, Japan, Malta, South Korea, the United States and Japan - voted against it.

Commenting on the vote, Nebenzya lamented that the sponsors of the draft resolution never explained why they had rejected the Russian-Chinese proposal to add a paragraph that would have had the global organ call for measures "to prevent for all time the placement of any weapons in outer space." According to him, the only reason why the US and Japan proposed their draft resolution was to smear Russia.

The Russian delegation, Russia’s envoy to the UN said, is planning to come up with an alternative draft UN resolution on preventing the militarization of space. However, the chances that the UNSC will adopt another Russian resolution are slim as the United Nations remains split on this important security topic.

Izvestia: Cambodia in no hurry to join BRICS

While Cambodia currently has no plans to join BRICS as a full member, it is interested in working with the group amid a challenging international situation, Izvestia learned. The Cambodian Embassy in Russia reminded the newspaper that the Southeast Asian nation opposed unilateral sanctions. Other South Asian players, too, are seeking cooperation with BRICS, but many out there still keep Washington in mind.

Despite Cambodia’s push toward diversifying its export markets, the share of the US on its market is increasingly growing instead, Yelena Burova, researcher with the Center for Vietnam and ASEAN Studies at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Izvestia. The West has been criticizing Cambodia's politics while stripping it of any privileges and quotas and imposing sanctions on it. "Therefore, Phnom Penh is clearly seeking to reduce its dependence on Washington," she said.

Meanwhile, since January 1, 2024, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have joined the group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and dozens of other countries are waiting in line to do so, too. So far, more than 30 nations, including Thailand and other Southeast Asian economies, have submitted membership applications.

The Russian Embassy to Bangkok told Izvestia that the current authorities in Thailand have shown an interest in joining the grouping. Other Southeast Asian players, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, too, are mulling accession to BRICS. All these countries already take part in the BRICS+ dialogue, and Malaysia, for one, very much counts on cooperation with BRICS in outer space.

In their foreign policy, Southeast Asian nations are guided not only by the destructive confrontation between the United States and China. They also have their own priorities, for example, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). "ASEAN is an absolute priority for Southeast Asia as an economic, social, and cultural union. And until recently, ASEAN has played a much more important role for these countries than any other large associations," Dmitry Mosyakov, head of the Center for the Study of Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, emphasized. However, only neutral members of ASEAN, that is Brunei, Indonesia, South Asia’s largest economy, or Malaysia, are likely to decide on joining BRICS, he added.

Vedomosti: Energy Ministry expects Russia to maintain its share in global oil production until 2050

Russia is highly likely to maintain its current share of 12-13% in global crude oil production at least until 2050, according to a report submitted to the Russian Energy Ministry by the Russian Energy Agency.

According to estimates from Finam, by 2050, Russia’s annual oil production may shrink to between 400 mln metric tons and 420 mln metric tons amid falling demand. For the time being, Russia exports its crude to markets whose consumption has yet to peak, Finam analyst Sergey Kaufman told Vedomosti. He believes that this aspect as well as Russia’s participation in an OPEC+ agreement to cut oil production to steady the market will enable the country to maintain its current share among major global oil suppliers.

And whether Russia succeeds in doing so by 2050 will depend on its access to modern production technology and the country’s tax regime, Kirill Rodionov, an expert in the oil and gas sphere, says. Currently, Russia is focused on setting up its own hydraulic fracturing fleet and developing domestic software for hydrocarbon exploration and production, he argues.

In October 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasted that OPEC and Russia will still account for 48% of the global oil market through 2030 and that their share could exceed 50% by 2050 at the expense of expanded Saudi production.

As for forecasts of Russia’s share in the global gas market by 2050, that will entirely depend on the country’s ability to meet its goals in developing the LNG industry amid sanctions and increasing pipeline gas supplies to China, Kaufman concluded.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Putin vows to provide favorable conditions for domestic businesses

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to create a favorable economic environment for entrepreneurs in the country as he also pledged measures to protect their rights. Putin emphasized that businesses working not only to generate profits but also for the sake of national interests, too, had contributed to Russia’s economic growth.

On Thursday, Putin addressed a plenary meeting of the annual congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and fielded questions from the business community. He expressed his confidence that the constructive partnership and joint actions amid extraordinary conditions of recent years have enabled Russia to counter external difficulties and formed a solid basis for the implementation of strategic plans.

"Obviously, we can see the difficulties facing the economy and all of you <…>. But in general, [we] have achieved certain results, despite all difficulties," the president told an applauding audience. Also, there is every opportunity for Russia to deploy a new economic growth model, including solid state-owned resources and the potential for Russian businesses, Putin added.

And a fiscal overhaul is one element of supporting entrepreneurs, he said, with government officials and parliamentarians as well as business and public associations, including in regions, discussing parameters of a potential reform and preparing relevant proposals.


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Local Glob: Press review: Belarus' new national security strategy and Russia, US butt heads at UN
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