Press review: Lavrov heads to Guinea and Russia tells West to tread lightly in arming Kiev

  MOSCOW:  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov kicks off African tour with trip to Guinea; Russia issues warning to West amid supplies of...

 


MOSCOW:  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov kicks off African tour with trip to Guinea; Russia issues warning to West amid supplies of long-range weapons to Ukraine; and former US President Donald Trump seeks to capitalize on his guilty verdict. These stories topped Tuesday's newspaper headlines across Russia.

Vedomosti: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov begins latest African tour in Guinea

On June 3, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, for a working visit, where he met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Morisanda Kouyate, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said. This is the minister's sixth African tour in two years. Experts interviewed by Vedomosti noted that Lavrov's current tour of the continent would most likely focus on strengthening Russia's relations with the Sahel countries.

One of the questions that Lavrov discussed with his Guinean counterpart was restarting the Russian-Guinean intergovernmental committee on trade and economic cooperation, which had not met since 2019.

Tamara Andreeva, junior researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of African Studies, told Vedomosti that Guinea is vital for Russia's interests in the Sahel region because it provides access to the sea.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Rusal has a long history of operating in Guinea. Its Guinean enterprises, Kindia Mining Company and Friguia bauxite-alumina complex, supply raw materials to Russian manufacturers. Rusal is implementing a project to develop Dian Dian, the world's largest bauxite mine. The corporation has invested over $300 mln in Guinea. Andreeva added that neither the coup nor sanctions have stopped Rusal's efforts in Guinea, where the company also carries out important humanitarian work, as it funds the training of local medical experts, constructs hospitals, and has joined the fight against the Ebola epidemic.

"Russian-Guinean relations go back to Soviet times: the beginnings of Rusal's activity in building factories and the railway started back then. In addition, Guinea has the highest number of state-provided places in Russian institutions of any country in the region, with 450 places available for the 2023 - 2024 academic year," the expert noted.

Spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova confirmed to Vedomosti that in addition to Guinea, Lavrov "is planning visits to several countries on the continent," but did not specify them.

Russia remains interested in Central and Western Africa against the backdrop of the decline of French influence there, researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Grigory Lukyanov told the newspaper. "Moscow needs infrastructure in the form of efficient consular assistance and a legal framework. This requires the approval of governments," the expert commented on Lavrov’s frequent visits to the region.

Izvestia: West should consider consequences of transferring long-range weapons to Ukraine - Russian diplomat

The West may send official military contingents to Ukraine, Head of Russia’s Delegation to the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control Konstantin Gavrilov said in an interview with Izvestia. In addition, he believes it is possible that Germany will eventually provide Kiev with Taurus long-range cruise missiles. Nevertheless, Moscow is ready for any scenario and Western countries should think long and hard about the consequences of transferring long-range weapons to Ukraine, he noted.

""The military leadership decides all this. The president spoke quite clearly about the consequences of all this during his visit to Uzbekistan when he warned Western 'non-partners' that they are densely populated," Gavrilov said, commenting on how Russia might react to possible strikes deep into Russian territory.

"Some of them have already lost their minds, and we need them to think about the consequences of using long-range weapons on Russian territory. There is a limit to everything - our president and foreign minister have spoken clearly on this matter. Let [the West] think seriously before doing this," he added.

At the same time, Gavrilov noted that it is necessary to complete the special military operation in Ukraine in 2-3 years, before the West organizes the production of shells.

"I don't see them increasing the supply of weapons. It seems to me quite the opposite - there is a shortage of artillery shells, NATO and US warehouses are empty, the Czech Republic can't fulfill orders for the production of shells, they can't get the 800,000 they need from around the world. 150-mm Italian [shells] do not fit the Spanish [facilities] <...> They are in complete disarray. But the West will take two to three years to set up production - during this time we need to settle things with Ukraine," Gavrilov noted.

He also noted that Russia is aware of 14 US sabotage and reconnaissance groups on the territory of Ukraine. However, foreign mercenaries in Ukraine are being eliminated faster than they are coming in, Gavrilov added. "The problem is that the recruitment process seems to continue," he told the newspaper.

Vedomosti: Donald Trump wants to use his loss in court to help him win presidency

Former US President Donald Trump should forget about running for president after being found guilty of falsifying records, say 49% of respondents in a joint ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted May 31-June 1. But the former president and his campaign team have other plans, as they seek to use the court defeat to their advantage, helping Trump to victory in November, Vedomosti writes.

Part of their strategy will be to reach African-Americans. Trump has previously tried to use his court case to connect with black voters. In a February 2024 meeting with a black conservative organization, he drew a parallel between his lawsuit and the injustices faced by African-Americans in the country, claiming this was bringing them over to his side.

They are also using the May 30 jury verdict to raise money for the presidential campaign - 24 hours after Trump was found guilty, his campaign announced that it had raised almost $53 mln. Against the backdrop of this news, Trump also created his own TikTok account. One day after he posted his first video, he gained 3 mln subscribers.

Trump's strategy shift in recent days shows his ability to minimize the damage associated with the jury verdict, Associate Professor at the Department of American Studies, School of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University Grigory Yarygin told Vedomosti. The expert believes that in addition to black voters, Trump is appealing to the Hispanic population. Appealing to the former could help him in Georgia, while supporting the latter could help him in the swing states of Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. However, Trump is winning these groups over not because of his trial, but because he promises them a better economy than under Biden, the expert added.

Trump’s economic reforms against the backdrop of Biden's failures have voters intrigued, Chief Scientific Researcher at the Institute for the US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Vasiliev told the newspaper. And flaunting government persecution may play with African-American voters short-term, but it is not a good long-term strategy. "The consequences will be clear after Trump is sentenced on July 11," Vasiliev concluded.

Izvestia: EU may impose sanctions against Georgia by end of year

The European Union, which has banned the broadcasting of many Russian media under the guise of fighting propaganda, is itself increasingly interfering in Georgian politics. Because of the law on foreign agents, by the end of the year the EU may suspend Georgia’s visa-free regime, sources in the European Parliament told Izvestia. In addition, MEPs believe that Brussels is capable of withdrawing Tbilisi's status as a candidate for joining the association and introduce personal sanctions against a number of politicians. Meanwhile, experts told Izvestia they believe that The West would not introduce measures before the parliamentary elections in the country in October.

Member of the European Parliament Ivan David believes that the EU is preparing restrictions both on visa-free travel with Georgia and on Tbilisi's prospects for joining the organization. At the same time, Member of the European Parliament Ivan Vilibor Sincic told the newspaper that the European Union may not stop there and could introduce personal sanctions against certain Georgian politicians.

Meanwhile, the EU clearly intends to fight to maintain its influence in the region - Georgia remains a key transit point for gas and pipelines supplying the EU with energy from the Caspian Sea, Izvestia writes. In addition, the country is important geopolitically because of its proximity to Russia. Brussels fears that the West will suddenly be unable to influence public opinion if Georgian Dream remains the ruling party, head of the Caucasus sector of IMEMO RAS Vadim Mukhanov told the newspaper. Elections are scheduled for October, and Georgian Dream, which has been in power since 2012, is likely to win again, the analyst added.

Although Brussels is dissatisfied with the new law on foreign agents, the EU will not impose sanctions before the elections, the expert believes. "Of course, the red line here is the elections. It is clear that depending on their outcome, the EU may want to reconsider its position on Georgia. But it's too early to talk about that," Vadim Mukhanov said.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Russia hopes to coordinate agricultural production plans with EAEU’s countries

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin began his working visit to Belarus, where he plans to participate in the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council. The discussions began with food security issues under the pressure of sanctions imposed by Western countries. Mishustin noted that the countries are 93% self-sufficient in terms of food. However, Russia sees the need for more coordinated actions with the EAEU member states to increase agricultural production in order to prevent competition within the association, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

Mishustin highlighted the favorable position of Russia and the EAEU countries. The Union has 10% of the world's agricultural land and ranks tenth of the world's fresh water reserves. Russia also plans to increase agricultural production by a quarter and exports 1.5-fold by the end of the decade. At the same time, the Russian authorities consider it important to coordinate plans to increase agricultural production in various sectors.

Food self-sufficiency is an important indicator for the EAEU. To date, the EAEU's supply of the nine most important agricultural products has reached 93%, while back in 2020 this figure reached 88%. According to the report from the Higher School of Economics (HSE University) analyzing trade within the EAEU, today the Union covers its internal needs for grain, pork, poultry, milk, sugar, vegetables, vegetable oils, and eggs through its own production.

In turn, Belarus is the only country that has a significant reserve for increasing food exports to third countries. However, against the backdrop of sanctions restrictions, its export supplies are declining, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

According to the HSE University report, the EAEU is generally able to fully meet its needs for agricultural products both through its own production and through mutual trade with member countries of the union.


-News Feed

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Local Glob: Press review: Lavrov heads to Guinea and Russia tells West to tread lightly in arming Kiev
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