Press review: China in NATO crosshairs over Russia support and Kiev eyes ZNPP return

  MOSCOW:  NATO chief warns China of sanctions over support for Russia; Kiev wants Zaporozhye NPP back from Moscow amid energy crisis; and I...

 


MOSCOW:  NATO chief warns China of sanctions over support for Russia; Kiev wants Zaporozhye NPP back from Moscow amid energy crisis; and Israel lays out terms for peace with Hezbollah. These stories topped Wednesday's newspaper headlines across Russia.

Vedomosti: NATO Secretary General threatens China with sanctions for supporting Russia

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that if China does not change its policy regarding Russia's special operation in Ukraine, it will have to face the consequences - he asserts that China is supporting Russia’s military efforts while also trying to maintain close ties with European countries. Stoltenberg said that NATO countries are considering possible sanctions over China’s alleged sharing of certain technologies that are vital to Russia’s production of missiles and weapons, Vedomosti writes.

The United States has not been shy about imposing sanctions against Chinese companies suspected of helping Russia. On June 12, sanctions hit major defense contractor Poly Technologies, computer equipment maker Beijing DeepCool Industries, and UAV engine manufacturer Mile Hao Xiang Technology.

Meanwhile, tensions between China and the EU are rising with Beijing recently launching an anti-dumping investigation into pork imports from the EU. Earlier, on June 12, the European Commission announced that from July 4, Chinese electric cars on the EU market will be subject to a temporary tax of 17-38%.

NATO has had China in its crosshairs for some time now, even including it as a challenge in the alliance's latest strategic concept, leading expert at the Center for Comprehensive World and European Studies at the Higher School of Economics Yulia Semke told Vedomosti. In addition, the leaders of Indo-Pacific countries (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea) plan to meet at the July 9-11 NATO summit in Washington to discuss possible countermeasures against Chinese influence in the military-political and strategic spheres.

European NATO countries will see increasing pressure in terms of cooperation with China, the expert believes. Most likely, they will have to reduce essential economic cooperation with China, since Beijing has little reason to change its position, Semke added. On the other hand, China sees signals that if it increases its support for Russia, it will face tougher measures, including from European countries, the expert concluded.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Ukraine eyes control over Zaporozhye NPP amid worsening energy crisis

If Ukraine managed to reclaim the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which has been under Russian control since March 2022, it could avoid large-scale power outages in winter months, Kiev analysts believe. Russian experts told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the policy set at the recent peace summit in Switzerland to increase pressure on Moscow to transfer control of the Zaporozhye NPP to Ukraine, or at least to ensure energy supplies, will continue. The situation may change in the run-up to the NATO summit in Washington in July.

As Ukraine’s local energy system was left in shambles following the resumption of Russian strikes on its infrastructure from the end of March 2024 in response to attacks by on the border Russian territory, and in particular the Belgorod region, the Zaporozhye NPP became a focal point ahead of the June 15-16 peace summit in Switzerland.

Igor Yushkov, leading analyst at the National Energy Security Fund told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the situation around the power plant will be influenced more by information campaigns rather than military ones. He believes that during the preparation for the Swiss summit, representatives of Kiev and Western countries became convinced that trying to get Russia to withdraw its units from the territory of Ukraine within the 1991 borders was unrealistic. Therefore, the initiators of the event decided to shift the focus to the Zaporozhye NPP, which was included in the first paragraph of the final declaration.

One way or another, Yushkov continued, Kiev obviously intends to continue pushing for the return of the Zaporozhye NPP or the restoration of energy supply from it, hoping to tug on Russia’s humanitarian heartstrings. However, it is possible that the Kiev authorities are using the topic with specific pragmatic goals. For example, to justify another increase in tariffs or to obtain large amounts of financial aid from Western partners.

Izvestia: Israel ready to resolve conflict with Hezbollah

Israel is ready to resolve the situation with Hezbollah under two conditions - a complete ceasefire and the withdrawal of the pro-Iranian group's forces from the Litani River area, adviser to the Prime Minister of the Jewish state Dmitry Gendelman told Izvestia. Otherwise, the IDF will launch a ground operation in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based. The Knesset told Izvestia that it does not yet see any conditions for resolving the conflict. Still, Israel is looking to mediators for help.

"We would like the efforts of international mediators to succeed, but there is no particular optimism here. If Hezbollah does not agree to a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of its forces beyond the Litani River, we will have to use military force to achieve the necessary security conditions and return our people to their homes," Gendelman told the newspaper.

"I don't see any conditions for resolving the conflict. On the contrary, Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy, poses a direct threat to Israel's security and does not hide its intentions," Knesset Deputy Speaker Evgeny Sova told Izvestia.

In turn, IDF representative Anna Ukolova emphasized to Izvestia that the army is only taking defensive actions now, but will prepare for a ground operation if it is ordered to do so. The resolution of the situation with Hezbollah is decided exclusively at the political level.

Over eight months of open confrontation, the parties have not reached a compromise. At the moment, Tehran has taken a step back due to the death of its president and foreign minister. "Iran has already shown great interest in preventing a major regional war without accelerating hybrid military operations against Israel. Now, before the elections, Tehran is not ready for a major war. They must first resolve the issue of the transfer of power," Research Fellow at the Center of Arab and Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Grigory Lukyanov told Izvestia.

At the same time, the escalation of the conflict hurts not only regional players, but also the West, Izvestia writes. For example, the United States, Israel's main ally and arms sponsor, and France, which is trying to fulfill its leadership ambitions through mediation rather than offering working plans, have been involved in resolving the situation.

Vedomosti: If elected, Trump may make US foreign policy more aggressive

If Donald Trump wins the US presidential election in November 2024, US foreign policy will be more pragmatic, the country will be stronger, its allies will be more secure and independent, and peace will prevail, Trump's former national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in his article for Foreign Affairs magazine. Experts told Vedomosti that Trump could indeed focus on containing China, while leaving the EU to pay for Ukraine aid itself.

O'Brien believes that, as in his first term in 2017-2021, Trump will pursue US foreign policy based on the "peace through strength" principle. In order to implement this policy, O'Brien proposes first to increase economic pressure on China by not only raising tariffs on all categories of Chinese goods to 60%, but also extending export control mechanisms to any technology that might be useful to Beijing.

If he wins, Trump will continue his aggressive economic policy toward China, Deputy Director for science at the Institute of the US and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrey Evseenko agrees. At the same time, false analogies with the Cold War may make his policy even less understandable and more dangerous for the stability of the world economy.

O'Brien also mentioned the situation in Ukraine. In his opinion, Trump may continue to supply lethal aid to Kiev, but European allies will have to pay for it. In addition to paying for military aid to Ukraine, O'Brien believes that European countries should accept Ukraine into the EU outside the existing rules for admission to the union.

Trump could be ready to prolong the conflict in Ukraine if the Europeans take on the main burden of financing the armed forces of Ukraine, Deputy Director of the Higher School of Economics Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies Dmitry Suslov told the newspaper. The ex-president wants to reduce the US’ financial involvement in the Ukrainian conflict in order to focus the freed-up funds on containing China.

Kommersant: Russian oil companies focus sales on Latin America

Russian oil companies are expanding diesel fuel sales in Latin America - in June, Lukoil sent a tanker with diesel fuel to Bolivia's state-owned YPFB to the port of Arica in northern Chile. After EU and G7 countries began imposing sanctions on the supply of oil products from Russia in early 2023, Turkey and Brazil became the main export destinations for Russian diesel fuel. With an increase in fuel supplies from Russia to Latin America, the share of imports from the United States, which traditionally dominated this market, is decreasing, Kommersant writes.

Prior to the embargo and price cap placed on Russian oil products in February 2023, the European market was the largest export destination for Russian diesel fuel. Today, Turkey is the largest importer of Russian diesel fuel, with Russia shipping around 360,000 barrels per day of diesel fuel to the country this year.

Latin America has traditionally been considered a favorite region for selling surplus US diesel fuel, but additional volumes of Russian fuel are causing imports from the United States to decline, Kpler's Victor Katona noted. At the same time, he added that US refiners have already largely shifted their focus to Europe.

The expert stressed that significant interest from Latin American consumers in Russian fuel can be explained by an attractive discount, especially under sanctions. In addition, the analyst noted that the growth in demand for Russian oil products is likely to be dictated by the weakening of the real against the dollar. On the other hand, Katona believes that as the Red Sea becomes less and less passable for tankers from Asia to Europe through the Suez Canal, European buyers are becoming more accustomed to the idea of increasing fuel purchases from the United States.


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Local Glob: Press review: China in NATO crosshairs over Russia support and Kiev eyes ZNPP return
Press review: China in NATO crosshairs over Russia support and Kiev eyes ZNPP return
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