in keeping with what i've already said about the regaining of superpower status by russia, she has the european union in her pocket without ever firing a shot. she is also undermining the u.s.'s ability to "project power abroad" by arming the iranians and venezuela
Russia’s Gazprom Threatens to Halt Gas Supplies to Europe
20.04.2006 11:59 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 12:00 MSK
Russia’s state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom said on Wednesday, April 19, that if European Union countries continue to block its international ambitions it could redirect gas supplies to other markets. The move comes after the British Financial Times newspaper reported that the British government wanted to legislatively block Gazprom’s acquisition of Britain’s biggest gas supplier Centrica.
In a statement after a meeting between Alexei Miller, Gazprom’s chief executive, and EU ambassadors, the company said: “It is necessary to note that attempts to limit Gazprom’s activities in the European market and politicize questions of gas supply, which in fact are of an entirely economic nature, will not lead to good results.”
As MosNews reported earlier this week, the Financial Times learned that the U.K. government had considered changing merger rules to block a potential takeover of Centrica, Britain’s biggest gas supplier, by Gazprom.
Gazprom’s CEO met ambassadors of the 25 EU states in Moscow on Tuesday, April 18, to discuss Gazprom’s relations with Europe, and insisted the world’s largest gas producer understood its responsibilities as supplier of a quarter of the EU’s gas.
Wednesday’s statement by Gazprom threatened to devote more of the company’s supplies to fast-growing markets elsewhere if plans to expand in Europe — where it has ambitions to move into downstream gas distribution — were thwarted. “It should not be forgotten that we are actively familiarizing ourselves with new markets, such as North America and China. Gas producers in central Asia are also paying attention to the Chinese market. This is for a reason: competition for energy resources is growing,” it said.
Gazprom said that, while it would fulfill its current contracts with European clients, any future relationship with these countries should take into account the Russian company’s ambitions to move into the downstream markets. Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Gazprom, told the Financial Times: “We just want European countries to understand that we have other alternatives in terms of gas sales. We have a fast-growing Chinese market, and a market for liquefied natural gas in the U.S. If the European Union wants our gas, it has to consider our interests as well.”
Gazprom’s threats follow an outline agreement between Russia and China to supply the Chinese market with gas from Western Siberia, which is also the main source of gas for Europe. Given that Gazprom’s reserves have been static for the past five years, the supply of gas to China will decrease the volume of gas available to European countries.
Gazprom has made no secret of its ambition to supply up to 20 percent of the U.K.’s gas by 2015.
Other European countries have also expressed concerns about Gazprom’s plans to take a share in their domestic markets. The EU earlier indicated it would be prepared to let Gazprom into its downstream market if Russia were to liberalize access to gas pipelines to other countries and independent producers— a prospect that Gazprom has ruled out.
Russia will deliver air defense systems to Iran - top general
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The chief of the General Staff said Wednesday that Russia would honor its commitments on supplying military equipment to Iran.
"We discussed supplies of military equipment to Iran, including the Tor M1, in the framework of bilateral cooperation, but it does not fall into the category of strategic weapons," Army General Yury Baluyevsky said after talks in Moscow with NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe General James Jones.
"And I can assure you it will be delivered under the control of the relevant organizations," he said.
At the end of 2005, Russia concluded a $700-million contract on the delivery of 29 Tor M1 air defense systems to Iran.
The Tor-M1 is a fifth-generation integrated mobile air defense system designed for operation at medium, low and very low altitudes against fixed/rotary wing aircraft, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle), guided missiles and other high-precision weapons.
Despite strong criticism from the United States, Russia has maintained that the systems could be used only to protect Iran's air space.
Baluyevsky also said Russia's Armed Forces would not be involved in any military conflict in Iran.
"I do not think the conflict [in Iran] will turn into a war," he said. "Russia will not propose the use of its armed forces in a potential military conflict on either side."
Baluyevsky said he did not discuss the Iranian nuclear program with Jones, although the issue is "on everybody's mind."
Meanwhile, Iran's Defense Minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najar, said Wednesday that his country would go ahead with its non-military nuclear research because it was a legitimate right of the Iranian people.
The Iranian official is currently on a three-day visit to the neighboring Central Asian republic of Azerbaijan to discuss bilateral cooperation in the defense sphere.
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will attend a summit of Economic Cooperation Organization, a regional cooperation body, in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, on May 4-5.
Russia to sell state-of-the-art Kalashnikovs to Venezuela
MOSCOW. April 15 (Interfax) - The Russian state arms trading agency Rosoboronexport has denied reports by a number of U.S. media alleging that Russia will sell outdated Kalashnikov assault rifles to Venezuela instead of modern ones, as it promised to do earlier.
"We would like to express our surprise and even outrage at an April 10 article published in the Washington Times. The allegations it makes are untrue and absolutely absurd," Rosoboronexport spokesman Valery Kartavtsev said at a press conference on Saturday.
According to a contract signed in May 2005, Russia will sell 100,000 AK-103 rifles to the Venezuelan army and security forces, Kartavtsev said. "Not a single rifle of this model has yet crossed the Russian border," he said.
Venezuelan experts recently visited the Izhmash engineering plant to inspect the first shipment of the Kalashnikovs, he said.
The contract also envisions the licensed production of AK-103s in Venezuela. "Venezuela will become the first country in the western hemisphere to receive a license to produce them," Izhmash General Director Vladimir Grodetsky said.
Currently there is no licensed production of Kalashnikov assault rifles in any other country, he said. va