Press review: German elections impact Nord Stream 2’s fate and Russian fuel prices explode – Press review


Rossiyskaya Gazeta: German election results will influence Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 could be affected by the results of the recent elections in Germany, as well as the new sanctions by the United States, writes Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

While it is not possible to demolish the constructed pipeline, it is possible to bury it in court cases limiting its activities and delaying the certification process.

The US House of Representatives has approved a defense budget that allows sanctions against companies and individuals involved in the construction and operation of Nord Stream 2, which could lead to banning their business activities in the United States and freeze their assets there. Although this sounds threatening and dangerous for European businesses, it can be difficult to implement in practice. Sergei Suverov, investment strategist at Arikapital, says that since the project is already built it is unlikely to be reversed, however its launch could be delayed.

If, in fact, implementation is blocked, it could cause serious problems for the European gas market, which is not yet at its best, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta Alexei Grivach, deputy director of the National Fund of energy security. According to the latest information, Europe’s underground gas storage facilities are half empty with the heating season just two weeks away. Gas prices reacted to these conditions by reaching historic highs.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Russia and Turkey will resolve their disputes over Syria

Syria will be a thorn in the side of the Russian-Turkish dialogue when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits Moscow on September 29, as the two countries have a growing number of grievances over various agreements in the Middle East, writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

While the differences do not make the visitation smaller, the issue certainly deserves special attention. The pro-Turkish opposition is unhappy with what it calls the growing number of attacks by Damascus on territories under its control, while the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Parties disputes these claims.

As late as Monday, Russian admiral and deputy head of the Reconciliation Center Vadim Kulit said a serious incident occurred in Aleppo when members of the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) attempted to cross the border to Turkish territory through a minefield. As a result, five were killed and 10 injured, as well as 5 Syrian servicemen. In contrast, just a few days ago, bombings by the Turkish regular army took place in the province of Haseke, almost causing damage to helicopters of the Russian aerospace forces.

The spokesperson for the presidency, Dmitry Peskov, assured that Syria would be among the subjects discussed during the meeting between the two presidents, writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

According to Kirill Semyonov, an expert from the Russian Council for International Affairs, mutual allegations of attacks should be watched. “If the attacks are confirmed, it means that changes in air control zones over northeastern Syria have taken place,” Semyonov said, adding that despite the withdrawal from the region, the United States retained control of the airspace over them. Overflights of the area must be confirmed with the Americans, as it is possible that the changes in control were the result of Russian-American consultations.

Kommersant: Russian fuel prices hit record highs

Rising oil prices have caused Russian fuel prices to rise, Kommersant wrote on Tuesday morning. The peak could improve the position of oil producers. Analysts say the profitability of fuel oil production has improved by around 200 rubles ($ 2.8) per tonne of refined oil compared to September of the pre-pandemic period 2019. However, since the start of 2021 , the profitability of fuel oil production has only declined, as the price of oil for refineries grows. Currently, the price of fuel oil is 26,900 rubles ($ 371) per ton, an increase of 42% since the start of 2021, according to data from the SPIMEX exchange. The previous record was set in 2018 at 21,000 ($ 290) rubles per tonne.

The production of petroleum fuel in Russia from January to September 2021 amounted to 28.7 mln tonnes, with a total primary oil refining volume of 185.5 mln tonnes. Rosneft remains the largest producer and accounts for around 40% of the total Russian fuel oil production (11.8 mln tonnes), LUKOIL – 10%, Surgutneftegaz – 15%, Gazprom and Gazprom Neft – 11%.

Domestic market prices are forming at export parity, while European prices for 3.5% sulfur fuel oil are at their highest levels since autumn 2018, explains Evgeny Tyrtov of Vygon Consulting. Price growth is driven by high oil prices and inter-fuel competition with gas, the latter setting historic price records in Europe. Tyrtov says the current difference between the price of oil and the corresponding oil product for fuel oil is now higher than it was in September 2018 and 2019.

Izvestia: escalation in Kosovo jeopardizes 10 years of peace agreement supported by Brussels

Kosovo could be back on the map as a conflict zone, after Serbia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nemanja Starovic said Serbia would not negotiate with EU help.

Last week, an incident occurred at the border that fueled emotions on both sides. The EU has called for de-escalation at the border and is preparing an emergency meeting on the incident. The Serbian side took offense, because in their opinion the country did nothing to contribute to the exacerbation.

However, it seems that it will not be possible to defuse the situation without outside help.

Serbia has said it will not negotiate until Pristina withdraws its military forces from the northern part of the partially recognized republic. Starovic told Izvestia that the Kosovar leadership was not allowed to send troops there in the first place. “We will not accept any imaginary deal or compromise proposed in recent days not only by Pristina, but also by Brussels,” she said. According to the diplomat, Serbia will not use “an alternate reality” as a basis for resolving the conflict.

Belgrade, the newspaper writes, will push the EU to publicly confirm later this month whether the Brussels agreements it supports will remain in place. If so, Belgrade plans to demand that they be executed in their entirety, Starovic said.

Vedomosti: Russia plans to establish equal income tax for residents and non-residents

Russian Finance Ministry wants income tax rates to be equal for Russians and citizens who are not tax residents of Russia, according to its draft Guidelines for fiscal, tax and customs policy for 2022 -2024, writes Vedomosti.

The project proposed to establish the amount of income tax on income “from professional activity” for non-residents at a level similar to that of Russian tax residents. Passive income from securities or real estate is not discussed.

Two years ago, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov proposed similar initiatives, to make personal taxes the same for non-residents and residents. Russian Taxpayers Union President Artem Kiryanov said a level playing field would make the country more attractive to investors, especially those who have optimized their taxes through offshore programs. Ernest Young partner Marina Belyakova adds that tax equality is something the business world has been waiting for. The initiative will facilitate the management of mobile employees, in particular foreigners who regularly come to Russia, quotes Vedomosti quotes Belyakova. In 2020, the Russian Trilateral Commission working group had already considered a similar bill, according to the secretary of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia Oleg Sokolov. The union opposed it for several reasons, he said. According to him, the measure violated labor laws, removing any advantages that Russian workers could have in the market. Sokolov went on to explain that the job market is still recovering from the pandemic and there are fewer jobs than before.

TASS is not responsible for the material cited in these press reviews.

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