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Obama hits Trump with new Russian sanctions and Arctic drilling ban

Navy Day Parade SevastopolOutgoing US President Barack Obama this week did his best to thwart his successor Donald Trump’s plans to improve relations with Moscow and to increase US oil and gas production by extending the sanctions imposed on Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea while almost simultaneously withdrawing (more…)

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Tusk expects Russian sanctions to be extended – but for how long?

EU Council Chairman Donald TuskRussian sanctions: The odds are stacked in favour of Brussels extending its programme of sanctions against Russia when it reviews the situation in January, EU President Donald Tusk said yesterday, but it will be harder to hold the line (more…)

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Naftogaz sues Russia for $2.6bn

Annexation of CrimeaNaftogaz, Ukraine’s state-run oil and gas enterprise, has filed a lawsuit against Russia in the international courts demanding $2.6bn in compensation for losses incurred by the ‘unlawful seizure’ of assets owned either directly by the holding company or through six of its subsidiaries after the annexation of Crimea over two and half years ago. (more…)

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Moscow cuts gas supplies to Ukraine as Crimean blackout continues

Crimea power lines destroyedRussia has stopped gas supplies to Ukraine because Kiev has defaulted on a prepayment deal, Gazprom chief Alexei Miller said this morning, confirming remarks made earlier this week by Energy Minister Alexander Novak. (more…)

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Russia to commission $830m Kerch Strait electric cable

Kerch Strait

Kerch Strait

Russia’s Energy Ministry has given the go-ahead for the construction of an $830m electric cable along the bottom of the Kerch Strait linking Crimea to Russia as part of its drive to end the peninsula’s dependence on Ukraine for its energy. The project is scheduled (more…)

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China looks to grow tobacco in Crimea

Chinese smokerA delegation of Chinese businessmen has been discussing the possibility of growing tobacco in Crimea to help meet their country’s insatiable demand for cigarettes. The delegation also explored other investment projects, including the construction (more…)

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Medvedev compares annexation of Crimea to return of Hong Kong to China

Russian PM Medvedev address the Duma 210415For many Russians, last year’s annexation of Crimea represented “the restoration of historic justice” and was of equal significance to the fall of the Berlin Wall or the return of Hong Kong to China, a defiant but realistic Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (more…)

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Crimea nationalises Kerch Strait cargo port from Altcom

IBAU's plans for Crimea's Kamysh-Burun Port

IBAU’s plans for Crimea’s Kamysh-Burun Port


Crimea nationalises Kerch Strait cargo port: Crime’s State Council announced on Friday that it had appropriated the Kerch Strait cargo port of Kamysh-Burun that was previously owned by the Ukrainian financial and industrial group Altcom. According to the Ukrainian company’s website, (more…)

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Ukrtelecom Crimean network disabled as recriminations fly

Ukrtelecom owner Rinat Akhmetov

Ukrtelecom owner Rinat Akhmetov

Ukrtelecom Crimean network disabled: Ukrtelecom, which until yesterday boasted 80% of Crimea’s fixed-line subscribers as its customers, last night had its services disabled and between $20 and $30m of its assets unilaterally transferred to Russia’s Krymtelekomu. A spokesperson for Ukrtelecom – which is owned by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov – described the move as “deliberate sabotage” and “the illegal seizure of private property”, while the Crimean authorities insist that it was their counterparts in Kiev who disabled the service. Kommersant

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Visa and Mastercard to resume Crimean services in April

mastercard VisaVisa and Mastercard will resume business in Crimea as usual in April once their transactions start going through Russia’s National Payment Card System processing centre, according to Anatoly Aksakov, deputy head of the State Duma’s financial committee. “A unified Russian transaction processing centre will begin functioning in April,” told a press conference in Simferopol yesterday (February 6). “America won’t even see it and will not be able to block cards [regardless whether they are] Russian Ukrainian, German, American or Japanese.” Visa and Mastercard stopped providing services to Crimean last December. rbth   Read More»

Russian tourist sector set to be one of few winners from rouble crash

Crimea tourismRussian tourist sector: With a debilitated rouble making the cost of an overseas holiday becoming increasingly prohibitive for the average Russian, the country’s tourist industry is looking forward to one of its best summers in years, according to an industry poll in The Moscow Times. In a trend that began last year when demand for domestic vacations grew by between 25% and 30%, tour operator are anticipating at the least the same level of growth in 2015. With it no longer being cheaper to holiday in Turkey or Egypt than Sochi or Crimea, cost is a major factor working in the industry’s favour, but there appear to be other forces at work. “There’s a certain patriotism,” says Vadim Prasov, Vice President of the Federation of Restauranteurs and Hoteliers. “People have also decided to take their vacations here on account of the Western governments’ relations with Russia.” The Moscow Times
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eBay joins Crimean exodus with apologies

ebayeBay has announced it is impossible to organise a full-fledged operation of its service in the Crimea and is pulling out of the region altogether. “As a global platform for e-commerce, eBay should be able to offer its customers a seamless service in all markets where we operate,” it said in a statement today (January 31). “We regret that we are currently unable to provide our customers in the Crimea high-level support. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to the time when the circumstances in the region change.” Apple and Paypal have also terminated operations on the peninsula in recent weeks. BFM

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Crimean bridge contract goes to Putin ally Rotenberg

SGM owner Arkady Rotenberg

SGM owner Arkady Rotenberg

Crimean bridge contract: SGM, the construction and civil engineering owned by billionaire and Putin ally Arkady Rotenberg, has been awarded the contract to build the bridge across the Kerch Strait between the Crimean peninsula and the Russian mainland. The project is thought to be worth around RUB228.3bn. Rosbalt
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Google Adsense suspends services in Crimea

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Apple rescinds contracts with Crimean software developers

Maxim Serdyuk, Crimean software developer

Maxim Serdyuk, Crimean software developer

Apple has unilaterally terminated cooperation contracts with Crimean-based software developers, according to one of them. Maxim Serdyuk is claiming that the US company has removed the applications created by the Crimean residents from its online App Store and has also blocked the internal accounts of the Crimean developers, where users paid for the applications. “I was told that the company rescinded the contract and asked to destroy all data, all technical information that I had received from Apple,” (more…) Read More»

Kerch Strait bridge contract goes to Rotenberg

Arkadi RotenbergKerch Strait bridge contract:  Arkady Rotenberg’s Stroygazmntazh (SGM) looks to be on the point of winning the contract to build the bridge across the Kerch Strait that will link Crimea to the Russian mainland. According to Vedomosti. An official document awarding the contract to SGM is already circulating among the relevant ministries and departments for approval. With costs estimated at over RUB228bn the specification for the bridge includes a four-lane highway and two rail lines. Interfax
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Amway pulls out of Crimea in wake of new sanctions

AmwayAmway, the US-based producer of personal care products, household chemicals, cosmetics, and dietary supplements, is pulling out of Crimea and is cancelling all orders placed with any of its clients registered on the peninsula. In a letter distributed to its former partners, it explains that the decision is a direct result of the new sanctions imposed by the US last month. (more…)

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Visa and Mastercard stop servicing Crimean card transactions

VisaVisa and Mastercard have announced that they will no longer service card transactions executed in Crimea. “Due to the latest U.S. sanctions imposed against Crimea by [Barack Obama’s] Executive Order of Dec. 19, 2014, Visa is now prohibited from offering Visa-branded products and mastercardservices to Crimea,” a statement issued by Visa on Boxing Day confirmed.”This means that we can no longer support card issuing and merchant/ATM acquiring services in Crimea.” A similar statement was also issued by MasterCard shortly afterwards. rbth   Read More»

EU targets Crimea in new round of sanctions

EU flagsEU targets Crimea: The EU is targetting Crimea-based companies with a new round of trade, investment and business sanctions including bans on EU cruise ships visiting local ports and on sales of energy and telecommunications technology. The measures are a reinforcement of the bloc’s policy of nonrecognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March. EU officials said that the measures would come into effect on Saturday (20 December). Market Watch   Read More»

Crimean crossing could be funded by infrastructure bonds to take strain off budget

Sergey Shvetsov First Deputy Governor of the Bank of RussiaCrimean crossing: In an attempt to ease the strain on the Russia’s finances, the Central Bank of Russia is considering issuing infrastructure bonds to raise money from the public, its Deputy Chief Sergei Shvetsov said last week. The idea was interesting because a crossing could generate revenue, he explained. The cost of building a bridge across the Kerch Strait linking Crimea to the Russian mainland could be as high as $4.3bn, prompting Crimea’s envoy to the Kremlin to propose a tunnel (which would probably cost under $1.5bn) as an alternative. The Moscow Times  
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