Russia, Belarus hold joint war games

This dramatic shift in the power balance at the UN seems to have been completely overlooked by many of those covering the meeting, who are more interested in wittering on about the proposed Security Council resolution on disarming Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile (it won’t work)or Iran’s utterly transparent charm offensive (they are desperate to get the sanctions lifted) towards some of the world’s more gullible world leaders. But the key to this disturbing realignment in the global power structureis clearly visiblein the draft of the Security Council resolution on Syria, which entirely reflects Russia’s interests at the expense of those of the Western powers. America, Britain and France, the three Western members of the five permanent members of the Council, wanted the option to take punitive action against the Assad regime if, as most observers expect, Damascus does not fully comply with the U.N.’s requirements. (Nor has anyone considered how U.N. inspectors can be expected to examine and neutralise stockpiles of chemical weapons in the midst of a civil war.) But Russia is determined to prevent any form of military intervention in Syria, and to that end insisted that the resolution be watered down to the effect that, if Assad fails to comply, then the issue will be referred back to the U.N. where, as we know from history, it will be subsumed by the organisation’s bureaucratic complacency. In short, Russia has won the diplomatic battle, and the Western powers, after all their threats to bomb Assad into submission,have been made to look weak and impotent. Apply this paradigm to Iran and it is not hard to see why Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has decided to embark on a charm offensive with the West. Just like Syria, the Russians have no intention of allowing the Western powers and that includes Israel to take military action against Iran over its decade-long refusal to cooperate with the U.N. over its controversial nuclear programme, which most intelligence experts believe is designed to build atom bombs, rather than power stations. And with President Barack Obama desperate to avoid a confrontation with Iran, Syria or any of the regions other rogue states, the key to resolving the Iranian crisis lies in Moscow, not Washington or New York.

“Since 2012, the Russian Federation has provided the countries of the European Union with 160 million tonnes of oil and 125.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas,” Russia’s Deputy Minister of Energy, Anatoly Yanovsky told the conference. He added that negotiations between the EU and Russia will ensure a solution to the problems raised by the Third Energy Package, which has been seen as a roadblock to the commencement of construction. “The European Union and Russia are very important partners in the field of energy. Russia, and in particular, Gazprom, is the foremost supplier of energy to Italy and next year we will celebrate 40 years of energy provision and commercial relationships between Gazprom and Eni. The South Stream pipeline represents a long term solution to ensuring a secure energy supply to all European citizens, thanks to the direct connection between customers and the most important gas reserves in the world, in Russia,” said the Deputy Minister. “Gas is an environmentally sound source of energy, and the construction of the pipeline will guarantee stimulate the European market as a whole, providing energy diversification and attracting new investments in Italy, as well as creating thousands of jobs. Eni and Gazprom were the first partners to sign the agreements that were the basis of the South Stream project in 2007,” Mr Yanovsky added, addressing a predominantly Italian audience. Russia is the most important commercial energy partner for Europe and has always represented a sure, stable supply of gas for many European countries. Analysts predict that the gas demand will increase from 312 billion cubic metres to 537 billion cubic metres over the next fifteen years. “Natural gas today represents the most important source of energy in the European Union” explained Alexander Syromyatin, Deputy Head of Project Management Department, Gazprom. “Demand in the near future will quickly overtake supply, because of the falling extraction capacity in Europe. The South Stream project will solve the problem of this deficit for the future.” The pipeline will be 2385 km long and will involve the partnership of 9 countries, including Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Russia, and has required substantial agreements between governments and major energy enterprises. The total investment required will be 17 billion, and will provide a total annual capacity of 63 million cubic metres of gas.

EU and Russia Will Find a Solution for South Stream to the Third Energy Package, Says Russian Deputy Minister of Energy

Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Russia, Belarus hold joint war games AP 1:21 p.m. EDT September 26, 2013 Story Highlights Massive joint military exercise involved more than 22,000 troops Russia and Belarus are allies and have close ties Thursday’s joint exercise was their biggest so far SHARE 1 CONNECT 17 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE MINSK, Belarus (AP) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart have watched a massive joint military exercise of the two ex-Soviet neighbors that involved more than 22,000 troops. The West 2013 exercise conducted Thursday near the city of Grodno in western Belarus and in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region also involved more than 500 armored vehicles and about 90 aircraft along with ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Russia and Belarus are allies and have close economic, political and military ties. Russia has several military facilities in Belarus, and the two nations operate a joint air defense system. The two armies have regularly conducted joint maneuvers, Thursday’s exercise being the biggest so far. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attended the exercise along with his nine-year old son, who donned full combat fatigues. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.