Trade - Global Security

Russia confirms natural gas cuts

Russia's state-owned Gazprom is halving natural gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, prompting political panic on both sides of the Atlantic. A U.S. official says the retaliation against western sanctions puts the west in “uncharted territory and has resulted in the administration’s global energy coordinator leaving for Europe today to discuss options. [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy personally targetted by Lavrov

Five months into his country’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said July 24 that his ultimate goal is help Ukrainians to “liberate themselves” from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “absolutely unacceptable regime.” In Egypt at the start of an African tour to drum up support, he said western propaganda is designed to ensure Ukraine “becomes the eternal enemy of Russia.” [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian grain exports to resume

An agreement signed today by Ukraine and Russia could mean shipments of Ukrainian grain to international markets could resume in weeks. Mediated by the UN and Turkey, it would permit five million tonnes a month to be shipped from three Black Sea ports through a safe maritime corridor monitored by a multinational Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul. [node:read-more:link]

Russia resumes some gas deliveries

After threatening to curb or stop natural gas shipments to Europe, Russia has restarted its Nord Stream 1 pipeline after a maintenance break, but at reduced capacity. State-controlled Gazprom supplied 40 per cent of Europe’s gas last year but the war on Ukraine, western sanctions and President Vladimir Putin’s belligerence has prompted the European Commission to urge its members to reduce consumption. [node:read-more:link]

Freeland defends turbine decision

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is defending the government’s extraordinary decision to ship six repaired natural gas pipeline turbines back to Russia despite criticism at home and abroad. “I understand the concern . . . but it was the right thing to do,” said Freeland, who has family roots in Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Former CDS Hillier weighs in on turbine decision

Canada's former chief of the defence staff Rick Hillier said July 19 that Canada should not have agreed to return six turbines to Germany needed to keep Russian natural gas flowing into Europe because Russian President Vladimir Putin could see it as a “sign of encouragement" and a signal that western sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine could weaken. [node:read-more:link]

Putin weaponizing natural gas supplies

Russian President Vladimir Putin said July 19 that reduced supplies natural gas to European customers is the West’s fault and warned of further cuts. He said capacity could soon drop to 20 per cent if pipeline turbines are not replaced quickly. Germany said today Russia is using the turbine issues as an “excuse” to curtail deliveries. [node:read-more:link]

Putin meets Iranian and Turkish leaders

In only his second foreign trip since launching his “special military operation” against Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran today for a meeting with his Iranian counterpart about the war, its impact on global grain markets and the ongoing conflict in Syria. He was to meet later in the day with Iran’s supreme leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later [node:read-more:link]

New icebreakers sought by U.S.

The commander of the U.S. Coast Guard said July 14 that her service needs to beef up its icebreaker capability to counter growing Russian and Chinese activities in the North. “We are an Arctic nation,” Admiral Linda Fagan pointed out to a congressional committee. “Getting the capability and capacity to create an enduring presence in the Arctic, in the waters off Alaska, are absolutely a priority.” Russia has more than 40 icebreakers and China, hoping to exploit a longer ice-free season, has declared itself a “near-arctic power.” [node:read-more:link]

Euro and the Greenback at parity

The U.S. dollar and the Euro reached parity today for the first time in two decades as the European currency has depreciated by some 12 per cent since the beginning of the year amid fears of recession stoked by inflation and energy uncertainty due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Politics and Russian natural gas

As concern grows in some European markets about the security of supplies of natural gas from Russia, Canada has agreed, despite protests from Ukraine, to return a turbine to Germany which is essential to pipeline operations. Gas supplies to Germany via a submarine line across the Baltic Sea have been shut down for 10 days for annual maintenance but German Economy Minister Robert Habeck says EU countries must prepare in case shipments do not resume. [node:read-more:link]

Iran nuclear talks become more complicated

Amid diplomatic talks aimed at rebooting a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran that the U.S. abandoned in 2018, the White House unveiled a new round of Iran-related sanctions July 6. It said they target “an international network of individuals and entities” that the Treasury Department says facilitated the sale of U.S.-sanctioned Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia. [node:read-more:link]

Switzerland an oligarch haven

Switzerland was accused by one of its own non-governmental organizations of having become a “safe haven” for Russian oligarchs and as a trading hub for Russian oil, grain and coal. Referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Public Eye urged the government to “use all levers at its disposal to stop the financing of this inhuman aggression.” [node:read-more:link]

Canadian oil and gas for Europe?

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said today that Canada is discussing with European allies the potential for exporting oil and natural gas from Atlantic terminals as alternative to Russian imports. “It is important for Canada to be able to step up and to help our European friends that are dealing with very difficult energy realities,” she said. “We need to do it in a way that we’re also dealing with the climate change issue, and And this is exactly the conversations we’re having, particularly with the Germans and also with the Spanish.” [node:read-more:link]

Chinese “agents” target mining projects

Individuals described as pro-Chinese agents have been using social media to pose as local residents and environmental activists unhappy with rare earth mining projects in the U.S. and Canada, according to a Virginia-based threat intelligence consultancy. The misrepresentation is designed to give China, the largest producer of rare earth minerals, a competitive advantage. [node:read-more:link]


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