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Ukraine seethes as Putin's party courts voters in separatist-held Donbass

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Russian and separatist flags flutter in the air as lively music blares and soldiers from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic sit listening to speeches. Members of the Russian nationalist Night Wolves motorcycle club mill around nearby, write Alexander Ermochenko, Sergiy Karazy in Kyiv and Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow.

Russia will hold parliamentary elections on 17-19 September and for the first time, United Russia, the ruling party that supports President Vladimir Putin, is campaigning in eastern Ukraine on territory controlled by Moscow-backed separatists.

Up for grabs are the votes of more than 600,000 people who were given Russian passports after a Kremlin policy change in 2019 that Ukraine decried as a step towards annexation.

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"I will vote for sure, and only for United Russia because I think with them we will join the Russian Federation," said Elena, 39, from Khartsysk in the Donetsk region.

"Our children will study according to the Russian curriculum, our salaries will be according to Russian standards, and actually we will live in Russia," she said, speaking at a United Russia rally in the city of Donetsk.

In 2014, after street protests ousted Ukraine's Kremlin-friendly president Viktor Yanukovich, Russia swiftly annexed another part of Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula. Pro-Russian separatists then rose up across eastern Ukraine, in what Kyiv and its Western allies called a Moscow-backed land grab.

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More than 14,000 people have died in fighting between separatists and Ukrainian forces, with deadly clashes continuing regularly despite a ceasefire that ended large scale combat in 2015.

Two self-proclaimed "People's Republics" run the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in a part of eastern Ukraine known as the Donbass. Moscow has cultivated close links to the separatists but denies orchestrating their rebellions.

In Donetsk, election billboards with images of Russian landmarks such as Moscow's St Basil's Cathedral are dotted around. The Russian rouble has supplanted the Ukrainian hryvnia. Kyiv, meanwhile, is furious at Russia staging an election on separatist-held territory.

"There is a total 'Russification' of this region going full steam ahead," Oleskiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's security and defence council, told Reuters in Kyiv.

"The other question is why is the world not reacting to this? Why should they recognise this State Duma?" he said in an interview in Kyiv, referring to the Russian parliament's lower house that will be chosen in the vote.

Russia says there is nothing unusual about people with dual Russian and Ukrainian nationality voting in a Russian election.

Donbass residents with Russian passports were entitled to vote "wherever they live", Russia's TASS news agency quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Aug. 31.

Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of blocking a permanent peace in the Donbass. A mass mobilisation of Russian forces near Ukraine's border earlier this year caused alarm in the West.

Across Russia itself, United Russia is expected to win the parliamentary election, as it has never failed to do in the Putin era, despite opinion poll ratings that have sagged lately over stagnant living standards. Opposition groups say their candidates have been denied access to the ballot, jailed, intimidated or pushed into exile, and they anticipate fraud. Russia says the vote will be fair.

Although the Donbass is small when compared with the overall Russian electorate, the ruling party's overwhelming support there could be enough to secure extra seats.

"Obviously United Russia's rating there is much higher and the protest vote is much lower there than across (Russia) on average," said Abbas Gallyamov, a former Kremlin speech writer turned political analyst.

"That's why they are mobilizing Donbass."

Yevhen Mahda, a Kyiv-based political analyst, said Russia was letting Donbass residents vote not only to boost United Russia, but to legitimise the separatist administrations.

"Russia, I would put it this way, with great cynicism, is exploiting the fact that most of the people living there have nowhere to go to get help, nobody to rely on, and often a Russian passport was the only way out of the desperate situation that people found themselves in on occupied territories."

Russia

Russia can help Europe and country not using gas as a weapon says Putin

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A chimney of a China Energy coal-fired power plant is pictured in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday (13 October) Russia was not using gas as a weapon and was ready to help ease Europe's energy crunch as the EU called an emergency summit to tackle skyrocketing prices, write Vladimir Soldatkin and Kate Abnett, Shivani Singh.

Energy demand has surged as economies have rebounded from the pandemic, driving up prices of oil, gas and coal, stoking inflationary pressures and undermining efforts to cut the use of polluting fossil fuels in the fight against global warming.

China, the world's second biggest economy and its biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has boosted coal output and imports, as domestic coal prices have hit record levels and power stations have struggled to keep the lights on in homes and factories.

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The energy crunch has amplified Wednesday's call by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for tripling investment in renewables to steady markets and fight climate change.

Europe's gas squeeze has shone a spotlight on Russia, which accounts for a third of the region's supplies, prompting European politicians to blame Moscow for not pumping enough.

Putin told an energy conference in Moscow that the gas market was not balanced or predictable, particularly in Europe, but said Russia was meeting its contractual obligations to supply clients and was ready to boost supplies if asked.

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He dismissed accusations that Russia was using energy as a weapon: "This is just politically motivated chatter, which has no basis whatsoever."

The European Union has not asked Russia to increase supplies of gas to the bloc, a European Commission official told Reuters.

Russia and Europe have been embroiled in a dispute over a new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, to supply Russian gas to Germany. The pipeline is built but awaits approval to start pumping, amid opposition from the United States and some Europeans nations that fear it will make Europe even more reliant on Russia.

Some European politicians say Moscow is using the fuel crisis as leverage, a charge it has repeatedly denied.

DE-GAS EUROPE

The European Commission outlined measures on Wednesday that the 27-nation EU would take to combat the energy crisis, including exploring a voluntary option for countries to jointly buy gas.

Ministers from EU countries hold an extraordinary meeting on Oct. 26 to discuss the price spike.

"The only way to fully decouple gas from electricity is no longer to use it to generate power," EU energy policy chief Kadri Simson said. "This is the EU's long-term goal, to replace fossil fuels with renewables."

The Paris-based IEA said the world had to invest $4 trillion by 2030 in clean energy and infrastructure - triple current levels - to achieve net zero emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, the target of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

"The world is not investing enough to meet its future energy needs," it said in a report, published before the United Nations COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which starts on 31 October. Read more.

As renewables have failed to fill gaps amid surging demand, oil and gas prices have roared higher.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries trimmed its world oil demand forecast for 2021 but said surging gas prices could mean customers switch to oil.

Benchmark crude was trading close to last week's more than three-year high above $84 a barrel.

Putin said that oil prices could reach $100 a barrel. "This is quite possible," he said. "We and our partners at OPEC+ are doing our utmost to stabilise the market." Read more.

The benchmark European gas price is up more than 350% this year, trading above $31 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) on Wednesday, although down from last week's spike above $52.

"Current prices are above fundamentally justified levels, should remain volatile and could still reach $100/mmBtu or above this season if the weather gets very cold," Citi bank said as it also raised its forecast for European and Asian benchmark gas prices for the fourth quarter by about $3.

The United States was also likely to feel the pain, according to the Energy Information Administration, which warned on Wednesday that it would cost more to heat U.S. homes this winter. Read more.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), which monitors security of supply, said a cold winter in Europe would require an increase of gas imports by about 5% to 10% compared to previous maximum levels.

"We're reaching out to trade partners to discuss if it's possible to increase their deliveries in the market," EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said.

The Commission expects prices to remain high until April 2022. Read more.

In China, the most-active January Zhengzhou thermal coal futures touched a record high of 1,640 yuan ($254.54) per tonne on Wednesday, up more than 190% so far this year.

Local governments in top Chinese coal producing areas Shanxi and Inner Mongolia ordered about 200 mines to boost output, but rain flooded 60 mines in Shanxi. China's coal imports surged 76% in September.

Seeking to ease the power crunch, Beijing said it would allow power plants to charge commercial customers market-based prices, breaking with a policy that had allowed industry to lock in fixed-price electricity deals with suppliers.

($1 = 6.4430 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Maritime

Russia’s fishing fleet gears up for success

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Already the fourth largest global exporter of seafood by volume, Russia plans to nearly double its total seafood exports by 2024. To achieve this, Russian fishing operators have unveiled plans to encourage greater investment in the industry, seeking to accelerate the roll-out of state-of-the-art vessels, modern seafood processing plants, and improved railways.

‘There has been around $5 billion invested in the Russian fish industry,’ said Petr Savchuk, deputy head of

Already the fourth largest global exporter of seafood by volume, Russia plans to nearly double its total seafood exports by 2024. To achieve this, Russian fishing operators have unveiled plans to encourage greater investment in the industry, seeking to accelerate the roll-out of state-of-the-art vessels, modern seafood processing plants, and improved railways.

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‘There has been around $5bn invested in the Russian fish industry,’ said Petr Savchuk, deputy head of Rosrybolovstovo, the Russian Federal Agency for Fishing. ‘But this is just the beginning’.

In 2018, Russia started the construction of 35 new fishing trawlers and 20 new seafood processing plants, centred primarily around the country’s largest fishing ports on the Far East seaboard. In addition, Rosrybolovstovo set a target of building at least 100 new vessels by 2025, a 50% increase in the fleet’s overall capacity. However, since then, investment has begun to soar. In particular, Russia has unveiled plans to build railway hubs across the country, helping to speed up the movement of raw goods from the major fishing ports in Kamchatka to Russia’s Atlantic side, including its primary fishing export hub in Murmansk.

On 12 April this year, FESCO Transportation Group began transporting containerised fish along the Trans-Siberian route, with products travelling at speed from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg. From there, the shipment was shipped across to Bremerhaven in Northern Germany. According to FESCO, this new route is twice as fast as transporting products via Suez and it shows that Russian firms are upgrading their logistics with great success.

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To reduce congestion, Russian authorities have also begun opening several more fishing export hubs throughout the country. As Savchuk explains: ‘[hubs are] being developed, for example in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don and other big cities in Russia where big cold-store facilities are being built.’

One company making an outsize contribution, both in the Far East and in the cod fisheries of the North Atlantic, is Norebo. Investing $45m in a new shipping terminal in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Norebo looks to create an end-to-end service for fishing vessels in Russia. The terminal will allow vessels to store their fish in refrigerating containers in the Far East before shipping them to western Russia, the US, and Europe.

Following the implementation of its fleet renewal programme in 2017, Norebo will soon have some of the most modern vessels operating not just in Russia but in the world. Radicalising how Russia’s fishing industry operates, Norebo’s new state-of-the-art vessels are set to increase energy efficiency, decrease waste, and create more comfortable working conditions for crews.

‘A modern fleet is a requirement of our times. Only new vessels with high-tech equipment can offer optimal catch processing, as well as high standards of safety and comfort for the crew,’ said a Norebo spokesperson.

It appears Norebo strives to achieve this and more with its latest fleet of vessels under construction.

Indeed, one of the group’s vessels, named Captain Korotich, incorporates architectural design elements never used before on a Russian fishing vessel. The hull is capsule shaped with an Enduro Bow line, which allows for increased working space on board and improved seaworthiness. It also has an incredibly powerful engine (6200kW), which enables the vessel to reach speeds of up to 15.5 knots and operate in ice up to 0.5m thick, while using less fuel than other comparable engines.

Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the vessel will also use electricity generated by the trawl winches for lighting and repurpose the excess heat from the main engine to heat the ship’s rooms, including the cabins. Ingeniously, on Pacific vessels such as Captain Korotich, fish oil collected during waste processing is even put towards powering the boiler. These innovations reduce carbon emissions and eliminate unnecessary waste, all of which contributes to the excellent sustainability of the end product.

The company’s newest longline vessels will also be equipped with modern multi-functional factories that allow for advanced catch processing directly on board. This means that the time between catching the premium quality fish and creating the final product, ready for cooking, is shortened dramatically, with processing waste also reduced to almost zero. Norebo has found the provision of onboard factories has even improved the final product that reaches kitchens, as processing the fish immediately after it is caught helps to preserve its freshness, taste and nutrients.

Five years has passed since Norebo first announced its fleet renewal programme. Since then, the company has revealed plans to build ten state-of-the-art vessels, with more still to come. But every time a new keel is laid, it feels like the first time all over again. As Norebo founder Vitaly Orlov reflected at the unveiling of the first vessel in 2018: ‘Although Norebo’s current fishing fleet is up to date, the time to renew is coming. Today is a very emotional moment when we lay the keel of the first vessel. I hope that this event today will give a positive signal to the shipbuilding industry that Russia intends to build vessels that are as good as, or even better, than [from] shipyards anywhere in the world.’

With Norebo leading the way, Russia’s fishing fleet already competes with the leading fishing nations of the world in terms of consistency, quality of product and commitments to sustainable practices. Considering the future investment plans already announced, Russia is well on its way to meet the target of nearly doubling exports by 2024, confirming its status as a world leader, ranking alongside the legendary fishing fleets of old.

In 2018, Russia started the construction of 35 new fishing trawlers and 20 new seafood processing plants, centred primarily around the country’s largest fishing ports on the Far East seaboard. In addition, Rosrybolovstovo set a target of building at least 100 new vessels by 2025, a 50% increase in the fleet’s overall capacity. However, since then, investment has begun to soar. In particular, Russia has unveiled plans to build railway hubs across the country, helping to speed up the movement of raw goods from the major fishing ports in Kamchatka to Russia’s Atlantic side, including its primary fishing export hub in Murmansk.

On the 12th of April this year, FESCO Transportation Group began transporting containerized fish along the Trans-Siberian route, with products travelling at speed from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg. From there, the shipment was shipped across to Bremerhaven in Northern Germany. According to FESCO, this new route is twice as fast as transporting products via Suez and it shows that Russian firms are upgrading their logistics with great success.

To reduce congestion, Russian authorities have also begun opening several more fishing export hubs throughout the country. As Savchuk explains: ‘[hubs are] being developed, for example in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don and other big cities in Russia where big cold-store facilities are being built.’

One company making an outsize contribution, both in the Far East and in the cod fisheries of the North Atlantic, is Norebo. Investing $45m in a new shipping terminal in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Norebo looks to create an end-to-end service for fishing vessels in Russia. The terminal will allow vessels to store their fish in refrigerating containers in the Far East before shipping them to western Russia, the US, and Europe.

Following the implementation of its fleet renewal programme in 2017, Norebo will soon have some of the most modern vessels operating not just in Russia but in the world. Radicalising how Russia’s fishing industry operates, Norebo’s new state-of-the-art vessels are set to increase energy efficiency, decrease waste, and create more comfortable working conditions for crews.

‘A modern fleet is a requirement of our times. Only new vessels with high-tech equipment can offer optimal catch processing, as well as high standards of safety and comfort for the crew,’ said a Norebo spokesperson.

It appears Norebo strives to achieve this and more with its latest fleet of vessels under construction.

Indeed, one of the group’s vessels, named Captain Korotich, incorporates architectural design elements never used before on a Russian fishing vessel. The hull is capsule shaped with an Enduro Bow line, which allows for increased working space on board and improved seaworthiness. It also has an incredibly powerful engine (6200kW), which enables the vessel to reach speeds of up to 15.5 knots and operate in ice up to 0.5m thick, while using less fuel than other comparable engines.

Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the vessel will also use electricity generated by the trawl winches for lighting and repurpose the excess heat from the main engine to heat the ship’s rooms, including the cabins. Ingeniously, on Pacific vessels such as Captain Korotich, fish oil collected during waste processing is even put towards powering the boiler. These innovations reduce carbon emissions and eliminate unnecessary waste, all of which contributes to the excellent sustainability of the end product.

The company’s newest longline vessels will also be equipped with modern multi-functional factories that allow for advanced catch processing directly on board. This means that the time between catching the premium quality fish and creating the final product, ready for cooking, is shortened dramatically, with processing waste also reduced to almost zero. Norebo has found the provision of onboard factories has even improved the final product that reaches kitchens, as processing the fish immediately after it is caught helps to preserve its freshness, taste and nutrients.

Five years has passed since Norebo first announced its fleet renewal programme. Since then, the company has revealed plans to build ten state-of-the-art vessels, with more still to come. But every time a new keel is laid, it feels like the first time all over again. As Norebo founder Vitaly Orlov reflected at the unveiling of the first vessel in 2018: ‘Although Norebo’s current fishing fleet is up to date, the time to renew is coming. Today is a very emotional moment when we lay the keel of the first vessel. I hope that this event today will give a positive signal to the shipbuilding industry that Russia intends to build vessels that are as good as, or even better, than [from] shipyards anywhere in the world.’

With Norebo leading the way, Russia’s fishing fleet already competes with the leading fishing nations of the world in terms of consistency, quality of product and commitments to sustainable practices. Considering the future investment plans already announced, Russia is well on its way to meet the target of nearly doubling exports by 2024, confirming its status as a world leader, ranking alongside the legendary fishing fleets of old.

Continue Reading

Russia

Russia’s fishing fleet gears up for success

Published

on

Already the fourth largest global exporter of seafood by volume, Russia plans to nearly double its total seafood exports by 2024. To achieve this, Russian fishing operators have unveiled plans to encourage greater investment in the industry, seeking to accelerate the roll-out of state-of-the-art vessels, modern seafood processing plants, and improved railways.

‘There has been around $5bn invested in the Russian fish industry,’ said Petr Savchuk, deputy head of Rosrybolovstovo, the Russian Federal Agency for Fishing. ‘But this is just the beginning’.

In 2018, Russia started the construction of 35 new fishing trawlers and 20 new seafood processing plants, centred primarily around the country’s largest fishing ports on the Far East seaboard. In addition, Rosrybolovstovo set a target of building at least 100 new vessels by 2025, a 50% increase in the fleet’s overall capacity. However, since then, investment has begun to soar. In particular, Russia has unveiled plans to build railway hubs across the country, helping to speed up the movement of raw goods from the major fishing ports in Kamchatka to Russia’s Atlantic side, including its primary fishing export hub in Murmansk.

Advertisement

On the 12th of April this year, FESCO Transportation Group began transporting containerised fish along the Trans-Siberian route, with products travelling at speed from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg. From there, the shipment was shipped across to Bremerhaven in Northern Germany. According to FESCO, this new route is twice as fast as transporting products via Suez and it shows that Russian firms are upgrading their logistics with great success.

To reduce congestion, Russian authorities have also begun opening several more fishing export hubs throughout the country. As Savchuk explains: ‘[hubs are] being developed, for example in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don and other big cities in Russia where big cold-store facilities are being built.’

One company making an outsize contribution, both in the Far East and in the cod fisheries of the North Atlantic, is Norebo. Investing $45m in a new shipping terminal in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Norebo looks to create an end-to-end service for fishing vessels in Russia. The terminal will allow vessels to store their fish in refrigerating containers in the Far East before shipping them to western Russia, the US, and Europe.

Advertisement

Following the implementation of its fleet renewal programme in 2017, Norebo will soon have some of the most modern vessels operating not just in Russia but in the world. Radicalising how Russia’s fishing industry operates, Norebo’s new state-of-the-art vessels are set to increase energy efficiency, decrease waste, and create more comfortable working conditions for crews.

‘A modern fleet is a requirement of our times. Only new vessels with high-tech equipment can offer optimal catch processing, as well as high standards of safety and comfort for the crew,’ said a Norebo spokesperson.

It appears Norebo strives to achieve this and more with its latest fleet of vessels under construction.

Indeed, one of the group’s vessels, named Captain Korotich, incorporates architectural design elements never used before on a Russian fishing vessel. The hull is capsule shaped with an Enduro Bow line, which allows for increased working space on board and improved seaworthiness. It also has an incredibly powerful engine (6200kW), which enables the vessel to reach speeds of up to 15.5 knots and operate in ice up to 0.5m thick, while using less fuel than other comparable engines.

Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the vessel will also use electricity generated by the trawl winches for lighting and repurpose the excess heat from the main engine to heat the ship’s rooms, including the cabins. Ingeniously, on Pacific vessels such as Captain Korotich, fish oil collected during waste processing is even put towards powering the boiler. These innovations reduce carbon emissions and eliminate unnecessary waste, all of which contributes to the excellent sustainability of the end product.

The company’s newest longline vessels will also be equipped with modern multi-functional factories that allow for advanced catch processing directly on board. This means that the time between catching the premium quality fish and creating the final product, ready for cooking, is shortened dramatically, with processing waste also reduced to almost zero. Norebo has found the provision of onboard factories has even improved the final product that reaches kitchens, as processing the fish immediately after it is caught helps to preserve its freshness, taste and nutrients.

Five years has passed since Norebo first announced its fleet renewal programme. Since then, the company has revealed plans to build ten state-of-the-art vessels, with more still to come. But every time a new keel is laid, it feels like the first time all over again. As Norebo founder Vitaly Orlov reflected at the unveiling of the first vessel in 2018: ‘Although Norebo’s current fishing fleet is up to date, the time to renew is coming. Today is a very emotional moment when we lay the keel of the first vessel. I hope that this event today will give a positive signal to the shipbuilding industry that Russia intends to build vessels that are as good as, or even better, than [from] shipyards anywhere in the world.’

With Norebo leading the way, Russia’s fishing fleet already competes with the leading fishing nations of the world in terms of consistency, quality of product and commitments to sustainable practices. Considering the future investment plans already announced, Russia is well on its way to meet the target of nearly doubling exports by 2024, confirming its status as a world leader, ranking alongside the legendary fishing fleets of old.

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