Russian economy resilient in face of latest US sanctions – Moody’s

The Russian banking system has sufficient earnings capacity to absorb credit losses arising from exposure to the sanctioned companies, Moody’s said. It added, however, that the sanctions will be credit negative for some Russian debt issuers, particularly for aluminum major RUSAL. The world’s second-largest aluminum producer’s shares touched an all-time low after the company was added to Washington’s latest sanctions list.

“Russia’s sovereign credit profile — its rating is Ba1 with a positive outlook — is well positioned to withstand the impact of new sanctions,” said Kristin Lindow, Moody’s senior vice president and co-author of the report.

She added that “higher oil prices will help the government to make further progress in rebuilding its fiscal savings.”

The risk to Russia’s credit profile comes from the possibility of Russian entities being cut off from the international capital market for some time, said the rating agency.

Moody’s also said that it expects the Russian government to increase support to regions facing a fall in revenues due to the sanctions.

Another international ratings agency, Fitch, said last week the US sanctions would limit Russia’s potential economic growth and severely impact targeted companies.

Sanctions targeting seven Russian businessmen and 12 companies they own or control, as well as 17 senior Russian government officials, were imposed by the US Treasury earlier this month.

Russian deputies announced an upcoming response to American sanctions, with a possible ban on exports of titanium components to aircraft giant Boeing.

Supplies of RD-180 rocket engines used by NASA and the Pentagon may also be restricted.

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Full steam ahead! Russian Navy gets new nuclear sub, warships, and Kalibr cruise missiles

russian tula submarine


The Russian Navy has expanded its strategic capabilities by commissioning a nuclear submarine, three new warships, two helicopters and a number of home-made Kalibr cruise missiles.

“The Navy took delivery of the repaired Project 667BDRM strategic underwater missile cruiser Tula, three warships and support vessels of the auxiliary fleet, two helicopters and 46 Kalibr tactical cruise missiles,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said Wednesday.

First commissioned in late 1980s, Tula is a Delta IV class submarine capable of carrying 16 massive Sineva intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). With a range of over 11,000 kilometers (around 7,000 miles), the missile can deliver four nuclear warheads to its targets after being launched from Tula.

The Russian Navy has also accepted logistics support ship Elbrus built in Murmansk in northwest Russia and was looking forward to the delivery of another batch of seaborne Kalibr cruise missile, Borisov said.

Kalibr missiles are nuclear-capable and can also carry 500 kilograms (1,100 lbs) of conventional explosives in their warhead. Russian military sources say the conventionally armed version has a range of 2,500 km (1,600 miles) while a nuclear armed Kalibr has a greater range of 2,600 km.

Russia retains 2nd place in military-technical cooperation

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Wednesday that his country has remained world’s second in terms of military and technical cooperation despite being subjected to several rounds of sanctions by the US and the European Union.

“Despite the sanctions, the Industry and Trade Ministry and other our structures responsible for the development of the defense sector have managed to keep the high level of military and technical cooperation. We are still in the second place and are retaining this position, despite the illegal sanctions and unfair competition with us on the arms sale markets,” Rogozin said during a meeting of the Industry and Trade Ministry.

According to the vice-premier, the Russian military had fulfilled a record 97-98 percent of its state defense order, up from 80 percent last year.

In February, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would counter any instances of unfair competition in military and technical cooperation from the US and other powers.

Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, part of the hi-tech state corporation Rostec, said November last year that it had sold military hardware worth $140 billion over its 17 years of operation.

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Trump wanted to bomb Russian & Iranian targets amid Syria strikes


President Donald Trump reportedly favored bombing Russian and Iranian targets in Syria, before Pentagon chief James Mattis talked the US leader out of it.

Trump discussed three military options for Syria last week with his revamped national security team, led by Bush-era hawk John Bolton, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing sources familiar with White House decision-making.

The least expansive option included striking “a narrow set of targets”linked to what the report said were “Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.” The second option proposed targeting a broader set of Syrian targets, including “suspected chemical-weapons research facilities and military command centers.”

Finally, the most aggressive proposal might have included bombing Russian air defenses in Syria, in order to “cripple the regime’s military capabilities without touching [President Bashar] Assad’s political machinery.”

The latter option, which would have been three times as powerful as the one eventually carried out by the US, the UK and France, was reportedly particularly favored by Trump, pressing his team to consider strikes on Russian and Iranian targets in Syria. The US president was willing to go that far to “get at the Assad regime’s military equipment.”

Defense Secretary Mattis, a retired Marine general who gained notoriety during the 2004 siege of Fallujah in Iraq, took a more reasonable stance on the strikes. He argued that hitting Russian or Iranian targets could trigger a dangerous response from Moscow and Tehran, sources told the newspaper.

However, even newly-appointed National Security Adviser Bolton, who called for Iran to be bombed and who has promoted a muscular policy towards North Korea, did not oppose Mattis’ reasoning. According to WSJ, he realized that “the most robust option might drag the US more deeply into the conflict” and felt “that was too much for his first week on the job.”

Eventually, Trump approved a “hybrid plan” that saw over 100 missiles raining down on three Syrian targets early on Saturday morning. Announcing the strikes, Washington as well as London and Paris claimed they came in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which they blamed on Assad’s government. Damascus rejected the accusations, while Moscow maintained the chemical incident was orchestrated by the West to provoke the bombings.

Prior to the bombing, some senior Russian officials signaled Moscow was ready to repel inbound US missiles and target their carriers. On April 10, Vladimir Shamanov, formerly an Airborne Troops commander and now head of the State Duma Defense Committee, said the Americans “should not pin hope on their navy groups,”adding Russia could “take all political and diplomatic measures, and also military measures if such need arises.”

On April 11, Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin warned that “Russian forces will confront any US aggression on Syria, by intercepting the missiles and striking their launch pads.”
Repelling the missile strike, Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 projectiles, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Syria’s Soviet-made S-125, S-200, Buk, and Kvadrat systems were involved in the operation. The Pentagon, however, said Syrian resistance was ineffective and had no bearing on the aerial assault.
The attack was not coordinated with Russia, but “the de-confliction channel [between US and Russian forces] operated before and after the strike,” said Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff. “The Russian air defenses weren’t employed” as Syria was hit by missiles, he added.



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UK press warns Britons to avoid Russian women at this summer’s FIFA World Cup

Home » Europe, Manipulation, Sports » UK press warns Britons to avoid Russian women at this summer’s FIFA World Cup


Brits, beware of gorgeous Russian girls – that is the message conveyed by an intelligence expert, who fears that their spectacular beauty represents a “sex threat” and might distract footballers from this summer’s FIFA World Cup, held in Russia.

Professor Anthony Glees, director of the University of Buckingham’s Centre for Security and Intelligence, has shared his concern with Daily Express, alleging that Russian women could seduce top English players under the cover of darkness in order to blackmail them before a big game.

“I know England don’t have much hope [at winning the World Cup] but if there’s some way to scupper England’s chances even more, through food poisoning, or honey traps with leading players and gorgeous Russian girls, they will do it. […] I’m not hysterical about this, I accept none of this is a done deal and I know some people are less averse to risk than I am. But I’m saying they could do it, these are the sort of things that could happen,” Glees told the media outlet.

According to him, the Kremlin might use any means to undermine England’s chances to win the tournament, and the so-called “honey-traps” are Moscow’s established tactic.

Last month, The Sun reported that the national team of England would arrive in Russia with their own cooks and food (including meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, rice, baked beans, tomato sauce, chocolate, tea bags, etc.) in order to prevent poisoning. The announcement came amid the alleged poisoning attack on former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, UK.

Russia will host the FIFA World Cup from June 14 to July 15 2018. Games will take place in a total of 11 cities, including Moscow, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, St. Petersburg, Volgograd and Yekaterinburg.



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Russian watchdog goes nuclear in attempts to enforce Telegram ban

Telegram was blocked in Russia last Friday over its failure to provide the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) with access keys to its encrypted communications. Telegram says that since it offers end-to-end encryption to users, submitting to the FSB demand would have required an overhaul of the entire service.

The task of enforcing the court order in Russia fell to Roskomnadzor (RKN), the telecommunication watchdog authorized to order internet providers in Russia to blacklist online addresses. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov remained defiant and said his company will take measures to avoid the blocks.

On Monday, an apparent internet war ensued between RKN and Telegram, which turned to tech giants such as Amazon and Google to route traffic through alternative servers. The service was briefly disrupted in Russia, but by Monday evening Russian users reported a significant improvement.

The watchdog chose an all-out response, blocking some 15 million IP addresses reportedly belonging to the two US companies in an attempt to corner Telegram and block all access. It also threatened repercussions to VPN providers and other online services which could be used to circumvent the court order. In addition, it demanded that Google and Apple suspend the Telegram app from their app stores in Russia.

Amid the dragnet blocking by RKN, some people and companies, including Telegram competitor Viber, complained online that the measures affected other services which used Amazon and Google infrastructure. Roskomnadzor said it followed up on the reports and found them to be untrue.

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Demand for Russian military hardware soars

The company’s order portfolio saw fresh growth after a 2016 decline, when Rosoboronexport signed contracts worth just $9.5 billion. The current stock of orders is reportedly valued at $45 billion.

“Rosoboronexport sealed nearly 1,100 deals with foreign customers in 2017. Last year, the company’s representatives took part in work of international committees and working groups for military-technical cooperation with 48 countries,” Mikheev said.

According to the official, foreign partners are ready to negotiate purchases of Russian combat planes, helicopters, armored force and combat engineer vehicles, as well as offshore, air and ground engagement systems.

“To retain positions in the international markets, Rosoboronexport is currently developing unique offers for our partners, including those connected to the transfer of technologies,” Mikheev said, stressing that in 2017 orders for anti-aircraft defense and electronic weapon systems made up some 40 percent of the total portfolio.

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‘He’ll be jailed for this!’ – Russian fan throws live rooster at manager (VIDEO)

During the team’s match away to FC Fakel Voronezh on Sunday, the fan threw the rooster in the direction of Grigoryan. Footage on social media showed the bird fluttering its wings and gliding onto the touchline, where it sat for a few moments before being removed.

The visiting section of fans at Tsentralnyi Profsoyuz Stadion in Voronezh, around 500km south of Moscow, then broke out into chants of “Grigoryan is a rooster!” The Russian word for rooster can be loosely used as a term for a “traitor,” in such instances.

The reason for the poultry protest seems to be the unwillingness of supporters’ in the Far Eastern Russian city to forgive Grigoryan’s departure to FC Tosno during his first spell in charge in the 2013/14 season.

The Armenian then went on to take charge of Luch-Energiya’s fiercest rivals and neighbors, SKA Khabarovsk, before returning to the Vladivostok outfit last year.

Speaking in a post-match interview after his side had been soundly beaten 3-1 by the home side, Grigoryan revealed he had been the subject of a hate campaign from supporters who target him with “obscenities and threats.”

“Who did this? I don’t know, it’s hard for me to say. There are two possibilities: either they are enemies I have acquired in the Far East (of Russia), or through me they are trying to influence the new owners,” the mulleted manager said.

“I have a phone full of videos and text messages from real people, who threaten me. One got worked up to such an extent that today he organizes this disgrace with a rooster. He will be jailed for 15 days for that.

“It is the former leader of a fan group, who came from St. Petersburg. He sends text messages with obscenities and threats. It has got to such an extent that no one can believe it,” Grigoryan added.

Some fans might say it’s simply a case of chickens coming home to roost for the manager’s perceived betrayal of the club.

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Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria and Skripal False Flag

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria and Skripal False Flag

by Stephen Lendman ( – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (MZ below) commented on Syria before overnight Friday US-led aggression.

Conditions in the country remain hugely dangerous and deplorable, liberating East Ghouta entirely from US-supported terrorists the only good news.

MZ: “(O)n April (al-Qaeda-linked) White Helmets) report(ed) on (an alleged) chemical attack (in) Douma” – the Big Lie used as a pretext for overnight Friday US-led aggression on Syrian targets.

MZ described “the absurd video sequence shot by the…White Helmets in which children and adults are seen spraying water on each other.” 

“They presented it as evidence that chemical weapons were used. News agencies that pretend to be respectable also took on face value another astoundingly fake report showing a half-ton bomb lying on a neatly made-up bed against the background of a shattered window with intact glass.” 

“All the opponents of Syria’s legitimate government called on the international community and primarily the US to interfere and punish…Damascus…What a classical scenario” – the aftermath now known.

“Russian military personnel, including doctors and experts in protection against chemical weapons visited Douma where the chemical weapons attack allegedly happened, but did not find neither any signs that chemical weapons were used  nor any victims of the mythical attack.”

Facts on the ground don’t deter ruthless US imperial aims or tactics. Multiple Syrian targets were terror-bombed – based on a Big Lie.

MZ: “At the same time, major international media outlets and official representatives of foreign capitals remain silent on the discovery of large stockpiles of chemical weapons in warehouses of the terrorists in liberated parts of Eastern Ghouta.”

Facts conflicting with or exposing the official narrative are suppressed, disinformation alone featured.

The World Health Organization (WHO) disgraced itself by supporting the Big Lie about Douma, its information coming from White Helmet terrorists and scoundrel media propaganda.

Its top officials were unavailable for comment, MZ explained.

On April 11, a bus with Russian journalists aboard was attacked returning to Damascus from East Ghouta after filming the enclave’s liberation, said MZ – one journalist and two cameramen wounded.

MZ: “Everyone knows about the information campaign, or rather warfare of the UK authorities against Russia over the so-called Skripal case.” 

“They are using all the propaganda means and methods they can get their hands on. It is a long time since we last saw an ill-disguised and unscrupulous anti-Russia campaign of this dimension.” 

“The UK authorities are disregarding the standards of international law, diplomatic rules and principles, and elementary human ethics.”

“New versions and more discrepancies are coming to light” – exposing official Big Lies.

Following MZ’s report, Swiss state Spiez lab analysis of the substance harming father and daughter Skripal revealed it’s an incapacitating 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ toxin – not a novichok military-grade nerve agent as falsely reported.

BZ is harmful but not lethal – why Yulia Skripal and UK detective Nick Bailey recovered enough to be discharged from hospitalization, Sergey Skripal markedly improved.

The Swiss lab analyzed samples provided to the OPCW by Britain. The organization shamefully rubber-stamped the official UK claim, falsely calling the toxin novichok.

Swiss lab analysis proved otherwise. London continues stonewalling Russia, refusing to answer key questions on the Salisbury incident.

MZ: “We do not see any intention on the part of the UK authorities to disprove false information planted in the media and blatant lies.” 

“(T)his massive propaganda campaign involving all types of media is fully in keeping with London’s anti-Russia strategy.” 

“The UK authorities are actually encouraging the deliberate distortion of facts. It is clear why they are doing this.” 

“If government agencies and (Western) media…decided to get to the bottom of this case, if they started questioning (the official narrative), this would have rocked the European public’s belief in Russia’s alleged involvement.” 

“And the people would have asked the question that should have been addressed to London earlier on in the case: What has really happened at Salisbury?”

It was a US/UK false flag demonizing Russia – followed by the Douma false flag and aftermath.

More of the same is virtually certain to come, likely making a bad situation far worse.

Is East/West confrontation just a matter of time? Is global war unavoidable? Humanity holds its breath fearing the worst.

The lunatic in the White House surrounded and influenced by crazies makes the unthinkable possible.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Mapping international buyers of Russian agricultural equipment

The latest data from the country’s Trade Ministry shows that exports of agricultural machinery and equipment from Russia increased by 3.5 percent within the first quarter of the current year against the same period a year ago.

In 2017, exports grew by 16 percent compared to the previous year, which saw massive growth of 36 percent against 2015, according to the estimates published by the industry journal Agrobusiness.

The data shows that last year exports of farming machinery and equipment to Mongolia grew more than six-fold, while Armenia imported six-and-a-half times more from Russia compared to the previous year. Exports to Canada and Bulgaria have nearly tripled. Hungary imported 2.7 times more agricultural equipment, while exports to the Netherlands have doubled. Poland and Slovakia boosted imports by 78 percent and 73 percent, respectively, with imports to Uzbekistan and Moldavia increasing by 68 and 58 percent.

Among the key agricultural products are tractors, the exports of which reportedly surged by 63 percent, and equipment for post-harvest care that saw a 50 percent increase. At the same time, exports of cultivating machines and sowing equipment grew by 30 percent and 24 percent respectively.

The growth was reportedly triggered by significant quality improvement of farming equipment and extending production range. Russian manufacturers also started selling farming machinery to South American, southern African and Middle East countries.

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