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Foreign Investors Rethink Russia after Ukraine Tensions: Report

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The latest tensions surrounding the Kremlin’s decision to seize three Ukrainian naval ships in the Azov Sea are forcing foreign investors to reconsider Russia as Moscow faces the possibility of broader and tougher Western sanctions, Reuters reports.

An extension of existing sanctions on Russia is considered by EU leaders, and some senior politicians have also called for imposing fresh measures.

But according to analysts, the bigger risk is that Washington could opt to bar Russian banks such as Sberbank and VTB from operating in the United States and restrict their dollar access.

А Somewhat less painful option could be measures for restriction of investors on buying new Russian government bonds. Domestic OFZ sovereign bonds have been a lightning rod of sentiment towards Russia. A U.S. inquiry into election meddling and the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain this year have seen an almost 10 percent drop in foreign OFZ ownership.

A drop in the rouble and a halt to central bank rate cuts mean Russian bonds have lost 12 percent in overall returns terms this year, compared to a 7 percent drop for JP Morgan’s emerging markets bond index.

In the 4-1/2 years since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, both equity and debt markets have seen outflows and although OFZs had begun performing again, this year has knocked them back down.

Non-Russian investors own 50-60 percent of the free-float of Russian stocks and account for around half of ‘secondary market’ trading in Russian equities, the Moscow Exchange estimates.

An exodus of foreign investors could affect the largest and most traded stocks such as Sberbank, VTB or energy giants such as Rosneft and Gazprom.

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Erdogan says he will not declare ceasefire in northern Syria

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear to U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey will never declare a ceasefire in northern Syria and will not negotiate with Kurdish forces it is fighting in its offensive into the region.

Turkey forged ahead with its offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria on Tuesday despite U.S. sanctions and calls for it to stop, while Syria’s Russia-backed army moved on the key city of Manbij that was abandoned by U.S. forces.

The YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State, is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

On Monday, Trump announced sanctions on Turkey to punish it for the offensive. On Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would threaten more sanctions to persuade Turkey to reach a ceasefire and halt its offensive.

However, speaking to reporters on a flight back from Baku, Erdogan said the offensive would continue until it reaches its aims, and added that he was not worried about sanctions.

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Woman killed in Russian apartment building blast

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A woman died and other young woman sustained injuries when a five-story building partially collapsed following an explosion in Russian village of Novonezhino.

Around 17 apartments were damaged when the ceiling slab, wall and the stair case of the building collapsed, Emergency Department said.

“The people were evacuated, 17 apartments were damaged. Seven elders have been transferred to temporary accommodation center,” the authorities said.

Rescue crews were searching for people who are believed to be trapped under the rubble. Rescuers were assisting the residents save their pets and belongings from the damaged apartments.

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Greek Church recognizes autonomy of Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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The leading figures of the Church of Greece decided at a meeting this weekend to recognize the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), making it the first of the Eastern Orthodox churches to take such a step.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece recognized the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in line with a request by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios

The Orthodox Times says the Greeks’ formal recognition will take place October 19 in Thessaloniki, with Archbishop Ieronymos and the OCU’s Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine present.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, generally considered the spiritual headquarters for Orthodoxy, granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence in January in a move that was adamantly resisted by Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3 in a process that further established the new church body’s independence

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