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Hungary, Russia Agree on Gas Deliveries as Trade Volume Goes up

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Hungarian gas reserves will receive an additional 2 billion cubic meters from Russia this year with another 2 bcm of Russian gas coming via Austria next year, the country’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has said, according to the Oil & Gas Journal.

Szijjarto gave the statement after signing agreements at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) last Thursday.    

Natural gas supplies from Gazprom to Hungary from Jan. 1 through June 5 totaled 4.3 billion cu m, a 57.5% increase vs. the same period last year, the minister said after a meeting with the Russian gas giant’s CEO Alexey Miller.

Development of the Hungarian gas transmission system also was discussed. The Hungarian party expressed its intention to make sure that the gas that is planned to be supplied to Europe via the transit string of the TurkStream gas pipeline can be received by Hungary in the shortest possible time.

In 2018, Gazprom supplied to Hungary 7.6 bcm of gas, an increase of 9.3% from 2017, when Miller and Szijjarto signed a roadmap to implement a number of measures aimed at developing Hungary’s gas transmission system.

Hungary gets most of its gas from Russia via a pipeline that passes through Ukraine. The current agreement between Russia and Ukraine on the transit of gas bound for Europe expires on December 31, 2019, and the sides have still not signed another to replace it.  Tensions between Moscow and Kiev in the past have resulted in interruptions of gas deliveries to Europe.

Szijjarto said he had met with his Russian peer Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, and Minister of Energy Alexander Novak in St. Petersburg.

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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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