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Russia Bought 25mt of Gold in June, Bringing Reserves Close to 2,000mt

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Russia continues to pile up its gold reserves and added another 800,000 ounces or 25 metric tons of the precious metal in June, Investing.com reports.

Given the escalating geopolitical tensions between Russia and the U.S., many analysts believe this buying will continue in the coming months, as Russia attempts to insulate the economy by distancing itself from dollar-based trade.

According to estimates, Russia’s total gold reserves now amount to 63.3 million ounces or around 1,969 metric tonnes, with a current value of just $76 billion (based on gold at $1,200/0z).

Foreign exchange diversification intensified in April this year and their gold accumulation is averaging over 20 tons per month. It is interesting to note that Russia dumped some $90 billion of U.S. Treasuries in April and May.

Russia’s total foreign exchange reserves are at $458 billion and their gold allocation has risen to 17% of their total reserves – even at the current depressed gold prices.

This ranks Russia in fifth place globally in terms of gold reserves behind the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, and China.

Russia is also ranked fifth now in terms of gold held as a percentage of total FX reserves. However, the share of gold in Russian foreign exchange reserves is much lower than in many other countries such as the U.S., Italy, and France.

In 2017, Russia was the third largest gold miner in the world at 266.2 tonnes, just six tonnes short of Australia in second place and China in first place, according to data from the World Gold Council.

Thus, the Russian central bank is generally consuming all of the Russian gold production and sometimes having to import gold. Therefore, they currently account for all domestic demand for gold.

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Refugees from Syria’s Rukban camp expected to leave camp in September

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Work to resettle refugees from Syria’s Rukban camp will begin on September 27, Russian Colonel Leonid Antonik told an emergency meeting of the Russian and Syrian interdepartmental centers on refugee resettlement.

“The Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria and Refugee Migration Monitoring has just received an updated plan on getting the remaining refugees out of the Rukban camp from the United Nations Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs in Syria Corinne Fleischer,” TASS quotes Colonel Antonik as saying.

“The implementation of the plan is scheduled to begin on 27 September,” the colonel has said.

Russian military police will oversee the evacuation of refugees from the camp Rukban in Syria, the head of the reconciliation center, Major-General Andrei Bakin told the media.

The Rukban refugee camp emerged on the Syrian-Jordanian border in 2014 after Amman had closed the border due to security and economic concerns. The adjacent area, controlled by illegal armed gangs, is torn by a severe humanitarian crisis.

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US Must Apologize for Bombing Former Yugoslavia, Says Russian Diplomat

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The United States must apologize for bombing the former Yugoslavia back in 1999 and pay compensation to the relatives of those killed and injured in the US-backed NATO air raids, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.

“And for a start, the United States should apologize to those it bombed, pay out compensation to those killed and wounded and to those whose health was damaged because of shells loaded with depleted uranium. And only when this is done, when the proper groundwork has been laid, can it call on others to move forward,” she wrote on her Facebook account, commenting on the statement by outgoing US Ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, who said that the Serbs should look at NATO’s bombings in 1999 from a “broader perspective.”

On March 24, 1999, NATO began a military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. NATO leadership claimed that prevention of genocide of the Albanian population in Kosovo was the main reason behind the operation called Allied Force. NATO said that during the 78-day operation its aircraft flew 38,000 sorties to carry out 10,000 bombing strikes.

Military experts have found that the alliance launched 3,000 cruise missiles and dropped 80,000 bombs, including cluster bombs and low-enriched uranium bombs. According to Serbian forces, the bombardments killed 3,500-4,000 and injured 10,000 others, two thirds of them civilians.

According to Serbian experts, NATO dropped 15 tonnes of depleted uranium over the three months of bombings to make the country Europe’s number one in terms of cancer cases. About 30,000 new cancer cases were registered in the first ten years after the bombings, with the lethality rate from 10,000 to 18,000 patients.

Material damage totaled $100 billion. The strikes against oil refineries and petrochemical plants poisoned the country’s water supply system with toxic chemicals.

According to Ljubisa Rakic, a Serbian scientist and a member of the Serbian, Russian, New York, Eurasian, European and other academies, the amount of low-enriched uranium dropped by NATO on the Balkans was enough to make 170 A-bombs like the one that was dropped by the United States on Japan’s Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

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Donetsk Leader Urges Sanctions on Kiev over Its Reluctance to Fulfill Minsk Peace Deal

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As guarantors, Germany and France should penalize Kiev with sanctions for its unwillingness to fulfill the Minsk agreements to settle the Donbass crisis, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin said on Monday.

“The statements by Ukraine’s new foreign minister that Kiev is not planning to amend the constitution in order to grant Donbass a special status came as no surprise to us… Ukrainian politicians, who have been declaring full commitment to the Minsk [agreements] throughout all these years, are trying to avoid responsibility for failing to honor their obligations,” Pushilin said in a statement published on the Donetsk News Agency’s website.

The Donetsk leader recalled that the special status provisions for the region and on absolving individuals linked to the Donbass events had been confirmed by the Minsk deal, which was backed by the UN Security Council’s binding resolution.

“Any changes and amendments to the Minsk agreements are out of question. If we assume that the world community and the Minsk deal’s guarantors are unbiased, then sanctions should have already been slapped on Ukraine, at least by Germany and France, for violating the agreements and failing to fulfill its commitments as well as for public statements about this made by officials,” Pushilin emphasized.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko said on September 14 that Kiev would not amend the country’s constitution to include the provisions on granting a special status to Donbass. He also stated that no amnesty would be provided for the Ukrainian conflict participants, although this was stipulated by the Minsk peace accords.

Earlier, the head of Ukraine’s delegation to the Contact Group Leonid Kuchma made a similar statement, stressing that President Vladimir Zelensky would not grant Donbass any special status.

When commenting on Kuchma’s statement, Russia’s envoy to the Contact Group Boris Gryzlov noted that any decisions and steps by Kiev and Donbass should be in line with the Minsk deal, stressing that such statements were a direct violation of the agreement, thus jeopardizing the entire peace process.

He noted that this move was aimed at whipping up tensions in Donbass rather than achieving peace as promised to Ukrainian voters.

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