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Volkswagen May Buy Stake in Gaz Group: Russian Deputy PM

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German concern Volkswagen may purchase a stake in Russia’s Gaz Group in order to help the Russian company avoid U.S. sanctions, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said this month in Moscow, according to Sputnik.

Speaking during a press-conference, Kozak said negotiations have already taken place, but the final decision has not yet been made.

In April, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions against Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and eight companies in which he was a shareholder, including Russian Machines mechanical engineering company, the parent company of Gaz Group. Technically, the sanctions only prohibited trade with the carmaker for U.S. companies and citizens, but, if introduced, the restrictions, most likely would freeze any international business for Gaz.

Kozak said he had met with U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman Jr., to discuss how the Gaz could avoid the sanctions. The U.S. Treasury has postponed the introduction of the restrictions on the company several times since April, and following the recent meeting between Kozak and Huntsman, the date was pushed back from October 23, 2018 to December 12, 2018.

Kozak acknowledged the fact that Russia was in talks with Germany’s Volkswagen concern on the potential purchase of a stake in GAZ.

“There was such a dialogue, but so far no decision has been made,” he said.

Volkswagen Group became the world’s largest automaker by sales in 2016, overtaking Toyota and keeping this title in 2017, selling 10.7 million vehicles. It has a long-standing cooperation with Gaz, providing technology, equipment and engines for the Russian company.

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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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Russia’s Supreme Court Upholds Espionage Sentence, Keeping Polish Spy Behind Bars

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Russia’s Supreme Court has upheld a 14-year espionage sentence of Polish national Marian Radzajewski, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement.

“On September 12, the Russian Supreme Court considered an appeal filed by the defense, as well as its arguments, and ruled to uphold the Moscow City Court’s verdict concerning Polish national Marian Radzajewski, found guilty under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage),” the statement reads.

Radzajewski was found guilty of attempting to acquire certain secret components of the S-300 missile system and illegally transport them to Poland, which posed a genuine threat to Russia’s national security.

He was caught red-handed while trying to strike a deal. “Investigators proved that Marian Radzajewski had acted in the interests of Poland’s leading supplier for the national armed forces and intelligence agencies,” the FSB pointed out.

On June 25, the Moscow City Court sentenced Radzajewski to 14 years in a maximum-security colony. His defense filed an appeal with the Russian Supreme Court, requesting that the charge be reclassified from espionage to an attempted smuggling of materials and equipment that may be used in the production of weapons (Article 30.1 and Article 226.1.1 of the Russian Criminal Code), so that the Polish national’s sentence could be mitigated.

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