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Russian Foreign Ministry slams resolution by WHO Regional Committee for Europe

Kremlin, Russia, WHO, European, Russian, Andrey Plutnitsky

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Russian Foreign Ministry slams resolution by WHO Regional Committee for Europe

A resolution by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Europe, which suggests considering the possibility of shutting down the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in Moscow runs directly contrary to the organization’s goals and objectives, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We believe that the resolution in question runs directly contrary to the goals and objectives of the WHO, designed to ensure the highest level of health for all of mankind, and undermines the principles of international cooperation in this field,” the statement reads.

According to the ministry, Russian Deputy Health Minister Andrey Plutnitsky pointed out at the committee’s session that the humanitarian situation in Ukraine had started to deteriorate in 2014. “It included numerous civilian deaths in Donbass as a result of punitive actions by the Kiev regime, the destruction of social infrastructure facilities, a loss of access to healthcare and consequently, a rise in communicable and non-communicable diseases. The danger of the military biological programs that had been implemented in Ukraine by the US and its allies was highlighted separately,” the statement added.

However, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, those who initiated the session insisted on considering a draft resolution, which, apart from “presenting baseless accusations, proposed a set of measures to restrict fruitful cooperation between the WHO and Russia.” The Russian delegation was forced to put the document to a vote and it was adopted by a majority of participants.

A document adopted at the May 10 special session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe calls on WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge “to consider temporarily suspending all regional meetings in the Russian Federation, including technical meetings and meetings of experts, as well as conferences and seminars whose composition is set by the WHO Regional Office for Europe, until peaceful resolution of the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.” The resolution also requests the regional director “to safeguard the technical cooperation and assistance provided by the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of

Noncommunicable Diseases, including the possible relocation of the aforementioned office to an area outside of the Russian Federation.”

The draft resolution was submitted by 38 WHO member states and gained the support of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Israel and Turkey, as well as of EU countries. Russia, Belarus and Tajikistan voted against the document, while Armenia and Kazakhstan abstained.

Finland joining NATO to become definite threat for Russia, Kremlin says

The expansion of NATO does not facilitate security in Eurasia and Finland joining NATO is a threat for Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Thursday.

“Without a doubt,” the Kremlin official said replying to a question on the matter. “Another expansion of NATO does not make our continent more stable and safe,” he added.

He emphasized that Russia would devise the necessary measures to maintain its security in response to this situation. “Of course, all this will be a subject matter for special analysis and for devising the necessary measures to keep the situation in balance and maintain our security,” the spokesman said.

That said, according to him, Russia’s reaction to Finland’s accession to NATO will depend on the proximity of the alliance’s infrastructure to its borders. “All will depend on what this process of expansion will imply. To what extent the military infrastructure will get closer to our borders,” Putin’s press secretary explained.

He reiterated effective instructions by Russian President Vladimir Putin to develop a list of measures to bolster Russia’s western border over the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank. “Finland joined the unfriendly steps that were taken within the EU framework with regards to our country. This can only cause our regret and is a cause for our corresponding tit-for-tat responses,” the Kremlin official added.

“The expansion of NATO and the alliance’s military infrastructure approaching our borders do not make the world, and, what’s important, our Eurasian continent more stable and safe. This is unmistakable,” Putin’s press secretary concluded.

According to a joint statement by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin published on Thursday, Finland should apply for NATO membership as soon as possible. The formal decision on the application is expected to be made on Sunday, May 15.

Energy firms under Moscow’s sanctions no longer involved in Russian gas supplies — Kremlin

Foreign energy companies subject to Moscow’s retaliatory sanctions will no longer be able to participate in gas supplies from Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday. He also described the restrictions as blocking.

On Wednesday, the Russian government approved a list of legal entities against which retaliatory sanctions are imposed. It includes 31 companies from Germany, France and other European countries, as well as from Singapore and the USA. There are former European subsidiaries of Gazprom among them as well as traders and operators of underground gas storage facilities.

“The sanctions against these companies are blocking,” he said in response to a question about how this decision will affect gas supplies to Europe.

“Therefore, there will be no relations with these companies, they are simply prohibited,” Peskov said. He confirmed that “these companies can no longer participate in the process” of gas supplies from Russia.

“Other companies will most likely be involved in the process. For details, you need to contact Gazprom,” he added.

On Moscow’s counter sanctions

According to the documents the Russian government approved earlier, the Russian authorities, legal entities and citizens will not be able to conclude transactions with sanctioned foreign companies and other entities under their control.

The government also set additional criteria for transactions that are prohibited from being performed with companies from the sanctions list. These include transactions concluded in favor of these entities, or transactions involving the making of payments, transactions with securities with the participation or in favor of such companies. The document also bans the entry ships owned or chartered by sanctioned persons, in their interests or on their behalf into the Russian ports.

In particular, Russia’s sanctions list includes Gazprom Germania GmbH, Gazprom Schweiz AG, Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA Inc, Vemex, Wingas, EuRoPol GAZ.

On March 31, 2022, the Gazprom Group ceased participation in the German company Gazprom Germania Gmbh and all its assets, including Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd. The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action placed Gazprom Germania GmbH under the trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency until September 30.

Gazprom Germania is an international group of companies that, through its subsidiary Gazprom Marketing & Trading, is engaged in natural gas trading in the UK spot markets, as well as the sale of liquefied natural gas in Southeast Asia. Through its subsidiary Gazprom Schweiz AG, it trades natural gas in countries Central Asia and the former Soviet Union, as well as in Austria, Italy and Serbia. In Germany natural gas is mainly sold through Wingas and in the Czech Republic and Slovakia through Vemex Gazprom Germania.

EuRoPol GAZ is a joint venture between Gazprom and Poland’s PGNiG, which owns the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.

Gazprom confirms Russian sanctions prohibit use of Yamal-Europe pipeline capacities

The Russian sanctions against EuRoPol GAZ mean that Gazprom is barred from using this pipeline’s capacity.

“In accordance with the decree No.252 from the Russian president from May 3, 2022 and government decree No.851 from May 11, 2022, sanctions were introduced against a number of foreign companies. Among them is the company EuRoPol GAZ, which is the owner of the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline,” Gazprom’s official spokesperson Sergey Kurprianov said.

“There is a ban on transactions and payments in favor of persons under sanctions, in particular, for Gazprom this means a ban on the use of the EuRoPol GAZ-owned pipeline to transport Russian gas through Poland,” he said.

Kuprianov said that “previously, the Polish side repeatedly violated the rights of PJSC Gazprom as a shareholder of EuRoPol GAZ, and on April 26, 2022 put it on the sanctions list, blocking the company from exercising rights on shares and other securities of EuRoPol GAZ, and receiving dividends.

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