Despite the fact the EU succeeded in persuading Greece not to veto the re-authorization of sanctions against Russia, Athens remains the most pro-Russian member of the European Union. The new Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, invited the Russian ambassador to Greece to discuss his concerns with the EU sanctions. Back in May, the new Prime Minister criticized the Ukrainian government as “neo-Nazi” and criticized sanctions. The Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country spoke about the federalization of Ukraine, as well.
PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT OF THE CRISIS.
A meeting of the group on peaceful settlement of the crisis in the east of Ukraine will take place in Minsk on January 30, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus stated. The DPR and PLR confirmed their readiness to meet. “We are confirming our readiness to meet in Minsk tomorrow. We are preparing draft resolutions basing on the discussions held in Donetsk on Monday with participation of A. Zakharchenko, I. Plotnitskyi and V. Medvedchuk”.Earlier the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko urged the contact group for Donbas to organize another meeting as soon as possible.
According to media reports, Greece planned to veto new sanctions against Russia, but some encouraging messages from German officials convinced them otherwise. At first, the Chairman of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, visited Athens where he met the newly elected Prime Minister, promising to talk to him in private. Later, the head of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, held a 20-minutes meeting with his Greek colleague and stated that “his apprehensions reduced” afterwards. The ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union member states decided to prolong sanctions against Russia for individuals and companies, introduced in March 2014, until Septemberin connection with the situation in Ukraine. The ministers also decided to direct the European Commission and European External Action Service to make a proposal on adding new individuals and companies to the list within a week, emphasized Mogherini.
American financier George Soros and French philosopher Henri Bernard Levi continue to write articles on Ukraine for international media. The authors write that Russia is doing its best “to strangle the new Ukraine at its birth”, so the West must help to conduct reforms in Ukraine.
The Head of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), Valeria Hontaryeva, intends to cleanse the banking system of the country of corruption schemes, the NBU web-sitestated. Within the framework of the Ukrainian banking system reform, the National bank intends to fight corruption both in the NBU itself and in the banking sector in general. For instance, the NBU plans to cleanse the system of “oligarchial” schemes of commercial banks functioning.
The Minister of Energy,Volodymyr Demchyshyn, stated that the DTEK energy holding company controlled by a businessman Rinat Akhmetov is using miners’ protest actions to exert pressure up the ministry.
OTHER IMPORTANTS NEWS
The Federal Security Service opened a new case against the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, as reported by her lawyer, Ilya Novikov. According to him, the case was opened for illegal crossing of the border of the Russian Federation – article 322 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
The International rating agency Standard & Poor’s lowered the credit ratings of Moscow city bonds from BBB- level to so-called ‘junk’ level BB+ with a negative outlook.. The decision came following the downgrading of the sovereign credit rating of Russia. Together with Moscow, S&P lowered ratings for other Russian cities.
The Danish brewing company Carlsberg, the fourth biggest producer of beer in the world, decided to close down two breweries in Russia.. Thus, the capacities of the company will reduce by 15% and up to 6 thousand Russian employees will lose their jobs.
A woman from the Smolensk region of Russia was accused of treason for having informed the Ukrainian embassy of a possible dispatch of regular troops of the Russian Federation to the east of Ukraine.As the Komersant periodical informs in its investigation, the corresponding case has been registered in the database on the official web-site of the court and the accused herself was sent to Moscow.