Russia finds a new route to oil market via a tiny Egyptian port
Russia appears to have found a new means of getting its oil to market with western sanctions looming for Moscow.
A cargo of about 700,000 barrels of Russian oil was delivered to Egypt's El Hamra oil terminal on its Mediterranean coast early on July 24. A few hours later, another vessel collected a consignment from the port — which may have included some or all of the Russian barrels — according to vessel-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg.
The unusual move makes the cargo's ultimate destination harder to track, adding to a trend of Russian oil shipments becoming increasingly obscured since European buyers began to shun them following the nation's invasion of Ukraine.
El Hamra, operated by Egypt's Western Desert Operating Petroleum Co., has six storage tanks, able to hold 1.5m bbl of crude, and a single buoy mooring facility for loading and unloading. The terminal was built to handle crude produced in Egypt's western desert, creating possibilities to blend the Russian barrels with local volumes.
Egypt is already being used by Russia as a transit route for fuel oil. It's unclear if El Hamra is a one-off, or will become a more commonly used port for Russian oil flows.
(Source: Bloomberg News)
Ukraine says Russia creating strike force aimed at Zelenskiy's hometown
Ukraine said on Wednesday that Russia had started creating a military strike force aimed at President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's hometown of Kryvyi Rih and warned that Moscow could be preparing new offensive operations in southern Ukraine.
Russia holds swathes of Ukraine's south that it captured in the early phases of its February 24 invasion, but Kyiv has said it will mount a counter-offensive. It said on Tuesday it had already recaptured 53 villages in occupied Kherson region.
"(Russia) has begun creating a strike group in the Kryvyi Rih direction. It's also quite likely that the enemy is preparing a hostile counter-offensive with the subsequent plan of getting to the administrative boundary of Kherson region," the southern military command said.
(Source: Reuters News)
US House Speaker Pelosi departs from Taiwan after high-stakes trip
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan came to an end on Wednesday as she departed from the self-ruled island after a short and gripping trip which raised tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
"Our delegation had the distinct privilege of meeting with the President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen today. We discussed how America and Taiwan can deepen our economic ties, further strengthen our security partnership and defend our shared democratic values," Pelosi said in a tweet.
Our delegation had the distinct privilege of meeting with the President of Taiwan @Iingwen today.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 3, 2022
We discussed how America & Taiwan can deepen our economic ties, further strengthen our security partnership & defend our shared democratic values. pic.twitter.com/VL509UYK4x
The US House Speaker, the highest-level US official to visit Taiwan in over twenty years, reaffirmed America's commitment to the people of Taiwan for decades to come.
"It was also my high honor to receive from President @iingwen of Taiwan the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon: a symbol of our treasured friendship. Make no mistake: America remains unwavering in our commitment to the people of Taiwan- now and for decades to come," she added.
(Source: Asian News International)
Kremlin on Pelosi's Visit to Taiwan: Level of tension in region cannot be underestimated
The level of tension in the Asia-Pacific region due to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cannot be underestimated, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
"Of course, we cannot underestimate the level of tension in the region that was provoked by this visit. This is the purest provocation. This is not directed at supporting that ephemeral freedom and democracy, this is a pure provocation," Peskov told reporters.
Istanbul clears Ukrainian grain ship to head on to Lebanon
Istanbul has successfully completed inspections on the first ship loaded with Ukrainian grain for export since Russia's invasion started in February, the Turkish Defence Ministry said.
The vessel Razoni will shortly sail onward through Istanbul's Bosporus Strait to its final destination Lebanon, the ministry said on Twitter.
More than 20 million tons of grain from last year's harvest are still awaiting export, according to data from Ukraine. The food is urgently needed on the world market - especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The UN recently warned of the biggest famine in decades.
Under a deal agreed on July 22 to lift Russia's months-long blockade of the ports, Ukraine pledged to guide the ships through waters that have been mined and Russia promised to not target the ships and certain port infrastructure.
Zelenskiy says he would like to see China join countries opposed to Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday that China was balancing and maintaining neutrality over Russia's war in Ukraine, but that he would like to see China join the countries opposed to Moscow over the invasion.
He made the comments by video link at an event organised at the Australian National University.
(Source: Reuters News)
WATCH: Africa’s largest natural gas exporter Algeria sparks interest in joining BRICS
The BRICS interest us as an alternative to traditional power centres, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said in a televised interview.
Cape Town - Africa’s largest natural gas exporter, Algeria has said that BRICS interests them as an alternative to traditional power centres in the world.
According to the Global Times, signals from Algeria that it wants to join BRICS demonstrate that more and more countries have faith in the group, and its ability to offset the negative influence of certain countries' rising unilateralism and protectionism, said experts.
In addition to Iran and Argentina, which have officially applied to join BRICS, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt are also signalling an intent for membership of the group.
Read more here
Russia's Lavrov: Pelosi visit to Taiwan creates 'annoyance'
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said on Wednesday that a visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a deliberate attempt by Washington to irritate China.
Speaking on a visit to Myanmar, Lavrov criticised the United States and said it was acting with impunity.
"I see no other reason to create such an annoyance almost out of the blue, knowing very well what it means for the People's Republic of China," Lavrov said.
Pelosi's arrival on Tuesday in Taiwan prompted a furious response from Beijing at a time when international tensions are already elevated by the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia has come out in support of China, with whom it has forged a strong partnership in recent years, and has warned Washington that Pelosi's visit puts it on a collision course with Beijing.
(Source: Reuters News)
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in Taiwan despite a slew of threats from China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own.— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) August 3, 2022
🟠 Follow our LIVE coverage: https://t.co/D6MCZEu1kf pic.twitter.com/WJiL4RSfkl
Taiwan is preparing its citizens for war.— DW News (@dwnews) August 3, 2022
Nationwide drills are being conducted that inform people where to seek shelter in case China attacks. pic.twitter.com/11rurJpk5Q
Taiwan prepares for war
Taiwan is preparing its air-raid shelters as rising tension with China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine raise new fears about the possibility of a Chinese attack on the democratic island.
China considers Taiwan its territory and has increased military activity in the air and seas around it. Taiwan vows to defend itself and has made strengthening its defences a priority, with regular military and civil defence drills.
The preparations include designating shelters where people can take cover if Chinese missiles start flying in, not in purpose-built bunkers but in underground spaces like basement car parks, the subway system and subterranean shopping centres.
The capital of Taipei has more than 4,600 such shelters that can accommodate some 12 million people, more than four times its population.
(Source: Reuters News)
Pelosi: Washington remains committed to supporting Taiwan
The United States are proud of a strong friendship between Washington and Taiwan and will not give up on its commitment to support the island, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday.
"Today our delegation, which I’m very proud, came to Taiwan to make it unequivocally clear: we will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship," Pelosi said during a joint press conference with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
On Wednesday, during a joint press conference with Vice President of Taiwanese parliament Tsai Chi-Chang, Pelosi also expressed the desire to increase dialogue and cooperation between that parliaments of the two countries.
"We want to increase inter-parliamentarian cooperation and dialogue and we do so at the time when our president has put forward the Asian-Pacific initiative, which we support," Pelosi added.
US President Joe Biden launched the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) together with 12 Indo-Pacific countries, namely Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, in late May in Tokyo.
(Source: Sputnik News)
Questions raised whether Pelosi's risky Taiwan trip is worth the consequences
Whether US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's risky trip to Taiwan was a valuable statement of US resolve or provoked China for no strategic gain depends on when, or if, Beijing's consequent fury and military posturing abate, media reports said.
So if Pelosi's visit — a personal rebuke to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has made the takeover of Taiwan an existential quest — permanently worsens already poor US-China relations and brings forward what some see as an inevitable superpower confrontation, it might turn out to be a massive miscalculation, CNN reported.
Her trip has already caused uproar in tense US-China relations, with the communist giant sending jets to the edge of Taiwanese air space and launching military exercises that sent an unsubtle message that Taiwan is surrounded.
The geopolitical relationship between Washington and Beijing is the most important nation-to-nation clash on the globe. It is unfolding as a generational tussle between two civilizations keen to imprint their values, economic systems and strategic hegemony on the rest of the world, CNN reported.
(Source: Indo-Asian News Service)
"Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will... continue to hold the line of defence for democracy."— AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 3, 2022
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen stands defiant against China's threats as she meets US House Speaker Nancy Pelosihttps://t.co/0OScL4ft4b pic.twitter.com/Xp8wsA9o0B
US tries to distract from Ukraine, internal issues creating hype over Pelosi trip
The United States attempted to divert attention from the situation in Ukraine and internal problems, including inflation, by creating a buzz around House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
"There is another vector — this is the situation around Ukraine, which led Washington to such a dead end that it was necessary to find some kind of informational way out of it," Zakharova told Radio Sputnik.
According to the diplomat, the United States tried to divert attention of its citizens from the existing internal problems, such as rising prices, inflation, recession, creating a buzz around Pelosi's visit.
"[The situation] required a change in the information paradigm," she said, noting that this was done by Pelosi.
(Source: Sputnik News)