From January to October 2022, Russia sent $3.1 billion worth of piped natural gas to China, a 182 percent increase from 2021, the General Administration of Customs of China reported.
Algeria is forging ever-growing military ties with Russia through joint military drills and substantial arms supply deals. Moscow has many assets that attract Algeria while collaboration with Algeria solidifies Russian influence in northern Africa.
Occasional high-level contacts between the United States and Russia are essentially due to Washington’s concerns over Moscow’s far-reaching movements in its war with Ukraine. The meeting between the director of the CIA and the head of the SVR foreign intelligence agency is part of the U.S. policy alongside the talks that took place beforehand between the U.S. national security advisor, the secretary of defense, and their Russian counterparts.
The Russian energy market is seeing further reshuffles as Western companies quit the country, with domestic firms taking over their assets. Among those Russian companies is Lukoil, a privately run oil producer. Business decisions seem to have a political, rather than a financial background. Russia’s oil giant Lukoil has taken over assets in joint ventures between Western firms and Russian state-run companies.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Yerevan ended sourly as Armenia refused to sign a draft declaration due to the absence of a political assessment of Azerbaijan’s aggression against the territorial integrity of Armenia. This is yet another sign of Russia’s loosening grip on former Soviet republics.
Bulgaria’s government and Lukoil Neftochim Bulgaria have agreed that the country’s Black Sea refinery continues operating and exporting oil products to the EU until the end of 2024. This should provide a major boost to the Bulgarian budget. The deal makes Bulgaria a base for partially avoiding the European oil embargo.
Russian oil companies should invest more in developing smaller oil fields, according to Gennady Shmal, head of the Union of Russian Oil and Gas Producers. What might follow is a change in conditions for the benefit of small oil producers. Naturally, the Russian authorities did not become aware of their preferential treatment of large oil conglomerates, including tax breaks. Small companies were brought to the fore as the Russian energy sector is struggling amid sanctions imposed following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The nature and tempo of the Russian war have not changed in recent weeks. The last major operation was the retreat of Russian forces from the western bank of the Dnieper River. Now wintry warfare looms in Ukraine while soaked steppes prevent both sides from launching an assault. But as winter is approaching, where potential attacks could now take place?
Russian lawmakers passed a new law that bans what authorities call “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” The proposals prohibit sharing positive and even neutral information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and publicly displaying non-heterosexual orientations, referred to as “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations and (or) preferences, pedophilia, and sex change.” It is yet another element of the state narrative in which Moscow pushes conservative values.
The Kremlin is drafting a presidential decree that will prohibit Russian companies and any traders buying the nation’s oil from selling it to anyone that participates in a price cap, according to Bloomberg. The decree will forbid dealings with both companies and countries that join the price-cap mechanism. Meanwhile, a new date for EU talks is yet to be set even though the price cap mechanism is due to enter into force on December 5.
The Russian military situation in Syria has become far more tense and complex due to three reasons. Firstly, Russia ordered the withdrawal of some of its troops despite its promise to back the al-Assad regime. Secondly, Turkey began targeting positions in the Russian-controlled region of Syria. Thirdly, Israeli forces have launched a bold campaign to target Syrian facilities linked to both Iran and Russia.
It is now known why back in September Putin announced a partial mobilization throughout Russia. He planned to add new soldiers just to stabilize the front somehow. The Russian military turned those forcefully deployed into “cannon fodder” to either hinder Ukrainian assaults or cripple their defensive positions.
The process of deoligarchization, as it has become known, was already one of the biggest issues in Ukrainian politics long before the Russian invasion. It was, however, somewhat of a losing battle. Then came the war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared a fightback against oligarchs and claimed their assets under the pretense of the ongoing war.
All of Ukraine’s operating nuclear power plants were automatically disconnected from the power grid for the first time in the country’s history following a barrage of Russian missile attacks. Since early October the Russian military has destroyed enough of Ukraine’s infrastructure to make life intolerable.
Iran has not shifted its policy towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine by supplying Russia with a batch of mostly kamikaze drones and perhaps also ballistic missiles. This might have been on the agenda of the meeting between Putin’s top aide and Iranian leaders.
The energy crisis has hit Moldova especially hard, with Russian state energy giant Gazprom threatening to cut gas supplies and Moscow’s attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure that trigger blackouts throughout the country.
The story behind a Russian spy is a blow to the reputation of Russian spy agencies. The former GRU officer was convicted in Estonia, where he later returned because he disagreed with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian troops are now fighting to liberate the Kinburn Peninsula to dislodge Russian troops from their stronghold. Located on the western bank of the Dnieper River, both the peninsula and its spit are of key strategic importance.
The Ukrainian government accepted the resignation of Yuriy Vitrenko as chief executive of the state energy company Naftogaz. Former government minister for communities and territorial development Oleksiy Chernyshov on November 3 took over as chief executive of Naftogaz, facing some challenges including government personnel reshuffles and the ongoing war with Russia.
Ukrainian forces swept into the key city of Kherson as Russian troops retreated to the east. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said by the evening of November 12 Ukraine’s defense forces had liberated more than 60 cities, towns, and villages in Kherson Oblast. Russia has suffered a major defeat in the south of Ukraine, withdrawing from the western Kherson region––far more painful than in Kyiv and Chernihiv back in March.