Ukraine claims peace intentions, prepares for war
Izvestia reports that the plan to overtake Donetsk and Lugansk, approved by Ukraine’s president Petr Poroshenko, entails a total mop-up operation, eliminating supporters of the regions’ independence from the cities. The daily notes that this operation was approved by Poroshenko while he has publicly announced his readiness for peaceful resolution of the confrontation on the backdrop of ongoing urges voiced by Russia and western countries to cease fire. The newspaper talked with Leonid Slutskiy, chairman of the State Duma committee on CIS affairs. "We’re talking about ceasefire, but instead a plan for further bloodshed is sanctioned. This completely violates international humanitarian principles and contradicts promises given by Ukraine’s leadership on international platforms, including the recent Berlin meeting." End quote The daily reminds that the spokesman was referring to the July 2 meeting in Berlin, during which Foreign Ministries of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine signed a truce declaration for Ukraine’s South East region, which entailed a ceasefire in the area. The lawmaker suggested that Poroshenko’s actions prompted the international community to consolidate efforts to stop bloodshed in Ukraine, adding that swift action is required.
Gazprom has issued another bill to Kiev for June gas shipments to Ukraine. Moskovskiy Komsomolets notes that the latest invoice takes into account gas shipments from Russia before the country switched to prepaid mode, only supplying gas if Ukraine pays for it up front. As a result, Ukraine’s outstanding debt has increased by eight hundred thirty eight million dollars to the total sum of five point three billion. The daily notes that this does not take into account outstanding debt interest and fines. If Gazprom decides to surcharge punitive payments for missing deadlines, Kiev will have to shell out ten billion dollars. Meanwhile, the gas recipient still does not intend to pay for the liquid fuel. As the situation continues to develop, the newspaper notes that more European countries side with Russia. For example, head of French company Total Christophe de Margerie said that Europe needs to support the South Stream project which would connect Russia with the European Union circumventing Ukraine.
Russia’s national airline, Aeroflot, has become one of the top ten most economically effective airlines in the world, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes. According to one of the leading industry journals, Aviation Week, Aeroflot ranked seventh among airlines with over six billion dollars in revenue in 2013, and sixth overall among European carriers. The daily notes that when it comes to economic efficiency, Aeroflot has beaten well-known major airlines including Lufthansa, Air China, International Airlines Group (British Airways and Iberia), Air France-KLM, Qantas and Cathay Pacific. The article explains that Aviation Week used a complex grading scale, which included various factors, apart from revenue: financial health, profitability, capital efficiency and business model. Aeroflot plans to improve its rankings further and climb to the top five European airlines in terms of passenger throughput and revenue. The international expert community belies that the Russian company is actually ahead of schedule on that, largely due to stellar corporate management, the article concludes.
France's foreign minister has said "differences in approach" between Russia and some of the other five world powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program have appeared in the past few days, The Moscow Times reports. Speaking to the French parliament's foreign affairs committee, the minister noted that none of the major outstanding issues in the talks had been settled and that the U.S. wanted foreign ministers to join the negotiations in Vienna. Laurant Fabius said: "Until now the P5+1 [six powers] were homogenous, but over the last few days my representatives in the negotiations have seen a certain number of different approaches — and I hope they won't remain — between some of the P5+1 and our Russian partners." The daily writes that diplomats say France and the other Western powers have broadly held out for stricter terms with Iran than have Russia and China, which have had closer trade relations with Tehran and said in the past that tough sanctions may be counter-productive. The newspaper reminds that the six world powers and Iran have less than two weeks to bridge wide differences on the future scope of Iran's enrichment program and other issues if they are to meet a self-imposed July 20 deadline for a deal.
Children as young as 10 could legally work in Bolivia under legislation expected to be signed into law by the president, Evo Morales, this week. The Guardian reminds that the legal working age in Bolivia has long been 14, and older teens are in theory restricted to jobs that do not damage their health and wellbeing. The new boys, girls and adolescents code maintains the minimum age at 14, but allows the office charged with protecting children to authorize those between 10 and 14 to work independently, and those between 12 and 14 to work for others. Young workers, including those belonging to the Bolivian Union of Child and Adolescent Workers (Unatsbo), were involved in conversations with the government on the minimum age. Members of Unatsbo met the president and members of congress, organized marches and made their voices heard in the national press.
Israel launched a major air assault on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, The Washington Post reports. Dozens of targets were bombed in what Israeli officials said was a bid to halt escalating cross-border attacks from Palestinian militants in the area, who fired a new a salvo of more than 150 rockets toward major Israeli cities and the country’s coastal high-tech corridor. The Israeli military said it carried out airstrikes against more than 150 sites in Gaza, killing five alleged members of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the enclave. Ashraf al-Qidrah, a spokesman for Gaza’s Health Ministry, said early Wednesday that 24 Palestinians had been killed in the Israeli attacks and 152 wounded. The daily reminds that the Israeli operation against Hamas in Gaza is the third since 2008, and it came against a backdrop of weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the occupied West Bank — which Israel has blamed on Hamas — and the suspected revenge killing of an Arab youth in East Jerusalem.