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Mon, 29 Aug 2016
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Moscow: Interest on Ukraine's $3B overdue debt is $683,333 per day

© russia-insider.com
Moscow wants Kiev to pay interest daily on its $3 billion defaulted bond, Bloomberg reports after viewing court documents. Ukraine failed to pay the debt on December 20 and the penalty fee has grown to about $66.3 million as of Friday. The Kremlin refused to take part in the $15 billion debt restructuring Ukraine reached with its foreign creditors in 2015. Russia wanted Ukraine to recognize the debt as sovereign with restructuring terms better than those proposed by Kiev to its private creditors.

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Finance Ministry to file a lawsuit against Kiev, if it failed to repay the $3 billion within a 10-day grace period following the December 20 deadline. The lawsuit will be heard by the High Court in London.

Russia is demanding more than the 7.75 percent interest Ukraine offered in its debt restructuring, which also included a 20 percent debt haircut. According to the court documents, quoted by Bloomberg, Russia's lawyers suggest returning to the original five percent rate, equivalent to $427,083 a day, if the court in London decides eight percent interest is too high. Moscow is also asking Kiev to repay an additional $75 million in skipped interest payments before the debt deadline.

"Ukraine has already indicated and re-affirms its intention vigorously to defend the entirety of the claim relating to the Russian Eurobonds. It will be filing its defense in due course," Kiev's lawyer told the media.

Legal battles between Russia and Ukraine are valued at $100 billion, which includes cross-lawsuits between the two countries' gas monopolies, Gazprom and Naftogaz. Kiev is demanding $37 billion from Moscow for what it calls the annexation of Crimea. Naftogaz is seeking $26 billion in damages from Gazprom, which, in its turn, demands $32 billion from Naftogaz.

Comment: There is a question if Putin has actually called on the Eurobond debt. He had not done so at the request of Kiev, even though the Russian banks have the right to request early repayment under certain circumstances. To further confuse things, on May 19, 2015, the Ukrainian government adopted a law, valid until July 1, 2016, which gives it the power to declare a moratorium on some loan repayments. Yatsenyuk considered the Eurobond loan as "private," hence suspension of payments. Russia did not. Neither did the IMF.

See also:


Terror epidemic in Europe: Gaddafi, Assad warned of it, but no one listened

© AP Photo/ Nabil
Libya's late leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned that terrorism would be on the rise in Europe if Western leaders help to destabilize the two countries, but no one listened. As a result, Libya and Syria have been plunged into chaos and now Europe has to grapple with a string of gruesome terrorist attacks.

The latest assault took place on Tuesday as three coordinated bombings rocked the Belgian capital of Brussels, which hosts the headquarters of several international institutions, including the European Union, NATO and the Benelux.

Daesh took responsibility for the attack that claimed 31 lives. The brutal terrorist group was also behind the night of terror in Paris on November 13, a series of coordinated terrorist acts that left 130 people killed.

Comment: See also:
Controlled chaos: How the U.S. empire infects other nations in its pursuit for total control
The European jihadi union

Gold Bar

Russia adds $6 billion to gold reserves

© Spuutnik/Pavel Lisitsyn
Since the beginning of March, Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves have increased to nearly $370 billion.

The value of Russia's gold reserves rose by $5.8 billion, from $381.1 billion to $386.9 billion, between March 11 and 18, according to the Russian Central Bank.

In seven day, Russia increased its gold and foreign exchange reserves by 1.5 percent. From March 1, the reserves rose by 1.7 percent, from $380.5 billion.

They include securities, foreign exchange cash, special drawing rights of the IMF, monetary gold, and a number of other assets.

In mid-December 2015, the Russian Central Bank announced that it would increase Russia's gold reserves to $500 billion in the coming three-five years. The terms would depend on macroeconomic scenarios the government is going to implement.

Gold is considered to be a buffer against external economic risks after Russia, one of the world's largest oil exporters, was hit by a slump in global oil prices.

Gold reserves were used by the Central Bank to support the ruble exchange rate. In November 2014, the bank allowed the ruble to trade freely and stopped spending the yellow metal. In November 2014, the value of Russia's gold reserves reached $510.5 billion.

Comment: Crumbling US empire drives Russia and China to buy more gold


Early reports lied: Brussels brothers were known to police, linked to terror groups BEFORE the attacks

It is now revealed that not only were at least three bombers involved in the March 22 Brussels attack well-known to Western security agencies, two - brothers Brahim and Khalid El Bakraoui - were both arrested, charged, and imprisoned for violent crimes in 2010 and 2011, the elder brother for shooting at police with an AK-47s automatic rifle during a holdup, and the younger brother for carjacking and possession of several AK-47s, respectively.

It is also now confirmed that the elder brother, Brahim El Bakraoui, was arrested and deported from Turkey last year for suspected terrorist activity, but not before Ankara attempted to notify Brussels in order for El Bakraoui to be detained upon his arrival back in the EU. Brussels, however, failed categorically to act on the alert, allowing El Bakraoui to return home without consequence.

The third suspect, Najim Laachraoui, had traveled to Syria between 2012-2013 and has had an international warrant out for his arrest since 2014 for allegedly aiding in the recruitment of Europeans for the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS).

Comment: Further reading:

Heart - Black

ITV documentary "Saudi Arabia uncovered": Ideology that breeds terrorism

A documentary documenting the horror of life in the strict Islamic regime of Saudi Arabia has been pulled from ITV's website.

The programme was broadcast last night and drew a huge reaction online.

Many social media users expressed shock at what was shown in the programme, highlighting the treatment of women and schools indoctrinating young students with Islamic extremist views.

Comment: See also:
Russia, Syria and the anglo-American existential gas war in the Middle East


BRICS under attack: The empire strikes back In Brazil

The last decade has seen a remarkable coalescing of non-Western nations in both economic and political partnerships. These multilateral institutions have been championed as alternatives to Western organs of political and economic power such as NATO, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

From the growth of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, China's "One Belt, One Road" strategy to link much of the Eurasian landmass via trade and investment, and most recently the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, many have viewed these developments as essential for the decentralization of global power away from the imperial centers of Washington, Wall Street, London and Brussels.

But perhaps none of the emerging Global South international groupings has been more promising in terms of both public relations and real economic partnership than that of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).


Murdered: Lawyer for Russian fighter kidnapped, 'drugged, wired to a bomb' in Ukraine

© Stringer / Sputnik
Lawyer Yury Grabovsky
A lawyer who defended a Russian citizen accused in Ukraine of being a Russian terrorist has been killed. His body was found buried in a rural area three weeks after his disappearance in Kiev. The abductors allegedly used a bomb to keep him from escaping.

Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Evgeny Erofeev were detained last May in the rebel-controlled Lugansk Region in Eastern Ukraine. Kiev said they were agents for Russian military intelligence and charged them with a number of crimes, including waging an aggressive war against the country and terrorism, as it considers all rebels terrorists. Both the rebels and Moscow insist that the two Russian citizens were volunteers who joined the Ukrainian civil war after resigning from the Russian military.

A lawyer who defended a Russian citizen accused in Ukraine of being a Russian terrorist has been killed. His body was found buried in a rural area three weeks after his disappearance in Kiev. The abductors allegedly used a bomb to keep him from escaping.


US Navy captain convicted in $34 million 'Fat Leonard' scandal

© US Navy / Flickr
Capt. Daniel Dusek assumes command of USS Bonhomme Richard in this June 2012 file photo by US Navy Specialist 1st Class Terry Matlock.
A sordid tale of bribes, back-room deals, prostitution, and fraud has claimed the career of yet another US naval officer. Captain Daniel Dusek has become the highest-ranking officer to be convicted in what has become known as the "Fat Leonard" affair.

Dusek, 49, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison on Friday for accepting cash, luxury travel, and prostitutes in exchange for re-routing his warship to ports controlled by a powerful contractor, Leonard Francis, known to the Navy as"Fat Leonard.


King Abdullah boasts that Jordanian, Israeli F-16s confronted Russian jets in southern Syria

Military personnel watch a Jordanian fighter jet during a military demonstration at a joint training center in the city of Zarqa, northeast of the Jordanian capital, Amman, March 10, 2016.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has claimed that Jordanian jets helped Israeli warplanes confront Russian aircraft on the southern Syrian border at an unspecified time.

The Middle East Eye (MEE) news portal and Haaretz published the claim by Abdullah on Friday, saying the monarch had made the remarks to US Congressmen on January 11 without disclosing the date of the purported confrontation.

"We saw the Russians fly down, but they were met with Israeli and Jordanian F-16s," Abdullah (seen below) was cited as saying. "The Russians were shocked and understood they could not mess with us."


SOTT Exclusive: Strategy of tension: Belgian locals report the murder of nuclear site guard & theft of his access key

In late November of 2015, surveillance footage of a high-ranking nuclear official was found in the apartment of a suspect linked to the Paris attacks. What use ISIS could make of this footage is questionable, but its use for those pursuing a strategy of tension across Europe has become plain to see: Belgium's nuclear power plants are at risk - be terrified.

This is nothing new. Belgium's power plants have a history of being hacked into, shut down, and tampered with. German officials have complained that Belgium's nuclear power plants are 'falling to bits' while their constituents have been justifiably outraged over the sites' numerous failures. The 'incompetence' levels are so high that a former employee who "defected" to ISIS, fought in Syria, then got himself convicted on terrorism charges in 2014, has already been set free. In that very same plant, an unidentified man was able to simply walk up, turn a knob, drain 65,000 liters of oil, and shut down the entire plant for 5 months. With Chernobyl and Fukushima simmering in the mass psyche, this really doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. And, of course, one wonders if this isn't exactly the point.

Because now we see the headline on RT: Guard at 'terror target' Belgian nuclear site killed, access badge stolen - media
A security officer at a nuclear site was killed in the Belgian city of Charleroi two days after the terror attacks in Brussels, local newspaper Derniere Heure reported, citing police sources. The paper added that the man's security pass was stolen.