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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – June 24, 2021

Today in Russia: Military helicopter crash kills 3; Amb Sullivan back in Moscow; Where’s Medvedev? Humiliation!; Minsk survives EU sanctions, so far; Metals export duties to be imposed starting August 1

A Russian military helicopter crashed on a training flight near St Petersburg. The Mi-8, which belonged to the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia), was carrying three crew members who were all killed in the crash, according to a spokesperson quoted by the local online news site Fontanka.

US Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan returned to his post in Moscow on Thursday, telling TASS that he is “delighted” to be back. Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, returned to Washington on Sunday looking to build “open and pragmatic” relations with the US administration.

Dmitry Medvedev was passed up by the party he chairs to top the election list at the party congress last weekend – quite the humiliation for the long-time Putin ally. Meduza wrote, “Following United Russia’s congress in Moscow on June 19, the ruling party confirmed its election list for the September 2021 State Duma election. The first five names were presented by President Vladimir Putin himself — and United Russia’s chairman, former president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, was noticeably absent from the list. Sources say that both Medvedev being left out and Putin making the announcement was a ‘humiliation’ for the party chairman.

Belarus, apparently, is doing alright despite the EU announcing a raft of sanctions measures against the country. Kommersant wrote, “For the first time, the sectoral sanctions imposed by the EU against Belarus, despite the dire trend for Minsk, have so far turned out to be rather mild. Although Brussels has banned the import and transit through the EU of certain types of Belarusian oil products and fertilizers, the restrictions did not affect key goods – diesel fuel, gasoline and potassium chloride used for fertilization. Nevertheless, the tightening of these sanctions could force Belarus to change the logistics of its exports to the ports of the Russian Federation

Russia will impose export duties on metals (steel, nickel, copper, aluminum) beginning August 1. The government estimates this will cost producers some $2.3 billion, but the move was taken in an effort to reign in skyrocketing domestic prices. “Our economy is not ready for the kind of avalanche-like shock transfer of global prices to the domestic market that we have seen over the past year,” First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said. Producers such as Alexey Mordashov are less than pleased and have warned that it could lead to increased prices.

PHOTO: Dmitry Medvedev, United Russia party chairman did not top the party list for the September 2021 Duma elections in what has been widely viewed as a humiliation (Grigory Sysoev / POOL / SPUTNIK).