No immediate Brexit shock, Russia says

Kremlin expecting a major revenue stream with China, including stronger oil and gas connections.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  June 24, 2016 at 6:24 AM
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TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, June 24 (UPI) -- With up to $30 billion in new project investments with China on tap, the British exit from the EU might not mean much for Russia, a finance official said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to step down as voters backed a referendum to leave the European Union.

Russia has relied on natural gas deliveries to the European economy for decades, more recently mulling a strategy to link its Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea to the British energy sector. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev said that, so far, it's unclear how the referendum will impact the Russian economy directly. Alexei Kudrin, the head of the Center for Strategic Development, meanwhile, said Russia has too many problems of its own to deal with.

"We have our own problems, which are more pressing," he said through his Twitter account. "One can regret the decision of the British people to leave the EU, but there will be no catastrophe, although the financial market will be facing some short-term instability."

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets during the weekend with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. Russian finance officials said more than a dozen new investments projects worth $30 billion could be added to a bilateral portfolio.

The Kremlin's press service this week said Putin aims to build an "equal and confidential partnership" with China. China is linked already to Russian oil supplies through the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline and natural gas company Gazprom has a 30-year sales agreement with China for its so-called Power of Siberia pipeline. Reports this week suggested China may be a potential investor in Russian oil company Rosneft, on the table as a possible target of a privatization scheme in Russia.

Speaking from Uzbekistan on Friday, Putin himself lauded the close economic ties in Asia.

"We must continue removing barriers to trade and capital and labor movement, deepen our industrial and technological cooperation, and develop industrial chains and a common transport infrastructure," he said.

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