Tag Archives: Putin

Putin : If General Sisi had not taken Egypt in hand, Egypt no doubt would now be wasted and feverish

MOSCOW — Responding to a new round of economic sanctions by the United States, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia lashed out late Wednesday against what he called America’s “aggressive foreign policy,” which he said had caused havoc in the Middle East, and accused the United States of pushing the Ukrainian government to continue fighting rather than encouraging peace.

Mr. Putin, speaking to reporters in Brasília, where he is winding up a trip through central and South America, warned that the American sanctions would backfire.

“I have already said they tend to have a boomerang effect, and without any doubt, in this case they are driving Russian-American relations to an impasse, causing very serious damage,” Mr. Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript. “And I am convinced that this is harmful to the national long-term strategic interests of the American state, the American people.”

Mr. Putin said that rather than imposing sanctions like those announced in Washington on Wednesday against Russian banks and energy companies in retaliation for Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, the Obama administration should be working to end the bloodshed in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting the government since early April.

Although there is evidence that Russia has been supporting the insurgents with weapons, tanks and other equipment, and some of the leaders of the insurgency have identified themselves as Russian citizens, Mr. Putin said that the United States should do more to assist Russian efforts to achieve a peace agreement.

“This must be done together — it must be jointly, of course, to encourage all sides in the conflict in Ukraine to an immediate end to hostilities and negotiate,” Mr. Putin said. “Unfortunately, we don’t see this on the side of our partners, especially the American partners, who it seems to me on the contrary are pushing the Ukrainian authorities to the continuation of this fratricidal war and the continuation of this punitive operation. This policy has no prospects.”

Mr. Putin, who has never hidden his disdain for American foreign policy in the Middle East, once again held up the region as evidence of failed interventionism on the part of Washington.

“In general I would say that those who are planning foreign policy actions in the United States — unfortunately we are not seeing it only in recent times, but say, the last 10-15 years — they conduct quite aggressive foreign policy and, in my opinion, very unprofessional,” Mr. Putin said.

“Look: In Afghanistan, problems. Iraq is falling apart, Libya is falling apart. If General Sisi had not taken Egypt in hand, Egypt no doubt would now be wasted and feverish. In Africa, there are problems in many countries. They touched Ukraine, and there are problems.”

Mr. Putin said that he remained open to negotiations with the United States. “It is a pity that our partners are going on this way, but we have not closed the door to negotiations, to resolve this situation,” he said.

While Mr. Putin seemed unbowed, even bellicose, in his response, the Russian financial markets had a different reaction. The benchmark Russian stock index, MICEX, fell 2.5 percent at opening Thursday, while shares in two of the companies targeted by sanctions — the oil giant Rosneft and the energy company Novatek — declined even further.

Analysts said the American sanctions would carry a sharp bite. “This represents a seismic hit to Russia, and to Russian markets,” wrote Timothy Ash, a market analyst with Standard Bank in London, who follows Russia and Ukraine closely. “With such prominent companies sanctioned, questions will now be asked which other Russian companies will next be on the list.”

Mr. Ash said he believed that the Obama administration was hoping to prevent Russia from intervening further in Ukraine and to give President Petro O. Poroshenko’s military operation more time to quash the insurrection. Mr. Ash also played down the importance of the European Union’s decision to not to impose additional sanctions of its own immediately.

“It does not really matter what the E.U. itself does, but the fact that these Russian companies are being sanctioned by the U.S. will force European companies with business interests in the U.S. to comply,” he wrote. “Every Western business is ultimately forced to comply.”

 

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Putin hopes USA will realize that it is not the only leader in world

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The United States is not the only leader in the world, and Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that official Washington would come to realize this. Putin made this statement on Thursday in a televised question and answer session, adding that Russia and USA had many areas for mutually advantageous cooperation.“The United States is one of the world leaders,” the Russian president noted. “It seemed at some moment that it was the only leader, and a unipolar system was forming,” he added.

“Today, it has turned out that it’s not so,” the Russian leader said. “Everything is very interdependent in the world, and if [the United States tries] to punish all, it will finally cut off the branch it is sitting on,” the Russian president said. “One day it [the US side] will develop this understanding,” Putin believes.

Putin declined to answer what, in his view, was the notional score in Russia-US relations. “I would not interpret them is such a way, it’s not a sports competition,” he said.

“We are partners and I hope that we have a good future for the development of relations, because we have interests that coincide in many areas: security, non-proliferation, as well as fighting terrorism and the development of the world economic system,” he said.

“The fulfillment of these tasks meets both our and American interests, and we will not be able to effectively fulfill them if we fail to act together,” Putin is certain.

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Putin says oil wars with Russia will make West bleed

Opportunities for the West to hurt the Russian economy are limited, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday. Europe cannot stop buying Russian gas without inflicting pain on itself, and if the US tries to lower oil prices, the dollar will suffer.

If the West tries to damage Russia’s influence in the world energy market, efforts will likely backfire, the Russian President said during his twelfth annual televised question and answer session.

To really influence the world oil market a country would need to increase production and cut prices, which currently only Saudi Arabia could afford, Putin said.

The president added he didn’t expect Saudi Arabia, which has “very kind relations” with Russia, will choose to cut prices, that could also damage its own economy.

If world oil production increases, the price could go down to about $85 per barrel. “For us the price fall from $90 to $85 per barrel isn’t critical,” Putin said, adding that for Saudi Arabia it would be more sensitive.

Also the President said that being an OPEC member, Saudi Arabia would need to coordinate its action with the organization, which “is very complicated.”

Meanwhile, Russia supplies about a third of Europe’s energy needs, said Putin. Finland, for example, is close to Russia economically, as it receives 70 percent of its gas from Russia.

“Can Europe stop buying Russian gas? I think it’s impossible…Will they make themselves bleed? That’s hard to imagine,” the Russian president said.

Since oil is sold internationally on global markets cutting the price would mean lower dollar circulation, diminishing its value in the global currency market.

“If prices decrease in the global market, the emerging shale industry will die,” Putin said.

The US shale industry has boosted domestic production, helping the US become independent and situating it to overtake Russia as a producer.

Russia’s economy largely relies on energy. In 2013 more than 50 percent of the national budget was funded by gas and oil revenues. The main revenue comes from oil, as last year, oil revenues reached $191 billion, and gas $28 billion.

“Oil and gas revenues are a big contribution to the Russian budget, a big part for us when we decide on our government programs, and of course, meeting our social obligations,” the president said.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses hope he won’t have to send troops to Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin replies to questions from Russian citizens at the Gostiny Dvor studio during annual question and answer session "Direct Line with Vladimir Putin,"

Russian President Vladimir Putin replies to questions from Russian citizens at the Gostiny Dvor studio during annual question and answer session “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin,”

MOSCOW — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers.

He expressed hope for a political and diplomatic solution of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, saying he hopes that he won’t have to send Russian troops into eastern Ukraine, which has been engulfed by violent protests against the new authorities in Kyiv.

Speaking in a televised call-in show with the nation, Putin harshly criticized the West for trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit and said that people in eastern Ukraine have risen against the authorities in Kyiv, who ignored their rights and legitimate demands.

A wave of protests, which Ukraine and the West said was organized by Russia and involved Russian special forces, have swept eastern Ukraine over the past weeks, with gunmen seizing government offices and police stations in at least 10 cities.

“It’s all nonsense, there are no special units, special forces or instructors in the east of Ukraine,” Putin said.

At the same time, he recognized for the first time that soldiers in unmarked uniforms — dubbed “little green men” by some — who have swept Ukraine’s Black Sea region of Crimea laying the ground for its annexation by Moscow last month were Russian troops.

Putin, who previously said the troops were local self-defence forces, said the Russian soldiers’ presence was necessary to protect the local population from armed radicals and to ensure the holding of a referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of its residents voted for seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.

“Our servicemen stood behind the back of Crimea’s self-defence forces,” Putin said. “They acted politely, but resolutely and professionally. There was no other way to hold the referendum in an open, honest and honourable way and allow the people to express their opinion.”

Putin insisted that protests in the east of Ukraine only involve locals. He said that he told his Western counterparts that only local residents are involved in the protests in the east, and “they have nowhere else to go, they are masters of their land.”

Putin denounced the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to use the military to uproot the protests in the east as a “grave crime.”

He expressed hope for the success of Thursday’s talks in Geneva that brings together the United States, the European Union, Russia and Ukraine for the first time since the Ukrainian crisis erupted.

“I think the start of today’s talks is very important, as it’s very important now to think together about how to overcome this situation and offer a real dialogue to the people,” Putin said.

via Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses hope he won’t have to send troops to Ukraine.

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Putin watches situation in Ukraine’s east with great alarm

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NOVO-OGAREVO, April 14. ITAR-TASS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is watching the situation in the east of Ukraine with great alarm, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov says.

Asked about Putin’s reaction to reports coming from eastern Ukrainian regions asking the Russian president to interfere, Peskov told journalistsб “Unfortunately, many such requests, addressed personally to Putin and asking him to help, interfere in this or that form, are coming from eastern Ukraine”.

“The Russian president is watching the development of the situation in these regions with great alarm,” Peskov said.

“That’s all I can say on the issue,” the spokesman added.

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US State Department replies to Putin’s ironic remark

WASHINGTON, April 12. /ITAR-TASS/. The United States is entitled to comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s letter addressed to European leaders because it was openly published in Moscow, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Psaki’s words were her reaction to Putin’s ironic remark a few hours ago that his letter had been meant for Russia’s partners in Europe rather than Washington.

On Thursday, Putin sent a letter on the situation around Ukraine to the leaders of 18 European countries who buy Russian natural gas. In the letter, he explained in detail the current critical situation with Ukraine’s debt for Russian gas supplies, which could affect gas transit to European consumers.

“It’s no secret… helping the people of Ukraine… is a priority to the United States,” Psaki told a daily press briefing on Friday. “I think commenting on a public letter is hardly an invasion of privacy.” Psaki seemed to have disregarded the ironic tone of Putin’s statement. Speaking at a meeting of Russia’s Security Council earlier Friday, the Russian president called Washington’s reaction to his letter to European leaders “strange”.

“It is strange because it is not nice to read letters addressed to other people,” Putin said. “The letter was not addressed to them but to European gas consumers. Everybody has got accustomed to the fact that our American friends tap conversations. But peeping and spying is not nice at all,” Putin said jokingly, apparently hinting at recent high-profile spying scandals involving the US National Security Agency. Putin again stated the essence of the problem, which consists in Ukraine’s growing debt for Russian natural gas supplied to it, and the pre-default state of the country’s economy.

Earlier, Psaki commented on Putin’s letter and described Moscow’s actions as an attempt to exert pressure on Kiev. “We condemn Russia’s efforts to use energy as a tool of coercion against Ukraine,” she said.

Ukraine is in political and economic turmoil following a coup that occurred in the country in February after months of anti-government protests triggered by Kiev’s decision to suspend an association agreement with the European Union in November 2013 in favor of closer ties with Russia.

New people were brought to power in Kiev amid deadly riots that involved radicals after President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns in February 2014. Russia does not recognize the new Ukrainian authorities.

Ukraine’s crisis soured further when the Republic of Crimea, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities. Crimea held a referendum March 16 in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and reunify with the Russian Federation. The accession deal with Moscow was signed two days later.

Moscow recently substantially raised the price for gas supplied to Ukraine from the figure of $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters agreed last year when the association agreement with the EU was shelved in November 2013.

In the second quarter of 2014, the price for Russian gas for Ukraine was set at $385.5 per 1,000 cu m. Gazprom said earlier that the price rose from $268.5 due to the return to earlier contract agreements, as Ukraine failed to fulfill its commitments under an additional agreement concluded in December 2013, which obliged the country to pay for supplied volumes of Russian gas in time.

On April 2, Putin signed a law on denunciation of the Kharkov Accords with Ukraine, which were struck in 2010 and stipulated that Russia’s lease of naval facilities in Crimea [then part of Ukraine] would be extended by 25 years beyond 2017 – until 2042.

The Kharkov deals envisioned a discount of $100 per 1,000 cu m on Russian gas for Kiev. Now that the accords have been denounced due to Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation, the discount will no longer be applied, raising the gas price by another $100 to $485.5 per 1,000 cu m.

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‘Try not paying your gas bill for just 3 months, see what happens’

Russia has to stop gas subsidies to Ukraine as it cannot keep supporting the bankrupt anti-Russian regime in Kiev, energy asset manager Eric Kraus told RT, adding that it will be the EU’s problem if Ukraine eventually starts stealing their transit gas.

RT: Ukraine says it wants heavily discounted gas from Russia. Does it have grounds to ask for that?

Eric Kraus: I think it is fairly absurd considering that you have a strongly anti-Russian regime which has been brought into place by the Europeans and by the Americans in Kiev. You can’t really ask the Russians to fund this regime, can you?

RT: On the other hand, Russia has doubled prices in the span of just a few months, perhaps some calling that too harsh?

EK: It is harsh, but basically what they did is not double prices. What they did is they removed subsidies.

Russia has been very heavily subsidizing Ukraine, since Ukraine became independent, because they needed a friendly, at least a neutral state at their border. Now if Ukraine wants to align itself with NATO and basically anti-Russian countries, then they are going to have to pay their own way.

RT: The US says Russia’s blackmailing Ukraine and Europe and says Moscow should not use gas as a political weapon. And president Putin reacted to the statements joking, it is bad to read other people’s correspondence. What is your reaction?

EK: First of all for the Americans to accuse anyone of using economic blackmail is a major case of the pot calling the kettle black. They have been threatening illegal sanctions against Russia for weeks. So, who is using the blackmail here? And secondly, yes, the letter was not addressed to the American president.

RT: Ukraine hasn’t paid for gas in three months. What are Russia’s options now?

EK: Try not paying your gas bill for three months and then see what happens. Basically at some point Russia says it sells gas for money and at some point if the client does not pay, they have to close it off.

The problem is then, the danger is that Ukraine will start siphoning off the Russian gas which is being provided to Europe. And the Europeans brought this upon themselves. It is a European problem. They’re going to have to solve it. They can simply pay for Ukraine’s gas if they wish.

RT: There have been reports that several petroleum companies have allegedly discovered a mother lode of shale gas in Western Ukraine, near the European border. What kind of implications could that bring to the table?

EK: We have been hearing about the Ukrainian shale gas for a long time. All of the attempts to produce thus far have been failures, as has been the case for Polish shale gas. The geology is somewhat different. I don’t know if this time it is for real, but it will have major implications for the European, at least for Ukrainian gas supply. But I would be very skeptical until we see this confirmed.

RT: Who do you think is to blame at the end of the day for the crisis in Ukraine?

EK: I think it has started as a democratic movement against particularly corrupt and incompetent president who was never Mr. Putin’s choice by the way. Mr. Putin never liked Yanukovich.

Unfortunately as the revolutionary movement progressed, it was replaced by a vanguard of neo-fascists of far right wing parties which then took power by violence ,and are now complaining of eastern Ukrainians seeking to take power by that same violence.

The problem has been that the Europeans and the Americans have been attempting to use this. They are not concerned with the interests of the Ukrainian people. There is a game of power politics here and they are trying to push Russia into a corner and Ukraine provides convenient means of doing so.

 RT Op-Edge.

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Putin to US: It’s bad to read other people’s letters

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President Vladimir Putin says it was “strange” to learn of the US reaction on a Russian letter to the leaders of EU’s top gas-consuming nations, as it was in no way designed for Washington’s eyes.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has accused Russia of reneging on an agreement that offered reduced gas prices to Kiev and using “energy as a tool of coercion against Ukraine.”

The price Ukraine is currently paying is “clearly not set by market forces and well above the average price paid by EU members,” she added.

“It’s a bit strange,” Putin said after Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov informed him of the US comments during a Russian Security Council meeting. “It’s strange, at any rate, as it’s bad to read other people’s letters. It wasn’t addressed to them, but the consumers of gas in Europe.”

“Everybody is used to the fact that our American friends are eavesdropping, but turning to peeping is shabby altogether,” he said.

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But, joking apart, the pricing on gas for Kiev is regulated by the contracts Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz signed back in 2009, Putin said.

He added that he wrote his letter because “Russia can’t carry the Ukrainian burden alone,” urging the European leaders to hold a joint meeting as soon as possible “to find ways to help and support the Ukrainian economy.”

“Handing out cakes at the Maidan isn’t enough to prevent the Ukrainian economy from plunging into complete chaos,”
he said.

The comment dates back to a PR stunt by US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, who tried to feed snacks to protesters and police as she visited Kiev during the standoff in December last year.

In his letter Thursday to European countries including France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland and Romania, Putin warned that Ukraine’s debt crisis had reached a “critical” level and could threaten gas transit to Europe.

Russia’s Gazprom will be forced to ask Ukraine for advance gas payments due to the accumulated $2.2 billion gas debt owed by Ukraine’s Naftogas, Putin said.

“We’ll be supplying exactly the volume of gas that Ukraine pays for a month in advance,” the letter said.

Following the coup in Kiev, Gazprom has revoked all discounts and now charges $485 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, a price Ukraine says it will not be able to pay because it threatens Ukraine’s ability to continue normal gas transit operations to Europe.

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Crimea, Sevastopol officially join Russia as Putin signs final decree

Russia has finalized the legal process of taking Crimea under its sovereignty, as President Putin signed a law amending the Russian constitution to reflect the transition.

Earlier Russian lawmakers ratified both the amendment and an international treaty with Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which was legally required for the incorporation.

Following the signing of the law, Putin thanked lawmakers and everyone involved in the historic change of European borders for their efforts to make it happen.

“I ask lawmakers of both chambers to work actively and do everything we can, to make the transition process not only painless, but also beneficial for all Russia and the people of Crimea,” Putin said.

The treaty and the bill were submitted for the approval of Russian lawmakers on Tuesday by Putin, following last week’s referendum in Crimea, which showed the overwhelming support of the peninsula’s residents for joining Russia.

The actual transition of Crimea to existing under Russian laws and regulations may take until next year. Local rules in the new Russian region will be changed to adopt the ruble, social benefits, tax requirements and other Russian legislation.

As was promised by the Crimean authorities, the treaty includes preferences for the region’s ethnic minorities, particularly Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. Their languages would be official in Crimea, on par with Russian.

Russia pledged to make the process as smooth as possible by offering funding and recognizing various Ukrainian documents, which were in force in Crimea before it declared its independence last week.

Moscow will retain military ranks and academic levels for Ukrainian troops who choose to serve Russia, give preference to Ukrainian officials who want to keep their positions in Crimea, and expedite the issuance of Russian citizenship to all residents of Crimea who want it. Citizenship would be given automatically to all except those who explicitly opt out of it no later than one month’s time.

The current interim authorities of Crimea will be replaced with new ones after elections, which will be held in September 2015.

Crimea’s rejoining Russia was triggered by an armed coup in Kiev, which ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanokovich from power. The new authorities took some alarming steps, including parliament passing a law revoking the regional status of the Russian language, which caused the predominantly Russian region to defy Kiev.

The public uprising in Crimea culminated in a referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of over 96 percent voted in favor of asking for reunification with Russia. Moscow agreed, citing the will of the people and the historic justice of the move as its motives.

Kiev and Western countries deemed Crimea’s secession and Russia’s acceptance of the peninsula illegal, a notion that Moscow denies. The US and the EU issued sanctions against some Russian officials and businessmen in a bid to put pressure on Russia over its stance on the Ukrainian crisis. Russian authorities mostly mocked the sanctions.

RT News

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600,000 people attend Moscow rally for Crimea-Russia reunification

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A concert rally in support of the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation, held in Moscow’s Red Square gathered around 600,000 people. At the rally Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine will overcome its crisis, and further development of our relationship depends on the joint actions of Kiev and Moscow.

“The We Are Together concert rally in the Red Square ended without incident. About 600,000 people took part in it,” the police spokesperson said.

“We are very worried by what is happening in Ukraine but I believe that Ukraine will overcome all the difficulties. We are not just neighbors, we the closest relatives, and our future success depends on us, both Russia and Ukraine,” Putin said at the We Are Together rally held in Moscow in support of Crimea becoming part of Russia.

Today is “a very joyful, fair, festive day,” the president said.

“After a hard, long and exhausting journey Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their home harbor, to their home shores, to their permanent home port – to Russia,” Putin said.

He thanked the people of Crimea and Sevastopol for “their decisive position and articulated will to be together with Russia.”

The concert rally took place at the Red Square and was organized by public, patriotic veteran and youth organizations.

Shortly before the president’s arrival to the rally it was attended by Chairman of the Crimean State Council Vladimir Konstantinov, head of the Crimean Council of Ministers Sergei Aksyonov and Sevastopol’s Authorized Chairman Alexei Chaly, who met with Putin separately in the Kremlin earlier.

Earlier on Tuesday the Russian president addressed the Federal Assembly over the accession of Crimea to Russia. Later the president signed an agreement on the admission of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation and the formation of new Russian constituent regions.

Tens of thousands gather in Moscow to support Crimea-Russia reunification

A rally on the occasion of Crimea’s reunification with Russia that began at 2 pm GMT (6 pm Moscow Time) on Red Square has brought together tens of thousands of people.

The crowd was waving the Russian national tricolors, St. George’s flags, as well as the banners of main political parties and a host of public movements, an Itar-Tass correspondent said in an eyewitness account from the site.

Many people brought posters with them. The most typical slogans said “Crimea Is With Us”, “Welcome Back”, “We Are Together”, “We Stand For Peace”, “Russia and Crimea Are One”, “Crimea is the Russian Land”, “We Don”t Need Others” Property, But Won”t Give Away What”s Our Own”, “We Trust Putin”, and “Long Live the Fraternal People”.

The rally was broadcast to a huge outdoor screen installed on Manezhnaya Square located in a stone’s throw from Red Square and the Kremlin. A specially organized corridor, which begins at Revolution Square metro station, provides access to Red Square but anyone wishing to get to the rally has to pass metal searchers.

 

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