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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Business in Brief

Russia Ready to Talk Milk

Russia is ready for talks on the resumption of Belarus milk imports but only with those officials who represent manufacturers and are "competent" enough to solve the problem, Federal Consumer Protection Service head Gennady Onishchenko said Monday.

Russia's ban on 500 types of Belarussian milk products came a day after Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed that Russia made a $500 million loan contingent on its recognition of two separatist Georgian regions as independent states. (MT)

Polyus Purchase Approved

The Commission on Foreign Investment cleared an offshore company controlled by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov's Nafta-Moskva to purchase a stake in Polyus Gold.

Kerimov agreed to raise his stake in the country's largest gold miner to 37 percent in April after clinching a deal with billionaire Vladimir Potanin.

The commission cleared a total of seven deals, half of which involved Russian investors acting through offshore entities, Federal Anti-Monopoly Service head Igor Artemyev said Monday. (MT)

Medvedev Praises Forum

Last week's St. Petersburg International Economic Forum showed that investors are still interested in Russia, even in the midst of the crisis, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.

The president said many top international executives chose to attend the forum rather than stay home and run their companies. "That choice in itself says a lot," he said. (MT)

Ukraine Needs $3Bln

Ukraine needs about $3 billion this year to pay Gazprom for imports of gas to ensure that a January halt of flows to Europe is not repeated.

Naftogaz Ukrainy will have to buy about 16 billion cubic meters of gas to pump into underground storage, spokesman Valentyn Zemlyanskyi said on Monday.

Gazprom said on Monday that it had received payment from Naftogaz for May supplies after Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko ordered 3.8 billion hryvnas ($500 million) be provided last week. (Reuters)

Trade Surplus Narrows

Russia's trade surplus narrowed in April to $6.7 billion, the Central Bank said Monday.

The trade surplus shrank from $6.8 billion in March as imports rose to $14.6 billion from $14.4 billion, and exports rose to $21.3 billion from $21.2 billion, it said.

Energy, including oil and gas, accounted for 67.4 percent of exports to the Baltic states and countries outside the former Soviet Union, the Federal Customs Service, which uses a different methodology than the Central Bank, said in a separate statement Monday. (Bloomberg)

Russia Offers Serbia Loans

BELGRADE -- Russia offered to make loans to Serbia to develop the Balkan country's infrastructure and stabilize its budget, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said Monday.

The loans, which will be negotiated in the coming weeks, will be used for Belgrade's subway and a ring road around the Serbian capital, Dacic, who visited Russia last week, said in a phone interview. (Bloomberg)