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remiumP: S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile launchers are seen during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia on May 09, 2018. 

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remiumP: S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile launchers are seen during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia on May 09, 2018. 

Russia will deploy new S-400 surface-to-air missile systems on the Crimean peninsula soon, Russian media said Wednesday, citing the Russian defense ministry.

The RIA news agency said the new S-400 systems would be operational by the end of the year too, Reuters reported, although it’s not known how many new missile systems will be deployed.

The S-400 (Triumph) missile system is an anti-aircraft system developed by Russia in the late 1980s/early 1990s and its missiles can hit targets up to a distance of 400 kilometers. The system can intercept targets as far away as 600 kilometers and can track 300 targets.

Interestingly, given the announcement on a new deployment of S-400 systems to Crimea, Russia said in September that S-400 systems were already operational in the contested region with similar systems in Feodosiya and Sevastopol, news agency Tass reported.

News of the latest, new deployment comes amid overt hostility between Ukraine and Russia over the status of Crimea, however.

Relations between the neighbors have been tense and fragile since Russia’s annexation of Crime from Ukraine in 2014 and role in a pro-Russian uprising in east Ukraine in the same year, although Russia denied involvement in the latter.

Nonetheless, the international community placed a series of sanctions on Russia for what it saw as the violation of sovereign Ukraine territory. Those sanctions are still in place and could be extended after the latest Russian provocation – the seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew members on Sunday in the Kerch Strait, a crucial shipping channel for both nations.

Ukraine has responded by introducing martial law for 30 days in several parts of the country (districts mostly on its border with Russia) following Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian navy vessels off the coast of Russian-annexed Crimea on Sunday.

Russia’s defense ministry was not immediately available to comment on the deployment, and CNBC has also asked Ukraine’s presidential office for a comment on the report.

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Virgin’s Branson plans humanitarian aid concert on Venezuela border

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Richard Branson is organizing a concert to raise funds for a humanitarian aid effort for crisis-stricken Venezuela to be held in the Colombian border city of Cucuta next week, the British billionaire said in a video on social media.

President Nicolas Maduro is resisting foreign efforts to send food and medicine to the hyperinflationary country suffering from rising hunger.

An aid convoy supplied by the United States and Colombia arrived in Cucuta last week, where it is being held in warehouses.

“Nicolas Maduro’s regime, which is responsible for this crisis, is currently refusing to allow any humanitarian aid into the country,” Branson said in the video.

“We must break this impasse or soon, many Venezuelans will be on the verge of starvation or death,” he said, adding the effort aimed to raise $100 million in 60 days.

The concert is scheduled for Feb. 22 and will feature a “wonderful line-up of regional and international artists,” Branson said, without providing details.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has invoked articles of the constitution to assume the presidency, says humanitarian aid will begin to flow across the border the next day.

The Virgin Group, which handles media inquiries for Branson, said the video was genuine and that it would provide more information soon.

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Spanish prime minister calls snap election after budget fails to pass

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez attends a debate on the government's 2019 budget during a parliament session in Madrid on February 13, 2019.

PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU | AFP | Getty Images

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez attends a debate on the government’s 2019 budget during a parliament session in Madrid on February 13, 2019.

The government of Spain formally called for a snap general election Friday following its failure to pass its 2019 budget through Congress.

Earlier in the week, the ruling Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) failed to secure the additional votes it needed from two separatist Catalan parties, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT).

With the government paralyzed by a lack of support, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called for an election to break the impasse. The vote will be held on the April 28th.

PSOE’s budget for 2019 wanted to slash the deficit but spend some money in certain areas, including regions such as Catalonia. On Tuesday, the country’s Finance Minister Maria Jesus Montero said the Catalan parties should accept the deal or risk damaging “Catalans in particular, and all Spaniards in general.”

However, both Catalan parties have rejected calls to come to heel on the budget, demanding that any deal would have to include a referendum on independence for the region.

The prospect of a softening from the Catalan parties, who want the region of Catalonia to gain independence from Spain, was always unlikely given the backdrop of a current trial of the leaders of the failed 2017 Catalan independence movement.

Twelve separatist leaders are currently appearing at Madrid’s Supreme Court on a number of charges including rebellion and sedition. Jail terms of up to 25 years are possible.

Yield on Spanish sovereign bonds rose before the election announcement. Yield on fixed income debt moves inversely to the asset price.

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Singapore Airlines earnings for the third quarter

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The most recent earnings report from Singapore Airlines showed “encouraging signs,” according to one analyst who spoke to CNBC.

Those comments came after Singapore Airlines, also known as SIA, reported third-quarter earnings on Thursday that came in above expectations despite a 27 percent drop in net profit compared to the year-ago period.

Singapore Airlines made 284 million Singapore dollars (approximately $209 million) in the three months that ended on Dec. 31, down from S$389 million a year-earlier, which was restated to reflect accounting changes. That was above the $240.2 million Singapore dollars (about $176.7 million) expected by three analysts in estimates obtained by Reuters and Refinitiv.

Yields for the Singapore carrier as well as other regional airlines have been “going down for a few years quite consistently,” but Singapore Airlines’ namesake carrier has resumed growth over the last three to six months, Brendan Sobie, chief analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday.

“The trend does seem to be bottoming out, which is a very encouraging trend for SIA,” Sobie said. “5 percent growth, which is not much. But it’s, you know, a lot better than zero, which they’ve basically been at for the last few years.”

“I think the results were largely in line with our expectations,” Paul Yong, senior vice president of equity research at Singaporean bank DBS, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Friday. The bank has a buy rating on Singapore Airlines’ stock, with a target price of 11 Singapore dollars per share.

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