Monthly: May 2022

Зеленський звернувся до тих, хто намагається вказувати, як ЗСУ треба воювати

Володимир Зеленський наголосив, що українські військові та всі, хто залучений до оборони України, поступово, але невідворотно зривають всі плани окупантів

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Зеленський про санкції: у Заходу не повинно залишитись «жодних суттєвих економічних відносин» з Росією

Практичний результат узгоджених санкцій – «це мінус десятки мільярдів євро, які Росія не зможе направити на фінансування терору», – наголосив Володимир Зеленський

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Turkish Greek Tensions Rise as Arms Race Looms

Tensions are rising between Turkey and Greece, with the Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday warning that Ankara could challenge the sovereignty of Greek islands. The threat comes as both sides increase their military presence in contested waters of the Aegean Sea. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.

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Soccer Body Investigating Pre-Game Chaos at Paris Champions League Final

International soccer officials are investigating the chaos outside Paris’s Stade de France stadium for last Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

The highly anticipated game was uncharacteristically delayed for 37 minutes because many fans, mostly Liverpool fans, were unable to get in. Some fans reportedly were mugged.

Tear gas also reportedly was used.

The French government is blaming Liverpool fans, while Liverpool says that is an “irresponsible, unprofessional” rush to judgment and cites heavy-handed policing.

Some potential causes of the problems include only having three months to prepare for the event because the game was originally going to be hosted in Russia.

Some are pointing to a lack of signage to guide fans to the game in an orderly way.

Some also are wondering why Liverpool fans were made to walk through a narrow path from the subway to the stadium.

Another factor may be there reportedly were many fake tickets in circulation, leading to more delays.

“It was a pretty big mess,” said Madrid defender Dani Carvajal, whose family encountered safety issues. “They have to learn and fix the mistakes for the next events that may happen at this stadium, and hopefully everything will be better. But yes, in the end there were people who suffered a lot.”

Real Madrid won the game by a lone goal.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.

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Ексредакторка «Первого канала» Освяннікова приїде до Києва і дасть пресконференцію – «Інтерфакс»

Овсяннікова стала відома після того, вийшла з «антивоєнним плакатом» у прямому ефірі програми «Время»

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«Занадто повільні і недостатні» – Офіс президента про санкції ЄС

«Це було занадто повільно, занадто пізно і точно недостатньо»

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Прокурор Міжнародного кримінального суду анонсував відкриття офісу в Києві

Також в Україні працюють 42 слідчих, криміналістів та персоналу підтримки з МКС

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Ukraine Court Sentences 2 Russian Soldiers for Shelling Civilians

A Ukrainian court sentenced two Russian soldiers to 11½-year prison terms on Tuesday after they had pleaded guilty last week to indiscriminately shelling civilian targets in the Kharkiv region, from across the border in Russia. 

Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov heard the verdict as they stood in a reinforced glass box at the Kotelva district court in northeastern Ukraine.

“The guilt of Bobikin and Ivanov has been proven in full,” Judge Evhen Bolybok said, standing in front of a Ukrainian flag.

Prosecutors had asked for 12-year terms for the Russian soldiers in the second war crimes case Ukrainian officials have brought. Defense lawyers said the sentences should be eight years because the pair had pleaded guilty, expressed remorse and contended that they were following orders when they fired Grad missiles at targets from Russia’s Belgorod area. 

After they were sentenced, the two were asked whether they felt their sentences were fair and both said yes. Guards armed with Kalashnikov rifles then handcuffed the two and led them out of the courtroom. 

After the initial shelling from inside Russia, Bobikin and Ivanov, described as an artillery driver and a gunner, were captured after crossing the border and continuing the shelling.  

Last week, a Russian soldier was handed a life sentence for killing an unarmed civilian. 

Ukraine has accused Russia of committing thousands of war crimes during the war over the past three months, although Moscow denies it is targeting civilians.  


Some material in this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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In Commonwealth, Queen’s Jubilee Draws Protests, Apathy

After seven decades on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II is widely viewed in the U.K. as a rock in turbulent times. But in Britain’s former colonies, many see her as an anchor to an imperial past whose damage still lingers.

So while the U.K. is celebrating the queen’s Platinum Jubilee — 70 years on the throne — with pageantry and parties, some in the Commonwealth are using the occasion to push for a formal break with the monarchy and the colonial history it represents.

“When I think about the queen, I think about a sweet old lady,” said Jamaican academic Rosalea Hamilton, who campaigns for her country to become a republic. “It’s not about her. It’s about her family’s wealth, built on the backs of our ancestors. We’re grappling with the legacies of a past that has been very painful.”

The empire that Elizabeth was born into is long gone, but she still reigns far beyond Britain’s shores. She is head of state in 14 other nations, including Canada, Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Bahamas. Until recently it was 15 — Barbados cut ties with the monarchy in November, and several other Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, say they plan to follow suit.

Britain’s jubilee celebrations, which climax over a four-day holiday weekend starting Thursday, aim to recognize the diversity of the U.K. and the Commonwealth. A huge jubilee pageant through central London on Sunday will feature Caribbean Carnival performers and Bollywood dancers.

But Britain’s image of itself as a welcoming and diverse society has been battered by the revelation that hundreds, and maybe thousands, of people from the Caribbean who had lived legally in the U.K. for decades were denied housing, jobs or medical treatment — and in some cases deported — because they didn’t have the paperwork to prove their status.

The British government has apologized and agreed to pay compensation, but the Windrush scandal has caused deep anger, both in the U.K. and in the Caribbean.

A jubilee-year trip to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas in March by the queen’s grandson Prince William and his wife Kate, which was intended to strengthen ties, appears to have had the opposite effect. Images of the couple shaking hands with children through a chain-link fence and riding in an open-topped Land Rover in a military parade stirred echoes of colonialism for many.

Cynthia Barrow-Giles, professor of political science at the University of the West Indies, said the British “seem to be very blind to the visceral sort of reactions” that royal visits elicit in the Caribbean.

Protesters in Jamaica demanded Britain pay reparations for slavery, and Prime Minister Andrew Holness politely told William that the country was “moving on,” a signal that it planned to become a republic. The next month, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the queen’s son Prince Edward that his country, too, would one day remove the queen as head of state.

William acknowledged the strength of feeling and said the future “is for the people to decide upon.”

“We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future,” he said in the Bahamas. “Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.”

When then Princess Elizabeth became queen on the death of her father King George VI 1952, she was in Kenya. The East African country became independent in 1963 after years of violent struggle between a liberation movement and colonial troops. In 2013, the British government apologized for the torture of thousands of Kenyans during the 1950s “Mau Mau” uprising and paid millions in an out-of-court settlement.

Memories of the empire are still raw for many Kenyans.

“From the start, her reign would be indelibly stained by the brutality of the empire she presided over and that accompanied its demise,” said Patrick Gathara, a Kenyan cartoonist, writer and commentator.

“To this day, she has never publicly admitted, let alone apologized, for the oppression, torture, dehumanization and dispossession visited upon people in the colony of Kenya before and after she acceded to the throne.”

U.K. officials hope countries that become republics will remain in the Commonwealth, the 54-nation organization made up largely of former British colonies, which has the queen as its ceremonial head.

The queen’s strong personal commitment to the Commonwealth has played a big role in uniting a diverse group whose members range from vast India to tiny Tuvalu. But the organization, which aims to champion democracy, good governance and human rights, faces an uncertain future.

As Commonwealth heads of government prepare to meet in Kigali, Rwanda, this month for a summit delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, some question whether the organization can continue once the queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles, succeeds her.

“Many of the more uncomfortable histories of the British Empire and the British Commonwealth are sort of waiting in the wings for as soon as Elizabeth II is gone,” royal historian Ed Owens said. “So it’s a difficult legacy that she is handing over to the next generation.”

The crisis in the Commonwealth reflects Britain’s declining global clout.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth under its authoritarian late President Robert Mugabe, and is currently seeking readmission. But many in its capital of Harare have expressed indifference to the queen’s jubilee, as Britain’s once-strong influence wanes and countries such as China and Russia enjoy closer relations with the former British colony.

“She is becoming irrelevant here,” social activist Peter Nyapedwa said. “We know about [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] or [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, not the queen.”

Sue Onslow, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, said the queen has been the “invisible glue” holding the Commonwealth together.

But she says the organization has proven remarkably resilient and and shouldn’t be written off. The Commonwealth played a major role in galvanizing opposition to apartheid in the 1980s, and could do the same over climate change, which poses an existential threat to its low-lying island members.

“The Commonwealth has shown a remarkable ability to reinvent itself and contrive solutions at times of crisis, almost as if it’s jumping into a telephone box and coming out under different guise,” she said. “Whether it will do it now is an open question.”

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МЗС вітає погодження шостого пакету санкцій ЄС і закликає «негайно» почати роботу над сьомим

Водночас у МЗС розчаровані тим, що через «опір Угорщини» ухвалення нафтового ембарго затягнулося і залишило виняток для трубопровідної нафти

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Німеччина спростить видачу візи та посвідки на проживання окремим категоріям росіян – ЗМІ

МВС Німеччини перевірятиме на предмет загрози національній безпеці країни тих росіян, яких буде готова прийняти на винятковій основі

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Рада розгляне можливість дистанційного голосування для депутатів

Верховна Рада планує розглянути за основу (тобто в першому читанні) законопроєкт, який пропонує надати депутатам можливіть проводити дистанційні голосування. Він є у порядку денному пленарного засідання 31 травня, як повідомили член фракції «Голос» Ярослав Железняк та ексспікер, а нині – позафракційний народний депутат Дмитро Разумков.

Згідно з текстом документу, опублікованому на сайті парламенту, рішення про пленарні засідання можуть проводитись у дистанційному режимі, якщо це:

підтримує конституційна більшість парламенту,
їх проведення у стінах Верховної Ради неможливе.

У законопроєкті зазначається, що період, на який запроваджується проведення дистанційних засідань, визначається та пропонується керівництвом Верховної Ради.

Під час дистанційних пленарних засідань, згідно з проєктом закону, депутати не можуть розглядати питання:

про внесення змін до Конституції України,
про дострокове припинення повноважень президента;
про укладення миру та пов’язані з цим питання.

Голосування під час дистанційних пленарних засідань у законопроєкті пропонують проводити через підняття руки із зазначенням позиції «за», «проти» або «утримався» шляхом опитування (починаючи від найбільшої за чисельністю депутатської фракції/депутської групи до найменшої та позафракційних народних депутатів).

Законопроєкт 7129 про внесення змін до Регламенту Верховної Ради України щодо проведення дистанційних засідань зареєстрували у парламенті 8 березня 2022 року.

Його співініціатором став 241 народний депутат. Зокрема, спікер Руслан Стефанчук, перший віцеспікер Олександр Корнієнко, а також голова фракції «Слуга народу» Давид Арахамія.

Наразі стаття стаття 84 Конституції України передбачає, що народний депутат здійснює голосування особисто.

Деякі правники та народні депутати висловлювали занепокоєння, що Конституційний Суд може розтлумачити цю статтю Конституції як зобов’язання депутата бути фізично присутнім при голосуванні.

Окрім того, окремі депутати критикували ініціативу дистанційного голосування, наголошуючи, що через онлайн-зв’язок не завжди можна переконатися в тому, що депутату не погрожують чи не примушують до голосування.

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Двох російських військових засудили до понад 11 років колонії за обстріли Харківщини

Котелевський районний суд Полтавській област засудив двох полонених російських військовослужбовців до 11 років 6 місяців позбавлення волі. Їх визнали винними в обстрілі цивільних об’єктів у Харківській області у перший день російського вторгнення в Україну 24 лютого.

Прокуратура вимагала для військових-контрактників Олександра Бобикіна та Олександра Іванова 12 років позбавлення волі. Це максимальний термін за статтею про порушення законів та звичаїв війни, за якою їх судили. Обидва росіянини визнали провину.

Суд зарахував досудове тримання під вартою обох обвинувачених із 6 квітня у термін відбування покарання.

На вирок ще може бути подана апеляція.

За даними слідства, 24 лютого Бобікін та Іванов брали участь у двох обстрілах Харківської області: із селища Малинівка Бєлгородської області Росії та з території України. Прокуратура вважає, що внаслідок їхніх дій було зруйновано житлові будинки у селищі Козача Лопань та ветеринарний ліцей у селищі Ветеринарне.

«Я повністю винен у злочинах, у яких мене звинувачують. Ми обстріляли Україну з Росії», – сказав Бобикін, водій-зарядник бойової машини «Град». Навідник «Граду» Іванов заявив, що кається, і попросив не призначати йому максимальний термін.

Адвокат обвинувачених також просив суд про поблажливість, стверджуючи, що солдати виконували наказ та покаялися.

За повідомленням прокуратури, особи командирів, які віддавали ці накази, наразі встановлюються.

Суд вирішив, що військові мали можливість не виконувати наказ. Бобикін та Іванов казали на суді, що не розуміли, куди стріляють. Про те, що снаряди потрапили на територію Харківської області, вони, за їхніми словами, дізналися лише під час слідства. При цьому, за словами Іванова, частина його товаришів по службі відмовилася виконувати наказ.

Це вже друга справа щодо російських військових на війні в Україні, за якою винесено вирок. 23 травня було засуджено 21-річного російського сержанта Вадима Шишимаріна до довічного ув’язнення за вбивство мирного жителя Сумської області. Шишимарін повністю визнав свою провину.

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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 31

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT.

4:45 a.m.: Helga Maria Schmid, the secretary-general of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, said Tuesday she is “very relieved” following news about the release of a national mission member of monitoring mission to Ukraine. In a Twitter post, Schmid further called on the release of three others detained in Donetsk and Luhansk.  



4:15 a.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to go to Turkey with a military delegation on June 8 to discuss creating a potential sea corridor for Ukrainian agricultural exports, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Speaking to the state-owned Anadolu news agency, Cavusoglu said work was still underway with the United Nations to reach an agreement on creating the corridor from the Black Sea, but that issues between Moscow and Kyiv remained. He said the U.N. had proposed forming a joint observation mechanism to monitor the shipping route, and that Turkey was open to the idea. He said Russia wanted some Western sanctions targeting its insurance sector lifted, as it would impact the ships that will participate in the potential shipping network, while Ukraine did not want Russian warships to approach its docks in Odesa.

In a phone call with Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was ready to facilitate the unhindered export of grain from Ukrainian ports in coordination with Turkey. The Associated Press has the story.

4:05 a.m.: The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud held a call to discuss regional developments including the Ukraine crisis.

3:20 a.m.: The head of Sievierodonetsk administration Oleksandr Stryuk said Tuesday that Ukraine is still in control of the city as soldiers continue to fight Russian troops.

“The city is still in Ukrainian hands and it’s putting up a fight,” Stryuk said speaking to a Ukrainian television. However, he added that civilian evacuation is impossible due to continued fighting.

2:45 a.m.: According to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense daily battleground report:

“Heavy shelling continues, while street fighting is likely taking place on the outskirts of Sieverodonetsk town,” the ministry update said. “Russia has achieved greater local successes than earlier in the campaign by massing forces and fires in a relatively small area. This forces Russia to accept risk elsewhere in occupied territory.”

Russian troops were slowly advancing towards the city center in Sievierodonetsk, the governor of Luhansk region said earlier in the day, according to Reuters.



2:05 a.m.: A ship has left the Ukrainian port of Mariupol for the first time since Russia took the city and is headed east to Russia, Interfax quoted the Russian-backed separatist leader of the Ukrainian breakaway region of Donetsk as saying on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

A spokesperson for the port said last week that the ship would be loading 2,700 tons of metal in Mariupol before traveling east to the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Ukraine said the shipment of metal to Russia from Mariupol amounted to looting.

1:00 a.m.: Japanese industry minister said on Tuesday that his country will not leave the Sakhalin 2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) project even if asked to leave, Reuters reported.

The land for the project is Russia’s but the plant is owned by the Japanese government and companies, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda told a parliamentary committee.

12:30 a.m.: Moscow backed separatist leader said Tuesday that Russian forces had not advanced as rapidly as they had hoped in the battle for Sievierodonetsk, the easternmost city still in Ukraine’s hands, Reuters reported citing state-run TASS news agency.

As the Russian offensive continued across Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, the European Union agreed to ban most imports of Russian oil, a move intended to blow a hole in the Kremlin’s war finances.

12:15 a.m.: Russian troops continue to battle Ukrainian forces in the eastern part of the country, according to The Associated Press.

12:01 a.m.: European Union leaders agreed late Monday to ban two-thirds of Russian oil imports as part of a compromise deal to increase pressure on Russia while accounting for the economic effects on some EU nations that are more reliant on Russian oil supplies. The embargo cuts off Russian oil delivered by sea, while exempting oil imported through pipelines.

Landlocked Hungary had threatened to oppose restrictions on oil imports, a move that would have scuttled the effort that requires consensus of all EU members. European Council President Charles Michel said he expects EU ambassadors to formally endorse the embargo, which is part of a larger sanctions package, on Wednesday.

Combined with pledges from countries such as Germany to phase out their Russian oil imports, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement will “effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the EU by the end of the year.”


Other parts of the sanction package include assets freezes and travel bans on individuals, and excluding Russia’s biggest banks, Sberbank, from the SWIFT global financial transfer system. The EU is also barring three Russian state-owned broadcasters from distributing content in EU countries. EU leaders also agreed to provide Ukraine with $9.7 billion in assistance for the country’s economy and reconstruction efforts.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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Росія припинила постачання газу до Нідерландів через відмову платити Москві рублями

За дорученням президента Росії Володимира Путіна з 1 квітня цього року всі країни, які уряд визнав «недружніми», зобов’язані вести розрахунки за газ лише у рублях

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Russia Sanctions Seen Loosening Moscow’s Grip on Central Asia

Russia’s influence in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia is expected to decline as its overstretched military struggles in Ukraine and its economy suffers shocks from the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies, according to experts.

Russia has long enjoyed leverage over the region’s five countries – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan – because of their reliance on remittances from migrant laborers employed in Russia, says Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, head of the Center for Governance and Markets at the University of Pittsburgh.

World Bank data published in March laid out the importance of the remittances, which it said in some cases “were comparable to or even larger than the countries’ exports of goods and services.”

“In the past, Central Asian states were wary of Russia because they understood that (their economic relationship) changes if they offended Moscow,” Murtazashvili told VOA. But, she said, the balance has shifted because of the war in Ukraine and the five countries “now understand that Russia needs labor from Central Asia very badly.”

“These countries now understand that they have agency and leverage and are beginning to understand how they can use it,” she said. “Right now, we are seeing a stronger Central Asia that will have more freedom to pick and choose among great powers.”

Russia’s weakness opens the door for China to play a larger role in the region, but it also increases opportunities for other countries that wish to do business there, according to Murtazshvili.

On Tuesday, exactly three months after Russia launched its invasion, China pledged $37.5 million of “free financial assistance” to Uzbekistan “for the implementation of joint socially significant projects,” according to the Uzbek government.

The agreement was signed by Uzbekistan’s deputy minister of investment and foreign trade, Aziz Voitov, and the Chinese ambassador in Tashkent, Jiang Yan, according to a statement on the website of Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade.

One day earlier, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu led a U.S. delegation to the region on a five-day trip to the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan.

According to the State Department, the purpose of the trip is “to strengthen U.S. relations with the region and advance collaborative efforts to create a more connected, prosperous, and secure Central Asia.”

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Washington with Mukhtar Tileuberdi, the foreign minister of Kazakhstan.

In the meeting, according to the State Department, Blinken confirmed the U.S. “commitment to minimizing the impact on allies and partners, including Kazakhstan, from the sanctions imposed on Russia.”

Raffaello Pantucci, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and author of “Sinostan: China’s Inadvertent Empire,” said that while Russia’s influence is expected to decline it will remain an important player in the region.

Leaders of the Central Asian nations “have always had some concern and skepticism towards Russia and now it will be worse,” he told VOA. “The natural connections and public opinion mean it will be hard to entirely sever, but it is clear that the regional governments are not ecstatic about President [Vladimir] Putin’s actions” in Ukraine.

Early in the war, Putin called the heads of the Central Asian states to seek support for his planned occupation of Ukraine. But the five leaders responded cautiously, neither endorsing nor condemning the invasion.

China, meanwhile, has been expanding its footprint in the region for a while, Pantucci said. “But increasingly the region will find itself frustrated as — unlike Russia — China is not very interested in stepping in to try to fix things, but is single-mindedly focused on its own interests.”

Temur Umarov, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also predicted Russia will remain influential in the region despite the problems created by the war.

“Russia understands what is going on here in Central Asia and it does it better than any other foreign actor in the region,” Umarov told VOA from Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, “So this is something that is really difficult to change.”

According to Umarov, the five Central Asian states have been seeking to diversify their ties with the rest of the world since they gained their independence from Moscow in the early 1990s.

“Russia’s actions toward Ukraine will add speed to the process of replacing Russia in those countries,” Umarov said. “Of course, China is the number one country that has the capacity to do that in many spheres, especially in terms of logistics because of geographic location and its economy, because of China’s economic muscle which other countries do not possess.”

But, according to Murtazashvili, China is not very popular in Central Asia. “People understand what has happened with the Uyghurs and are wary of getting too close to China,” she said.

Three of the five Central Asian countries border China’s western Xinjiang region, where Beijing is accused by the U.S. and other countries of a genocidal crackdown on its Uyghur minority. Beijing rejects the accusation as lies and says that China is fighting against the “forces of three evil,” namely separatism, extremism and terrorism in the region.

The majority-Turkic countries of Central Asia are culturally, religiously and ethnically close to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

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Франція вимагає провести розслідування загибелі свого журналіста на війні в Україні

Міністр закордонних справ Франції Катрін Колонна якраз перебувала з візитом в Україні, коли загинув французький журналіст з каналу BFM TV Фредерік Леклерк-Імхофф

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Зять Єльцина пішов з посади радника Путіна – Reuters

Валентин Юмашев був радником Путіна на громадських засадах

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France Blames Ticket Fraud for Champions League Final Chaos

French authorities defended police on Monday for indiscriminately firing tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool supporters at the Champions League final, while blaming industrial levels of fraud that saw 30,000 to 40,000 people try to enter the Stade de France with fake tickets or none at all. 

UEFA ordered an independent report that it said would “examine decision-making, responsibility and behaviors of all entities involved in the final” and be made public. 

After a meeting into Saturday’s chaos, the French ministers of the sport and the interior shifted responsibility onto the Liverpool fans while not providing details on how they were sure so many fake tickets were in circulation. People with legitimate tickets bought through Liverpool and UEFA reported struggling to access the stadium. 

“There was massive fraud at an industrial level and an organization of fake tickets because of the pre-filtering by the Stade de France and the French Football Federation, 70% of the tickets were fake tickets coming into the Stade de France,” Interior minister Gérald Darmanin said. “Fifteen percent of fake tickets also were after the first filtering … more than 2,600 tickets were confirmed by UEFA as non-validated tickets even though they’d gone through the first filtering. 

The French sports ministry provided no evidence for its claims and it did not respond to a follow-up email after hosting a combative news conference. 

“A massive presence of these fake tickets of course was the issue why there were delays,” Darmanin said. “Three times the beginning of the match was delayed.” 

The final, which Liverpool lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, kicked off 37 minutes late. 

Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan said it was “completely inappropriate” for the French authorities to be forming conclusions and commenting on numbers so early. 

“At this stage I think it’s just not responsible to be making comments before we’ve actually gathered all the information,” Hogan said. “How can (the number of fans without tickets) be quantified at this stage, before we’ve had an independent and transparent investigation? There’s also been quotes about people with fake tickets. But, again, how do we know all the facts until we’ve had an investigation?” 

Hogan said Liverpool was “reviewing legal avenues” on behalf of supporters. 

“The Champions League final should be one of the finest spectacles in football and it resulted in one of the worst experiences of many supporters’ lives. So, I would say that all politicians and agencies involved in this event need to wait until a full and independent investigation is concluded before attempting to shift blame.” 

Tear gas and pepper spray were targeted at Liverpool fans, impacting children — a tactic defended by Darmanin to prevent deaths. 

“I’d like to thank the forces of law and order, also those who worked in the stadium because they were very calm and they were able to avoid drama and so thank you for organizing the pre-filtering but lifting it when there was too much pressure to avoid a drama,” Darmanin said. “That was a decision made by the prefecture to avoid any kind of deaths or seriously injured.” 

French Sports minister Amélie Ouéda-Castéra blamed fans arriving at the stadium late for the crowd control issues but did not say when they should have arrived at the stadium on the outskirts of Paris. 

“We have seen, we have to improve in risky matches certain aspects with regard to managing the flows, first filtering, second filtering, and we have to make sure we look at electronic ticketing as closely as possible so we can avoid fraud as far as ticketing is concerned,” Ouéda-Castéra said. “That is something which is absolutely essential.” 

Ouéda-Castéra did say supporters who couldn’t get into the stadium should be compensated but ignored questions as she left the news conference where Ouéda-Castéra. 

“We are extremely sorry for all the people whose experience was wasted all that evening,” Ouéda-Castéra said. “For the people who had bought tickets and were unable to attend the match. That’s why we have asked UEFA to really work on a compensation system for those people — 2,700, including British people — so that they get compensation.” 

UEFA did not raise the issue of compensating fans in its statement about its own investigation. 

“Evidence will be gathered from all relevant parties and the findings of the independent report will be made public once completed,” UEFA said, without giving a timeline. 

French authorities will set up a working group to prevent violence in stadiums and target troublemakers after seeing a spate of incidents this season in domestic games. 

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Greece Planning Major Wall Extension on Border With Turkey 

Greek authorities say they are planning a major extension of a wall along the country’s border with Turkey and are seeking European Union financial support for the additional construction. 

Notis Mitarachi, the migration affairs minister, said the steel wall would be extended from 40 to 120 kilometers (25 to 75 miles), with construction work due to start later this year.

“It is a government decision to extend the border wall further and we have requested European funding,” Mitarachi said, speaking in an interview Sunday with a radio station near Athens. The minister posted the audio of the interview on social media Monday. He gave no details on the projected cost of the project. 

Greece has accused neighbor and fellow-NATO ally Turkey of “instrumentalizing” migration as a means of exerting pressure on EU countries. That is an assertion rejected by Ankara, which says it has shouldered a disproportionately heavy burden, hosting some 4 million refugees, most of whom fled the civil war in neighboring Syria. 

Last year, 12 countries, including Greece, requested EU funding for border walls which are currently financed by national budgets.  

The EU Commission does not currently pay for wall construction at its external borders, arguing that it would drain funds from other migration-related activities, including financing the EU border protection agency, Frontex. 

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