Daily: 02/05/2022

Зеленський: «питання – чи залишиться посол Ізраїлю в Москві»

«Чи залишаться відносини з Росією як зазвичай? Бо це все невипадково. Невипадкові слова російського міністра закордонних справ – «великого знавця гітлеризму»

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Turkey Becomes an Oasis for Russian Exiles

Turkey is one of the few countries where Russian airplanes can fly and Russian passport holders can enter without visas, making it a prime destination for Russians seeking to escape both Putin’s crackdowns and the effects of economic sanctions. For VOA, Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.

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Conservatives, Progressives Raise Concerns About Biden Approach to Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden has strong bipartisan support in Congress for his latest $33 billion aid request for Ukraine, in addition to the $13.6 billion in economic, humanitarian and military assistance already sent earlier this year.

In recent visits to Ukraine and Poland, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress was working quickly to pass Biden’s request, calling the aid package “an enormous amount of money” that lawmakers were “very proud” to provide.

But a handful of lawmakers on both the right and the left have raised concerns about the expansion of presidential authority to support a conflict in Europe. While Biden has made clear the U.S. will never commit ground forces to Ukraine to openly oppose Russia, the massive amount of support has revived questions about presidential war powers and the scope of American involvement overseas following two decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ten of the 206 House Republicans voted against the Ukraine Lend-Lease Act, legislation that eased restrictions on Biden’s ability to transfer U.S. weapons to Ukraine. No Democrats voted against the bill.

Conservative Congressman Thomas Massie explained his vote against Lend-Lease, saying language of the legislation defined defensive weapons too broadly.

“Congress just authorized Biden to transfer virtually any weapon of war, other than a nuclear weapon, to Ukraine,” he tweeted. “Insane!”

Opponents of the Lend-Lease Act also expressed concerns that the flow of weapons to Ukraine could deplete the United States’ own stockpiles. They said the massive assistance to Ukraine should be more carefully considered when there are domestic concerns about rising costs due to inflation.

“President Biden is requesting billions more in aid for Ukraine that could potentially draw our military into another trillion-dollar conflict half a world away,” Rep. Tom Tiffany said in a statement after the vote.

“If the last two decades have taught us anything, it is that it’s always much easier to get our country into a foreign conflict than it is to get out. Intervening in an overseas military engagement — whether through the deployment of U.S. personnel or a blank-check for military assistance — is among the most serious decisions an American leader can make. It is a step that should only be taken when clear, vital national security interests of the United States are at stake,” he added.

Last month, 15 Republicans and two progressive Democrats voted against a ban of Russian oil and energy imports. Both Republicans and Democrats opposed to the ban said the move could not be made without considering the impact on Europe and without developing a better strategy for American energy independence.

Last week, four progressive Democrats and four conservative Republicans also voted against a non-binding resolution that would have given the Biden administration the ability to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, tweeted that oligarchs “should suffer huge financial losses” but said she voted against the legislation because it would give Biden the ability to “violate the 4th Amendment, seize private property and determine where it should go — all without due process.”

The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable search and seizure of property by the government. Ocasio-Cortez said the bill “sets a risky new precedent in the event of future presidents who may seek to abuse an expansion of power.”

Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives have largely supported Biden’s approach to the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine while continuing to emphasize there can be no military solution to the crisis.

Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee has kept the issue of presidential war powers in public discussion for more than two decades since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the wake of those attacks, Congress passed the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs), authorizing U.S. presidents to take military action.

Lee and other lawmakers have noted that presidents of both parties interpreted AUMFs so broadly they were able to take action against individuals and groups that were not directly involved in the attacks and, in some cases, didn’t even exist.

With the stakes for confrontation with Russia so high, there has been concern with some lawmakers that U.S. aid could escalate the situation. Lee, who strongly condemned the Russian invasion in February, said in a statement, “I am confident in President Biden’s repeated commitment to keep U.S. military personnel out of any conflict in Ukraine itself. Should the ongoing situation compel the President to consider U.S. military intervention in addition to these sanctions, however, Congress must be consulted prior to any authorization as per the War Powers Resolution of 1973. The American people deserve to have a say before we become involved in yet another foreign conflict.”

But in Poland this week, Lee made clear she is in support of U.S. assistance to Ukraine, viewing it as a key tool in maintaining U.S. interests abroad.

“This is a moment in history — it’s a defining moment, quite frankly, whether or not the world goes forward with our democratic principles or moves backwards, which is what Putin is attempting to do,” Lee told reporters.

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ООН: Україну від 24 лютого залишили понад 5,5 млн людей

Більшість із них виїхали до Польщі – це понад три мільйони людей

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Росія: через пожежі в Сибіру запровадили режим надзвичайного стану

Раніше видання The Independent писало, що традиційні пожежі в Сибіру цього року є більшими, ніж торік, а російські військові, які зазвичай беруть участь у гасінні вогню, зараз перебувають в Україні

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Україна офіційно закриває 4 морські порти на тлі зростання побоювань щодо поставок зерна

Міністерство аграрної політики і продовольства повідомило, що порти Бердянськ, Маріуполь, Скадовськ і Херсон будуть закриті, «до відновлення контролю України» над ними

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Israel Lashes Out at Russia Over Lavrov’s Nazism Remarks

Israel on Monday lashed out at Russia over “unforgivable” comments by its foreign minister about Nazism and antisemitism — including claims that Adolf Hitler was Jewish. Israel, which summoned the Russian ambassador in response, said the remarks blamed Jews for their own murder in the Holocaust.

It was a steep decline in the ties between the two countries at a time when Israel has sought to stake out a neutral position between Russia and Ukraine and remain in Russia’s good stead for its security needs in the Middle East.

Asked in an interview with an Italian news channel about Russian claims that it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” the country, Sergey Lavrov said that Ukraine could still have Nazi elements even if some figures, including the country’s president, were Jewish.

“Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean anything,” he said, speaking to the station in Russian, dubbed over by an Italian translation.

In some of the harshest remarks since the start of the war in Ukraine, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called Lavrov’s statement “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error.”

“The Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust,” Lapid said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame Jews themselves for antisemitism.”

Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem called the remarks “absurd, delusional, dangerous and deserving of condemnation.”

“Lavrov is propagating the inversion of the Holocaust — turning the victims into the criminals on the basis of promoting a completely unfounded claim that Hitler was of Jewish descent,” it said in a statement.

“Equally serious is calling the Ukrainians in general, and President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy in particular, Nazis. This, among other things, is a complete distortion of the history and an affront to the victims of Nazism.”

Nazism has featured prominently in Russia’s war aims and narrative as it fights in Ukraine. In his bid to legitimize the war to Russian citizens, President Vladimir Putin has portrayed the battle as a struggle against Nazis in Ukraine, even though the country has a democratically elected government and a Jewish president whose relatives were killed in the Holocaust.

Ukraine also condemned Lavrov’s remarks.

“By trying to rewrite history, Moscow is simply looking for arguments to justify the mass murders of Ukrainians,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted.

World War II, in which the Soviet Union lost an estimated 27 million people and helped defeat Nazi Germany, is a linchpin of Russia’s national identity. Repeatedly reaching for the historical narrative that places Russia as a savior against evil forces has helped the Kremlin rally Russians around the war.

For Israel, the Holocaust is central to its national ethos and it has positioned itself at the center of global efforts to remember the Holocaust and combat antisemitism.

But those aims sometimes clash with its other national interests. Russia has a military presence in neighboring Syria, and Israel, which carries out frequent strikes on enemy targets in the country, relies on Russia for security coordination there. That has forced Israel to tread lightly in its criticism of the war in Ukraine.

While it has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and expressed support for its people, Israel has been measured in its criticism of Russia and has not joined international sanctions against it. That paved the way for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to be able to try to mediate between the sides, an effort which appears to have stalled as Israel deals with its own internal unrest.

The Holocaust and the constant manipulation of its history during the conflict has sparked outrage in Israel before.

In a speech to Israeli legislators in March, Zelenskyy compared Russia’s invasion of his country to the actions of Nazi Germany, accusing Putin of trying to carry out a “final solution” against Ukraine. The comparisons drew an angry condemnation from Yad Vashem, which said Zelenskyy was trivializing the Holocaust. 

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Russia’s Bolshoi Scraps Performances by Critical Directors  

Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre has announced it is cancelling the performances directed by Kirill Serebrennikov and Timofey Kulyabin who have spoken out against Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Late Sunday, Russia’s top theatre announced that instead of the three performances of “Nureev,” a ballet directed by Serebrennikov, the audiences this week will see a production of Aram Khachaturian’s ballet, “Spartacus.”

The prestigious theatre also said that instead of “Don Pasquale,” a comic opera by Gaetano Donizetti directed by Timofey Kulyabin, audiences this week will see a production of Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.”

The Bolshoi did not give any reason for the cancellations and spokeswoman Katerina Novikova told AFP on Monday that she had no “official” comment.

The Bolshoi performed “Spartacus” in early April, saying that proceeds would be used to help the families of Russian troops who died in Ukraine.

Serebrennikov, 52, was allowed in March to leave Russia, where he had been found guilty in 2020 of embezzling funds at Moscow’s Gogol Centre theatre.

His supporters say the conviction was revenge for his criticism of authoritarianism and homophobia under President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to AFP in Berlin last month, Serebrennikov said he felt “just horror, sadness, shame, pain” about Russia’s military campaign in pro-Western Ukraine.

“Nureev” is based on the life of Russian dance legend Rudolf Nureyev, and its use of onstage nudity and profane language outraged Russian conservatives.

Kulyabin, 37, who is also believed to be now based in Europe, has spoken out against Putin’s decision to send troops to Ukraine.

Several dancers have in recent weeks quit the Bolshoi including prima ballerina Olga Smirnova.

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Венедіктова: встановлено першого підозрюваного у вбивствах у Бучі

За словами генпрокурорки, це – командир підрозділу Нацгвардії Росії Сергій Колоцей

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Росія залучила в Україні 65% наземних збройних сил – Міноборони Британії

Деякі з найбільш елітних підрозділів Росії зазнали найбільшого виснаження, кажуть британські військові

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Ізраїль викликав російського посла через висловлювання Лаврова про Гітлера

Сергій Лавров сказав, що буцімто сам «єврейський народ каже, що найбільші антисеміти – це самі євреї»

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Довірена особа Киви готувала провокації в Одесі на 2 травня – ДБР

Затриманий чоловік на замовлення Іллі Киви відповідав за збір «спортсменів» в Одесі та забезпечував їхню участь на акціях та мітингах на території країни, кажуть правоохоронці

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Батальйон «Азов» є частиною української армії – Зеленський відповів на критику Греції

Відповідаючи на запитання про звинувачення батальйону «Азов» у неонацизмі, Зеленський сказав, що нацизмом є те, що нині роблять російські військові в Україні

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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 2

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

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

4:30 a.m.: Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported that Finland is planning to apply for NATO membership on May 12, Reuters said.

The decision to join will come in two steps on that day, with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto first announcing his approval for the Nordic neighbor of Russia to join the Western defense alliance, followed by parliamentary groups giving their approval for the application, the paper reported late on Sunday citing anonymous government sources. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Finland and Sweden to the verge of applying for NATO membership and abandoning a belief held for decades that peace was best kept by not publicly choosing sides. Reuters was not immediately able to verify the details provided by Iltalehti.  

Under the Finnish constitution, the president leads Finland’s foreign and security policy in cooperation with the government. The decision will be confirmed in a meeting between the President and the government’s key ministers after the President’s and the Parliament’s initial announcements, the paper reported. Russia, with which Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border and a pre-1945 history of conflict, has warned it will deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Baltic coast enclave of Kaliningrad if Finland and Sweden decide to join the U.S.-led NATO alliance. 

Additionally, Finnish consortium Fennovoima said Monday it had terminated its contract with Russia’s state-owned nuclear power supplier Rosatom for the delivery of a planned nuclear power plant in Finland, Reuters reported. 

The planned Hanhikivi plant was commissioned by Fennovoima, a Finnish-Russian consortium, in which Finnish stakeholders including Outokumpu OUT1V.HE, Fortum FORTUM.HE and SSAB SSABa.ST own two thirds and Rosatom’s subsidiary RAOS Voima holds the rest. 

4:00 a.m.: About 5.5 million refugees have left Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in late February, according to the United Nations, with more than 3 million of them going to Poland. Romania has taken in the second most with more than 800,000.

3:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday that Russia is blocking ships from going in and out of its Black Sea ports, triggering a food crisis that will affect Europe, Asia and Africa, Reuters reported. Zelenskyy said Ukraine can lose tens of millions of tons of grain as a result. “Russia wants to completely block our country’s economy,” he told the Australian news program 60 Minutes.

2:10 a.m.: Reuters reported that two explosions took place in the early hours on Monday in Belgorod, the southern Russian region bordering Ukraine, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the region’s governor wrote in a social media post.

“There were no casualties or damage,” Gladkov wrote.

1:45 a.m.: Ukrainian officials said they expect more civilians will be able to evacuate from the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message late Sunday that more than 100 civilians were able to leave Sunday, and that they were due to arrive Monday in Zaporizhzhia, about 200 kilometers away.

With Russian troops taking control of the rest of Mariupol, hundreds of civilians and an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian troops have been holed up at the Azovstal steel works. Multiple earlier attempts to evacuate civilians from the site fell apart with Ukraine accusing Russia of shelling evacuation routes. “For the first time, there were two days of real cease-fire on this territory,” Zelenskyy said.

1:15 a.m.: Britain’s defense ministry said more than one-fourth of the 120 battalion tactical groups Russia committed at the start of the conflict in Ukraine have likely “been rendered combat ineffective.” The ministry added that some of the most elite Russian units “have suffered the highest levels of attrition.”

 

12:15 a.m.: The White House announced first lady Jill Biden will begin a trip Thursday to Romania and Slovakia that will include meeting with Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion. Biden will also meet with aid workers, local families supporting Ukrainian refugees and also educators who are helping Ukrainian children continue schooling.

12:01 a.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking elected official to visit Ukraine’s president in Kyiv. She led a U.S. congressional delegation that promised more support for Ukraine and unwavering solidarity in its fight against Russian aggression. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi has more.

 

Some information came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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Ukraine Expects Further Evacuation of Ukrainian Civilians from Mariupol Steel Plant 

Ukrainian officials said they expect more civilians will be able to evacuate from the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday. 

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message late Sunday that more than 100 civilians were able to leave Sunday, and that they were due to arrive Monday in Zaporizhzhia, about 200 kilometers away. 

With Russian troops taking control of the rest of Mariupol, hundreds of civilians and an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian troops have been holed up at the Azovstal steel works. Multiple earlier attempts to evacuate civilians from the site fell apart with Ukraine accusing Russia of shelling evacuation routes. 

“For the first time, there were two days of real cease-fire on this territory,” Zelenskyy said. 

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called the situation at Azovstal “a real humanitarian catastrophe” with people running low on food, water and medicine. 

The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross conducted Sunday’s evacuations, calling it a “safe passage operation.” 

As many as 100,000 other Ukrainian civilians may still be in Mariupol, located on the northern coast of the Sea of Azov, after a two-month bombing campaign that has all but leveled it.  

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who along with six other Democratic lawmakers made an unannounced visit Saturday to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy, is holding talks Monday in Poland with President Andrzej Duda as she pledges support for NATO allies in their efforts to bolster Ukraine. 

“Our meetings will be focused on further strengthening our partnership, offering our gratitude for Poland’s humanitarian leadership, and discussing how we can further work together to support Ukraine,” Pelosi said in a statement Sunday. 

About 5.5 million refugees have left Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in late February, according to the United Nations, with more than 3 million of them going to Poland. 

Romania has taken in the second most with more than 800,000. 

The White House announced Monday that first lady Jill Biden will begin a trip Thursday to Romania and Slovakia that will include meeting with Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion. Biden will also meet with aid workers, local families supporting Ukrainian refugees and educators who are helping Ukrainian children continue schooling. 

Pelosi was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since the February 24 Russian invasion that has killed thousands of fighters on both sides and thousands of Ukrainian civilians.  

Speaking from Poland after leaving Kyiv, Pelosi said she had vowed to Zelenskyy, “We are with you until this fight is won.”    

She said the congressional delegation brought him “message of appreciation from the American people for his leadership” in fighting back against the Russian invasion. Pelosi has promised quick House passage of the new $33 billion aid request for Ukraine U.S. President Joe Biden sent to Congress last week.  

Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told ABC’s “This Week” show that he too expects Congress to approve the new arms and humanitarian aid package, more than double the $13.6 billion in assistance Congress had already approved.  

After early predictions by some military analysts that Russia would quickly overrun Ukraine and topple Zelenskyy, McCaul said he now believes Ukraine “can win it. That should be the goal.”  

“I think the fighting spirit of the Ukrainians is far superior to that of the Russians,” McCaul said.  

Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, told ABC “None of (the Russians’) objectives are met. They are trying to scare Ukrainians. We have to win and we will.” She described Pelosi’s visit to Kyiv as “yet another sign of the very strong support from the United States.”   

The Associated Press, Agence France-Press and Reuters provided some information in this report. 

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На першотравневих акціях у Росії затримали понад 200 людей – правозахисники

Люди виходили на одиночні пікети з плакатами з першотравневими та антивоєнними гаслами

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US Vows Increased Support for Ukraine Amid Continued Russian Aggression

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking elected official to visit Ukraine’s president in Kyiv. She led a U.S. congressional delegation that promised more support for Ukraine and unwavering solidarity in its fight against Russian aggression. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi has more.

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Qantas Launches Non-Stop Sydney-London, NY Flights by End of 2025

Qantas announced Monday it will launch the world’s first non-stop commercial flights from Sydney to London and New York by the end of 2025, finally conquering the “tyranny of distance.”

After five years of planning, the airline said it was ordering 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to operate the “Project Sunrise” flights to cities including London and New York.

Non-stop flights will start from Sydney by the end of 2025, it said, with the long-haul flights later planned to include Melbourne.

“New types of aircraft make new things possible,” said Qantas chairman Alan Joyce, according to a statement.

“The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia,” he said. “It’s the final frontier and the final fix for the tyrany of distance.”

Qantas operated research flights for long-haul flights in 2019, including a trial London-Sydney flight of 17,750 kilometers (11,030 miles) that took 19 hours and 19 minutes.

The airline already operates a 14,498-kilometre Perth-London trip that takes 17 hours.

“As you’d expect, the cabin is being specially designed for maximum comfort for long-haul flying,” Joyce said.

Qantas said the new A350 aircraft would be configured for 238 passengers in total with first-class suites offering a separate bed, recliner chair and wardrobe.

It promised spacier economy sections and a “well-being zone” designed for “movement, stretching and hydration.” 

Singapore Airlines currently operates the world’s longest nonstop commercial flight from Singapore to New York, clocking in a time of about 19 hours.

At the same time, Qantas confirmed it was also ordering 40 A321 XLR and A220 aircraft from Airbus. In addition, it bought options for another 94 of these planes until the end of 2034.

“The A320s and A220s will become the backbone of our domestic fleet for the next 20 years, helping to keep this country moving,” Joyce said.

The newer aircraft would reduce emissions by at least 15% if running on fossil fuels, and more if using sustainable aviation fuel, he said.

“We have come through the other side of the pandemic a structurally different company,” the airline boss said. “Our domestic market share is higher and the demand for direct international flights is even stronger than it was before COVID. The business case for Project Sunrise has an internal rate of return in the mid-teens.”

Qantas said the total cost of the deal was a matter of commercial confidence, though it indicated it had obtained a significant discount on the standard price of the aircraft.

The A350-1000 planes will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan engines, designed to be 25% more fuel efficient than the previous generation of aircraft, Qantas said.

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Данія та Швеція викликають російських послів через порушення повітряного простору

Російський літак увійшов у повітряний простір Данії ввечері 29 квітня на схід від острова Борнхольм, а потім влетів у повітряний простір Швеції.

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ООН повідомила про блокування мільйонів тонн зерна у портах України

«Голод не повинен бути зброєю», – кажуть в ООН і закликають відновити постачання українського продовольства до інших країн, щоб пом’якшити глобальну продовольчу кризу.

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