Daily: 07/05/2022

«Це складно, але ми не зупиняємося» – Зеленський про порятунок військових в Маріуполі

Українська влада щоденно шукає дипломатичний варіант, який може спрацювати

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Зеленський: російська армія – це «варварство, яке має ракети»

За словами президента України, лише ЗСУ і опір українців можуть зупинити цю «нелюдську навалу»

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КНДР запустила балістичну ракету у бік Японського моря – влада сусідніх країн

Востаннє Пхеньян провів ракетні випробування 4 травня

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Джилл Байден відзначила зусилля Румунії з надання допомоги біженцям із України

За даними агентства ООН у справах біженців, близько 860 тисяч українців втекли до Румунії або пройшли через її територію, рятуючись від війни

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Путін перекручує історію, аби виправдати жорстоку війну в Україні – Блінкен

Держсекретар США вважає, що потрібно «посилити рішучість протистояти тим, хто зараз прагне маніпулювати історичною пам’яттю, щоб просувати власні амбіції»

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У Придністровʼї знову заявляють про вибухи

Повідомлення про вибухи і обстріли у цьому регіоні, який підтримується Москвою, почали надходити з кінця квітня.

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Sinn Fein Set for Historic Win in Northern Ireland Election

Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein was widely expected to become the largest group in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time, giving it the right to the post of first minister in Belfast, as vote-counting in this week’s election resumed Saturday.

A Sinn Fein win would be a milestone for a party long linked to the Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary group that used bombs, bullets and other forms of violence to try to take Northern Ireland out of U.K. rule during decades of unrest — in which the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary, as well as Protestant Loyalist paramilitaries, were also strongly involved.

A victory would bring Sinn Fein’s ultimate goal of a united Ireland a step closer. But the party has kept unification out of the spotlight during a campaign that has been dominated by more immediate concerns, namely the skyrocketing cost of living.

With about 51 of 90 seats counted so far, results showed that Sinn Fein has 18 seats, while the Democratic Unionist Party, which has been the largest in the Northern Ireland Assembly for two decades, have 14.

The centrist Alliance Party, which doesn’t identify as either nationalist or unionist, has seen support surge and is set to be the other big winner of the elections. It has 10 seats so far.

Unionist parties have led the government since Northern Ireland was formed as a Protestant-majority state in 1921.

While a Sinn Fein win would be a historic shift that shows diluting support for unionist parties, it’s far from clear what happens next.

Under a mandatory power-sharing system created by the 1998 peace agreement that ended decades of Catholic-Protestant conflict, the jobs of first minister and deputy first minister are split between the biggest unionist party and the largest nationalist one.

Both posts must be filled for a government to function, but the Democratic Unionist Party has suggested it might not serve under a Sinn Fein first minister.

The DUP has also said it will refuse to join a new government unless there are major changes to post-Brexit border arrangements, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, that are opposed by many unionists.

The post-Brexit rules have imposed customs and border checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. The arrangement was designed to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, a key pillar of the peace process.

But it angered unionists, who maintain that the new checks have created a barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. that undermines their British identity.

In February the DUP’s Paul Givan resigned as first minister as post-Brexit tensions triggered a fresh political crisis in Northern Ireland.

Polling expert John Curtice, a professor of political science at the University of Strathclyde, said the Northern Ireland results are a legacy of Brexit.

“The unionist vote has fragmented because of the divisions within the community over whether or not the Northern Ireland Protocol is something that can be amended satisfactorily or whether it needs to be scrapped,” he wrote on the BBC website.

Persuading the DUP to join a new government will pose a headache for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he added.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill said the party wanted to work “in partnership with others.”

“That is the only way we will achieve much, much more for people here, whether in terms of the cost-of-living crisis or trying to fix our health service,” she said.

She also said that with regard to Irish unification, there would be no constitutional change until voters decide on it.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald indicated on Friday that planning for any unity referendum could come within the next five years.

The full results of the election, which uses a system of proportional representation, were expected later in the weekend.

The new legislators will meet next week to try to form an executive. If none can be formed within six months, the administration will collapse, triggering a new election and more uncertainty.

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How Russia Tries to Counter Moldova Separatist Region’s Westward Drift

Russia’s desire to create a land corridor to Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria is drawing attention to Moscow’s efforts to prevent the pro-Russian enclave from deepening ties to the West and undermining the decadeslong Russian grip over part of Moldova, some analysts say.   

Russian General Rustam Minnekaev endorsed the idea of a land corridor on April 22, saying: “Control over the south of Ukraine is another way to [reach] Transnistria,” according to Russian news agency Interfax. He said Transnistria’s Russian-speaking population suffers “oppression,” implying that it needs Russia’s protection from Romanian-speakers in the rest of Moldova.

Moscow has made similar assertions about Russian speakers in Ukraine to justify its invasions of Ukrainian territory since 2014.

Transnistria is a majority Russian-speaking territory that broke away from Moldova in 1990, a year before the majority Romanian-speaking Soviet republic declared independence from the Soviet Union. A 1992 war between Moldovan forces and Transnistrian separatists backed by Russian troops ended with a cease-fire that has remained in effect for 30 years, leaving Transnistria to run its own affairs as a de facto state but without international recognition.

Russia has not recognized the region as a state. But it has helped the separatists for decades to administer a sliver of land on Moldova’s eastern edge, between the east bank of the Dniester River and the Ukrainian border. Transnistria has a population of 300,000 to 400,000 according to Moldovan and separatist estimates, respectively.

Russia’s support for the separatist region has prolonged what some observers call a “frozen conflict” that has kept Moldova too weak to join major Western institutions. Moscow has long regarded the expansion of the NATO alliance and European Union into post-Soviet states such as Moldova as a threat to its security.

Moscow’s main support for Transnistria has taken the form of providing it with free Russian natural gas, a presence of about 1,500 Russian troops and bank transfers of Russian funds. 

But Transnistria has been reorienting its trade toward the EU since the bloc signed a free trade agreement with Moldova in 2014. That deal granted the enclave tariff-free exports to the EU under certain rules and visa-free travel to the EU for residents with Moldovan passports. 

As the separatists’ trade with the EU rose in recent years, their trade with Russia declined. 

Former U.S. ambassador to Moldova Asif Chaudhry told VOA Russian that the 2014 agreement has opened people’s minds on the Transnistrian side. “They see that it is to their economic and personal benefit to have a better relationship with the Republic of Moldova,” he said. 

One way Russia has tried to counter that trend is by providing the separatist region with free natural gas from Moscow-controlled energy company Gazprom through pipelines crossing Ukrainian territory.

Transnistria, which is poor in natural resources, uses the gas to produce electricity and metal products that it sells to customers in similarly resource-poor Moldova and to foreign customers at market prices, according to Moldovan energy analyst Sergiu Tofilat, who served as an energy adviser to Moldova’s president from 2020 to 2021.

Speaking to VOA Ukrainian from Moldova, Tofilat said separatist authorities relied on income from natural gas-derived products for 53% of their budgetary spending in 2019 and for 40% in 2020.

In a study he published in 2020, Tofilat also found that the value of the Russian gas obtained by Transnistria was equivalent to 48% of its gross domestic product from 2007 to 2016.

“Half of the Transnistrian economy survives only due to the gas subsidy from Russia,” he told VOA.

Russia also maintains influence over the enclave with a deployment of about 1,500 troops, said former Moldovan defense minister Vitalie Marinutsa, who served in the role from 2009 to 2014. He spoke to VOA Russian in Moldova on May 3.

Several hundred of those Russian troops serve under the authority of a peacekeeping force known as a Joint Control Commission that also includes Moldovan and separatist personnel. The rest of the Russian contingent guards a major depot of Soviet-era ammunition near the village of Cobasna and trains separatist paramilitaries.

Another tool of Russian influence is the use of banks to wire Russian funds to the separatist region. 

Tatsiana Kulakevich, a Russia researcher at the University of South Florida, told VOA that Moscow wires the funds to the separatist government owned Transnistrian Sberbank to provide pensions to residents. Transnistrian Sberbank is part of the correspondent network of Russia’s largest bank, also named Sberbank.

Kulakevich said she does not see any threat to Russia’s ability to transfer money to the separatist region, as Moscow has been using its own network to facilitate transactions and shield itself from Western sanctions targeting Russian banks’ use of the SWIFT international financial messaging system.  

But Russia’s policy of making Transnistria dependent on it for free natural gas to generate electricity could create problems for the enclave in the coming years, as Moldova looks to reduce its own dependence on that electricity, Tofilat said.

“Moldova’s government has decided to construct a high-voltage power line that will connect us with Romania and diversify our electricity supplies. This will take another three years,” he said.

Russia also faces difficulties in keeping its military presence in the separatist region supplied with personnel and weapons.

Since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and invaded its eastern Donbas region in 2014, Ukrainian authorities have cracked down on Russian smuggling of people and arms into Transnistria, whose border with Ukraine is porous, Kulakevich said.

“News reports suggest the Ukrainians are better guarding the border, but it’s hard to control completely,” she said.

Moldova also has tried to block Russia from sending military personnel to the separatist region through Moldovan government-controlled territory.

“We have taken steps to ensure that this military exchange [of personnel] does not take place,” said Anatol Salaru, a former Moldovan defense minister who served from 2015 to 2016, in an interview with VOA sister TV network Current Time last month.

Russia also has no simple way to supply its forces in Transnistria by air. The enclave’s only airfield, a former Soviet military base near its self-styled capital Tiraspol, has not been in operation for more than 30 years, according an April 27 article by Ukrainian news site European Pravda.

Ukrainian national news agency Ukrinform reported on April 6 that authorities in Tiraspol were preparing the airfield to receive aircraft. It did not elaborate on whether the preparations were for military or civilian flights.

One of the shortest paths for Russian aircraft to reach Tiraspol would be to fly from one of the airfields in Russian-occupied Crimea over the Black Sea toward the separatist region. But that would entail flying through at least 40 kilometers of Ukrainian airspace.

Sergey Bratchuk, a spokesman for Ukrainian military forces in the Odesa region bordering Transnistria, said in an April 30 Telegram post that they had received new air defense systems to use against Russia.

Speaking earlier this week, as reported by the BBC, Bratchuk had this warning for Russian aircraft attempting the journey to Tiraspol: “We have the right to shoot them down over the territory of Ukraine. These are enemy planes [attempting] enemy landings.”

Alex Yanevskyy reported from Moldova.

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Абрамович продає «Челсі» за 4 млрд фунтів

Англійський футбольний клуб «Челсі» продадуть консорціуму бізнесменів з участю мільярдера Тодда Белі, йдеться у повідомленні на сайті клубу.

Сума угоди – понад чотири мільярди фунтів стерлінгів (понад п’ять мільярдів доларів). Її мають схвалити британський уряд та Англійська футбольна прем’єр-ліга. Виручені кошти надійдуть на заморожений рахунок Романа Абрамовича у Великій Британії. Потім їх спрямують на благодійність.

Тодд Белі – співвласник бейсбольної команди «Лос-Анджелес Доджерс». Крім нього, в угоді беруть участь американський бізнесмен Марк Волтер, швейцарський мільярдер Хансйорг Віс та інвестиційна компанія Clearlake Capital.

Мільярдер Роман Абрамович придбав «Челсі» у 2003 році за 140 мільйонів фунтів. Після російського вторгнення в Україну Великобританія запровадила щодо Абрамовича санкції. Абрамович має російський та ізраїльський паспорти. Останній він отримав після того, як у 2018 році зіткнувся із труднощами під час продовження британської візи та переїхав із Лондона до Тель-Авіва. Нещодавно Абрамович отримав також громадянство Португалії.

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Угорщина надасть Україні допомогу на 37 млн євро – посольство

Усі пропозиції, як вказують угорські дипломати, були озвучені 6 травня у столиці Польщі Варшаві

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Зеленський затвердив відзнаку «Хрест бойових заслуг» – першим її отримав головнокомандувач ЗСУ

Президент вказав на те, що досі країна не мала «саме бойових відзнак»

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Belarus Sentences Activist’s Girlfriend to Six Years 

The Russian girlfriend of a Belarusian dissident, arrested with him a year ago when their plane was forced to land in Minsk, was on Friday sentenced to six years in prison, a rights group said. 

Sofia Sapega, 24, was detained with Belarusian opposition activist Roman Protasevich, 27, in May 2021 when their Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania was grounded as it passed over Belarus. 

Sapega, a Russian citizen, faced seven criminal charges including “inciting social hatred” and “violence or threats” against police. 

Following a closed-door trial, a court in Belarus sentenced Sapega to six years, rights group Vyasna said. 

After her arrest, Sapega cooperated with authorities and appealed to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for her release. 

Protasevich fled to Europe in 2019 from where he co-ran the Nexta Telegram channels, a key Belarus opposition media that helped mobilize protesters during historic rallies against the disputed re-election of Lukashenko in 2020. 

After their arrests, both Protasevich and Sapega appeared in “confession” videos that their supporters said were recorded under duress and are a common tactic of the regime to pressure critics. 

Protasevich remains under house arrest in Belarus awaiting trial. 


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Путін надішле Заходу попередження про «судний день» 9 травня – Reuters

У Москві у військовому параді візьме участь Іл-80 – літак, призначений для перевезення найвищого керівництва РФ у разі ядерної війни.

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Влада Берліна заборонила українську символіку на заходах 8-9 травня – медіа

За даними журналістів, учасникам також заборонили виконувати військові пісні

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До порятунку військових із «Азовсталі» залучені «впливові посередники» – Зеленський

Зеленський прокоментував евакуацію цивільних із Маріуполя, додавши, що Київ також шукає шляхи, аби вивезти військових

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Russian Court Orders Arrest in Absentia of Top Journalist Over ‘Fakes’

A Moscow court on Friday ordered the arrest in absentia of Alexander Nevzorov, a prominent Russian journalist accused of spreading false information about what Moscow calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

The court said Nevzorov, who has been put on Russia’s international wanted list, would be detained for two months if he ever returns to Russia or is extradited.

Nevzorov’s wife wrote on Instagram in March that she and her husband were in Israel, but that the couple had no plans to move there permanently.

Investigators had opened a case against Nevzorov in March for posting on social media that Russia’s armed forces deliberately shelled a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

Ukraine and its Western allies condemned the hospital attack as an atrocity. Russia denied bombing the hospital, accusing Kyiv of a “staged provocation.”  

Nevzorov, who has more than 1.8 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, called the investigation against him ridiculous and wrote an open letter to Russia’s top investigator calling on him to close the case.  

Eight days after invading Ukraine on February 24, Russia passed a law providing jail terms of up to 15 years for those convicted of intentionally spreading “fake” news about Russia’s military. 

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