Daily: 25/08/2022

МЗС викликало апостольського нунція через реакцію папи Римського на смерть Дугіної

Дмитро Кулеба: «Українське серце розривається від слів папи – це було несправедливо»

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Analysts: Erdogan’s Future Pinned to Russia

Turkey is deepening trade relations with Russia in the face of Western sanctions against Moscow. Political observers say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be relying on Russian support to help ease Turkey’s growing economic woes as he faces reelection next year. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.

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2 Bulgarian Police Officers Dead After Migrant Bus Collision

Bulgaria’s interior ministry and local police say two police officers were killed Thursday when a bus carrying at least 47 migrants that had entered the country illegally rammed their vehicle as they tried to stop it.

Police say the incident occurred about 5 a.m. local time in Burgas, a port city on the Black Sea. Burgas Police Chief Kaloyan Kaloyanov told reporters at the scene that police had tried to pull over the bus after it drove through two border checkpoints.

The chief said the bus had entered a residential area when police officers stopped their car in its path to block it. The bus allegedly rammed the police vehicle and drove over the top of it before smashing into a bus stop. Two officers inside the car were killed instantly.

No other injuries were reported and an investigation into the case has been launched.

Police said the migrants on the bus were from Syria.

It is unclear what charges may be filed, but local prosecutor Georgi Chinev called the ramming of the police car a “conscious, purposeful, intentional act.”

The news website BalkanInsight reports five people were arrested at the scene on human trafficking charges.

On Twitter, BNN Bulgaria — an affiliate of Bloomberg news — reports citing local police that the bus was a deregistered vehicle that had been sold for scrap with phony license plates.

Bulgarian media reports there was a similar incident Sunday in the western Bulgarian town of Godech. In that case, a bus carrying illegal migrants crashed into a tree, killing the driver.

Bulgaria, a Balkan country of 7 million people, is located on a major route for migrants from the Middle East and Afghanistan to Europe.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press.

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У Ризі завершився демонтаж пам’ятника радянським воїнам

Дехто з перехожих, які спостерігали за процесом демонтажу, зустріли падіння обеліску аплодисментами

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У ЄС можуть не заборонити видачу віз для громадян Росії, але ускладнити їх отримання – ЗМІ

Росіянам, які подорожують до Європейського Союзу, доведеться платити більше та долати додаткові бюрократичні труднощі, щоб отримати короткострокову візу – це передбачає компромісне рішення щодо візових обмежень, повідомляє Bloomberg.

За даними видання, компромісне рішення передбачає збільшення візового збору з 35 до 80 євро, збільшення строків оформлення віз та кількості необхідних документів.

Але, за словами чеського міністра закордонних справ Яна Ліпавського, уряд Чехії, який зараз головує в ЄС, запропонує повністю призупинити дію угод про спрощення візового режиму з Росією та Білоруссю на зустрічі міністрів закордонних справ у Празі наступного тижня.

За підсумками цієї зустрічі не будуть оприлюднювати офіційного рішення.

Раніше президент України Володимир Зеленський в інтерв’ю газеті The Washington Post закликав західні країни заборонити в’їзд усім громадянам Росії. Латвія, Чехія та Естонія призупинили видачу росіянам шенгенських туристичних віз, Фінляндія оголосила, що обмежить їхню кількість.

Деякі інші країни ЄС, наприклад, Португалія, Угорщина, висловилися проти такого заходу. Ідею заборонити видачу віз росіянам не підтримав і верховний представник ЄС із закордонних справ та безпекової політики Жозеп Боррель. Німеччина також дала зрозуміти, що не згодна з ідеєю.

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Очільник МЗС Італії – в Україні: відвідав Ірпінь, зустрінеться з Зеленським

У звільненому від російських військ Ірпені італійський міністр побачив «смерть та жорстокість»

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Понад 300 млн гривень сина Януковича передали на потреби ЗСУ – Офіс генпрокурора

Йдеться про арештовані кошти ПАТ «Всеукраїнський банк розвитку», власником 100% акцій якого був старший син Януковича Олександр

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Sweden Campaigning Reflects Changing Political Landscape

Sweden’s immigration policies are a big factor heading into elections next month on September 11th, when Swedes head to the polls to pick a new parliament, perhaps resulting in a new prime minister. The hard right Sweden Democrats party admits to having a neo-Nazi past and polls just ahead of the election show the party gaining political ground. Some observers say public concerns about Sweden’s immigration policies could mean a previously unthinkable coalition between the far right and moderate forces is on the verge of forming.

Erik Hedtjärn is a political editor at Stockholm’s Svenska Dagbladet newspaper. He tells VOA that a new political landscape is taking shape in Sweden ahead of the upcoming election and it’s unclear which coalition will take power. The Sweden Democrats, a populist party with ties to right wing extremism in the 1990s, gained parliamentary seats in the 2010 election. It appears to be growing further in popularity, according to polls, and could result in an unlikely coalition.

“A number of parties in Sweden still says that it’s actually unthinkable to cooperate or form an alliance with the Sweden Democrats because of their past. Another way of looking at it is we’ve made some polls where we’ve asked: Which party could you accept as part of the government? Interestingly enough. Sweden Democrats. More people can accept them as part of the government than the Green Party,” he said.

Hedtjärn says the Liberals/Moderates and other centrists to the right are likely to join forces with the Sweden Democrats party.

“So, we have two new coalitions that are the main alternatives in this election which makes it different in many ways. One of the interesting things now is that those coalitions joined a wide-range of parties. On the left, you have the left, far-left and centrists. The other side you have the Liberals party and the Sweden Democrats. Two kind of disparate coalitions which have in themselves a lot of tensions. It’s not really clear how a government would function that emanates from such a wide coalition,” he said. 

Part of the Sweden Democrats’ appeal, observers say, plays on people’s fears about migration. Sweden took in the largest number of refugees per capita in the 2015 wave that hit Europe. Unlike the United States, there are no background checks on arrivals.

However, other Swedes find a Sweden Democrats’ campaign ad abhorrent. Posting a picture of a train car with the party logo, spokesman Tobias Andersson, tweeted: 

“Welcome to the repatriation train. You have a one-way ticket. Next stop, Kabul.”  Observers say Afghans are unfairly targeted, especially given the Taliban takeover last year, where ethnic and religious minorities could face death, if returned.

Swedish economist and blogger Julia Wiklander of Girls’ Globe and others warn that giving wider political berth to the Sweden Democrats undermines cherished values fundamental in Swedish society, like providing safety to people escaping conflict.

“Sweden has a reputation of being a leader for human rights globally, a leader in terms of our responsibility, our engagement with issues around the world. But a lot of things in the past decade have either stood still in Sweden or have really stagnated. A lot of issues are also at risk. At the same time, a lot of people still look up to Sweden. When we don’t reflect on history, and we don’t reflect on where Sweden is actually failing to stand up for human rights, we risk losing them,” said Wiklander.

The “whole political debate has shifted from human rights and environment issues, now with a strong polarization” on each side of the political spectrum gaining ground in communities and families, Wiklander says, adding that in her view, the rhetoric is growing “very charged and worrying.”

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Britain’s Former Myanmar Envoy Detained in Yangon, Sources Say

Authorities in Myanmar have detained Britain’s former ambassador to the Southeast Asian nation, where a military junta seized power last year, three people with knowledge of the situation said Thursday. 

Vicky Bowman, who currently runs the Myanmar Center for Responsible Business (MCRB), and her husband, Htein Lin, a Burmese artist and former political prisoner, were detained on Wednesday, the sources said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. 

A source with knowledge of the situation said Bowman and her husband had been charged with immigration offenses. 

The arrest comes as Britain announces it is imposing fresh sanctions to target military-linked businesses in Myanmar and joining the case against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice. 

Britain is the fourth country after the Maldives, Netherlands and Canada, to vow formal support for the case brought by the Gambia against Myanmar to determine whether its military conducted genocidal operations against Rohingya Muslims in 2016 and 2017. 

Three companies are being penalized with sanctions “in an effort to limit the military’s access to arms and revenue,” the British government said in a statement on Wednesday. 

A spokesperson for the Myanmar junta did not answer repeated calls seeking comment. 

Myanmar has been in political and economic chaos since the military overthrew an elected government in early 2021. 

More than 15,000 people have been arrested and 12,119 remain in detention, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an activist group. The junta claims that figure is exaggerated. 

A British embassy spokesperson in Yangon said: “We are concerned by the arrest of a British woman in Myanmar. We are in contact with the local authorities and are providing consular assistance.” The spokesperson did not name the individual. 

Bowman, 56, served as ambassador to Myanmar from 2002 to 2006 and has more than three decades’ experience in the country. 

Her husband Htein Lin, 55, is one of Myanmar’s most famous artists and a veteran activist who spent 6 1/2 years, between 1998 and 2004, in prison for his opposition to an earlier junta. 

The couple had been remanded in custody and were being sent to Insein prison, a source said, the notorious jail on the outskirts of the commercial capital of Yangon where many political prisoners are held. 

The source added their young daughter remained “safe and well.” 

Bowman is the latest foreigner to be detained in Myanmar. 

Sean Turnell, an Australian economist and longtime adviser to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Japanese freelance filmmaker Toru Kubota also remain in detention. 

Their governments have called for them to be released. 


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Генсекретар ООН знову заявив про необхідність місії МАГАТЕ на Запорізьку АЕС

«Будь-яка подальша ескалація може призвести до самознищення»

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Британська розвідка назвала загрози для Запорізької АЕС через російську окупацію

«Основними ризиками, ймовірно, залишаться збої в роботі систем охолодження реакторів, пошкодження резервного електропостачання або помилки працівників, які працюють під тиском»

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14 годин повітряної тривоги у День Незалежності: МЗС закликало зупинити «російський тероризм»

«Російський тероризм – це чума 21-го століття. Тільки ізоляція і глобальна рішучість можуть зупинити це»

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Блінкен назвав звірством ракетний удар Росії по Чаплиному

«Російський ракетний удар по залізничній станції, повній цивільних жителів, в Україні, відповідає зразку звірств»

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Військові повідомили про збиття 4 російських БПЛА, які намагалися розвідати дислокацію військ ЗСУ

Російські безпілотники були збиті на Чернігівщині, Черкащині та Сумщині

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US Sending $3B in Military Aid to Ukraine for ‘Long-Term Defense’

The US is sending a new tranche of military assistance to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s invading force, a package valued at $3 billion dollars. This aid comes on top of the more than $10 billion in military assistance the U.S. has already sent to Ukraine in the past year and a half. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the details.
Video Editor: Kimberlyn Weeks

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US Announces Largest-Ever, $3B Ukraine Aid Package as War Hits 6-Month Mark

The White House announced its largest-ever security assistance package for Ukraine on Wednesday — six months to the day since Russia invaded — with a $3 billion commitment that brings the U.S. price tag for this 184-day conflict to $13.6 billion.

Unlike previous aid packages that addressed immediate military needs, this new package focuses on medium- and long-term military assistance that will take months or even years to land.

“This is a long-term commitment to Ukraine to continue to fight for their freedom, and bravely, as they have been doing for the past six months,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

She added that President Joe Biden will speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday. When asked if or when Biden might visit Zelenskyy in Kyiv, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator of strategic communications, told reporters there currently are no plans for such a trip.

In late June at a NATO summit, Biden said U.S. support for Ukraine would continue “as long as it takes.” On Wednesday, the White House said that remains true.

“President Biden has been clear that we will continue to hold Russia accountable and support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Kirby said Wednesday. “… And we’re going to continue to rally the free world, galvanize allies and partners to support Ukraine as they again defend their sovereignty against this further invasion by Russia.”

The Pentagon emphasized this large new commitment doesn’t presuppose an outcome to the grueling conflict, which technically started in 2014 with Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“This type of package does not presume any particular outcome of a conflict in Ukraine,” Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters on Wednesday. ”So, for example, if the war continues for years, this package is relevant. If there is a cease-fire or a peace settlement, this package is still relevant, because Ukraine needs the ability to defend itself and deter future aggression.

There are signs that European interest in funding Ukraine has waned, with European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warning the continent in July against what he called “democratic fatigue” that Russia would try to exploit.

That does not seem to be the case in the U.S., where large aid packages have sailed almost effortlessly through Congress, and where a July poll saw seven out of 10 Americans support continued assistance.

But Elias Yousif, a research analyst with the Stimson Center’s Conventional Defense Program, said the administration has an obligation to continue to sell this expenditure to American taxpayers.

“It really is incumbent upon the administration to make the case to the American people as to why this investment is important,” he said via Zoom. “You know, the United States is clearly spending a great amount of time and effort on this problem. And it’ll be very important for government officials and for public policy to be pitching to the American people why this is more than just about Ukraine, why this speaks to their interests and to a certain vision for the world, and a certain world order that has their best interest at heart.”

More bullets than Ukrainians

In the last six months alone, the U.S. has doled out nearly $10 billion worth of support, comprising thousands of anti-missile and anti-armor systems, hundreds of vehicles, and nearly 60 million rounds of small-arms ammunition — more bullets, in fact, than there are Ukrainians.

“I absolutely think that it’s been worth it,” Ivana Stradner, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, told VOA via Zoom. “This war is also our war. So, it is in American interest to help Ukraine to win as fast as possible so we actually do not allow [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to wage this war in the way that he wants, and to put him actually on defense, rather than to allow Russia to dictate how long this war is going to last.”

But Yousif also warned the administration to be vigilant about where this assistance ends up.

“One of the main risks that we are all looking at is the risk of diversion of military hardware onto the black market,” he said. “This is something that we’ve seen time and time again from U.S. military aid programs, especially the very large ones. The United States, unfortunately, has a history of losing track of some of the arms that it provides in these large-scale military aid efforts, whether that’s been in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“And Ukraine also has a history of being a nexus of the illicit arms market — really, since the end of the Cold War. So, taken all together, the potential for losing some of these arms or having them leak into the black market could be quite high,” Yousif said.

Uncertain end, but certain determination

Now, six months and $13.6 billion later, how does this end? While no one knows the answer, the Biden administration has been clear on who holds the key to ending the war.

“It could end now,” Kirby said, “if President Putin did the right thing and pulled his troops out of Ukraine. There’s no reason for them to be there in the first place. … Sadly, we haven’t seen any indications by the Russian side that they’re willing to do that — quite the contrary.”

Zelenskyy, for his part, approached the six-month mark — which this year happened to fall on the day Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union 31 years ago — with determination and a hint of optimism.

“For 180 days, almost six months, the absolute majority of our people have no doubts that we will achieve the victory of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said. “We are united. We are more confident now in ourselves than we have been in many decades.”

VOA’s Carla Babb contributed to this report.

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Албанія: суд заарештував росіян і українця, затриманих за спробу сфотографувати військовий завод

Представник посольства України в Тирані заявляє про невинуватість підозрюваного українця – стверджує, що Алпатов був лише водієм росіян

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У Ірані спалахнули протести через перебої з постачанням води

Зміна клімату посилила посухи та повені, від яких потерпає Іран

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США попередили, що Росія може влаштувати фіктивні референдуми на окупованих територіях до кінця тижня – ЗМІ

За наявною інформацією, США очікують, що Москва маніпулюватиме результатами виборів і оголосить про те, що мешканці окупованих російською армією територій захочуть увійти до складу Росії

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WHO: COVID Deaths Down by 15%, Cases Fall Nearly Everywhere

The number of coronavirus deaths reported worldwide fell by 15% in the past week while new infections dropped by 9%, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

In its latest weekly assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. health agency said there were 5.3 million new cases and more than 14,000 deaths reported last week. WHO said the number of new infections declined in every world region except the Western Pacific.

Deaths jumped by more than 183% in Africa but fell by nearly a third in Europe and by 15% in the Americas. Still, WHO warned that COVID-19 numbers are likely severely underestimated as many countries have dropped their testing and surveillance protocols to monitor the virus, meaning that there are far fewer cases being detected.

WHO said the predominant COVID-19 variant worldwide is omicron subvariant BA.5, which accounts for more than 70% of virus sequences shared with the world’s biggest public viral database. Omicron variants account for 99% of all sequences reported in the last month.

Earlier this week, Pfizer asked U.S. regulators to authorize its combination COVID-19 vaccine that adds protection against the newest omicron relatives, BA.4 and BA.5, a key step towards opening a fall booster campaign.

The Food and Drug Administration had ordered vaccine makers to tweak their shots to target BA.4 and BA.5, which are better than ever at dodging immunity from earlier vaccination or infection.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., regulators authorized a version of Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine last week that includes protection against the earlier omicron subvariant BA.1. British officials will offer it to people aged 50 and over beginning next month.

In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Cabinet approved legislation Wednesday that ensures basic protective measures against the coronavirus pandemic are continued during the fall and winter, when more virus cases are expected.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, millions of students wearing face masks streamed back to primary and secondary schools across the country on Monday for their first in-person classes after two years of coronavirus lockdowns.

Officials had grappled with daunting problems, including classroom shortages, lingering COVID-19 fears, an approaching storm and quake-damaged school buildings in the country’s north, to welcome back nearly 28 million students who enrolled for the school year.

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