Daily: 07/09/2022

Зеленський повідомив про «хороші новини» з Харківщини та санкції проти 606 осіб з «верхівки» РФ

Розпочалася сто дев’яносто сьома доба війни РФ проти України

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VOA Interview: Ukraine Security Chief on What’s at Stake at Nuclear Plant

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, voiced frustration that Russia remains in control of his nation’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in an interview with VOA’s Ukrainian Service. He also warned of the risk of a nuclear catastrophe similar to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in April 1986 that killed dozens of people and forced more than 100,000 to evacuate their homes.

An inspection team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the Zaporizhzhia plant last week amid rising fears prompted by the placement of Russian military assets around the plant and weeks of shelling in the vicinity, blamed by each country on the other.

Russia captured the plant in the early days of its invasion of Ukraine, which it says is justified by the military threat posed by Kyiv’s increasing closeness to NATO and Western powers. Ukraine says the invasion constituted unprovoked aggression and accuses Russian forces of war crimes and “terrorism.”

Ukrainian engineers continue to operate the plant under Russian supervision, and two IAEA inspectors have remained at the site to monitor for threats to its safety. At a U.N. Security Council meeting called at Russia’s request, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres underlined Tuesday the need to deescalate the situation around the plant.

Here is a transcript of the interview with Danilov, which was conducted before the Security Council meeting. It has been edited for clarity.

VOA: What is your assessment of the IAEA’s mission and how did its outcomes affect the solution to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power situation? How can this issue be resolved?

Oleksiy Danilov: Look, I want us all to place the accents that need to be placed. First of all, terrorists seized a nuclear facility in the 21st century, which is extremely dangerous. [These are] people who do not know how this system is managed or how it works.

Terrorists are offering a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Do you even understand what is happening? This is complete nonsense. These are the things that cannot happen in the modern world. The IAEA inspection arrived, which, in my opinion, should have been there the same day [the plant] was seized by terrorists. They did not let the press in, and [they] left. Their representatives stayed there; we do not understand what is happening there. This is the object of increased danger, which is being kept in terrorists’ hands today. I don’t even know how to say it.

Unfortunately, our country had a very tragic experience in April 1986. Does the Russian Federation at the heart of these terrorist groups that invaded our territory want to repeat it today?

This is a very dangerous thing. I will explain it: It is a high-risk facility, a nuclear facility, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, and if something happens there and a chain reaction follows, we cannot even imagine today the number of victims that these terrorists can cause, and that would be not only on the territory of our Ukraine.

The point is that if, God forbid, this cloud is moving in one or other direction, which only depends on the wind, then neither Europe, nor Turkey, nor other countries will want this to happen. And unfortunately, the world believes that nothing bad is happening and in my opinion are quite sluggish in responding to all these things.

The IAEA mission came [to inspect the plant], but no one is saying directly that it is terrorists who have captured the nuclear facility. And this is what the world should be talking about. [The international community] begins, let’s say, to discuss [variables] that are not related to this issue, [but the categorical criminality of this situation] is a fundamental thing [that needs to be discussed].

Do you remember when pirates captured ships? They were immediately repulsed, and here the whole world is simply watching how it will all end. Colleagues, friends, this is a very dangerous situation, I emphasize once again. This is the object of increased danger. And just close your eyes like that — arrive there, look around for 2-3 hours, turn around and leave, and then what?

We insist that there should be no terrorists there; [the plant] must be under the control of specialists of the country on [whose] territory it is located, and it is called Ukraine. Other specialists cannot be there, because it is our responsibility for this process. Therefore, remove the terrorist group from there.

VOA: The occupation of the Zaporizhzhia plant has been going on for the past several weeks. What is needed to make a decision to demilitarize it? What is Ukraine doing to achieve it and what are the prospects?

Danilov: The president of our country, the minister of foreign affairs of our country, everybody who is involved in this, is doing everything possible and impossible in order for this situation to stop. But I emphasize once again, the world must stop being sluggish in this matter, that is what we are talking about.

The U.N. should make this decision at its meeting. But what is actually happening is that if we look into the decision-making procedure, the Russian Federation has the right to veto. That is, the terrorist has the right to veto any decision. What else needs to be said about this? We do not know whether they will accept it or not. The thing is that for them, people are like, I apologize [for my language], some kind of junk. They don’t value human life.

This interview originated in VOA’s Ukrainian Service.

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Лідери ЄС зустрінуться у Празі 6 жовтня в рамках «Європейської політичної спільноти»

На зустрічі серед запрошених мають бути і представники від України

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У ЗСУ повідомили про понад 14 ударів по опорних пунктах та місцях з технікою військ РФ

У Генштабі Збройних сил України повідомили про оперативну ситуацію на фронті станом на вечір 7 вересня.

Згідно з повідомленням, підрозділи Сил оборони продовжують утримувати займані позиції та не допускають просування військ РФ по території України.

«Вдалося успішно відбити атаки російських окупантів в районах населених пунктів Питомник, Руські Тишки, Григорівка, Зайцеве, Майорськ, Миколаївка Друга, Соледар, Бахмутське, Бахмут, Долина та Опитне», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Повідомляється, що протягом доби авіація здійснила понад 14 ударів по опорних пунктах та місцях зосередження живої сили і техніки армії РФ.

«Підрозділи протиповітряної оборони наших військ на різних напрямках знищили два літаки Су-25, один гелікоптер Ка-52 та два БпЛА», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Російська сторона про втрати не повідомляє.

Триває сто дев’яносто шоста доба війни РФ проти України.

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Корпоративні права компаній з орбіти покійного депутата Ковальова передали в управління державі – ДБР

Повідомляється, що приватні товариства входять до групи компаній «4 канал»

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Putin, Xi to Meet in Uzbekistan Next Week, Official Says 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet next week at a summit in Uzbekistan, a Russian official said Wednesday.

The two leaders will meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on Sept. 15-16, Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told reporters.

“Less than 10 days from now another meeting of our leaders will take place at the SCO summit in Samarkand. We are actively preparing for it,” Denisov was quoted by Russia’s state news agency Tass as saying.

The visit to Uzbekistan, if it goes ahead, will be Xi’s first foreign trip in 2½ years. Russian media also reported Xi’s plans to visit Kazakhstan prior to the summit in Uzbekistan, but the reports have remained unconfirmed.

When asked about the Uzbekistan trip, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a daily briefing Wednesday: “On your question, I have nothing to offer.”

Putin and Xi last met in Beijing in February, weeks before the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine. The two presidents oversaw the signing of an agreement pledging that relations between the sides would have “no limits.” It remains unclear whether Xi knew at the time of Russia’s plan to launch what Moscow is calling “a special military operation” in Ukraine.

While offering its tacit support for Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, China has sought to appear neutral and avoid possible repercussions from supporting the Russian economy amid international sanctions.

Moscow and Beijing have increasingly aligned their foreign policies to oppose liberal democratic forces in Asia, Europe and beyond, making a stand for authoritarian rule with tight borders and little regard for free speech, minority rights or opposition politics.

The Russian military held sweeping military drills that began last week and ended Wednesday in the country’s east that involved forces from China, another show of increasingly close ties between Moscow and Beijing amid tensions with the West over the military action in Ukraine.

Even though Moscow and Beijing in the past rejected the possibility of forging a military alliance, Putin has said that such a prospect can’t be ruled out. He also has noted that Russia has been sharing highly sensitive military technologies with China that helped significantly bolster its defense capability.

 

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Albania Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Iran Over Cyberattack

Albania has ordered Iranian officials out of the country and severed diplomatic relations with Tehran following an investigation into a cyberattack that it concluded was Iranian “state aggression” when it hit the Adriatic coast nation in July.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced the expulsion of all Iranian diplomats and embassy staff and gave them 24 hours to leave.

Rama’s official website said there was “irrefutable” evidence that Tehran had backed “the act of a serious cyberattack against the digital infrastructure of the government of the Republic of Albania.”

“The government has decided, with immediate effect, to end diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Rama said in a video statement on his official website.

Rama said Tirana had already informed Iran of its decision in a diplomatic note to the Iranian embassy.

It also said it had shared its findings with fellow NATO members.

It said its “extreme measure” was “not at all desired but completely forced…[and] in full proportion to the seriousness and dangerousness of the cyberattack, which threatened to paralyze public services, delete systems, and steal state data, steal electronic communications within the government system, and fuel insecurity and chaos in the country.”

The U.S. condemned the cyberattack.  “The United States will take further action to hold Iran accountable for actions that threaten the security of a U.S. ally and set a troubling precedent for cyberspace,” said White House National Security spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

There was no immediate response from Iran to the accusations and cutoff.

Tirana and Tehran’s relations dramatically worsened after Albanian authorities agreed at the request of the United States in 2013 to accept around 3,000 members of an exiled group known as the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), whom Iranian officials regard as terrorists.

A team of U.S. cyber experts from the FBI were recently sent to neighboring Montenegro over what officials of that Balkan NATO member called a massive and coordinated cyberattack on its government and services.

A source from Montenegro’s National Security Agency (ANB) initially suggested Russian security services were suspected, although a Cuban group later claimed it was behind the attack.

VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report. Some information was provided by Reuters.

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Угорщина погодилася продовжити санкції ЄС проти Росії, але наполягатиме на винятках через пів року

Напередодні стало відомо, що Угорщина вимагає зняти санкції з Алішера Усманова, Петра Авена і Віктора Рашнікова

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Країни Балтії домовилися не пропускати громадян РФ через кордон – голова МЗС Латвії

Виняток зроблять для водіїв вантажівок, дипломатів та тих, хто в’їжджає з сімейних та гуманітарних причин

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Рустем Умєров очолив Фонд держмайна – Железняк

«За» проголосували 282 народних депутати, проти – жоден

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Обмеження цін на російський газ «не вирішить енергетичну кризу» – міністр промисловості Чехії

«Йдеться більше про ще один варіант санкцій проти Росії, ніж про поточне вирішення енергетичної кризи в Європі»

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Britain’s Liz Truss: Foreign Policy Hawk Facing Challenges at Home

Liz Truss officially became prime minister of Britain Tuesday, replacing Boris Johnson, who announced his resignation in July. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, Truss is seen as a foreign policy hawk and has pledged a tough line against Russia and China — but she first faces daunting challenges at home.

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Biden Says No to Appeals to Designate Russia a State Sponsor of Terror

President Joe Biden has made a final decision to not designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, the White House said Tuesday, saying that such a move could backfire and have unintended consequences for U.S. support of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.  

Biden’s one-word response — “no,” he said, when reporters asked him on Monday, “should Russia be designated a state sponsor of terrorism?” — ends months of serious, fervent discussions on Capitol Hill and in foreign capitals over whether to add Russia to the short, grim list that currently includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. 

Nations earn this label when the U.S. secretary of state deems that a foreign government is “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism.” The designation effectively renders the target a pariah, by imposing restrictions on U.S. assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; controls over items that can be used for both military and non-military purposes, and a raft of other restrictions.    

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre elaborated on the president’s thought process.  

“This designation could have unintended consequences to Ukraine, and the world,” she said. “For example, according to humanitarian experts and NGOs we have spoken to, it could seriously affect the ability to deliver assistance in areas of Ukraine. 

“Another one is it could drive critical humanitarian and commercial actors away from facilitating food exports to help mitigate the global food crisis and jeopardize the Black Sea ports deal that has already led to over a million tons of Ukrainian food exports reaching the world, including those in Horn of Africa. 

“It will also undercut unprecedented multilateral conditions that have been so effective in holding [Russian President Vladimir] Putin accountable and could also undermine our ability to support Ukraine at the negotiating table,” she said. “So, again, we do not think this is the most effective way to go, or the strongest path forward.”    

Team Yes  

Key among the proponents is Ukraine’s president, who renewed his appeal this week as inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed alarm over fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. 

In a report released Tuesday, agency chief Rafael Grossi warned that “any further escalation affecting the six-reactor plant could lead to a severe nuclear accident with potentially grave radiological consequences for human health and the environment in Ukraine and elsewhere.”  

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy used his nightly video address on Monday to hammer that point home.    

“Shelling the territory of the ZNPP means that the terrorist state does not care what the IAEA says, it does not care what the international community decides,” he said. “Russia is interested only in keeping the situation the worst for the longest time possible. This can be corrected only by strengthening sanctions, only by officially recognizing Russia as a terrorist state — at all levels.”  

And last month, the Baltic state of Latvia — formerly a member of the Soviet Union – levied the designation on Russia, with lawmakers voting overwhelmingly in favor of the move and urging other nations to follow suit.    

Closer to home, the strongest charge has come from Capitol Hill, where a bipartisan group of senators has been urging the administration to make the call, after passing a resolution in July.  

In the resolution, the senators argue that Russia promotes acts of international terrorism against political opponents and nation states, citing Russia’s aggression in Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine, Syria and remote corners of the world, under the aegis of the shadowy, Kremlin-backed mercenaries known as the Wagner Group.  

“To the Biden administration: You have the complete unanimous support of the United States Senate to label Russia a state sponsor of terrorism,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said. “Do it.”  

Such agreement, Graham added, is rare in this increasingly divided political landscape, saying, “I didn’t think there was an issue under the sun that could get 100 Senate votes, but we found it: Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism.”  

The resolution’s co-sponsor, Democrat Richard Blumenthal, defended the argument on moral grounds.  

“The designation of state sponsorship of terrorism puts Russia in a very small club — it consists of nations like Syria, Iran and Cuba that are outside the bounds of civilized countries,” he said. “They are pariahs. And that is exactly the designation that Russia deserves for what it has done in Ukraine as well as in other countries.”  

And, over the weekend, White House officials confirmed that Moscow is buying rockets and artillery shells from North Korea — a longtime member of the list — for use in Ukraine.  

“We expect Russia could try to purchase additional North Korean military equipment going forward,” an administration official told reporters.    

Team No  

The Kremlin opposes the designation, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling Russian television on Tuesday that “the very formulation of the issue is monstrous.”    

“And, of course, it is good that the U.S. president responded in this way,” he said. 

While Peskov said the Kremlin welcomed Biden’s firm “no,” he added that Moscow did not see that as a move to warm relations.  

“It can hardly be a reason for such assessments,” he said.  

U.S. officials point out that Russia is already sweating under the weight of massive U.S. sanctions.  

“The costs that have been imposed on Russia by us and by other countries are absolutely in line with the consequences that would follow from designation as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.    

And some analysts argue that Russia is low in the rankings when it comes to earning this dubious distinction.  

“By the current standard, numerous countries could be placed on the state-sponsor-of- terror list, such as Myanmar/ Burma, China, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, just to name a few,” wrote Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.  

“Several U.S. allies deserve to be on such a list, too: United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Turkey, and Egypt. So does Saudi Arabia, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed “Slice ‘n Dice” bin Salman, notable for murdering and dismembering his critics. The kingdom is more repressive domestically and has killed more people internationally than even Russia.”  

To summarize, he said: “The Putin regime is evil, but it is not a sponsor of terrorism.”    

Team It’s Complicated  

Just as the arguments on each side are fervent, so are the reasons that analysts — and the White House — say this issue is not black-and-white.  

For one, said Delaney Simon, a researcher at the International Crisis Group, the U.S. and Russia engage across a number of platforms, including the United Nations Security Council, where both nations hold permanent seats.  

“None of the other states that are designated state sponsors of terror have the same sort of role in the international system,” she told VOA. “That would make any kind of multilateral diplomacy really, really complicated. And you’ve seen from some Russian statements that President Putin is going to think of this, definitely, as an escalation and cause for a rupture in relations.”    

She added that such a designation would end Russia’s sovereign immunity from lawsuits from Americans claiming to be affected by Russian actions. Those cases could drag on for years and — as in the case of Sudan, a former member of the list — significantly delay a nation’s removal from the list.  

She also pointed out another element: to reverse the designation, something bigger and more important has to change.    

“There’s sort of a checklist of things that have to happen legally before the designation can be rescinded,” she said. “One of the things that needs to happen is that the state has to undergo a fundamental change in leadership and policy. It’s hard to see, well, a leadership change. Which, by the way, is something that the Biden administration has resisted calling for.” 

Finally, she said, if the goal is to end the six-month invasion of Ukraine, this may not help.  

“I think once you look deeply at the policy implications of this issue, it’s pretty clear that the designation wouldn’t help Ukraine,” she said. ussr

And so, for now, it’s a no. 

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Трасс прийняла запрошення Зеленського відвідати Україну

«Прем’єр-міністр сказала, що з нетерпінням чекає на співпрацю з президентом у найближчі тижні й місяці, і з радістю приймає запрошення незабаром відвідати президента Зеленського в Україні»

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У Білорусі правозахисницю засудили до 15 років колонії

До затримання у вересні 2020 року Марфа Рабкова разом із волонтерами «Вясни» вела спостереження за проведенням мирних зборів, а також брала участь у документуванні тортур та інших видів жорстокого поводження із затриманими учасниками акцій протесту

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LogOn: Augmented Reality Books Expand Storytelling

Augmented reality books add new dimensions to storytelling by including animation and sound. VOA’s Genia Dulot reports from Los Angeles, California.

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UN Nuclear Agency ‘Gravely Concerned’ About Safety of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Power Plant

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that it is “still gravely concerned” about the safety and security of Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia facility situated in the midst of intense fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces in southern Ukraine.  

“The current situation is untenable, and the best action to ensure the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities and its people would be for this armed conflict to end now,” the United Nations nuclear agency said in a new report after IAEA chief Rafael Grossi and a team of inspectors visited the site last week even as shelling raged near the plant. 

The IAEA said it found extensive damage at the plant but did not assign blame. Russia, whose forces have controlled the facility since early in its invasion, and Ukraine, whose engineers operate the plant, have each accused the other of shelling the facility. 

The IAEA inspectors said they found Russian troops and equipment inside, including military vehicles parked near turbines.

“Ukrainian staff operating the plant under Russian military occupation are under constant high stress and pressure, especially with the limited staff available,” the IAEA report said. “This is not sustainable and could lead to increased human error with implications for nuclear safety.”

The U.N. nuclear agency said, “Pending the end of the conflict and re-establishment of stable conditions, there is an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means.”

The agency called for “the immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone” around the Zaporizhzhia site, an apparent call for something approximating a demilitarized zone in the vicinity of the power plant. It’s a buffer that world leaders have previously asked for, but the warring countries have not implemented.

The IAEA said it is ready to immediately start consultations “leading to the urgent establishment of such a nuclear safety and security protection zone.”

The agency said, “Despite the unprecedented circumstances” at Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s three other nuclear power plants — Khmelnytskyy, Rivne and South Ukraine — “have continued operating safely and securely since the beginning of the conflict” on February 24.

The IAEA said Grossi later Tuesday planned to brief the U.N. Security Council on its inspection of the Zaporizhzhia plant. The IAEA said two of its experts remain at the plant to “observe the situation there and provide independent assessments.” 

Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company said Monday the Zaporizhzhia plant was disconnected from the electricity grid because of Russian shelling. 

“Today, as a result of a fire caused by shelling, the [last working] transmission line was disconnected,” Energoatom said in a statement on Telegram. 

Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said on Facebook that Energoatom was not able to make repairs while fighting raged around the facility. 

The IAEA said Ukraine informed the agency the backup power line itself was not damaged and that Ukrainian experts plan to reconnect power in the coming days. 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video message Monday that the nuclear plant has again been put in a situation where it is “a step away from a radiation catastrophe.”  

 

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

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