Daily: 20/09/2022

Байден номінував на посаду посла США в Росії Лінн Трейсі

Лінн Трейсі може стати першою жінкою, яка очолить американську дипмісію в Москві

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Фіктивні референдуми не змінять позицію Європи щодо України – президентка Європарламенту

Роберта Мецола: «Це також не змінить того факту, що саме Росія вторглася в суверенну Україну»

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Analysis: China’s Balancing Act on Russia’s War in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprise admission at last week’s summit in Uzbekistan that China had “questions and concerns” about what was happening in Ukraine offered the first clue that Beijing is increasingly worried about the war.   

“You’re talking about huge investments either invested by China directly or with China serving as contractors,” said China expert Victor Gao, citing damages to China-invested shipbuilding projects, iron and steel mills, highways and other infrastructure projects. 

What China may have thought would be a quickly fought “military exercise” has turned into a devastating war that has damaged tens of billions of dollars of China’s own investments in the country, driven up global energy and food prices that in turn hurts China’s economy, and complicates China’s balancing act of offering some support to Russia, but not too much, to avoid antagonizing the United States and Europe, according to observers. 

“China is very much damaged in terms of its extensive investment. This gives China more incentives to promote peace. China wants to see the war wrapped up as soon as possible,” added Gao, a professor at China’s Soochow University and vice president of the Center for China and Globalization.  

China’s balancing act 

China has rejected Western calls to condemn the invasion and refused to join international sanctions against Moscow. 

Putin has relied on Beijing for trade in the face of Western sanctions. Based on Chinese customs data, overall exports from Russia rose by more than 50% from January to August when compared to the same period last year. 

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting last week with Putin at the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, Xi affirmed that “China is ready to work with Russia in extending strong support to each other on issues concerning their respective core interests,” reported China’s state news agency Xinhua. The report also stated Xi “emphasized that China will work with Russia to deepen practical cooperation in trade, agriculture, connectivity and other areas.” 

But China seems to stop short of circumventing sanctions. 

“We have not seen the Chinese provide any material support to Mr. Putin for the war in Ukraine. And we haven’t had any indications that they are violating sanctions,” said John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the U.S. National Security Council (NSC), in a September 16th interview with VOA.     

The US factor 

China cannot afford to distance itself from Russia due to increasing tensions between Beijing and the United States.  

“The Russo-China relationship is postulated vis a vis the U.S.-China relationship,” said Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. “If the U.S.-China relationship is getting worse, Russia and China will warm up further. At the moment, the U.S.-China relationship [is] not doing well, so it’s only natural the Russia-China relationship will warm up.”  

At the beginning of September, China joined Russia’s military drills in Russia’s far eastern region. 

“China’s got choices to make. And as we’ve said many times before, we would clearly prefer that the choice they make is to condemn what Mr. Putin is doing in Ukraine … and make clear these concerns that they apparently have about what he’s doing there,” Kirby said in his VOA interview.   

“We’re going to continue to keep the lines of communication open with Beijing, as we must. There are issues of disagreement, clearly, between the United States and China, but there’s also areas where we have said we can, and we should, cooperate on,” said the NSC spokesman. 

Beijing’s considerations 

Reliance on Russia as a geopolitical partner, however, is increasingly presenting a dilemma for Beijing, especially given its stance for peace. 

“I don’t think China will go all out to try to make Russia its really close strategic ally,” said Oh. “Except for its military prowess, it’s nothing much to speak of. Its economy is equivalent to one of the more well-to-do provinces in China, perhaps Guangdong. You might as well have India on your side.”  

Observers expect China to continue to stay the course, refraining from giving outright support to Russia, while calling for an end to the war 

“China is both a friend of Russia as well as a friend with Ukraine. China does have conversations with Russia on one hand and Ukraine on the other hand. … Lots of these things can be done more constructively behind the scenes than in the limelight,” Gao said.   

Central Asia opportunity 

As Russia’s war against Ukraine continues, China’s influence in Central Asia seems to be growing, as reflected by last week’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Uzbekistan, Xi’s visit to Kazakhstan and deals signed with other Central Asian countries.  

“Of course, China all along wanted to build an oil pipeline through Central Asia, but because of Russia’s opposition, the plans could not be carried out,” said Simon Chen, a political science professor at National Taiwan University. “But now, China’s plans are closer to being realized.”  

The Central Asian countries link China to the West and are crucial in helping Xi achieve his Belt and Road Initiative — building a modern-day Silk Road to easily transport oil and natural gas to China, as well as send China’s products to Europe and other parts of the world.  

“In Central Asia, China will perhaps benefit [from the Ukraine war], but overall, its economy suffers because of inflation in agricultural goods, high wheat and oil prices. To China, the war is not what it wants,” said Chen. 

Last week, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed a deal for a feasibility study to build a long-awaited railroad that would pass through the three countries to Europe, bypassing sanctioned-plagued Russia. 

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Canada Seen Unlikely to Cut Ties With British Monarchy

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, several nations that have long had a British monarch as their head of state are pondering charting a new course to become republics. In the Americas, this includes Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and the Bahamas, following the decision by Barbados to shed the monarchy earlier this year. Republicanism has also been on the rise in Australia, where a vote on leaving the monarchy could be held in coming years, according to some experts.

But what about in Canada, a culturally diverse nation with a substantial proportion of French speakers? Observers say the process for abolishing the monarchy in Canada would be nearly impossible to launch in the short term.

“Abolishing the monarchy would require a feat of political maneuvering that has rarely been seen throughout the years, requiring unanimous agreement among the House of Commons, the Senate and all of the provincial legislatures,” wrote Amanda Connolly from Canada’s Global News, in a September 18 article about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ruling out such an effort in the near future.

Canada’s Indigenous people, who long suffered under colonialism and continue to experience its aftereffects to this day, nevertheless issued several statements of condolences to the British people after the queen’s death.

While not calling for the abolition of the monarchy, Indigenous leaders have expressed concern that King Charles III could be less likely to support them in the process of reconciling the colonial past.

French Canadians are seen as less enamored with the monarchy than many of their English-speaking compatriots. French Canadians trace their history back to the colonization of what is now Canada by France before the British conquered French-held lands and expelled many French-speaking inhabitants.

Robert Lacey is a British historian who wrote The Crown: The Inside History.

“Most English-speaking Canadians will probably accept King Charles as their new head of state,” Lacey told VOA. “But whether French Canadians welcome him seems less certain.”

“French Canadians are generally most indifferent or negative toward the monarchy,” said Philippe Lagasse, who teaches international affairs at Ottawa’s Carleton University, speaking with VOA. “This reflects the fact that the monarchy has come to be associated with assimilation, the historical oppression of the French population and, most importantly, a modernizing impulse that accompanied Quebec’s Quiet Revolution in the 1960, which saw the [Catholic] church’s influence greatly diminished and Quebec nationalism rise.”

But despite significant pockets of resistance to the monarchy in Canada, Lagasse sees no easy path to ending it.

“The monarchy will endure in Canada as long as it lasts in the United Kingdom,” he said. “The process for ending the monarchy in Canada is so onerous … that the only plausible path to a republic is if the United Kingdom becomes a republic and forces a change on Canada.”

Asked what leaders in Ottawa might think, Lagasse noted, “The reaction is muted at the moment. A lot will depend on the kinds of decisions that the king makes about his role and the Crown’s presence in the realms. If the king courts controversy, that will cause concern. At the moment, though, it is too early to tell.”

Political scientist David Johnson of Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia said whether or not to retain the monarchy is a topic of discussion.

“Some Canadians said, ‘We don’t get to vote on this? We don’t get a say in what happens?’ The answer is no, we don’t get a say in this,” Johnson told VOA. “The monarchy is the natural default mode to the Canadian constitution. If we want to change that we have to rip out the hardware and software and put in new hardware and software.”

He added that republicans outnumber monarchists but that many Canadians are indifferent.

“The problem for the republican movement is to mobilize and work toward a constitutional amendment and that is difficult,” Johnson said. “There has never been a prime minister or premier who came to power on an abolition platform, not even [in] Quebec.”

“The ascension of King Charles III to the throne does not change anything for Canada,” said Vismay Buch, a University of Toronto undergraduate student with an international relations focus. “He will be following the centuries-old tradition of the British Monarch being the Canadian Head of State.”

A poll in April found two-thirds of Canadians viewed Queen Elizabeth II favorably but that 51% did not favor Canada continuing as a constitutional monarchy.

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Білому дому відомо, що Путін може готуватися до мобілізації – Салліван

«Як і його плани з фейкової анексії, це відображає невдачі Росії в Україні»

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Лукашенко доручив розпочати підготовку Білорусі до оборони «за нормами воєнного часу»

При цьому він заявив, що Білорусь «збирається захищати свою батьківщину», а не «воювати в Україні»

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Суд призначив «слузі народу» Трухіну 49,6 тисяч грн застави у справі про спробу підкупу поліції

Санкція статті, яку інкримінують Трухіну, передбачає до 4 років позбавлення волі

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Opposition Leader: Belarus Not ‘Appendix to Russia’

Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is attending this year’s United Nations General Assembly as a member of an unnamed European country’s delegation. In an exclusive interview with VOA, Tsikhanouskaya said Belarus should not be viewed as an “appendix to Russia,” even though “Vladimir Putin wants to drag it back to the Soviet era.” In New York, Igor Tsikhanenka has more.

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With Griner in Jail, WNBA Players Skip Russia in Offseason

Brittney Griner’s highly publicized legal woes in Russia and the country’s invasion of Ukraine has the top WNBA players opting to take their talents elsewhere this offseason.

For the past few decades, Russia has been the preferred offseason destination for WNBA players to compete because of the high salaries that can exceed $1 million and the resources and amenities teams offered them.

That all has come to an abrupt end.

“Honestly my time in Russia has been wonderful, but especially with BG still wrongfully detained there, nobody’s going to go there until she’s home,” said Breanna Stewart, a Griner teammate on the Russian team that paid the duo millions. “I think that, you know, now, people want to go overseas and if the money is not much different, they want to be in a better place.”

Griner was arrested in February, then detained and later convicted on drug possession charges amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Griner was sentenced last month to nine years in prison.

Now, Stewart and other WNBA All-Stars, including Jonquel Jones and Courtney Vandersloot — who also have made millions of dollars playing in Russia — are going elsewhere this winter. All three played for Ekaterinburg, the same Russian team as Griner. That club won five EuroLeague titles in the past eight seasons and has been dominant for nearly two decades with former greats DeLisha Milton Jones and Diana Taurasi playing there.

Nearly a dozen WNBA players competed in Russia last winter and none of them are heading back this year.

After the World Cup tournament, Stewart is going to Turkey to play for Fenerbahçe. Top players can make a few hundred thousand dollars playing in Turkey, much less than their Russian salaries. Playing in Turkey also allows Stewart to be closer to her wife’s family in Spain.

“You want to have a better lifestyle, a better off-the-court experience, and just continue to appreciate other countries,” Stewart said.

Like Stewart, Vandersloot also isn’t headed back to Russia, choosing to play in Hungary where she obtained citizenship in 2016.

“I am Hungarian. I thought it would be special since I haven’t played there since I got the citizenship,” Vandersloot said.

The 33-year-old guard said a lot would have to change before she’d ever consider going back to Russia to play even though she has many fond memories of the Russian people.

“The thing about it is, we were treated so well by our club and made such strong relationships with those people, I would never close the door on that,” she said. “The whole situation with BG makes it really hard to think that it’s safe for anyone to go back there right now.”

Jones will be joining Stewart in Turkey, playing for Mersin. The 6-foot-6 Jones said she would consider going back to Russia if things change politically and Griner was back in the U.S.

The Griner situation also is weighing heavily on the minds of young WNBA players.

Rhyne Howard, the 2022 WNBA Rookie of the Year, is playing in Italy this winter — her first overseas experience. She said was careful when deciding where she wanted to play.

“Everyone’s going to be a bit cautious seeing as this situation is happening,” she said.

It’s not just the American players who are no longer going to Russia. Chicago Sky forward Emma Meesseman, who stars for the Belgium national team, had played in Russia with Stewart, Jones and Vandersloot. She also is headed to Turkey this offseason.

The WNBA has also been trying to make staying home in the offseason a better option for players. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said at the WNBA Finals that top players could make up to $700,000 this year between base salary, marketing agreements and award bonuses. While only a select few players could reach that amount, roughly a dozen have decided take league marketing agreements this offseason.

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Кулеба і ОП прокоментували наміри окупантів провести «референдуми» на захоплених територіях

Радник голови ОП Подоляк назвав намір провести «референдуми» відповіддю Росії на контрнаступ Збройних сил

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Голова МЗС Угорщини закликав ЄС не говорити про нові санкції проти Росії

«ЄС повинен… припинити згадувати 8-ий пакет санкцій, припинити визначати заходи, які лише ще більше поглиблять кризу енергопостачання»

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США заохочують Азербайджан і Вірменію повернутися до переговорів

Зустріч міністрів закордонних справ Вірменії та Азербайджану відбулася на полях щорічної Генеральної асамблеї ООН

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Росія передислокувала підводні човни з Севастополя до Новоросійська – британська розвідка

«Гарантії базування ЧФ Росії в Криму, ймовірно, були однією з мотивацій Володимира Путіна для анексії півострова в 2014-му. Зараз безпека бази прямо підірвана агресією Росії проти України»

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На війну проти України могли бути завербовані майже 6 тисяч російських в’язнів – ЗМІ

За інформацією видання, до деяких колоній вербувальники від «ПВК Вагнера» почали приїжджати повторно

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У Меджлісі закликали жителів Криму не збирати ніяких речей на зиму для військових РФ

Журналісти довідалися, що на армію РФ від пересічних громадян хочуть отримати термобілизну, шкарпетки і спальні мішки

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VOA Interview: Belarusian Opposition Leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

Responding to a series of questions on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, told VOA that the democratic world should not be “putting the [Alexander Lukashenko] regime and the Belarusian people into one basket.” 

“Here, it’s very important to distinguish the Belarusian regime that became accomplice to Russian invasion of the war (in Ukraine) and the Belarusian people, who are against this war and who are supporting Ukrainians in this situation,” said Tsikhanouskaya in a sit-down interview with VOA’s New York Bureau Chief Ihar Tsikhanenka. 

Tsikhanouskaya, who is attending the United Nations General Assembly as a member of an unnamed European country’s delegation this week, said that Belarus should not be viewed as “appendix to Russia,” even though [Russian President] “Vladimir Putin wants to drag it back to the Soviet era.” 

Lukashenko, who has been in power in Belarus since 1994, has faced a domestic legitimacy crisis since declaring himself the winner of a sixth presidential term in a disputed 2020 election. Rights activists and opposition politicians, as well as the United States and European Union, allege the poll was rigged. 

A crackdown by the Lukashenko regime has pushed most opposition politicians to leave the country fearing for their safety.

Last month, Lukashenko, a close ally of Putin’s who allowed Russia to stage attacks on neighboring Ukraine from Belarus, wished Ukrainians peaceful skies and success “in restoring a decent life.” He said current disputes could not destroy centuries-old good relations between the Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

VOA: It’s been exactly a year and two months since our last interview in Washington, D.C. And so much has happened in the world since then, particularly in the region that you come from. But for now, tell me, please, what are you doing here at the United Nations General Assembly? What are your plans? What’s your agenda?

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: So, first of all, it’s very important to install a good relationship with the U.N. and we understand that the representatives of the regime of Belarus presented here and for us, for democratic society, for democratic movement of Belarus it’s very important that our voice is also heard. So it’s important for us to be here to promote our alternative messages and for two years, we see that the U.N. is trying to do a lot toward Belarus, but much more can be done. And our task is to promote our ideas, to discuss how else the U.N. can be helpful in our situation. 

VOA: So you’re saying Lukashenko’s government is represented here by certain people and who are you representing here? 

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I’m representing here the Belarusians who are fighting against a dictator in our country. For two years, we are fighting with this cruel machine, with this regime under repressions and tortures, hundreds, thousands of people are in prisons. Hundreds of thousands had to flee Belarus because of the repression. But we want to build another country. People don’t agree to live under dictatorship anymore. And we are making steps towards a democratic Belarus. 

VOA: And who invited you here? 

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: We are a part of one of the European countries’ delegations and I have to say that a lot of countries want to help us, to help girls and boys to be held in different organizations. So I will not name what country helped us this time. But, you know, there are a lot of them who want to help.

VOA: You will have a lot of what’s called bilats, so bilateral meetings with heads of state, their cabinet members. What are your main top two, three messages to the world leaders?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: You know, Belarus now is discussed together with Ukraine because Belarus is beside Ukraine. Belarus became collaborators in this war and here it is very important to distinguish the Belarusian regime that became an accomplice to Russian invasion of the war and Belarusian people who are against this war, who are supporting Ukrainians in this situation. So don’t put the regime and the Belarusian people into one basket. Second is that Belarus and Russia are two different issues, because in Belarus there is an understanding that we are not part of the regime. We are not part of Russia. We are not like an appendix to Russia and our two cases have to be approached differently. And the third one, maybe, is that the U.N. and democratic countries have to be braver and consistent in this situation, in the situation of Belarus and of course Ukraine. Consistency is our weapon, unity is our weapon. And I understand that there was some fatigue about the Russian situation and moreover there is some fatigue about the Ukrainian situation, but we do not have the right to give up now. You know it’s easy to say that look, almost everything is done. What else can we do? You don’t have the right to give up at this very crucial moment so be with us, stay with us, help as much as you can. And together we have to bring our country to democracy.  

VOA: The last two years have been particularly hard for you. Your own husband has been imprisoned by the Lukashenko regime only because he dared to run against Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for the last 28 years, and your husband was sent to jail for 18 years. It must be tough for you and it speaks volumes about your courage that you stepped in and ran instead of your husband. And it looks like, according to some, to most monitors of the elections, you beat Alexander Lukashenko. And in retrospect, do you have any regrets about this period over the last two years? What are your regrets? What are your joys? In other words, what makes you proud of what you’ve accomplished so far?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I’m proud by Belarusians. You know, I did what I could in these circumstances, but it’s all Belarusians who sacrifice their comfort, their life, their families, some freedoms, you know, but they understand that they want to live in another country. They want to change our country for democratic and the people are not given up and even every small step of the ordinary Belarusians contributes to these changes. So I think that we achieved a lot during these two years. We are staying united as never before. We managed to build a strong coalition of different democratic countries who are supporting us. We managed to revive the old media that had been ruined in Belarus. Of course, not everything is achieved, so thousands of political prisoners are still in prisons. We didn’t manage to split elites in Belarus. You can say that our strikes failed, but the fact that we are continuing is a huge advantage for us because we don’t have the right to give up now when people are still in prison. So we are continuing to create multiple points of pressure on the regime from inside the country, outside the country in order to make this regime understand that nothing is forgotten, nothing is forbidden. And we will fight this regime until we gain our goals.  

VOA: Speaking of people who are still in prisons, how often do you hear from your husband? Do you talk to him on the phone? Do you get a chance to receive mail from him?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: Actually, it’s very difficult to reach political prisoners and the only way, almost the only way, is to communicate through the lawyer. The lawyer visits my husband and the other prisoners, and we can send messages like this. In 2020 our prisoners got a lot of letters from people. Now, the regime doesn’t allow these letters to be delivered to them. So the regime wants our heroes in prisons to feel that they are abandoned, that everybody has forgotten about them, but it’s not so. We are continuing to work on the release of all of them. My letters are not delivered as well, but the letters of my children are delivered and the only way for my husband to see how the children are growing, that our younger daughter is starting to write letters. You know it’s very important for him to see how they’re growing up. 

VOA: I know you have two kids, two little kids. One is becoming a teenager, I believe. How are they taking this? Do they understand who their mother is? Do they understand where their dad is?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: My daughter is 7, the son is 12 and, yes, they do understand. They saw their daddy the last time two years ago. It was more difficult for me to explain to my younger daughter what’s going on, why your daddy is not telling fairy tales every evening to her. But they know who Lukashenko is, that he’s putting people in jail because they don’t want change in our country. On the primitive level, they realize. But my task is to make everything possible so that my children don’t feel that their daddy is somewhere apart because we are watching movies with him. The pictures of my husband are everywhere in my house for my children to feel the presence of their daddy in their life. 

VOA: You touched a bit in one of your previous answers on the Ukraine topic. Obviously, I’d like to talk to you extensively about this. Are you in touch with President Voldoymyr Zelenskyy on what’s going on there on the ground?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: We haven’t met with the President Zelenskyy, and we can really understand the cautiousness about meeting with me. But we understood more before the start of the war because they didn’t want to spoil the relationship with the regime because they were afraid that war could start only from our territory. But after the 24th of February, when from Belarusian territory in the south had been launched, everything became understandable, but still there was no open communication with President Zelensky, but my team is working with his advisers, with the [Ukraine Foreign Minister] Dmytro Kuleba only working level and we see that they understand Belarusians. They know that we want to contribute to their victory, but still there are some obstacles that, you know, that influence our relationship.

VOA: A lot of people in the West and, obviously, especially in Ukraine view Belarus and Belarusians as co-aggressors because as you mentioned earlier, Alexander Lukashenko offered its territory for [Russian President] Vladimir Putin to attack Ukraine. How did it make you feel when you found out about it? And how do you think most Belarusians feel about it?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I think that it’s a huge shock for the Belarussian people that Belarus became quite aggressive in this war, especially in the war against Ukrainians, because for many, many years and we had a wonderful relationship as nations, and our soldiers, for example, they don’t want to go and fight against Ukrainians. And it was one of the reasons why our army wasn’t sent to Ukraine to fight alongside the Russians, because the regime knew about the mood among soldiers, that they would definitely defect, change sides, but will not go and, you know, fight to preserve Lukashenko and Putin. They don’t want to fight with Ukrainians. So, of course, people are scared with the war, of course, but they are against the war and they showed this very clearly. And for the first time since 2020, a huge rally took place in Minsk, in this anti-war inspiration. And on this day, about 2,000 people have been detained. So now not only are you an enemy of the regime, not only if you are against the regime, but also if you are against the war.  

VOA: Over the course of the last two years, you’ve been meeting with a lot of European leaders and their cabinet members and understand regional politics rather well by now. Why do you think Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: As I understand, he doesn’t see Ukraine or Belarus as separate independent and sovereign countries. He wants to track us back to this Soviet era when countries are dependent on the Kremlin, but we are independent countries. He wants to show his empire ambitions, he doesn’t understand that the Belarusians and Ukrainians already formed as nations. They cherish their identity. They cherish their language. So we want to move forward. We don’t want to be part of the Soviet Union again. And the difference between Ukraine and Belarus is that Lukashenko was like an accomplice of Putin, and he gave our territory up without any fight, he became cooperant, it was easy for him, and the Ukrainians like are fighting for the territories. So if in 2020 the democratic movement won, maybe this war wouldn’t even happen.  

VOA: Given what happened on February 24th, what Vladimir Putin has done, in one sentence, who is he to you today?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: He’s the person who doesn’t respect nations, who can sacrifice with the lives of his own people, with the lives of persons in the Ukrainian to gain his ambitions and that’s it. He doesn’t think about people, he doesn’t think about international law, he wants to, you know, to leave something huge behind him, but he’s failed.

VOA: Like a legacy?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: Yeah. But he’s leaving destroyed countries. He’s destroyed [the] fates of people.

VOA: Speaking of that, what is preventing Vladimir Putin from doing the same to your country?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I think that it’s the presence of the regime there. Lukashenko is very convenient for Putin, you know, he fulfills all the orders, he for sure doesn’t control any military people inside our country, military sites. So Lukashenko, Putin just needs such a person in this regime, and he knows that Lukashenko is dependent on him. Without Putin’s support, Lukashenko wouldn’t survive in 2020. I mean politically survive.

VOA: Some say that Ukraine’s victory over Russia might be the best chance of Belarus becoming a democratic society. Would you agree with that?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I would say that the victory of Ukraine will give us the opportunity to use this chance, because we understand that when Ukrainians win, it means that Putin is weak, hence, Lukashenko is weak, and we will have to uprise again. We will have to use all the organizations that have been launched since 2020, to use all our political power and human power, you know, to get rid of the regime. For sure the fate of Belarus and the fate of Ukraine are interconnected. But I have to say that you can’t solve only the Ukrainian crisis, because our countries are interconnected, and without free Belarus, there will be no safety for Ukrainians as well. There will be a constant threat to Ukraine and to our Western neighbors. So Belarus is part of this crisis and this crisis has to be solved.  

VOA: At the Belarus Democratic forum that was held last month in Vilnius, some criticized you for being too “indecisive.” They said that the Belarusian democratic forces have to become more aggressive. They have to become, in a way, more violent and assertive. Some even suggested that you have to create your own alternative army to overthrow the Lukashenko regime because clearly peaceful protest hasn’t worked. It’s been over two years now. What are your thoughts on that?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I still believe in the peaceful decision of the recent crisis. We need more support. We need more assistance from our democratic neighbors. But I understand why these voices rise. Some people are disappointed with the democratic forces, but that’s why we decided to create and organize this United Transitional Cabinet where the representative on military affairs appeared. I understand that military people don’t hear me because I’m not an authority for them. I can’t speak the same language with them. But this person who became representative, his ex-colonel, he knows how to speak, he knows how to proceed, he will get the proper words, you know, to communicate with military officers inside the country. Of course, he helps those military volunteers who are fighting in Ukraine at the moment. I really don’t think that it’s possible to create an alternative army. We don’t have our own territory and no one country will allow us to create an army on their territory, but to train people, to train partisans, can be crucial in one moment.  

VOA: If you don’t believe in the military resolution of the problem, why did you get that person into your Cabinet that is a colonel of the army, retired colonel?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: Like the military part can be a part of changes, but it’s not the only source of changes in our country. And now our military volunteers in Ukraine, the fact that this person is communicating with law enforcement in Belarus, you know, in the army creates stress for the regime. They understand that there can be a crisis or split among the army, that they are not loyal to the Lukashenko regime. So it’s like steps forwards, but, for example, the same partisans are also very dangerous for the regime. So they can play their role in changes. But I will try to do everything possible so that this role will not be main.

VOA: Let me ask you about your former colleagues, your former allies, people who were originally with you and it looks like you no longer communicate with them. They criticize you, they say that you stole the limelight, the spotlight, and you do not share the resources with them and you are holding on to power. What is your response to those people? Is that true?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I hear the voices that criticize me, but I think that we have to be united. … I didn’t do anything against, you know, Belarusians, and all this gossip about resources, about power, you know it’s not true. We are welcoming all the people who want to work together with us or separately but in one direction. So let’s be together. It’s not necessary to be in one building, at one table, but when you see that you are working in the direction of getting rid of the regime, everybody’s welcome. And it’s very painful to see that the opposition structures are organized in opposition and democratic forces because our task is not to quarrel, is not to fight with each other, our task is to fight with the regime, but politics are unpredictable.

VOA: Have you made any mistakes in the last two years that you really regret?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: Maybe I made mistakes before my participation in the presidential election. My mistake is that I, the same or similar to Belarusians who weren’t involved in politics, I also thought, “What can I do? How can I help?” and lived my own life. As for political mistakes, you know, history will judge us and maybe something could be done better. Who knows? But we were in certain circumstances and, you know, at that moment, I thought that these were important steps. But, anyway, we can’t change anything, so we have to look forward.  

VOA: Let’s transfer from that historic perspective here back to New York, to the United Nations General Assembly. What is your message to the Belarusian people?  

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: It’s difficult times for our country. We have to protect the very existence of our country, the independence and sovereignty of Belarus. But I ask you to stay brave as you have been brave for all these months. I ask you to support each other, to support those who are in a worse position than you are at the moment. And I know that we are not giving up, that we will not give up. I am so proud of you, that you and we understand the responsibility for our country at last. That we woke up at last. And I, from my side, I will do everything possible to be a voice here in our international agenda, but I need all of you and we need each other, and let’s stay together. Let’s stay united and I’m sure we will win.  

VOA: Can you please share your personal emotions at this moment? How does it make you feel to be here at the United Nations General Assembly and represent your people?

TSIKHANOUSKAYA: I’m proud that I can represent such wonderful, hard-working, and brave persons who are not giving up, who know the price of democracy, and who have the right to remind democratic countries that it’s so easy to lose democracy and so difficult to gain it. And on behalf of all Belarussians, I ask you to be with us, no matter how long it will last. And I’m proud. I’m proud to be here as part of a free Belarus. 

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Bread Prices Jump 18% in EU, Eurostat Says as War in Ukraine Weighs

The price of bread rose by almost a fifth in the European Union in August as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both major exporters of grains and fertilizers, continued to disrupt global markets and headline inflation accelerated.

Global wheat prices have surged since February, after the war halted grain exports from the Black Sea for months and restricted fertilizer shipments as Russian producers lost access to Baltic Sea ports they had used to ship ammonia, a key ingredient in nitrate fertilizer.

The average price of bread in the EU was 18% higher in August 2022 than a year earlier, data from the bloc’s statistics office Monday showed, the highest rise since December 2017 when Eurostat began compiling the statistic.

In August 2021, the average price of bread rose 3% year-on-year, Eurostat said.

Hungary and Lithuania saw the highest annual changes in average bread price in August, with increases of 66% and 33% respectively.

The countries with the lowest average increases were France at 8%, and the Netherlands and Luxembourg which recorded a 10% rise each.

Bread prices have risen consistently in the EU this year, from an average of 8.3% in February, when Russia launched what is calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Combined prices of bread and cereals increased by 16.6% in August, their highest rise since at least January 1997.

Euro zone inflation hit a record high of 9.1% in August, Eurostat confirmed Friday, driven by sharply higher energy and food prices.

It said 2.25 percentage points of the year-on-year change came from food, alcohol and tobacco.

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Уряд Угорщини подав до парламенту законодавчі пропозиції, щоб не втратити фінансування ЄС

В Угорщини є час до 19 листопада, щоб вирішити проблеми, на які вказує Брюссель

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Turkish Airlines відмовилася навчати російських пілотів – The Insider

Експерти вважають, що за турецьким центром з підготовки пілотів неминуче підуть і інші

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