Daily: 18/09/2023

Media Lawyers Call on UN to Help Secure Gershkovich’s Release

At the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Monday, the legal team for jailed American journalist Evan Gershkovich called on member states to prioritize his case.

Speaking to the U.N.’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, the lawyers and advocacy group Article 19 said that Gershkovich’s “wrongful detention violates his human rights under international law.”

The statement comes one day before a hearing scheduled in Moscow on Tuesday on Gershkovich’s appeal against the extension of his pretrial detention.

The Wall Street Journal reporter’s original pretrial detention was scheduled to expire on May 29 but has since been extended until November 30.

Ahead of that hearing, the U.S. ambassador to Russia visited Gershkovich in jail last Friday, marking the latest in what have been infrequent consular visits since he was detained on espionage charges in March.

The recent consular visit by Ambassador Lynne Tracy is only the fourth such visit granted since Gershkovich’s arrest nearly six months ago.

In a Friday post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the U.S. Embassy in Russia said, “He remains strong and is keeping up with the news —including his parents’ appearance at the UN this week.”

On September 13, Gershkovich’s mother, father and sister joined U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a press conference, where she called on Moscow to immediately release the journalist.

Thomas-Greenfield urged the international community and U.N. member states to “stand with us, to stand on the side of justice, and to condemn Russia’s flagrant violations of international law.”

During the press conference, Gershkovich’s family members urged global leaders to prioritize Gershkovich’s plight during the U.N. General Assembly, which is taking place this week in New York.

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not respond to VOA’s request for comment.

During the comments at U.N. headquarters on Monday, Article 19 and lawyers representing the Journal urged states to “bring Evan home and condemn Russia for attacking and jailing journalists for doing their jobs.”

The statement was delivered during the interactive dialogue with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at the 54th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

“Evan’s wrongful detention violates his human rights under international law, is an affront to the free press, and is designed to stop journalists from exercising their right of free expression,” the statement said. “Each day that Russia continues to wrongfully detain Evan is another day that Russia keeps him from writing the insightful, enlightening and independent journalism that has been the hallmark of his career.”

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Chinese, Russian Diplomats Open Talks in Moscow

China’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, hailed his country’s “strategic cooperation” with Russia as he opened talks Monday in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and other officials.

Wang’s visit to the Russian capital came after two days of talks over the weekend in Malta with U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. Wang’s talks with Russian officials are expected to last through Thursday.

In his initial remarks, Wang noted Chinese and Russian commitment to a “multipolar world” and a “more just world order,” terms Beijing and Moscow use to counter the perceived domination of world affairs by the United States.

“China and Russia, as leading global powers and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, bear special responsibility for maintaining global strategic stability and global development,” Wang said. “The more violent the unilateral actions of hegemony and bloc confrontation become, the more important for us to keep up with the times, show a sense of duty as great powers, and further fulfill our international obligations.”

He stressed that Russia-China cooperation “isn’t directed against anyone and isn’t influenced by any other countries.”

China has attempted to straddle a fine line in commenting on Russia’s war on Ukraine, saying that while Ukraine’s territory must be respected, the West needs to consider Russia’s security concerns about NATO expansion. Beijing has accused the U.S. of prolonging the fighting by providing arms to Ukraine, weaponry that the U.S. says Kyiv needs to fight Moscow’s forces.

Lavrov emphasized “the importance of Russian-Chinese cooperation for ensuring justice in world affairs, for ensuring a balance of interests in the processes that are developing in a variety of directions.” He said Russia and China will coordinate their efforts during this week’s U.N. General Assembly and other international forums.

Wang discussed Ukraine in his weekend meetings with Sullivan, although specifics of their talks were not released. Both sides described the talks as candid, substantive and constructive as they try to stabilize their rocky relationship and manage differences over security, trade, technology and human rights.

Some material in this report came from The Associated Press. 

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У МЗС України відкинули заяви про нібито залученість української сторони до підготовки заколоту в Грузії

«Нинішня грузинська влада вчергове намагається демонізувати Україну, аби вирішити свої внутрішньополітичні питання. Українська держава не втручалася, не втручається і не планує втручатися у внутрішні справи Грузії»

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Українська влада і народ мають вирішувати, чи будуть вибори в Україні – сенатор США Келлі

«Один із моїх колег закликав до виборів. Гаразд, я думаю, що це має бути рішення українського народу, українського уряду, українського президента. Ну, це моя думка»

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Комітет Ради підтримав пропозицію Зеленського щодо е-декларування

12 вересня пресслужба Зеленського повідомила, що він ветував закон

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Karabakh Gets Red Cross Aid Via Two Routes, in Step to Ease Crisis 

Badly needed food and medicines were delivered to Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday along two roads simultaneously, a step that could ease mounting tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had sent trucks via the Lachin corridor leading from Armenia into the mountain enclave from the southwest, and the Aghdam road from Azerbaijani government-held territory to the northeast.

“We are extremely relieved that many people reliant on humanitarian aid will finally receive much-needed support in the coming days,” said Ariane Bauer, ICRC’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia.

“People are queuing hours for bread,” she said, adding that she hoped aid convoys would continue “not just today but in the weeks to come, so that we can regularly get aid to those who need it.”

She said the deliveries had been made possible by agreement between the rival authorities.

Azerbaijan had virtually cut traffic from Armenia since December, alleging it was being used to smuggle arms. That triggered food shortages in Karabakh and aggravated tensions with Yerevan.

In a statement on Facebook, the Karabakh administration said around 23 tons of flour as well as medical and hygiene products had arrived in the region.

Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it had agreed to the ICRC shipments, and that it was ready to ensure the parallel use of the two roads.

Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but has an overwhelmingly ethnic Armenian population that broke from Baku’s control in the early 1990s after a war, relying on support from Armenia through the Lachin corridor.

In another war in late 2020, Azerbaijan recaptured swathes of land in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, establishing effective control over the corridor.

Baku has insisted that Karabakh must reopen an access route from Azerbaijani territory that has been blocked since 1988, and earlier this month a single Russian aid truck entered Karabakh along that road.

Monday’s delivery fulfilled the other side of an agreement between Yerevan and Baku, but wider tensions remain.

The two countries frequently exchange fire along their closed and heavily fortified border and Armenia has in recent weeks repeatedly accused Azerbaijan of massing troops around Karabakh, an allegation Azerbaijan has denied.

The Armenian state news agency Armenpress said on Sunday that one person in Karabakh had been wounded by firing from Azerbaijani positions. Azerbaijan accused Karabakh forces of building fortifications near the front line and said it had taken “urgent measures” to stop them from doing so.

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Ex-US Marine on Fighting in Donetsk: ’For Sure, I Was Going to Die’ 

American Bohdan Olinares was born in Ukraine and moved to the U.S. with his parents at age two, but when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, he immediately joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A former U.S. Marine, he spent six months in Ukraine and was almost killed in the Donetsk region. Anna Rice narrates his story. VOA footage and video editing by Bogdan Osyka.

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Головний дипломат Китаю відвідує Росію для переговорів із безпеки

Російські ЗМІ вважають, що поїздка Ван І також стане основою для того, щоб Путін незабаром здійснив візит до Пекіна

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«Тут нам нічого сказати» – у Кремлі прокоментували чутки про здоровʼя Кадирова

У середині вересня зʼявилися чутки про погіршення стану здоров’я та навіть смерть очільника Чечні Рамзана Кадирова

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Дуда і Зеленський у Нью-Йорку обговорять питання експорту українського зерна – Польське радіо

Після рішення Єврокомісії не продовжувати обмеження на імпорт української агропродукції Польща, Угорщина та Словаччина оголосили про односторонні обмеження

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Кабмін звільнив всіх заступників міністра оборони України

Була відправлена у відставку і заступниця міністра оборони Ганна Маляр

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Літак Кадирова вже три дні перебуває в Москві – ЗМІ на тлі повідомлень про стан здоровʼя глави Чечні

Чутки про те, що 46-річний Рамзан Кадиров серйозно хворий, періодично зʼявляються у ЗМІ з початку року

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«Російське суспільство виростило другого Гітлера» – Зеленський про Путіна

Президент України визнав, що український наступ розвивається повільно, але ЗСУ продовжують рух уперед

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Chechen Strongman Kadyrov Appears in New Video Amid Rumors of Ill Health

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov on Sunday released new video footage in which he smiled and recommended everyone practice sport, in an apparent move to quash speculation about his ill health.

Speculation has swirled for months that the hugely influential 46-year-old head of Chechnya accused by rights groups of running a “totalitarian regime” might be ill. 

On Sunday, two videos appeared on Kadyrov’s Telegram channel.

Wearing a raincoat, he was seen in the first video strolling in an unidentified location. He smiled but his face appeared puffy.

In the second video he was heard speaking Chechen and then saying in Russian, “Practice sport.”

“I strongly recommend that everyone who cannot distinguish the truth from lies on the internet go for a walk, get some fresh air and put their thoughts in order,” said the words accompanying the videos. “The rain can be wonderfully invigorating.”

It was not possible to immediately establish when the videos were recorded but the footage was published following unconfirmed reports on social media that the Chechen leader was in a coma.

Kadyrov has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine and his battalions have fought alongside regular Russian forces there.

The former rebel warlord turned Kremlin ally has long referred to himself as Vladimir Putin’s “footsoldier.”

Elected president of Chechnya in 2007, Kadyrov has ruled majority-Muslim Chechnya with widespread evidence of extra-judicial killings and torture of his opponents.

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First 2 Cargo Ships Arrive at Ukrainian Port Since Russia Pulled Out of Grain Deal

Two cargo ships arrived at one of Ukraine’s ports over the weekend, using a temporary Black Sea corridor established by Kyiv following Russia’s withdrawal from a wartime agreement designed to ensure safe grain exports from the invaded country’s ports.

Two Palau-flagged bulk carriers, Aroyat and Resilient Africa, docked Saturday at the seaport of Chornomorsk in the southern Odesa region, according to an online statement by the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority. The vessels are the first civilian cargo ships to reach one of the Odesa ports since Russia exited the grain deal.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said in an online statement Saturday that the two ships will be delivering some 20,000 tons of wheat to countries in Africa and Asia.

For months, Ukraine, whose economy is heavily dependent on farming, was able to safely export its grain from Black Sea ports under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to ensure safe shipments. But Russia withdrew from the deal on July 17, with Kremlin officials arguing their demands for the facilitation of Russian food and fertilizer shipments had not been met.

Following the withdrawal, the Russian defense ministry said it would regard any vessels in the Black Sea headed to Ukrainian ports as military targets.

Since then, Kyiv has sought to reroute transport through the Danube River, and road and rail links into Europe. But transport costs that way are much higher. Some European countries have balked at the consequential local grain prices, and the Danube ports can’t handle the same volume as seaports.

The interim corridor in the Black Sea, which Kyiv has asked the International Maritime Organization to ratify, was opened on Aug. 10 as United States and Ukrainian officials warned of possible Russian attacks on civilian vessels. Sea mines also make the voyage risky, and ship insurance costs are likely to be high for operators.

Ukrainian officials said the corridor will be primarily used to evacuate ships stuck in the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa and Pivdennyi since the war broke out. Kubrakov said Saturday that five vessels have since used the corridor to leave Ukrainian ports.

After tearing up the grain deal, Russia intensified attacks on the southern Odesa region, targeting its port infrastructure and grain silos with missiles and drones.

On Sunday, Ukraine’s Air Force Command reported another attack overnight in which the Odesa region was the main target. Russian forces fired 10 cruise missiles and six Iranian-made Shahed drones, the statement said. All drones and six missiles were downed, while the rest hit an agricultural facility in the Odesa region.

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CNN: Зеленський виступить із промовою перед сенаторами США

Президент України Володимир Зеленський збирається поспілкуватися з сенаторами Сполучених Штатів під час свого візиту до Вашингтону у четвер, повідомляє CNN.

Президент України виступить із промовою перед сенаторами.

Як повідомила минулого тижня телекомпанія CNN з посиланням на джерело з Республіканської партії, Зеленський не мав виступати на спільному засіданні Конгресу.

Цей візит відбудеться в той час, коли Конгрес розглядає запит Білого дому про додаткову допомогу Україні.

Зеленський також зустрінеться з президентом США Джо Байденом у Білому домі. Востаннє він перебував з офіційним візитом у Сполучених Штатах у грудні 2022 року, вперше залишивши межі України після початку повномасштабного вторгнення Росії.


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