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Posted by Ukrap on

«Права жінок є важливими для інтеграції в НАТО»: Левченко про заяву Арахамії щодо жінки-міністра оборони

За словами урядової уповноваженої з гендерної політики, українське суспільство «дуже позитивно» ставиться до призначень жінок на керівні посади

Posted by Ukrap on

До України прямують сім кораблів з вугіллям. Зеленський каже: нікого не залишать без світла і тепла

Днями Міністерство енергетики повідомило, що запровадило заходи, що дозволять зекономити до 500 тисяч тонн вугілля на місяць для стабільного проходження опалювального сезону

Posted by Ukrap on

Арестович про «Вагнергейт»: ДБР і СБУ мають сказати своє слово на повідомлення про «витік» даних

Після того, як парламентська ТСК оприлюднила висновки стосовно спецоперації щодо «вагнерівців», повинні спрацювати правоохоронні органи, які мають відповідні кримінальні провадження, зокрема ДБР і СБУ. Про це в ефірі Радіо Свобода зазначив радник голови Офісу президента Олексій Арестович.

«Я б хотів, щоб ДБР і СБУ сказали своє слово, де що куди і як витікало, якщо витікало», – сказав Арестович.

За словами Арестовича, якщо був витік даних щодо спецоперації, то він міг відбутися «десь на рівні слідства».

На запитання, чи міг хтось з найближчого оточення президента бути дотичним до «зливу» спецоперації, Арестович відповів, що «теоретично можна припустити». Проте, за його словами, висновки ТСК не змогли підтвердити витік даних з Офісу президента.

15 листопада голова Тимчасової слідчої комісії Верховної Ради України з розслідування можливого зриву посадовими особами операції із затримання членів приватної військової компанії «Вагнер» Мар’яна Безугла заявила, що ТСК не знайшла підтвердження витоку інформації про проведення спецоперації з української сторони. Комісія також не знайшла підтвердження того, що президент Володимир Зеленський давав особисті розпорядження керівництву Головного управління розвідки Міністерства оборони відкласти активний захід, повідомила Безугла. Іноземні спецслужби до цього заходу не залучали, наголосила вона.

 

Міжнародна група розслідувачів Bellingcat раніше анонсувала, що на початку цього тижня оприлюднить своє розслідування щодо затримання в липні 2020 року під Мінськом групи з понад 30 росіян, причетних до так званої «приватної військової компанії Вагнера».

8 вересня американський телеканал CNN оприлюднив розмову із трьома анонімними «колишніми високопосадовцями української військової розвідки», які розповіли, як працювали над підготовкою операції із захоплення членів російської приватної військової компанії «Вагнер».

Президент України Володимир Зеленський, коментуючи повідомлення про зірвану операцію, заявив, що «ідея такої операції – це була ідея, скажімо так, інших країн, точно не України».

29 липня 2020 року в санаторії під Мінськом затримали 33 російських громадян. Білоруська влада заявила, що підозрювала їх у підготовці заворушень напередодні виборів, а Олександр Лукашенко тоді назвав затримання росіян із «ПВК Вагнера» «надзвичайною подією» і заявив про «брудні наміри» Росії.

Україна просила видати їй затриманих бойовиків, бо вони брали участь у бойових діях на Донбасі і воювали проти ЗСУ.

Однак ніяких звинувачень їм офіційно так і не висунули, а через два тижні 32 із 33 затриманих повернули в Росію. Ще один залишився в Білорусі, бо має громадянство і цієї країни. 14 серпня Генпрокуратура Росії повідомила, що раніше затримані перебувають на російській території.

18 серпня у соцмережах і деяких ЗМІ, які посилалися на неназвані джерела, з’явилася інформація про те, що затриманих у липні в Білорусі російських бойовиків насправді планували затримати українські спецслужби, які понад рік вели операцію з розшуку і затримання причетних до злочинів на Донбасі, зокрема до збиття малайзійського літака рейсу MH17.

За даними ЗМІ, зокрема, видання «Українська правда», після того, як силовики доповіли про спецоперацію Офісу президента, вона була зірвана, ймовірно, через витік інформації.

Служба безпеки України назвала російським фейком й інформаційним «вкидом» повідомлення про участь СБУ у спецоперації із затримання бойовиків ПВК «Вагнера» в Білорусі і закликала «не поширювати чуток на користь недружньої держави».

Posted by Worldkrap on

Biden, Xi Come to Table with Clear Strategies

Monday’s virtual meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is their first face-to-face, president-to-president encounter since Biden took office: The two spoke by phone in February and September, and then-Vice President Biden met in person with then-Vice President Xi nearly a decade ago.

As these two very different men face off virtually, they are expected to discuss several weighty topics including cybersecurity, trade, nuclear non-proliferation, and the status of Taiwan.

The White House has downplayed this historic encounter, calling it a “meeting” instead of a “summit.” And analysts say they expect few, if any, concrete commitments to come of their anticipated three-hour talk Monday night.

That may be, analysts say, because each leader appears to be coming in strong with deeply held positions, entrenched personalities, and contrary strategies — all of which will, in effect, likely maintain the current status quo.

Biden’s Strategy

Historian Jeremi Suri said, despite the low expectations, this is an historic opportunity for both men. Biden, like his predecessors, is coming in with a clear strategy.

“This meeting between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, his virtual meeting, is on a scale with Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, Carter and Reagan and Bush and their interactions as we opened our relations with China in the late 70s, and 1980s,” said Suri, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

“And it’s as important as the meetings that occurred after Tiananmen in late 1989. In all of these meetings that I’ve mentioned, the president of the United States is doing two things. First, he’s trying to understand where China is going at a moment of great change. Is China going in a more belligerent direction? Is it going in a more international, cooperative direction,” Suri told VOA. “So, there’s the assessment of the foreign leader that the president is undertaking. And then second, there’s a very important imagery of this for the public around the world. Can these two countries work together? Is it possible for us to resolve our differences? Or are we headed, as some fear, toward more and more conflict?” 

The two countries’ economies have grown more deeply intertwined to their mutual economic benefit, but in recent years their political relationship has become more strained.

Disagreements over China’s trade practices and corporate espionage led to deeper rifts during the Trump administration which were worsened by arguments over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken admitted he sees “increasingly adversarial” aspects to the two countries’ relationship.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden will not shy away from frank conversations. 

“Throughout, President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns with the PRC,” she said.

Biden himself has struck a gentler tone. 

“I’ve made it clear: This does — this is competition; it does not have to be conflict,” he said last month. “There is no reason there needs to be conflict.” 

Xi’s Strategy 

Analysts say that Xi is looking to convince Biden to ease the diplomatic and economic pressure the United States has put on China. But as importantly, Suri said, Xi is looking to affirm his standing as a powerful figure on the world stage as he faces political pressure at home.

“I think the Chinese leader will be evasive,” he said. “I think Xi Jinping will not be direct. I think his approach with foreign meetings has generally been to present a very limited set of issues and to avoid conflict but also to avoid agreement he will try to show his people at home that he is an equal to the American president and that he can come into this meeting have serious discussions, but not come out having given any concessions at all.” 

Robert Daly, the director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, says the two will need to find a way to manage their differences.

“Both sides would like to avoid conflict,” he said. “But neither side is willing to back down or change its goals. And some of those goals and interests are simply incompatible, especially in the western Pacific. So, the leaders are searching for some sort of formula that meets each other’s minimal goals that will allow them to try to manage this competition, rather than have it escalate to conflict. We don’t yet know what that is.” 

 Punch-Counterpunch 

Both men have thrown punches into the air before this meeting, with Biden jabbing at Xi’s decision to not attend a major United Nations climate conference, saying: “they’ve lost an ability to influence people around the world.” Xi has not set foot out of China in nearly two years.

And China has counterpunched, with Xi’s foreign minister warning his counterpart ahead of talks that Biden should “stop sending wrong signals to the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.”

This is a delicate dance, said Suri. 

For Biden, he said, “there will be red lines that he will try to draw and he will mix carrots and sticks.” 

Daly notes that the two men are equally embattled domestically, which puts them in a relatively even position. That, he says, bodes well for compromise.

“Neither man, in my view, is in a position of strength vis a vis the other right now, they’re pretty equally balanced,” he said. “And that’s probably a good thing; that probably will help them manage this very competitive relationship as well as possible.” 

Jennifer Bouey, a Georgetown University professor and Tang Chair in China Policy Studies at the RAND Corporation, said there are opportunities for common ground, in fighting the pandemic and on climate change. Regardless, she said, the fact that they are both willing to meet at all is a positive step forward.

“There might be many places, many issues that will have conflicts, but starting the conversation, starting the dialogue, I think it’s the best solution,” she said.

Patsy Widakuswara contributed to this report.

 

 

 

 

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Minsk Blinks Ahead of EU Sanctions, But Crisis Not Over, Warn Diplomats

Belarus appeared to be moving Monday to de-escalate a long-running standoff with Poland and the European Union. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said he is preparing to start repatriating around 4,000 asylum-seekers camped out in freezing temperatures at the border with Poland.

“Active work is underway in this area, to convince people —please, return home,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by state news agency Belta. But he added the caveat: “Nobody wants to go back.”

Poland — as well as Lithuania and Latvia — have been militarizing their borders with Belarus to try to stop record numbers of migrants, mainly from Iraq, Yemen, and Syria, attempting to cross their borders. They accuse Lukashenko of weaponizing human desperation by using asylum-seekers as pawns in reprisal for the EU’s imposing sanctions on Belarus for last year’s disputed elections. The election was widely seen as rigged.

Lukashenko’s remarks came as European Union leaders advanced a raft of new sanctions against Belarus targeting officials, businesses and airlines involved in the organized ferrying of migrants from the Middle East and the Gulf to the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

The sanctions package contains two parts targeting migration facilitators and also those accused of human rights abuses inside Belarus, where Lukashenko has overseen a harsh crackdown on protesters challenging the legitimacy of his rule.

Belavia, the Belarusian state-owned airline, is high on the target list and the company’s existing and future aircraft leasing contracts would be impacted. But ahead of the imposition of new EU sanctions, the airline announced it would stop flying travelers from Dubai who have come from several other Middle Eastern countries. Iraq also announced it is planning a repatriation flight Thursday for Iraqis stranded on the Belarusian-Polish border.

Before a meeting in Brussels of EU foreign ministers to discuss fresh sanctions, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, “Today we are going to approve a new package of sanctions against Belarusian people responsible for what’s happening … and we are going to launch a framework in order to implement other sanctions to other people, airlines, travel agencies and everybody involved on this illegal push of migrants in our borders.”

Migrant crisis

Borrell told reporters he spoke with the Belarusian foreign minister telling him “The situation on the border was completely unacceptable and that humanitarian help was needed.”

Meanwhile, Poland is calling on NATO to intervene in the migrant crisis on the border with Belarus. “It is not enough just for us to publicly express our concern. Now we need concrete steps and the commitment of the entire alliance,” Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said Sunday. He said Poland, Lithuania and Latvia may request a meeting under Article 4 of the alliance’s treaty which requires member states to consult when the territorial integrity of another is being compromised.

Lukashenko has half-heartedly denied he has been seeking to needle or blackmail Europe by trying to fuel a migrant crisis, but said he was reacting to foreign pressure. “We are not blackmailing anyone with illegal immigration,” he told journalists in Minsk’s Independence Palace in August. “We’re not threatening anyone. But you have put us in such circumstances that we are forced to react. And we’re reacting,” he said.

In October alone, Poland recorded 15,000 attempted illegal border crossings. Last week, the country’s defense minister tweeted that his government had boosted the number of Polish troops sent to the border to 12,000, up from the 10,000 deployed earlier.

Katarzyna Zdanowicz, a spokesperson for the Polish Border Guard, said Monday that the situation at the border in the Kuznica area was “very tense and very dangerous.” She said migrants had been throwing stones at Polish border guards and “weapons” were being “pointed towards our servicemen” with a flare fired at them. Polish officials say Belarusian guards have been encouraging migrants to trample down obstacles and cut wire fences, handing them bolt-cutters.

In the last few days, several airlines and governments have scrambled to avoid being impacted by EU sanctions. Syria’s Cham Wings Airlines suspended flights between Damascus and Minsk Saturday. Turkey said it will ban Syrian, Yemeni, and Iraqi citizens from boarding flights from Istanbul to Minsk. The Iraqi government suspended direct flights between Iraq and Belarus last week.

But NATO officials and EU diplomats appear less than convinced that Lukashenko is sincere about ending the high-stakes standoff, which they see as part of a broader pattern of provocations ultimately authored and stoked by Moscow.

They point to the Belarusian leader’s comment that the migrants do not want to be repatriated. And they say Belarusian authorities Monday encouraged thousands of migrants sheltering in a migrant camp in the village of Bruzgi to join the throng already on the border by circulating a rumor in the camp that the Polish government was about to open the border.

Polish authorities sent out SMS messages saying the information was a “total lie,” and in the text messages: “Poland won’t let migrants pass to Germany. It will protect its border. Don’t get fooled, don’t try to take any action.”

Poland has accused the Kremlin of pulling Belarusian strings and Britain’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, has called on Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to intervene, saying he could bring an end to the migrant crisis with a phone call to his ally Lukashenko, who has also raised the prospects of shutting down a pipeline running through Belarus carrying natural gas to Western Europe from Russia.

Russia

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin rejected accusations that Russia is stoking the migrant crisis, saying Western powers had “a desire to place their own problems at somebody else’s door. It’s their own fault.”

But Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said the migrant crisis is part of a Kremlin strategy of hybrid warfare. He linked it with a Russian military build-up on the border of Ukraine, which is also prompting alarm in Washington, Kyiv, and European capitals.

“When we see migrants used as a weapon, when we see disinformation used as a weapon, when we see gas used as a weapon, and soldiers and their guns, these are not separate elements,” Ukraine’s top diplomat said in an interview with the Politico.eu website.

After meeting with Kuleba, NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg warned Monday that the Russian military build-up near the Ukrainian border has reduced the time the West will have to prepare for any incursion into Ukraine. He said the Western alliance needs to be “realistic” following warnings last week by US intelligence officials that Moscow could be planning a repeat of its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

“We see an unusual concentration of troops, and we know that Russia has been willing to use these types of military capability before to conduct aggressive actions against Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. Russia has dismissed talk of an invasion as “alarmist” and accuses Western powers of provoking tensions in the region, saying there has been an uptick in military activity by the West, mirroring the European and American claims against it.

Russia’s defense ministry said last week it had scrambled a Sukhoi SU-30 warplane to intercept a British spy plane, a British Boeing RC-135, when it neared Crimea.

Russia assembled around 100,000 troops near the Ukraine border earlier this year, saying they were there for training. Moscow later announced their withdrawal, but Ukraine claims most of the force remained in the region. Western and Ukrainian officials say more Russian units, including elite ones, have been deployed near the border, with some troop movements happening covertly overnight.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that Washington did not immediately know what to make of the massing of tens of thousands of Russian troops along the Ukraine border. “We’ve seen this before. … What does this mean? We don’t know yet, too early to tell,” he said.

“Everyone is wondering, what’s Putin going to do? I think he loves it when we ask those questions,” said David Kramer, who was assistant secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush. He said the Kremlin thrives on discomfiting the West by being unpredictable. 

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Britain Raises Terror Threat Level Following Taxi Explosion

Britain Monday raised its terror threat level from substantial to severe following an explosion Sunday in a taxi outside a hospital in the city of Liverpool,  Interior Minister Priti Patel announced.

A severe level means a terror attack is “highly likely.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also chaired an emergency meeting in response to the incident.

Authorities told reporters that the passenger in the taxi was carrying an improvised explosive device and asked to be taken to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, but that a motive or what caused the device to explode was not clear.

The passenger died in the blast, and police said Monday they believe they know his identity.

Since the explosion, police have arrested four other men in connection with the investigation.

The explosion injured the taxi driver, who received medical treatment but has been released. 

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters

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Trump Ally Steve Bannon Surrenders to FBI After Indictment for Contempt

Steve Bannon, the former adviser and longtime ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump, surrendered to federal authorities Monday in Washington after being indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. 

In the news video taken as he arrived at FBI headquarters, Bannon spoke into cameras as he walked into the building. The Reuters news service reported that he livestreamed his surrender. CNN reported that Brannon defiantly told reporters, “We are taking down the Biden regime,” just before entering the building. 

The U.S. Justice Department last week indicted the 67-year-old Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the U.S. House of Representatives’ select committee investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

One count of the indictment refers to his refusal to appear before the committee for a deposition, and the second for not providing documents in response to the committee’s subpoena.

If found guilty, Bannon faces a minimum of 30 days and up to a year in jail. He is expected to make an initial court appearance later Monday.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the indictments show the department’s “steadfast commitment” to ensuring that the rule of law is enforced. 

On Friday, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defied a similar subpoena from the committee.

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Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy Won’t Seek Reelection

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the longest-serving member of the Senate, said Monday he will not seek reelection in 2022 to the seat he has held for eight terms.

Leahy, 81, said he and his wife, Marcelle, have concluded that “it is time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter who will carry on this work for our great state. It’s time to come home.”

The announcement marks the end of a political era. First elected to the Senate in 1974, Leahy is the last of the so-called Watergate babies who were elected after President Richard Nixon’s resignation. During his nearly half-century in the Senate, Vermont shifted from one of the most solidly Republican states in the country to one of its most progressive.

That transition will be critical to Democrats who hope to maintain control of the Senate after next year’s midterm elections. With the chamber evenly divided, the party can’t afford to lose any of its current seats.

Leahy will leave the Senate with a record of promoting human rights, working to ban landmines and protect individual privacy rights. He has been a champion of the environment, especially of Lake Champlain, the body of water that separates northern Vermont from upstate New York.

By retiring and creating the first vacancy in Vermont’s congressional delegation since 2006, Leahy sets up a scramble to succeed him among a number of the state’s up-and-coming politicians.

Matthew Dickinson, a political science professor at Middlebury College, said a likely choice to succeed Leahy would be Democratic Rep. Peter Welch, the state’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dickinson said that Welch’s fundraising is going well and noted that the 74-year-old Welch has enjoyed consistently high approval ratings.

“I think he would be the logical candidate, and that would set up the musical chairs about who replaces him in Congress,” Dickinson said.

It’s uncertain which Republican Party candidates might seek their party’s nomination to run in the November election. It’s unclear whether Phil Scott, the state’s Republican governor who frequently criticized former President Donald Trump and has called for civility in politics, would be interested in running. 

Leahy is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the senior-most member of both the Senate Judiciary and Agriculture committees.

Earlier this year, Leahy, during his third stint as president pro tem of the Senate, presided over the second impeachment trial of then-President Donald Trump.

In September, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the longest-serving Republican senator, said he would seek an eighth term in 2022, giving the party more confidence in holding that seat as it fights to overtake the Democrats’ one-vote advantage thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ role as tiebreaker.

Leahy said he was proud of his service to his state and his work to make a difference for residents of Vermont.

“I know I have been there for my state when I was needed most. I know I have taken our best ideas and helped them grow. I brought Vermont’s voice to the United States Senate and Vermont values across the world,” he said.