Daily Archives

24 Articles

Posted by Ukrap on

Литва припиняє транзит низки російських товарів до Калінінградського анклаву 

Під заборону ЄС потрапили майже 50 відсотків усіх вантажів, які доставляють із регіонів Росії

Posted by Ukrap on

Російські війська тричі обстрілювали Сумщину, пошкодили цивільну інфраструктуру – Живицький

За даними голови ОВА, внаслідок обстрілів нихто з місцевих не постраждав

Posted by Worldkrap on

UN Weekly Roundup: June 11-17, 2022 

Editor’s note: Here is a fast take on what the international community has been up to this past week, as seen from the United Nations perch.   

UN human rights chief won’t seek second term 

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Monday that she will step down when her term finishes at the end of August. The news was welcomed by China rights activists, who have criticized Bachelet for failing to more forcefully criticize Beijing’s incarceration of nearly 2 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang, including during her recent visit to China. 

Activists Welcome UN Rights Chief’s Decision to Step Down 

Truce eases Yemen violence, but hunger remains grave threat 

U.N. officials said Tuesday that a temporary truce in place across Yemen since April 2 has eased some hardships, but the country is still facing a dangerous food crisis in which 19 million people are going hungry. 

Hunger Stalks Yemenis as Truce Eases Some Hardships 

UK cancels controversial deportation flight to Rwanda  

On Tuesday night, Britain canceled its first deportation flight to Rwanda after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided there was “a real risk of irreversible harm” to the asylum-seekers involved. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has been among critics of the plan. “This is all wrong,” Grandi told reporters Monday. 

UK Cancels First Flight to Deport Asylum Seekers to Rwanda 

In brief    

— The heads of six U.N. humanitarian agencies called Thursday on the U.N. Security Council to renew the mandate allowing aid agencies to bring critical food and medical supplies into northwestern Syria from Turkey. The resolution authorizing the cross-border aid operation is due to expire on July 10. Russia has previously opposed renewing it and forced the council to gradually go from four crossing points to just one. The U.N. officials said the operation provides life-saving assistance to 4.1 million Syrians trapped in nongovernment-controlled areas. Damascus would like to see the cross-border operations end, saying all aid distribution should be through the government from inside the country. The U.N. has said such cross-line distribution is insufficient but would like to see it expanded. 

 

— Senior U.N. officials continue to work with Kyiv and Moscow on getting some 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain blocked at a port in Odessa to international markets to ease the growing global food crisis. The drop in Ukrainian grain has particularly hurt parts of the Middle East and Africa and has dramatically driven up operating costs for the World Food Program. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters Friday that alternative routes and methods are being sought, “but certainly they are much less efficient than using big ships through the ports.” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday at the U.N. that Washington is looking at helping Ukraine build temporary silos along its border to prevent Russian troops from stealing grain and to make space for the upcoming winter harvest.  

— The head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, concluded her post this week. In a farewell statement, she said that when she accepted the job two years ago she could not have imagined the Afghanistan she is now leaving. Lyons said she is heartbroken, especially for the millions of Afghan girls who have been denied their right to education and for the talented women told to stay at home by the Taliban authorities. Her replacement is expected to be named soon. On June 23, the Security Council will hold its regular meeting on the situation in Afghanistan.  

Quote of note     

“We have not seen a single genocide or Holocaust, or anything of that nature, that has happened without hate speech. People do not recognize that what Hitler did with his Ministry of Propaganda that was headed by [Joseph] Goebbels, that really was hate speech at the highest level you can imagine. Official hate speech.”  

— Alice Nderitu, U.N. Special Adviser on Genocide, in remarks to reporters Friday ahead of the first International Day for Countering Hate Speech on June 18.  

What we are watching next week  

Monday, June 20, is World Refugee Day. The U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said this week in its Global Trends report that the war in Ukraine has pushed global displacement to over 100 million. Watch more here:  

World Refugee Day: More than 100 Million People Seek Safety Worldwide 

 

Posted by Worldkrap on

Attacks, Threats Add to Pressure for Azerbaijan’s Media

News that police in France arrested two men suspected of traveling to the city of Nantes to kill an Azeri blogger will be of little surprise to journalists in Azerbaijan.

Attacks, especially over reporting that is critical of authorities, are common, and a lack of bringing perpetrators to justice makes matters worse, journalists and analysts say.

Reporting on crime, corruption, human rights abuses or alleged wrongdoing by the government can result in attacks or pressure, with orders appearing to come from high up, some journalists told VOA. A culture of impunity adds to the risks.

Last month, an assailant attacked journalist Ayten Mammadova in her apartment building in the capital, Baku. A man followed the journalist into an elevator on May 8, held a knife to her throat and told her to stop reporting on a court case.

The assailant didn’t say which case he was referring to, but Mammadova believes it is related to her coverage of a trial of a man accused of the kidnap, rape and killing of a 10-year-old girl.

Phoned threat

“I also received a threatening call on my landline, because I am one of the few journalists who have recently done research and written articles on this incident,” she told VOA. “I think there are certain forces that do not want the truth behind this incident to be revealed.”

The freelance journalist has been critical of the investigation and legal proceedings.

The man on trial said in court that he was not involved and had confessed after being tortured for four days, a claim the prosecutor general’s office denied.

In the case in France, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said police on Sunday arrested “two suspected hit men” about 90 km from where outspoken Azeri blogger Mahammad Mirzali lives.

The blogger’s address was in their GPS system and a photo of him was found in one of the suspect’s phones, RSF reported.

Mirzali, who lives in exile, has survived two knife attacks. RSF said he receives thousands of threatening messages via social media.

Legal protection

A lack of action in bringing perpetrators to justice increases the risk that other journalists will be attacked, said Khadija Ismayilova, editor-in-chief of Toplum TV.

“The atmosphere of impunity in the country sends a message to everyone that anyone can target journalists. Anyone can attack journalists. In some cases, the source of these attacks comes directly from above,” she told VOA. “People are targeted because they criticize the president and his family members and reveal things they want to keep secret.”

Shahin Hajiyev, executive director of the Najaf Najafov Foundation, a media development fund, told VOA that sooner or later all journalists are subjected to pressure if they seriously cover crime, corruption, human rights abuses or any other kind of wrongdoing by government agencies.

“This practice has been going on in Azerbaijan for a long time,” the director said. “There are certain topics, there are certain classes of people that you are forbidden to criticize or give negative information about. A journalist who violates this will be punished.”

‘Not based on fact’

Elshad Hajiyev, head of media and public relations at the Interior Ministry, which oversees law enforcement, told VOA such claims are baseless.

“All these allegations are subjective considerations, not based on fact. [The ministry] focuses on taking all measures in accordance with the law,” Hajiyev said.

The spokesperson added that Azerbaijan takes measures to bring perpetrators to justice.

Under pressure

Journalists and human rights activists have been pressured for years, according to independent journalist Natig Javadli.

“Journalists work in dangerous conditions,” Javadli said. “The attacks on not only Ayten Mammadova but [others] show that journalists are not safe.”

Ismayilova believes better communication between officials and the press is the way forward and that the president should lead by example and “be open to the press and tolerate criticism.”

“[Officials] must restore communication with journalists who can act as a bridge between them and society,” Ismayilova said.

Impunity in attacks must be addressed, the journalist said, adding, “No one who attacks free speech should go unpunished.”

One problem is that journalists do not have adequate access to necessary legal assistance, said lawyer and media rights expert Alasgar Mammadli.

“The state provides free legal assistance only to those accused of crimes. In addition, direct legal assistance is available only at the request of legal entities and with their own funds. In this regard, legal assistance in Azerbaijan is very limited to the media by nongovernmental organizations,” Mammadli said.

‘Guaranteed’ safety

On the other hand, Mushfig Alasgarli, chair of the Trade Union of Journalists, said the state guarantees the safety of journalists at a high level.

Media security is “guaranteed by law” he told VOA, adding that several mechanisms exist to ensure safety.

“Any incidents involving journalist organizations or journalists are recorded, acted upon, and solidarity is created around that journalist for the issue to be resolved positively,” he said.

Pressure on independent journalists, including those in exile, and inaction on attacks against the media are among the obstacles to press freedom in Azerbaijan, said RSF.

The media watchdog ranks it 154th out of 180 countries where 1 is freest on its Press Freedom Index.

This article originated in VOA’s Azeri Service.

Posted by Worldkrap on

UK Government Approves Extradition of Assange; He Plans to Appeal

The British government on Friday ordered the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to face spying charges — a milestone, but not the end of the decade-long legal saga.

WikiLeaks said it would challenge the order, and has 14 days to lodge an appeal.

Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the order authorizing Assange’s extradition to the U.S., where he faces charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of a huge trove of classified documents.

The decision was referred to Patel after a British court ruled in April that Assange could be sent to the U.S., where he faces trial on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse. American prosecutors say Assange unlawfully helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks later published, putting lives at risk.

The Home Office said in a statement that “the U.K. courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr. Assange,” and so the government had to approve the extradition.

“Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the U.S. he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health,” it said.

Supporters and lawyers for Assange, 50, argue that he was acting as a journalist and is entitled to First Amendment protections of freedom of speech for publishing documents that exposed U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. They argue that his case is politically motivated and that he cannot get a fair trial in the U.S.

“Today is not the end of the fight. It is only the beginning of a new legal battle,” said Assange’s wife, Stella Assange. She said the U.K. decision marked “a dark day for press freedom and for British democracy.”

“Julian did nothing wrong,” she said. “He has committed no crime and is not a criminal. He is a journalist and a publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job.”

A British judge approved the extradition in April, leaving the final decision to the government. The ruling came after a legal battle that went all the way to the U.K. Supreme Court.

A British district court judge had initially rejected the extradition request on the grounds that Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions. U.S. authorities later provided assurances that the WikiLeaks founder wouldn’t face the severe treatment that his lawyers said would put his physical and mental health at risk. Those assurances led Britain’s High Court and Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling.

Journalism organizations and human rights groups had called on Britain to refuse the extradition request. Assange’s lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in jail if he is convicted in the U.S., though American authorities have said any sentence is likely to be much lower than that.

Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said Friday that extraditing Assange “would put him at great risk and sends a chilling message to journalists the world over.”

“If the extradition proceeds, Amnesty International is extremely concerned that Assange faces a high risk of prolonged solitary confinement, which would violate the prohibition on torture or other ill treatment,” she said. “Diplomatic assurances provided by the US that Assange will not be kept in solitary confinement cannot be taken on face value given previous history.”

Assange has been held at Britain’s high-security Belmarsh Prison in London since 2019, when he was arrested for skipping bail during a separate legal battle. Before that, he spent seven years inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Sweden dropped the sex crimes investigations in November 2019 because so much time had elapsed.

In March Assange and his partner Stella Moris, who have two sons together, married in a prison ceremony.

Posted by Worldkrap on

Biden Says Major Economies Must Hasten Climate Change Efforts, Improve Energy Security

U.S. President Joe Biden called on China and other major economies Friday to redouble their efforts to combat climate change and improve energy security, warning that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had sharpened the need for urgent action.

At the third virtual gathering of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) under his presidency, Biden urged countries to accelerate moves to cut methane emissions, adopt ambitious targets for zero-emission vehicles and work to clean up global shipping.

He also called on countries to spend a collective $90 billion to speed commercialization of clean technologies, and to develop new fertilizers that cut agricultural emissions and boost food security.

“Russia’s brutal and unprovoked assault on the state of Ukraine has fueled a global energy crisis and sharpened the need to achieve long-term reliable energy security and stability,” Biden told leaders at the virtual forum.

Biden said it was critical to work together to mitigate the fallout from the war, which has driven up prices worldwide for food and energy.

Friday’s meeting is the largest gathering of world leaders on climate change before the global climate conference known as COP27, to be held in November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The White House said Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi would announce during the conference a joint effort to build climate resilience in Africa.

The countries that make up the MEF account for roughly 80% of global economic output and global greenhouse gas emissions.

Several countries were expected to join with Biden’s initiatives, while other countries would announce new 2030 emissions targets, the White House said, but did not name them.

‘Very Bright Light’

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and efforts by Western nations to isolate Moscow with sanctions have driven energy prices sharply higher and exposed Europe’s huge dependence on Russia for about 40% of the natural gas used to heat its homes and generate electricity.

The crisis has underscored the importance of decarbonizing transport, rethinking fertilizer and improving energy security, a senior U.S. official said, adding it had cast a “very bright light on where the solutions are, and what it takes to get there.”

Biden said the United States would join with major gas producers and consumers to launch a “global methane energy pathway” that would provide fresh technical and financial resources to mitigate methane in the oil and gas sector, while working to eliminate routine gas flaring no later than 2030.

Washington planned to spend $21.5 billion on large-scale demonstration projects to achieve net-zero emissions and would urge other countries to chip in to reach the total $90 billion in estimated investment needs, one of the officials said.

Biden, who last year signed an executive order mandating that half of all light-duty vehicles sold in the United States be zero-emission by 2030, urged other nations to follow suit.

The United States and Norway also would launch a green shipping challenge for COP27 to encourage governments, ports and cargo owners to come up with concrete steps toward full decarbonization no later than 2050, White House officials said.

Finally, Biden noted the impact of the war in Ukraine on the global food system, and he set a goal of raising $100 million in new funding for development of alternative fertilizers in time for COP27.

Also participating in the forum will be leaders from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, the European Union, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Norway, Nigeria, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Britain, Vietnam and France, the White House said.

Posted by Worldkrap on

Pioneering Russian Journalist Sells Nobel Peace Medal for Ukraine

Russian journalist and Nobel Peace laureate Dmitry Muratov is auctioning his Nobel medal for Ukrainian refugees, distraught at the eradication of independent media in his country, where he says fewer and fewer people support Moscow’s military campaign.

Muratov is the bear-like co-founder and long-time editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper critical of the Kremlin that was itself established in 1993 with money from former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev’s Nobel Peace Prize.

For years it defied tightening restrictions on dissenting media, but in March it finally suspended its online and print activities after it became a crime—punishable by 15 years in jail—to report anything on the conflict that veered from the government line.

“My country invaded another state, Ukraine. There are now 15.5 million refugees … We thought for a long time about what we could do … and we thought that everyone should give away something dear to them, important to them,” Muratov told Reuters in an interview.

Auctioning his golden medal would mean he shared in some way the fate of refugees who had lost their mementoes and “their past,” he said.

“Now they want to take away their future, but we must make sure that their future is preserved … the most important thing we want to say and show is that human solidarity is necessary.”

Muratov’s medal is being sold by Heritage Auctions on June 20, World Refugee Day, with the support of the prize committee.

It had called the award to Muratov and Maria Ressa, a journalist from the Philippines, an endorsement of the right to free speech that was in jeopardy around the world.

Muratov dedicated his prize to six Novaya Gazeta journalists murdered for their work, among them some of the highest-profile critics of President Vladimir Putin.

Media clampdown

He lamented the lack of a free media, and the severity of the state’s crackdown on protest.

“The absence of real freedom of speech, of real exchange of opinions, of real freedom of expression is leading to the fact that people have no choice. They just have to believe what the state propagandists tell them,” he said.

“There are no free media outlets. Rallies are actually banned, including in the regions. For any statement, an administrative or criminal case is initiated.

“Independent journalism is impossible in modern Russia. Content delivery is possible, for example, through the YouTube platform. It is possible to deliver some content—alternative to the state view—through VPN services. But this is getting more and more difficult every day.

Nevertheless, he questioned research indicating that most Russians support the invasion.

“When they call you on the phone … and ask: ‘Do you support the actions of President Putin?’ or ‘Do you support the action of the Russian army?’ or ‘Do you support the military operation in Ukraine?’—how does the person respond, do you think?

Muratov believes that in reality, support for the war, often shown by a display of a ‘Z’ from the Latin alphabet, is dwindling.

“If you walk through the streets of Moscow now, you will see that there are practically no ‘Z’s left on the streets.”

Moscow says it sent troops into Ukraine to defuse a military threat and protect Russian-speakers from persecution, assertions that Kyiv and its Western allies say are a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war of acquisition.

“I see what people say to me in the streets,” Muratov said. “I see what our readers are writing, and I understand that it’s impossible to say Russia supports the invasion of Ukraine with one voice.”

He said even the Kremlin acknowledged that 25-30% of the population did not support the operation.

United leadership

But Muratov said those who believed change may occur in Russia as a result of a split in the elite were mistaken.

“The powers-that-be have never been so united, never been so monolithic. People in power have nowhere to go: not Europe, not America, they are not allowed anywhere else. They are here. They are here like the crew of a submarine with no escape. And of course, they are united around the president.”

He also questioned suggestions that Russians might turn against the authorities if their standard of living suffered from Western sanctions, saying they were more likely to evoke the “can-do” spirit of those who survived the privations of World War Two.

“Russia has arrived at the point where Russian President Putin will remain in power for as long as he sees fit—as he sees it, for the good of Russia. Whether he will be president or some kind of monarch, I don’t know. But the tendency towards absolutism is absolutely obvious.”

Asked how much he expected the medal to raise, Muratov said he had heard forecasts of $2 million or more, but had no real idea:

“The finale will be as unexpected for me as it is for you.”

Posted by Worldkrap on

FDA Authorizes 1st COVID-19 Shots for Infants, Preschoolers

U.S. regulators on Friday authorized the first COVID-19 shots for infants and preschoolers, paving the way for vaccinations to begin next week.

The Food and Drug Administration’s action follows its advisory panel’s unanimous recommendation for the shots from Moderna and Pfizer. That means U.S. kids under 5 — roughly 18 million youngsters — are eligible for the shots, about 1 1/2 years after the vaccines first became available in the U.S. for adults, who have been hit the hardest during the pandemic.

There’s one step left: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends how to use vaccines and its vaccine advisers are set to discuss the shots Friday and vote on Saturday. A final signoff would come from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Walensky said her staff was working over the Juneteenth federal holiday weekend “because we understand the urgency of this for American parents.”

She said pediatric deaths from COVID-19 have been higher than what is generally seen from the flu each year.

“So I actually think we need to protect young children, as well as protect everyone with the vaccine and especially protect elders,” she said.

The FDA also authorized Moderna’s vaccine for school-aged children and teens. Pfizer’s shots had been the only option for those ages.

For weeks, the Biden administration has been preparing to roll out the vaccines for little kids, with states, tribes, community health centers and pharmacies allowed to preorder millions of doses. FDA’s emergency use authorization allows manufacturers to begin shipping vaccine across the country. Vaccinations could begin early next week.

While young children generally don’t get as sick from COVID-19 as older kids and adults, their hospitalizations surged during the omicron wave and FDA’s advisers determined that benefits from vaccination outweighed the minimal risks. Studies from Moderna and Pfizer showed side effects, including fever and fatigue, were mostly minor.

“As we have seen with older age groups, we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement.

The two vaccine brands use the same technology but there are differences.

Pfizer’s vaccine for kids younger than 5 is one-tenth of the adult dose. Three shots are needed: the first two given three weeks apart and the last at least two months later.

Moderna’s is two shots, each a quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for kids under 6.

The vaccines are for children as young as 6 months. Moderna next plans to study its shots for babies as young as 3-months-old. Pfizer has not finalized plans for shots in younger infants. A dozen countries, including China, already vaccinate kids under 5.

Dr. Beth Ebel, professor of pediatrics at University of Washington in Seattle, said the tot-sized vaccines would be especially welcomed by U.S. parents with children in daycare where outbreaks can sideline parents from jobs, adding to financial strain.

“A lot of people are going to be happy and a lot of grandparents are going to be happy, too, because we’ve missed those babies who grew up when you weren’t able to see them,” Ebel said.

Posted by Ukrap on

Голова КМВА підписав окреме доручення про дотримання режиму тиші у Києві на час війни

У КМВА зазначають, що в умовах збройної агресії РФ та очікування ракетних ударів недотримання режиму тиші негативно впливає на психоемоційний стан киян

Posted by Ukrap on

Після візиту Шольца і Макрона до Києва прибув премʼєр Британії

Це вже другий візит Джонсона до України від початку масштабного вторгнення Росії

Posted by Ukrap on

«Час для цього рішення настав» – Кулеба про візовий режим з РФ

«Символічно, що рішення про візовий режим з РФ співпало в часі з оголошенням Єврокомісією рекомендації надати Україні статус кандидата в члени ЄС»

Posted by Worldkrap on

Trump Directed $250 Million in Donations to Leadership PAC 

Former U.S. President Donald Trump raised $250 million in donations in the weeks after the November 2020 presidential election for an organization ostensibly intended to fund court challenges in support of his false claims that the election was fraudulent. Instead, he directed that money to an unrelated political action committee, or PAC, according to congressional investigators.

In its second hearing about its findings, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol made the case that the former president knew that he had lost the election but continued raising money from his supporters by sending out appeals for donations to an Election Defense Fund.

The committee played recordings of depositions given by former employees of Trump’s campaign, one of whom said, “I don’t believe there is actually a fund called the Election Defense Fund.”

Another former Trump campaign staffer said the fund was simply a “marketing tactic.”

Money went to leadership PAC

The committee said some of the money Trump’s campaign raised in the weeks after the election went to paying down campaign debt and into the coffers of the Republican National Committee. A large amount also went to a new leadership PAC called Save America, which was formed three days after the election.

Under law, politicians with leadership PACs have broad latitude to spend the money they collect as they see fit.

Created in the 1970s, leadership PACs were originally intended to let political candidates raise money that they could use to support other candidates and political causes. But according to Robert Maguire, research director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), vagueness in the law has meant the PACs are often used for other causes.

“What they’ve become, in many cases, are essentially slush funds,” Maguire told VOA.

“We’ve had problems for years with members of Congress using leadership PAC money to pay for luxury hotel stays, private jet flights, rounds of golf and exclusive membership-only golf courses,” he said, all within the bounds of the law.

Spending connected to Trump allies

Amanda Wick, a senior investigative counsel with the Jan. 6 committee, said in a recorded statement that the new PAC “made millions of dollars of contributions to pro-Trump organizations.”

She said they included a $1 million contribution to the Conservative Partnership Institute, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ charitable foundation; $1 million to the America First Policy Institute, an organization employing “several former Trump administration officials”; $204,857 to the Trump Hotel Collection, and more than $5 million to Event Strategies Inc., the organization that managed Trump’s rally on the morning of Jan. 6.

“Throughout the committee’s investigation, we found evidence that the Trump campaign and its surrogates misled donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for,” said Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren, who serves on the committee.

Calling the contributions a “big rip-off,” Lofgren added, “Donors deserve to know where their funds are really going. They deserve better than what President Trump and his team did.”

Unethical but not illegal

Campaign finance experts say Trump’s solicitation of funds for a nonexistent Election Defense Fund, and subsequent direction of that money to his leadership PAC was unethical, but probably stopped short of outright illegality.

“There’s certainly a long list of examples of politicians and political committees stretching the truth or using inflammatory messaging in order to raise money,” campaign finance expert Brendan Fischer told VOA. “But I think what the Trump campaign was doing in the wake of the 2020 election brought it to another level.”

Fischer, an attorney and the deputy executive director at Documented, an investigative watchdog group, said donors were told their money was going to support a legal challenge.

“But in reality, the money raised went towards paying down the Trump campaign’s debt, funding the Republican Party and financing Trump’s newly created PAC, Save America. So, it was extremely messy. It went beyond the typical tenor of misleading fundraising appeals into something close to outright fraud.”

Maguire of CREW said there were “very clear” ethical problems with how Trump raised the money. But he said the fundraising effort was probably legal.

“These kinds of statements and fundraising appeals are pretty well lawyered,” he said, noting that the appeals appeared to contain fine print that left the Trump campaign the leeway to use the money as it saw fit.

Other groups focused on the ethical problems with Trump’s approach.

“It was grift, pure and simple, but on a massive scale,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, in a prepared statement. “Donald Trump was not content to just ignore the will of the American people and attempt to steal the 2020 election in a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy. He was determined to make a lot of money doing it.”

Trump comments

Trump did not comment on the $250 million the committee claims he raised after the election. But he issued a 12-page statement June 13 criticizing the committee, which he characterized as a “Kangaroo Court.”

“Seventeen months after the events of January 6th, Democrats are unable to offer solutions,” he wrote. “They are desperate to change the narrative of a failing nation, without even making mention of the havoc and death caused by the Radical Left just months earlier. Make no mistake, they control the government. They own this disaster. They are hoping that these hearings will somehow alter their failing prospects.”

Posted by Worldkrap on

European Commission Backs Ukraine’s EU Membership

The European Commission recommended Friday that Ukraine should be granted European Union candidate status.

“Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the country’s aspiration and the country’s determination to live up to European values and standards,” the EU’s Executive Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels.

The Executive Commission also approved the candidacy of Moldova, one of Ukraine’s neighbors, for membership in the bloc.

Ukraine and Moldova still face a lengthy process to achieve membership.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania visited Kyiv on Thursday in a show of support for Ukraine amid its battle to fend off Russia’s invasion.

“It’s an important moment. It’s a message of unity we’re sending to the Ukrainians,” Macron said. Air raid sirens blared as their visit began.

After the talks between the four and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the four signaled that Ukraine would be offered candidate status in the economic bloc.

“My colleagues and I have come here to Kyiv today with a clear message: Ukraine belongs to the European family,” Scholz said.

Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president who is now deputy head of the Kremlin Security Council, dismissed the European leaders as “connoisseurs of frogs, liver and pasta” and said their visit brought no benefit.

“Again they promised EU membership and old howitzers, slammed down some vodka and, like 100 years ago, took the train home,” he tweeted. “And that’s all good. It’s just that this doesn’t bring Ukraine any closer to peace. And the clock is ticking.”

But in his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said it was important for him to hear that the European leaders “agree the end of the war and peace for Ukraine should be as Ukraine sees them.”

He said Ukrainians will continue to fight for all of their land.

Military aid

The focus of the fighting remains the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, where Ukrainian forces say their troops are still holding out. Ukraine is also claiming some progress in taking back territory in the south.

Zelenskyy said winning the war depends on the West continuing to arm Ukraine.

“We appreciate the support already provided by partners; we expect new deliveries, primarily heavy weapons, modern rocket artillery, anti-missile defense systems,” he said after speaking with his European counterparts.

“There is a direct correlation: the more powerful weapons we get, the faster we can liberate our people, our land,” he said.

Macron promised faster deliveries of weapons, including six more truck-mounted artillery guns. In Brussels, NATO defense ministers from more than 45 countries discussed delivering weapons to Ukraine as well as fortifying the alliance’s eastern borders.

On Wednesday, the United States announced $1 billion more in military aid to Ukraine, Washington’s 12th and biggest tranche yet of weaponry and equipment intended to confront Russia’s slow but relentless advance on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at the White House the aid includes $350 million of equipment coming directly from the U.S. military, including 18 high-powered mobile long-range howitzers, 36,000 rounds of ammunition and 18 tactical vehicles to tow the howitzers, along with additional ammunition and other equipment.

Kirby said the remaining $650 million in aid, including coastal defense systems, radios, night vision devices and other equipment, will be purchased by the Pentagon from weapons manufacturers through a funding mechanism known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Kirby said the United States has provided more than $914 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion on Feb. 24, including an additional $225 million announced Wednesday by President Joe Biden. Biden said in a statement the new money will fund safe drinking water, critical medical supplies and health care, food, shelter, and cash for families to purchase essential items.

Even before Biden’s announcement of new military assistance, the United States and its allies supporting Ukraine had sent billions of dollars of weaponry and ammunition to assist Ukraine’s fighters.

But U.S. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided a grim assessment of the current battlefield situation on the sidelines of the Brussels conference, telling reporters that the Ukrainian military is suffering as many as 300 casualties a day, including 100 soldiers killed in action and 100-300 wounded.

“For Ukraine, this is an existential threat,” Milley said. “They’re fighting for the very life of their country. So, your ability to endure suffering, your ability to endure casualties is directly proportional to the object to be obtained.”

UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, said Thursday Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has contributed to pushing the number of people forced to flee their homes past “the dramatic milestone of 100 million.”

The agency said the situation in Ukraine has caused “the fastest and one of the largest forced displacement crises since World War II.”

“Either the international community comes together to take action to address this human tragedy, resolve conflicts and find lasting solutions,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said in a statement, “or this terrible trend will continue.”

National security correspondent Jeff Seldin and White House correspondent Anita Powell contributed to this report. Some material came from Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

Posted by Ukrap on

З початку тижня через обстріли військ РФ на Дніпропетровщині загинули шестеро людей

Найбільш постраждалою від війни є Зеленодольська громада, каже влада

Posted by Ukrap on

Евакуація з сєвєродонецького «Азоту» неможлива – Гайдай

Posted by Worldkrap on

Golden State Warriors Beat Celtics for NBA Finals Victory

The Golden State Warriors triumphed over the Boston Celtics on Thursday with a 103-90 victory in Game Six of the NBA Finals in Boston, marking the fourth time the Warriors have won the trophy in eight years.

The Warriors’ victory came just two seasons after finishing at the bottom of the league, following injuries to star players Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Curry and Thompson were at the top of their game Thursday, however, with Curry scoring 34 points, while Thompson scored 12 points on 5 of 20 shooting in the championship finale. The two players hugged each other at the final bell.

Draymond Green also contributed to the Warriors win with 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

The Celtics Jaylen Brown scored 34 points and teammate Al Horford scored 19 with 14 rebounds. Meanwhile, their Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum was held to 13 points on 6 of 18 shooting.

The Celtics last won the NBA title in 2008.

Posted by Ukrap on

Сили ППО збили російську ракету на Запоріжжі – влада

Posted by Worldkrap on

French, German, Italian, Romanian Leaders Visit Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania visited Kyiv on Thursday in a show of support for Ukraine amid its battle to fend off Russia’s invasion.

“It’s an important moment. It’s a message of unity we’re sending to the Ukrainians,” Macron said. Air raid sirens blared as their visit began.

The European Commission is considering whether to recommend Ukraine be granted candidate status for European Union membership. After the talks between the four and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the four signaled that Ukraine would be offered candidate status in the economic bloc.

“My colleagues and I have come here to Kyiv today with a clear message: Ukraine belongs to the European family,” Scholz said.

Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president who is now deputy head of the Kremlin Security Council, dismissed the European leaders as “connoisseurs of frogs, liver and pasta” and said their visit brought no benefit.

“Again they promised EU membership and old howitzers, slammed down some vodka and, like 100 years ago, took the train home,” he tweeted. “And that’s all good. It’s just that this doesn’t bring Ukraine any closer to peace. And the clock is ticking.”

But in his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said it was important for him to hear that the European leaders “agree the end of the war and peace for Ukraine should be as Ukraine sees them.”

He said Ukrainians will continue to fight for all of their land.

Military aid

The focus of the fighting remains the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, where Ukrainian forces say their troops are still holding out. Ukraine is also claiming some progress in taking back territory in the south.

Zelenskyy said winning the war depends on the West continuing to arm Ukraine.

“We appreciate the support already provided by partners; we expect new deliveries, primarily heavy weapons, modern rocket artillery, anti-missile defense systems,” he said after speaking with his European counterparts.

“There is a direct correlation: the more powerful weapons we get, the faster we can liberate our people, our land,” he said.

Macron promised faster deliveries of weapons, including six more truck-mounted artillery guns. In Brussels, NATO defense ministers from more than 45 countries discussed delivering weapons to Ukraine as well as fortifying the alliance’s eastern borders.

On Wednesday, the United States announced $1 billion more in military aid to Ukraine, Washington’s 12th and biggest tranche yet of weaponry and equipment intended to confront Russia’s slow but relentless advance on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at the White House the aid includes $350 million of equipment coming directly from the U.S. military, including 18 high-powered mobile long-range howitzers, 36,000 rounds of ammunition and 18 tactical vehicles to tow the howitzers, along with additional ammunition and other equipment.

Kirby said the remaining $650 million in aid, including coastal defense systems, radios, night vision devices and other equipment, will be purchased by the Pentagon from weapons manufacturers through a funding mechanism known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Kirby said the United States has provided more than $914 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion on Feb. 24, including an additional $225 million announced Wednesday by President Joe Biden. Biden said in a statement the new money will fund safe drinking water, critical medical supplies and health care, food, shelter, and cash for families to purchase essential items.

Even before Biden’s announcement of new military assistance, the United States and its allies supporting Ukraine had sent billions of dollars of weaponry and ammunition to assist Ukraine’s fighters.

But U.S. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided a grim assessment of the current battlefield situation on the sidelines of the Brussels conference, telling reporters that the Ukrainian military is suffering as many as 300 casualties a day, including 100 soldiers killed in action and 100 to 300 wounded.

“For Ukraine, this is an existential threat,” Milley said. “They’re fighting for the very life of their country. So, your ability to endure suffering, your ability to endure casualties is directly proportional to the object to be obtained.”

National security correspondent Jeff Seldin and White House correspondent Anita Powell contributed to this report. Some material came from Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.  

Posted by Worldkrap on

European Leaders Bear Witness to Ukraine War’s Horror 

Before the ceremony and the serious meetings about war, the European leaders witnessed the devastation wrought by Russia. A must. To understand Ukraine’s fight for survival, they had to see it themselves, with their own eyes.

The blown-up buildings. The smashed cars. And a message of hope spray-painted on a damaged building despite mounting Ukrainian deaths.

French President Emmanuel Macron spotted it immediately amid the ruins Thursday.

“Look at that, ‘Make Europe, not war,’ ” Macron said, pointing and reading the words out loud in English. “It’s very moving to see that.”

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania had a walking tour of Irpin, a small city that bore the full brunt of Russia’s failed assault on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in the first weeks of the war. The tour preceded a meeting in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who met them wearing army green pants, a matching T-shirt and sneakers.

If the four hadn’t fully grasped the scale of the horrors inflicted by the Russian invasion, ravages like the ones visited across much of Europe during World War I and World War II, then Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Premier Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis have no excuses now.

The leaders traveled by overnight train to the Ukrainian capital because flights aren’t possible in the wartime airspace where missiles, drones, fighter jets and helicopters have rained down death and destruction. Iohannis, whose country has been a key destination for Ukrainian refugees, traveled separately from the others.

Standing out in their suits and ties amid the heavily armed soldiers guarding them, they heard from a Ukrainian government minister how Russian soldiers fired indiscriminately at families in cars and how the blowing up of bridges had blocked escape routes, locking people in a furnace of death and fighting.

“How many cities do you have in such a situation?” Macron asked.

“Hundreds,” Oleksiy Chernyshov, Ukraine’s minister for communities and territories development, replied.

“They were shooting into the families, children, women” as they tried to flee the fighting, the minister said. “They were just deliberately killing people inside the cars.”

Macron wanted to understand how troops could do such things.

“How do you explain this?” he asked.

Chernyshov explained that some of the killers appeared to have been ordinary young soldiers and others appeared to have been special forces from the Caucasus region, which lies between the Black and Caspian seas. Moscow has deployed fighters from Chechnya, known for their ferocity, to Ukraine.

“We have hundreds of these cases, I am sorry to say. They are still going on,” he said.

The devastated buildings with their innards blown out that the chancellor, the premier and the presidents walked past are just a small fraction of the destruction in Ukraine after nearly four months of fighting.

The official said more than 12,000 apartment buildings have been destroyed so far. Add to that electricity substations, heating plants, roads, bridges, schools, churches.

“You name it,” the minister said. “A lot of things to be rebuilt.”

The leaders wanted to know more.

How was the Russian advance going now? Scholz asked.

Macron wanted to know whether additional forces were being massed in Belarus, posing another possible threat to Ukraine.

“We think yes,” Chernyshov said.

Macron was clearly moved. He called Irpin, which Ukrainian forces retook as Russian troops retreated from around Kyiv, “a heroic town.”

“This is where the Ukrainians stopped the Russian army,” he said.

The French leader said Irpin bore “the traces of barbary.”

“Massacres were carried out.” he said. “We have the first traces of what are war crimes.”

So now they know: With their own eyes.

Posted by Ukrap on

Поставки зброї будуть, але «не все можна озвучувати» – Резніков про підсумки саміту в Брюсселі

Голова Міноборони зазначив, що Україна не планує використовувати зброю для нападу на Росію чи захоплення її територій