Daily Archives

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With New F-35s, Remote Alaska Base Protects Most ‘Strategic Place in the World’  

Russia’s war in Ukraine is now in its fourth month, and more U.S. troops have headed to Europe to defend NATO’s eastern flank. But the growing threat from Russia and China has the U.S. looking not only east, but also to the far north. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb took to the Arctic skies of Alaska for an exclusive look at the U.S. military’s multibillion-dollar transformation of the remote Eielson Air Force Base. Camera: Mike Burke  

Posted by Ukrap on

У Росії оштрафували українку за розмову про вбивства мирних жителів російськими військовими

Російський суд вирішив, що українка своїми діями «навмисно підірвала авторитет, імідж та довіру» до армії Росії

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Milliyet: у Стамбулі наступного тижня може відбутися зустріч представників України, Росії, Туреччини та ООН

На сьогодні 22 мільйони тонн українського зерна неможливо вивезти через блокування чорноморських портів Росією

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Зеленський: дії Росії – аргумент для погодження сьомого пакета санкцій

«Росія має відчути постійне посилення тиску за війну, за свою агресивну антиєвропейську політику»

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Donbas Native Writes War Songs From Trenches

Pavlo Vyshebaba joined the military on the first day of the Russian invasion, having no combat experience at all. Then the well-known Ukrainian eco-activist headed straight to his native Donbas region. During brief calm moments on the front line, he wrote about what he was seeing and feeling. Lesia Bakalets has the story, narrated by Anna Rice.

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Africa Won’t Give Ukraine What It’s Asking For, Analysts Say

Analysts say the African Union (AU) is unlikely to offer Ukraine much support against Russia despite a passionate address Monday by Ukraine’s president.  Many African nations have historical ties to Russia and have refused to condemn its invasion of Ukraine.

In his speech to the African Union Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of holding Africa hostage by not allowing Ukrainian grain exports to reach the continent unless Western sanctions are lifted.  

Zelenskyy, speaking via videolink, also reminded AU leaders about Africa’s history of being colonized and said the continent should never support any attempt by one nation to colonize another. 

Abdi Rashid, chief Horn of Africa analyst for Sahan Research, a Nairobi-based research group, said that while many Africans have expressed support toward Russia because of the former Soviet Union’s backing of liberation movements against colonial powers and apartheid, Russia has changed.

“And I think Africans probably have not come to grips with the reality of modern Russia,” he said. “So, we need to modernize our views of Russia and understand that today’s Russia is essentially an imperial power, which is weakened and which wants to get back the kind of clout and supremacy it had.”

After the address, Moussa Fakit Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, tweeted that the African Union “reiterates its position of the urgent need for dialogue to end the conflict [in Ukraine] to allow peace to return to the region and to restore global stability.”

Hassan Khannenje, director of the Horn International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the response by the African Union was short of what Zelenskyy expected. 

Taking sides with Ukraine, Khannenje argues, would be seen very negatively by China, which has close relations with Moscow. He said Africa’s geopolitical calculations and relative power in the international system doesn’t allow it to make a decisive turn toward one of the two warring parties. 

“Because remember, there’s a question of Taiwan, which of course, the West supports Taiwan,” he said. “And so, in an event of a conflict, if you’re going to side with Ukraine today, it’s going to send a message — that in situations of conflict with Taiwan you’re going to take the side of the West – [for] which China might decide to turn off the taps of investment for you, because you’re not a reliable partner.”

Even though African countries are struggling with high inflation and the effects of drought and lack of Ukrainian imports, China has made it clear it will provide support to the continent only if Africa pushes back against what Beijing calls Western interference in the war, especially the sanctions aimed at the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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US Attorney General Visits Ukraine to Support War Crimes Prosecutions

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland visited Ukraine on Tuesday in a show of American support for Kyiv’s prosecution of Russian forces accused of war crimes and other atrocities.

Garland met with Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, who is spearheading the investigation of what Kyiv says are 16,000 reported war crimes since Russia invaded the country almost four months ago.

Russia has denied targeting civilians in Ukraine.

As he headed into the meeting, Garland told reporters, “I’m here to express the unwavering support of the United States for the people of Ukraine in the midst of the unprovoked and unjust Russian invasion.”

He added, “The United States is sending an unmistakable message. There is no place to hide. We will, we and our partners will pursue every avenue available to make sure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable.”

The U.S. Justice Department, which Garland heads as the country’s top law enforcement official, has launched its own task force called “KleptoCapture,” which is focused on seizing yachts and other luxury assets of Russian oligarchs who are supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, the U.S. took possession of a super yacht it had seized in Fiji.

In the first war crimes trial in Ukraine last month, a Russian soldier pleaded guilty to fatally shooting an unarmed civilian four days after the invasion began February 24.

Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was convicted in the fatal attack on a 62-year-old Ukrainian man and sentenced to life in prison.

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Most Land Mine Use by US military Banned, Except for Korea

President Joe Biden’s administration announced Tuesday that it would restrict the use of anti-personnel land mines by the U.S. military, aligning the country’s policy more closely with an international treaty banning the deadly explosives.

The announcement reverses a more permissive stance by then-President Donald Trump, and it concludes a review that has lasted for more than a year.

Anti-personnel land mines are buried underground or scattered on the surface, and they can pose a lethal threat to civilians long after combat has ended.

Under the new policy, the U.S. will restrict the use of these explosives outside of its efforts to help defend South Korea from a potential North Korean invasion.

That leaves the U.S. short of full compliance with the Ottawa Convention, the 1997 treaty intended to eliminate anti-personnel land mines.

The announcement comes as Russia deploys such mines during its invasion of Ukraine.

“The world has once again witnessed the devastating impact that anti-personnel landmines can have in the context of Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war in Ukraine, where Russian forces’ use of these and other munitions have caused extensive harm to civilians and civilian objects,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

Posted by Ukrap on

До України приїхав генеральний прокурор США

За словами Мерріка Ґарланда, він планує обговорити з українськими правоохоронцями заходи для покарання винних у воєнних злочинах

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На Луганщині російські війська захопили селище Тошківка – голова РВА

«Вони намагаються продавити оборону наших хлопців між Мирною Долиною і Гірським»

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В Україні з’явилися перші німецькі гаубиці Panzerhaubitze – Резніков

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Russia Protests Transit Block to Kaliningrad

Russia has summoned the European Union’s envoy to Moscow to “strongly” protest new restrictions on goods shipments to its Kaliningrad exclave through EU member Lithuania while threatening the Baltic state with “retaliation.”

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on Tuesday that EU Ambassador to Moscow Markus Ederer was informed of the “inadmissibility of such actions” and warned “retaliation will follow” if the restrictions aren’t removed immediately. It did not elaborate.

Kaliningrad is wedged between Lithuania and Poland, where the Pregolya River feeds into the Baltic Sea. It has about 500,000 inhabitants.

Lithuanian officials said they imposed the restrictions beginning on June 20 in an effort to shore up punitive measures that followed Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Ederer echoed that line after the meeting in Moscow, saying that “Lithuania is not taking unilateral measures, it is implementing EU sanctions.”

He added that there was no blockade of Kaliningrad as the transit of non-sanctioned goods to the enclave continues.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, dispatched one of President Vladimir Putin’s top allies to Kaliningrad, where he warned that “appropriate measures” will be taken by Moscow “in the near future.”

“Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions,” Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev said at a regional security meeting in Kaliningrad.

“Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania,” he warned.

Some information came from Reuters, AFP, and AP.

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Investors Coping With Cryptocurrency Plunge 

“I’m in a cryptocurrency chat group at work,” software engineer Adam Hickey of San Diego, California told VOA.

Over the last few days, Hickey said, members of the group have been writing things like, “Bloodbath” and, “Are we still good?”

“It shook me, honestly,” he admitted. “I just had to stop looking at my balance. At one point, months ago, my investment in crypto had tripled. Now I’m down 40%.”

Hickey is far from alone. Serious and casual investors across the United States have seen the value of their investments in the publicly available digital asset known as cryptocurrency shrink dramatically in recent months, with steep plunges recorded in just the last week.

The value of bitcoin, the most popular form of cryptocurrency, has dropped more than 70% since its peak in November of last year, erasing more than 18 months of growth and causing many investors to wonder if this is the bottom, or if the worst is still to come.

“I have to remind myself that when I got into bitcoin in 2017, it was more of something I just kind of hoped would be the next Amazon.com,” Hickey said. Like many others, Hickey dreamed cryptocurrency could be a way to get rich in the long-term, or at least would be a part of his retirement savings.

“I’ve always seen it as a long-term investment. Still, this is the most nervous I’ve been about it,” he said. “You hear people on social media saying this is all a Ponzi scheme. Now I’m having thoughts like maybe those warnings are right – that the people pushing bitcoin so hard are the ones who bought it at the earliest low prices. Of course they want people to buy and drive the value back up. It’s good for them, but is it good for me?” 

Getting in 

Those skeptical of cryptocurrency point to its lack of regulatory oversight from government as a major reason for concern, making it susceptible to scams and wild price fluctuations.

“I’ve always seen it as a highly speculative investment,” said Marigny deMauriac, a certified financial planner in New Orleans, Louisiana. “This isn’t something any individual should have the majority of their wealth in unless they’re looking to take a significant amount of unnecessary risk.”

“I tell my clients to stay clear of investing any significant portion of their wealth in cryptocurrency, or any other highly speculative investment type,” deMaruiac told VOA. Many of the most ardent cryptocurrency supporters, however, invest precisely because it isn’t tied to governments as traditional currencies are. Digital currency’s demonstrated capacity for meteoric rises is a big part of its appeal. 

Steve Ryan, a self-employed poker player living in Las Vegas, Nevada, began investing in digital currency nearly a decade ago. “I’ve been in it for so long, I understand this stuff much better than your average person who only read about it on the internet a year or two ago,” he said.

Ryan invested on the advice of entrepreneurial friends; back when a single bitcoin sold for only a couple of hundred dollars as opposed to the tens of thousands they sell for today.

“Most of my money is in crypto, and I wish I had kept more in there rather than selling some of it,” he told VOA. “Even after this downturn, I’d be a multimillionaire had I kept it all in.”

Losing value 

U.S. inflation at 40-year highs has caused the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, sending jitters throughout financial markets. At the same time, some Americans have lost their appetite for riskier investments.

Many have sold their cryptocurrency holdings and reinvested in safer, more stable assets. At the end of last week, the value of one share of bitcoin dropped below $18,000 from a high late last year of more than $64,000. The total crypto market value dropped from a peak of $3.2 trillion to below $1 trillion. 

“I’m definitely worried today,” Ryan said on Saturday as bitcoin reached its lowest point since December 2020. 

Still, Ryan maintained he still believes in bitcoin.

“I’m worried because we’ve got a war going on in Europe, huge amounts of inflation, we’re trying to recover from the impacts of a pandemic, and governments might try to regulate bitcoin,” he said. “But I’m not worried about bitcoin itself – I think it’s as solid as ever. That’s how cycles work and this could prove to be one of the best times in history to get into crypto.”

Casual cryptocurrency investors may not be so sure, but many seem willing to hold on to what they have in the hopes of a rebound. “Of course, when it rose to over $60,000, I had big dreams that I could earn enough money to go on a big trip or to make a down payment on a property,” said Joe Frisard, a semi-retired resident of Atlanta, Georgia.

The downturn has lowered Frisard’s ambitions, he acknowledged, but he still planned on hanging on to the cryptocurrency he hadn’t already sold when it was closer to its peak. “I’ve lost a good bit of money in the stock market, too,” he said, “but I’m not looking to dump my stocks. They’re a long-term investment and I see bitcoin in a similar way.”

Weathering the storm 

Gordon Henderson, a retired collegiate marching band director from Los Angeles, California, is also not panicking.

“I’m much more concerned about my stocks in my retirement fund than in my relatively small crypto holdings,” he said. Henderson remembers his father, at age 69 in 1987, converting his retirement fund to cash before a recession temporarily decimated the stock market.

“He was pretty proud of his timing,” Henderson recalled, “but in reality, he would have ended up with eight times more money if he had weathered the storm and kept his money in the stock market for another two decades. That’s how I look at cryptocurrency. I’ll hang onto it and maybe it will pay for college for my kids. If not, I was prepared for the loss.”

Colin Ash, an urban planner in New Orleans, Louisiana, has owned bitcoin for years, but said he thinks of it as “a fun gamble.”

“Of course, I wish I would have timed it perfectly and sold it all at the peak,” he said, “but it’s not realistic to think you can ever do that with any kind of investment. I think of it as something separate from the rest of my money. If something comes of it in the long run, then great. If not, at least I already sold some and paid off some debt.” 

For Hickey in San Diego, as well as many other investors, the key is to not invest more than you can afford to lose, particularly with an asset as speculative as cryptocurrency.

“Under the current circumstances, with everything falling so far down, I’ve decided to halt my weekly recurring purchase of bitcoin,” he said. “I think I’m done investing for now.”

He paused for a moment, and then said, “Now, that’s kind of hard, because if you want to make money you should buy low and sell high. Bitcoin prices are low, so I’ll probably be back in before you know it.”

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Ukraine Reports Heavy Fighting in Sievierodonetsk 

Ukraine reported heavy strikes Tuesday in the Sievierodonetsk region as Russian forces push to gain full control of the eastern city. 

A spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said at a daily briefing that fighting in Sievierodonetsk was fierce, with Russia conducting both airstrikes and shelling on Ukrainian positions. 

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai reported heavy fighting at the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk, where Ukrainian fighters and about 500 civilians are taking shelter. 

Haidai also said Russian forces had brought “catastrophic destruction” to the city of Lysychansk, located just across a river from Sievierodonetsk. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged difficulties trying to defend the country’s eastern region but said Russian forces would continue to be met with Ukrainian resistance. 

“We have the most difficult fighting there. But we have our strong guys and girls there,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Monday, adding, “the occupiers receive a response to their actions against us.” 

Earlier Monday, Zelenskyy accused Russia of holding Africa “hostage” by blocking wheat deliveries and contributing to rising food prices on the continent. 

In a video speech to African Union leaders, Zelenskyy said, “This war may seem very distant to you and your countries. But catastrophically, rising food prices have already brought it home to millions of African families.” 

He said Ukraine is holding “complex, multilevel negotiations” to try to end Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports. 

“But there is no progress yet. … That is why the global food crisis will continue as long as this colonial war continues,” he said. 

Russia denies it is deliberately blocking wheat exports from Ukraine and blames sanctions imposed by Western nations for rising global food prices. 

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called Russia’s actions “a real war crime.” He told the EU’s top diplomats gathered in Luxembourg on Monday, “It is inconceivable, one cannot imagine that millions of tons of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world, people are suffering (from) hunger.” 

Also Monday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland met in Toronto to discuss sanctions and other ways to boost economic pressure against Russia. 

Yellen said at the start of the meeting that the two would also work together to boost energy production to counter high gas and energy prices. 

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

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Після місяця полону окупанти відпустили начальника пожежної частини Енергодару – Орлов

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Росія заявляє, що почала трансляцію російських телеканалів по окупованій Херсонщині

Наприкінці травня російські окупанти відключили зв’язок на півдні України

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British Rail Workers Go on Strike

British rail workers launched their biggest strike in decades on Tuesday. 

Last-minute talks to avoid the stoppage failed Monday, with the rail management and the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union unable to resolve a dispute about pay and job security. 

Union leaders say pay has failed to keep pace with inflation. 

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned the strike would cause “mass disruption.” 

The union of more than 40,000 workers plans to strike on Thursday and Saturday as well. 

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

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На кордоні з Україною Білорусь тримає до семи білоруських батальйонів – Міноборони України

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Two Detained Americans Endangered Russian Servicemen, Kremlin Says

Two Americans detained in Ukraine while fighting on the Ukrainian side of the war were mercenaries who endangered the lives of Russian servicemen and should face responsibility for their actions, the Kremlin said Monday.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, interviewed by the U.S. television network NBC, also said U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, held in Russia for more than two months, was guilty of drug offenses and not a hostage.

Peskov’s comments were the first formal acknowledgment that the two men, identified in U.S. reports as Andy Huynh, 27, of Hartselle, Alabama, and Alexander Drueke, 39, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, were being held and under investigation.

“They are soldiers of fortune. They were involved in illegal activities on the territory of Ukraine. They were involved in firing at and [the] shelling of our military personnel. They were endangering their lives,” Peskov said.

“And they should be held responsible for those crimes they have committed. Those crimes have to be investigated. … The only thing that is clear is that they have committed crimes. They are not in the Ukrainian army. They are not subject to the Geneva Conventions.”

Family members said last week the two men went to Ukraine as volunteer fighters and had gone missing.

Russian media last week broadcast images of them captured while fighting for Ukraine.

Peskov would not reveal where the men were held.

Two Britons and a Moroccan have already been sentenced by a court under the jurisdiction of separatists in Donetsk on grounds that they were mercenaries and not subject to the Geneva Conventions governing prisoners of war.

Kyiv condemned the court ruling as having no authority and said the fighters were members of the Ukrainian armed forces, and thus subject to Geneva Conventions’ protections.

Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and its allies in the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

Griner’s prosecution

Peskov said Griner, who had come to promote basketball in Russia, was being prosecuted under laws forbidding the import of drugs.

“Russia is not the sole country in the world to have quite strict laws in that sense … it is prosecuted by law. We can do nothing about that,” Peskov told NBC.

He “strongly disagreed” with any notion that Griner, who arrived in Russia in February, was being held hostage.

“We cannot call her a hostage. Why should we call her a hostage?” he said. “She violated Russian law and now she is being prosecuted. It not about being a hostage.”

Russian customs officials say vape cartridges containing hashish oil were found in Griner’s luggage.

The U.S. State Department determined in May that Griner was wrongfully detained and assigned diplomats to work for her release. Her wife, Cherelle Griner, has said she is a political pawn.

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Росія: авіакомпанія Azur Air майже вдвічі скорочує парк літаків через брак запчастин