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Posted by Ukrap on

Зеленський: сім вимог ЄС не лякають, бо «ми успішно виконали сотні»

«Ми здолали сім тисяч метрів, тож не зупинимось – візьмемо свій Еверест»

Posted by Ukrap on

У Грузії опозиція вимагає від уряду піти у відставку

Лідер неурядової організації «Сірцхвілія» («Ганьба») Шота Дігмелашвілі заявив, що влада «провалила процес євроінтеграції»

Posted by Worldkrap on

Supreme Court Ends Constitutional Right to Abortion in America

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overruled a constitutional right to abortion in America, leaving it to states to decide whether to permit the procedure that has been legal nationwide for five decades.

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion, joined by four other conservative justices. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The ruling came less than two months after an early draft of Alito’s decision was leaked to a news site, setting off nationwide protests by abortion-rights activists.

While the high court’s overturning of its 1973 ruling in the case known as Roe v. Wade and a separate case called Planned Parenthood v. Casey does not impose a ban on abortion, its legal impact will ripple through the country almost immediately.

The Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights research group, estimates that 26 states, mostly in the South and Midwest, will ban abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s repeal. That could force millions of women seeking abortions to travel to states where abortion rights are protected.

“[O]ne result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens,” wrote Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, the court’s liberal members, in a spirited dissent.

At the White House, President Joe Biden condemned the ruling but implored protesters to remain peaceful.

“Let’s be very clear: The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk,” Biden said. “It’s a sad day for the country.”

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department “strongly disagrees with the court’s decision” and “will work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling came in a closely watched case involving a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, several weeks before the cutoff stage established under Roe v. Wade.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, challenged the 2018 law in federal court, arguing that it would violate nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent.

After two lower courts sided with the clinic, the state of Mississippi, backed by 25 other Republican-controlled states, went to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to overturn both Roe and Casey. Their petition claimed that “nothing” in the Constitution “supports a right to abortion.”

Six of the high court justices, all appointed by Republican presidents, agreed. Chief Justice John Roberts concurred in upholding the Mississippi law but indicated he would not have gone further in ending the constitutional right to abortion.

Few issues in America are as divisive as abortion. For the past 50 years, American conservatives, driven by a desire to protect unborn life, have campaigned against the Roe v. Wade ruling. But they lacked the votes on the high court to overturn it.

That changed after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election and put three abortion-rights opponents on the high court. That gave conservatives a 6-3 majority on the powerful court, raising the likelihood that abortion rights would be overturned.

Trump reacted with jubilation to Friday’s ruling, saying in a statement, “Today’s decision, which is the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation, along with other decisions that have been announced recently, were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.”

Generally, the Supreme Court follows principles established in its prior rulings, a doctrine known as stare decisis. The dissenting justices wrote that the ruling violated this long-standing legal precept.

But Alito said that there are circumstances where a precedent can be and has been overturned. In a landmark ruling in 1954, for example, the Supreme Court invalidated an 1896 decision that had legalized racial segregation in the United States, Alito noted.

Alito wrote that the court’s ruling was limited to abortion and would not affect other rights. But liberal critics of the decision worry the decision will open the door to overturn other rights recognized by the Supreme Court.

“If you strike down a law based on a fundamental disagreement with the legal reasoning that underpins it, the same exact arguments will allow the other decisions to be overturned,” said Caroline Fredrickson, a law professor at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice.

Although Friday’s ruling did not come as a surprise after the draft opinion had been leaked, it set off a tidal wave of reaction in Washington and across America.

“This is a great day for preborn children and their mothers,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, a prominent group opposing abortion rights, said in a statement. “The Court has correctly decided that a right to abortion is not in the [C]onstitution, thereby allowing the people, through their elected representatives, to have a voice in this very important decision.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hailed the ruling as “courageous and correct” and “an historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society.”

“Today is one of the darkest days our country has ever seen,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement. “Millions upon millions of American women are having their rights taken from them by five unelected justices.”

“This decision is the worst-case scenario, but it is not the end of this fight. The 8 in 10 Americans who support the legal right to abortion will not let this stand,” Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading abortion rights group, said in a statement. “There is an election in November, and extremist politicians will learn: When you come for our rights, we come for your seats.”

News of the ruling made headlines across the globe. While the Vatican’s Academy for Life praised the Supreme Court’s decision as a challenge to the world to reflect on life issues, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called it “a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality.” 


In a statement, Bachelet added, “More than 50 countries with previously restrictive laws have liberalized their abortion legislation over the past 25 years. With today’s ruling, the U.S. is regrettably moving away from this progressive trend.”

In anticipation of the ruling, states across the country, depending on their legislatures’ ideological leanings, have been changing their abortion rules.

In conservative states, in addition to passing “trigger laws” designed to take effect after Roe is overturned, lawmakers have moved to tighten restrictions on abortion, with Oklahoma enacting a law in March that bans abortion at any point during pregnancy.

For their part, some liberal-leaning states have responded by passing legislation to expand access to abortion, with some states considering laws that would allow nurses to carry out the procedure.

The court ruling came despite growing public acceptance of abortion. A Gallup Poll conducted after the court’s draft decision was leaked in May indicated that 55% of Americans identified as “pro-choice,” the highest level of such sentiment since the mid-1990s.

Still, abortion remains a politically divisive issue that is likely to live on well past Roe’s demise. Abortion-rights groups are gearing up to challenge new state bans and restrictions in state courts, setting off protracted legal battles.

“Part of the issue is that you have to find some protections within the state constitutions in order to bring these cases,” said Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute.

Complicating efforts to challenge state abortion bans, four states — Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia — have passed constitutional amendments that say the state constitution does not recognize the right to abortion, Nash noted. In two others — Kansas and Kentucky — voters are expected to cast ballots on the issue later this year.

Posted by Ukrap on

П’ятеро цивільних загинули на Донеччині через агресію РФ 24 червня – голова ОВА

В ООН станом на північ 23 червня змогли підтвердити 4677 випадків загибелі, 5829 – поранення цивільних людей в Україні через повномасштабну війну, розпочату Росією

Posted by Worldkrap on

Ukraine, Moldova Hail EU Candidacy; Balkan States, Georgia Told to Wait 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the European Union’s decision to grant his country candidate status Friday, a key milestone in joining the bloc. Moldova was also granted accession candidate status.

EU officials described the move as historic but cautioned that both countries will have to make tough reforms before they become full members.


In a joint televised message to the Ukrainian people, Zelenskyy, flanked by the prime minister and the speaker of parliament, compared the EU decision to other historic moments in Ukraine’s history and said the process was irreversible.

“Today, Ukraine is fighting for its freedom and this war began just when Ukraine declared its right to freedom, to choosing its own future,” Zelenskyy said. “We saw [that future] in the European Union.”

Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk called the decision a powerful political message. “It will be heard by soldiers in the trenches, every family that was forced to flee the war abroad, everyone who helps bring our victory closer,” he said.


EU leaders cautioned that the road to full membership for Ukraine and Moldova would not be easy.

“The countries all have to do homework before moving to the next stage of the accession process,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after the decision, referring to political and governmental reforms required before continuing the process.

On Thursday, von der Leyen expressed confidence that Ukraine and Moldova would “move as swiftly as possible and work as hard as possible to implement the necessary reforms, not just because they are required to move ahead in the European accession path, but, first and foremost, because these reforms are good for the countries.”

Those reforms will be difficult and will take time, says analyst Andi Hoxhaj, a fellow in European Union law at Britain’s University of Warwick.

“It’s about strengthening the rule of law and the judicial system. In addition, they would like to see a track record of applying an anti-oligarch law, meaning that they want to root out corruption as well as strengthen independent institutions,” Hoxhaj told VOA. “That will be a really challenging aspect.”

Border uncertainty

For now, Ukraine is focused on repelling Russia’s invasion in the east. The outcome of war will likely also determine the EU’s verdict on Ukrainian membership.

“Will they be able to allow for a big country like Ukraine in, which still would have a lot of problems when it comes to its borders?” Hoxhaj said.

Dashed hopes

Other former Soviet states are eyeing EU membership. Georgia’s hopes of joining Ukraine and Moldova were dashed as the EU demanded further reforms before granting the country candidacy status. Instead, the bloc said it formally recognized Georgia’s “European perspective.”

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili nevertheless said it was an incredibly historic step. “We’re ready to work with determination over the next months to reach the candidate status,” Zourabichvili said.

North Macedonia has been a candidate for 17 years but its progress is being blocked by Bulgaria in a dispute over ethnicity and language. The feud is also blocking Albania’s hopes of progressing toward EU accession.

Bulgarian lawmakers voted Friday to end its veto, but with certain conditions attached, which could yet be rejected by North Macedonia or the EU.

EU ‘short-sighted’

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo also want to join the EU, but political crises have prevented Brussels from offering candidacy. Arton Demhasaj, the head of Kosovo’s Wake Up anti-corruption watchdog, said the EU’s position is short-sighted.

“If countries who aspire to join EU face delays, they will re-orientate their policies and then we will have an increase of Russian and Chinese influence in the western Balkans and this will create problems within the E.U. itself,” Demhasaj told Reuters.

Hoxhaj of Warick University agrees.

“Bosnia should have been offered a candidate status a long time ago, as well as Kosovo, because it’s preventing them from moving forward,” Hoxhaj said. “But it’s also allowing Russia to have a kind of influence in the Western Balkans, especially in Serbia as well as in Bosnia.”

Kremlin reaction

Russia said Ukraine’s EU candidacy would not pose a threat but Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the West of seeking war.

“When World War II was about to start, Hitler gathered most of the European countries under his banner. Now the EU and NATO are also gathering the same modern coalition for the fight and, by and large, for war with the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said Friday during a visit to Azerbaijan.

NATO and the EU say they do not seek war with Russia and accuse Moscow of upending decades of peace in Europe with its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.


Posted by Worldkrap on

Vatican Praises US Court Decision on Abortion, Saying It Challenges World

The Vatican’s Academy for Life on Friday praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, saying it challenged the whole world to reflect on life issues. 

The Vatican department also said in a statement that the defense of human life could not be confined to individual rights because life is a matter of “broad social significance.” 

The U.S. Supreme Court took the dramatic step Friday of overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalized it nationwide. 

“The fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue also challenges the whole world,” the Academy said in a statement. 

U.S. President Joe Biden, a lifelong Catholic, condemned the ruling, calling it a “sad day” for America and labeling the court’s conservatives “extreme.” 

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the Court’s decision was a “powerful invitation to reflect” on the issue at a time when “Western society is losing passion for life. 

“By choosing life, our responsibility for the future of humanity is at stake,” Paglia said. 


Posted by Worldkrap on

Latest Gallup Poll: Public Confidence in Supreme Court at Historic Low

Just as the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the ruling that made abortion legal, a new poll indicates public confidence in the high court is at an historic low.

In the Gallup Poll’s annual update on public confidence in U.S. institutions, 25% of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court, down from 36% a year ago and five percentage points lower than the previous low recorded in 2014.

The pollsters said many institutions have suffered a decline in confidence this year, but the 11-point drop in confidence in the Supreme Court is roughly double what it is for most institutions that experienced a decline. 

Gallup reports the previous low in Supreme Court confidence was 30% in 2014, a year when confidence in major U.S. institutions in general hit a low point, averaging 31%.

Gallup said Friday’s long-anticipated abortion ruling is likely a factor in the public’s low confidence in the court. Their poll was taken between June 1 and June 20 — days before the landmark ruling, but after a leaked draft majority opinion in the case indicated the high court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court ruling that prohibits restrictions on abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Gallup says U.S. residents opposed overturning Roe by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

The pollsters said the low numbers were likely driven by Democrats, whose confidence in the Supreme Court dropped by double digits this year – from 30 to 13 percent – and independents, where it dropped 40 to 25 percent. 

It rose slightly among Republicans, 37 to 39 percent.

Posted by Worldkrap on

In Photos: US Supreme Court Overturns Abortion Ruling

The high court’s decision to overturn its 1973 abortion ruling known as Roe v. Wade sparked emotional reactions on both sides of the issue, on June 24, 2022.

Posted by Ukrap on

Кремль планує «серію терактів» у Білорусі, щоб втягнути її у війну в Україні – українська розвідка

За даними розвідки, загалом на території Білорусі Росія планує цілу низку терактів, як це було під час «розпалювання війни у Чечні»

Posted by Ukrap on

Усі населені пункти Гірської громади окуповані – голова ВЦА

Після тривалої оборони українські підрозділи ухвалили оперативне рішення про відхід

Posted by Ukrap on

Кабмін рекомендує почати навчання в школах з вересня, у ВНЗ – з середини серпня

«Вже зараз зрозуміло, що на прифронтових територіях повернутися до очного навчання неможливо, а тому там продовжиться онлайн-формат»

Posted by Worldkrap on

US Theater Skips Plan to Fast Forward Through Disney Same-Sex Kiss

A movie theater owner in the western U.S. state of Oklahoma said the theater never carried out a plan to fast forward through a same-sex kiss in a newly released Disney/Pixar film.

The theater had posted a warning sign about the kiss and its intention to fast forward through the brief kissing scene in Lightyear, part of the Toy Story franchise.

The sign said that management found out about the kiss between two women after booking the film, adding that, “We will do all we can to fast-forward through that scene, but it might not be exact.”

Instead, the owner of the theater in Kingfisher told local television station KOCO 5 that the plan to interrupt the film was never executed in any of the showings of the film.

Some countries have banned the film because of the kiss.

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VOA Interview: NSC Spokesperson John Kirby

John Kirby, the former Pentagon spokesperson, told VOA’s Ukrainian service on Thursday the United States is “focused on making sure that Ukraine can continue to defend itself and its sovereignty.”

Kirby, who recently became the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, said since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the United States has provided nearly $6 billion worth of assistance, including military equipment, such as HIMARS, high mobility artillery rocket systems.

Ukraine determines “what operations they’re going to conduct. And that’s their right to the material that they get from the United States. [It is] now theirs. It’s Ukrainian property, and they get to determine how they’re going to use it,” Kirby said.

Here is the interview, edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: We know that American HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems] arrived today in Ukraine. What impact do we expect them to make on a battlefield at this stage?

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby: The big difference that these HIMARS, which stands for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, can make is distance, its range. It’s giving the Ukrainians the benefit of farther standoff from Russian forces as they continue to fight them every single day which is now a much more concentrated geographic area.

VOA: The United States is providing Ukraine unprecedented levels of military assistance. Still, some in Kyiv and Washington are saying it’s not enough, it’s not fast enough. Do you think the administration is providing enough weapons to Ukraine to make a difference on the battlefield?

Kirby: All these systems are making a difference. Even today, they’re making a difference. And the Ukrainians will tell you that, and it’s not just the big systems. It’s the small arms and ammunition, which they’re using literally every day in this fight with the Russians. So it’s already making an impact. And we’re obviously the largest donor of security assistance to Ukraine or any other nation around the world … almost $6 billion since the beginning of the invasion. So it’s a lot of material that’s going in and the president has made clear that we’re committed to continuing that assistance going forward.

VOA: Should we expect more HIMARS to be sent to Ukraine? And what is the absolute maximum amount that United States can provide HIMARS and MLRS [multiple launch rocket systems], given its own stocks?

Kirby: I do think you’ll continue to see systems like HIMARS going in in future deliveries. I think that that’s very likely. I don’t want to get ahead of specific announcements here. But again, the president was very clear with [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy. So once again, we’re going to help them as much as we can as fast as we can. And I’ll tell you, the material is going in at record speed. … It’s just unprecedented the speed with which security assistance is actually reaching the front lines in Ukraine. There’s literally shipments going in every single day. And it’s not just from the United States, we are the biggest donor. But more than 40 other nations around the world are also contributing security assistance in some type of form to Ukraine. [U.S. Defense] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin just held the most recent Ukraine contact group in Brussels last week, almost 50 nations showed up, not just from Europe, but from around the world, to look at ways they can continue to continue to support Ukraine and their ability to defend themselves.

VOA: Can you clarify what weapons the administration is providing to Ukraine to defend themselves and to push Russia outside Ukraine?

Kirby: We are really focused on making sure that Ukraine can continue to defend itself and its sovereignty, its people, its territorial integrity. And, obviously, the Ukrainians are in this fight. They determine what operations they’re going to conduct. And that’s their right. The material that they get from the United States is now theirs. It’s Ukrainian property, and they get to determine how they’re going to use it. Now, obviously, we want to see Ukraine’s sovereignty fully respected, we want to see Ukraine’s territorial integrity fully restored. But how that gets determined, and it should be determined by Mr. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin ending this war. But Mr. Zelenskyy is going to get to determine what victory looks like.

VOA: If Ukrainians determined that they want to win this war, push Russians back to the February 23 lines, would you also support that and for them to use the provided weapons to conduct counteroffensives?

Kirby: Well, Ukrainians are already conducting counteroffensives in their own country. I mean, look at what they’ve been doing in the south, look at Khakiv in the north, where the Russians almost had the city completely encircled [and] Ukrainians pushed them away, pushed them back toward the border. Mr. Zelinskyy is the commander in chief of his armed forces. We respect that. He gets to determine how he’s going to use those forces and how he’s going to define victory. Our job is to make sure that he has the tools available to him to do that in the most efficient, effective way.

VOA: Is the administration preparing for this war to become a protracted war? We hear [NATO Secretary-General Jens] Stoltenberg say that we should expect this war to last for a long time. What is the expectation on American side?

Kirby: Once Mr. Putin decided to concentrate on the Donbas, you heard American officials say almost from the very beginning, that this was the potential. That there could be a prolonged fight here in the Donbas region. We have to remember, this is a part of Ukraine that the Russians and Ukrainians have been fighting over literally since 2014. We tend to think of Feb. 24 as a watershed moment, and it was, but Ukrainian soldiers were dying, fighting and dying for their country years before that. So this is a part of the country that both armies know well, and both are digging in. The Russians are making incremental but not consistent progress. Ukrainians are pushing back. And it certainly could end up being a prolonged conflict.

VOA: July 9 will mark 60 days since [U.S.] President [Joe] Biden signed into law the Lend-Lease Act [which would expedite the process of sending military aid to Ukraine]. When is the United States planning to use this mechanism, and would weapons the United States would be sending through this mechanism be any different from what the United States is sending right now?

Kirby: We certainly welcome the support that Congress gave with additional authorities to help Ukraine defend itself. We’re still working our way through that particular act and, sort of, what authorities and capabilities might help us provide Ukraine. In the meantime, we’re already continuing to flow a lot of material through drawdown authority, just pulling it from our own stocks. We have the authorities to do that. The president’s not been bashful about using that. And you’re going to continue to see those flow going forward. We got a supplemental request of some $40 million from Congress just a few weeks ago, not all of it for security assistance, but a lot of it is. And we also have authorities through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. This is authorities, and we just used some last week, where the Department of Defense can go contract for items that go directly to Ukraine. So there’s an awful lot of tools available in the toolbox. And we’re open-minded about using all of them.

VOA: There are some reports indicating that American intelligence agencies have less information than they would like about Ukrainian operations, personnel and equipment losses. Does this administration see this as an issue in the context of providing military aid for Ukraine?

Kirby: I’d rather not talk about intelligence matters here, in an interview. I would just tell you that the relationship with the Ukrainian armed forces is very, very strong. And we’re talking to them literally almost every single day, at various levels, all the way up to the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff down to working staff levels, including military-to-military contact. And the idea of those conversations is to help give us a better idea of what Ukraine needs in the fight. One of the things we didn’t talk about was, when we talked about aid and how much they’re getting and how fast you’re getting it is, we’re doing this in parcels, so that deliberately so that we can continue to give them assistance in ways that are relevant to the fight that they’re in. And the Ukrainians have been very honest and open with us about the fight that they’re in and what they need. And they’ve been honest with the rest of the world. And so those conversations are going to continue. And that’s what really matters.

VOA: We heard from Secretary Austin and [U.S.] Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken that they want to see Ukraine win, that they want to see Ukraine prevail. Is it still the position of the administration?

Kirby: Of course, we want Ukraine to succeed on the battlefield, and we want them to succeed at the negotiating table, if and when it comes to that. Now, obviously, we’re not at that stage right now. But we believe that President Zelenskyy is the one who gets to determine what victory looks like. I mean, it’s his country. He’s the commander in chief, and we respect him. Unlike the Russians, we respect the decision by the Ukrainian voters to elect him into office. And we respect his leadership and his responsibilities.

VOA: What results is President Biden expecting from his visit to Europe – G-7 (Group of Seven) summit, NATO summit. What is the major expectation?

Kirby: This is a very exciting trip. A year ago, when President Biden was at the G-7, and he’s now attended several NATO summits, the theme in the past has been, look, America is back, American leadership is back. And now I think, without getting into specific deliverables ahead of these meetings, I can tell you that we’re very much looking forward to a theme of, now it’s American leadership delivering, delivering for our allies and partners, delivering for the American people, producing results that will actually improve our national security, help with energy security at home and around the world, and also continue to impose costs and consequences on Mr. Putin for this unprovoked war.

VOA: Russia’s envoy in Afghanistan said Moscow can recognize the Taliban government, regardless of the American position. Do you think this kind of move by Russia could further worsen the relationship between Moscow and Washington?

Kirby: I think there’s enough tension between the United States and Russia right now that that we need to continue to focus on what Mr. Putin has done for security across the European continent and, quite frankly, across the globe. Russia can speak for themselves in terms of what governments they intend to recognize or not, we are not at a stage where we’re willing to do that with respect to the Taliban. What we would ask of any nation in the world, certainly any nation bordering Afghanistan is to not make decisions that are going to make it less stable and less secure than it is right now for the Afghan people.

VOA: The White House says Biden’s upcoming meeting with [Saudi] King Salman and Prince [Mohammed] bin Salman will advance national security interests. What’s the rationale for where the White House decides that national interests trump objections to authoritarian leaders? And do you see that anytime in the foreseeable future where the White House might decide it’s in national interest to sit down even with Putin?

Kirby: Well, the president has spoken to Vladimir Putin, spoke to him before the invasion. The president will speak, he will meet, he will discuss with any leader around the world things that he believes are in the national security interests of the American people. That’s his job as commander in chief and he takes that responsibility seriously. And I would, you know, go back on some of the critics here, I mean, the fact that an adherence to values and human rights and civil rights is somehow at odds with a pragmatic foreign policy is just foolishness. They go hand in hand, they have to go hand in hand. And the president has been very clear that our foreign policy is going to be rooted in values and he’s never bashful about espousing and advancing those values as he meets with leaders around the world. The two go hand in hand they have to. 

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Why NATO’s China Focus May Endure

When the top leaders of NATO countries meet next week in Spain, the discussion will be dominated by the Ukraine war and how to deter further Russian aggression in Europe.

But in the latest sign the Western military alliance is trying to expand its focus eastward, the NATO summit will also deal with the challenges posed by China, perhaps in a more direct way than any of its previous meetings.

For the first time, the NATO summit will include the top leaders of four Asian countries: Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. None are NATO members, but each is wary of China’s growing influence and coercion.

Since 2020, NATO has stepped up cooperation with the four Asian democracies, which it refers to as “Asia-Pacific partners.”

The engagement underscores a profound shift in the scope and priorities of NATO, which was meant to focus on the collective defense of its North American and European member states.

But China’s growing global presence, as well as its expanding military cooperation with Russia, has made it much harder for NATO to ignore.

While there is no talk of NATO accepting Asian countries as members, the alliance’s new Asia focus will likely endure, according to many observers.

“I do not expect that NATO will now expand into the Indo-Pacific and create a new Asian NATO kind of organization,” said Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy, a former political adviser in the European Parliament.

“I do expect, though, that cooperation with [Asian] countries that face the growing threat of China’s economic coercion and aggressive behavior … will converge more and more with European democracies as well as the United States,” said Ferenczy, assistant professor at National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan.

Europe sours on China

NATO’s eastward shift reflects not only an intensified U.S.-China rivalry, but also changing European attitudes toward Beijing.

For decades, Europe prioritized stable ties with China, which in 2020 overtook the United States as the European Union’s biggest trading partner.

But European views of China have soured under the leadership of Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, whose government has become more authoritarian at home and more aggressive abroad.

Under Xi, China has obliterated democratic opposition in Hong Kong, increased military threats against democratically ruled Taiwan, and been accused of genocide against Uighur Muslims.

Xi has also steadily expanded China’s military presence beyond its shores, most notably in the South China Sea, where it has created military outposts over the objections of its neighbors, which have overlapping territorial claims with China.

As part of its new “wolf warrior” approach to diplomacy, China has made clear it will retaliate against countries that criticize Beijing or enact policies that go against its wishes.

After Lithuania opened a de facto embassy in Taiwan, which Beijing views as its own territory, China downgraded diplomatic ties and imposed what some say amounts to a trade boycott. The unannounced embargo affected not only Lithuanian products, but also other European countries’ goods that incorporated Lithuanian components.

The pandemic has also helped worsen Europe-China relations. China has been accused of not cooperating sufficiently with a World Health Organization investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, which first appeared in central China. Instead, Chinese government-controlled media have suggested the virus originated elsewhere, such as the United States or Italy.

Changing NATO approach

Europe’s growing skepticism of China can also be observed in NATO’s recent history.

In 2019, China was included for the first time in a NATO statement – but only in a single sentence saying Beijing “presents both opportunities and challenges.”

By 2021, NATO’s tone had shifted. A joint communique issued in Brussels said China presents “systemic challenges to the rules-based international order.”

The statement also slammed China’s “coercive” policies, “opaque” military modernization, use of “disinformation,” and military exercises with Russia in the Euro-Atlantic area.

A major reason for NATO’s more combative tone is the Ukraine war, which coincided with Beijing and Moscow declaring a “no limits” partnership.

Just weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Beijing, where they announced a broad plan to counter Western influence around the world.

Since Russia’s invasion, China has attempted to portray itself as a neutral party. But many European observers are not convinced, noting China has consistently defended Russia from global criticism and instead blamed Washington for engaging in a “Cold War mindset” that provoked Moscow.

Pierre Morcos, a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Ukraine conflict has “confirmed the growing strategic rapprochement between China and Russia.”

“The war in Ukraine has also demonstrated that the Euro-Atlantic area and the Indo-Pacific region are deeply inter-connected. A crisis in a region can have deep impacts on the other one,” he said.

That explains why like-minded Asian countries are eager to play an active role in supporting Ukraine and pushing back against Russia, Morcos said.

“I think that we will see growing coordination and consultations between NATO and these countries in the future notably to discuss the aftershocks of the war in Ukraine but also exchange about China’s capacities and activities,” he added.

Speaking at a forum earlier this week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg insisted the alliance does not regard China as an adversary. However, he suggested the coming summit would result in a statement acknowledging “China poses some challenges to our values, to our interests, [and] to our security.”

China has responded angrily to NATO’s eastward focus. At a Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry briefing Thursday, spokesperson Wang Wenbin accused NATO of engaging in a “highly dangerous” effort to create hostile blocs in Asia.

“NATO has already disrupted stability in Europe,” he said. “It should not try to do the same to the Asia-Pacific and the whole world.”

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За приблизними підрахунками для розмінування України знадобиться до 10 років – ДСНС

На сьогодні від вибухонебезпечних предметів очищено понад 62 тисячі гектарів території, знешкоджено понад 145 тисяч вибухонебезпечних предметів, з них близько 2 тисяч авіаційних бомб.

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У Херсоні через вибух авто загинув чиновник окупаційної адміністрації – ЗМІ

За попередніми даними, йдеться про голову управління сім’ї, молоді та спорту окупаційної військово-цивільної адміністрації Херсонської області Дмитра Савлученка

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Зеленський очікує від Ради ухвалення євроінтеграційних законів «в пріоритетному порядку»

Володимир Зеленський наголосив, що українці змінюють «Україну для себе, а не для когось».

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Jill Biden to Speak at Event in Florida, Honoring Victims of Condo Collapse

U.S. first lady Jill Biden is expected to speak Friday in Surfside, Florida, marking the anniversary of the nighttime collapse of a 12-story oceanfront condo building that killed 98 people.

Events are being held Friday to honor the victims and survivors, as well as the rescue teams who searched for the victims.

A woman and two teenagers were the only people who survived the actual collapse of the building, according to an Associated Press report. Other survivors escaped the part of the building that initially remained standing.

Friday’s observances come a day after a judge approved a more than $1 billion compensation package for the victims.

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Jan. 6 Investigators: Trump Pressured Department of Justice to Overturn 2020 Election

In the fifth public hearing this month examining the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, congressional investigators detailed how former President Donald Trump pressured the nation’s highest law enforcement officials to declare the 2020 election results invalid. As VOA’s congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson reports, those fraudulent election claims were also pushed by Republican members of Congress who later sought pardons.
Producer: Katherine Gypson

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Обстріли військ РФ: влада повідомила про пошкодження цивільної інфраструктури біля Запоріжжя