RT World News /news/ RT World News en Wed, 19 Jun 2024 19:20:21 +0000 RT /static/img/logo-rss.png RT World News 125 40 Switzerland considers distributing cocaine to addicts /news/599584-switzerland-addicts-cocaine-distribution/ Switzerland is considering a controlled cocaine distribution program aimed at tackling the ongoing crack epidemic
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The proposed measure is aimed at alleviating the country’s growing crack epidemic

Switzerland is considering introducing an experimental program to distribute prescription cocaine among drug users, which might help them beat their crack addiction.

While the measure has been advocated by humanitarians and experts for some time, now Switzerland’s Federal Commission for Addiction and Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases (EKSN) is considering it as well.

“People who consume crack several times a day get caught in a vicious circle of procurement and consumption,” EKSN Vice President Christian Schneider told the public broadcaster SRF on Tuesday.

“We are at least suggesting how cocaine could be given to severely addicted crack users so that they can break the vicious circle and recover.”

The commission is now considering setting up special teams to visit crack addicts and provide them with medical and psychotherapeutic aid. The controlled distribution of cocaine is also an option, the official suggested, citing the state’s efforts to beat a past heroin epidemic which involved dispensing the drug, or its substitute methadone, to addicts. However, there are no plans to begin “simply handing out cocaine in large quantities,” Schneider warns.

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State justice minister Benjamin Limbach speaks at a press briefing on Monday in Duesseldorf.
Germany reports record drug bust
]]> Some medical experts, however, are highly critical of the idea, arguing that no solid scientific research exists which would justify such a program. Moreover, it is unclear whether the authorities would be able to determine the demand for crack among addicts, addiction specialist Marc Vogel from University Psychiatric Clinics in Basel told the broadcaster.

“The main question is whether we can achieve saturation so that people are satisfied. Whether this will work with cocaine distribution is at least very questionable,” he said.

Switzerland began experiencing troubles with growing crack cocaine abuse in around 2020, with reportedly high-quality and arguably cheap merchandise flooding the streets. Geneva was hit by the crack wave first, with the problem subsequently spreading to several other major cities, including Basel, Zurich and Lausanne.

Small-time street dealers of African origin arriving in the country from France in numbers have reportedly greatly contributed to the ongoing crack epidemic. The booming drug market has also attracted addicts from other countries as well, with only a third of crack users in Geneva believed to be locals.

“One third are from Geneva, one third are from France and one third are migrants,” Camille Robert, co-director of a Geneva-based addiction study group, said in March.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 19:15:43 +0000 RT
Putin arrives in Vietnam after historic visit to North Korea /news/599594-putin-arrives-vietnam/ The Russian president will meet Vietnam’s leaders to discuss cooperation in a broad range of spheres
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The Russian president will meet with the country’s leadership to discuss cooperation in trade, economic relations, and various other fields

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, beginning his two-day visit to the South Asian nation. The trip is part of Putin’s Asian tour, and immediately follows his historic visit to North Korea.

The Russian leader is set to meet his Vietnamese counterpart To Lam, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, General Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong and other top officials.

The talks will encompass various aspects of the ties between the two nations, including their economic partnership, trade, scientific and technical cooperation, as well as other topics. The top officials are also expected to discuss Russian and Vietnamese approaches to outstanding global issues.

According to the Russian president, more than half of transactions between Russia and Vietnam are now carried out in the respective countries’ currencies, bypassing the US dollar and euro.

He made the remarks in an article for the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam ahead of his visit to the Southeast Asian country. The article was published on the Kremlin website on Wednesday.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un
Putin’s state visit to North Korea: Warm welcome, bilateral agreements and a new comprehensive partnership treaty
]]> Putin said the two countries were taking serious steps to enhance bilateral trade and promoting investment, particularly in the Russian ruble and the Vietnamese dong.

“Such transactions accounted for more than 40% of bilateral trade last year, and in the first quarter of this year their share rose to almost 60%,” Putin said, adding this was in line with the global trend towards phasing out the use of “widely discredited currencies” in international trade and investment.

Citing official statistics, Russia’s president said that bilateral trade rose 8% in 2023 and continues to grow. The energy sector remains a strategically important area of bilateral cooperation, he added.

The Vietnam trip comes immediately after Putin’s state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where he was hosted by the country’s leader Kim Jong-un. The two leaders signed a comprehensive new partnership treaty between the two nations, pledging to strengthen cooperation in all areas and to defend each other from a potential foreign attack.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 18:57:48 +0000 RT
Israel’s isolation: An anti-Semitic horror story or inevitable outcome? /news/599408-gaza-israel-isolation-opinions/ Opinions are split on the impact of the Gaza war on West Jerusalem, but the trend ss worrying
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Opinions are split on the impact of the Gaza war on West Jerusalem, but the trend is worrying

Since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas last October, Bolivia and Colombia have severed their ties with the Jewish state. Chile, Jordan, and Brazil have recalled their ambassadors, whereas Türkiye has ceased its economic cooperation with Israel, in response to its brutality in Gaza.

Almost ten months have passed since Israel launched its war on Gaza following the deadly Hamas attack of October 7, which claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people and injured over 5,000 others.

In its struggle to dismantle Hamas and ensure it no longer poses a threat, Israel has left no stone unturned in its pursuit of militants. The problem is that in the process of doing so, it has also claimed the lives of innocent people. Although the numbers are disputed, Palestinian statistics show that more than 37,000 Palestinians – mainly women and children – have lost their lives. A recent poll revealed that more than 60% of Gazans have lost relatives in the conflict.

Images of the dead, wounded and starving, coupled with Gaza’s total devastation, have rocked the world. Mass protests denouncing Israel and calling for an end to its bloody war on Gaza have become a weekly reality; rallies and encampments on university campuses have turned into an ordinary phenomenon.

Growing isolation? 

But the dissatisfaction with Israel’s policies doesn’t only stem from the masses. In recent months, the leaderships of various states have also joined the chorus of anti-Israel sentiment. Last November, one month into Israel’s Gaza offensive, Bolivia severed its relations with the Jewish state. Several months later, Colombia took a similar step; states such as Jordan, Chile, and Brazil have recalled their ambassadors, whereas President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Türkiye announced that his country would cut off economic relations with Israel.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Can Netanyahu survive the storm gathering around him?
]]> European states have also chimed in. Norway, Spain, Ireland, and Slovenia have already recognized Palestine in response to Israel’s ongoing onslaught; and more countries promise to do the same, sending a message to Israel that it will be isolated if it doesn’t cease its current policies towards the Palestinians. Criticism is also heard from states that are generally supportive of Israel, such as the UK, France, Germany, and the US, whose leaders have already indicated that their patience is wearing thin.

Looking at the diplomatic mess his country is currently in, Dr. Alon Liel, a former Israeli diplomat and an ex-director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, pins the blame not only on the ongoing war and the “weaker standing” of Israel on the international arena, but also on Israel’s continuous occupation of the West Bank.

According to reports, 2023 set an all-time record for West Bank settlement construction and illegal outposts recognition. In 2024, Israeli authorities have approved the construction of 3,400 new units in the disputed area; a record amount of West Bank land was declared as state-owned property.

Liel believes Israel’s standing might be at risk. “It all depends on the continuation,” he says. “If this criticism continues over the course of the next few months, the situation will get very serious. It could not only damage Israel’s image and its international standing but it could also upgrade Palestine’s international status, [something that the current government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strived to avoid – ed.].”

Israel stands strong?

But not everyone agrees. Rolene Marks, spokeswoman for South Africa Zionist Federation, claims it would be “a stretch to say that Israel is perceived negatively in the world.” 

“We can’t make a sweeping statement that Israel is isolated,” she says. “The opposite is true. There is a phenomenal amount of support [towards Israel] and while many countries have been critical of the state, so far we haven’t seen any major breaks of international relations,” she added. 

One of the reasons for this, she says, is the world’s understanding of “who Israel is dealing with,” referring to Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by many international players. Another reason for this could be the realization that Israel is “a strong economic and technological powerhouse” – needed for their own success. 

“If these countries care really cared about the Palestinians, they would have been more vocal when Palestinians were protesting against Hamas or when they were gassed in the Yarmouk camp in 2013,” Marks says.  

“These countries’ comments and deeds are driven by their own political agendas. One of our allies, for example, is currently in the middle of an elections’ cycle. Others have massive Muslim communities, which they don’t want to frustrate. So public statements to the media is one thing, what’s happening behind closed doors – is another.”

Recent data released by Israel’s Bureau of Statistics shows that 2024 saw an annual increase of 4.8% in exports by medium-high technology industries. Imports of consumer goods increased by 13.9%.

Military cooperation between Israel and other states has also been given a boost. The Israeli Defense Ministry announced on Monday that its exports have doubled within five years, with over a third of all agreements signed in 2023, including for missiles, rockets, and air defense systems. In April, when Israel was attacked by hundreds of Iranian drones, a coalition of the US, UK, France, and Jordan came to its aid, allegedly backed a number of Gulf states. Earlier this week, Israel’s chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, traveled to Manama, where he discussed security cooperation with a number of generals, including from Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

The trouble is that very often generals and governments don’t represent the mood of the general public; and that public seems to have grown more hostile towards Israel since the beginning of the war.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Will the Rafah assault break Netanyahu?
]]> According to a recent poll, 68% of respondents in Saudi Arabia said they rejected the notion of recognizing Israel. Similar views have been expressed in Morocco and Sudan, where the rejection stood at 78 and 81% respectively.

In Europe and the US, anti-Israel flames have also been high. In 2023, America registered a total of 7,532 Jewish hate crime incidents, as compared to 2022, when the official figure stood at less than 4,000. France has seen 1,676 anti-Semitic crimes, as opposed to 436 in 2022; in the UK, 4,103 incidents have been reported; in Germany, they stood at 3,614 – also a significant increase compared to previous years.

“Since October we have seen an insane rise in anti-Semitism. It has reached a boiling point and is now bubbling over,” says Marks. “It is time world leaders do something about it.”

For Liel, however, the solution is not in the hands of world leaders. The key, he says, is in the hands of Israeli politicians and their policies.

“All they need to do is to accept the UN Security Council plan [presupposing the return of the hostages and the cessation of hostilities – ed.], stop the expansion of settlements and [act] to prevent settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians,” he concluded.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 16:52:00 +0000 RT
Polish MP calls for landmines at Russian border /news/599579-poland-landmines-border-russia/ Former defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak has proposed deploying landmines near Kaliningrad Region
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Ex-defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak also wants to repudiate the landmine ban

Poland should withdraw from the ban on anti-personnel mines and deploy them along the border with Kaliningrad Region, former defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak has said.

Blaszczak is currently a member of parliament with the Law and Justice (PiS) party. He was the defense minister from 2018 until 2023, when PiS lost power to Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform coalition.

“As part of the program to strengthen the eastern border, the authorities must withdraw from the Ottawa Convention,” Blaszczak said at a PiS press conference on Wednesday, referring to the treaty banning the use of anti-personnel landmines.

Warsaw should then mine the length of its border with Kaliningrad Region, the Russian territory between Poland and Lithuania, Blaszczak argued.

Last month, Tusk publicly opposed mining the border with Russia and Belarus, a move originally proposed by the PiS government. According to Tusk, Warsaw does not intend to leave the Ottawa Convention, either.

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RT
NATO country tests bomb shelters in capital
]]> The treaty that banned the use, production, stockpiling and proliferation of landmines came into effect in 1999 and has been ratified by 164 countries. The US, Russia, India and China are among the dozen nations that have declined to participate in the ban.

Blaszczak oversaw the deployment of tens of thousands of Polish troops along the border with Russia and Belarus last year, in the run-up to the general election. The new government has chosen to continue that mission, citing the alleged “hybrid war” threat from Moscow and Minsk.

Warsaw has been an outspoken supporter of Ukraine under both Tusk and the previous PiS government. Poland has also served as the logistics hub for almost all deliveries of NATO weapons, equipment, and ammunition to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 16:39:57 +0000 RT
AI could fuel anti-Semitism – UNESCO /news/599567-ai-risks-holocaust-un/ Artificial intelligence technology could pose risks in misrepresenting or distorting the history of the Holocaust, a UN report has warned
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Artificial intelligence technology risks promoting Holocaust denial, a new study has found

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology could cause a surge in false narratives about World War II atrocities, including Holocaust denial, the UN education and culture body UNESCO has warned. 

According to a report published in partnership with the World Jewish Congress on Tuesday, the generation of false content, such as deep fakes and misinformation, could undermine the authenticity of historical evidence and spread anti-Semitic ideologies.

The study pointed to the widespread use of AI for assistance in education, research and writing, which it said could result in an increased likelihood of unreliable data.

Deep-fake images and audio content created using Generative AI are particularly convincing for young people, who may encounter them on social-media platforms, the report cautioned.

With four in five young people between the ages of 10 and 24 now using AI several times a day for education, entertainment and other purposes, according to UN research, “action to ethically guide these new technologies must be taken quickly,” the report warns. 

The report used the Historical Figures App as an example. The interface reportedly allowed users to chat with prominent Nazis such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, and falsely claimed that individuals such as Goebbels were not intentionally involved in the Holocaust and had tried to prevent violence against Jews.

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RT
ChatGPT maker ignoring fatal threat posed by AI – insider
]]> The report also said that ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have both produced content detailing Holocaust-related events that never took place.

“If we allow the horrific facts of the Holocaust to be diluted, distorted or falsified through the irresponsible use of AI, we risk the explosive spread of anti-Semitism…” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

UNESCO has called on governments to accelerate the implementation of the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI, which was unanimously adopted by its member states in 2021.

The UN agency has also urged tech companies to establish ethical rules for the development and use of AI in an effort to reduce the chances of unreliable information being generated and to prevent bad actors from spreading misinformation.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 15:34:08 +0000 RT
McDonald’s scraps AI trial after bacon added to ice cream – media /news/599575-mcdonalds-scraps-ai-assistant-trial/ The fast food giant is ending its AI drive-through pilot project with IBM after videos of order mix-ups went viral?
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The fast food giant will remove voice ordering tech from over 100 outlets by the end of July, the company has reportedly said

McDonald’s is scrapping its AI drive-through trial after videos went viral of order mix-ups, including bacon being added to ice cream.   

The US fast food chain has been testing a voice recognition system developed by IBM to process orders since 2021. However, reliability of the AI-powered technology has been called into question after customers reported errors in their orders and shared comical mishaps on social media.

McDonald’s has instructed franchisees to remove the AI-assisted technology from the more than 100 outlets that have been using it by the end of July, as reported by trade publication Restaurant Business on Friday.

The fast food chain is abandoning the trial without any sort of expansion, the publication said, citing an email the company sent to franchisees on Thursday.

“After thoughtful review, McDonald’s has decided to end our current global partnership with IBM on AOT [Automated Order Taking] beyond this year,” the message read.

While the Chicago-based fast food giant didn’t give the exact reason for the move, it comes after customers shared videos showing drive-through AI picking up orders from the wrong cars, multiplying orders, and producing bizarre combinations of food ranging from bacon-topped ice cream to hundreds of dollars’ worth of chicken nuggets.

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FILE PHOTO.
Wage hike triggers mass fast-food job losses in US state – report
]]> In one TikTok video, a woman attempts to order vanilla ice cream and a bottle of water only to end up with ketchup sachets and multiple stacks of butter. Another video shows a customer claiming that the AI drive-through assistant confused her order with someone else’s, resulting in nine portions of tea being added to her bill.

McDonald’s, which initially sought to embrace the technology to cut back on mounting labor costs, indicated that the end of the trial would not mean its experiments with AI are over. The company said that its work with IBM “has given us the confidence that a voice ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of our restaurants’ future.”

IBM also said it plans to continue working with McDonald’s.

“This technology is proven to have some of the most comprehensive capabilities in the industry, fast and accurate in some of the most demanding conditions,” the company said in a statement.

Other major US fast food giants, including Chipotle, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, have also been rolling out AI systems at their drive-throughs in a bid to replace human workers and reduce labor costs.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 14:41:11 +0000 RT
Ukraine ‘snatching’ US Patriot missiles promised to Switzerland – media /news/599576-patriot-missiles-ukraine-switzerland/ The supply of US air defense systems to Switzerland will be delayed due to Washington’s decision to prioritize the arming of Ukraine
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Washington has promised Kiev priority treatment when it comes to arms delivery

The US has delayed the scheduled delivery of long-range interceptor missiles to Switzerland in order to prioritize Ukraine’s military needs, Swiss media reported on Tuesday citing authorities.

President Joe Biden announced last week that foreign buyers of American arms will have to get behind Kiev because Ukraine needs the weapons more in order to keep fighting Russia. Switzerland is among the nations affected by the decision, the Swiss daily newspaper Blick reported.

Last fall, the European nation ordered PAC-3 missiles for the US-designed Patriot system, worth 300 million Swiss francs ($340 million). However, the promised shipments will not come on time due to the Ukraine conflict, several sources in the Swiss defense ministry told the news outlet, which claimed Kiev is “snatching” the arms. The Swiss military later confirmed to the press that the report was true.

The situation shows that “Switzerland needs an independent and robust defense industry again, and to diversify procurement among manufacturers and countries,” according to the military.

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US President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky during a press conference on the sidelines of the G7 Summit hosted by Italy, on June 13, 2024.
Biden tells arms buyers to wait behind Ukraine
]]> The US last year authorized Switzerland to procure up to 72 advanced MSE PAC-3 interceptor missiles for a total price of $700 million. The delivery was expected sometime in the late 2020s or early 2030s, according to Swiss media sources.

Washington reportedly claimed ‘force majeure’, which allows for the alteration of an agreement due to serious unforeseen circumstances. The Ukraine crisis constitutes a national security issue for the US, it reportedly told Swiss officials.

“This is like during the Covid-19 pandemic: when there are problems, each country looks after itself,” Swiss MP Thomas Hurter told Blick of the situation. “The US decision shows how quickly reliability can change.”

He urged the government to revisit its plan to phase out the current fleet of fighter jets, which it intends to replace with Lockheed-made F-35s. Switzerland ordered 36 of them last year for a sum of over $6.8 billion to be supplied between 2027 and 2030, so that its Air Force could retire the aging F-5 Tigers and F/A-18 Hornets.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 14:37:14 +0000 RT
Hungary unveils MEGA slogan for EU presidency /news/599558-hungary-mega-slogan-eu-presidency/ The official motto for the Hungarian presidency of the EU that starts on July 1 is ‘Make Europe Great Again’
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Budapest aims to ‘Make Europe Great Again’ when it takes the reins next month

Hungary has revealed that the slogan for its upcoming presidency of the European Union will be ‘Make Europe Great Again’ (MEGA).

Observers immediately noted the similarity to the ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) motto deployed by Donald Trump during his successful US presidential campaign in 2016.

Hungary is set to take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1 and will remain in charge until the end of the year. During the six-month period, Hungarian diplomats will chair meetings in Brussels and shape the EU’s political agenda.

Hungary’s minister for European Union Affairs, Janos Boka, told a press conference on Tuesday that the slogan refers to a proactive presidency and aims to show that “together we are stronger than apart,” according to local media.

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (L) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (R) meet at an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, on June 17, 2024.
NATO top job favorite agrees to make concession to Orban – media
]]> Boka downplayed the similarity of Hungary’s motto to Trump’s, joking that “I am not aware that Donald Trump has ever wanted to make Europe great,” according to Agence France-Presse.

Hungary is taking over the EU reins in “a very difficult environment,” he added, citing “a war in our neighborhood” in reference to the Ukraine conflict. He also cited illegal immigration as another of the most pressing issues the region must deal with.

Boka went on to say that “we should be allowed to remain who we are when we come together,” according to Politico.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has faced criticism in the EU for pursuing policies that run counter to those of Brussels.

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, Budapest has refused to provide weapons to Kiev, calling for a diplomatic solution instead, and has maintained economic ties with Russia.

Earlier this year, Orban flew to US to meet with Republican presidential frontrunner Trump. Following the talks, the Hungarian prime minister claimed that Trump had shown himself to be “pro-peace.” That stance puts him in alignment with Hungary, unlike the current US administration and many EU members, Orban added.

Trump, in turn, described Orban as a “fantastic” leader.

]]> READ MORE: Hungary threatens EU over ‘insane’ migrant fine – media

]]> Hungary has also faced criticism in the EU for following its own migration policy in an apparent contradiction with the bloc’s rules. The European Court of Justice (ICJ) imposed a €200 million ($216 million) fine on Budapest last week for restricting access to international protection procedures and illegally removing third-country nationals.

Defending his stance on the Ukraine aid and immigration Orban has argued that his policies aim to defend the interests of the Hungarian people.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 12:15:42 +0000 RT
Islamic terrorists using Ukraine to enter EU — German spies /news/599556-gearmany-jihadists-ukrainian-refugees/ Germany’s national security agency BfV has outlined major threats that the country faces domestically and internationally
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Jihadists remain a major threat to the country, the country’s BfV security agency has warned

Jihadist pose a serious domestic security risk to Germany, the country's BfV security agency warned on Tuesday, singling out the Afghanistan-based offshoot of the once-powerful terrorist organization Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

The group, designated ISPK by the German intelligence service, “has managed to bring followers to Western Europe, possibly with the wave of refugees from Ukraine, who are now staying here in various Western European countries,” Director General Thomas Haldenwang told the media on Tuesday.

The senior official and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser presented an annual report on the BfV’s activities, including a July 2023 operation involving a series of arrests in Germany and the Netherlands.

A total of nine people from Central Asia were taken into custody at the time for allegedly founding a “domestic terrorist group” and preparing major attacks on European soil. Seven of them lived in Germany.

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FILE PHOTO: Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray
FBI chief warns of Moscow-style terrorist attack in US
]]> The group was allegedly in contact with ISPK, also known as ISIS-K, and had entered the European Union from Ukraine “almost simultaneously,” according to German security officials. The suspects were described as “black sheep” among Ukrainians when the arrests happened.

ISPK has a large number of supporters and calls for “major attacks,” Haldenwang said. He cited as an example the gun and arson massacre at a concert hall outside of Moscow in March, which the Afghanistan-based group claimed credit for.

Moscow believes that Ukrainian intelligence services had facilitated the Crocus City Hall attack, which left over 145 people killed. ISPK could have just lent its brand name to the plot, which helped the real mastermind recruit the perpetrators, Russian officials have suggested.

]]> READ MORE: Ukrainian spies involved in Moscow terror attack – FSB chief

]]> The BfV’s report is over 400 pages long and covers a wide spectrum of threats, from foreign espionage to domestic extremism to terrorism. The strength of jihadist terrorist organizations is estimated at 27,200 people.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 10:58:00 +0000 RT
US greenlights new arms sale to Taiwan? /news/599548-us-approves-taiwan-arms-sale/ The US has approved the sale of $360 million worth of drones and missiles to Taiwan, the State Department has said ?
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The $360 million deal will provide Taipei with hundreds of armed drones and missiles, the State Department has said

The US State Department has approved a new weapons sale to Taiwan involving hundreds of armed drones and missiles worth $360 million, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has said.

Under the deal that was concluded on Tuesday, Taiwan will receive Altius-600M systems, which are unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with warheads, and related equipment at an estimated cost of $300 million, the agency said.

The US will also provide 720 Switchblade kamikaze drones known as “extended-range loitering munitions” along with accompanying fire control systems worth $60.2 million, according to the DSCA. Loitering munitions are small guided missiles that can fly around a target area until they are directed to attack.

The weapons deal with Taiwan was not unexpected and comes at a time of increased tensions between Washington and Beijing. Last week, China condemned the US for supplying Taipei with arms, urging the White House to stop a practice that “severely jeopardized peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

“We firmly oppose any form of military contact between countries with diplomatic ties to China and the Taiwan region, including the sale of weapons to Taiwan,” Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said last week.

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The Chinese military conduct a cross-day and all-factor live-fire red-blue confrontation drill in Zhangzhou City, Fujian Province, China, August 24, 2022.
Xi claimed US tried to provoke Beijing into Taiwan attack – FT
]]> The State Department said the proposed deal “serves US national, economic, and security interests” by supporting Taiwan’s “continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.” The arms sale will “help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” the department added.

US defense contractor AeroVironment, which has been supplying Ukraine with the Switchblade suicide drones, said in April that the company had been “gratified by overwhelming user feedback and demand for additional systems.”

The Altius-600M drone can accommodate “multiple seeker and warhead options,” and can be launched from ground, air or sea, according to its manufacturer, Anduril.

Taiwan’s presidential office thanked the US for the latest weapons transfer, noting that it was Washington’s 15th arms sale to the island since 2021.

“Taiwan will continue to strengthen our self-defense and asymmetric warfare capabilities to enhance our deterrence,” presidential office spokeswoman Karen Kuo said.

China has long accused the US of fomenting tensions over Taiwan, and has denounced Washington’s arms sales to Taipei. Beijing has also protested against visits by top US officials to the island, arguing that such practices violate the ‘One-China’ principle. 

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 10:22:45 +0000 RT
Russia and North Korea agree on mutual aid against aggression – Putin /news/599552-russia-north-korea-mutual-defense/ Russia and North Korea have pledged to jointly oppose foreign aggression against either nation, President Vladimir Putin has announced
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Pyongyang has the right to defend its sovereignty against the US, the Russian leader has said

Moscow and Pyongyang have pledged to assist each other against foreign aggression, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday during a visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Putin and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong-un, signed a strategic partnership which will serve as a roadmap for future cooperation in all spheres, from cultural and tourist ties, to trade, economic relations and security, the Russian leader has said, calling it “truly a breakthrough.”

“The document on comprehensive partnership that we have signed today provides, among other things, for mutual aid in case of aggression against one of the participants,” the president added.

Moscow supports Pyongyang’s intention to protect its security and sovereignty from possible Western aggression, which is its right, Putin said. The country considers the US and its allies responsible for the increasing tensions in the region, he added.

“Overused Western propaganda tropes can no longer hide their aggressive geopolitical intentions, including in Northwestern Asia,” Putin said.

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Ukrainian soldiers of the 43rd Infantry Brigade in Kharkov Region, June 5, 2024.
Ukraine must defeat Russia to join NATO – US
]]> Putin noted that Western nations were supplying advanced weapons to Ukraine and have given Kiev the green light to strike Russia. Under these circumstances, “Russia does not rule out the development of military cooperation with the DPRK under the document signed today.” 

The visiting head of state denounced the “indefinite restrictions regime” imposed on North Korea by the UN Security Council, which includes an arms embargo, as “orchestrated by the US” and urged for it to be revised.

The Russian president had previously warned the West over Kiev’s desire to use donated weapons to conduct attacks deep inside Russia. Should that happen, Moscow could send similar types of weapons to enemies of the West, which could use them to strike the military assets of the US and its allies, he said earlier this month.

Pyongyang has an “objective and balanced” stance on the Ukraine conflict and sees its core causes, which proves North Korea’s independence and sovereignty, Putin said. The two nations are also on the same page in supporting “a more just and democratic multipolar world” that should replace the previous Western-centric system.

]]> READ MORE: Pyongyang welcomes Putin with spectacular ceremony (VIDEO)

]]> ”We will continue to oppose the imposition of strangling sanctions, which the West has turned into a tool of maintaining its hegemony in politics, the economy and other areas,” the president vowed.

Recalling the lengthy record of Russian cooperation with North Korea, Putin noted the role that the Soviet Union played in the fight against Imperial Japan during the Second World War and the reconstruction efforts following the Korean civil war, which split the Korean Peninsula between two rivals. Moscow was the party with which Pyongyang signed its first international agreement 75 years ago, he added.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 09:47:52 +0000 RT
Ukraine frustrated with US over F-16 pilot training /news/599527-ukraine-attacks-us-f16s/ The US is making excuses for training F-16 pilots too slowly, Ukrainian lawmaker Aleksandra Ustinova has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
A Ukrainian lawmaker has accused Washington of deliberate delays so as not to antagonize Moscow

The US is making “excuses” for its failure to prepare sufficient numbers of Ukrainian F-16 fighter pilots to aid the war effort, the head of the arms procurement commission in Kiev's parliament, Aleksandra Ustinova, has claimed.

Kiev’s sponsors in the so-called ‘F-16 coalition’ – the US, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands – have pledged to deliver up to 60 American-made aircraft by the end of this year. Ukrainian pilots are being trained in the US and Denmark, while a separate training program in Romania is planned, but is yet to begin.

So far only eight Ukrainian pilots have received training at the Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona, Ustinova told British newspaper The Times in an interview published on Monday. An additional 12 are being trained in Denmark, she added.

The delay in preparation means Ukraine is likely to only have 20 fully trained F-16 pilots by the end of this year, the lawmaker said. Ukraine earlier asked the US for at least another ten spots in the training programs, but was refused, Ustinova noted.

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FILE PHOTO: Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer during a news conference in Vienna.
Crossing Moscow’s red line ‘permissible’ – Austria
]]> Last week, Politico wrote that Kiev’s efforts to get 30 more pilots into Western training facilities have been rebuffed. Ukrainian pilots have already hit language barrier issues, a senior DOD official told the news outlet. The Tucson base can only train 12 at a time, and Washington already has other countries’ pilots booked, the source added.

Ustinova questioned the US justification for the delays, suggesting it was deliberate.

“These are not arguments, they are excuses, and they keep coming up with them time and time again,” she stated. The training delays are likely motivated by Washington’s fear that a large-scale presence of US F-16s in the Ukraine conflict could be viewed by Moscow as the integration of the country into NATO, Ustinova told The Times. “This is totally political.” 

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Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Defense Andrey Kartapolov
Russia ready to strike NATO airfields hosting Ukrainian jets – MP
]]> F-16s are needed to help mitigate the effect of Russian glide bombs on the battlefield, a weapon that has shown devastating effectiveness in the Ukraine conflict, Ustinova stressed. “These bombs are huge – from 500 kilos to 1,500 kilos,” and for Kiev, the only solution is to “bring them down is jet-to-jet.”

Moscow has repeatedly warned that Western arms deliveries will not change the course of the conflict, and only prolong it, causing more deaths. The Russian Parliament’s Defense Committee chair, Andrey Kartapolov, replied to Kiev’s statements about plans for some F-16s to be stationed outside Ukraine. Should the aircraft take off from foreign bases and be used to strike at Russian forces, both the jets and the facilities they are stationed at will be considered “legitimate targets,” Kartapolov warned.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 05:52:07 +0000 RT
Sweden opens doors to possible US nukes deployment /news/599517-sweden-us-military-pact/ Lawmakers in Stockholm have approved a military pact, allowing US troops access to 17 Swedish military bases
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The opposition is worried that a new defense pact does not prohibit acceptance of American nuclear weapons

Lawmakers in Stockholm have approved a controversial defense pact with Washington, which allows American troops onto 17 Swedish military bases and training sites. Critics have blasted the agreement for not explicitly barring US nuclear weapons from being deployed in the Nordic country.

The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) was signed between Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in December of last year, but needed parliamentary approval to take effect.

On Tuesday, lawmakers in Stockholm overwhelmingly backed the DCA, with 266 members of parliament voting in favor and 37 against, while 46 were absent. As a high-stakes vote, a three-quarters supermajority with more than half of lawmakers present was required for the bill to pass.

The agreement was opposed by the Left and Green parties, who argued that the terms should explicitly state that Sweden would not host nuclear weapons.

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FILE PHOTO: Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
NATO’s newest member could host US nukes – PM
]]> “We want to see legislation that bans nuclear weapons from being brought onto Swedish soil,” Green Party MP Emma Berginger said in parliament during Tuesday’s proceedings, arguing that the pact “doesn’t close the door to nuclear weapons.”

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association, a major anti-war non-profit organization, slammed the move as one that increases tensions and security risks for Sweden, claiming it betrays voters’ expectations for a nuclear-free nation.

“Unlike in Norway and Denmark’s DCA pacts, the Swedish agreement contains no reservation against nuclear weapons,” the group’s leader, Kerstin Bergea, wrote in an op-ed after the vote. Sweden's neighbor Finland, which joined NATO in 2022, has a national law barring nuclear weapons from its territory, and their DCA pact with the US refers to it, Bergea pointed out.

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FILE PHOTO: The HMS Vigilant, one of the carriers of Britain’s Trident nuclear missile system.
NATO chief saber-rattling with nuclear weapons – Kremlin
]]> Sweden, a member of the US-led military bloc since March, will allow American troops, vehicles and aircraft unimpeded passage across the country. The Pentagon will also be allowed to set up its own facilities at existing Swedish military bases. The presence of US personnel will be regulated by the US rather than local laws.

Earlier this month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that numerous waves of NATO expansion have made Europe less safe. Moscow has no territorial disputes or points of tension with the bloc’s new members Sweden or Finland, he stressed, while acknowledging that NATO military infrastructure will no doubt be hosted on their soil. Stockholm and Helsinki “understand this would lead to consequences for their own security,” he said.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 00:40:11 +0000 RT
Israeli jets bomb Lebanon /news/599512-israel-lebanon-hezbollah-bombing/ The IDF has struck several alleged Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon as West Jerusalem finalized plans for a ground offensive
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The IDF has reportedly approved plans for a ground operation against Hezbollah

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) jets have bombed several Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, West Jerusalem announced on Tuesday evening.

Earlier in the day, Hezbollah released a video of what it says are its spy drones flying over northern Israel and filming the port of Haifa, apparently untouched by air defenses or interceptors.

The IDF announced it had “successfully intercepted a suspicious aerial target in the coastal area of Gesher HaZiv,” a kibbutz near the Lebanese border.

“[Israeli Air Force] fighter jets struck a number of Hezbollah terror targets in southern Lebanon, including several terror infrastructure sites in the areas of Taybeh, Odaisseh, and Jibbain, as well as a military structure in the area of Ayta Ash Shab,” the IDF said on Telegram, alongside two videos of the airstrikes.

Since the Israeli attack on Gaza triggered by the October 7 Hamas raid, Hezbollah and the IDF have exchanged intermittent rocket fire across the Lebanese border, displacing more than 53,000 Israelis and 95,000 Lebanese.

Earlier this month, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned that his country would soon have to do something about what he termed “terrorist aggression.”

On Tuesday, the IDF announced that it had finalized “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon,” citing Northern Command head Major-General Ori Gordin and head of the Operations Directorate, Major-General Oded Basiuk.

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Hezbollah supporters chant during the funeral procession for a militant who was killed this month in an Israeli drone strike in southern Lebanon.
US fears being dragged into another war – CBS
]]> Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Israel was “very close to the moment when we will decide to change the rules of the game against Hezbollah and Lebanon.”

“In a total war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be hit hard,” Katz said in a statement, responding to US calls for restraint and diplomacy.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in 2006, triggered by a cross-border raid into Galilee by the Shia militia. After weeks of inconclusive artillery exchanges, the IDF launched a ground offensive into Lebanon that “did not result in military gains and was not completed,” according to the Israeli commission that later compiled a report on the conflict.

The Winograd Commission criticized the government for “serious failures of the decision making process” and for not setting realistic objectives or an exit strategy. Though West Jerusalem claimed victory on that occasion, the conflict has since been widely understood as a triumph for Hezbollah.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 20:41:02 +0000 RT
Blinken made secret weapons promise to Israel – Netanyahu /news/599500-us-israel-weapons-supply/ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that Washington remove barriers to the flow of munitions
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The Secretary of State said the White House “is working day and night” to resume all arms shipments, according to the PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that he pressured the United States over arms supplies that his country needs in its war with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The US paused delivery of weapons to Israel in early May amid calls for it to scale back its assault on the densely-populated city of Rafah in southern Gaza. The shipment reportedly included 3,500 bombs for fighter jets. The Jewish state’s offensive on Rafah has left thousands of Palestinians dead and injured, according to the local Hamas-run authorities.

In a video posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, Netanyahu said in English that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has assured him the White House “is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks,” referring to arms supplies.

The statement confirms the latest media reports that during a meeting with Blinken last week in Jerusalem, Netanyahu had demanded the removal of barriers to the flow of munitions.

“When Secretary Blinken was recently here in Israel, we had a candid conversation. I said I deeply appreciated the support the US has given Israel from the beginning of the war,” Netanyahu stated.

“But I also said something else, I said it’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel.” 

The Israeli leader stressed that an increased flow of US weapons would help bring the end to the struggle with Hamas. “During World War II, [Winston] Churchill told the United States, ‘Give us the tools, we’ll do the job.’ And I say, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.”

Netanyahu has reportedly told Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and other high-ranking officials to make sure that arms transfers are fully resumed during upcoming meetings with American counterparts in Washington this week.

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Buildings destroyed by Israeli bombing raids in the Nuseirat camp, central Gaza, June 8, 2024.
Israel and Hamas disagree on US-backed ceasefire – media reports
]]> US President Joe Biden has repeatedly warned Israel he would halt arms shipments over the situation in Rafah, but despite those warnings his administration had reportedly kept weapons and ammunition flowing. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the US proceeded with a transfer of $1 billion worth of ammunition and vehicles for Israel in May, the same month it stopped the delivery of bombs.

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that the White House had successfully pressured Democrats in Congress to support a major arms sale to Israel that includes 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion.

Israel declared war on Hamas after militants killed around 1,200 people and took more than 200 hostage in a surprise attack on October 7. More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in the months of fighting that have followed, according to the latest figures from Gaza’s health ministry.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 19:06:29 +0000 RT
NATO country tests bomb shelters in capital /news/599510-poland-warsaw-shelter-drills/ Polish authorities have checked the power and water supply in Warsaw’s bomb shelters in case of an unspecified emergency?
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Polish officials have checked the emergency water and power supplies in Warsaw’s facilities

Warsaw has run an exercise to test the reliability of emergency water and power supplies in the city’s shelters, the mayor of the Polish capital has said.

Fresh from the LGBTQ parade over the weekend, Rafal Trzaskowski ordered a snap drill of the city’s emergency services on Monday, “just in case.”

“As part of the Warsaw Safety program, we are checking critical infrastructure; yesterday all city services held training exercises at the water supply plant so that we are ready,” Trzaskowski told reporters on Tuesday. “We are preparing water supplies, preparing warehouses in order to store additional equipment, such as generators. We must be prepared for any kind of situation.”

Trzaskowski also shared photos from the exercise on X (formerly Twitter), reassuring Warsawians that “it’s just a drill,” but that the city takes their safety very seriously.

Water and power utilities, the police, the firefighters and the military all worked together to test “action scenarios in potential crisis situations,” according to the mayor.

Warsaw has a population of around 1.8 million and the ability to accommodate three million people in the subway system, underground parking garages and other designated shelter spaces. However, it will take “some more work” to get all of them up to standard, the mayor said.

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FILE PHOTO: Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 23 Szucha Avenue in Warsaw, Poland.
US and Poland set up info wars center
]]> The emergency drills in Warsaw came less than two days after Polish President Andrzej Duda called for “decolonizing” Russia by breaking it up into many smaller countries. His comments came during the so-called peace conference on Ukraine in Switzerland. 

Duda has also proposed that Poland should host US nuclear weapons, drawing criticism from Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, as well as Moscow.

Last week, the US and Poland announced the establishment of the Ukraine Communications Group (UCG), an information warfare outfit designed to “amplify Ukrainian voices,” and counter alleged “deceptive narratives” from Russia. The UCG will be hosted by the Polish Foreign Ministry.

Warsaw has been an outspoken supporter of Kiev both under the previous government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and since he was replaced by Tusk last December. Poland has served as the logistics hub for almost all deliveries of NATO weapons, equipment, and ammunition to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 18:10:23 +0000 RT
Naval vessels collide in disputed South China Sea /news/599498-china-philippines-vessels-collision/ Chinese and Philippine military vessels collided in the disputed South China Sea, an incident the two sides blamed on each other
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Beijing and Manila have traded blame over an incident that left at least one Philippine sailor severely injured

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel and a Philippine navy boat collided in the South China Sea on Monday, an incident of which the two sides provided differing accounts.

The collision occurred when the Philippine naval vessel attempted a resupply run to the BRP Sierra Madre, an old tank landing vessel grounded on the Second Thomas Shoal, a small submerged reef near the Spratly Islands. The ship, originally built for the US Navy during WWII, was deliberately run aground in the area in 1999 and has served as an outpost for the Philippine military ever since.

“A Philippine Navy personnel sustained severe injury after the CCG’s [China Coast Guard’s] intentional high-speed ramming during the rotation and resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) on June 17,” according to a statement by the country’s military. 

The Chinese Coast Guard, however, claimed that the Philippine vessel had “dangerously approached and deliberately collided” with its ship while attempting to resupply the “illegally grounded warship.” Following the collision, the Chinese vessel took “control measures” to check the supply boat and expel it from the area.

“The handling [of the incident] was reasonable, legal, professional and standard,” the Coast Guard stated. 

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Joe Biden (C) heads to a trilateral meeting with Fumio Kishida (R) and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (L) at the White House in Washington DC, April 11, 2024
Beijing slams US and allies for ‘attacking China’
]]> Washington backed the Philippine account of the collision. The Department of State called Beijing out over what it called “escalatory and irresponsible actions.” The Chinese vessel prevented “the Philippines from lawfully delivering humanitarian supplies to service members stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre,” it said. 

The Chinese vessels’ “dangerous and deliberate use of water cannons, ramming, blocking maneuvers, and towing damaged Philippine vessels, endangered the lives of Philippine service members, is reckless, and threatens regional peace and stability,” the State Department added.

A similar incident involving Chinese and Philippine vessels occurred in the area in March. The Philippines has ramped up its activities around the BRP Sierra Madre since late last year, seeking to refurbish the old vessel and improve the living conditions of military personnel stationed at the outpost. 

The South China Sea is the subject of numerous overlapping claims by countries in the region. Apart from China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, as well as the self-governing Chinese island of Taiwan, claim parts of it. The waterway sees significant volumes of commercial traffic and serves as the key conduit for the foreign trade of South Asian nations. 

Tensions in the region have been further aggravated by the activities of the US and its allies, which routinely send in so-called “freedom of navigation” missions through the area claimed by Beijing as its exclusive economic zone.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 16:39:38 +0000 RT
Court rejects Trump’s gag order appeal /news/599509-us-court-rejects-trump-verdict-appeal/ Former US President and Republican candidate Donald Trump is still not allowed to speak about his New York criminal trial
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The former US president is still forbidden to talk about his New York criminal trial

Former US President Donald Trump remains banned from speaking about his criminal case in Manhattan, even after the jury’s verdict, the New York Court of Appeals said on Tuesday.

Judge Juan Merchan imposed the gag order on Trump during his trial on 34 counts of “falsifying business records,” which District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleged had somehow violated campaign finance laws and improperly influenced the 2016 election. The jury found the former president guilty on all counts at the end of May.

Trump’s lawyers have protested the gag order from the start, pointing out that it directly impacts his 2024 presidential campaign. The appeals court has ruled that “no substantial constitutional question is directly involved,” so the order can stay in place.

“The Gag Order wrongfully silences the leading candidate for President of the United States, President Trump, at the height of his campaign,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said on Tuesday, adding that the president’s attorneys will “continue to fight” against the “unconstitutional” measure.

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Former US President Donald Trump arrives to Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City.
US court convicts Trump
]]> According to the campaign, the gag order “violates the First Amendment rights of President Trump and all American voters, who have a fundamental right to hear his message.” The First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits the government from censoring speech and the press. Trump has called his prosecution politically motivated and a “witch hunt” by Biden and his administration.

The former president’s lawyers have pointed out that President Joe Biden is making Trump’s conviction a centerpiece of his 2024 campaign and will most likely bring it up at the first presidential debate, scheduled for later this month – while his Republican rival won’t be able to respond.

Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential ticket, which will be formally announced at the national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin next month. However, Merchan has scheduled the sentencing hearing for July 11, just days before the convention is scheduled to start.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 16:06:59 +0000 RT
Ukraine to get German ‘Frankenstein’ tanks /news/599496-hybrid-tank-germany-ukraine/ Germany’s Rheinmetall could supply Kiev with air defense systems based on a Cold-war era tank chassis, a company official has said
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Rheinmetall says it is working on new weapons systems for Kiev based on a Leopard tank chassis

German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall could soon supply Ukraine with new mobile air defense systems capable of shooting down Russian drones and missiles, according to the company’s head of Land Systems, Bjorn Bernhard.

In an interview with the German tabloid Bild released on Sunday, Bernhard signaled that the systems, which the German media dubbed ‘Frankenstein tanks,’ are already in the works.

According to the report, the tanks would be a heavily armored version of Rheinmetall’s advanced Skyranger anti-aircraft system grafted onto the hulls of Cold War-era Leopard 1 tanks. They will reportedly be capable of dealing with short-range targets such as drones and artillery fire.

“There are still a lot of Leopard 1 battle tanks on whose chassis we could put the Skyranger turret with the 35 mm machine gun,” Bernhard said in the interview, which took place at a secret Rheinmetall tank repair factory in Western Ukraine that was reportedly launched in early June.

The company will present a similar vehicle, albeit placed on a Leopard 2 chassis, at the ongoing Eurosatory 2024 defense industry exhibition in Paris, according to a press-release.

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UELZEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 12: Employees work at a production line at a new munitions factory of German defence contractor Rheinmetall.
Western weapons makers on hiring spree – FT
]]> “Highly mobile, modular and scalable ground-based air defense systems are becoming increasingly important as NATO forces refocus on national and alliance defense,” Rheinmetall said in a press release.

It is unclear when Ukraine may get the new hybrid tanks. According to the UK’s The Telegraph, Kiev’s army has already received roughly a hundred traditionally configured Leopard 1 tanks from Germany. However, the Ukrainian authorities have been pressuring NATO countries in recent weeks to supply more critical weaponry and have been complaining that the shortage of Western air defense systems leaves its troops and infrastructure exposed to Russian attacks.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced earlier this month that Berlin would transfer its third US-made Patriot air defense system and other additional weapons to Kiev within the next several weeks. Addressing the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, Scholz said that Germany has already either delivered or earmarked €28 billion ($30 billion) worth of weapons for Ukraine and will continue to support Kiev’s war effort.

]]> READ MORE: Italy could arm Kiev with long-range weaponry – media

]]> Russia has repeatedly criticized the Western military aid to Kiev, warning that it will only drag out the conflict without changing its outcome.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 15:36:50 +0000 RT
Confused Biden clips are ‘deepfakes’ – White House /news/599505-white-house-confused-biden-clips-fake/ Videos showing the US president freezing up on stage and wandering off are all fake, according to press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
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Videos showing the US president freezing up on stage and wandering off are all “manipulated,” according to press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has claimed that recent videos showing US President Joe Biden looking confused at public events have been manipulated, describing them as “cheap fakes.” 

Jean-Pierre’s comments come after several videos of Biden have gone viral on social media in recent weeks. In one clip, the president could be seen having trouble sitting down during a D-Day memorial event in France. A number of commenters suggested that the US leader was “completely lost” or having “some kind of episode.” 

Another video showed Biden standing together with G7 leaders in Italy watching a skydiving demonstration. At one point, the US president turned away and wandered off from the group, before Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni took him by the hand to guide him back to the other members. 

In another clip from an LA fundraising event with former President Barack Obama and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, Biden appeared to freeze up as he was waving goodbye to the crowd. Obama could then be seen taking Biden by the hand and patting him on the back while leading him off stage. 

A clip from a White House Juneteenth concert also appeared to show the 81-year-old president awkwardly frozen as everyone around him danced to the music. 

Speaking to reporters during a White House Press event on Monday, Jean-Pierre stated that “we are seeing these deepfakes, these manipulated videos, and it is again, done in bad faith.” The press secretary claimed that reports on these incidents are “attacks” on Biden that demonstrate the “desperation” of Republicans who refuse to acknowledge the president’s achievements. 

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US President Joe Biden speaks at the 80th anniversary of 'D-Day' landings in Normandy, in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2024.
‘Awkward’ Biden struggles at D-Day ceremony (VIDEO)
]]> Asked to comment specifically on the incidents with Meloni and Obama, who appeared to give Biden “stage directions,” Jean-Pierre insisted that these were “cheap fakes” and that “this did not happen, in the sense of what people were saying they were seeing or what was being falsely reported.”  

She also dismissed claims that Biden had frozen during the Juneteenth concert, suggesting the president simply didn’t want to dance. “Excuse me, I did not know that not dancing was a mental health issue. That is a weird thing to flag,” Jean-Pierre said. 

According to multiple recent polls, Biden’s mental health has been a longstanding concern among American voters, many of whom believe he is mentally and physically unfit for office. A recent Wall Street Journal report also claimed that aside from his frequent public mental gaffes, Biden has shown “signs of slipping” in closed-door meetings with US lawmakers.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 15:14:08 +0000 RT
Macron just threw a live grenade at his own feet /news/599494-france-macron-regime-change/ The French president could be on the verge of regime-changing himself, with his establishment party’s support below that of the opposition
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The French president could be on the verge of regime-changing himself, with his establishment party’s support below that of the opposition

The latest French national polls show a final face off between the anti-establishment right and left, and the total decimation of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party. Looks like he may have fooled himself into thinking that dumping all over the political chessboard was a big-brained three-dimensional move. 

In the wake of the anti-establishment National Rally party winning the European elections by a landslide, with more than double the score of Macron’s party, the usual suspects started chewing up the scenery with riots and unrest. All the National Rally needs to do is film it to create a campaign ad for themselves heading into the French national elections that Macron called in a double-or-nothing bet with the French people. Because Macron did that. And it’s the National Rally that has long campaigned on the promise of putting an end to it. 

It finally looks like enough French voters aren’t scared into denying Le Pen’s party the opportunity. The far-right label just doesn’t act as the kind of knee-jerk deterrent that it once did. And why should it? “France is on the brink of all-out civil conflict,” headlined Britain’s Telegraph. That has happened under Macron, not Le Pen, as he rammed through his establishment agenda piece by piece with his designated prime minister invoking Article 49.3 of the French Constitution to ram through legislation without a vote at least 23 times, totally overriding the democratic process – the second most since the Fifth Republic began in 1958. Its use to move the goalposts on retirees and make them work longer when France is a global taxation champion that robs them of hard earned cash their entire working lives, under the pretext of getting it back when they retire, would explain why the majority of retirees who voted massively for Macron no longer tell pollsters that they will. His support has dropped to just 28%, according to the latest Ifop poll

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French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech on Europe at the Sorbonne University in Paris, on April 25, 2024
‘Our Europe could die,’ Macron says. Who’s the killer?
]]> According to Le Monde, Macron said of his snap election call: “I’ve been preparing this for weeks, and I’m thrilled. I threw my unpinned grenade at their legs. Now we’ll see how they manage.” Looks like they’re managing just fine, actually. Macron’s party? Not so much. Next time, try putting a little more oomph behind that grenade toss, so it doesn’t just risk rolling back and blowing up in your face. The latest Ifop poll predicts the establishment’s total elimination after the first round of voting on June 30 with a mere 19% of the vote, and the two top parties heading to the second round on July 7 being the right and left anti-establishment at 35% and 26% respectively. And if lawlessness and violence keeps plaguing the streets between now and then, voters will fully understand that it was Macron who lit the match and the left that figured dumping fuel on the fire by trying to present the defeat of their right wing opponents as the solution to calming the unrest was somehow a winning strategy. Odds are that they’ll feel blackmailed and only be more motivated to vote accordingly. Ask German Chancellor Olaf Scholz how all the protests against the anti-establishment so-called “far-right” AfD worked out for him. They came in second, making gains in the EU vote, and his party came in third with its worst ever showing. Turns out that voters don’t really like to feel that they’re somehow being manipulated. 

Macron may think that he incited panic for survival in opposing political camps – the president of the establishment right’s Les Républicains proposed an alliance with Le Pen, then briefly barricaded himself inside party headquarters so his colleagues couldn’t gather to oust him. And the smaller anti-establishment right party Reconquête, founded by Eric Zemmour, ended up kicking out four of its five elected Eurodeputies when Marion Marechal (Marine Le Pen’s niece and number one on Reconquête’s EU electoral list) joined forces with her aunt’s party instead of dividing the vote. But Macron would have barely been able to settle in with his popcorn before the sideshows ended. 

It’s just such a big mystery how it’s come to this, and how the establishment in France and in Europe totally lost the plot. 

In May 2023, Reuters reported that the EU had approved $1.61 billion to buy out Dutch farmers whose cattle were deemed overly enthusiastic with their belching, peeing, and defecating. The farmers then started a political party called the Farmer-Citizen movement, backing the anti-establishment Geert Wilders, whose party won the general elections in November 2023, then went on to a second place finish (and a six seat gain) in the EU vote. 

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FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron waits to greet Lithuania's president prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on March 12, 2024.
Timofey Bordachev: Emmanuel Macron might be a clown, but he’s a dangerous clown
]]> In Germany, as farmers and truckers gathered at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to protest the EU establishment’s crushing bureaucracy on everything from climate change to Ukraine, the misplaced priorities and inability to make ends meet resonated so loudly with the average German that 69% of them backed the protest movement – which would explain the second place finish of the anti-establishment party (the AfD) attacked by the establishment as being in cahoots with the farmers. Turns out that a whole lot of Germans were, too. 

In France, 90% of voters backed French farmer protests and were disgusted when Macron showed up at the annual Paris International Agricultural Fair with a bunch of riot squad goons who unloaded their tear gas on presumably innocent cows (although who knows, maybe they were silently setting off some planet-killing farts) while he ran from an initial confrontation with angry farmers. And well, what do you know. It turns out that 90% support for the farmers roughly translated into 93% of French communes voting for the National Rally in the EU elections.  

Surely it’s all just a big coincidence. Who knew that messing with people’s food and livelihood while focusing on costly ideological priorities that are mainly of interest to the little elite cabal in charge would ever be the recipe for regime change? But the question now is whether Macron, having bet it all and lost, would cling to power like leaders he denounces. Or whether he’d abide by his own stated democratic principles and resign, as the majority (57%) of French say they’d want him to do. 

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 15:04:13 +0000 RT
Poles want benefits slashed for Ukrainian refugees – survey /news/599497-poll-most-poles-oppose-ukrainians-benefits/ A recent survey shows that 95% of Poles are in favor of slashing benefits for Ukrainian refugees, whom many describe as ungrateful
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Some 95% of respondents said government assistance should be reduced, complaining about a “lack of gratitude” among migrants

The vast majority of Poles want government benefits for Ukrainian refugees slashed, a recent survey has shown, according to local media. The number of Polish people who believe Warsaw should not provide any additional aid to Kiev has also risen in recent months, the study indicates.   

According to data from the EU statistics agency Eurostat, as of March 2024, Poland has hosted 960,000 Ukrainian refugees. Under the Temporary Protection Bill passed in April 2022, these people receive housing, food, healthcare, access to education, and a full package of social assistance at the state’s expense. They are also entitled to a one-time payment of 300 zloty ($75), as well as regular benefits totaling 800 zloty ($200) per child. Poland also pays Ukrainian parents 1,000 zloty ($250) upon the birth of a child. 

On Tuesday, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper cited the findings of a study titled “Social perception of refugees from Ukraine, migrants and actions taken by the Polish and Ukrainian state,” which was conducted by Dr Robert Staniszewski from the University of Warsaw and the University of Economics and Humanities in Warsaw. 

The survey revealed that as many as 95% of respondents believe government assistance to Ukrainian refugees should be reduced, with free education for Ukrainian children remaining one of the few aspects viewed predominantly positively by Poles. However, most respondents insisted that young refugees should be taught the Polish curriculum, and not the one specifically adapted for Ukrainians.  

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RT
Germany planning to curb influx of Ukrainian refugees – Welt
]]> Asked about the reasons for their negative attitudes toward Ukrainian refugees, respondents cited Ukrainians’ supposed entitlement and a “lack of gratitude for help,” as well as the “Eastern mentality [and] Soviet culture,” which manifests itself in the lack of concern for the common good. Poles complained that Ukrainian refugees appear to believe that “they deserve everything,” and that “everything is due for free,” while demanding “to have the same rights as Poles.” 

Only 17% of respondents said they had no issue with Ukrainian refugees settling in Poland permanently, while 61% said they wanted them to go back to their country once hostilities there are over.  

The same study showed that the number of Poles strongly in favor of providing aid to Kiev has declined from 62% in January 2023 to 31% at present.  

Some 72% of respondents told the pollster that Poland should put its own national interests first despite the difficulties experienced by its neighbor.  

Similar trends were evident in another survey from January cited by Rzeczpospolita earlier this year. The media outlet, citing police data, also reported at the time that the influx of Ukrainian refugees had resulted in a spike in crime.

 

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 14:10:59 +0000 RT
NATO country drafts emergency law to stop migrants – reports /news/599493-finland-law-russia-border/ Finland’s Constitutional Law Committee has approved a proposal that would block asylum seekers from entering the country from Russia
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Finland’s Constitutional Law Committee has proposed legislation that would turn away asylum seekers coming across its eastern frontier

Finland’s Constitutional Law Committee has approved a draft emergency law that would block asylum seekers from entering the country across the border with Russia, Finnish media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Finland, which joined NATO last year, closed its eastern land border in November after more than 1,300 asylum seekers – primarily from Africa and the Middle East – reportedly crossed over from Russian territory during a four-month period.

In response to the jump in arrivals, the ruling coalition proposed a draft law that would allow border guards to turn back migrants trying to enter from Russia without processing their asylum applications. Critics of the bill argued that such a measure would be in breach of the country’s international human rights commitments.

On Tuesday, the Constitutional Law Committee ruled that the legislation can be enacted as an “exceptional law,” according to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

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Seized bicycles at the Nuijamaa border check-point in Lappeenranta, Finland on November 15, 2023
Finland auctions off asylum seekers’ bicycles
]]> The committee admitted that although the draft document conflicts with Finland’s binding human rights obligations, it is necessary due to “serious danger” to “the rule of law and national security” of the country, the newspaper wrote. The draft law was approved by a vote of 15-2, according to the outlet.

The committee’s decision was “based on classified information that cannot be shared publicly,” one of its members told the Helsingin Sanomat.

The bill would allow the border authorities to turn back asylum seekers from Russia with or without force, although it would not apply to children or disabled people.

The two committee members who voted against the draft law, Fatim Diarra of the Green Party and Anna Kontula of the Left Alliance, both Finnish MPs, argued that enacting such a law would contradict international agreements.

To take effect, the bill has to pass with a five-sixths majority in the parliament and be signed off on by the president.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 14:01:27 +0000 RT
Italy could arm Kiev with long-range weaponry – media /news/599483-italy-missiles-supply-ukraine/ Italy could donate to Kiev long-range Storm Shadow missiles capable of hitting Russian soil, Il Fatto Quotidiano has reported
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Storm Shadow cruise missiles being considered for delivery are potentially capable of striking deep inside Russia

Italy is mulling transferring long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Kiev, the news outlet Il Fatto Quotidiano reported on Tuesday, citing sources within the Defense Ministry.

Storm Shadows, or SCALP as the French version of the same weapon is called, have a range of up to 560km and are potentially capable of hitting targets within Russia far beyond the front line.

According to the report, the missiles will be included in the country’s ninth arms package for Ukraine, which Italy’s Defense Minister Guido Crosetto will present to the parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic for approval by the end of the month. The package will also reportedly include the SAMP/T surface-based air defense system, as well as artillery and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. The package is expected to be finalized ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Washington, which kicks off on July 9.

The transfer of long-range weapons to Kiev would indicate a hawkish turn in Rome’s stance toward the Ukraine conflict. While Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has long been a staunch supporter of Kiev, her government previously balked at allowing Ukraine to use its weapons for strikes deep inside Russia. Last month, both Crosetto and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani ruled out the use of Italian-supplied weapons on Russian territory, saying that it was prohibited under the country’s constitution. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini warned earlier this month that Rome would completely stop providing Ukraine with weaponry unless it received assurances that its arms are not used for strikes within Russia.

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Italian Deputy PM Matteo Salvini at the polling station to vote for the 2024 EU Parliament election in Milan, Italy on June 8, 2024.
Macron could cause WWIII – Italy’s Salvini
]]> The UK and France have already provided dozens of Storm Shadows to Ukraine, some of which have been used to strike targets deeper in Russia, Yuri Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, revealed last month.

The list of Italian weapons supplied to Ukraine has been classified. However, in late May, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps told The Times that Rome had been supplying Kiev with Storm Shadows alongside London and Paris, particularly for use against Crimea.

The Ukrainian leadership has been pressuring NATO countries in recent weeks to supply more critical weapons and allow them to be used against targets in Russia. Several NATO states, such as the UK, Poland and Latvia, have said they have no objections to Ukrainian strikes within Russia. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden have also said Ukraine was allowed to target Russian positions, albeit those close to the front.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Moscow would consider arming the adversaries of Western nations that give Ukraine the means to carry out strikes on Russian soil.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 13:29:34 +0000 RT
EU fears French snap vote could undermine aid for Kiev – Bloomberg /news/599477-eu-france-ukraine-military-aid/ The EU fears snap elections in France could jeopardize aid for Kiev and extra joint EU military spending, Bloomberg has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Early legislative elections also cast uncertainty over extra EU defense spending, the outlet has said

EU governments are concerned that early elections in France could undermine military aid for Ukraine, including plans to send instructors to train its forces, Bloomberg reported on Monday citing sources familiar with discussions. 

The bloc’s members fear that a snap vote called by French President Emmanuel Macron following his party’s defeat in the European Parliament elections will weaken his role as one of Kiev’s main backers, the outlet said. The plan to send military instructors to Ukraine could also be at risk, the article noted. Concerns are also mounting over additional EU defense spending through collective financing — an idea that Macron has strongly advocated.

The National Rally (NR), associated with Marine Le Pen and currently led by Jordan Bardella, won 31% of the vote – more than double the share of the president’s Renaissance party, at 14.6%.

If the NR wins a majority in the French legislative election – to be held in two rounds on June 30 and July 7 – President Macron will have to spend the remainder of his presidency, until 2027, with a political opponent as prime minister, and will effectively lose control over domestic policy.

Macron has been a leading proponent of deeper NATO involvement in the Ukraine conflict, calling for a coalition of countries to send military trainers to Ukraine. He has also said that the bloc’s members should not rule out deploying ground troops at some point.

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French President Emmanuel Macron at the Ukraine conference on Saturday in Switzerland.
Kiev must not capitulate – Macron
]]> However, a National Rally prime minister “would have totally antagonistic positions from Emmanuel Macron on European issues, Russia, Ukraine, European defense but also climate change,” a political scientist at Sciences Po university, Gilles Ivaldi, told Bloomberg. “Given France’s role in Europe, it would be a weakening of Europe.”

The French president, an ardent advocate of aiding and arming Ukraine in the conflict with Russia, has been accused by former long-time NR leader Le Pen of “playing politics with war” and “hijacking” the hostilities to promote his electoral agenda.

Macron’s pledge to send fighter jets to Kiev will also remain in limbo, according to Bloomberg. The French leader announced that Paris would supply Mirage 2000 fighter jets and train Ukrainian pilots on them just two days before he dissolved parliament.

People familiar with the matter told the outlet that uncertainty is also looming over Macron’s promise to send €3 billion ($3.2 billion) in aid to Ukraine, and that the funding will depend on the election results.

Moscow has long condemned the West for providing military aid to Kiev, and warned against sending foreign military personnel to Ukraine, which it has said would be considered legitimate targets for attack.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 13:13:21 +0000 RT
US state sues Pfizer over ‘misleading’ Covid-19 vaccine claims /news/599490-kansas-lawsuit-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine/ Kansas has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer over alleged “misleading claims” associated with the pharmaceutical giant’s Covid-19 vaccine
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The company hid evidence linking its shots to heart inflammation conditions, Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach has claimed

The US state of Kansas has initiated legal action against Pfizer over “misleading claims” that the pharmaceutical giant allegedly made regarding its Covid-19 vaccine’s effectiveness and the risks associated with it.

Several manufacturers began developing Covid-19 vaccines in the months after the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared a pandemic in March 2020. Governments across the world subsequently began mandating inoculation. According to federal data, more than 366 million doses of Pfizer’s original coronavirus vaccine were administered in the US alone.

On Monday, Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach filed a lawsuit claiming that Pfizer had deliberately hidden evidence linking the vaccine to myocarditis and pregnancy complications.

“Pfizer made multiple misleading statements to deceive the public about its vaccine at a time when Americans needed the truth,” Kobach said in a statement.

In June 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning with respect to Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines about the elevated risk of myocarditis and pericarditis, both rare heart inflammation conditions.

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FILE PHOTO.
AstraZeneca withdraws Covid vaccine worldwide
]]> According to the attorney general’s complaint, the US pharmaceutical company had also mendaciously claimed that its shots were effective while being aware that the protection the vaccine provided against the virus grew weaker over time and was not enough to fend off certain Covid-19 strains.

Kobach also argued that Pfizer misleadingly asserted that its vaccine prevented coronavirus transmission, even though the company later acknowledged that it had never actually studied this aspect.

Moreover, Kobach accused the pharmaceutical company of cooperating with social media to “censor speech critical” of Covid-19 vaccines. The lawsuit charged that Pfizer’s alleged misleading statements constituted a violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. The state is now seeking unspecified monetary damages.

The Hill quoted a company representative as saying that the lawsuit has “no merit” and insisting that the “representations made by Pfizer about its COVID-19 vaccine have been accurate and science-based.”

Last November, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a similar lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant, accusing it of “unlawfully misrepresenting the effectiveness of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine and attempting to censor public discussion of the product.”

Earlier this month, Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit released a study indicating that medical professionals and drug recipients reported “serious injuries and deaths following vaccination” according to “various official databases.” According to researchers, “suspected” adverse events associated with inoculation may have contributed to excess mortality in 47 countries between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 12:39:09 +0000 RT
NATO top job favorite agrees to make concession to Orban – media /news/599489-nato-hopeful-rutte-concession-orban/ Dutch Prime Minister and NATO top job hopeful Mark Rutte has reportedly made a deal with Hungary’s Viktor Orban in exchange for backing
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Budapest previously said it would veto Mark Rutte’s candidacy over his remarks about Hungary’s government

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who hopes to become NATO’s next secretary general, has made a deal with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in exchange for the latter’s endorsement of his appointment, according to media reports.

On Monday, Rutte and Orban met at an EU summit in Brussels, after which the Dutch politician said he was “cautiously optimistic” that Hungary would drop opposition to his appointment, AFP reported.

The two men talked on the sidelines of an EU leaders dinner on Monday night, according to Financial Times.

Rutte’s candidacy has been backed by 29 out of 32 NATO member states. The mandate of the current secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, expires on October 1. His replacement must have the unanimous support of all the bloc’s members.

Budapest previously threatened to veto Rutte’s appointment due to comments he made regarding Hungary’s domestic policies. In 2021, Rutte denounced Orban’s anti-LGBT legislation, saying Hungary “has no business being in the European Union anymore.” He added at the time that “the long-term aim” was to “bring Hungary to its knees” on the issue.

Earlier this year, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that Budapest “certainly couldn’t support the election of a person… who previously wanted to force Hungary on its knees.”

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at Monday's summit at the EU Council headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, June 17, 2024
Brussels ignoring will of voters – Orban
]]> Viktor Orban reportedly said earlier this month he would drop his objections if Rutte apologized for his comments.

The Hungarian leader has also been a vocal critic of the bloc’s stance on Ukraine and of the policy of sending military aid to the country to help it fight Russia. In May, he threatened to “redefine” Hungary’s NATO membership. Last week Stoltenberg assured Orban that Hungary could opt out of the bloc’s Ukraine-related policies and that it would not be forced to participate in military action outside NATO territory.

Orban did not seek an apology, according to the AFP account of the meeting. Rutte made it clear that he had taken note of the “societal reaction” to his 2021 comments, the agency added.

Hungary’s prime minister reportedly told the NATO chief hopeful that he would back him if Rutte agreed to stick by the arrangement offered by Stoltenberg. Rutte promised that he would, Financial Times said.

]]> READ MORE: NATO top-job favorite says dialogue needed with Russia

]]> “If he’s ready to support [the deal], we can go for it,” Orban said, as quoted by AFP.

Another country that had been opposed to Rutte’s candidacy, Slovakia, reportedly signaled its support on Tuesday.

Romania, whose president Klaus Iohannis has campaigned for the NATO top job, has yet to publicly back Rutte.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 11:56:35 +0000 RT
West won’t host next Ukraine ‘peace conference’ – Switzerland /news/599476-swiss-diplomat-next-ukraine-conference-west/ Gabriel Luechinger, the Swiss diplomat behind the last weekend’s Ukraine summit, says the next meeting won’t be held in the West
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
China was conspicuously absent from last weekend’s summit, with multiple Global South nations refusing to sign the final communique

The next conference on the Ukraine conflict will not take place in the West, Swiss Ambassador Gabriel Luechinger has stated. The senior diplomat, who helped organize last weekend’s gathering at Switzerland’s Burgenstock Resort, indicated that discussions with potential hosts are already underway.

In the run-up to the event, a number of nations declined to attend, with China announcing that it would not be sending representatives to Switzerland. Beijing argued that the absence of Russia at the conference would make any discussions futile – an assertion echoed by several countries.

Moscow stated in March that it would not attend even if invited, as it would likely be based on Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’, which Russia considers to be unrealistic and an ultimatum.

In an interview with Swiss broadcaster SRF on Monday, Luechinger said: “What is clear is that the next peace summit will not be in Europe, and will not take place in the West.” The senior diplomat revealed that several nations had been approached at the conference regarding a potential role in organizing the next summit.

“It is now up to them to decide,” he added. “In the next weeks, I think, things will start moving.”

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India’s former ambassador to Russia, Pavan Kapoor (C) at the ‘Summit on Peace in Ukraine’ at the Burgenstock Resort, Switzerland, June 15, 2024.
New Delhi explains refusal to sign Zelensky ‘peace conference’ declaration
]]> Asked whether Saudi Arabia could host a meeting, Luechinger hinted that it could be an option, without going into detail.

He also stressed that “Russia should be integrated in the peace process in some way.”

While Ukraine has touted the conference at the Burgenstock Resort as a success, around a dozen countries that took part in the talks did not sign the final communique, including India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the UAE, Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Jordan, and Iraq.

The document did not include many of the key points of Kiev’s ‘peace formula’. It called for the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant to be transferred under Ukrainian control, as well as unrestricted access to ports in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, and the release of all prisoners of war.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday that Moscow “wants to get together next time at a more substantive and promising event.”

Last Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined the conditions for a ceasefire, which include the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from all territories claimed by Moscow, as well as the renunciation of Kiev’s NATO aspirations.

The Ukrainian government and its Western backers have dismissed the proposal, calling it an ultimatum.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 10:13:09 +0000 RT
Crossing Moscow’s red line ‘permissible’ – Austria /news/599475-austria-striking-russia-permissible/ It is legal for Ukraine to attack targets in Russia with donated Western weapons, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Chancellor Karl Nehammer has dismissed a warning from his own defense minister on striking Russia

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer does not perceive the decision by NATO nations to allow Kiev to use their weapons against Russia outside of what they consider Ukrainian territory as a cause for concern.

Speaking with the NZZ media group, Neuhammer said he disagreed with Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, who said earlier this month that the US and its allies had crossed a “red line” by granting Ukraine such permission.

The interview with Nehammer was published on Monday, after his liberal-conservative Austrian People’s Party (OVP) lost convincingly to the nationalist Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) in this month’s European Parliament election.

The chancellor said the debate on use of Western arms had gone “in the wrong political direction” in a shameful way. His stance is that “under international law, such attacks on Russia are permissible.” Moscow could withdraw troops and see Western military aid to Kiev “automatically reduced,” he said.

The previous restriction on Ukraine’s use of US weapons was imposed by President Joe Biden to prevent World War III.” According to the media, Washington relaxed it and allowed limited strikes on Russia’s Belgorod Region due to Russian advances in neighboring Kharkov Region. Multiple NATO nations have made similar policy changes regarding arms that they donate to Ukraine.

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Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, Brussels, March 21, 2022.
NATO ‘crossed red line’ – Austria
]]> The Austrian foreign minister said that while she perceived that as escalatory, “as a militarily neutral state, it is not our place to judge.” Tanner added that she was happy to hear assurances by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that members of the US-led bloc will not be required to send troops to Ukraine.

Moscow has described the Ukraine conflict as part of a proxy war on Russia, in which Ukrainians serve as “cannon fodder.” Western nations are de facto participating parties due to the level of their involvement and the influence they have on Ukrainian actions, according to Russian officials.

President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia could send weapon systems similar to those provided to Ukraine to enemies of the US and its allies to be used against Western military assets. This path of escalation leads to an outcome that neither side will like, he warned.

]]> READ MORE: Ukraine to pressure foreign banks over Russia ties – media

]]> He accused his opponents of spreading “Russian narratives” about Ukraine and declared that unlike centrists, “radicals have no answers and are offering pseudo-solutions,” referring to populist forces surging across the EU.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 09:41:50 +0000 RT
Brussels ignoring will of voters – Orban /news/599463-brussels-ignores-peoples-will/ Hungary’s prime minister has accused centrists in the EU of ensuring a the will of a growing number of voters is sidelined
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The EU will “continue to support migration” and fund the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Hungarian prime minister has warned

The hopes of EU citizens have been flouted by moves to form a coalition in the EU parliament between the center-right majority party and the socialists and liberals, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday.

Voters across the bloc shifted significantly to the right in parliamentary elections earlier this month, with ruling coalitions in Germany and France being comprehensively trounced by right-wing parties.

Centrist parties retained a majority however, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s European People’s Party (EPP) winning 190 seats. A former German defense minister, she has vowed to keep Brussels on a “pro-Ukraine” path.

The center-right EPP has approached the left-wing Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) with an offer to divide up four major roles, Politico wrote on Monday, citing sources close to the matter. The EPP reportedly wants to secure second terms respectively for von der Leyen as European Commission President, and Roberta Metsola as European Parliament president, and has offered to share the European Council presidency with S&D.

The move prompted a reaction from Orban. “The will of the European people was ignored today in Brussels. The result of the European election is clear: right-wing parties got stronger, the Left and the liberals lost ground. The EPP, on the other hand, instead of listening to the voters, finally teamed up with the socialists and the liberals: today they made a deal and divided the top jobs of the EU among themselves,” the Hungarian PM wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday.

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European Commission President and EPP lead candidate Ursula von der Leyen speaks to the press in Brussels, Belgium, June 9, 2024
Von der Leyen vows to continue ‘pro-Ukraine’ policies
]]> “They don’t care about the will of the European people. We shouldn’t be naive: they will continue to support migration and send even more money and weapons to the Russia-Ukraine war,” the Hungarian leader wrote, calling on people to resist “pro-migration and pro-war bureaucrats.”

European Council President Charles Michel told journalists there had been no agreement reached on the proposed deal, after an informal meeting of European leaders on Monday. However, one diplomat told Politico that the negotiators agreed on three names, and will continue discussions at a later date.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 06:32:25 +0000 RT
Another signatory vanishes from Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ declaration /news/599462-rwanda-vanishes-zelensky-conference/ Rwanda’s signature has been removed from the final communique of the Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Rwanda’s name has disappeared from the joint document following the Swiss-hosted event

The Swiss organizers of the Ukraine ‘peace conference’ have taken Rwanda’s signature off the event’s final communique, a day after Jordan and Iraq asked for their names to be removed, according to the document published on the Swiss Foreign Affairs Department website.

States that participated in the conference were added to the final communique by default, and needed to opt out not to appear on the document, Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesperson Valentin Clivaz explained.

“In such cases, each delegation participating in the event receives a communique in advance and then, if it objects to its signing, must inform the host country about this,” Clivaz told Russian news agency Sputnik on Monday. “Iraq and Jordan did not specifically state their opposition to this text and were therefore added. They asked to remove their names from the list of signatories after the publication of the final communique, which was done. It was just a coordination problem,” the spokesman said.

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Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, Lucerne, Switzerland, June 16, 2024.
Signatures of two states ‘disappear’ from Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ declaration
]]> Despite being on the list when it was published on Sunday, Rwanda’s signature was also taken off sometime between 7am and 1pm on Monday, according to archived versions of the Swiss Foreign Ministry’s web page.

Only 77 out of the 92 state delegations represented at the event now appear as signatories on its final communique, with Kosovo listed as an independent country. Serbia and a number of other states, including Russia and China, consider Kosovo as Serbian territory.

While some members of the BRICS economic bloc attended, none signed the final document. Russia was not invited to be part of the talks, and had indicated that it would not attend if asked, due to the unacceptable nature of Vladimir Zelensky’s “peace formula.”

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FILE PHOTO: Vladimir Zelensky.
Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer
]]> The communique laid out what it described as a “common vision,” shared by the signatories, with the talks and the document “based on Ukraine’s peace formula.” The listed states agreed on their commitment to peace, and called for the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant to be transferred to Ukrainian control, unrestricted access to ports in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, and the release of all prisoners of war.

Last Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was willing to order a ceasefire and start peace talks as soon as Ukraine fulfills several conditions. Crucially, Kiev must give any up claims to all five formerly Ukrainian regions which have voted to join Russia, withdraw troops from these territories, formally drop its NATO bid, and guarantee it will not build up its military forces.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 02:41:51 +0000 RT
Ukraine must defeat Russia to join NATO – US /news/599461-ukraine-defeat-russia-for-nato/ Kiev has to “win the war” with Moscow to join the US-led military bloc, the White House has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Washington is doing everything it can to help Kiev, the national security spokesman has said

In order to become a NATO member, Ukraine has to “win the war” with Russia first, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists at a press briefing on Monday.

US President Joe Biden believes NATO is in Ukraine’s future, but there are “a lot of things that have to be done” before it can join, Kirby said. When a journalist asked him to elaborate on the “vague conditions” and “unclear pathway” Kiev has been given, he claimed that Washington’s position is “absolutely clear.”

“First, they’ve got to win this war,” Kirby said.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure they can do that. Then when the war’s over, no matter what it looks like, they’re still going to have a long border with Russia and a legitimate security threat,” he said. Washington will assist in building up Ukraine’s military industrial base, although “corruption is still a major concern,” Kirby added.

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Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin.
Russia’s next peace offer could come with ‘tougher terms’ for Kiev – intel chief
]]> Moscow has warned that it sees the expansion of NATO towards Russia’s borders as an existential threat. President Vladimir Putin said Kiev’s stated intention to join the US-led military bloc was one of the key causes of the ongoing conflict.

Last Friday, the Russian leader named Moscow’s conditions for a ceasefire and the beginning of peace negotiations. The talks can start as soon as Kiev withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, and cedes its claims to all five former Ukrainian territories that voted to join Russia, including Crimea, he said.

Moscow will not accept a frozen conflict, which would allow the US and its allies to rearm and rebuild the Ukrainian military, Putin stated, adding that Kiev must formally abandon any plans to join NATO.

The supplies of Western weapons to aid Kiev’s war efforts makes the countries providing them a party to the conflict, Moscow has insisted. Further NATO involvement in the conflict risks a direct clash between Moscow and the US-led military bloc, and threatens to expand into a nuclear conflict, the Kremlin has stressed.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 01:26:24 +0000 RT
China should be punished – NATO chief /news/599460-nato-stoltenberg-punishing-china/ NATO’s Stoltenberg calls for imposing a “cost” on China for supplying key components to Russia during Moscow’s conflict with Ukraine
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Jens Stoltenberg has argued that Beijing must pay a price for helping Russia amid the Ukraine crisis

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said China must pay a price for allegedly propping up Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, saying Beijing is “fueling” the conflict by supplying microelectronics and other key components to Moscow.

“The reality is that China is fueling the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II,” Stoltenberg said on Monday in a speech at the Wilson Center in Washington. “At the same time, it wants to maintain good relations with the West. Well, Beijing cannot have it both ways. At some point, unless China changes course, allies need to impose a cost.”

Stoltenberg has repeatedly attacked China since the Ukraine crisis began in February 2022, arguing that Beijing was enabling Russia to fight against Kiev, a “European friend” of NATO. He has made such comments even as NATO states prolonged the conflict by providing hundreds of billions of dollars in economic and military aid to Ukraine.

Monday’s rebuke marked some of his most pointed criticism yet, suggesting that NATO may ramp up sanctions against China. He also called out North Korea and Iran for being supportive of Russia’s defense-industrial complex.

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FILE PHOTO: The HMS Vigilant, one of the carriers of Britain’s Trident nuclear missile system.
NATO chief saber-rattling with nuclear weapons – Kremlin
]]> Stoltenberg reiterated an assertion that NATO – a military bloc originally formed against the Soviet Union – needs to get more involved in the Indo-Pacific to counter the “growing alignment between Russia and its authoritarian friends in Asia.” He noted that he invited the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to next month’s NATO summit in Washington to work together on upholding the “international rules-based order.”

China is providing Russia with semiconductors and other key technologies with military applications, including parts needed to make missiles and tanks, Stoltenberg said. He added that Beijing also has supplied Russia with improved satellite and imaging capabilities. “All of this enables Moscow to inflict more death and destruction on Ukraine, bolster Russia’s defense-industrial base, and evade the impact of sanctions and export controls.”

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FILE PHOTO: The US-made HIMARS is one of the weapons Washington has donated to Kiev.
NATO responsible for Ukraine crisis – China?
]]> The NATO chief also spoke of his China concerns in an interview with the BBC on Monday. Asked about what the Western military bloc might do about the issue, he said there was an “ongoing conversation” about possible sanctions. “At some stage, we should consider some kind of economic cost if China doesn’t change their behavior,” he said.

Beijing has repeatedly defied demands from the US and other NATO nations to join in sanctioning and isolating Russia. Chinese leaders have pushed a peace plan to end the fighting and have pointed out that Russia’s legitimate security concerns cannot be ignored.

Earlier this year, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced NATO as a “walking war machine that causes chaos wherever it goes.” Beijing has accused NATO of meddling in Asian affairs, saying the bloc is a “terrible monster” and has extended a “black hand” toward the region.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 00:39:34 +0000 RT
US scolds former foe over Putin visit – Reuters /news/599458-us-rebukes-vietnam-putin-visit/ The US government has rebuked Hanoi for hosting a state visit this week by Russian President Vladimir Putin
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Washington has reportedly rebuked Vietnam for hosting talks later this week with the Russian president

The US Embassy in Hanoi has reportedly denounced the Vietnamese government for hosting a state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, marking the latest failure by Washington to isolate Moscow over its conflict with Ukraine.

“No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities,” an embassy spokesperson told Reuters on Monday. “If he is able to travel freely, it could normalize Russia’s blatant violations of international law.”

The statement came in reaction to media reports that Putin will make a two-day visit to Vietnam, starting on Wednesday. The Russian leader is scheduled to meet in Hanoi with his Vietnamese counterpart, To Lam, and other senior figures in the Southeast Asian nation.

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A street in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
Vietnam working on BRICS membership bid – Izvestia
]]> Since beginning his fifth term as president last month, Putin has made a round of trips for talks with key allies. He’s already traveled to China, Belarus, and Uzbekistan. The Kremlin announced on Monday that Putin would travel to North Korea, where he will meet with leader Kim Jong-un and attend a state concert in honor of his visit, on Tuesday.

A US-led sanctions campaign has failed to cripple the Russian economy or to isolate Moscow diplomatically. Western media outlets suggested last year that Putin’s foreign travel would be severely curtailed because of International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants against him over the conflict in Ukraine.

Vietnam is not among the ICC’s 123 member nations. Although the US began normalizing diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, two decades after ending a catastrophic war, Hanoi has avoided becoming closely aligned with any of the major powers.

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FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Here’s what the ICC arrest warrant for Putin has accomplished in the past year
]]> Putin’s visit will mark his fifth trip to Vietnam and his first since 2017. He’s expected to announce agreements with Hanoi on trade, investment, technology and education. The talks also are likely to cover Russian arms sales to Vietnam and ways to transact payments amid US sanctions against Russian banks, Reuters said.

The trip follows the Vietnamese government’s decision to skip last week’s Ukraine “peace” conference in Switzerland, to which Russia was not invited. Hanoi also has expressed interest in joining BRICS and sent a high-level diplomat to a meeting of the group in Russia last week.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 22:44:04 +0000 RT
British soldier ‘rapists’ leave behind children in Kenya – CNN /news/599455-british-troops-kenya-rapes/ Thousands of Kenyans claim they were raped by UK soldiers, in many cases leaving them with children who get no support from their fathers
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
UK servicemen previously based in the East African country have reportedly abandoned the offspring of their victims

British soldiers have been accused of raping thousands of Kenyan women while training in the East African nation over decades, with the alleged rapists reportedly leaving behind dozens of children that they fathered.

Mixed-race children continue to be born in remote villages of the central Kenyan region where the British Army Training Unit (BATUK) trains its troops, about 200km (124 miles) north of Nairobi, CNN reported on Monday. At least 69 of the children were allegedly born as a result of rape allegedly committed by the UK soldiers.

Other children, which have been fathered in consensual relationships, have received no support or contact from their fathers, who returned home after finishing their training, CNN said. They also suffer ostracization by their neighbors.

“They call me ‘mzungu maskini,’ or poor white girl,” 17-year-old Marian Pannalossy told the US media outlet. “They always say, ‘Why are you here? Just look for connections so that you can go to your own people. You don’t belong here.’”

]]> Read more
? Getty Images / ikholwadia
Her Majesty's Harassment: How sexual assaults by UK soldiers around the world have gone unpunished for years
]]> Allegations of crimes committed by UK troops in Kenya, including rape and murder, date back to the 1950s. In one infamous case, a 21-year-old woman vanished in 2012 after being seen going into a hotel with British troops. Her body was later found in a septic tank. The soldier identified as the suspected killer by other troops has never faced trial.

The UK Defense Ministry dismissed rape claims by 2,187 Kenyan women in 2007, saying there as “no reliable evidence to support any single allegation.” Royal Military Police investigators concluded that much of the Kenyan evidence appeared to have been fabricated. CNN rexported UK authorities didn’t do DNA testing on any of the mixed-race children who were born to alleged rape victims.

Some of the villagers testified in 2009 to Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission that they were preyed upon by British troops as they did their daily chores. Soldiers havre been accused of gang-raping 30 women, in many cases at knifepoint. The commission later claimed that the Nairobi government lost the case files of the alleged victims.

]]> Read more
Royal Marines of 45 Commando board a Chinook helicopter of 27 Squadron RAF during Operation Condor May 20, 2002 in southeastern Afganistan
UK govt attempting to cover up for soldiers accused of war crimes – media
]]> CNN said the UK pays the Kenyan government about $400,000 annually for permission to conduct training near the country’s Laikipia and Samburu wildlife reserves. The controversial contract was renewed in 2021.

A new provision in the deal allows for British soldiers to be sued in Kenyan courts. CNN said lawyer Kelvin Kubai is working to reintroduce the rape cases of more than 300 women. “The Kenyan legal system offers a better redress than what is available in the UK,” he told the outlet.

Under Kenyan law, there is no statute of limitations for human rights abuses, which could open the door for women who were allegedly raped decades ago to seek damages. Many of the accusers have died while waiting for their claims to be heard.

]]> READ MORE: King Charles keeps British colonial legacy mindset alive

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 21:03:47 +0000 RT
Israeli military knew Hamas was planning attack – media /news/599456-israel-warned-hamas-attack/ IDF agents warned that the Palestinian militants were drilling for a hostage-grab operation, but were reportedly ignored by their superiors
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
IDF agents warned that the militants were drilling for a hostage-grab operation, but were reportedly ignored by their superiors

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned in mid-September that Hamas was planning to invade the country and capture more than 200 hostages, Israel’s Kan broadcaster reported on Monday.

Three weeks before Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7, the IDF’s intelligence directorate compiled a report stating that the Palestinian militants were training for a large-scale invasion of the Jewish state, Kan has claimed, citing anonymous security sources. The document allegedly warned that dozens of Hamas commandos would take part in the raid, which would be aimed at bringing between 200 and 250 hostages back to Gaza. 

Several thousand Hamas fighters carried out the actual October 7 assault, killing around 1,200 people and taking roughly 250 hostages back to Gaza.

According to Kan’s sources, Hamas members had been spotted practicing attacks on mock IDF outposts, rehearsing how to capture military and civilian hostages, and training how to handle the captives once they were detained in Gaza.

]]> Read more
Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks in an interview earlier this year in Istanbul.
Hamas leader comments on possible ceasefire
]]> The document reportedly made its way to senior officials in the IDF’s Gaza Division, but was “completely ignored,” Kan stated.

Kan is not the first source to claim that Israel was forewarned about the October 7 attack. Within days of the assault, Egyptian intelligence officials said that they had repeatedly warned the Israeli government that Hamas was planning “something big” in the days leading up to October 7, but that these warnings were ignored in West Jerusalem.

Earlier in 2023, the IDF warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on at least four occasions that “Israel’s enemies” viewed the state as vulnerable to attack. However, the content of these warnings has never been made public, and Netanyahu claimed last month that they made no mention of any concrete plans by Hamas.

“Not only is there no warning in any of the documents about Hamas’s intentions to attack Israel from Gaza, but they instead give a completely opposite assessment,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement. 

]]> READ MORE: Netanyahu decries ‘unacceptable’ Gaza pause – media

]]> According to an Israeli source cited by American journalist Seymour Hersh last year, Netanyahu was so unconcerned with the possibility of an attack from Gaza that he ordered two thirds of the IDF troops normally stationed at Israel’s border with the enclave to provide security at an Orthodox Jewish festival in the West Bank – against the wishes of Gaza Division commanders.

With Israel’s war on Hamas entering its eighth month, retired general Benny Gantz resigned from Netanyahu’s war cabinet last week. Former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot left the cabinet shortly afterwards, with both men accusing Netanyahu of failing to develop a strategy for defeating Hamas and ending the war. Netanayhu dissolved the cabinet on Sunday, and is expected to discuss the conflict with a smaller group of ministers – including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer – from now on.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 21:02:37 +0000 RT
WATCH Serbian fans chant ‘Vladimir Putin!’ at Euro 2024 /news/599453-serbs-putin-chant-euro/ Serbs brandishing Russian flags and chanting “Vladimir Putin!” have been filmed in Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Balkans country has withstood EU pressure to sanction Russia

A group of Serbian fans attending the Euro 2024 in Germany have been filmed chanting “Vladimir Putin!” and unfurling a Russian national flag, along with their own state and national symbols.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) banned the display of Russian flags at the Ukraine-Romania game on Monday, after the tricolor was spotted in the stands of the Germany-Scotland and Serbia-England games the day before.

In a video making rounds on social media on Monday, a group of fans wearing Serbian national jerseys can be seen outside a church in Gelsenkirchen, chanting the name of the Russian president.

They also waved the Russian presidential flag, featuring the golden state seal in the center of the national tricolor, as well as the national flag of Serbia and the unofficial flag of Republika Srpska, the predominantly ethnic Serb portion of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

While national flags are allowed at the European football championship, the organizers have pointedly asked the fans to “leave all other flags at home.” According to German media, the authorities have been on the lookout for Russian, Israeli, or Palestinian flags in particular.

The Russian national team was banned from UEFA events shortly after the start of the Ukraine conflict, in February 2022.

UEFA’s ban has not stopped Albanian fans from brandishing flags of “Greater Albania” – an entity that envisions annexing parts of Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Greece – during the game against Italy on Saturday. One fan was photographed in the full uniform of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, while others flew KLA flags as well. The ethnic Albanian separatists and NATO fought against Serbia in 1999. UEFA has opened a probe into the Albanian association for “provocative images,” as well as unauthorized pyrotechnics and a pitch invasion.

]]> READ MORE: Euro 2024 brawl reportedly involving Serbian president’s son ends in criminal charges (VIDEOS)

]]> Several ethnic Albanians have also been implicated in Sunday’s brawl between England and Serbia fans in Gelsenkirchen, which resulted in half a dozen arrests and the deployment of 400 riot police.

A Czech soccer hooligan account has posted photos of Serbian ultras parading four captured English banners following the altercation. 

The Euro 2024 championship kicked off on June 14 and will conclude on July 14.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 20:42:11 +0000 RT
Ukraine to pressure foreign banks over Russia ties – media /news/599454-ukraine-foreign-banks-russia/ The National Bank of Ukraine has developed a plan to force the remaining international lenders out of the Russian market, Strana.ua reports
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
A procedure to replace management at Ukrainian subsidiaries of international lenders still operating in Russia could be implemented, according to a report

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has developed a mechanism that would pressure international banks with subsidiaries in both Ukraine and Russia to abandon the latter, the outlet Strana.ua reported on Monday.

According to a letter from the NBU see by the outlet, if a foreign bank does not shut down its business in Russia, the Ukrainian regulator would be entitled to take over management of the company’s local subsidiary.

The report indicated that should the NBU find a company has a “flawed business reputation,” then the foreign shareholder would be deprived of the right to vote at meetings. This would reportedly essentially entail the dismissal of the management.

The NBU document reportedly listed nine foreign banks that have subsidiaries both in Ukraine and Russia. Those are Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), Hungary’s OTP Bank, French BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole, Sweden’s SEB, US Citi Group, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo, Dutch lender ING, and Germany’s Deutsche Bank. The listed lenders have maintained their presence in the Russian market despite Western sanctions.

To avoid punitive measures in Ukraine, according to the report, the parent structure of a foreign bank operating in Russia would have to initiate the process of pulling out of the country. The NBU will require a detailed plan indicating the timing of withdrawal from the Russian market. The regulator has reserved the right to “take action” if a deadline is violated.

]]> READ MORE: ECB tells banks to ‘get out of Russia’

]]> Ukraine has been putting pressure on foreign companies operating in Russia, adding them to its so-called list of “international sponsors of war.” However, the list was later abandoned following complaints from other countries.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 20:35:02 +0000 RT
Germany dumping migrants in Poland – border guards /news/599449-poland-germany-dumping-migrants/ Warsaw has accused Berlin of “arbitrarily” violating asylum rules, after German police drove an Afghan family to Poland
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Warsaw has accused Berlin of “arbitrarily” violating asylum rules

The Polish Border Guard has demanded that its German counterpart explain why a family of migrants was dropped off on Polish soil last week. According to reports in the Polish media, thousands of migrants have been sent from Germany to Poland in similar circumstances.

A German police car dropped two adult Afghan migrants and three children near the town of Osinow Dolny near the German border last Friday, the chojna24 news site reported. Polish police failed to find the migrant family when they searched the area, news outlet Dziennik reported on Monday.

“The German Police’s bringing and leaving foreigners in Poland was in violation of the principles of cooperation between both services,” the Border Guard said in a statement. “German services cannot make such decisions arbitrarily.”

The Border Guard added that it “immediately contacted the German side to explain the circumstances of the incident,” and that the agency’s commander in chief would discuss the issue with the president of Germany’s Federal Police on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Polish journalist Aleksandra Fedorska claimed that German police had returned 3,500 migrants to Poland between January and May of this year, citing data provided by Berlin. These migrants were reportedly among around 5,600 who crossed into Germany illegally after filing asylum applications in Poland.

]]> Read more
File photo: US Border Patrol picks up migrants who crossed the border from Mexico near San Diego, California, May 26, 2024.
US to send migrants to Europe – CBS
]]> Under the EU’s Dublin Regulation, a migrant’s asylum claim must be processed in the country where they first apply for asylum. This agreement provides a legal basis for states to return asylum seekers who move across the bloc’s largely open borders.

A German police spokesman told Polish newspaper Fakt that the family dropped off on Friday had entered Germany illegally after being granted refugee status in Poland. German officers apprehended the family and attempted to contact the Polish Border Guard, but said they received no answer.

“Since there was no reaction from the Polish side for several hours, the officers decided to take the family to the Polish-German border…in order to release them to Poland,” the spokesman said.

Germany and Poland have clashed on the issue of migration before, with Germany summoning Polish ambassador Dariusz Pawlos last year over reports in the Polish media suggesting that officials in Warsaw were selling visas to African and Asian migrants who then left Poland for Germany and other EU countries.

Berlin responded by stepping up police patrols along Germany’s Polish and Czech borders. “Things cannot remain as they are now,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the time, revealing that “more than 70 percent of all refugees” arriving in Germany had been registered in other EU countries, but disposed of their documents upon reaching German soil.  



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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 19:04:41 +0000 RT
US soldier pleads guilty in Russia /news/599451-us-army-soldier-pleads-guilty-to-russian-theft-charge/ US Army soldier Gordon Black has entered a guilty plea on a theft charge in Russia, where he faces up to five years in prison
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Army Staff Sergeant Gordon Black has reportedly admitted to theft but denied assaulting a Vladivostok woman he came to visit

A US Army soldier who traveled to Vladivostok earlier this year to visit a woman whom he met while serving at an American base in South Korea has reportedly admitted that he stole money from her.

Staff Sergeant Gordon Black pleaded guilty to theft charges at a hearing in Primorsky Court, Russian media outlets reported on Monday. He denied allegations that he also assaulted and threatened to kill the woman, who has been identified as Aleksandra Vashuck.

According to US media reports, the married soldier took leave in April when he was supposed to be returning to his home base in Texas, and instead traveled through China to visit Vashuck at her apartment in Vladivostok. He failed to notify the Army of his trip to Russia and did not get the required permission for international travel.

The 35-year-old Black stayed with Vashuck, who was described as his girlfriend, for about a month. He allegedly assaulted her during a quarrel and took 10,000 rubles ($113) from her wallet. Russian authorities apprehended Black in a local hotel room, which he allegedly paid for with the stolen money.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.
Russia formally charges WSJ journalist with spying for CIA
]]> At Monday’s court hearing, Black said he wanted to return the cash before leaving Russia, so he transferred the money to Vashuck through an acquaintance. Media reports last month indicated that the sergeant was cooperating with local authorities and had admitted to taking the money. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Vashuck has urged Russian authorities to provide Black with psychological counseling, rather than sending him to prison. “I do not want him to be severely punished,” she reportedly told the court. “He is ill. The man needs help.” She added that the US Army was well aware of Black’s condition, including a propensity for angry outbursts and drunkenness, but failed to provide him with treatment.

]]> READ MORE: US soldier arrested in Russia

]]> The US State Department has advised Americans not to travel to Russia, alleging that they could be targeted for incarceration. At least a dozen US citizens are reportedly being detained in the country. Russian officials have denied making any unjustified arrests. Just last month, an American man was sentenced to ten days in jail for “petty hooliganism” after he passed out from drunkenness while partially naked in a Moscow children’s library.

The next hearing in Black’s case is scheduled for Wednesday.

]]> READ MORE: Stop ‘hunting’ Russians, ambassador tells US

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 18:57:31 +0000 RT
Malaysia moving to join BRICS – PM /news/599446-malaysia-brics-anwar-ibrahim/ Kuala Lumpur has made its decision about its place in the multipolar world, Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim has revealed
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Kuala Lumpur has made its decision, Anwar Ibrahim has said

Malaysia has decided to apply for BRICS membership and will start filing the official paperwork soon, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has said.

The 77-year-old leader of the Southeast Asian nation mentioned the decision in an interview with the Chinese outlet Guancha published on Sunday.

“We have made our policy clear and we have made our decision. We will start the formal process soon,” Anwar said. “We are waiting for the final result and the feedback from the South African government.”

Anwar also mentioned bringing up the subject in a recent meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The organization was founded in 2006 by Brazil, Russia, India and China, with South Africa joining in 2011. In January, BRICS officially admitted Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but decided to keep the current name.

]]> Read more
File photo: Lat Phrao Temple in Bangkok, Thailand
Asian powerhouse declares intention to join BRICS
]]> Kuala Lumpur’s potential membership in the organization would be of strategic significance, as one of the world’s most important shipping lanes – the Malacca Strait, connecting the Pacific and the Indian Ocean – is located between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

According to Anwar, Malaysia is “relieved” that the world is no longer unipolar, and that the rise of BRICS and China in particular has offered “a glimmer of hope that there are checks and balances in the world.”

The West wants to “control the discourse” in the world, but “we can no longer accept it because they are no longer a colonial power and independent countries should be free to express themselves,” the Malaysian prime minister told Guancha.

Earlier this month, Russian Ambassador to China Igor Morgulov said that about 30 countries have voiced a desire to join BRICS. In Malaysia’s neighborhood, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam have already made overtures to the group. 

The 2024 BRICS summit is scheduled for October in Kazan, Russia. Moscow has presided over the organization since January.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 18:49:00 +0000 RT
Germany reports record drug bust /news/599448-germany-announces-record-cocaine-bust/ German authorities have broken up a cocaine-smuggling operation, making a record drug seizure and arresting seven suspects
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Investigators have reported the seizure of $2.8 billion worth of cocaine on container ships in three different ports

German law enforcement authorities have announced a record drug seizure, saying they intercepted €2.6 billion ($2.8 billion) worth of cocaine and arrested seven people who were allegedly involved in the smuggling operation.

Investigators seized a combined 35.5 metric tons of cocaine from container ships in Hamburg, Rotterdam, and Colombia, prosecutors in Dusseldorf said on Monday in a statement. The largest capture occurred in Hamburg, where police found 25 tons of the drug hidden in shipments of fruit and vegetables.

The cocaine cargoes were found last year after German police were tipped off by Colombian authorities. The drug bust was previously unreported. The seven smuggling suspects – including citizens of Ukraine, Germany, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Morocco and Turkey – were arrested in recent weeks.

]]> Read more
? Getty Images / Hannelore Foerster
German opposition demands free meth
]]> “Specifically, the suspects are accused of organizing the transport of 10 sea containers with large quantities of cocaine from Latin America to Europe in the period from April to September 2023 with other as-yet-unknown accomplices,” prosecutors said. Those alleged accomplices reside in Turkey.

The smuggling operation involved front companies that were allegedly set up to help make the shipments appear to be legitimate. A man in western Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state created 100 “letterbox” companies for the purpose, according to authorities.

The suspects, who range in age from 30 to 54, were not identified by name. They were arrested in seven different German states. “This is a blow to international organized criminality,” North Rhine-Westphalia Justice Minister Benjamin Limbach told reporters in Duesseldorf. “It’s a precise punch in the jaw that hurts the drug lords.”

The drug seizures were nearly three times the size of a €1 billion cocaine intercept at the port of Hamburg in 2019, then a record bust for Germany.

]]> READ MORE: Dozens of new drugs proliferating in Europe – report

]]> “The flood of cocaine into Europe is destroying people – and generating billions in profits for the cartels,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Friday.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 18:02:38 +0000 RT
Spain opposes NATO troops in Ukraine – defense minister /news/599442-robles-spain-ukraine-troops/ Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to send NATO instructors to Kiev would only provoke Moscow, Margarita Robles has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
France is wrong about deploying instructors to Kiev, Margarita Robles has said

Sending NATO troops to Ukraine would represent an unacceptable escalation of the conflict with Russia, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles has warned.

Robles spoke on Monday at an event for female diplomats, organized by the German ambassador to Madrid. She addressed Spain’s recent security pact with Ukraine and aid to Kiev.

“We are living in the most dangerous situation since the Second World War,” Robles told the gathering, pointing out that ballistic missiles “know no borders.” 

Commenting on recent remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron – backed by some European NATO members – about possibly sending troops to Ukraine, Robles said Spain is “totally” against it. While Madrid respects the position of Paris, “we must be very careful not to give excuses” to Russia for escalating the conflict, she explained.

While insisting France is “not at war with Russia,” Macron said earlier this month that he was building a coalition with several other countries to send instructors to Ukraine, insisting this was not an escalation.

It has been NATO’s “obsession” from the start of the hostilities to “not escalate” the conflict, while supporting Ukraine, Robles said on Monday.

]]> Read more
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the press on June 13, 2024 in Brussels, Belgium.
Use of F-16s over Russian territory ‘not escalation’ – NATO chief
]]> The US and its allies have sent Ukraine almost $120 billion worth of weapons, equipment, and ammunition over the past two years, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany, while maintaining that it does not make them a party to the conflict.

The weapons Spain has sent to Ukraine have been entirely defensive in nature, Robles said. Madrid is currently finalizing repairs on a new batch of Leopard main battle tanks, which will be sent to Kiev soon, she said. Spain is also training about 6,000 Ukrainian soldiers. 

“We are already [training them] in hand-to-hand combat,” Robles said, adding that “one of the things we teach them is how to make a tourniquet.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez signed a security pact with Vladimir Zelensky last month, promising Ukraine over €1 billion ($1.08 billion) worth of military aid, plus another €5 billion over the next three years. According to Spanish media, as part of the pact Madrid has pledged to deliver more Patriot air defense missiles, Leopard 2A4 tanks, and ammunition.

Russia has warned the West that its material support for Ukraine risks making them a party to the conflict, while not changing its ultimate outcome.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 16:56:50 +0000 RT
EU sets up Ukraine corruption watchdog?? /news/599438-ukraine-corruption-eu-watchdog/ The EU has established an Audit Board to investigate the potential corruption of aid allocated to Ukraine
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The new Audit Board will scrutinize management of a 50 billion aid package allocated to Kiev

The European Commission has set up a special watchdog to prevent the possible embezzlement of billions of dollars allocated to Kiev as part of the EU’s flagship plan to finance Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.  

On Monday, the EU officially announced the creation of a Brussels-based Audit Board with a mandate “to prevent fraud, corruption, conflicts of interest, and irregularities” in funding provided to Ukraine by the bloc. The body, which will be active until mid-2028, will provide regular reports to the EU Commission and communicate any concerns.  

In February, EU members agreed to provide Kiev with up to €50 billion ($54 billion) in funding from 2024 to 2027 as part of the mechanism known as the Ukraine Facility. The money will help finance Ukraine’s modernization and reconstruction, as well as deliver uninterrupted public services to the population and implement numerous reforms required to join the EU.  

Of this sum, €33 billion will be sourced by issuing bonds, while €17 billion could come in “non-repayable support” potentially generated by proceeds from Russian assets frozen by the EU after the start of the conflict. Moscow has repeatedly denounced the asset freeze as “theft.”  

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO.
Prisoners drafted into Ukrainian military ‘will run like Forrest Gump’ – official to WaPo
]]> The program also comes with some strings attached, requiring Kiev to significantly strengthen the rule of law and its democratic institutions.  

Corruption has for years been considered one of the key problems plaguing Ukraine, and the country has been rocked by several high-profile military procurement scandals in recent months.   

These concerns were echoed in a report released by the Pentagon Inspector General last month, which called corruption in Ukraine “endemic” and its government “one of the least accountable” in Europe.  

Meanwhile, a report released by the European External Action Service on Ukraine in 2023 said that while the country had made some progress in boosting anti-corruption efforts, it “should continue building a credible track record of investigations, prosecutions, and final court decisions in high-level corruption cases.”

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 15:50:33 +0000 RT
Le Pen comments on ousting Macron /news/599439-france-le-pen-macron-ouster/ Marine Le Pen says she would not seek the immediate ouster of Macron if her party wins the upcoming snap election
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The French president called a snap general election after the National Rally trounced his party in the EU parliamentary vote

Marine Le Pen has said she will not seek the immediate removal of President Emmanuel Macron from office should her National Rally (NR) party come out on top in France's upcoming general election. 

The former long-time NR leader currently heads the party’s faction in  parliament. Macron called a snap election after his party lost spectacularly to the NR in the EU parliamentary elections earlier this month.

Le Pen, who has run for president three times in the past, has been a vocal critic of Macron’s immigration and social policies, as well as his support for arming Ukraine.  

In an interview with Le Figaro published on Sunday, Le Pen was asked whether her party would call for the resignation of the president if the National Rally emerges victorious in the upcoming election. The veteran politician said she would not.

“I am respectful of institutions, I am not calling for institutional chaos. There will simply be cohabitation,” she said.

]]> Read more
President of France Emmanuel Macron speaks during a news conference on June 12, 2024 in Paris, France.
Macron’s approval rating plummets – poll
]]> Despite this, Le Pen insisted that Macron has left France “in ruins,” with public services destroyed and immigration out of control. She went on to claim that while the political system established in France by General Charles de Gaulle is still intact, Macron has “put in place the conditions for a total blockage of the democratic functioning of our country.” 

The National Rally, on the other hand, embodies “order and tranquility,” Le Pen insisted, adding that she sees her role as “president of the majority group of a cohabitation government.”  

Le Pen stressed that “competent people of good will, whatever their political color” would be welcome to join in. She claimed that a number of “senior officials and diplomats” have signaled their willingness to work with the right-wing party.

Addressing supporters earlier this month, Le Pen said the party is ready to “exercise power if the French people place their trust in us in these future legislative elections.” Current National Rally leader Jordan Bardella echoed the statement, arguing that the people have expressed a “desire for change.” 

The comments came shortly after Macron announced his decision to dissolve the National Assembly and call a snap general election. He cited “the historic score of the far-right” and current “parliamentarian disorder” as the reason for his decision.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 15:22:49 +0000 RT
Euro 2024 brawl reportedly involving Serbian president’s son ends in criminal charges (VIDEOS) /news/599425-germany-euro-2024-brawl-serbia-england/ Seven Serbs and one UK citizen have been detained after a violent clash ahead of the Serbia-England match at Euro 2024
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
A violent clash broke out on Sunday ahead of the Serbia-England match at the Euro 2024 football tournament in Germany

Seven Serbs and one UK citizen are facing criminal charges and tournament bans following a mass brawl on Sunday in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, The Guardian reported citing local police. The scuffle took place ahead of the Serbia-England opening match in the Euro 2024 group stage.

According to the report, the violence erupted after England supporters attempted to enter a restaurant where Serbia fans were dining before the game, but police said it was unclear which side actually threw the first punch.

Videos taken by onlookers and posted online showed chairs and tables being upended, bottles thrown and people chasing and beating each other on the street. According to police estimates, the brawl involved roughly 150 people. Media reports claim some 200 German riot police were rushed to the scene to break up the melee.

Several fans and at least one police officer suffered serious injuries as a result of the clash, and footage showed at least two people taken away by ambulance with heavily bandaged heads.

Some media reports cited witnesses as saying that a group of some 30 men sporting balaclavas rushed into the bar in what looked like a premeditated attack. Others claimed that Albanian nationals wearing England t-shirts had instigated the brawl.

However, Gelsenkirchen authorities later stressed that only English and Serbian fans were involved – both considered “high risk” due to the reputation of their fans.

“The Serbian fan group was already in the restaurant… and then a larger group of English fans tried to get into this restaurant as well… When they tried to enter the pub, there was an immediate physical altercation,” Peter Both, Gelsenkirchen police chief, said at a press conference on Monday. He added that he could not say for certain whether the English provoked the Serbs or the other way around.

Both confirmed that eight fans were taken into custody and are facing criminal charges. He added that he would recommend to UEFA that those who took part in the brawl be banned from attending the next Euro football tournament.

Some reports claim that Danilo Vucic, son of the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, was among the participants in the scuffle. The alleged footage of the younger Vucic showed three suspected bodyguards holding him back as he tried to dive into the fray just outside the restaurant where the fighting broke out. The 26-year-old is an acknowledged football fan and is rumored to have ties to a hardline Serbian football hooligan gang. Serbian authorities have not confirmed Vucic’s involvement in the incident.

]]> READ MORE: German police shoot axe-wielding attacker in Hamburg (VIDEO)

]]> Team England secured a 1-0 victory against Serbia on Sunday, and will return to Gelsenkirchen at the end of the month if it wins the remaining matches in its group.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 15:08:16 +0000 RT
Deadly explosion rocks Czech military base used to train Ukrainians /news/599435-czech-military-base-explosion/ An ammo explosion at a military area in the Czech Republic has left one dead and eight injured, army officials say
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
An unspecified ammunition blast left one dead and eight injured on Monday, according to army officials

One soldier has been killed and eight others injured after an explosion at the Libava military training area in the Czech Republic, the country’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday. The base serves as a training camp for Ukrainian troops.

According to preliminary data, the blast involved unspecified munitions at the training facility, military officials said, without providing further details.

“We are dealing with a serious accident in the Libava military training area, where unspecified ammunition exploded, the Defense Ministry wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “We are trying to provide help as quickly as possible with a rescue helicopter involved.”

A spokeswoman for the ambulance service in the Olomouc region, Lucie Mikiskova, told reporters that emergency services were working at the scene.

“Given that this is a military area, I cannot give more detailed information,” she said.

“I can only confirm that we are responding to this incident, we have two crews from Olomouc there and the air ambulance service from another region is also helping,” she added.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: A Ukrainian pilot with a MiG-29 fighter aircraft on August 2, 2023.
NATO state claims delivery of jets to Kiev was ‘illegal’
]]> Four soldiers with moderate injuries have been transported by helicopter and ambulance to the University Hospital in the nearby city of Olomouc, some 200km east of the capital Prague, local media reported, citing a hospital spokesman.

Another four servicemen have been taken to the hospital and one soldier was treated at the scene, according to him. Military police spokeswoman Katerina Mlynkova told reporters that the injured soldiers “were not foreigners.”

According to information from the website of the Libava Military District, an exercise was scheduled to take place at the facility on Monday and traffic on nearby roads had been restricted.

The Libava base has served as a training camp for Ukrainian troops since 2022, according to Czech defense officials. According to media reports, the Czech Republic has been providing the soldiers with food, accommodation, ammunition and weapons at Libava.

Czech instructors at the site have reportedly been teaching Ukrainians how to attack, communicate, and handle weapons.

Earlier this month, Defense Minister Jana Cernochova said that 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been trained in the Czech Republic last year and the same number of troops had been approved for this year.

]]>
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 14:49:46 +0000 RT
British Conservatives annihilated in pre-election polls /news/599434-uk-conservative-election-polls/ UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s party is predicted to suffer its worst defeat in more than a century
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s party is predicted to suffer its worst defeat in more than a century

The UK’s ruling Conservative Party is heading for “electoral extinction,” according to multiple polls published in British media over the weekend. Amid Sunak’s record unpopularity, two polls showed Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party surging to third place.

According to an Opinium poll published in The Observer on Saturday, 40% of likely voters said they would choose the Labour Party when they cast their votes on July 4. Another 23% said they would vote Conservative, while 14% said they would back Reform UK candidates, a better result for the anti-immigration party than for the Greens (7%) and Liberal Democrats (12%).

A Telegraph poll published the same day showed even more dismal results for Sunak’s party, with 46% of likely voters choosing Labour, 21% Conservative, and 13% opting for Reform UK. 

It marks the poorest showing for the Conservatives in a Telegraph poll in five years, while Labour’s 25-point lead is the party’s largest since October 2022, when Conservative Prime MInister Liz Truss stepped down after unveiling a widely-reviled mini-budget. Reform’s share in both polls is its largest since the party’s creation in 2021.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak  addressing the House of Commons.
UK Parliament dissolved
]]> A more detailed poll carried out by Survation for the Times showed Labour winning 456 out of 650 parliamentary seats, and the Conservatives hanging on to only 72. By contrast, the Conservatives won 365 seats in 2019, a majority of 80 and at the time their best result since 1987.

Winning just 72 seats would be the party’s worst result in its 200-year history. The Conservatives’ previous low point came in 1906, when under the leadership of Arthur Balfour it won 156 seats to the Liberal party’s 397.

Sunak called the election last month, before the publication of economic data showing that inflation was unlikely to fall to his government’s target. Like Truss and Boris Johnson before him, Sunak has presided over an historic decline in British living standards and a rise in energy costs and inflation, both of which soared after the UK cut itself off from Russian fossil fuels in 2022.

]]> READ MORE: UK ruling party suffers crushing local election defeat

]]> With three weeks to go until the election, some Conservatives have accused Reform UK and its leader, Nigel Farage, of splitting the right-wing vote. “The only wasted vote is a Conservative vote,” Farage shot back last week, after a separate poll showed Reform as the country’s second-largest party. “We’re heading north and the Tories are heading south,” he continued, declaring that “the people’s revolt is just gathering momentum.”

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 13:49:36 +0000 RT
Russian flags banned from Ukraine match at Euro 2024 – media /news/599418-russian-flags-ban-euro-2024/ UEFA wants to keep Russian flags out of Ukraine’s opening game at Euro 2024, AP reports
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The move comes after the nation’s tricolor was displayed in the stands at other games

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is taking steps to prevent Russian flags from appearing at the Munich Football Arena where Ukraine will play its first European Championship game, AP reported on Monday, citing a source in the sports body. Ukraine faces Romania on June 17 in the Euro 2024 group stage.

UEFA security staff will be intercepting and removing Russian flags from spectators attempting to carry them inside, according to the report. It is unclear whether spectators carrying Russian flags will be allowed to attend. 

The news comes after Russian flags were spotted in the stands at other matches in the ongoing tournament. The Russian tricolor was displayed at a match between Germany and Scotland on Friday, according to footage from the stadium. The flags were also seen among Serbia fans during their team’s game against England on Sunday, photos taken at the match show.

The Russian national team was banned from UEFA events shortly after the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022. However, Russian citizens are not prohibited from attending the events.

]]> Read more
RT
Russian flags spotted at Euro 2024 football match
]]> While the Euro 2024 stadium rules do not explicitly ban Russian or other national flags, fans are prohibited from displaying anything “glorifying violence, discriminatory, racist, xenophobic, politically radical,” as well as religious or political propaganda. Also, spectators were warned in advance that only the national colors of countries whose teams are taking part in the matches would be welcome at the venue. The warning came from Moritz van Dulmen, the managing director of Kulturprojekte Berlin, the organizer of the main Euro 2024 fan zone.

“All national flags of participating nations are of course allowed – that’s part of it. We ask that you leave all other flags at home. The European Football Championship is not the place for other kinds of demonstrations. In this case, we want to celebrate football and the games,” he told Berliner Morgenpost last week. According to German media, the call was intended as a protective measure aimed at preventing public disturbances if Russian, Israeli, or Palestinian flags are displayed.

The Euro 2024 championship kicked off on June 14 and will conclude on July 14.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:57:25 +0000 RT
US must be saved from WWIII – Trump /news/599429-trump-us-world-war-iii/ Joe Biden is putting the US in grave danger, according to Donald Trump, who has vowed to restore peace and resolve the Ukraine conflict
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Joe Biden’s “weakness and failure” are putting the country in grave danger, the former president has argued

Former US President Donald Trump has warned of the possibility of a third world war breaking out under the current leadership in Washington, saying that if elected he would reverse course.

Speaking at a Turning Point USA campaign event in Detroit, Trump emphasized that he had not started any new conflict during his 2017-2021 presidency, and vowed to work towards restoring peace, particularly in Ukraine, if he wins a second term. 

Trump claimed that Joe Biden’s “weakness and failure” were putting the US in “grave danger” and “dragging us towards World War III,” suggesting that he has done more damage to the country than the ten worst presidents in US history combined.

“We have a lot of problems in this country, on top of that, we could end up in World War III because we have an incompetent leader that should never have been there,” he stressed.

Earlier this month, the Republican also warned that the world could be plunged into a devastating nuclear war due to Biden’s alleged mental decline. Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump suggested that unlike the leaders of Russia, China, and North Korea, Biden is “not at the top of his game” and had never been “the brightest bulb” among US politicians. 

Trump warned that a nuclear exchange could lead to “world obliteration” and emphasized that the US currently has a leader that is “incapable of even discussing” the issue.

]]> Read more
Donald Trump and Joe Biden argue during a presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, October 22, 2020
Biden-Trump debate rules revealed
]]> During his speech in Detroit, the presidential candidate also criticized the Biden administration for “wasting money at levels never seen before,” particularly when it comes to continued financial support for Ukraine, and called Vladimir Zelensky “the greatest salesman that has ever lived.”

“Every time he comes to our country, he walks away with $60 billion dollars,” Trump said, adding that every time Zelensky receives money, he immediately asks for more. “It never ends,” he stressed, and vowed to have the issue “settled” before he takes office again as president.

Previously, Trump has stated that the Ukraine conflict “never would have happened” if he had been president at the time and has said that he would be able to end it “in 24 hours” if he gets another term in November. He has not, however, offered any details as to how he would accomplish that goal.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:40:24 +0000 RT
Western weapons makers on hiring spree – FT /news/599421-western-weapons-makers-hiring-spree/ US and European defense firms are recruiting workers at the fastest rate since the end of the Cold War, the Financial Times has reported
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The chief of NATO recently said bloc members have taken “longer than they should” to ramp up military output

Western defense companies are recruiting workers at the fastest rate since the end of the Сold War, the Financial Times has reported. The hiring spree comes after governments ramped up military spending since the start of the Ukraine conflict, according to the newspaper.

Twenty large and medium-sized US and European defense and aerospace companies are looking to employ tens of thousands of people this year, the FT wrote, citing the findings of its own survey.

The largest US contractors – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics – have nearly 6,000 job openings, while ten companies surveyed are seeking to increase staff numbers by almost 37,000 in total, or nearly 10% of their aggregate workforce, the newspaper reported.

]]> Read more
A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launcher rolls on Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2024.
Nuclear-armed nations boosting arsenals – research?
]]> Firms are looking to fill a range of positions, from welders and mechanics to engineers, software developers, and cyber security analysts, and at all levels from apprentice to late-stage career executive, the FT added.

Italian defense contractor Leonardo is conducting “an intense search for new hires, even more intense than during previous conflicts such as Iraq or Afghanistan,” the firm’s chief personnel officer, Antonio Liotti, stated.

Ammunition producers, notably Germany’s Rheinmetall and Norwegian-Finnish Nammo, are among those with the most aggressive hiring plans, the FT reported. Missile manufacturers such as Thales and MBDA, whose arms have been used by Ukraine, plan to increase their workforces by up to 17%.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military spending jumped 6.8% in 2023 in the steepest year-on-year rise since 2009, reaching a record $2.443 trillion, or 2.3% of global GDP.

The sharpest increase in military spending was recorded in the US, ahead of China and Russia, according to data provided by SIPRI.

In 2023, the 31 NATO members accounted for 55% of the world’s military expenditure, the institute said in a report in April. Russia’s military spending increased by 24% in 2023, it added.

]]> READ MORE: Kiev must not capitulate – Macron

]]> Russian President Vladimir Putin said in May that since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, ammunition production in Russia has risen 14-fold, while the production of missiles and artillery shells has increased 22-fold.

Russia has been able to build up its defense industry faster than NATO expected, the military bloc’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said earlier this month. In an interview with Sky News, the NATO chief claimed that bloc members “spent more time than they should [have]” in ramping up their production.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 11:30:59 +0000 RT
Nuclear-armed nations boosting arsenals – research? /news/599415-nuclear-states-boost-arsenals/ Nuclear states have boosted the number of operational warheads amid geopolitical tensions, with China leading the race, a report has said ?
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The number of operational warheads is on the rise globally, a Swedish think tank has found

The world is in “one of the most dangerous periods in human history” as global powers boost their atomic arsenals and nuclear weapons play an increasingly “prominent” role in international relations, a Swedish think tank said on Monday.  

Diplomatic efforts to control nuclear arms have suffered major setbacks as geopolitical relations have deteriorated over the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a group that tracks global security and arms control, said in its annual report.  

The nine nuclear states – the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel – continue to modernize their atomic arsenals and several deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2023.  

“We have not seen nuclear weapons playing such a prominent role in international relations since the Cold War,” said Wilfred Wan, director of SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Program.  

An “extremely concerning” increase in the number of nuclear warheads deployed with missiles and aircraft is likely to pick up speed in the coming years, the report warned. Of the estimated 12,121 nuclear warheads around the world, about 9,585 were in stockpiles for potential use as of January, the report found. Around 2,100 were kept in a state of “high operational alert” on ballistic missiles.  

“Regrettably we continue to see year-on-year increases in the number of operational nuclear warheads,” said SIPRI director Dan Smith.   

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO. A Russian nuclear-capable Iskander tactical ballistic missile.
Russia could consider changing nuclear doctrine
]]> Russia and the US together have almost 90% of all nuclear weapons, SIPRI said. The sizes of their military stockpiles remained stable in 2023, although Russia is estimated to have deployed around 36 more warheads with operational forces than in January 2023, the watchdog added.   

Tensions over Ukraine and Gaza have further “weakened” global nuclear diplomacy, researchers stated.   

Washington has suspended bilateral strategic stability dialogue with Russia, and last year Moscow announced that it was suspending its participation in the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty. As a countermeasure, the US has also suspended the sharing and publication of treaty data.  

For the first time, China is believed to have some warheads on high operational alert during peacetime, SIPRI said. Beijing boosted its nuclear arsenal to 500 warheads in January, up from 410 in the same month last year. China is expanding its nuclear inventory faster than any other country, the report claimed.   

In Asia, India, Pakistan, and North Korea are all pursuing the capability of deploying multiple warheads on ballistic missiles.   

“We are now in one of the most dangerous periods in human history,” Smith said, urging the world’s great powers to “step back and reflect. Preferably together.”

]]>
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 11:20:23 +0000 RT
Netanyahu decries ‘unacceptable’ Gaza pause – media /news/599414-netanyuahu-criticises-gaza-pauses-aid/ Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has reportedly criticized the military’s plan for ‘tactical pauses’ in southern Gaza to let in aid
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Israeli military earlier announced plans to halt fighting in parts of the enclave to allow aid in to the territory

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized a decision by the military to implement a daily halt to fighting along a route through southern Gaza to facilitate aid delivery, Reuters and Israeli media have reported.

The IDF announced the 11-hour ‘tactical pauses’ in the area on Sunday. When Netanyahu heard the military’s initial announcement, he contacted his military secretary and “made it clear that this was unacceptable to him,” an unnamed Israeli official said, as quoted by Reuters.

The decision will allow trucks carrying aid to enter the enclave through a key border crossing and along a major road northward.

]]> Read more
The site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah, May 27, 2024.
Israeli army announces daily ‘tactical pause’ in Gaza
]]> According to the Times of Israel newspaper, the latest move marks “a more significant daily halt in military activity, for more hours than usual and across a wider area.” 

The announcement of the pause comes a day after Hamas fighters killed eight Israeli troops in an ambush in southern Gaza.

According to Israeli news outlet N12, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Galant had not been informed in advance about the IDF’s decision to pause the fighting in the Rafah area.

“After an inquiry, the prime minister was informed that there was no change in IDF policy and that the fighting in Rafah continues as planned,” the Times of Israel newspaper reported, citing a diplomatic source.

After the initial announcement, the IDF issued a clarification on X (formerly Twitter) saying that the fighting in southern Gaza and Rafah would continue as normal, and that a road in a specific area would only be open for the transportation of humanitarian aid. The IDF said the pause was being coordinated with international aid agencies.

Several top politicians in the Netanyahu government have also condemned the ‘tactical pause’.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, a leading right-wing member of the cabinet, said in a statement on X that whoever decided on such a “delusional” approach was a “fool who should not remain in his position.” The move was not brought before the cabinet and is contrary to its decisions, the statement added.

]]> READ MORE: Hamas leader comments on possible ceasefire

]]> Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also slammed the IDF’s announcement as “delusional,” arguing that the “aid goes largely to Hamas and helps it to continue civilian control” of Gaza “in direct contradiction to the goals of the war.”

Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began last October, according to Gaza health authorities. The conflict started when Hamas launched surprise attacks against southern Israeli villages on October 7, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza.

]]>
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 09:49:34 +0000 RT
Chinese history buff buys military secrets for $0.83 /news/599409-chinese-military-secrets-scrap/ A Chinese retiree purchased classified books sold for scrap by greedy soldiers, the Ministry of State Security says
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Ministry of State Security has reported the story of a retired man who helped it plug a security breach

A retired military history buff was caught by surprise when he purchased books that turned out to be classified Chinese documents. The materials had been sold for scrap instead of being destroyed.

The story of a man with the surname Zhang was reported by the Chinese Ministry of State Security on social media last Thursday. The former worker in a state-owned enterprise is an enthusiastic collector of military-related books and newspapers, according to the ministry.

One of his recent acquisitions came from a recycling station in his community. As he was walking by, Zhang noticed two bags of books being loaded. He purchased four that seemed interesting for 6 yuan ($0.83).

Later at home, he noticed that the documents were marked ‘secret’ and ‘confidential’, so he decided to call the local office of the ministry, the report said. An investigation established that the books came from a nearby military unit.

Two military personnel surnamed Guo and Li were ordered to destroy several batches of documents, but sold them instead. The package weighed over 30kg and netted the soldiers roughly 20 yuan ($2.75).

]]> READ MORE: Why you should believe China’s spying accusations against the UK

]]> The ministry said it has instructed employees of the recycling station on how to handle these types of incidents and worked with the military to ramp up secrecy procedures. The leak did not pose any serious security risks, the statement said, though the military employees were reprimanded for having a “weak sense of confidentiality.”

The story appears to be part of the ministry’s campaign to increase public awareness of the nation’s anti-espionage law. It was revised last year to introduce several changes, such as a requirement for telecommunications companies to cooperate with the state to prevent the dissemination of sensitive materials.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 09:19:20 +0000 RT
Netanyahu disbands war cabinet /news/599412-netanyahu-war-cabinet-dissolved/ The decision follows the resignation of retired army general Benny Gantz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The decision follows the resignation of a centrist member of the body, former Defense Minister Benny Gantz

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the war cabinet overseeing the conflict in Gaza after a key member, retired general Benny Gantz, resigned from the emergency government, according to media reports. The prime minister reportedly announced the move to ministers at a meeting of the cabinet on Sunday.

Gantz, a former defense minister without portfolio who entered the war cabinet shortly after the beginning of the conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas last October, announced his resignation earlier this month, citing disagreement with Netanyahu’s policies.

The cabinet was in the coalition agreement with [National Unity MK Benny] Gantz at his request. As soon as Gantz left – there is no need for a cabinet anymore,” Netanyahu said, as cited by local media.

The prime minister is now expected to hold consultations on the Gaza conflict with a small group of ministers, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, who had been in the war cabinet.

Shortly after Gantz’s resignation, another minister without portfolio, former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, also resigned from the cabinet, where he served as one of three observers. Another observer, Knesset member Yechiel Tropper, made the same announcement.

Both Gantz and Eisenkot said they resigned due to Netanyahu’s failure to form a strategy for the war in Gaza.

During the government meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu reportedly said, “in order to reach the goal of eliminating the capabilities of Hamas, [I] made decisions that were not always acceptable to the military echelon,” adding, “we have a country with an army and not an army with a country.”

The war cabinet was established on October 11, just days after the Israeli-Hamas war broke out following the Palestinian militant group’s surprise attack on southern Israel, in which over 1,000 people were killed and around 250 were taken hostage. The cabinet was chaired by Netanyahu, and included Gantz and Gallant, along with three observers – Dermer, Eisenkot, and Shas party leader Aryeh Deri.

]]>
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 09:19:15 +0000 RT
China rapidly expanding nuclear arsenal – report /news/599406-sipri-report-china-nuclear-arsenal-growing/ A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says China has been rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal since early 2023
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The development comes as NATO member states consider placing more nuclear arms on standby

China has been expanding its nuclear arsenal “faster than any other country” in recent months, an annual report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has claimed. Beijing has supposedly added 90 warheads to its inventory since January 2023.

The document does note, however, that other nuclear-armed nations have also been modernizing their weapons of mass destruction and ramping up the number of operational nuclear warheads at their disposal.

According to the SIPRI report published on Sunday, the US and Russia are by far the largest nuclear powers, possessing nearly 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.

]]> Read more
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at an environmental event on Wednesday in New York.
UN chief sounds nuclear war alarm
]]>

However, China is “expanding its nuclear arsenal faster than any other country,” according to Hans M. Kristensen, associate senior fellow with SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Program. SIPRI’s findings indicate that Beijing’s nuclear arsenal grew from 410 to 500 warheads between January 2023 and January 2024.

A separate report by the US Department of Defense last October concluded that China “possessed more than 500 operational nuclear warheads as of May 2023 – on track to exceed previous projections.” The Pentagon predicted at the time that this number would likely exceed 1,000 by 2030.

SIPRI claims that, “for the first time, China may also now be deploying a small number of warheads on missiles during peacetime.” While Beijing allegedly has 24 nuclear warheads on high operational alert, that number stands at more than 1,700 each in the case of the US and Russia.

The report concludes that “China could potentially have at least as many intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as either Russia or the USA by the turn of the decade, although its stockpile of nuclear warheads is still expected to remain much smaller than the stockpiles of either of those two countries.”

]]> READ MORE: US may expand nuclear arsenal – Biden aide

]]>

In an interview with The Telegraph on Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg revealed that member states were discussing the removal of more nuclear-capable missiles from storage and placing them on standby. He cited perceived threats emanating from Russia and China, insisting that the US-led military bloc needed to send a clear message regarding its own nuclear capabilities to Moscow and Beijing. 

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 09:04:07 +0000 RT
NATO could put more nuclear weapons on ‘standby mode’ – Stoltenberg /news/599401-nato-talks-nuclear-weapons-standby/ NATO is considering putting more nuclear weapons on standby amid tensions with Russia and China, Stoltenberg has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The West must show to the world, including Russia and China, that it has a deterrent capability, the bloc’s chief has said

NATO members are debating putting more of their nuclear weapons on standby mode amid tensions with Russia and China, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on Sunday, Stoltenberg stated that NATO is in talks about taking nuclear assets out of storage and making them ready to use, since the US-led military bloc must clearly convey to the outside world that it has a strong deterrent potential.

”I won’t go into operational details about how many nuclear warheads should be operational and which should be stored, but we need to consult on these issues,” he said, adding that deliberations are already underway.

The NATO chief stressed that while the bloc’s ultimate goal is a world without nukes, “as long as nuclear weapons exist, we will remain a nuclear alliance, because a world where Russia, China and North Korea have nuclear weapons, and NATO does not, is a more dangerous world.”

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO. A Russian nuclear-capable Iskander tactical ballistic missile.
Russia could consider changing nuclear doctrine
]]> He voiced particular concern about what he called China’s growing nuclear capabilities, adding that NATO could soon face “something that it has never faced before, and that is two nuclear-powered potential adversaries” – Beijing and Moscow.

According to Stoltenberg, the US is also modernizing its nuclear gravity bombs deployed in Europe, and its allies on the continent are also upgrading the aircraft that carry them. This came after Pranay Vaddi, Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for Arms Control, said earlier this month that “absent a change in the trajectory of adversary arsenals,” the US would soon reach a point where it would have to increase the number of deployed nuclear weapons.

Western media and officials have repeatedly accused Russia of nuclear saber-rattling amid the Ukraine conflict. However, officials in Moscow have repeatedly said that they have no plans to use nukes against the neighboring country, stressing that the only scenario in which they might resort to a nuclear option is if Russia’s very existence is at stake.

At the same time, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned last week that Moscow could potentially alter its nuclear doctrine in view of a growing threat caused by “unacceptable and escalatory actions of the US and its NATO allies.”

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 07:55:36 +0000 RT
Signatures of two states ‘disappear’ from Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ declaration /news/599396-two-signatories-recalled-conference/ Jordan and Iraq have apparently recalled their signatures from the final communique of the Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Jordan and Iraq are not listed in the final copy of the document published by the Swiss organizers of the event

The signatures of representatives of Jordan and Iraq have disappeared from the final communique of the Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’, according to the latest copy of the document posted on the Swiss Foreign Ministry website.

While Baghdad and Amman have not provided any official explanations so far, multiple media outlets reported on Sunday that the countries had withdrawn their signatures.

Out of 92 countries represented at the proceedings, only 78 signed the communique, with Kosovo listed as an independent state. Serbia and a number of countries, including Russia and China, still consider Kosovo Serbian territory.

Some members of the BRICS group attended the conference, but none signed the document. Despite being party to the conflict, Moscow was not invited to the event at the Swiss Burgenstock Resort. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the summit an attempt by the West to distract attention away from the root causes of the Ukraine conflict.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Moscow reveals next steps after Putin’s Ukraine offer
]]> According to the document, the talks and the resulting communique were “based on Ukraine’s peace formula” and “other peace proposals which are in line with international law.” The signatories agreed on their “commitment to refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine.”

In addition, the document called for the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant to be returned to Ukrainian control, full access for Ukraine to Black Sea and Sea of Azov ports, and the release of all prisoners of war.

After the event concluded on Sunday, some international media outlets began reporting that the ‘peace summit’ failed to convince major non-aligned states to sign on to the declarations in the document.

]]> Read more
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
No meaningful peace in Ukraine without Russia – Saudi Arabia
]]> “A decision by China to stay away all but assured that the summit would fail to achieve Ukraine’s goal of persuading major countries from the ‘Global South’ to join in isolating Russia,” Reuters said in an article on Monday, noting that no country has come forward to host a follow-up conference.

“The challenge was to talk tough on Russia but open the door for it to join a peace initiative,” AP wrote on Sunday.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is willing to order a ceasefire and begin negotiations “the minute” that Kiev fulfills several conditions. Among the main points, Putin stated that Kiev must cede all five former Ukrainian regions that voted in referendums to join Russia, including Crimea, pull out all Ukrainian troops in these territories, and officially abandon its bid to join NATO.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 06:46:19 +0000 RT
Beijing seeking ‘elimination’ of Taiwan – Taipei’s new president /news/599394-china-elimiate-taiwan-plans/ Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te has warned future military officers that Beijing is committed to annexing the island
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Lai Ching-te has told military cadets that mainland China views annexation of the self-governing island as a national cause

Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te has warned future military officers that Beijing will stop at nothing to take control of the self-governing island.

Speaking at Taiwan’s top military academy on Sunday in Kaohsiung, Lai claimed cadets must understand the threats they face from the mainland’s forces. Taiwan is recognized as a sovereign nation by only 12 of the world’s 193 countries. Officials in Beijing have vowed to reunify the island with mainland China, by force if necessary.

“The biggest challenge is to face the powerful rise of China, (which is) destroying the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and regards Taiwan’s annexation and the elimination of the Republic of China (Taiwan) as the great rejuvenating cause of its people,” Lai said.

Beijing has denounced Lai as a “dangerous separatist.” Following his inauguration as president last month, Beijing launched military exercises around Taiwan that were billed as punishing the island for “separatist acts.” Taiwan’s military scrambled fighter jets and put its naval and ground forces on high alert in response.

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China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command launches exercises around Taiwan on Thursday.
Taiwan puts military on high alert
]]> Lai argued in Sunday’s speech that only the Taiwanese people can decide the island’s future. “We really must be able to distinguish between ourselves and our enemies and between friend and foe.” He added that Taiwanese forces must not accept the defeatist attitude that “the first battle is the last battle,” referring to the notion that Taipei would quickly collapse in the event of an attack.

Beijing has increasingly protested against Washington’s contacts with Taipei and the US military aid to the island, arguing that such practices violate the ‘One-China’ principle. 

“China remains committed to peaceful reunification; however, this prospect is increasingly being eroded by separatists for Taiwan independence and foreign forces,” Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun warned last month. 

Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in 1949, after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s Communist revolutionaries. The United Nations officially recognized the Beijing government as China’s legitimate ruling authority in 1971, and the US established diplomatic relations with the mainland in 1979. The latter agreement followed Washington’s acknowledgement of the ‘One-China” principle and derecognition of Taiwanese sovereignty.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 00:26:31 +0000 RT
German opposition wants Ukrainian men to return home and fight /news/599391-germany-opposition-ukrainian-men-benefits/ Germany should stop paying welfare benefits to male Ukrainian refugees to encourage them to return home and fight, a senior MP has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Berlin’s generous welfare benefits undermine Kiev’s war effort, a senior MP has said

The German government should stop providing social benefits to Ukrainians, senior MP Thorsten Frei said on Sunday. He argued that the move would incentivize Ukrainian men to return to their home country and join the army amid the conflict with Russia.

Frei, the deputy head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the Bundestag, accused Ukrainians of fleeing to Germany in order to avoid mobilization at home. 

“While everything is at stake for Kiev in the face of the brutal Russian attack, many Ukrainians in this country who are able to defend [their homeland] are ducking out of it,” Frei told Funke Mediengruppe. “We should be honest: the benefits… to war refugees are providing completely wrong incentives.” 

Frei was referring to a welfare program known as ‘Buergergeld’ which allows Ukrainians to receive €563 ($610) a month. Asylum seekers from other countries are entitled to €460, according to the tabloid Bild. 

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RT
Germany planning to curb influx of Ukrainian refugees – Welt
]]> Another CDU member, Brandenburg Interior Minister Michael Stuebgen, said over the weekend “it does not make sense to talk about supporting Ukraine in the best way possible and support Ukrainian deserters at the same time.” The idea of automatically offering benefits to Ukrainian refugees is “a fundamental mistake,” he said, citing their low unemployment rate.

The general secretary of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Bijan Djir-Sarai, told Bild on Sunday that “newly arriving war refugees from Ukraine should no longer receive Buergergeld payments.” He argued that they should only be entitled to asylum seeker benefits instead. 

Around 1.3 million Ukrainian refugees were residing in Germany as of March 2024, according to Eurostat. Around 256,000 of them are men aged 18 to 60, according to German media. 

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FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian refugees at a container-accommodation center at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, Germany.
German region wants to scrap benefits for Ukrainian draft dodgers
]]> Ukraine has been struggling to find new recruits as its armed forces have been suffering heavy casualties. Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov said on Friday that Ukraine lost more than 35,000 troops to the fighting in May alone. Earlier in the month, Moscow estimated Kiev’s losses since the start of 2024 at over 111,000.

This spring, Kiev tightened its mobilization rules and lowered the draft age from 27 to 25. The draft campaign has been marred by widespread dodging and allegations of corruption. 

Kiev has sought to bring draft dodgers back to the country by denying them consular services abroad and the ability to update their ID papers outside of Ukraine. Some senior Ukrainian officials have also said they want Western countries to send draft dodgers back home.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 23:59:55 +0000 RT
Israel accuses Russian ally of anti-Semitism /news/599392-israel-accuses-belarus-president-antisemitism/ Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has blasted Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for “anti-Semitic” comments
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West Jerusalem’s top diplomat has condemned Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for his comments on a corruption scandal

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been criticized by Israel for suggesting that a disproportionate number of officials involved in corruption scandals in his country are ethnic Jews. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Sunday that Lukashenko’s remarks were “unacceptable,” “outrageous,” and clearly sounded “anti-Semitic.” The rebuke came one day after the Belarusian leader ranted during a government meeting about a scandal implicating dozens of suspects, including former Agriculture Minister Igor Brylo.

“Here are 36 people on a list involved in corruption,” Lukashenko told the Council of Ministers in Minsk. “Sorry, I don’t consider myself anti-Semitic, but more than half of them are Jewish. Do they have a special, privileged role, that they steal and do not think about their future? Do they have privileges?” He added, “All people’s living in Belarus should be equal: Jews, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Russians, and Poles.”

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Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz.
Israel retaliates against EU state over ‘anti-Semitic’ remarks
]]> Katz told the Jewish News Syndicate that the head of his ministry’s Eurasia bureau, Yuval Fuchs, had lodged a complaint over the incident with the Belarusian ambassador to Israel.

Lukashenko appointed Brylo as his presidential aide and inspector for Vitebsk Region in July 2023, transferring him from the Agriculture Ministry. The president removed Brylo from his new post last November, citing “an offense incompatible with the civil service.” A media report suggested that the case was tied to an alleged corruption scheme in the country’s dairy industry.

Israeli officials have previously accused Lukashenko of anti-Semitic comments, including a 2007 incident in which he told reporters that Jewish people allowed the places they lived to fall into neglect. Referring to the Belarusian city of Bobruisk, he claimed Jewish residents had turned it into a “pigsty.” He added, “This was founded as a Jewish city, and you know how Jews treat the places they live in.”

]]> READ MORE: European leader admits hugging nuke

]]> West Jerusalem responded by lodging a complaint with the Belarusian ambassador, stopping short of recalling its envoy to Minsk.

Lukashenko was scolded again by the Israeli government after he said in July 2021 that the whole world had been made to “kneel” to the Jewish people because of the Holocaust.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 23:23:48 +0000 RT
Hamas leader comments on possible ceasefire /news/599390-hamas-discusses-terms-of-israel-war-ceasefire/ Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh has claimed the group supports a ceasefire with Israel along the lines of a US-backed plan
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Ismail Haniyeh has said the militant group is ready to accept a deal consistent with the proposal pushed by US President Joe Biden

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh has suggested that the Palestinian militant group is prepared to make a ceasefire deal with Israel along the lines of a compromise promoted by the administration of US President Joe Biden.

Speaking in a televised speech marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha on Sunday, the Qatar-based billionaire said Hamas wants an agreement that would end the fighting in Gaza and lead to an exchange of hostages for Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Such an accord would require all Israeli forces to withdraw from the Palestinian enclave.

“Hamas and the [Palestinian] groups are ready for a comprehensive deal which entails a ceasefire, withdrawal from the strip, the reconstruction of what was destroyed, and a comprehensive swap deal,” Haniyeh said. He added that Hamas showed “great seriousness and flexibility” to reach an agreement that would stop the bloodshed in Gaza.

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Nuseirat, Gaza following a raid by the Israeli Defense Forces, June 8, 2024.
US considering unilateral deal with Hamas – media
]]> The Hamas response was consistent with the ceasefire principles put forward by Biden, who announced the three-phase proposal late last month, and a UN Security Council resolution calling for the plan to be implemented, Haniyeh said.

Israeli officials have claimed that Hamas demanded unacceptable revisions to the ceasefire offer. A senior Hamas leader told Reuters that the group’s requested changes were “not significant.”

West Jerusalem also has reportedly insisted on tweaks to the US-backed plan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that any halt in combat operations will be temporary until Israel achieves “absolute victory,” including the destruction of Hamas as a governing authority and security threat. He said that in announcing the proposal, Biden left out the fact that Israel agreed only to discuss an end to the war in the second phase – not to permanently stop the fighting.

]]> READ MORE: Biden’s Gaza peace push suffers another setback

]]> Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began last October, according to Gaza health authorities. The conflict started when Hamas launched surprise attacks against southern Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages back to the Gaza Strip.

 

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 21:46:30 +0000 RT
Will Fauci and his ilk answer for damage caused by Covid policies? /news/599343-fauci-covid-vaccine-pandemic/ The American pandemic czar has admitted he was just making up restrictions on the fly during the crisis
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The American pandemic czar has admitted he was just making up restrictions on the fly during the crisis

A little less than three years ago, as I attempted to enter my home country of Canada on a flight from France, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to set foot on Canadian soil as a born citizen without effectively serving a stint of imprisonment in a facility guarded by the authorities – and at my own expense.

The reason? I had presented Canadian border officials with laboratory proof of naturally acquired Covid antibodies as a result of an uneventful experience with the virus rather than proof of antibodies acquired through a manmade treatment – one that blocked neither acquisition nor transmission of the virus. At the very least, I figured, my own naturally-made antibodies were as good as that. And wasn’t it generally accepted medical science that acquired antibodies were the gold standard in protection from a virus? Was I losing my mind? Did I suddenly end up in an alternate universe? Nope. As with so many other issues, establishment bureaucrats just got in the way of common sense and ended up reframing reality.

That vilified natural immunity – everyone eventually catching Covid – ended up being the way out of the pandemic. Now that everyone has caught it, it’s over. Oh, but it would have been far worse to catch it without first getting the jab, some say. But even US Centers for Disease Control statistics show that with few exceptions, the very old or those with preexisting issues were the ones who were hard-hit. If the jab was so great, so protective, then why not just tell those folks to take it and call it a day – which is exactly what people are doing now anyway, now that no one is really interested in keeping up to date with their 200th booster.

Instead, an entire fear campaign was drummed up over the need to stay six feet apart to avoid killing grandma or grandpa, or anyone else who you might inadvertently manslaughter as a result of being near them and not knowing that they were vulnerable. Actually, obesity turned out to be the top preexisting condition that was vulnerable to the virus, so they probably could have been avoided from quite a distance, in fact. Way more than the six feet recommended by the Western establishment’s top Covid guru – Dr. Anthony Fauci, who ran the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the time. I remember that rule being so strictly applied that swimming pools in Canada were making users swim up one black line and down the adjacent black line so that they’d stay at least six feet apart and didn’t inadvertently risk breathing on another swimmer going the other way – in outdoor pools.

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A health worker shows a Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine during the vaccination of military personnel at the army headquarters in Manila in March 2021.
Pentagon ran secret disinfo campaign against Covid vaccine – Reuters
]]> But now that a retired Fauci has been dragged back to testify in front of the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, he has admitted that he was just kind of spitballing it with the six-feet rule.

“In the pandemic, we were told to keep 6 feet apart. There’s no science to support that,” a Washington Post headline said, in describing that Fauci told a closed-door hearing in January 2024 that “it sort of just appeared, that six feet is going to be the distance.” He called it “an empiric decision that wasn’t based on data.” Even when it was accepted that Covid wasn’t spread through droplets with a maximum range of six feet and could in fact be anywhere in the air with no distance restriction, it wasn’t revised.

In a press release published this week, the subcommittee underscored that “Dr. Fauci showed no remorse for the millions of lives affected by his divisive rhetoric and his unscientific policies. He did not apologize to the thousands of Americans who lost their jobs because they refused the novel vaccine, nor did he apologize to children experiencing learning loss as a result of actions he promoted.”

Learning loss? How about just the fact that here in France, a lot of parents pass off responsibility for the basics of child development onto their kids’ teachers. And now that there are a lot of young kids who were stuck at home with their parents long enough, in the absence of their teachers, multiple studies have concluded that they’ve fallen behind on basic savoir-vivre. I’m not saying that the seemingly high number of primary school-aged French kids who now seem to mistake the floor of any given public facility for a toilet is necessarily linked to Covid-related development delay, but if not, then it’s one heck of a coincidence. Admittedly, this is not a super scientific study. Really, I’m just spitballing here – like Fauci apparently did through the entire pandemic.

The hearing referred to a clip of Fauci in the summer of 2021 in which he suggested that the choice of refusing the Covid jab was ideologically-driven. “I have to say that I don’t see a big solution, other than some sort of mandatory vaccination. I know federal officials don’t like to use that term. Once people feel empowered and protected legally, you’re going to have schools, universities, and colleges are going to say, ‘you want to come to this college buddy, you’re going to get vaccinated. Lady, you’re going to get vaccinated.’ Yeah, big corporations, like Amazon and Facebook and all of those others, are going to say ‘you want to work for us, you get vaccinated.’ And it’s been proven that when you make it difficult for people in their lives, they lose their ideological bulls**t and they get vaccinated,” Fauci said, apparently failing to consider that the choice is a personal one based on individual circumstances and a scientific risk/benefit analysis which may or may not have been made in consultation with one’s personal physician.

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RT
US targeted Chinese Covid vaccine to kill competition – expert
]]> Speaking of ideology, it emerged at the hearing that the House Judiciary Committee found evidence that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself acknowledged pressure on the social media platform’s executives from the Biden administration to crackdown on content suggesting that Covid emerged from a lab. We were constantly being told by officials at the time that only conspiracy theorists would believe that it came from a lab and not from some random dude in Wuhan eating a bat-like creature that he picked up from the local market. 

In reality, as Texas Congressman Michael Cloud pointed out during Fauci’s testimony, Fauci signed off on virus gain -of-function research outsourced to the Wuhan lab, from which it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine that a virus like Covid could have feasibly emerged. Fauci let the Biden administration double down against the lab leak theory, screaming “misinformation” and “conspiracy” about anyone who dared to evoke it, while now admitting to the hearing that he has “kept an open mind” about the possibility. 

So what about that Covid jab, anyway? Well, it may not have stopped folks from getting or passing on the virus, but at least it’s benign, right? No harm, no foul? Earlier this week, Britain’s Telegraph reported that “Covid vaccines may have helped fuel rise in excess deaths,” citing scientists. Wow, that sounds super “safe and effective,” just like all the bureaucratic white coats promised! Dutch researchers have looked at data from 47 Western nations and concluded that “side effects linked to the Covid vaccine had included ischemic stroke, acute coronary syndrome and brain haemorrhage, cardiovascular diseases, coagulation, haemorrhages, gastrointestinal events and blood clotting.” Is that “ideological bulls**t,” too, Dr. Fauci? Asking for the entire global community.

Fauci and all those who played a similar role of scientific savior during the Covid fiasco have yet to pay any kind of price for their failure to defend science against the “ideological bulls**t” of their political masters and their rampant authoritarianism. The lingering effects of their spinelessness or negligence (at best) and complicity (at worst) have also contributed to a climate in which dissent that doesn’t blindly obey establishment narratives and dogma is automatically considered fake news, which has led Western society down a destructive path on everything from Covid to climate change and foreign conflicts.

At the very least, it should serve as a lesson and a wake-up call to those who have been duped by nonsense spoken confidently by those in positions of authority – and lead the average person to ask themselves what else they’re in the process of being lied to about.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 21:31:56 +0000 RT
No more ‘endless’ payments to Zelensky – Trump /news/599385-trump-zelensky-endless-money/ The former US president has said that he would “settle” the Ukraine conflict even before assuming office
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The former president has said that he would “settle” the Ukraine conflict even before assuming office

Former US President Donald Trump has said that he would stop handing over tens of billions of dollars to Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, promising to have the situation in Ukraine “settled” if he is re-elected this year.

“I think Zelensky is maybe the greatest salesman of any politician that’s ever lived,” Trump told supporters at ‘The People’s Convention’, a conservative conference held by Turning Point Action in Michigan on Saturday.

“Every time he comes to our country, he walks away with $60 billion,” Trump said of the Ukrainian leader. “So now here’s the beauty. He just left four days ago with $60 billion, and he gets home and he announces that he needs another $60 billion or else it never ends, it never ends.”

The US and other G7 nations on Thursday announced a $50 billion loan for Ukraine, which would be backed by revenue generated by roughly $300 billion in frozen Russian assets. While Zelensky did not ask for “another $60 billion” after leaving the G7 gathering in Italy, he has repeatedly chided his Western backers for not handing over sufficient quantities of cash and weapons, and intensely lobbied Republican lawmakers in Washington to approve a $61 billion military aid package in April.

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Republican presidential candidate, former US President Donald Trump gives remarks to the press on June 13, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Trump comments on his relations with Putin
]]> “I will have that settled prior to taking the White House,” Trump told the crowd in Michigan. “As president-elect, I will have that settled.” Trump then reiterated, as he has on numerous occasions since 2022, that the Ukraine conflict “never would have happened” had he been president.

Trump has repeatedly argued that US President Joe Biden’s policy of open-ended military support for Ukraine is leading the US toward a “third world war,” and has promised that he would end the conflict “in 24 hours” if he defeats Biden in this November’s presidential election.

Trump has never fully elaborated on how he would do this, save for forcing Zelensky to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but recent reports by Bloomberg and the Washington Post suggest that he would leverage the US’ massive military assistance to Kiev to pressure Zelensky into accepting the loss of some of Ukraine’s pre-conflict territory.

However, Trump did not lobby his Congressional allies to block the $61 billion aid package in April, and said at the time that he would support lending, rather than gifting, money to Zelensky in future.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 20:58:03 +0000 RT
Public opinion must be controlled –?France’s top general /news/599387-french-general-ukraine-crisis-lessons-learned/ The French Army’s chief of staff says the Ukraine conflict is changing the “dynamics of combat,” including the “control” of information
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The conflict with Russia proves that public opinion must be controlled, Army Chief of Staff Pierre Schill has said

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has shown that today’s warfare necessitates controlling public opinion by dictating what information is made available to people, the French Army’s chief of staff has stated.

Speaking in an interview posted on Sunday by Defense News, French Army General Pierre Schill said the conflict in Eastern Europe has “changed the dynamics of combat.” He added that in addition to key advances on the battlefield – such as more extensive use of drones and military adaptation of civilian technologies – the crisis has proven that the flow of information must be controlled “to influence both national and international public opinion.”

“The army plays a crucial role in the information domain,” Schill said. “Without the capacity to convince and to counter adverse influence, any military engagement can fail. The emergence of social networks has reinforced this notion and has significantly accelerated the dissemination of information, whether true or false, while increasing its volume, reach and resonance.” the general proposed, in advance of this week’s Eurosatory defense and security conference in Paris.

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RT
The prince of propaganda: How one journalist feeds the Western media’s hunger for lies about Russia
]]> While Western media outlets and governments have walked largely in lockstep on their Ukraine messaging, public support for funding the conflict has waned. A Harris Poll report released in February showed that about 70% of Americans want their government to push Ukraine toward a negotiated peace deal with Russia. Former US diplomats Michael Gfoeller and David Rundell wrote last year in a Newsweek op-ed that the West’s “propaganda machine” had “overplayed its hand” in the former Soviet republic.

Schill said other lessons learned in Ukraine included the importance of long-range drone surveillance, electronic warfare, and the use of weapons with greater lethality. Militaries also face more pressure to protect high-value targets, such as command posts, in an era when technological advances make it easier to detect their locations.

France deployed more than 500 troops to NATO’s eastern flank in Romania, serving as the bloc’s “spearhead” battalion, just four days after the Russia-Ukraine conflict began in February 2022, Schill noted. Those forces were later expanded to over 1,000 soldiers, including an air defense detachment and a forward command element.

]]> READ MORE: US and Poland set up info wars center

]]> “These successive deployments show the reactivity and preparedness of our troops,” the French general said. “The difficulties in the administrative, customs, interoperability, and training domains have been overcome. We’re drawing the lessons with our European partners.”

Eurosatory is Europe’s largest defense show. This year’s conference is billed as taking “the full measure” of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

]]> READ MORE: World sobering up on Ukraine conflict – Moscow

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 18:48:59 +0000 RT
Scholz leaves Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ earlier than planned – media /news/599386-scholz-leave-peace-conference-early/ German Chancellor Olaf Scholz left the Ukraine ‘peace conference’ on Sunday morning for an urgent meeting at home, Der Spiegel has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The chancellor had to depart for an emergency meeting of his own party’s executive committee, Der Spiegel has reported

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will skip the second day of Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s Swiss ‘peace conference’, Der Spiegel reported early on Sunday. Scholz had to fly back to Berlin for an urgent meeting with his political party, the German weekly reported.

The chancellor is in for some “difficult talks on the budget” with his coalition partners, according to Der Spiegel. The 2025 federal budget must be approved by early July, but Scholz’s government is still embroiled in a heated dispute over the details, according to German media.

Germany still has a €1 billion ($1.07 billion) gap in its draft budget and Finance Minister Christian Lindner wants to cut spending – something that other ministries oppose, broadcaster ZDF reported on Sunday.

Germany’s industry-heavy economy has suffered over the past few years after the US and the EU placed numerous economic restrictions on Russia, leading to the bloc largely losing access to cheap Russian fossil fuels. That instigated an energy crisis that has gripped the country since the start of the Ukraine conflict.

In February, the German central bank warned that the nation’s economy “would be in a technical recession” in the first quarter of this year. This week, Scholz also faced accusations of stalling new EU sanctions on Russia.

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Kamala Harris delivers a speech at Ukraine's 'peace conference' in the Burgenstock resort near Lucerne, Switzerland, June 15, 2024
US VP leaves Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ early
]]> The German dpa news agency cited unnamed EU diplomats as claiming that Berlin’s position was a key factor in delaying the adoption of the EU’s 14th round of sanctions against Moscow. The report prompted the chancellor to refute the accusations while still in Switzerland.

“[The sanctions] are not being blocked. We are discussing the specific design,” he told Welt TV on Saturday. “It’s about how we can ensure that the German economy can carry out its activities.” Earlier, the media reported that Scholz was allegedly concerned by the prospect of subsidiaries of EU companies being held liable for sanctions violations.

During the conference, the chancellor stated that the Ukraine conflict could not be resolved without Russia’s participation in talks. “It is true that peace in Ukraine cannot be achieved without… Russia,” he said.

The White House said that US Vice President Kamala Harris had also left the Swiss-hosted conference after only a few hours on Saturday, returning to Washington before the summit’s main working day began.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida were also reportedly among those to leave the event after only a few hours.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 17:48:02 +0000 RT
Biden-Trump debate rules revealed /news/599382-trump-biden-debate-rules/ CNN will force Donald Trump and Joe Biden to stay quiet as the other speaks, the network has announced
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
In a departure from previous debates, CNN will mute each candidate while the other speaks

US President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will get two breaks when they face off in a CNN debate this month, and will not be allowed to talk to their campaign staff during the event, the network has announced.

Biden and Trump agreed last month to a live debate at CNN’s studio in Atlanta, Georgia on June 27. The debate, the first head-to-head showdown of the 2024 election season, will be moderated by CNN hosts Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, with no studio audience present.

CNN released a host of further details on Saturday. According to the network, both candidates will stand at podiums chosen by a coin toss, and will not be allowed any props or pre-written notes. Biden and Trump will both be given a pen, a pad of paper, and a bottle of water.

Each candidate’s microphone will be muted while the other speaks, and the 90-minute debate will be punctuated by two commercial breaks, during which Biden and Trump are forbidden from interacting with their campaign staff.

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Former President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at Turning Point Action's "The People's Convention" on June 15, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan.
Trump vows to end ‘gender insanity’ in schools
]]> The debate was organized after months of challenges from Trump, who said in March that he would face off against Biden “any time, anywhere, any place.” After multiple non-committal responses, Biden released a video message last month calling on Trump to “make my day, pal.”

Biden and Trump agreed to the CNN debate on June 27 and an ABC News debate on September 10, while Trump has also called on his opponent to accept two more debates – on Fox News and NBC News – before November’s election.

Trump and Biden debated twice before the 2020 election, with both candidates proclaiming victory. In the runup to this year’s debates, Trump has repeatedly ridiculed his 81-year-old opponent’s propensity for verbal gaffes and slip-ups.

“Crooked Joe Biden is the worst debater I have ever faced – he can’t put two sentences together,” Trump said in a statement last month. “Let’s see if Joe can make it to the stand-up podium.”

Meanwhile, Biden told ABC News this month that he intends to let Trump “say what he thinks,” betting that the American public will be shocked by the former president’s “off the wall” comments.

]]> READ MORE: Joe Biden’s health is about to be put to a severe test

]]> The CNN debate is open to any candidate who has received at least 15% support in four separate national polls and is registered on ballots in enough states to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency. Only Trump and Biden satisfy these requirements at present, although independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has received 15% in three polls and is on the ballot in six states worth 89 electoral votes. Earlier this week, Kennedy claimed to have collected enough signatures for ballot access in 22 states, totaling 304 electoral votes.




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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 16:20:17 +0000 RT
German police shoot axe-wielding attacker in Hamburg (VIDEO) /news/599380-german-police-axe-attacker-hamburg/ German police have opened fire on an axe-wielding man who threatened to attack them in the city of Hamburg
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
A man armed with a pickaxe and a Molotov cocktail threatened law enforcement officers, the authorities have said

A man wielding an axe and a Molotov cocktail tried to attack officers and passers-by on a busy street in the center of Hamburg, Germany on Sunday. The incident took place ahead of a 2024 EUFA European Football Championship game between the Netherlands and Poland.

The suspect emerged from a cafe near the Reeperbahn Street, according to German media. He was armed with “a pickaxe and an incendiary device,” the police said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter). The man threatened officers, prompting them to discharge their firearms, the statement said, adding that the attacker was injured and was “receiving medical treatment.” The police did not say that any other people were affected by the incident.

Authorities have not officially commented on either the suspect’s identity or his possible motive. Videos that have been circulating on social media show a man dressed in black wearing a backpack approaching the officers cordoning off a Hamburg street and shouting at them. He can be seen holding what appears to be an axe in one of his hands and a Molotov cocktail in the other one.

The man then turns away from the police and runs after some passers-by, prompting the officers to chase him and open fire. The attacker can then be seen falling to the ground.

The incident took place around the same time Dutch football fans held a march in the city ahead of their national team’s match against Poland. The event had already ended by the time the shooting took place, according to German media. The Reeperbahn is also more than a kilometer away from the official fan zone.

]]> READ MORE: ‘ISIS terrorist’ inmates take hostages in Russian prison

]]> “There is no indication that there is any connection to football,” a police spokesman told journalists.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 13:57:45 +0000 RT
US VP leaves Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ early /news/599379-kamala-harris-peace-conference/ Kamala Harris has left Switzerland without taking part in talks to draft a joint statement in support of Ukraine
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
After Joe Biden shunned the event, Kamala Harris spent only a few hours in Switzerland in his stead

US Vice President Kamala Harris left Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s Swiss ‘peace conference’ after only a few hours on Saturday, returning to Washington before the summit’s main working day began.

Harris arrived at the conference on Saturday afternoon and met with Zelensky, before announcing that the US would give Ukraine an additional $1.5 billion in infrastructure and humanitarian aid. After a speech in which she promised “to work toward a just and lasting peace,” Harris departed for Washington on Saturday evening, the White House said.

Harris left the conference before world leaders and dignitaries sat down on Sunday to hammer out a declaration in support of Zelensky. According to a copy of the text seen by Reuters, the final communique blames the Ukraine conflict on Russia, demands that Moscow allow Kiev to access Black Sea ports on Russian territory, and orders Russia to hand over ethnic Russian children evacuated from the Donbass region at the beginning of the conflict.

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Vladimir Zelensky attends the summit in Lucerne, Switzerland on June 15, 2024.
Fyodor Lukyanov: Here’s why this weekend’s Ukraine ‘peace conference’ is a sham
]]> The wording of the communique caused friction, with a dozen countries refusing to sign the document. Among those who withheld their signature were Brazil, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Prior to the summit, Brazilian presidential adviser Celso Amorim and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi released a joint letter explaining that they would prefer a conference “held at a proper time that is recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation of all parties as well as fair discussion of all peace plans.”

China did not send a delegation to the conference.

US President Joe Biden also skipped the meeting, despite attending the G7 summit in neighboring Italy on Friday. Biden opted to fly to Los Angeles instead, to attend a fundraising event with Hollywood celebrities George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Russia was not invited to the summit, and has “nothing to tell” its participants, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday. “The issue of peace in Ukraine is not being discussed in Switzerland. Humanitarian and quasi-humanitarian issues are being discussed,” he added.

]]> READ MORE: No meaningful peace in Ukraine without Russia – Saudi Arabia

]]> In a speech on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that meaningful peace talks can begin once Ukraine withdraws its forces from the new Russian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye and renounces its ambitions of joining NATO. Putin’s conditions were rejected by Zelensky, with the Ukrainian leader stating that Kiev “does not trust” the Russian president’s “ultimatum.”

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 13:56:17 +0000 RT
Israel falling into Hamas ‘trap’ – Italian PM /news/599376-italy-meloni-hamas-traps-israel/ Israel has walked into a trap in its response to last year’s attack by Hamas, Italian PM Giorgia Meloni has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The militant group is achieving success in isolating the Jewish state, according to Giorgia Meloni

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has voiced her support for Israel, insisting that the country was dragged into a war in Gaza by the surprise attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas in early October.

Speaking on Saturday at a news conference following the G7 summit in southern Italy, Meloni called for recognizing the right of both Israel and Palestine to live in peace and safety.

“It looks like Israel is jumping into a trap. For the trap of Hamas was to isolate it. It seems it is working,” Meloni said, urging those who support West Jerusalem “to give clear words for its safety” and stressing that “this is exactly what Italy is doing.”

Responding to a reporter’s question on why the G7 leaders had not condemned the Israeli offensive in Gaza and the continuing humanitarian crisis in the enclave, the prime minister said that it had to be remembered “who started all this” and that “it wasn’t Israel, but someone who killed civilians, women and children.”

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched its operation in Gaza following the October 7 Hamas attack on villages in southern Israel, in which some 1,200 people were killed and another 250 were taken hostage. The latest data from the Gaza health authorities shows that more than 37,200 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 85,000 have been injured since the beginning of the military campaign.

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The site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah, May 27, 2024.
Israeli army announces daily ‘tactical pause’ in Gaza
]]> Meloni also highlighted “the right of the Palestinians to have their own state in which to live peacefully.”

“It is the only way to address this problem, our job is to dialogue with everyone,” she concluded.

Israel’s war with Hamas and the siege of Gaza have drawn international criticism in recent months, including threats of sanctions. West Jerusalem has recently experienced a steady decline in Western support due to the mounting death toll and deepening humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

Israeli authorities have repeatedly defended their right to neutralize Hamas in an effort to protect the nation from terrorism. Earlier on Sunday, the IDF announced a “tactical pause” in military activity along a route in southern Gaza to allow aid to be distributed.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 12:24:05 +0000 RT
US targeted Chinese Covid vaccine to kill competition – expert /news/599365-china-us-vaccine-competition/ The Pentagon disparaged China’s Covid vaccine to kill competition with Western-made jabs, an epidemiologist told RT
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
A Reuters report revealed the Pentagon spread disinformation about Sinovac shots in Asia at the height of the pandemic

The alleged Pentagon-staged social media campaign targeting China’s Covid vaccine was likely a case of trying to suppress competition, Marcello Ferrada de Noli, a Swedish epidemiology professor emeritus and former research fellow at Harvard Medical School, has told RT.

Reuters, citing former US military officials, reported earlier this week that the US military had run a secret disinformation campaign to disparage China’s Sinovac vaccine in 2020-2021. The campaign reportedly focused on the Philippines, using fake social media accounts impersonating locals to criticize the Chinese jab, as well as test kits and face masks produced by the country. It later reportedly spread to other parts of Asia and the Middle East.

According to de Noli, while anti-vaccine campaigns are often described as aiming to prevent people from getting vaccinated entirely, with the Chinese and Russian vaccines it was a question of rivalry.

“Instead the purpose I believe is… to discourage specific vaccine brands produced in Russia and China in order to sell to those countries vaccines produced by American companies or produced by their associates in Europe,” he stated, pointing out that both the US and EU have “direct contact with big pharma.”

De Noli noted that the campaign reported by Reuters is far from the only instance of the US seeking to discredit vaccines produced in China or Russia. For instance, he recalled a highly publicized 2021 report of the US Department of Health and Human Services that revealed that American health officials under then-President Donald Trump had worked to discourage Brazil from buying the Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine.

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RT
No Covid FLiRT variants detected in Russia – watchdog
]]> According to de Noli, such cases of unfair competition are “very serious from the point of view of the epidemiology and infection control,” especially as Sputnik V was the “first vaccine that was available in the world and clearly effective.”

According to Reuters, the campaign targeting Sinovac started under the Trump administration and continued months into Joe Biden’s presidency, and was only discontinued in the spring of 2021. Spokespeople representing Trump and Biden declined to comment on the matter. An unnamed senior Pentagon official reportedly acknowledged the campaign but did not provide further details.

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not confirm the campaign’s existence, but said that the US military “uses a variety of platforms, including social media, to counter those malign influence attacks aimed at the US, allies, and partners.” She also alleged that China had launched a “disinformation campaign to falsely blame the United States for the spread of COVID-19.”

The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said in an email to Reuters that it was not surprised by the report, as it has long maintained that Washington spreads disinformation about China.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 10:19:44 +0000 RT
Israeli army announces daily ‘tactical pause’ in Gaza /news/599364-israel-military-tactical-pause-gaza/ Israeli has pledged a “tactical pause” in its operation in southern Gaza to facilitate increased volumes of humanitarian aid deliveries
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
An 11-hour window will allow aid deliveries into the southern part of the war-torn Palestinian enclave, the IDF has said

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has revealed plans for pauses in its military operation for several hours each day in areas of southern Gaza, citing the need to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the Palestinians.

According to a statement released on Sunday, daily ‘tactical pauses’ will be carried out between 8:00am and 7:00pm along a road running from the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Salah al-Din Road, and then northward toward the Khan Younis area.

The crossing has suffered from a bottleneck since Israeli ground troops moved into Rafah in early May despite condemnation from the US, UN, and other countries and international organizations.

“This is an additional step in the humanitarian aid efforts that have been conducted by the IDF and COGAT since the beginning of the war,” the IDF said, adding that the first pause was made on Saturday.

The measure, which is being coordinated with the UN and international aid agencies, will be in effect until further notice, the IDF said.

West Jerusalem launched a large-scale military operation in the Palestinian enclave in October last year, shortly after Hamas fighters conducted surprise attacks on villages in southern Israel, killing over 1,000 people and taking around 250 hostages back to Gaza. Over 37,200 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 85,000 have been injured since the conflict broke out, according to the Gaza health authorities.

In November, Israel and Palestine agreed to a week-long ceasefire, during which nearly half of the hostages were traded for Palestinian prisoners and humanitarian aid was allowed to enter Gaza. On December 1, the IDF resumed the military operation after accusing Hamas of violating the truce.

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FILE PHOTO: Israeli forces conduct a raid on Thursday in the West Bank city of Jenin.
IDF suffers one of its deadliest days in Gaza
]]> Due to the hostilities, the flow of humanitarian aid in southern Gaza has dropped, while over a million Palestinians fled Rafah after Israel launched an assault on the city last month.

In June, the UN added the IDF alongside Hamas and Islamic Jihad to its global list of offenders that have committed violations against children. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz slammed the move, calling it “anti-Semitic” and saying it “will have consequences for Israel’s relations with the UN.”

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, stated that he is seeking arrest warrants for several senior Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Khan said they are responsible for “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.” Netanyahu accused the ICC of trying to prevent Israel from defending itself against terrorism.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 08:33:46 +0000 RT
Xi claimed US tried to provoke Beijing into Taiwan attack – FT /news/599375-xi-us-attack-taiwan-trick/ Xi Jinping reportedly told Ursula von der Leyen that the US tried to goad Beijing into invading Taiwan, but it did not take the bait
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Chinese president is reportedly wary of a clash with Washington, as it would ruin his plans for the nation’s “great rejuvenation”

Xi Jinping has said that the US tried to provoke the Chinese military into attacking Taiwan but that Beijing did not take the bait, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing sources.

According to people allegedly familiar with the matter, Xi made the remarks during a private meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in April 2023. The Chinese president also reportedly relayed concerns about Washington’s alleged attempts to trick Beijing into invading the self-governed island to his officials.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be sovereign Chinese territory under its One-China policy. The island has been self-governing since 1949 when nationalists fled the mainland with US help after losing the Chinese Civil War to the communists.

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FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden visits West Point, New York.
Biden ‘not ruling out’ boots on the ground in Taiwan
]]> Financial Times described Xi’s reported remarks to von der Leyen as the first known time he told a foreign leader that the US was trying to goad Beijing into invading Taiwan. The Chinese president also reportedly explained that a conflict with the US would be detrimental to China and derail its plans for a “great rejuvenation” by 2049. The project, also known as the ‘Chinese Dream’, aims at creating a “modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized, and harmonious.”

China has long accused the US of fomenting tensions over Taiwan and has denounced Washington’s arms sales to Taipei. Beijing has also protested visits by top US officials to the island, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, claiming it violates China’s sovereignty. Against this backdrop, China regularly conducts military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

In 2022, Xi said that while Beijing seeks peaceful reunification with the island, it is “not committed to abandoning the use of force” to accomplish that goal. In March, the head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino, suggested that the Chinese military would be prepared to invade Taiwan by 2027. Officials in Beijing have denied having any near-term plans to use force against the island, accusing the US of “hyping up the China-threat narrative.”

US President Joe Biden has said that Washington would defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China, although he later conceded that the exact response would “depend on the circumstances.”

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 08:24:28 +0000 RT
Trump vows to end ‘gender insanity’ in schools /news/599363-trump-vows-to-end-gender/ The former president has vowed to introduce policies aimed at ending the LGBTQ agenda
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Republican presidential frontrunner has also suggested barring transgender athletes from competing with women in sports

Former US President Donald Trump has promised that if reelected this November, he will defund schools that promote “inappropriate” content to children such as gender identity and critical race theory. He also pledged to strip federal funding from schools mandating vaccines and masks, as well as banning men from participating in women’s sports.

Trump has said education is one of the main priorities of his presidential campaign, arguing that the system needs to be overhauled. He previously outlined plans to “break up” the Department of Education, change the school curriculum, and allow school principals to be elected.

“On day one, I will sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing critical race theory, transgender insanity, and other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content onto the lives of our children,” the presumptive Republican nominee for the White House told a cheering crowd at Turning Point Action’s ‘The People’s Convention’ in the state of Michigan on Saturday. 

“And I will not give one penny to any school that has a vaccine mandate or a mask mandate,” he continued, adding that he will also “keep men out of women’s sports” and fully uphold the Second Amendment, which protects the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.

“We will protect innocent lives and we will restore a thing called free speech, as it is being taken away from us by these radical thugs,” Trump vowed after announcing that he had received a full endorsement from the National Rifle Association gun rights advocacy group. 

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An anti-Trump, anti-Biden poster, West Hollywood, California, June 2, 2024.
Record number of Americans dislike both Biden and Trump – poll
]]> Accusing the Democrats of forcing the “liberal indoctrination of America’s youth,” he vowed to reverse a new expansion by President Joe Biden’s administration of Title IX – which restricts federally funded schools from preventing transgender students from using bathrooms, locker rooms, and pronouns aligned with their identities. He also pledged to block doctors who provide gender-affirming care, as well as forbidding federal agencies from promoting “the concept of sex and gender transition at any age.”

“The left-wing gender insanity being pushed at our children is an act of child abuse. Very simple. Here’s my plan to stop the chemical, physical, and emotional mutilation of our youth,” Trump said in a video address in January, in which he detailed a range of policies designed to curb the promotion of the LGBTQ agenda. 

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 06:17:34 +0000 RT
Record number of Americans dislike both Biden and Trump – poll /news/599362-record-americans-dislike-candidates/ The number of Americans who dislike both presidential candidates is historically high, a survey has found
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The share of ‘double haters’ is the highest since 1988, a survey by the Pew Research Center says

The number of Americans who hold negative views of both the Republican and Democratic US presidential candidates is the highest  in at least three decades, according to a poll published by the Pew Research Center on Friday.

According to Pew, 25% of respondents have unfavorable views of both President Joe Biden and his main rival, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump; 36% of respondents said they have a favorable view of Trump but not Biden, while 34% said the opposite. 

The poll shows the highest share of ‘double hater’ voters since the 1988 election, and almost twice as high as 2020 when Biden and Trump first ran against each other.

During the 2020 election, the number of Americans that disliked both Trump and Biden was around 13%, Pew said.

]]> READ MORE: Nothing will change after US elections – Putin

]]> “Increasing negative partisanship is a major factor behind the decline in favorability of major party candidates,” the pollster said in a press release. “Favorability ratings for candidates have become considerably more negative among members of the opposing party than they were a few decades ago.”

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US President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden at an event on the White House South Lawn on April 1, 2024, Washington, DC.
Joe Biden vows not to pardon Hunter
]]> The poll was conducted on May 13-19, before the back-to-back verdicts in the high-profile criminal trials of Trump and Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. On May 30, a New York jury found Trump guilty of falsifying business records to influence the 2016 election. On June 11, a Delaware jury found Hunter Biden guilty of violating federal gun laws when purchasing a revolver in 2018 while suffering from an addiction to crack cocaine. Both Trump and the younger Biden denied any wrongdoing.

The 2024 presidential election campaign has remained highly contentious, with both leading candidates accusing each other of causing irreparable damage to America and questioning each other’s fitness for office.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 04:26:36 +0000 RT
Türkiye sees ‘glimpse of hope’ in Ukraine peace efforts /news/599360-ankara-glimpses-hope-ukraine/ Türkiye has warned against an escalation of the standoff between Russia and the West
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Any attempts at a diplomatic resolution are better than the prospects of a global war, the country’s foreign minister has said

The peace proposals from Moscow and Kiev are important steps towards an eventual settlement of the Ukraine conflict, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said at the Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’ on Saturday. Ankara's top diplomat also warned that the fighting could potentially lead to a global conflict.

“We have the Ukrainian peace plan in front of us, and Russia has recently shared some terms. Regardless of the content and the conditions put forward, these are important steps and a glimpse of hope to start with,” Fidan said at the Burgenstock Resort in Switzerland.

Russia was not invited to the event, which Moscow has dismissed as an attempt by the West to “present an ultimatum.” Fidan, however, argued that such meetings have a value, given the risk of a global conflict.

]]> READ MORE: Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer

]]> “It is increasingly becoming a war more than between Russia and Ukraine,” Fidan said, adding that the “war could go beyond Ukraine geographically.”

“We are witnessing further polarization happening. This conflict between Ukraine and Russia is more than a war, it could turn into something more. We face a risk involving weapons of mass destruction.”

Ankara is ready to facilitate peace talks again, as it did in spring 2022, when Russia and Ukraine failed to reach an agreement, Fidan said. He added that Russia’s presence at the Burgenstock talks would have made the event “more results-oriented.”

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RT
Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> Speaking on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined several conditions for peace, including the complete withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. The four regions voted in referendums in autumn 2022 to leave Ukraine and join Russia. Kiev and its Western backers view these regions, as well Crimea, as being “illegally occupied” by Russia.

Moscow also said Ukraine must officially become a neutral country and drop its plans to join NATO. Putin previously cited the US-led bloc’s expansion eastwards as one of the root causes of the conflict.

Both Ukraine and its Western supporters have rejected Putin’s proposals, insisting that Ukraine must be restored to its 1991 borders.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 01:14:20 +0000 RT
Kiev must not capitulate – Macron /news/599359-macron-insists-ukraine-must-not-capitulate/ French President Emmanuel Macron has argued that Ukraine must not capitulate to end its conflict with Russia
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The French president has insisted that any deal to end the conflict with Russia must not revolve around Russia’s terms

French President Emmanuel Macron has argued that Ukraine must not capitulate to Russian demands to bring lasting peace to the former Soviet republic.

Speaking on Saturday at the so-called “Summit on Peace in Ukraine” in Switzerland, Macron advocated involving more countries to try end the conflict with Russia. However, Moscow was not invited to the conference, prompting the Kremlin to argue that the talks are meaningless.

“All of us are committed to building a sustainable peace,” Macron said. “Such a peace cannot be a Ukrainian capitulation. There is one aggressor and one victim.” He added that any agreement to end the fighting must restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and respect “international rule.”

The talks in Switzerland come at a time when Russian troops are making steady battlefield gains against Kiev’s outmanned and outgunned forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Ukraine was losing at least 50,000 troops per month, while Moscow was incurring unspecified casualties at a fraction of that rate.

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FILE PHOTO: Vladimir Zelensky.
Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer
]]> Nevertheless, Macron and other Western leaders have insisted that Russia must not be allowed to win, and they pledged to continue to provide additional weaponry and economic aid to Kiev “for as long as it takes.” 

Macron has been a leading proponent of deeper NATO involvement in the conflict, calling for a coalition of countries to send military trainers into Ukraine. He also suggested that NATO members should not rule out deploying military personnel at some point. 

Russian officials have claimed that Western leaders torpedoed a tentative March 2022 peace deal between Moscow and Kiev that would have ended the fighting just a few weeks after it began. 

US and Polish leaders were “alarmed” when they saw the 2022 draft peace deal, which was negotiated in Istanbul, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The newspaper posted three documents purported to be from the negotiations, including a treaty text proposed by the Ukrainian side.

]]> READ MORE: Zelensky conference not about peace – Kremlin

]]> According to the documents, Ukraine agreed under the proposal to pledge “permanent neutrality” in exchange for security guarantees from the US, UK, France, Russia, and China. The plan did not sit well with US officials, who saw it as “unilateral disarmament” by Ukraine, the report said.

Putin said on Friday that Moscow would order a ceasefire and start peace talks if Kiev agreed to several conditions, including the ceding of all five formerly Ukrainian regions that voted in referendums to become part of Russia. Zelensky immediately rejected the offer, calling it an “ultimatum.”

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 00:17:06 +0000 RT
American men shunning army – media /news/599358-us-men-shun-army-enlistment/ American men have reportedly lost interest in military service, driving the US Army’s recruiting shortfalls, a report says
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The nation’s males have reportedly lost interest in military service as they increasingly withdraw from society

American men have reportedly lost interest in military service as they increasingly withdraw from society more broadly, driving the persistent shortfalls in US Army recruiting and raising the nation’s reliance on female troops.

Male enlistment has plunged by 35% in the past decade, dropping from around 58,000 in 2013 to 37,700 last year, Military.com reported on Friday, citing US Army recruiting data. At the same time, female enlistment has held steady at around 10,000 recruits each year.

Declines in the number of men who are willing to sign up for military service have left the Army unable to meet its recruiting quotas. The largest US military branch fell short of its targets for new troops by about 10,000 enlistments last year and by 15,000 in 2022. Other branches have had similar shortfalls. The Army reduced its enlistment target by 10,000 troops this year, aiming for 55,000.

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FILE PHOTO.
Most US soldiers obese or overweight – study
]]> US Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) and other conservative politicians have blamed the military’s recruiting crisis on “woke ideology,” emphasizing such criteria as race, gender and sexual orientation at the expense of readiness to fight wars. The latest Reagan National Defense Survey, released in November, showed that only 46% of Americans have a “great deal” of trust in their nation’s military, down from 70% in 2018. About half of respondents cited “woke” practices as a reason for declining confidence.

However, the Military.com report noted that beyond cultural issues, experts pointed to broader issues with American men, including a “national crisis of masculinity.” Rates of suicide and drug overdoses have risen, while men have become less likely to attend college or build a career. In fact, the media outlet said, US men are “slowly disappearing from the general workforce.”

]]> READ MORE: US military veterans tell family members not to enlist – WSJ

]]> The trend “goes way beyond military recruitment,” said Ronald Levant, an Ohio psychology professor and former president of the American Psychological Association. “It really has to do with social change. I think there is an amotivational syndrome that seems to permeate a lot of young men today. They’re just not motivated to do very much.”

Just 64.9% of US men held a job as of last month, down from a peak of over 84% in the 1950s, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the same period, female participation in the labor force has nearly doubled, to 55.4%.

US Army demographic data shows that the military has become less male and less white in recent years. The active-duty force was 84.4% male in 2023, down from 86.4% a decade earlier. Whites accounted for 53.5% of the troops last year, down from 61.7% in 2011.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 23:44:57 +0000 RT
Biden providing ‘material aid for terrorism’ – Trump /news/599356-trump-accuses-biden-of-aiding-terrorists/ The US presidential race heats up as Donald Trump accuses incumbent Joe Biden of aiding terrorism through open-borders policies
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The former US president has accused his rival of enabling potential attackers to flood across the nation’s southern border

US President Joe Biden has aided and abetted potential attacks on Americans by implementing policies that have enabled terrorists to easily enter the country across its porous borders, Republican challenger Donald Trump has argued.

“In addition to all of his other well documented offenses, crooked Joe Biden is now also guilty of providing material support for terrorism,” the former president said in a campaign speech on Friday night in Palm Beach, Florida. He noted that since Biden took office in January 2021, the number of potential migrants encountered by US border patrol agents has surged.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency reported 736 intercepts of people on the nation’s terrorist watchlist in the government’s latest fiscal year, which ended on September 30. That compared with 199 such encounters in Trump’s last full fiscal year in office. The number of suspected terrorists who were arrested between ports of entry – meaning they may have been trying to avoid contact with US authorities as they entered the country – jumped by more than 5,600%, to 172.

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Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the CPAC event on Saturday in suburban Washington.
‘Obliteration’ awaits US if Biden wins reelection, Trump warns
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Attempted border crossings by migrants on the terrorism watchlist have continued at a similar pace in the current fiscal year, according to CBP data. By comparison, just 14 suspected terrorists were caught trying to cross between ports of entry during Trump’s four-year term.

Republican lawmakers and other critics have accused Biden of putting Americans at greater risk of terrorist attacks, claiming that his policies have resulted in a huge influx of suspected extremists – many of whom likely avoided detection by Border Patrol agents. In April, billionaire Elon Musk warned that a tragedy on the scale of the September 11, 2001, attacks could occur unless the nation’s border crisis is resolved.

Trump offered a similar assessment, saying, “Our country is going to pay a steep price for many, many years. This is a terrible thing that’s happened.”

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A US-bound migrant caravan enters Guatemala from Honduras after breaking a police barricade in January 2021.
Most Americans see border crisis as ‘invasion’ – poll
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Earlier this week, federal agents arrested eight Tajikistan nationals in three US cities on immigration charges after discovering they were suspected of having links to terrorism. The eight suspects reportedly crossed the US-Mexico border last spring without being flagged as potential security risks. Although they lacked proper documents, they were released into the US to await hearings in immigration court.

An Afghan migrant with suspected ties to a terrorist group was allowed to spend nearly a year inside the US after being apprehended by Border Patrol officers, according to media reports. He was released into the country, and even after he was arrested by federal agents in February, he was let loose again because the Texas immigration judge handling his case wasn’t informed of his status as a suspected terrorist. He was taken into custody again in April.

Nearly 2.5 million illegal aliens were encountered by US authorities at the nation’s borders in the last fiscal year, more than five times the level of migrant traffic during Trump’s last fiscal year as president.

 

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 21:00:12 +0000 RT
IDF suffers one of its deadliest days in Gaza /news/599355-israeli-troops-killed-in-southern-gaza/ Hamas fighters killed eight Israeli troops in one of West Jerusalem’s deadliest incidents since the war in Gaza began
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Eight Israeli soldiers have been killed in a Hamas ambush near the southern end of the Palestinian enclave

Hamas fighters have killed eight Israeli troops in an ambush in southern Gaza, marking one of West Jerusalem’s deadliest incidents in the Palestinian enclave since the war began last October.

The Hamas Al Qassam Brigades said it carried out a “complex ambush” against Israel Defense Forces (IDF) vehicles on Saturday in Tal al-Sultan, located west of Rafah. The incident began with an attack on a military bulldozer, which caught fire. When other Israeli troops arrived to rescue wounded crew members, the Palestinian group struck their armored personnel vehicle, causing more casualties, the Hamas military wing said.

The IDF said the incident is under investigation to review the possible causes. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz paid tribute to the fallen soldiers, saying, “Saturday is hard. Eight of our best sons were killed in Rafah. While knowing the price, they bravely entered Gaza to complete the mission of destroying Hamas and freeing the hostages.”

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Hezbollah supporters chant during the funeral procession for a militant who was killed this month in an Israeli drone strike in southern Lebanon.
US fears being dragged into another war – CBS
]]> Israeli officials have shrugged off international condemnation for pressing ahead with the IDF’s Rafah operation, which has imperiled civilians in a city where more than 1 million Palestinians had taken refuge after their neighborhoods in other parts of the enclave were bombarded. Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to the Gaza health authorities. The conflict started when Hamas launched surprise attacks against southern Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza.

Saturday’s ambush was the deadliest incident for the IDF since January, when 21 soldiers were killed in an explosion that caused two buildings to collapse. More than 300 Israeli troops have perished since the fighting in Gaza started.

The ambush targeted an armored convoy that was reportedly heading toward some buildings captured by the IDF early Saturday morning. Troops in Israel’s 401st Armored Brigade killed around 50 gunmen in an overnight offensive in northwestern Tal al-Sultan, the IDF claimed. The soldiers had planned to rest in the captured buildings.

]]> READ MORE: Both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes – UN

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 19:25:28 +0000 RT
The puppet is pulling the strings: How Zelensky’s regime manipulates its Western backers /news/599342-ukraine-zelensky-west-manipulate/ The removal of officials favored in Washington and Brussels but inconvenient for Kiev is starting to resemble a purge
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The removal of officials favored in Washington and Brussels but inconvenient for Kiev is starting to resemble a purge

As a state, Ukraine is vitally – or fatally – dependent on the West: As the Ukrainian anti-corruption activist Martina Bohuslavets notes in the staunchly patriotic Ukrainska Pravda, Kiev’s “international partners finance not only the reconstruction of critical infrastructure, but also all…pensions, public employee salaries, and, in general the country’s ability to keep going.”

This is no exaggeration. Consider some figures from The Economist: The Ukrainian state budget for this year amounts to $87 billion; expected tax revenues – $46 billion. “The rest,” the British champion of uncompromising struggle against Russia concludes, “must be filled by foreign aid or borrowing.”

To a large extent, this Western financial support has been forthcoming. According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which tracks these funds systematically, between January 2022 and April of this year, the West as a whole had funded Ukraine to the tune of €176 billion in already allocated aid. In addition, there is €100 billion in commitments that has not yet been allocated. It is true that some aid figures are politically inflated. The recent US package of $61 billion, for instance, really only amounts to $31.5 billion that is actually going to Ukraine; the rest is, in essence, a gift to America’s own Department of Defense. Yet there can be no doubt that, without Western funding, Kiev would have to stop the war and many ordinary peace-time state operations as well.

Against this backdrop, it would seem that Ukraine’s Western donors should have an extraordinary degree of leverage over the Zelensky regime. But things are more complicated, as a recent ouster has shown. On June 10, Mustafa Nayyem resigned from his position as head of Ukraine’s State Agency for Reconstruction and Infrastructure Development. The Reconstruction Agency, which has grown out of the country’s bureaucracy for maintaining roads, highways, and bridges, has a broad remit. With a budget worth $2.5 billion of foreign aid, its tasks now also include, for instance, the maintenance and repair of water supply systems, the building of military fortifications and protections to shield energy structures from Russian aerial attacks.

Clearly, this is an important office. As it happens, Nayyem resigned on the eve of an important meeting in Berlin about precisely the issue of reconstruction, bringing together Western supporters and Ukrainian representatives, led by Vladimir Zelensky himself. Nayyem was expected to attend as part of the large Ukrainian delegation but was barred at the last minute by order of Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal, clearly acting on Zelensky’s behest. That was an extremely unusual and humiliating move. Nayyem really had no choice but to quit.

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FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Russian and Ukrainian delegations before a round of peace talks in Istanbul, Turkiye, on March 29, 2022.
NYT publishes alleged draft of failed Russia-Ukraine peace deal
]]> He made no secret that he felt pushed out. In a long Facebook post, reproduced on the semi-oppositional Ukrainian news site Strana.ua, he complained that his agency had been, in essence, sabotaged for at least half a year: its operating budget severely cut, its work routinely crippled by bureaucratic chicanery, and its personnel disincentivized by massive wage cuts. For the future, he warned that long-standing attempts to “persecute and discredit” his team and himself might intensify.

And at the root of all of this? Nayyem, unsurprisingly did not name names, but observers in and outside Ukraine agree that he had run afoul of Ukraine’s presidential administration, its head Andrey Yermak, Zelensky himself, and Shmigal, too. There seem to be three reasons for their drive to get rid of Nayyem: First, while not averse to being paid very well, he is a former investigative journalist with a record of resisting corruption: He has insisted on transparency and accountability in his agency, going so far as to help Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau nail two members of Ukraine’s parliament trying to offer bribes for contracts. Second, he has excellent contacts with representatives of Western governments, about which more below. And third, Nayyem is closely linked to the former minister and vice prime minister Aleksandr Kubrakov. Kubrakov, whose portfolio also included infrastructure and development, was ousted in May, and, again, like Nayyem, combined intense contacts with Westerners and a lack of connections to Zelensky’s core team. In his case as well, it is obvious that the latter initiated his downfall.

One factor that deserves special mention is that Nayyem’s now former area of activity – reconstruction – has two sides: wartime and postwar. There is a general consensus that postwar reconstruction will require enormous financial efforts: The World Bank estimates a cost of almost $500 billion, as of now. While the figure reflects horrendous destruction, for some, in and outside Ukraine, it signals fortunes to be made, legally and especially illegally. Insofar as Nayyem is no “team player” when it comes to taking one’s cut – and letting others take theirs – his place in Ukrainian (and Western) politics was always anomalous; and he certainly could not be allowed to stay so close to a portfolio so rich with future enrichment opportunities.

First Kubrakov, then Nayyem; and before the two, the former commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s military, General Valery Zaluzhny. That makes three high-ranking Ukrainian officials favored by the West yet removed by the Zelensky regime. Even when Nayyem had not yet been added to the list, the Financial Times – clearly often used to send unofficial and critical signals to Kiev – was warning that Zelensky’s “little explained removal of top government and military officials,” with whom the US and EU liked to work was causing concern about his “disruptive and inexplicable moves.”

And yet, those warnings have obviously been in vain. After Nayyem’s forced departure, what Ukrainian insiders explain as a purge of anyone in Kiev with their own links to Western backers has triggered another, even more explicit admonition in the FT. Under the headline Ukraine’s top reconstruction official quits in new blow for Zelenskyy,” readers – including in Kiev – learn that “Nayyem’s departure is the latest in a series of personnel changes in Kyiv that have shaken the confidence of western partners” in the Zelensky regime. Richly endowed with strategically leaked information, the FT delivers details about how exactly Shmigal snubbed Nayyem and, more importantly, about recordings made at an earlier meeting between the latter and “two dozen representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other western agencies” at which Nayyem warned them that he would be fired soon.

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FILE PHOTO: Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar.
EU state pours cold water on Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’
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On that occasion, Nayyem’s assurances that his agency’s work would nonetheless remain on track was met with skepticism by several Westerners. An American representative underlined that working with Nayyem’s team was “probably our most important partnership.” After Kubrakov’s dismissal in May, Western diplomats in Kiev launched, it is now revealed, a “coordinated display of support for Kubrakov and the western frustrations over Zelenskyy’s government.” On May 13, a meeting between several of them and Prime Minister Shmigal deteriorated into “a heated discussion” about both the removal of Kubrakov and the freezing-out of Nayyem.

While the FT has fired the loudest new warning shot at the Zelensky regime, other major Western publications have done their bit as well: Bloomberg, The Economist, The New York Times, for instance, all have come out with articles lamenting Nayyem’s ouster and deploring “infighting” in Ukraine, “growing concerns” among its Western donors, and, last but not least “awkward timing.” If anyone in Kiev was still in doubt about Nayyem’s Western backing, the disproportionate response to his removal should take care of those.

Yet, here is the crucial question: What difference does it all make? As of now at least, none at all. It is almost as if the media brouhaha is compensation for the fact that, in reality, the Zelensky regime is getting away with not giving a damn about all the Western tut-tutting. The Berlin meeting was all smiles, and the G7 is moving ahead with a scheme to “lend” Ukraine another $50 billion. “Lend” in quotation marks, because the money will be paid back from interests accrued on Russian sovereign assets frozen in the West.

It is, of course, possible that funding for Ukraine will decline in the future. But if so, then that will have to do with factors such as the rise of the far right in EU politics or Donald Trump winning the US presidency again, which, according to The Economist, he currently has a two in three chance of doing. Ukraine’s corruption will not make a difference, and neither will Western protests when their favorites get chopped down. Zelensky and his team know this. They understand the obvious: that their true value for the West is to keep offering their country and its people as resources in a proxy war driven by geopolitics, and that the West itself does not have an exit strategy. That is their leverage, the typical leverage of the proxy regime, when its foreign sponsors have gotten in too deep.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 18:49:02 +0000 RT
NYT publishes alleged draft of failed Russia-Ukraine peace deal /news/599353-draft-russia-ukraine-peace-nyt/ The New York Times has released what it claims are several versions of a draft peace treaty discussed by Russia and Ukraine in 2022
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The American media outlet has released what it claims are the terms discussed by Moscow and Kiev in 2022

The New York Times published several documents on Saturday that it claims are draft versions of a peace deal negotiated in Istanbul by Moscow and Kiev, in the first months of the Ukraine conflict. According to the outlet, the US and Poland were “alarmed” by the proposals, fearing they would lead to the “disarmament” of Ukraine.

The American daily published three documents. One, dated March 17, 2022, is claimed to be a draft treaty text proposed by the Ukrainian side. The English-language version supposedly obtained by the NYT was allegedly provided by Kiev to its Western backers.

Under the document terms, Ukraine agreed to a status of “permanent neutrality” in exchange for security guarantees from the US, UK, France, Russia, and China. It also supposedly vowed to not join any military blocs and terminate any agreements incompatible with its neutral status.

Kiev also was to recognize Crimea as Russian and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as independent states, as well as restore the infrastructure destroyed in the region by its forces between 2014 and 2022. The document also set limits to the amount of heavy military equipment Ukraine could have, although Russia said that it did not in fact “provide for reduction in Armed Forces,” according to the outlet.

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Talks between Russian and Ukrainian representatives in Istanbul in April 2022.
Details of failed Russia-Ukraine peace deal ‘revealed’ – WSJ
]]> The document published by NYT is also riddled with critical notes from both sides calling certain provisions or wordings “unacceptable.” The annotations reportedly do not show either Ukrainian opposition to the idea of recognizing Crimea as part of Russia or to formally granting independence to the Donbass republics.

According to the NYT, the draft agreement did not sit well with US officials. At a meeting with their Ukrainian counterparts, the Americans called it “unilateral disarmament,” an unnamed senior official told the paper. Poland was also reportedly alarmed and wanted to prevent the deal from being done. The nation’s president, Andrzej Duda, met with NATO leaders in March to that end, the NYT claimed.

The second document, dated to late March, was allegedly an internal joint communique, which expanded the list of security guarantors for Ukraine and added that the status of Crimea was to be determined by Moscow and Kiev during a period of 10 to 15 years.

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RT
Russia is making another real peace proposal today – Putin
]]> The third document in the cache published by the NYT is reportedly a draft treaty agreement dated April 15, 2022. Under its provisions, Ukraine was still to become a permanently neutral nation in exchange for security guarantees, but was allowed to join the EU and participate in its “peacekeeping missions.” The decision on the status of Crimea was to be postponed.

Kiev, according to the notes, refused to discuss sanctions on Russia and mutual legal claims filed with various international bodies. It also refused to consider issues related to the status of the Russian language inside Ukraine or banning Nazi and neo-Nazi propaganda, according to the document.

Moscow allegedly demanded any future military assistance to Ukraine be provided only on the basis of a collective decision by all security guarantors. This demand turned out to be the biggest problem for Kiev, the NYT claimed, adding that the parties also failed to agree on the range of weapons Ukraine would have been allowed to have.

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RT
Zelensky conference not about peace – Kremlin
]]> Some members of the Ukrainian delegation at the talks still believed they were very close to striking a deal. “We managed to find a very real compromise,” Aleksandr Chaly, one of the Ukrainian negotiators said last December. “We were very close in the middle of April, in the end of April, to finalize our war with some peaceful settlement.”

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin also said that the two sides had managed to reach an agreement that “was generally acceptable to both Moscow and Kiev.” A draft treaty was drawn up that was initialed by the head of the Ukrainian delegation, the president said. “That means that Kiev… was satisfied with such a solution.”

Moscow has not yet officially commented on the authenticity of the documents, which the NYT says were confirmed by unnamed participants at the talks. The two sides have not sat at the negotiating table since spring 2022, when Kiev backed out of the discussions.

Ukraine’s top negotiator in Istanbul, David Arakhamia, stated last November that then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kiev specifically to persuade Vladimir Zelensky to withdraw from the talks.

Russia has since repeatedly signaled its readiness for dialogue, while accusing Kiev and its Western backers of refusing to engage in diplomacy.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 17:59:50 +0000 RT
US fears being dragged into another war – CBS /news/599352-us-fears-wider-israel-war/ Escalating rocket attacks between Israel and Hezbollah have reportedly stoked US fears of being drawn into a wider war
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The Biden administration is reportedly fretting that escalating salvos between Israel and Hezbollah could trigger a wider conflict

An uptick in attacks between Israel and Hezbollah has reportedly spurred fears in the administration of US President Joe Biden that Washington could be drawn into a broader Middle East war.

US officials are “increasingly concerned” over the possibility of the Israel-Hamas war spiraling into a larger conflict involving Hezbollah and American troops, CBS News reported on Saturday. Exchanges of rocket barrages this week across the Israeli-Lebanese border have raised the risks of not only a larger war, but also of attacks by Iranian-backed militias on American military forces in Syria, Jordan and Iraq, the outlet said.

Like Hamas, which has been fighting a war with Israel since last October, Hezbollah is supported by Iran. Amos Hochstein, a diplomatic adviser to Biden, is scheduled to travel to Israel on Monday to work on “de-escalating the conflict,” CBS said.

]]> READ MORE: Israeli president threatens war on Hezbollah

]]> Unidentified US officials who spoke to the outlet pointed to several troubling scenarios, including the possibility that deeper strikes into Lebanon by West Jerusalem could signal preparations for a major assault by the Israeli military. The Biden administration also fears that the rising volume of Hezbollah rocket attacks could provoke Israel to respond in a way that results in an “unintended war,” according to the CBS sources.

These officials are increasingly concerned that Israel will start a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon that it cannot finish without American support.”

Washington views the Israeli-Hezbollah tensions and efforts to broker a ceasefire in the war with Hamas as “intertwined.” Any ceasefire agreement will require “specific arrangements” on the Israel-Hezbollah tensions, a senior US official told reporters on Thursday in Italy.

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FILE PHOTO: Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Biden’s Gaza ceasefire push is a road to fatal escalation
]]> “The most important thing about the hostage release and ceasefire deal that’s on the table now is that if it’s achieved, it can have an impact in the north [of Israel], so that is an opportunity for us to be able to bring this conflict to a full close,” the official said.

Such an agreement would enable residents who were evacuated from northern Israel after the war with Hamas began to return to their homes under security guarantees. Tensions with Hezbollah have become a “potent political issue” within Israel because residents near the Lebanese border have been displaced for more than eight months.

Israeli brigades in the north have been conducting training exercises, but they are not yet in position to launch an attack, a US official told CBS. “Unlike the surprise attack by Hamas in October, a possible war with Hezbollah in Lebanon is something the Israeli military has been gaming out for years,” the outlet said.

 

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 17:59:18 +0000 RT
EU state pours cold water on Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ /news/599351-slovakia-ukraine-peace-summit-unlikely/ The Ukraine ‘peace summit’ won’t put an end to the conflict because Russia and China are not present, the Slovak foreign minister has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The gathering in Switzerland won’t put an end to the Ukraine conflict, because Russia and China are absent, the Slovak FM has said

The Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’ is unlikely to produce any substantial results because several major powerbrokers, including Russia, have not sent delegations to the event, Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar has said. 

In a Facebook post on Friday, Blanar, who is representing his country at the June 15-16 conference due to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico's inability to attend as he is recovering following an assassination attempt last month, cast doubt on the conference.

The much-touted event is expected to revolve around several points of Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’, including prisoner exchanges and nuclear and food security. The plan, which also includes a demand that Russia withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev, has been dismissed by Moscow as detached from reality. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the conference as a Western trick to create the illusion of a global anti-Russian coalition and distract attention from the root causes of the conflict.

While stressing that Slovakia has consistently supported all peace initiatives aimed at ending the conflict, Blanar said he “does not expect the conference to bring a definite conclusion, because the Russian Federation will be absent, as well as other global players, such as China.”

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RT
Zelensky conference not about peace – Kremlin
]]> Slovakia believes that hostilities can only be settled diplomatically, he added. 

Moscow has claimed that the main goal of the summit is to impose an “ultimatum” on Russia. 

China also decided against sending a delegation, saying the event lacks “three important elements” – recognition by both Moscow and Kiev, equal participation of all sides, and a fair discussion of all peace proposals. 

China has also put forward its own peace plan, which was praised by Moscow. It calls for “respecting the sovereignty of all countries” and “abandoning Cold War mentality.”

On Friday, Putin unveiled a new proposal to resolve the conflict with Ukraine. Putin declared that Moscow would begin talks as soon as Kiev withdraws its troops from Russia’s Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye Regions. Ukraine must also commit to neutrality, “denazification,” and “demilitarization,” he said, adding that this deal should lead to the lifting of Western sanctions against Russia. Both Kiev and NATO have rejected the proposal.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 17:37:05 +0000 RT
Russian flags spotted at Euro 2024 football match /news/599349-russian-flags-euro-football/ Two Russian flags were displayed during the Germany vs. Scotland match at Euro 2024, according to the broadcast
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
One banner bore the inscription ‘Belgorod’, a city often targeted by Ukrainian artillery attacks

Russian flags were displayed at the opening match of the European football championships between Germany and Scotland on Friday, according to footage from the stadium.

Russia was banned from UEFA and FIFA events in light of the Ukraine conflict, and thus misses Euro 2024, which is taking place between June 14 and July 14. The German and Scottish national teams faced off at the Munich Football Arena on Friday, with the hosts winning 5-1.

Stadium rules do not explicitly ban Russian or other national flags, with restrictions applying only to materials with a “discriminatory, racist... or politically radical” message, or those that “glorify violence” or contain “political propaganda.” However, Russian flags are not welcome in some designated fan zones as part of the tournament.

For instance, Berlin authorities earlier signaled that only the national flags of countries participating in Euro 2024 would be allowed in certain areas, while asking attendees to “leave all other flags at home” and arguing that the championship is not the place for other types of demonstrations, according to the newspaper Berliner Morgenpost.

According to footage of Friday’s tournament opener, at least two Russian flags made it into the arena. The tricolors can be seen near the end of the first half in the first row, as Germany’s Kai Havertz scored a penalty against Scotland.

One of the flags bore the inscription “Belgorod,” the Russian city near the border with Ukraine that has regularly come under deadly artillery and drone strikes carried out by Kiev’s forces.

]]> READ MORE: Ukrainian army recruiters ‘abduct’ pro footballer – club

]]> While it is unclear exactly who brought the flags to the game and how they were unfurled, it is worth noting that the Russian flag closely resembles the Serbian tricolor, which is allowed in all fan zones.

In May, Berlin police decided to ban Russian flags and other symbols associated with the country during Victory Day festivities commemorating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, citing the Ukraine conflict. The move outraged Moscow, which called it “discriminatory” and a violation of the principle of “historical reconciliation” between the two nations.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 16:03:49 +0000 RT
Pope warns of AI dangers /news/599346-pope-francis-ai-g7/ There is no hope for humanity if it starts depending on choices made by the AI, Pope Francis has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
There is no hope for humanity if it starts depending on choices made by machines, the Pontiff has said

Pope Francis, who on Friday became the first ever head of the Catholic Church to address a G7 summit, has warned of the challenges the rapid development of artificial intelligence poses for mankind.

AI is an “exciting and fearsome tool” that needs strict human oversight, the Pontiff told the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the US, and the EU during a gathering at the Borgo Egnazia resort in the Italian city of Fasano on Friday.

The algorithms “can only examine realities formalized in numerical terms,” while humans who have wisdom and can listen to Sacred Scripture “not only choose, but in their hearts are capable of deciding,” he said.

It is paramount “that decision-making, even when we are confronted with its sometimes dramatic and urgent aspects, must always be left to the human person,” Pope Francis insisted.

“We would condemn humanity to a future without hope if we took away people’s ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives, by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines,” he said.

The Pope urged a creation of “space for proper human control over the choices made by artificial intelligence programs,” stressing that “human dignity itself depends on it.”

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RT
Musk drops case against OpenAI – reports
]]> He specifically called upon the G7 leaders to outlaw the use of lethal autonomous weapon systems, arguing that “no machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being.”

According to Francis, an algorithm is “neither objective nor neutral” as it is always shaped by “the worldview of those who invented and developed it.” In the modern world where it is “increasingly difficult to find agreement on the major issues concerning social life,” a set of “global and pluralistic” principles for the development of AI should be created that would gain “support from cultures, religions, international organizations and major corporations,” he said. The Pontiff called such an approach “algor-ethics.”

The Pope acknowledged that AI algorithms can make access to knowledge easier, provide for the exponential advancement of scientific research, and reduce the amount of hard physical labor done by people. But in order for them to become “instruments for building up the good and a better tomorrow, they must always be aimed at the good of every human being,” he added.

“It is up to everyone to make good use of [AI], but the onus is on politics to create the conditions for such good use to be possible and fruitful,” the head of the Catholic Church stressed.

]]> READ MORE: ChatGPT maker ignoring fatal threat posed by AI – insider

]]> Francis has long been concerned by artificial intelligence, with the church’s Pontifical Academy for Life being among one of the first signatories of the 2020 Rome Call for AI Ethics, which urged transparency, inclusion, accountability, impartiality, reliability and privacy in developing AI algorithms.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 13:59:45 +0000 RT
Jeffrey Sachs blames US ‘irresponsibility’ for Ukraine crisis /news/599344-jeffrey-sachs-us-irresponsibility-ukraine/ The Ukraine conflict was caused by Western “arrogance” and reckless NATO expansion, economist Jeffrey Sachs has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The bloodshed was caused by long-standing Western “arrogance” and NATO expansion, the economist has said

The West could have easily prevented the catastrophic Ukraine conflict, which had been brewing for many years, by abandoning its many escalatory policies including NATO expansion, according to Jeffrey Sachs, the president of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

In an interview with Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi on Saturday, Sachs, a prominent expert on post-Soviet economies who served for more than a decade as Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General, claimed that the Ukraine conflict represented the “utter failure” of US diplomacy.

He said that G7 countries, particularly the US, “grew into a lot of arrogance,” in believing that they could do whatever they wanted. This approach, Sachs argued, has drawn the world into three major geopolitical crises, including the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts, while fueling Sino-US tensions over Taiwan.

”The US is… an irresponsible actor in all three of those events. When it comes to Ukraine, the irresponsibility is that this war could have been easily avoided… by NATO by declaring clearly [that it] will not expand into Ukraine,” he said.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with the leadership of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia.
Ukraine peace terms, Europe’s biggest threat, Zelensky’s fate: Putin outlines Moscow’s foreign policy goals
]]> He also chided Western politicians and media for claiming that the Russian military operation in Ukraine was “unprovoked.” Sachs recalled that it had been preceded by numerous “provocations,” including several waves of NATO expansion, the Western-backed coup in Kiev, and the West’s failure to pressure Ukraine to implement the Minsk agreements. The now-defunct deal sought to end the bloodshed in the two Donbass republics by giving them a special status within the Ukrainian state.

The economist also suggested that the West could have easily ended the conflict early on, as Moscow and Kiev had largely worked out a preliminary peace deal during talks in Türkiye, which revolved around Ukraine’s neutrality. However, according to Sachs, then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson “swooped in” and advised Kiev against the agreement, a claim denied by Johnson.

“This was a terrible piece of advice… and a dreadful, awful miscalculation,” Sachs said, adding that it had resulted in hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian deaths.

He alleged that the US wants Kiev to “fight to the last Ukrainian” instead of helping to negotiate “the basic point” of Ukraine’s neutrality. “This isn’t rocket science… Leave a little space in-between the major powers.”

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would begin peace talks with Ukraine once it withdraws its troops from the Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. The final agreement, he said, must include Ukraine’s neutrality, “denazification” and “demilitarization,” as well as the lifting of Western sanctions against Moscow.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 12:48:57 +0000 RT
UK delays new army cap badges over China spying fears – FT /news/599339-uk-army-badges-china-spying/ The British army has reportedly postponed mandatory changes to cap badges over fears the new ones could carry Chinese tracking devices
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The insignia needs to be redesigned following the accession of King Charles III

The British army has postponed mandatory changes to cap badges over fears the new insignia could carry Chinese tracking devices, as the company contracted to make them works with factories in China, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing sources.

The outfits of some UK military regiments include headdresses featuring a badge with a royal crest, complete with a crown or the current monarch’s initials. It is a tradition to redesign the badges when a new sovereign comes to power. The change became necessary upon the accession to the throne of King Charles III, and his choice of the Tudor Crown for his cipher instead of the St. Edward’s Crown favored by his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II.

According to FT, the standard procedure of switching the badges came to a standstill when it became known that the Yorkshire-based company contracted to make the new insignia, Wyedean Weaving, uses factories in China for some of its manufacturing needs. According to a senior UK defense official who spoke to the news outlet, “there is a fear that tracking devices or a GPS transmitter could be embedded in the cap badges.”

“The result is a delay in the introduction of the cap badges as the UK does not have the capacity to manufacture them as quickly or as cheaply,” the official stated.

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FILE PHOTO.
Why you should believe China’s spying accusations against the UK
]]> Asked to comment on the report, the UK Defense Ministry said, “the procurement of new cap badges will happen once their requirements are finalized,” without elaborating on the spying fears. The Chinese Embassy in London did not respond to a request for comment, FT reported.

Susannah Walbank, Wyedean’s systems director, confirmed that the company has been working with China, but did not comment on the spying fears.

“China is part of our supply chains, we have been there for 15 years, have long-standing relationships, and there has never been any concern,” she stated, noting that the new cap badges would be made “in a mix of places, including China,” and that her company was waiting for final approval from the British authorities to begin manufacturing.

Last month, several UK lawmakers pointed at Beijing when the payroll system of the armed forces was targeted in a data hack. In March, London formally accused Chinese “state-affiliated actors” of being behind cyberattacks on the UK Electoral Commission in 2021-22.

]]> READ MORE: Hong Kong lashes out at UK over ‘spy’ claims

]]> Similar incidents in the past prompted the UK to ban the installation of new equipment made by Chinese tech firm Huawei in local 5G networks in 2021. China has repeatedly denied the spying accusations.15:44

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 12:28:02 +0000 RT
Pentagon ran secret disinfo campaign against Covid vaccine – Reuters /news/599340-china-us-vaccine-philippines/ Hundreds of Pentagon-linked fake social media accounts were reportedly used to spread fear about the Chinese vaccine in Asia
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Hundreds of fake social media accounts linked to the US military were reportedly used to spread fear about the Chinese jab in Asia

The US military staged an undercover social media campaign at the height of the pandemic to smear the Chinese Covid vaccine, Reuters has reported.

The Pentagon’s campaign to disparage the Chinese vaccine ran between the spring of 2020 and mid-2021, focusing on the Philippines before spreading to other parts of Asia and the Middle East, the agency claimed in an article on Friday.

It relied on fake social media accounts impersonating Filipino users to disseminate claims that China’s Sinovac vaccine, as well test kits and face masks produced by the country, was of poor quality.

Sinovac, which began being rolled out in March 2021, became the first jab available to the Philippines during the pandemic.

“COVID came from China and the VACCINE also came from China, don’t trust China!” a typical post as part of the campaign, which centered on the #ChinaAngVirus (China is the virus) slogan, read, according to Reuters. Another commonly encountered post claimed: “From China – PPE, Face Mask, Vaccine: FAKE. But the Coronavirus is real.” 

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FILE PHOTO: Lin Jian, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, speaks to journalists at his agency's daily briefing.
US using Ukraine conflict as pretext for sanctions – China
]]> Furthermore, the Pentagon tried to convey to Muslim users in Asia and the Middle East that due to the fact that vaccines sometimes contain pork gelatin, China’s jab should be forbidden under Islamic law, the report read.

Reuters said that its investigation found at least 300 accounts on Twitter, which had since been re-branded as X, that matched the descriptions provided by the former US military officials who told journalists about the campaign.

The agency said that it had contacted X about the accounts and that the Elon Musk-owned platform had determined – based on activity patterns and internal data – that the profiles in question were part of a coordinated bot campaign. The accounts have been deleted, it added.

A senior US Defense Department official confirmed to Reuters that a clandestine social media campaign against Sinovac did take place, but declined to reveal further details.

A Pentagon spokesperson told the agency that the US military “uses a variety of platforms, including social media, to counter those malign influence attacks aimed at the US, allies, and partners.” Beijing was the one to start a “disinformation campaign to falsely blame the US for the spread of COVID-19,” she claimed.

]]> READ MORE: US aiming to put nuclear pressure on Russia and China – media

]]> The Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed in an e-mailed response that Beijing has long maintained that the US government manipulates social media and spreads disinformation.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 11:26:34 +0000 RT
Putin’s peace offer ‘not serious’ – Scholz /news/599338-putin-ukraine-peace-not-serious-scholz/ Scholz has dismissed Putin’s proposal to end the Ukraine conflict, claiming it is a distraction from the ‘peace summit’ in Switzerland
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Russian president said that Moscow would open talks as soon as Kiev withdraws its troops from Donbass and two other regions

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new proposal to achieve a lasting peace between Moscow and Kiev, branding the overture a ploy to distract the global community from the Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace summit.’

Speaking to the country’s top diplomats on Friday, Putin signaled that Russia “will order a ceasefire and start negotiations” as soon as Kiev completely withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.

The four regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in referendums in the fall of 2022. Neither the West nor Kiev recognized the votes.

Other conditions for a lasting peace, according to Putin, include Ukraine’s neutral status, a pledge not to seek to acquire nuclear weapons, “demilitarization” and “denazification,” and respect for the rights of the Russian-speaking population. All of those points should be fundamentally recognized at the international level, followed by the removal of Western sanctions against Russia, the president said.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with the leadership of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia.
Russia was ready to withdraw from southern Ukraine – Putin
]]> However, in an interview with the broadcaster ZDF on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy on Saturday, Scholz stated that “everyone knows that it is not a serious proposal,” suggesting that “it has something to do with the peace conference taking place in Switzerland.” He also claimed that the initiative revealed that Putin was after “the classic, realistic conquest of land.” 

In similar remarks, the proposal was dismissed by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, who branded it “nothing different than other ultimatums that he has made before.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also claimed that “this is not a proposal made in good faith,” adding that it would require Kiev to “give up significantly more land” than Russia currently controls.

Putin’s new peace overture comes ahead of the Swiss-hosted conference on Ukraine this weekend. The event is expected to revolve around Zelensky’s ten-point ‘peace formula,’ which demands that Russia, among other things, withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev. Moscow has rejected the initiative as detached from reality.

According to Zelensky, the ‘peace summit’ will focus only on three points of Kiev’s plan: prisoner exchanges, and nuclear and food security. Putin has dismissed the conference as a Western trick to create the illusion of a global anti-Russian coalition, distract attention from the roots of the conflict, and boost Zelensky’s claim to legitimacy after his presidential term expired last month.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 09:56:29 +0000 RT
EU divided on new sanctions against Russia – Reuters /news/599328-germany-derails-eu-sanctions/ Germany opposes some of the proposed sanctions on Russia, Reuters reports
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Berlin reportedly fears that German companies could be flagged as vehicles used for bypassing the restrictions

The EU has failed to agree on a new round of sanctions against Russia due to Germany’s opposition to the proposed plan to punish companies doing business with Moscow, Reuters reported on Friday night, citing EU diplomats.

According to Reuters, bloc members were scheduled to discuss the sanctions on Friday evening, but the issue was “withdrawn from the meeting agenda at the last moment.”

The restrictions would have included a ban on the transit of Russian liquefied natural gas and a plan to crack down on sanctions evasion by holding EU operators liable for violations by subsidiaries and partners in third countries.

According to Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Berlin fears that German companies could be hit by the proposed regulations and wants to limit the responsibility of subsidiaries to certain goods or remove it altogether. 

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RT
G7 demands $486 billion from Russia
]]> EU members reportedly hoped to approve the sanctions before the Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland, which is planned for June 15-16, where delegates from around 90 countries are expected.  Russia, as well as China and Saudi Arabia, will not be attending, as Moscow has argued that the West would use the event to “dictate an ultimatum.” 

The EU has to date blacklisted more than 2,100 entities and individuals in response to Russia’s military operation. The US imposed a new round of restrictions this week, targeting the Moscow Stock Exchange (MOEX) and major banks, as well as the country’s IT sector.

The sanctions prompted MOEX to suspend trading in US dollars and euros on Thursday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, however, that the Russian central bank is fully “capable of ensuring the stability of all markets.” 

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 02:37:32 +0000 RT
US Supreme Court overturns gun control rule /news/599326-supreme-court-gun-rule/ The Trump-era bump stock ban exceeded the government’s authority and would have to be enacted by Congress, six of the nine justices said
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So-called bump stocks don’t make rifles into machineguns, the justices have said

Only Congress has the authority to expand the machine gun ban to ‘bump stock’ devices, the US Supreme Court ruled on Friday, in a gun rights case technically about bureaucratic overreach.

Bump stocks are an add-on to rifles that allows the shooter to pull the trigger faster and more easily. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) outlawed them in 2018, arguing that they de facto turn rifles into machineguns, which have been restricted since 1934.

“We hold that a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock is not a ‘machine gun’ because it cannot fire more than one shot ‘by a single function of the trigger,’” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion.

Six justices appointed by Republican presidents sided with the plaintiff, Texas gun shop owner Michael Cargill, over the Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who were defending the ATF action. The three Democrat-appointed justices dissented.

“The horrible shooting spree in Las Vegas in 2017 did not change the statutory text or its meaning,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a concurring opinion. “There is a simple remedy for the disparate treatment of bump stocks and machine guns. Congress can amend the law.”

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FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden
‘We are so proud’: Bidens react to Hunter verdict
]]> Justice Sonia Sotomayor challenged the majority opinion’s detailed explanation of how firearms and bump stocks work to argue that the ruling “will have deadly consequences.” 

“When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck,” she read from the bench, in the dissenting opinion joined by Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, condemned the Supreme Court’s decision, as did gun control groups. The New Civil Liberties Alliance, which represented Cargill, applauded the ruling and pointed out that the Constitution has granted legislative powers to Congress, not federal agencies.

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution, dating back to the 18th century, guarantees Americans “the right to keep and bear arms.” The federal government has since repeatedly sought to limit that right.

Citing the crime sprees of mobsters like Al Capone, the National Firearms Act of 1934 outlawed machine guns, defined as anything that could shoot “automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” The Gun Control Act of 1968 expanded that definition to include parts that could convert a firearm into a machine gun. 

In October 2017, 58 people were killed and over 850 wounded in a Las Vegas shooting spree. The authorities said that the perpetrator, a gambler by the name of Stephen Paddock, used bump stocks to fire hundreds of rounds from a dozen rifles he brought to his hotel room. Paddock’s motives were never discovered, as he died by suicide, according to the FBI.

President Donald Trump’s administration moved to ban bump stocks in March 2018, in response to outrage over the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida the month before. Although the gunman who killed 17 classmates did not use a bump stock, Trump found himself under pressure to “do something” by Democrats and the media.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 21:53:42 +0000 RT
‘We must go after everything Russian’ – UK’s Cameron /news/599324-cameron-russia-sanctions-everything/ British foreign minister David Cameron has vowed to sanction “everything” connected with the Russian economy in order to back Ukraine
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The British foreign minister has global sanctions ambitions

The West must show Moscow that it stands “completely” behind Ukraine by sanctioning everything Russian, Britain’s foreign secretary David Cameron has said.

Cameron spoke at a press conference in London as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government announced new sanctions against Russia. His remarks were published on Friday, by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

“We will show [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that we are completely behind Ukraine: we will chase the money and the oil, we will stop the gas, we will stop the ships, we will do everything we can to stop the Russian war machine and show Putin the folly of his actions,” Cameron told the Italian outlet

The UK is “hunting” companies that do business with Russia “all over the world,” he said. “We will sanction companies in China, in Türkiye, in Kyrgyzstan, even in Israel, that we believe are supplying dual-use material” to Russia, he added.

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RT
Do the new US sanctions mark Russia’s final divorce from the dollar?
]]> Of special concern to Cameron was the so-called shadow fleet of tankers delivering Russian oil in defiance of the G7 “price cap” and the Western embargo. The UK has used its dominance in the global shipping insurance industry to blacklist all Russian vessels, hindering the deliveries of everything from oil to food – but blaming Moscow for it. 

Faced with Ukrainian setbacks on the battlefield, the US and the UK launched another wave of sanctions against Russia this week, expanding their definition of Moscow’s war effort to target individuals and companies around the world allegedly helping it.

The US Treasury Department openly stated that its objective was to raise “the risk of secondary sanctions for foreign financial institutions” that deal with Russia, threatening to deprive them of access to Western finance.

China has responded by condemning “illegal unilateral sanctions” and vowing to protect its citizens and companies from American “abuse.” Beijing also denounced Washington for fueling the Ukraine conflict by sending weapons and ammunition to Kiev.

The US “has totally undermined trust in the dollar as a global reserve currency by imposing illegal sanctions” against Russian banks, said the chairman of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin. “The dollar has become toxic,” he added, predicting that the sanctions will result in more and more countries moving away from US securities.

Cameron was prime minister from 2010-2016 but resigned after UK voters surprisingly voted to leave the EU. He returned to the government in November 2023 as Sunak’s foreign secretary. The UK is headed for a general election in July, which the ruling Conservatives are widely expected to lose.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 20:07:15 +0000 RT
G7 demands $486 billion from Russia /news/599304-russia-ukraine-conflict-g7/ Moscow should end the Ukraine conflict and pay $486 billion in reparations to Kiev, the Group of Seven has declared
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Moscow owes billions of dollars in damages to Kiev, according to a joint statement by the Group of Seven nations

The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations have demanded that Russia pay $486 billion to Ukraine in damage allegedly inflicted by the ongoing conflict, according to a joint statement issued on Friday.

The US and its G7 allies – the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan – indicated that Russian assets will remain frozen until Moscow ends the conflict and pays compensation. The West has frozen roughly $300 billion in Russian sovereign funds since the start of the Ukraine conflict.

“Russia must end its illegal war of aggression and pay for the damage it has caused to Ukraine. These damages now exceed $486 billion, according to the World Bank,” the G7 statement, published by the White House, reads.

The group declared that “with a view to supporting Ukraine’s current and future needs in the face of a prolonged defense against Russia,” the G7 will launch ‘Extraordinary Revenue Acceleration (ERA) Loans’ for Kiev. This will make available “approximately $50 billion in additional funding to Ukraine by the end of the year,” it said.

The G7 said it intends to provide financing that will be serviced and repaid by future flows of “extraordinary revenues stemming from the immobilization of Russian Sovereign Assets” held in the European Union and other relevant jurisdictions.

“To enable this, we will work to obtain approval in these jurisdictions to use future flows of these extraordinary revenues to service and repay the loans,” the statement reads.

The G7 intends to disburse the financing through multiple channels that direct the funds to Ukraine’s military, budget, and to its reconstruction needs, it added.

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RT
Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> The US has been pushing its allies to embrace a loan backed by income from the frozen Russian assets that could provide Ukraine with billions of dollars in near-term funding. Most of the frozen assets are being held in the EU. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said recently that the flow of windfall profits earned on the immobilized Russian assets amounts to around $3-$5 billion per year.

Russia has repeatedly stated that any actions taken against its assets would amount to “theft” and would violate international law. Moscow has warned it would respond in kind if the West went through with threats to confiscate Russian assets.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday outlined conditions for Ukraine peace talks, insisting that Ukraine should first of all remove its troops from Russia’s new regions. Putin also condemned Kiev’s Western backers for allegedly preventing it from holding peace talks with Moscow while also accusing Russia of rejecting negotiations. Accepting the terms would allow everyone involved to turn the page and gradually rebuild damaged relations, the Russian president said.

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has rejected Russia’s terms for ending the conflict, describing the peace conditions as an “ultimatum.”

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 20:02:36 +0000 RT
Biden’s Gaza ceasefire push is a road to fatal escalation /news/599288-us-encouraging-conflagration-gaza/ Despite public calls to end the war in the Middle East, in reality all Washington is doing is encouraging a greater conflagration
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Despite public calls to end the war in the Middle East, in reality all Washington is doing is encouraging a greater conflagration

US President Joe Biden’s ceasefire push has so far led to further violence in Gaza and threatens to spill over into a war with Lebanon. Washington is either asleep at the wheel or is willing to push the entire region off a cliff in order to avoid ditching its “unconditional support” for Israel.

The speech delivered by Joe Biden on May 31, in which he presented an Israeli ceasefire proposal, urging both Hamas and the Israeli government to accept it, provided a glimpse of hope that finally the US was putting its foot down. The US President gave what seemed to be a reasonable roadmap to secure a lasting cessation of hostilities in Gaza and a prisoner exchange.

The immediate Hamas response was to view the speech “positively,” while still maintaining that it required an Israeli withdrawal of its forces from Gaza and a complete end to the war, in order to agree to any proposal. On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stuck with his previous rhetoric about the need to destroy Hamas, was indicating that he was not going to agree to a ceasefire.

Netanyahu took things even further by asserting that Joe Biden’s description of the Israeli ceasefire proposal was not accurate,” also making it clear that there would be no ceasefire until his war goals were achieved. Giving legitimacy to the Israeli PM’s assertions was an article published in The Economist that revealed details of the proposal, in which it became clear that the three-phase ceasefire would be more difficult to conclude, beyond its first phase, than Biden had let on.

Although a series of articles have been released in the Western media, including a Reuters interview with an anonymous Biden administration official, portraying the president’s actions as a bold attempt to pressure Israel to agree to its own proposal, it appears that this move is failing. As the daily death toll rises in besieged Gaza, the Israeli government continues to declare its intention to destroy Hamas, the Palestinian Party that it is supposedly about to conclude a deal with. This as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is being sent on yet another Middle East trip to try and help conclude a ceasefire deal as the effort nears collapse.

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Boys watch smoke billowing during Israeli strikes east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 13, 2024.
Only one power could stop Israel’s Rafah invasion – but it dropped the ball
]]> Israel, meanwhile, continues to escalate its assault on the southernmost Gazan city of Rafah, while renewing incursions and aerial assaults throughout the strip. All of this flies in the face of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s recent ruling that ordered Israel to halt its military operation in Rafah. On top of this, the tit-for-tat battles that have been going on since October between Hezbollah and the Israeli military along the Lebanese border, have also escalated to what many consider to be a point of no return; making a new Israel-Lebanon war nearly inevitable.

All of this is very reminiscent of what happened before, when Hamas announced, on May 6, that it had agreed to a ceasefire proposal. The proposal was admitted to be almost identical to the one that was repeatedly lauded by Antony Blinken as a strong deal during his last visit to the region.

On that same day, the Israeli military immediately launched its long-threatened offensive in southern Gaza, seizing the Rafah Crossing between the Palestinian territory and Egypt. At that time, the Israeli PM reiterated what he had been consistently saying beforehand about pursuing the destruction of Hamas and his government decided to signal their refusal to agree to the ceasefire.

Again, with the US now bringing forward Israel’s own ceasefire proposal, the predicament does not seem to have changed much. Benjamin Netanyahu is in a difficult position domestically, after failing to achieve any of his war goals in Gaza, he faces the prospect of his governing coalition collapsing if he accepts a ceasefire agreement with nothing to show for eight months of war. The Israeli people also heavily favor re-occupying the strip, with 0% of Israeli Jews polled saying they would like to see Hamas continuing to govern the besieged coastal enclave after the war.

Therefore, Netanyahu knows the political repercussions for him and others in the Israeli ruling class if he accepts a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. However, he also knows that, despite US pressure on his government to bring the war in Gaza to an end, the American government has no teeth behind its forceful statements and will indefinitely continue its “unconditional support” for Israel.

Not only that, when the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, called for the issuance of arrest warrants for Netanyahu and his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, the US government threatened the court. US lawmakers immediately began to draft legislation to sanction the ICC. When the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its provisional rulings, as a result of the so-far successful South African genocide case against Israel, the US announced it disagreed with the conclusions.

Even though the US abstained from a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote that called on Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza until the end of Muslim Holy month of Ramadan, the Biden administration illogically called the resolution non-binding and gave the Israelis the greenlight to violate it. American lawmakers have even just drafted legislation to condition aid to the Maldives, after that nation made an independent decision to stop Israeli citizens from entering their country due to war crimes committed in Gaza. Now the UN has added Israel to its infamous blacklist for killing Palestinian children, and the US has implemented another double-standard in continuing to provide weapons to a nation added to this list.

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FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel’s immunity cracks: The Hague goes after Netanyahu
]]> Despite the mountains of reports of war crimes from international human rights groups, the decisions made by the UNSC, UN general assembly, the ICC and ICJ, the United States government works to protect the Israeli government at all costs. This has to be kept in mind when we look at the American approach to implementing “red lines” with their Israeli allies, which the Biden administration still cannot find the words to actually define. Even when it comes to the invasion of Rafah, which Washington openly said would be a “disaster,” it was simultaneously preparing another military aid package worth 14 billion dollars.

Understanding all of this, Benjamin Netanyahu was still invited to Washington to address the US Congress and faced with some pressure to conclude a deal. He can rest assured that the Americans will stand by his side no matter what he chooses to do. So, if you are Netanyahu, what incentive is there to stop the war at this point? The Biden administration is filled to the brim with empty and vacuous strategies, which have led to public calls for ending the war, while privately refusing to ever hold Israel accountable.

The big problem this time around is that the continuation of the war will not only mean an escalation of the horrors in Gaza, but is heading towards a massive conflagration with Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Unlike Hamas, Hezbollah possesses the missile capabilities to respond to Israeli airstrikes with devastating effect that could lead to the deaths of hundreds, even thousands, of Israelis. Under great domestic pressure to launch an assault on Lebanese territory, Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be closer to opening a catastrophic conflict with Lebanon, instead of concluding a ceasefire and prisoner exchange with Gaza. In his eyes, a war with Lebanon could even provide the perfect lethal distraction that would enable him to negotiate a ceasefire in Gaza, but at the expense of triggering a much larger and deadlier war.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 18:55:46 +0000 RT
NATO stumbles over 40 billion Ukraine plan /news/599311-ukraine-funding-stuck-stoltenberg/ The US-led bloc has not agreed on a long-term plan to fund Kiev’s war effort, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg has admitted
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The long-term funding of Kiev requires more work, Jens Stoltenberg has said

There is no agreement in NATO just yet regarding the proposal to fund Kiev to the tune of €40 ($43) billion, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg admitted on Friday.

The issue came up at the meeting of the US-led bloc’s defense ministers in Brussels. Italy reportedly did not agree with the proposal, which was already scaled down from Stoltenberg’s initial €100 billion request.

The “long-term financial pledge” is one of the four things NATO needs to “deliver for Ukraine” by the Washington summit next month, Stoltenberg told reporters after the meeting. 

“We have not yet agreement on that,” he admitted.

“Many allies are very supportive of the idea that we need not only to have short term pledges – they are welcome, of course – but if we could have more long-term predictable pledges, it will give the Ukrainians better planning assumptions,” Stoltenberg said. “It will give more predictability and transparency and assure a minimal or fair burden-sharing within the alliance. And most importantly, it will send a message to Moscow that they cannot wait us out.”

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Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia addresses the United Nations Security Council.
World sobering up on Ukraine conflict – Moscow
]]> NATO ministers did agree on the plan for Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine and pledged to send more ammunition and equipment to Kiev in the short term, Stoltenberg pointed out, adding that “there will be new announcements in the coming days and weeks.”

That leaves the financial pledge and the “language” for Ukraine’s possible membership to be worked out in the “some weeks” remaining before the Washington summit, according to the NATO secretary-general.

Kiev expected a formal invitation to the bloc last year, at the NATO summit in Vilnius. When it did not arrive, Vladimir Zelensky launched a tirade on social media, angering Washington. The US-led bloc eventually said it would be in a position to invite Ukraine “when allies agree and conditions are met.”

On Thursday, Stoltenberg said “an absolute minimum” condition for Ukraine’s membership would be defeating Russia. The US and its allies have funneled weapons, ammunition, and equipment to Ukraine over the past two years, while insisting they are not a party to the conflict. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that Moscow would be ready for a ceasefire if Kiev signed a pledge never to join NATO and withdrew its troops from the four regions that have chosen to join Russia. Kiev has denounced the proposal as an “ultimatum” and rejected it.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 18:05:32 +0000 RT
New York governor proposes face-mask ban to combat anti-Semitism /news/599305-nyc-subway-mask-ban/ Governor of New York proposes ban on face masks, says criminals committing anti-Semitic acts on subway use them to keep identity hidden
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Kathy Hochul says the covers are being used by criminals on subways

New York state’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed a legislative ban on face masks on the NYC subway system to combat acts of anti-Semitism, claiming criminals are concealing their identities using the face coverings.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, New York had a law banning face masks in public. However, that rule was suspended in 2020 in light of the pandemic and the city’s authorities made face coverings mandatory for all subway riders until September 2022.

Speaking to reporters during a news conference in Albany on Thursday, Hochul stated that she was in talks with lawmakers over details of a bill once again banning masks, noting that the policy has to be clearly defined to include “common-sense exemptions” for the use of face masks for health, cultural or religious purposes. 

“We will not tolerate individuals using masks to evade responsibility for criminal or threatening behavior,” Hochul said, adding that her team is “working on a solution.”

The Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, had also mentioned reviving some version of a mask ban and returning to the way things were before the pandemic, insisting that people should not be able to wear masks at protests.

Hochul explained that she was moved to propose the ban after receiving a report earlier this week about a group of people donning face masks that “took over a subway car, scaring riders and chanting things about Hitler and wiping out Jews.”

It’s unclear if the Governor was referring to a specific incident or several, but they appear to be connected to Monday’s pro-Palestinian demonstrations that took place around the city. Near Union Square Park, a number of people who had left the rally were seen on video flooding into a subway station waving flags and banging on drums.

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Protesters gather at Union Square in New York City to demonstrate against Israel's ongoing war in Gaza, June 10, 2024.
White House denounces anti-Israel protest
]]> In one clip, a man not wearing a face mask could be seen chanting “raise your hands if you’re a Zionist” to other passengers on the train, telling them to get out of the subway car. Another video shows a man in Union Square, also without a mask, shouting “I wish Hitler was still here. He would’ve wiped all you out!”

Critics of Hochul’s proposed mask ban have slammed it as an attempt to crack down on protests in which people want to conceal their identities to avoid legal or professional repercussions. Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, suggested that the governor’s legislation would be used to selectively squash political protests and used to “arrest, doxx, surveil and silence people of color and protestors the police disagree with.”

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 15:46:08 +0000 RT
World sobering up on Ukraine conflict – Moscow /news/599298-ukraine-switzerland-un-nebenzia/ It is becoming harder for the West to convince the global majority with its propaganda on Ukraine, Russia’s UN envoy has said
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It is becoming harder for Western propaganda to win over the global majority, Russia’s UN envoy has said

A more rational attitude is forming around the globe towards the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Moscow’s permanent representative to the United Nations has said.

The work of Russian diplomats at the UN to highlight the “hypocrisy and double standards” of the US and its allies in relation to the Ukraine crisis is delivering results, Vassily Nebenzia stated in an interview with RIA Novosti news agency on Friday.

"We are witnessing a much more sober assessment of what is happening, being formed within the international community,” he noted.

The Russian envoy stressed that “it is becoming increasingly difficult for Western anti-Russian propaganda to intoxicate the UN majority, especially when the Ukrainian agenda is being imposed on it at the expense of addressing much more important and pressing issues for the developing world.”

Nebenzia’s statement comes a day before a Swiss-hosted ‘peace conference’ on Ukraine, expected to discuss proposals promoted by Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky. Russia was not invited to the gathering.

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RT
Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> Switzerland announced last week that it had invited representatives of 160 states and international organizations to the summit at the Burgenstock Resort near Lucerne, and that more than 90 would be attending. However, US state-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on Tuesday that the number of participating nations had declined to 78.

Nebenzia said the West has been “twisting the arms” of Global South countries to come to Switzerland, only for them to play the role of “extras” there.

According to the envoy, countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America are needed at the gathering to ensure there are as many faces as possible in the family photo. This will be presented by the US and its allies as “the broadest support” of Zelensky’s plan within the international community, he predicted.

The Swiss-hosted conference is another “deception” by the US and its allies, as “its main goal is to present an ultimatum to Russia in the form of the so-called Zelensky’s ‘peace plan,’” Nebenzia argued.

The Ukrainian leader’s proposals, which call for the withdrawal of Russian forces from all territories that Kiev considers its own, and for Moscow to pay reparations and submit its officials to war tribunals, was instantly rejected as “unrealistic” by Russia when it was first floated in late 2022.

]]> READ MORE: Ukraine ‘peace conference’ will not urge withdrawal of Russian troops – media

]]> "It is no secret to anybody that peace negotiations without Russia are a road to nowhere. Without our participation, it would be impossible to resolve the conflict,” the envoy stated.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 14:01:51 +0000 RT
Hungary threatens EU over ‘insane’ migrant fine – media /news/599293-hungary-threatens-eu-migrants-fine/ Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has reportedly threatened Brussels with retaliation over an asylum policy fine
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The bloc’s top court has imposed a 200 million penalty on Budapest for “deliberately” violating refugee laws

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has threatened Brussels with retaliation after an EU court slapped Budapest with a €200 million ($216 million) fine over its asylum policy, according to national media.

The European Court of Justice (ICJ) imposed the penalty on the Orban government on Thursday, accusing it of “deliberately avoiding” compliance with the bloc’s refugee laws. The ICJ also ruled that Budapest must pay an extra fine of €1 million a day until it changes its policies.

Shortly after the ruling was announced, Orban took to social media to describe it as “outrageous and unacceptable.” 

“It seems that illegal #migrants are more important to the Brussels bureaucrats than their own European citizens,” the prime minister said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

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RT
EU fines member state 200 million for refusing to accept migrants
]]> Orban also reportedly threatened retaliation in an interview with Radio Kossuth on Friday.

“We’ll figure out a way, so it hurts Brussels more than it hurts us,” the leader said, without elaborating, according to Hungarian news outlet Liner.hu and Bloomberg.

Obran described the fine as “a huge amount” and claimed that it was unprecedented. “It’s just insane,” Liner.hu quoted the prime minister as saying.

The ICJ ruling relates to a 2020 judgement that found that Hungary had restricted access to international protection procedures, unlawfully detained asylum seekers in transit, and illegally removed third-country nationals. Hungary has since closed transit zones but otherwise has not complied with the ruling, which “constitutes a serious threat to the unity of EU law,” the court said in a statement.

Hungary has taken a hard stance on migrants from outside the EU since the number of daily arrivals more than quadrupled during the migrant crisis of 2015, which saw over a million people arrive on the continent, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan. In September and October of that year, Hungary put up fences at its southern borders with Serbia and Croatia.

]]> READ MORE: Western war hawks want Ukraine’s resources –?Orban

]]> The standoff comes as Hungary is set to take over the EU presidency on July 1. Orban’s government has also consistently criticized the Western approach to the Ukraine conflict. Budapest has opposed NATO’s funding and arming of Ukraine, as well as the sweeping sanctions on Russia, instead calling for a ceasefire and diplomatic solution.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 12:59:08 +0000 RT
Ukraine to buy US gas for first time /news/599289-ukraine-us-first-lng-deal/ Ukraine has agreed to start importing LNG from the US, to cut reliance on Moscow and help Washington raise energy sales in Eastern Europe
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Kiev is seeking to shift away from Russian pipeline gas despite a lack of regasification facilities for LNG imports

Ukraine’s largest private energy company said on Thursday it had signed a comprehensive deal with a US firm to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

The deal marks the first major agreement to supply the supercooled fuel to Ukraine as Kiev seeks to boost its energy security and reduce Russian energy dominance in the region.

The DTEK Group’s commodity trading subsidiary, D.Trading, is expected to purchase cargoes from a Louisiana-based LNG facility operated by US energy exporter Venture Global, according to the statement released by the Ukrainian firm. It added that the deal was struck at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin earlier this week.

“With this landmark agreement, we will help bolster Ukraine’s security of natural gas supply, aid continued recovery and economic growth in the region, and further strengthen European energy security,” D.Trading CEO Ivan Geliukh said, adding that the deal covers supplies on a short-term and long-term basis.

The Ukrainian company will start the imports later this year and continue to buy the fuel through 2026, the Financial Times reported. Moreover, D.Trading will purchase up to two million tons of LNG annually for 20 years from another Venture Global facility, Reuters said.

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Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.
SPIEF 2024: Rosneft chief reveals cost EU paid for rejecting Russian gas
]]> Ukraine currently has no regasification terminals for LNG, but DTEK has reportedly signed contracts for the use of capacities located in European states that have pipeline connections to the country.

Kiev previously said it would not prolong a five-year deal with Russia’s energy giant Gazprom on the transit of Russian pipeline gas to Europe after it expires at the end of this year, and that it is exploring options for alternative supplies.

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky said around 80% of the country’s energy capacity, including coal-fired power plants and some hydroelectric power, had been destroyed or damaged due to the conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian leader also said Kiev needs more air defense systems to better protect its power infrastructure.

In recent months Russia has intensified its strikes on Ukrainian military and energy facilities. The Russian Defense Ministry has said the bombardment is a response to Kiev’s attempts to target Russian oil infrastructure. Since January, Ukraine’s military forces have launched multiple long-range attacks on energy facilities deep inside Russia, including oil depots and refineries, using kamikaze drones.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 12:42:09 +0000 RT
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