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EU’s next potential sanctions target revealed Forging High-quality Partnership For a New Era of Global Development : Xi Jinping পদ্মা সেতুর উদ্বোধন উপলক্ষে ১০০ টাকা মূল্যমানের স্মারক নোট ২৪ জুন এক নজরে বাংলাদেশ পদ্মা সেতু উদ্বোধন উপলক্ষ্যে প্রধানমন্ত্রী ও রাষ্ট্রপতির বাণী  Pentagon unveils new Ukraine weapons shipment Germany warns entire industries could stop due to gas shortage Japan wants more people-to-people cultural bond with Bangladesh হাওর এলাকার আশংকাজনকহারে জলাভূমি হ্রাস বন্যার ভয়াবহতা বাড়িয়ে দিচ্ছে : আইপিডি EU and NATO forming coalition ‘for war against Russia’ : Lavrov অবিলম্বে দেশে ভোজ্যতেলের দাম সমন্বয়ের দাবি ক্যাব এর ২১ জুন এক নজরে বাংলাদেশ imo steps in to facilitate flood victims LafargeHolcim signs agreement with Swisscontact Bangladesh to support waste management in MSMEs তামাকের দাম বাড়াতে মন্ত্রিপরিষদ সচিবকে ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণের সুপারিশ ৯৭ সাংসদের Prerona Foundation-Bengal Meat collaborates NATO chief ‘cannot guarantee’ membership for Finland and Sweden Energypac Sponsors 4th Dhaka Automotive Show 2022 Putin’s Global Ratings Drop to 20-Year Low : Pew Australian envoy expects Padma Bridge to enhance regional growth

World doesn’t share West’s negative views of Russia : poll

Bangladesh Beyond
  • Updated on Wednesday, June 1, 2022
  • 243 Impressed

World doesn’t share West’s negative views of Russia : poll

 

Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News Digest by Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on June 01 2022.

 

INSIDE RUSSIA

Russia names profiteers from Ukraine crisis

Some US companies are using the conflict for economic expansion, Russia’s top security official has claimed

American corporations and financial institutions are conducting a rapid expansion into Europe, using the crisis in Ukraine to their advantage, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, warned during a meeting of the body on Tuesday.

Among other things, US firms “have already taken under their control a segment of the European gas market,” he reported. Semiconductors and other high-tech sectors of the European economy are also of great interest to the Americans, he said.

Russia was the primary supplier of energy to the EU, particularly of natural gas, before the Ukrainian crisis cast doubt on the future of trade. Following the US, Brussels imposed various economic sanctions on Moscow, claiming that they are meant to put a price on attacking Ukraine and force a retreat. The EU has placed embargoes on Russian coal and crude and declared it will fully cut  supplies in the coming years.

Even before the hostilities, the US had been pressuring European nations to reduce their trade with Russia. Critics said Washington was interested in forcing Russian gas out of Europe and replacing it with America’s more expensive liquified natural gas.

A Trump-era official once described the US product as “molecules of freedom” as the administration demanded that Germany scrap the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The project, which was fully complete and waiting only for regulatory approval from Germany, was suspended after Russia launched its offensive against Ukraine.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Russia comments on Ukrainian grain exports

Kiev has prevented ships from exporting grain by mining its own ports, Moscow says

Russia is not preventing ships from transporting grain out of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday, and Western claims to the contrary are part of a smear campaign that will do nothing to solve the global food crisis.

The only party actually preventing ships from using Ukrainian ports and exporting grain by sea is Ukraine itself, he added, because it deployed sea mines that have made navigation unsafe.

“If the demining problem is solved, then in the open sea… the Russian Navy will ensure unrestricted movement of ships to the Mediterranean,” Lavrov said during a press conference.

“Russia had made all the guarantees it could make a long time ago,” he added.

The foreign minister suggested that Western politicians who have expressed concerns over surging food prices should do something to address the problem. After all, Western sanctions have disrupted the logistical and financial infrastructure that Russia uses to export its own grain, he said.

They should have some thought and decide what is more important to them: Milking publicity from the issue of food security or solving this problem.

Lavrov was responding to criticism from the US and its allies, who claim that a Russian naval blockade is preventing grain exports from Ukraine. The Russian military says a corridor in the Black Sea is available for civilian traffic every day.

 

Russia is preparing second Russia-Africa summit — upper house speaker

MAPUTO, May 31. /TASS/. Russia at the moment is making preparations for a second Russia-Africa summit. The dates will be determined in cooperation with the African Union, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said at a meeting with the Speaker of Mozambique’s Assembly (parliament) Esperanca Bias.

A delegation of the Federation Council headed by Matviyenko is on an official visit to Mozambique from May 30 to June 1.

“We are already preparing the next summit. Its dates will be determined jointly with the African Union,” Matviyenko said.

She added that Russia saw Mozambique as a “reliable and time-tested” partner in Africa.

“Russia has always provided assistance to Mozambique and it keeps doing so. We are pleased to see your success in economic and social development. We note with satisfaction the steady development of the political dialogue,” Matviyenko added.

Bias thanked Matviyenko for visiting Mozambique. She described the Federation Council delegation’s visit as a sign “Russia is always with Mozambique and Mozambique is always with Russia.”

“Our relationship dates back to the period when Mozambique was fighting for independence. Even after we gained independence, Russia has always been by our side. These relations are obvious in different areas,” Bias stressed.

The first Russia-Africa summit was held in Sochi on October 23-24, 2019. It was co-chaired by the presidents of Russia and Egypt, Vladimir Putin and Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. The second summit is scheduled for the autumn of 2022.

 

OUTSIDE RUSSIA

Anti-Russian sanctions don’t work – Croatia

The Russian ruble is getting stronger while the EU citizens have to cope with higher prices due to sanctions that simply don’t work, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic complained on Tuesday. He called the EU explanation for the partial oil and gas embargo “insulting” and said Croatia had little pull within the bloc, unlike its neighbor Hungary.

“The sanctions aren’t working. Russia isn’t feeling them, the ruble did not collapse. EU citizens get to pay the price, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin gets to smile in contentment, and the oil and gas will go elsewhere because the demand is great,” Milanovic said in Zagreb, commenting on the EU’s latest additions to the anti-Russian embargo.

He added that the EU sanctions in their current form “wouldn’t be effective even against Serbia” and that the only thing likely to happen is higher prices for citizens of EU countries.

EU leaders on Tuesday agreed to a new sanctions package that would ban import of all Russian oil delivered by ship – but not by pipeline – and stopped short of banning the import of natural gas.

“The key player is Hungary,” Milanovic said, pointing out that Budapest was responsible for the pipeline exemption. The reasons the EU cited for not embargoing Russian gas were “an insult to common sense,” he added.

Meanwhile, Italian PM Mario Draghi claimed that Western sanctions will have “maximum impact” on the Russian economy “from this summer onwards.”

Speaking after the meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Tuesday, Draghi said the oil embargo will affect international trade “for many years, if not forever.”

Brussels doesn’t care what Croatia thinks because Croatia doesn’t bother asking questions, Milanovic lamented, arguing that Zagreb can’t even recognize its own interests – and when it does, won’t bother championing them.

In April, the Croatian president said that unless the US and the EU guaranteed the rights of Croats in the neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina, Zagreb would block the NATO applications of Sweden and Finland. However, the nationalist HDZ party, which has the parliamentary majority, ruled out such an action. Instead, it was Turkey that held up the NATO bid of two Scandinavian countries, citing their alleged support for Kurdish militants.

 

Japan won’t quit Russian gas project – minister

Japan will not withdraw from Russia’s Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas project even if it’s told to do so, the country’s industry minister told parliament on Tuesday.

The comments follow criticism from Moscow, last week, accusing Japan of benefiting from its participation in the project while being an “unfriendly nation” that joined the West in placing sanctions on Russia.

“Sakhalin-2 is an asset that our predecessors worked hard to acquire. The owner of the land may be Russia, but the leasehold and the liquefaction and transportation equipment belong to the Japanese government and Japanese companies. We do not intend to leave, even if we are told [to do so],” Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

Russian State Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said last week that Japan was receiving “huge profits” from the Sakhalin-2 project, suggesting that its stake should be sold to Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom or to companies from “friendly nations.” Japan has joined the US and the EU in imposing a wide range of economic restrictions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict but fell short of cutting energy cooperation.

Sakhalin-2, a joint venture between Russia’s Gazprom (50%), Japan’s Mitsui (12.5%) and Mitsubishi (10%) and UK-based Shell (27.5%), is a liquified natural gas project located on Russia’s Sakhalin Island near Japan. Because of its proximity, shipping the supplies only takes about three days, thereby reducing transportation costs. Japan gets almost 9% of the LNG it needs from Sakhalin.

Shell announced plans to quit all of its Russian operations amid an exodus of Western companies from the country over the conflict in Ukraine. Since then, media reports say the energy giant has been in talks with Chinese and Indian companies to sell its stake in the project.

The Japanese government has spoken out against suspending energy cooperation with Russia. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said back in March that the Sakhalin-2 project was essential to the country’s energy security. Last month, Koichi Hagiuda said that if Japan were to exit energy projects with Russia, it would undermine Western sanctions and benefit Moscow, as the step could further boost energy prices. He also said that Tokyo intended to continue to hold its concessions in Sakhalin and that Japan had never felt any pressure from the United States to exit energy projects with Russia in regards to Sakhalin.

According to the newspaper Nikkei Asia, replacing Russian LNG from Sakhalin-2 would cost Japan $15 billion, with the price tag for imports jumping 35% if Mitsui and Mitsubishi pulled out of the energy project. Experts point out that Russia could redirect its imports to other Asian nations, such as China, India, or Vietnam, if Japan decided to withdraw.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

 

World doesn’t share West’s negative views of Russia – poll

Western countries are more inclined to have a poor attitude towards Russia, according to a global survey

Negative views of Russia are primarily confined to US-allied Western states, a new global survey conducted by a NATO-linked lobby group has found. At the same time, the so-called Alliance of Democracies Foundation discovered that Asian countries maintain strong support for Russia, while Latin American nations appear to be split on the matter.

The pressure group is funded by the US-government, the EU and other sources, such as Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk. It’s aligned with NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct and is run by the military bloc’s former secretary journal, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Published by Berlin-based analytics’ firm Latana, on Monday, the Democracy Perception Index surveyed 53 highly populated countries in Asia, Latin America, the US and Europe, asking respondents a number of questions ranging from their perception of their own country’s democracy to their opinion of other nations.

The report found there was a sharp polarization between Western countries and the rest of the world in their attitude towards Russia. In Europe, 55% of countries were in favor of cutting economic ties with Russia in light of its military offensive against Ukraine, while in Asia the majority of countries were against such moves. In Latin America, opinion was evenly split.

A majority of the 31 countries sampled were in favor of cutting ties with Moscow, but 20 of these were in Europe. Among those with the most negative attitude towards Russia were Poland (87%), Portugal (79%), Sweden (77%), Italy (65%), Great Britain (65%), the USA (62%), and Germany (62%).

By contrast, a total of 20 countries opposed cutting ties with Russia, including Greece, Kenya, Turkey, China, Israel, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, South Africa, Vietnam, Algeria, the Philippines, Hungary, Mexico, Thailand, Morocco, Malaysia, Peru, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Opinions in Colombia were evenly split on the issue.

The survey also noted the nations with the most positive attitude towards Russia, among which were India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Egypt.

The poll showed that, while there were mixed opinions on Russia, the world had strong sympathy for Ukraine. Almost half of respondents worldwide (46%) reportedly stated that the EU, the US, and NATO were providing too little assistance to Kiev, while just 11% felt they were doing “too much.”

 

Lavrov’s visit to Riyadh to enhance Gulf monarchies’ balanced stance on Ukraine — expert

MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Bahrain and then to Saudi Arabia is aimed at enhancing the balanced position the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) member-countries take on Ukraine. Another fundamental task is to promote the understanding that already exists in the Arab world the global food crisis is largely artificially inflated by the West in its standoff with Russia, a senior research fellow at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Boris Dolgov, told TASS in an interview.

He recalled that Tuesday saw a number of key events during Lavrov’s visit to Bahrain, which became a logical follow-up of last April’s meeting Lavrov held with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Moscow. And on Wednesday, Lavrov will take part in a regular meeting of the Russia-GCC Foreign Ministers’ Forum in Riyadh. Both events on the program reflect the “priority” that Russia’s foreign policy attaches to the Near and Middle East, Dolgov said. “The forum will focus on economic cooperation, the situation in the Middle East, and some other issues,” Dolgov said. “On the global level, the Ukrainian crisis will probably be touched upon.”

Ukrainian factor

Dolgov recalled that none of the GCC countries “supported the West in its Russophobic campaign against Russia.” “Moreover, Saudi Arabia even offered itself as a platform for negotiations. This proposal remains in force,” he continued. “Russia is interested in these countries’ adequate position [on the relevant issue].”

The expert emphasized that during the upcoming contacts it would be important for Russia to see “the emergence of a more concrete position of these Arab countries” regarding the Ukrainian crisis and prospects for further cooperation with Russia amid the West’s pressures. The food problem, which the Western countries are inflating in connection with the situation in Ukraine, makes this issue still more crucial.

“As for the food crisis and the risk of world famine, I would say, first of all, that both are somewhat exaggerated and, also one of the aspects of the information war the West is waging against Russia. Take look at official statistics: Ukraine is in seventh place in terms of grain supplies. Ahead of it there are Russia, the US, Canada, Australia and even the European Union,” Dolgov said. “In fact, the situation does not depend on Ukraine as heavily as it might seem. But in all likelihood this question will be touched upon at negotiations between Russia and these [Gulf] countries and be decided in accordance with their interests.

At the same time, the analyst stressed that the food crisis issue enjoyed low priority in the respective countries’ agendas and was by no means “seen there in an alarmist way.” “The Arab countries share an understanding that it is part of the information war. They do not have any serious concerns on this score,” Dolgov stressed, noting one of the basic tasks of the upcoming official meetings was to strengthen this understanding.

Regional agenda

Among other topics that will feature on the agenda of Lavrov’s bilateral contacts at the forum Dolgov named expanding economic cooperation and regional issues in the Middle East. “Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries are now reconsidering their attitude to the Syrian conflict somewhat. There have been visits by the Syrian leader [Bashar Assad] to these countries and reciprocal visits by representatives of these countries to Damascus. To an extent, this is an indicator of progress and success, including the success of Russia’s policy,” he continued. “Before, these countries used to support armed Islamist groups, but now they are building relations with the Syrian leadership. This is an important development. I think that this issue will also be raised, too.”

Dolgov believes that the current state of affairs in Yemen and Libya will not remain without attention, since it “concerns the interests of both Russia and these [Gulf] countries.” However, the issue of expanding economic cooperation may enjoy greater priority. “Russia is developing cooperation with these countries. As far as the oil and gas issue is concerned, it will, of course, be discussed in the light of the current prices and quotas,” Dolgov said.

 

SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE

Greek opposition protests Ukraine weapons deal

Chancellor Scholz says Germany will do a “ring swap” with Greece to get armored vehicles to Kiev

Greece’s largest opposition party on Tuesday protested the announcement by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Athens would be sending Soviet-era armored vehicles to Ukraine.

The “ring swap,” in which Germany would send newer vehicles to Greece in exchange, enables Berlin to keep its distance from the conflict in Ukraine.

“We consider it inconceivable that the Greek people would have heard this news from the German chancellor at a time when the Greek prime minister did not speak about it at his press conference,” the Syriza-Progressive Alliance said in a statement.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, after a European Council meeting in Brussels, Scholz revealed the “Ringtausch” deal with Athens, and said he was speaking with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to make a similar arrangement with Warsaw.

Greece is reportedly hoping to get second-hand Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles (IVF) in exchange for sending Ukraine some of its aging BMP-1-Ost IFVs. Germany’s Rheinmetall said last month it had around 200 refurbished Marders ready to go.

Athens acquired 500 or so BMP-1-Ost vehicles from Berlin back in 1994, which were refurbished from the old East German arsenal. This particular design is the very first generation of infantry fighting vehicles, and the Greeks have reportedly had trouble keeping them operational due to a lack of spare parts and ammunition. About 100 were sent to the US-backed Iraqi armed forces after the 2003 invasion, several were converted to ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft platforms, while others were retired and even used for target practice.

 

Ukrainian shelling kills 5-year-old child – DPR

Kiev’s forces have fired at least five rockets at the city of Makeevka, officials claim

At least two people – a woman and a small child – were killed on Tuesday during the shelling of the city of Makeevka, the authorities of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have claimed. They said Ukrainian troops had fired at least five rockets at the city, which borders the republic’s capital Donetsk.

Five people were injured by Ukrainian fire during the day, according to the latest update from the DPR defense HQ. One of the locations damaged by the shelling was a school in Makeevka.

“I will never forgive them for what they’ve done! We have lost the most precious thing we have! I hate this world! We have no life without her,” the grandmother of the deceased girl was seen crying out, in the presence of RT correspondent Roman Kosarev.

Another school that came under fire was located in Yelenovka, a village about 10km southwest of the capital, reports said. It was hit by three 152mm artillery shells, according to the DPR.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the head of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin held an operational meeting to discuss what needs to be done “to establish and assess the damage caused as a result of the criminal actions of the Ukrainian security forces in Donbass.”

According to the committee’s statement, the actions of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) resulted in the severe destruction of many settlements, including in Mariupol, where “residential buildings, children’s and medical institutions, and other civilian infrastructure facilities” were struck. During the meeting, Bastrykin made clear that the perpetrators should bear “not only criminal, but also material liability.”

Since the beginning of the Russian military offensive on Ukraine in late February, Moscow and Kiev have been constantly accusing each other of various war crimes, while denying their own liability.

Russia attacked its neighboring state following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Zelensky aide pressures US

Presidential aide Alexey Arestovich has threatened Washington with an ‘exemplary tantrum’ over non-supply of rocket artillery systems

Kiev will resort to hysterical outbursts, if the US fails to deliver multiple rocket launchers to fight Russia, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday. Alexey Arestovich was responding to remarks by US President Joe Biden, who said the US won’t send to Ukraine long-range rockets that can hit Russia.

Washington is reportedly on the brink of stepping up the arming of Ukraine with heavier weapons. Arestovich, a key figure in Ukraine’s messaging on military affairs, outlined Kiev’s response to a scenario, in which the weapons are not delivered as expected.

“The decision about the systems is coming soon, and we will understand whether they will supply them or not,” he said. “If they don’t, we’ll have an exemplary tantrum.”

The US is expected to deliver two kinds of rocket systems to Ukraine, the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Both can launch tactical ballistic missiles with a range of up to 300km, but the more affordable type of munitions for them are shorter-range rockets that can be fired in barrages.

Biden said on Monday that the US was “not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia”. He didn’t elaborate, but many people, Arestovich included, believe he was referring to the munitions, not the launchers.

“Seventy kilometers is more than enough for us,” he said, referring to the range of the smaller projectiles.

Media reports said US officials were reluctant to supply the longer-range missiles that could be used to attack targets in Russia due to concerns that Moscow would perceive it as a major escalation. Russia has blamed Ukrainian forces for several cross-border incidents that hurt civilians and caused damage inside Russia. Kiev has neither claimed credit nor denied responsibility for them.

Ukraine has Soviet-made multiple rocket launchers in its arsenals but claims that the American systems would give it an advantage on the battlefield. Ukrainian troops have been retreating in the east this month, ceding territory claimed as their own by Russian-backed republics in the Donbass region. Kiev also suffered a setback in Mariupol, where over 2,000 troops surrendered to Russian forces after spending weeks under a blockade.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Russia ready for signing agreements with Ukraine to establish peace — upper house speaker

MAPUTO, June 1. /TASS/. Russia is open for talks with Ukraine and signing agreements that would lead to peace, speaker of Russia’s Federation Council (upper parliament house) Valentina Matviyenko said on Tuesday at a meeting with Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi.

A Federation Council delegation led by Matviyenko is on an official visit to Mozambique from May 30 to June 1.

“We are open for talks. I totally share your position that diplomatic, peaceful solutions are needed. But will for that is needed on both sides. We reiterate that we are ready for talks, for signing agreements that would stop the civil was in Ukraine and lead to peace, but we see no reaction from Kiev,” she said.

She recalled that before the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine Russia had been in talks with Western partners and the United States demanding shared, indivisible security be ensured on the European continent, “as it is committed to paper in all international documents.” “Regrettably, we did not receive an adequate response. And after Ukraine said it wanted to be a nuclear power and when we saw how it was being flooded with weapons, including offensive weapons, knowing that it was plotting the third armed attack on the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, naturally, we had no other way out, no other choice to ensure our security,” she stressed.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky earlier told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that he wanted to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian-Ukrainian talks have been conducted since February 28. Several meetings were organized in Belarus, then the sides continued negotiations in the videoconference format. The next offline round of talks took place in Istanbul on March 29. However on April 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists that Kiev had deviated from the previous agreements and drove the process into a dead end. On April 20, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow had handed over to Kiev a clearly-worded draft document on agreements and was waiting for a response.

 

Kherson region intends to accede to Russia soon, becoming its constituent, authorities say

SIMFEROPOL, May 31. /TASS/. The authorities of the Kherson region intend to raise the issue of the region entering the Russian Federation in the near future in order for it to become Russia’s full-fledged territorial entity, Kirill Stremousov, Deputy Head of the Kherson region’s Military-Civilian Administration told TASS on Tuesday.

“The Kherson region intends to accede to the Russian Federation in the near future, becoming its full-fledged constituent,” the official said.

The situation at the Donbass engagement line flared up on February 17. On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a decision to recognize the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid were signed with their leaders. On February 22, the State Duma and the Federation Council ratified both documents and Putin signed the respective laws on the same day. Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people “who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.” The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.

 

Russian Foreign Ministry: Ukrainian Rights Commissioner Fired for Spreading Lies

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova was dismissed for spreading misinformation, and Western media should retract articles using her claims as evidence of Russian crimes in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian parliament decided to remove Denisova from her post in a no-confidence vote of 234-to-9 at the initiative of the ruling Sluga Narodu party. Zakharova said that the “detailed stories” of alleged sexual abuse that the human rights advocate had made up were shocking and required the attention of mental health professionals.

“Now the question is whether all those Western journalists and media, human rights and social activists who referred to Denisova and supported the bloody performances of the obsessed [Ukrainian activists] are going to publish rebuttals and apologize. Denisova is a perverse provocateur, and Western journalists worked as propagandists under her,” Zakharova said on social media.

Human Rights Advocates & Reporters Call on Denisova to Stop Making Up Stories

Denisova had served as the human rights commissioner since March 2018. Since the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine in late February, the commissar gradually moved on to give detailed and rather colorful descriptions of alleged “atrocities” of Russian soldiers against the civilian population of Ukraine, including infants who were allegedly sexually abused.

Other competent authorities of Ukraine have noted on several occasions that there was not a single credible piece of evidence “yet” of Russian military personnel committing acts of sexual violence against women and children in the area of the special operation.

Despite accusations from Ukraine, top officials in Moscow said that Russian soldiers did not commit war crimes or sexual assaults during the special military operation.

According to the Ukrainian media reports upon the commissioner’s dismissal, last week a group of the country’s female journalists and human rights activists publicly appealed to Denisova and called on her to correct the manner in which she was relaying information about alleged sexual crimes during the conflict, in particular, checking the facts before publication and avoiding excessive detailing of purported crimes.

The group emphasized that it was highly important for a person in Denisova’s position to pay attention not only to the ethical nature of the wording but also to the justification and appropriateness of making shocking details public – disclosing, among other things, the names of alleged victims.

Denisova was also asked to concentrate on evidence and proof instead of stirring up the emotions of the audience.

Also on Tuesday, Ukrainian lawmaker Pavel Frolov explained that Denisova’s dismissal was prompted by her repeated reports of sexual abuse and violence against Ukrainian children by Russian soldiers that were not supported by evidence, as well as the lack of active contribution to the organization of humanitarian corridors and the exchange of prisoners of war.

“[…] Ms. Denisova has hardly exercised her authority to organize humanitarian corridors, protect and exchange prisoners, counter the deportation of people and children from the occupied territories, and other human rights activities,” he wrote in a Telegram post, adding that Denisova’s duties were performed by deputy PM Irina Vereshchuk.

The lawmaker added that the parliament and the government were not pleased that Denisova had been spending so much time abroad since February 24, namely “in Davos, Vienna, Warsaw and other [parts of] warm, calm Western Europe.”

In March, Tatyana Moskalkova, the Russian ombudswoman for human rights, called on Denisova to prevent the torture of POWs. Later, she claimed that she had received a response from her Ukrainian counterpart that “there can be no agreement,” and the message was drawn up in “traditional insulting forms.”

Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense, citing local residents, Ukrainian servicemen and militants of nationalist battalions, reported that the Ukrainian authorities did not notify the population about the proposed humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of all civilians from the combat areas, as in the case of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, where, together with the militants, hundreds of them were kept as actual hostages.

The dismissed Denisova said that the decision was made against the constitution, and she would appeal against it in court. Ukrainian media also reported that the parliament has not yet found a replacement for her.

 

DPR Information Minister: Evidence of Ukraine Spying on Foreign Diplomats Found

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The troops of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have seized evidence at the positions left by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) that Ukrainians have been spying on foreign diplomats and attempted to recruit them, DPR Deputy Information Minister Daniil Bezsonov said on Tuesday.

“I have published documents today about the surveillance on two German diplomats,” Bezsonov told Russia’s Channel One broadcaster.

“One of them is an employee of the German embassy in Ukraine, and the other one is a very interesting person since he is a representative of the Trilateral Contact Group of the Normandy format, an economic adviser.”

He added that he posted videos of the surveillance on the diplomats.

“I want to stress that there are many similar videos of other diplomats as well, including videos from their hotel rooms and other places, following them from places where they live, from the restaurants they go to. Of course, not all of the materials will be published for obvious reasons,” Bezsonov said.

The SBU has been “collecting dirt on their so-called ‘partners’ in order to manipulate them,” Bezsonov said, adding that the service also spied on and attempted to recruit employees of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The latest comes months after the Belarusian State Security Committee had also detailed in late March that officials had taken down a Ukrainian spy network implemented under a diplomatic cover. At the time, reports indicated that eight of the 19 diplomats stationed at Belarus’ Ukraine embassy had been deemed spies.

Although tensions have remained elevated under the Biden administration, matters were kicked up a notch after Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine. The US and its allies have in turn heightened disputes by moving to supply Ukraine with heavy financial and military support. Although US officials have indicated Washington does not intend to dispatch weaponry that will “allow Ukrainians to attack Russia,” reports have suggested the US may send precision-guided missiles.

 

Timofei Bordachev: Henry Kissinger is trying to warn Westerners that they are running out of time in the fight for Russia

By Valdai Club Programme Director Timofei Bordachev

If the acute phase of the conflict in Ukraine turns out to be lengthy, which now seems likely, then basic survival will force Russia to cut ties with Western-aligned Europe

In the event that the growing conflict in, and around, Ukraine doesn’t lead to irreparable consequences on a global scale in the near future, its most important outcome will be a fundamental demarcation between Russia and the Western-aligned states of Europe.

This will make it impossible to maintain even minor neutral zones and will require a significant reduction in trade and economic ties. Restoring control over the territory of Ukraine, which, most likely, is to become a long-term goal of Russian foreign policy, will solve the main problem of regional security – the presence of a “gray zone.” The management of which inevitably became the subject of a confrontation and was dangerous from the point of view of escalation.

In this sense, we can count on a certain stabilization in the long term, although it will not be based on cooperation between the main regional powers. However, it is already obvious that the road to peace will be long enough and will be accompanied by extremely dangerous situations.

In his speech to the participants of the Davos forum, Henry Kissinger, the grand patriarch of international politics, pointed to just such a prospect as the least desirable from his point of view, since Russia then “could alienate itself completely from Europe and seek a permanent alliance elsewhere,” which would lead to the emergence of diplomatic divides on the scale of the Cold War.

In his opinion, peace talks between the parties [Moscow and Kiev] would be the most expedient way to prevent this; these would result in Russian interests being taken into account. For Kissinger, this means that in some respect, Russia’s participation in the European “concert” is an unconditional value, and the loss of this must be prevented as long as some chance remains.

However, with all due respect to the merits and wisdom of this statesman and scholar, the impeccable logic of Kissinger faces only one obstacle – it works when the balance of power is has been determined and relations between states have already passed the stage of military conflict.

In this sense, he certainly follows in the footsteps of his great predecessors – Chancellor of the Austrian Empire Klemens von Metternich and British Foreign Secretary Viscount Castlereagh, whose diplomatic achievements were the subject of Kissinger’s own doctoral dissertation in 1956. Both of them went down in history as the creators of a new European order, established after the end of the Napoleonic era in France and which persisted, with minor adjustments, for almost a century in international politics.

Like those illustrious figures, Kissinger appears on the world stage in an era when the balance of power between the most important players is already being determined by “iron and blood.” The time of his greatest achievement was the first half of the 1970s – a period of relative stability.

However, one cannot ignore the fact that the ability of states to behave in that way, back then, was not due to their wisdom, or responsibility to future generations, but down to much more mundane factors. The first being the completion of the “contraction” of the order which obtained its outline characteristics as a result of World War II. Over the next 25 years (1945 to 1970), this state-of-affairs was “finalized” during the war in Korea, the US intervention in Vietnam, the USSR’s military actions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, several indirect wars between the USSR and the US in the Middle East, the completion of the process of disintegration of the European colonial empires, as well as a significant number of smaller but also dramatic events.

Thus, at the present time, it would be difficult to expect diplomacy to be able to take first place in world affairs at the initial stage of the process, which promises to be very long and, most likely, quite bloody.

The material basis of that order, which was given its final polish by Kissinger’s diplomacy, the policy of “détente” with the USSR and the 1972 reconciliation with China, was the strategic defeat of most of Europe as a result of two world wars in the first half of the 20th century. The collapse of the European colonial empires and the historic rout of Germany in its attempt to take center stage in world affairs brought the United States to the forefront, which made it possible to make politics truly global.

As a result of the self-destruction of the USSR, this order turned out to be short-lived. We see now that this situation was a great tragedy, since it led to the disappearance of the balance of power in favor of the dominance of only one power.

Now we can assume that the emancipation of mankind from Western control is of central importance, and the most important factor in this process is the growth of China’s economic and political power. If China itself, as well as India and other major states outside the West, cope with the task entrusted to them by history, in the coming decades the international system will acquire features that were completely uncharacteristic before.

Most of the significant events that are taking place now, both globally and regionally, are connected with the objective process of the growth in the importance of China and, following it, other large Asian countries. The determination Russia has shown in recent years, and especially months, is also associated with global changes. The fact that Moscow so purposefully stood up to protect its interests and values was due not only to domestic Russian reasons, although they are of great importance. Nor were they predicated upon expectations of direct material assistance from China, which could compensate for the losses during the acute phase of the conflict with the West.

The main external source of Russian self-confidence has been an objective assessment of the state of the international political and economic environment, in which even a complete break with the West would not be mortally dangerous for Russia from the point of view of pursuing its main development goals. Moreover, it is precisely the need for a more active rapprochement with other partners, which Russia has not experienced until recently, that may turn out to be a much more reliable way to survive in a changing environment.

This is what is understood in the US and Europe with the greatest concern. In the event that Russia, during the years of the emerging disengagement from the rest of Europe, creates a comparable system of trade, economic, political, cultural and human ties in the South and East, the return of this country to the Western realm will become technically difficult, if perhaps not even possible.

So far, such a course of events is hindered by a colossal number of factors, among which, in the first place, is the passive stability of close interaction with the rest of Europe and the mutual dealings accumulated over the past 300 years. Moreover, it was other European powers that were the only constant partners of Russia after the appearance of this nation in the arena of international cooperation.

However, in the event that the acute phase of the conflict in Ukraine really turns out to be very long, which, apparently, is the case, then the elementary needs of survival will force Russia to get rid of what binds it to Europe. This is exactly what those Russian scholars and public figures are calling for, who in every possible way emphasize the existential nature of the confrontation taking place on our western borders.

Therefore, it is the understanding by the US, and its allies, that the movement towards a new world order lies on a firm foundation that is the most important source of their struggle with Russia.

The inevitable redistribution of resources and power on a global scale cannot happen in a completely peaceful manner, although the irrationality of an offensive war between the great powers, given the nuclear deterrence factor, provides us with some hope for the preservation of humanity.

Amid the struggle now gaining momentum, Russia, like the rest of Europe, is, despite its military capabilities, a participant inferior in strength to the main warring parties – China and the United States. Therefore, there is a struggle for Russia, and there is a dwindling opportunity for the West to win, and this is what Henry Kissinger is  trying to articulate.

This article was first published by Valdai club.

 

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