As World’s Problems Grow More Challenging, United Nations Head Gets Bleaker

As World’s Problems Grow More Challenging, United Nations Head Gets Bleaker

At the annual meeting of world leaders last year, the U.N. chief sounded a global alarm about the survival of humanity and the planet. This year, the alarm rang louder and more ominously, and the message was even more pressing: Wake up and take action — right now.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ assessment, delivered in his no-nonsense style, aimed to shock. We are becoming “unhinged,” he said. We are inching closer to “a great fracture.” Conflicts, coups and chaos are surging. The climate crisis is growing. Divides are deepening between military and economic powers, the richer North and poorer South, East and West. “A new Rubicon” has been crossed in artificial intelligence.

Guterres has spoken often on all these issues. But this year, which he called “a time of chaotic transition,” his address to leaders was tougher and even more urgent. And looking at his previous state-of-the-world speeches, it seems clear he has been headed in this direction for quite some time.

In his first address to world leaders in 2017 after taking the helm of the 193-member United Nations, Guterres cited “nuclear peril” as the leading global threat. Two years later, he was warning of the world splitting in two, with the United States and China creating rival internets, currency, trade, financial rules “and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies.” He urged vigorous action “to avert the great fracture.”

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The global response Guterres called for never happened; richer countries got vaccines and poorer ones were left waiting. At last year’s leaders’ gathering, his message was almost as dire as this week’s: “Our world is in peril and paralyzed,” Guterres said. “We are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction.”

This year, his message to the presidents and prime ministers, monarchs and ministers gathered in the vast General Assembly hall was unambiguous and stark.

“We seem incapable,” Guterres said, “of coming together to respond.”

The world’s future, and the UN’s

At the heart of Guterres’ many speeches this week is the very future of the United Nations, an institution formed immediately after World War II to bring nations together and save future generations from war. But in a 21st-century world that is far more interconnected and also more bitterly divided, can it remain relevant?

For Guterres, the answer is clear: It must.

The Cold War featured two superpowers — the capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union. When it ended, there was a brief period of U.S.-dominated unipolarity after the breakup of the Soviet Union and its dissolution into a dominant Russia and smaller former republics. Now it is moving to a more chaotic “multipolar world” — and creating, Guterres says, new opportunities for different countries to lead.

But Guterres’ key argument is rooted in history. He says it teaches that a world with many power centers and small groups of nations can’t solve the challenges that affect all countries. That’s why strong global institutions are needed, he told leaders on Thursday, and “the United Nations is the only forum where this can happen.”

The big question, upon which Guterres is now laser-focused, is whether an institution born in 1945 — a time when the tools to address chaos and fragmentation were more rudimentary — can be retooled and updated to tackle today’s challenges.

“I have no illusions,” he said. “Reforms are a question of power. I know there are many competing interests and agendas. But the alternative to reform is not the status quo. The alternative to reform is further fragmentation. It’s reform or rupture.”

That is the conundrum sitting in the U.N. chief’s lap: Can 193 nations with competing agendas undertake major reforms?

To meet the challenge, Guterres has called on world leaders to attend a “Summit of the Future” at next September’s U.N. global gathering, and in the coming, year to negotiate a “Pact for the Future.” At a meeting Thursday to prepare, he told ministers that the pact “represents your pledge to use all the tools at your disposal at the global level to solve problems – before those problems overwhelm us.”

The secretary-general said he knows reaching agreement will be difficult. “But,” he said, “it is possible.”

A sense that things are ‘fundamentally broken’

Time, Guterres says, is against the United Nations and countries that support the return of united global action. Perhaps that is why his words grow more dire each year.

He points to new conflicts like Ukraine, more intense geopolitical tensions, signs of “climate breakdown,” a cost-of-living crisis and the debt distress and default that is bedeviling more countries than ever.

“We cannot inch towards agreement while the world races towards a precipice,” Guterres said. “We must bring a new urgency to our efforts, and a shared sense of common purpose.”

That’s easier said than done, as this week’s high-level meetings — and the priorities and problems they raise — make clear.

Can all the U.N.’s far-flung nations unite behind a common purpose? Whether that happens in the next 12 months remains to be seen. Certainly there is support. Consider Bahamas Foreign Minister Frederick Audley Mitchell, addressing the global gathering Friday night. “Now, more than ever, we need the United Nations,” he said.

Richard Gowan, the U.N. director for the International Crisis Group, said Guterres’ state-of-the-world speech spoke “truth to power” and was an especially blunt and bleak assessment.

“He really seems to think that the multilateral system is fundamentally broken,” Gowan said. The secretary-general seems frustrated after years of difficult dealings with the divided U.N. Security Council, Gowan said, alluding to the United States and its Western allies increasingly clashing with Russia and China.

“Sometimes it feels like Guterres no longer believes in the institution he leads,” Gowan said.

For Guterres, then, the Summit of the Future presents an opportunity but also a possible demarcation point — between a brighter future and a more desolate one, between a chance at progress and the prospect of a closing door. To Gowan, it will be “a last chance for U.N. members to get their act together and rethink how the multilateral system could work.”

And that could present a potentially insurmountable peak for the world’s most senior diplomat to scale. Mark Malloch-Brown, president of the Open Society Foundations and a former U.N. deputy secretary-general, pronounced Guterres’ keynote speech to world leaders “a brave and frank admission that the U.N. is broken — no longer fit for purpose.”

“The problem is that precisely because of that, nobody may hear him,” Malloch-Brown said. “He may be speaking to an empty room.”

1 Police Officer Killed, 1 Wounded in Kosovo

One policeman was killed and another wounded in north Kosovo early Sunday, according to authorities, during an armed attack on a patrol as it approached a blocked road near the border with Serbia.

“As soon as they arrived in the vicinity of the place where the blockade was reported, the police units were attacked from several different positions with an arsenal of firearms, including hand grenades and shoulder-fired missiles,” police said in a statement.

Kosovo’s prime minister, Albin Kurti, was quick to condemn the attack, calling the ambush an act of terrorism.

“The attackers are professionals with masks and armed with heavy weapons. We condemn this criminal and terrorist attack,” Kurti wrote on social media.

“Organized crime with political, financial and logistical support from officials in Belgrade is attacking our country,” he added.

Tensions have been smoldering for months following the Pristina government’s decision to install ethnic Albanian mayors in four Serb-majority municipalities in May.

The action has triggered one of the worst bouts of unrest in the north in years, with demonstrations, the arrest of three Kosovar police officers by Serbia and a riot by Serb protesters that saw more than 30 NATO peacekeepers injured.

Kosovo remains overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Albanians, but in the northern stretches of the territory near the border with Serbia, ethnic Serbs remain the majority in several municipalities.

The tussle in the north is just the latest in a long list of incidents to rock the area since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 — nearly a decade after NATO forces helped push Serbian troops from the former province during a bloody war that killed around 13,000 people.

Belgrade — along with its key allies China and Russia — has refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence, effectively preventing it from having a seat in the United Nations.

Розвідка Британії прокоментувала рішення уряду РФ обмежити експорт бензину і дизелю

Як заявили в розвідці, цей крок майже напевно ще більше обмежить поставки на світовому ринку і, ймовірно, матиме найбільший вплив на країни, які зараз залежать від поставок палива з Росії

Illegal Migration to Greece Surges, Sparking Measures to Shield Borders

Thousands of migrants have made their way illegally into Greece from Turkey, using rickety rafts to cross the Aegean, the narrow waterway between the two countries.

United Nations data in September shows sea arrivals have already more than doubled the roughly 12,000 migrants who were caught trying to illegally enter Greece last year. Illegal entries along the land border and the massive Evros River that snakes along the rugged frontiers of the two countries in the northeast also count record increases of more than 65 percent in the last two months alone, police said.

“Much of this has to do with favorable weather conditions, and the receding levels of the Evros River that makes crossings easier,” said Dimitris Petrovic, Deputy Regional Governor of Evros, Greece.

Many of the migrants are spotted and rounded up by soldiers and border police, but police officials such as Alexandros Sfeliniotis said human traffickers have become increasingly ruthless.

“They have even begun recruiting minors, paying them tiny sums of money to lead caravans of migrants through illegal crossings,” he said. “They know that minors can get off the hook easier than adult smugglers.”

Illegal migration has always been a thorn in relations between Greece and Turkey. In the past, the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis went as far as accusing Turkey and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan of instrumentalizing migration — pushing migrants to Europe in a bid to win more concessions and aid from the European Union.

But as tensions between the two NATO members have eased in recent months, a meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the recent U.N. General Assembly showed strong willingness by the long-standing rivals to work together to stem illegal migration.

“We have to join forces and work together if we are going to crack down on smugglers,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

For Greece, this has meant an increased deployment of forces along the Evros River, as well as beefed up patrols across the Aegean Sea. Greek and Turkish coast guards that once refused to cooperate are now in contact again, and migration ministers on both sides are talking.

The endgame, senior government officials tell VOA, is to revise a key deal that the EU stitched together with Turkey in 2016, allowing for the return of the tens of thousands of illegal migrants to Turkey in exchange for more financial aid and visa-free entry of its Turkish travelers to Europe.

With relations between Greece and Turkey frequently see-sawing, the outcome remains uncertain.

Both sides have ordered teams of senior officials to hash out a deal that could be signed by early December, when Mitsotakis and Erdogan meet for a summit in Greece.

Ukraine War Pushes NATO to Bolster Drone-Tackling Expertise

A small drone flits over opened earth, and an explosion appears on the video feed.

The drone has just dropped a grenade into a trench in Ukraine. The images were being projected on a giant screen in the Netherlands, in front of NATO military officers and defense company executives.

These drones being used against Ukrainian forces are “small, fast” and finding a way to defend against them is “complex,” says Willem Koedam, a former Dutch air force officer turned expert for NATO’s C-UAS unit, which looks at anti-drone defenses.

The solution may be complex, but it’s not impossible.

Representatives from 57 companies visited a military base in the Dutch town of Vredepeel to present their systems to the NATO brass.

The systems they offer are designed to counter threats ranging from off-the-shelf drones available to the public to the Iranian Shahed drones used by Russia’s forces.

Using nets

“The best way to kill a Shahed is a jet” — meaning a jet-propelled drone — said Ludwig Fruhauf, head of DDTS, a German firm specializing in anti-drone defenses.

A jet-powered drone flying at 500 kph would be able to intercept a propellor-driven Shahed-136 travelling at 180 kph, he explained. And jet devices are cheaper than the rocket-type defenses usually employed.

But threats persist from much smaller drones, which can be deadly or destructive for critical infrastructure such as power stations, said Matt Roper of the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency, the alliance’s tech and cyber hub.

In some cases, the best method is not to blow a drone out of the sky, which could cause collateral damage, but to catch or redirect it.

Argus Interception, another German company, has developed a sort of “fishing net” to be used against enemy devices.

The target first has to be detected by radar, camera or by monitoring frequencies used to guide it.

Once located, an interceptor drone is launched that fires the net over the hostile drone, allowing it to be captured. It is especially useful in protecting airports, Argus Interception boss Christian Schoening said.

For Romanian Air Force Captain Ionut-Vlad Cozmuta, however, that method may not be best against drones deployed by the Russian military close to Romanian airspace. Debris from some of them has been found in Romanian territory in recent weeks.

Romania, a NATO member, is keen to find ways to protect itself against possible drone attacks, and Cozmuta was carefully following the drone-defense exercises at the Vredepeel base.

He said signal “jamming” would be a solution, sending the device off-course rather than capturing it.

Big benefits

More aggressive than jamming is technology to seize control of an enemy drone and guide it to a new target or another destination.

But for that, NATO needs to establish a common standard allowing different anti-drone defense systems to speak to each other. That looks to now be in place with the adoption of a British system called Sapient.

Its use will bring “big benefits” to the alliance, a senior NATO officer in the NCI Agency, General Hans Folmer, told reporters.

No Ukrainian officer was present for the anti-drone exercises.

But NATO has “ongoing discussions” with the besieged country on these issues, said Claudio Palestini, a NATO science expert.

And the Ukrainians themselves “innovate on the ground all the time,” he said. 

«Якщо Україна не переможе Путіна, Росія піде далі» – польський політик

«Польща усвідомлює, що потрібно підтримувати Україну, але це має спиратись на здорові принципи» – Беата Шидло

Ukraine’s Peace Plan, Grain Deal ‘Not Realistic,’ Lavrov Says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov castigated Ukraine’s proposed 10-point peace plan and spurned a revival of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, calling both “not realistic.”

Lavrov addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday at the annual gathering of world leaders at U.N. headquarters in New York. In a week of global diplomacy, Ukraine and its Western allies sought to rally support for Kyiv on its defensive war against Russian aggression.

“It is completely not feasible,” Lavrov said of the peace plan initiated by Kyiv. “It is not possible to implement this. It’s not realistic and everybody understands this, but at the same time, they say this is the only basis for negotiations.”

Lavrov said the conflict would be resolved on the battlefield if Kyiv and the West persisted in that position.

Lavrov also said Moscow left the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was allowing for safe passage of Ukrainian agricultural exports, because promises made to Russia had not been fulfilled.

He said the latest U.N. proposals to revive that export corridor also were “simply not realistic.”

Ukraine attacks Sevastopol

Meanwhile, Ukraine targeted the Crimean-occupied city of Sevastopol on Saturday morning, leaving the city of 500,000 under an air alert for about an hour after debris from intercepted missiles fell near a pier, the Russian-installed regional governor Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on the messaging app Telegram.

It was the second missile assault in as many days after Friday’s Ukrainian strike on the headquarters of Russia’s navy in Crimea that reportedly left dozens dead and wounded, including senior fleet commanders.

In an interview Friday with VOA’s Ukrainian Service, Ukraine’s intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, said at least nine people were killed and 16 were injured, among them, were Russian generals.

“Among the wounded is the commander of the group, Colonel-General [Alexander] Romanchuk, in a very serious condition. The chief of staff, Lieutenant General [Oleg] Tsekov, is comatose,” he said.

Alexander Romanchuk is the commander of a group of Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region and was promoted to the rank of colonel-general in 2023. Lieutenant-General Oleg Tsekov is the commander of the 200 OMSBR Coastal Forces of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy.

Budanov did not confirm reports about the alleged death of the commander of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, Admiral Viktor Sokolov.

Budanov’s claims could not be independently verified.

Counteroffensive makes gains, says think tank

Ukraine has increasingly targeted naval facilities in Crimea in recent weeks, while its counteroffensive makes slow gains in the east and south of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said Thursday.

Military experts say it is essential for Ukraine to maintain its attacks on targets in Crimea to degrade Russian morale and weaken its military.

The attack came a day after Russia pounded cities across Ukraine with missiles and artillery strikes, killing at least five people.

Russia’s most prestigious airborne regiments experience “extreme attrition and high turnover” rates in Russia’s deployed military, including its senior ranks, the British Defense Ministry said Saturday in its daily intelligence update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Three successive commanders of the 247th Guards Air Assault Landing Regiment have either resigned or been killed, it said. First, Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky, a unit commander, was killed near the beginning of the Russian invasion. Then, Colonel Vasily Popov was “likely killed” in the “heavily contested Orikhiv sector,” early this month, according to the intelligence report.

Colonel Pytor Popov “likely resigned” his command of the 247th in August, the report said, after protesting the military’s failure to recover the bodies of Russian casualties.

‘We keep giving them hell’

Meanwhile, Ukrainian commanders told Reuters on Saturday that their use of heavy weapons provided by the West in the fierce battle raging on the outskirts of Bakhmut is inflicting significant damage on enemy lines.

Ukrainian troops said the Western-supplied 155-millimeter howitzers were key to capturing the village of Klishchiivka last week.

Unit commander Oleksandr said Ukrainian armed forces “very much rely” on heavy artillery, including the Polish-made Krab gun and the U.S.-made M109 self-propelled howitzer.

“Even one gun can completely turn the situation around. An attack can be stopped with one such gun,” he said.

“They [the Russians] hate our hardware. That’s what we gather from our intercepts. We hear that we keep giving them hell and they keep wondering how much ammunition we have left,” he said.

Ukrainian commanders have described the gains by Ukrainian forces of the villages of Klischiivka and nearby Andriivka as steppingstones to taking back Bakhmut, which fell to the Russians after months of some of the war’s heaviest fighting.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and senior officials have praised the advances and defied Western commentary that the counteroffensive is progressing too slowly.

Ostap Yarish of VOA’s Ukrainian Service contributed to this story. Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

 VOA Immigration Weekly Recap, Sept. 17–23

Editor’s note: Here is a look at immigration-related news around the U.S. this week. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team:

Texas City Sees Jump in Irregular Migrant Crossings

U.S. immigration authorities reported a significant uptick in unauthorized border crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday, particularly in areas such as Eagle Pass, Texas, where the mayor has issued a state of emergency. U.S. Border Patrol officers apprehended about 9,000 migrants along the entire border in a 24-hour period, according to media reports on Wednesday. VOA asked the Border Patrol to confirm the number of apprehensions, but an official, who spoke on background, said they were waiting to release monthly migrant encounter numbers. VOA’s immigration reporter Aline Barros has the story.

New York Mayor Urges UN Leaders to Act on Migration Crisis

New York City is hosting world leaders at the United Nations this week. But it is also facing a crisis because border states such as Texas are sending hundreds of migrants to the city each day. Jorge Agobian has the story in this report narrated by Aline Barros.

Biden Grants Protection to Hundreds of Thousands of Venezuelans

The Biden administration said Wednesday that it was granting temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are already in the country as it grapples with growing numbers of people fleeing the South American country and elsewhere to arrive at the U.S. border with Mexico. The Associated Press reports. Watch the VOA60 American story.

VOA in Photos:

Migrants seeking asylum in the United States cross a razor-wire fence near a border wall on the banks of the Rio Bravo, as it’s known in Mexico, on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Sept. 18, 2023.

Immigration around the world

VOA60 Africa – UNHCR said over 1,200 children have died in Sudanese refugee camps since May

More than 1,200 children have died in refugee camps since May, while thousands of newborns are likely to die across the war-torn country by year’s end, the United Nations said Tuesday.

Rights Groups, Refugees Wary of Thailand’s New Asylum Program

Days before Thailand launches a new protection program for foreign asylum-seekers, rights groups and refugees are expressing concern that many worthy hopefuls will be turned down or feel too frightened of arrest and deportation to even apply. Story by Zsombor Peter.

Migrants Burst Into Southern Mexico Asylum Office Demanding Papers

Migrants, mostly from Haiti, burst into an asylum office in southern Mexico on Monday, demanding papers. Throngs of migrants knocked over metal barricades and rushed into the office in the city of Tapachula, pushing past National Guard officers and police stationed at the office. Some of the migrants were trampled in the rush.

Italy Toughens Asylum Laws Amid Surge in Migrant Arrivals

Italy’s government Monday passed measures to build new migrant detention centers and allow for the rapid deportation of failed asylum-seekers. Italy is facing another surge in migrant arrivals on the small island of Lampedusa. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Protesters Urge Compassion for Migrants Left in Limbo in Australia

Campaigners are urging Australia to allow thousands of migrants whose asylum claims were rejected under a controversial policy to stay. A weeklong protest starts Monday outside the offices of Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil over the cases of up to 12,000 asylum-seekers who have spent more than a decade on temporary bridging visas but face the threat of deportation. Produced by Phil Mercer.

European Leaders Visit Lampedusa

European Union Commission President Ursula von de Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni toured a migrant center Sunday on the small Italian island of Lampedusa. The center was recently overwhelmed with almost 7,000 migrants in a 24-hour period, a total that is nearly equivalent to the number of people who live on the island. VOA News reports.

News brief

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the extension and redesignation of Afghanistan for temporary protected status for 18 months, from November 21 to May 20, 2025, because of  continuing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Afghanistan that prevent individuals from safely returning.

Germany’s Scholz Asks Poland to Clarify Cash-for-Visas Affair

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on the Polish government Saturday to clarify allegations about a cash-for-visas deal for migrants that has roiled Polish politics, as a debate about immigration heats up in Germany.

The demand from Scholz marks stepped-up rhetoric from Poland’s powerful western neighbor, coming just days after sources said Germany summoned the Polish ambassador and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser spoke to her Polish counterpart on the topic.

Since earlier this month, the Polish government has been facing accusations by opposition parties that it was complicit in a system in which migrants received Polish visas at an accelerated pace without proper checks after paying intermediaries.

Arrivals to Poland could easily cross into other European Union countries given that borders are open.

Poland’s government has written to the European Union’s security commissioner to say that the scandal was an exaggerated “media fact” timed to discredit the ruling nationalists in a tough battle for re-election next month.

“The visa scandal that is taking place in Poland needs to be clarified,” Scholz said on Saturday at an event. “I don’t want people from Poland to simply be waved through.”

Scholz hinted that Germany could take steps to control the border with Poland.

In recent years, Germany has already coped with floods of migrants and asylum seekers from Syria and Ukraine.

In a letter to Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson demanded full clarification of the scandal of up to 350,000 purchased work visas for the EU-Schengen area, BILD reported this week.

In the letter made available to BILD, the commissioner points out that the behavior of the Polish authorities could mean “a violation of EU law and in particular of the EU Visa Code.”

США стурбовані гуманітарним становищем населення Карабаху – Блінкен

На запитання, чи підтримують США право Азербайджану на відновлення своєї територіальної цілісності, Блінкен відповів так: «Щодо суверенітету, територіальної цілісності та незалежності, ми захищаємо ці принципи у випадку з усіма зацікавленими сторонами»

HRW закликає захистити права мирного населення в Карабасі

«Після воєнної операції, проведеної Азербайджаном для відновлення контролю над регіоном, тисячі мирних жителів Нагірного Карабаху мають серйозні гуманітарні потреби» – правозахисники

Swedish Sinkhole Opens After Landslide

At least three people were injured early Saturday after a landslide in western Sweden resulted in the opening of a massive sinkhole.

Cars and at least one bus skidded off the E6 highway near the small Swedish town of Stenungsund.

The highway has been closed in both directions.

 Pope Says Migrants at Sea ‘Must Be Rescued’

“People who are at risk of drowning when abandoned on the waves must be rescued,” Pope Francis said Friday in Marseille, France, at a memorial dedicated to sailors and migrants. Francis described efforts to stop the migrants from being rescued as “gestures of hate.”

Migrants from Africa and the Middle East often board rickety watercraft to Europe in hopes of a better life there or elsewhere.

The first stop for many of them is often the Italian island of Lampedusa. Recently, the island has been overwhelmed with thousands of migrants.

Often the migrant boats are abandoned at sea by their smugglers.

Rescue groups are sometimes prohibited by some European countries from rescuing the migrants or are delayed in their rescue missions.

“And so this beautiful sea has become a huge cemetery, where many brothers and sisters are deprived even of the right to a grave,” Francis said Friday of the Mediterranean Sea, where tens of thousands of migrants have died.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church thanked the humanitarian groups that rescue migrants.

On Saturday, Francis will preside over the closing session in Marseille of a meeting of bishops and young people from around the Mediterranean region.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.

В океані супутника Юпітера виявили вуглець

Твердий діоксид вуглецю виявляли на Європі і раніше. Однак досі залишалося невідомим, чи утворився він на супутнику, чи потрапив туди внаслідок падіння метеоритів

Колишню лідерку ультраправих у Франції підозрюють у розкраданні коштів ЄС

Марін Ле Пен, яка очолювала партію з 2011 до 2021 року, а в 2022 році балотувалася від неї на посаду президента Франції, заявила, що звинувачення мають «насамперед політичний характер» і будуть оскаржені в суді

Канада запровадила новий пакет санкцій проти Росії

За даними МЗС Канади, під обмеження потрапили університети, громадські організації та фізичні особи

UK Trophy-Hunting Bill Fails; Southern African Countries Relieved

Southern African countries that allow trophy hunting are relieved after a bill seeking to ban the import of legally obtained wildlife trophies from Africa into the United Kingdom was blocked in the House of Lords this week.

The trophy-hunting bill, championed by conservationists, sailed through the House of Commons and appeared set to win approval in Britain’s House of Lords.

However, a group of peers successfully blocked the legislation, which would have banned the importation of wildlife trophies into the U.K.

A U.K.-based conservation biologist, Keith Lindsay, said it is a shame the bill did not succeed.

“It is [a] great injustice that unrelated peers in the British House of Lords can block the passage of legislation that was already approved by an overwhelming majority of elected MPs from all parts of the Commons and all parties,” Lindsay said. 

Peers who opposed the bill argued that politicians failed to listen to experts and ignored the science on trophy hunting.

Lindsay disagreed, saying there are scientists opposed to trophy hunting.

“There are in fact many biologists and conservationists who are concerned about the negative impact of selective hunting on wildlife populations that are already under pressure from poaching and land use conversion,” he said. “There are many communities in parts of Africa, other than a handful in southern Africa, who value their animals alive.”

Five southern African countries — Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe — released a statement Friday thanking the group of peers for blocking the proposed law.

Botswana’s Siyoka Simasiku, who was part of a committee of conservationists from southern African countries that traveled to the U.K. to lobby against the bill, was elated with the outcome.

“We are really happy that it has not gone through just for the reason that it was going to be detrimental to the gains that conservation has done over the years,” Simasiku said.

“We believe in sustainable utilization of biodiversity within our communities,” he said. “Our communities have actually, [from] generation to generation, protected wildlife within their area, which is why we see growth in wildlife numbers.”

Botswana has earned millions of dollars by allowing trophy hunters to shoot and kill a limited number of elephants and other animals each year.

Simasiku said that had the bill won approval in Britain, other Western countries would likely have followed suit.

“This was going to move to other countries that have ties with the U.K. and, at the end of the day, our communities will be at loss,” he said.

Despite the bill’s failure, Britain’s Labor Party is already leading calls to resurrect the legislation.

Ukraine Claims Responsibility for Striking Russian Navy Headquarters in Crimea

Ukraine claimed responsibility for a missile attack Friday on the headquarters of Russia’s navy in Crimea, delivering a major blow for Moscow as it suffers a string of attacks on the strategically significant port in recent months. 

“The headquarters of the fleet have been hit in an enemy attack,” said Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol. 

Video footage on social media showed plumes of thick smoke coming out of the Russian naval headquarters in the region.

“Ukraine’s defense forces launched a successful attack on the headquarters of the command of the Black Sea fleet of Russia in the temporarily occupied Sevastopol,” the Ukrainian army said on Telegram. 

According to Russia’s defense ministry, one serviceman was missing. The ministry reported that its historic headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet were damaged. 

The Crimean Peninsula was simultaneously hit by an “unprecedented cyberattack” on its internet providers, said Oleg Kryuchkov, an adviser to the Crimea governor.

Ukraine has increasingly targeted naval facilities in Crimea in recent weeks, while the brunt of its summer counteroffensive makes slow gains in the east and south of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said Thursday. 

Military experts say it is essential for Ukraine to keep up its attacks on targets in Crimea to degrade Russian morale and weaken its military.

The attack came a day after Russia pounded cities across Ukraine with missiles and artillery strikes, killing at least five people. 

A Russian attack injured 13 people in a town west of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, close to Ukraine’s eastern front, a local official said early Friday. 

Two airstrikes on the town caused a fire, Roman Padun, the administrative head of the town of Kurakhove, told public broadcaster Suspilne.

Russia and Ukraine have recently experienced “unusually intense” attacks “deep behind their lines,” the British Defense Ministry said Friday in its daily intelligence update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the last four days, the ministry said there have been reports of explosions at Russian logistics sites, air bases and command posts in Crimea, the Russian Krasnodar region and near Moscow.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said Thursday that Russian forces carried out aerial attacks on multiple cities overnight, killing at least two people. 

Ukraine’s military described the Russian action as a “massive missile attack on the civilian infrastructure of a number of regions.” 

Oleksandr Prokudin, the regional governor of Kherson, said a Russian strike hit a residential building, killing two people and injuring five others.

Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said on Telegram that debris fell on the Ukrainian capital after air defenses shot down Russian missiles.

Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko said seven people were injured and several buildings were damaged.

In northeastern Ukraine, the regional governor of Kharkiv, Oleh Syniehubov, said at least six Russian strikes hit the city of Kharkiv and damaged civilian infrastructure. 

Russia said Thursday it destroyed 19 Ukrainian drones over the annexed Crimean Peninsula and nearby Black Sea.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it downed three Ukrainian drones over the Kursk, Belgorod and Orlov regions of Russia. 

Poland tensions

On Friday, Poland’s prime minister told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy not to “insult” Poles, sustaining harsh rhetoric toward Kyiv despite the Polish president’s efforts to defuse a dispute over grain imports.

Brewing tensions between Poland and Ukraine over grain imports will not significantly affect good bilateral relations, Polish President Andrzej Duda said Friday at a business conference. “I have no doubt that the dispute over the supply of grain from Ukraine to the Polish market is an absolute fragment of the entire Polish-Ukrainian relations.” 

Tensions have been growing between Poland and Ukraine since Warsaw started it’s temporary ban on imports of grain from Ukraine to protect Polish farmers.

Ukraine pushed for a deal with Poland Thursday to end the grain restrictions.

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly this week, Zelenskyy said Kyiv is working to preserve land routes for the export of grain, but he added that the “political theater” surrounding the import of grain only helps Moscow.

“I … want to tell President Zelenskyy never to insult Poles again, as he did recently during his speech at the U.N.,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was quoted as saying by state-run news agency PAP.

Poland said Thursday it will only supply Ukraine with previously agreed upon deliveries of ammunition and armaments.  

The statement from a government spokesperson came a day after Morawiecki announced an end to weapons transfers to Ukraine as Poland works to arm itself “with the most modern weapons.” 

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

Відбулись «певні зміни» у ставленні польського суспільства до України – Рау

«Польща й надалі підтримуватиме Україну в її зусиллях щодо вступу до НАТО та Європейського союзу»

UN Report: Russian Repression of Dissidents, Civil Society Reaches Unprecedented Levels

A U.N. human rights expert says repression against dissidents and civil and political rights in the Russian Federation has reached unprecedented levels since the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In her first report as Special Rapporteur of human rights in Russia, Mariana Katzarova told the United Nations Human Rights Council that Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine “has been followed by a rapid deterioration of the human rights situation.”

She said the incremental and calculated restrictions on human rights in Russia over the past two decades “have culminated in the current state policy of criminalizing any actual or perceived dissent and bolstering support for the war” through censorship, state sponsorship propaganda, and state-controlled information sources.

During an interactive dialogue at the Council Thursday and Friday, Katzarova told delegates that Russian authorities had attempted to obstruct her work by denying her access to their territory and preventing her from meeting various stakeholders, including government officials, victims of human rights violations, civil society, and law enforcement.

“But this did not stop me from receiving information from almost 200 sources both within and outside Russia,” she said.

Between the start of the war in Ukraine and June of this year, she said over 20,000 people have been detained for participating in largely peaceful anti-war protests and more than 600 criminal lawsuits have been initiated against so-called “anti-war activity.”

“I have received credible reports of torture and ill-treatment against protesters, including allegations of rape and other sexual violence, committed by law enforcement officials against both women and men in detention,” she said.

Katzarova also said there has been a surge in politically motivated prosecutions, with over 500 new cases last year alone, noting that at least 82 such cases were initiated in the first seven months of this year.

“The indictment of Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich, on charges of espionage, highlights the recent use of such charges against investigative journalists and people with no access to state secrets,” she said.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Katzarova said Gershkovich’s case and those of political figures such as Alexei Navalny, journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, and Russian opposition politicians Ilya Yashin and Alexey Gorinov, highlight the importance of her mandate as a bridge to the Russian people.

She said she considered her mandate to be “a voice for the people of the Russian Federation … for the victims of civil society, for those who dare to speak out against the war in Ukraine and get really punished for that.”

She said she was prepared to listen to anybody in the Russian Federation and “to receive their submissions or their complaints or their grievances and bring them back to the Russian authorities and the international community.”

Katzarova called on the international community to continue to seek engagement with Russian authorities to secure the immediate release of all political prisoners and to put in place comprehensive policies to protect and enable the vital work of human rights defenders.

Russia boycotted the meeting. Most of the delegates participating in the discussion following the rapporteur’s presentation expressed concern about the worsening human rights situation in Russia.

They condemned crackdowns on opponents of the war in Ukraine. They lambasted Russia’s restrictions on civil society, and the silencing of journalists and human rights defenders who have spoken out against the war.

Several countries criticized Russia’s oppressive treatment of various minorities. They deplored recent attacks against LGBTQI persons and the denial of the rights of these groups.

While Russia chose not to confront its detractors, some allied countries came to its defense. Syria, for example, expressed full support for Russia’s position, calling the Rapporteur’s report “baseless, subjective, and full of misleading and baseless allegations.” It said the council should immediately end this destructive approach and states should stop interfering in Russia’s sovereign affairs.

The representative from Nicaragua rejected what she called the manipulation by the Special Rapporteur on Russia. She said the mandate was promoted by Western States who aim to destabilize Russia.

Cuba rejected the report as a selective politicized exercise against a specific country under the guise of human rights and without the consent of the concerned country.