Category Archive Думки

Зеленський повідомив, коли Україна почне підготовку інфраструктури для F-16

«Партнери знають, скільки літаків нам потрібно. Я вже отримав від деяких наших європейських партнерів розуміння щодо кількості – вона потужна»

Польща депортувала колишнього співробітника ФСБ, який просив притулку

Суд у Польщі вважає, що колишній співробітник ФСБ становить загрозу безпеці країни.

At UN, Belarus Shut Out in Bid for Security Council Seat

The U.N. General Assembly approved five new members for two-year terms on the organization’s powerful 15-nation Security Council on Tuesday, rejecting a bid from Belarus.

Algeria, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Slovenia and South Korea will start their terms on January 1, 2024.

The annual exercise held little excitement this year, as all but one seat was previously agreed on within regional blocs, setting up uncontested races. The only competition was between Belarus and Slovenia for a seat in the Eastern Europe Group. Slovenia defeated Belarus with 153 votes to 38.

“The race between Belarus and Slovenia is something of a litmus test for how U.N. members see East-West divisions now,” said Richard Gowan, U.N. director at the International Crisis Group and a long-time U.N. watcher, ahead of the vote.

Slovenia is a member of the European Union and NATO. Belarus is a close ally of Russia and has supported Moscow in its invasion of Ukraine, even agreeing to house Russian tactical nuclear weapons on its territory.

Slovenia, a small country in central Europe that was part of the former Yugoslavia, was a late entry, declaring its candidacy at the end of 2021 and campaigning intensively for about one year. Belarus, by contrast, announced its candidacy in 2007.

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon told reporters ahead of the vote that, if elected, Slovenia would act as a unifying force on the Security Council.

“And with tensions and divisions that we all face today between the major players in the international community, many countries especially the smaller ones which make up the majority of the U.N. membership, want to connect with trusted partners,” she said.

Even though nearly all the seats were uncontested, candidates still needed to win a two-thirds majority of votes cast to succeed.

South Korea was confirmed for its seat with 180 votes. It will be the first time it sits on the council at the same time as Japan and comes as the two countries are repairing their historically strained relations.

“Tokyo and Seoul probably share the view that the council is not doing its job holding the DPRK to account over its proliferation activity,” Gowan told VOA. “I think we will probably see Japan and South Korea adopt a fairly common approach to urging China and Russia to put more pressure on DPRK to stop launching missiles.”

North Korea has launched dozens of ballistic missiles this year and last week attempted to put a spy satellite in orbit – all in violation of numerous Security Council resolutions. China and Russia have blocked council action.

Guyana (191 votes) will take over the seat for Latin America and the Caribbean Group. Algeria, which received 184 votes, and Sierra Leone (188 votes) will represent the African Group on the council.

Sierra Leone’s foreign minister, David Francis, told reporters after their election that his country has made the successful transition from war to peace and would bring its unique experiences to the council.

“We bring hope to all the war-torn countries in the world – from Ukraine to Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Sudan, to Yemen, to Arab-Israeli, that it can be done,” he said.

There were no available seats this year in the regional bloc dedicated to countries in the Western Europe “and others” group.

In exercising their responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, the 15 nations on the Security Council have the power to authorize the use of force, deploy peacekeeping missions and impose sanctions.

On January 1, the five winners will replace exiting members Albania, Brazil, Ghana, Gabon and the United Arab Emirates. They will join non-permanent members Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland, which will remain on the council through 2024, along with permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Britain Says China Has Closed Unofficial Police Stations in UK

British Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said on Tuesday China had closed reported “police service stations” at sites across the United Kingdom and that an investigation had not revealed any illegal activity by the Chinese state at these sites.

Britain has previously said reports of undeclared police stations in the country were “extremely concerning” and that any intimidation on British soil of foreign nationals by China or other states was unacceptable.

China has denied operating any such stations and issued a statement contesting Tugendhat’s remarks via its embassy in London, saying the accusations of running police posts in the U.K. were a “complete political lie.”

British police have investigated claims made by the nongovernmental human rights organization Safeguard Defenders that such police stations were operating at three British sites, Tugendhat said in a written statement to parliament.

“I can confirm that they have not, to date, identified any evidence of illegal activity on behalf of the Chinese state across these sites,” he said.

“We assess that police and public scrutiny have had a suppressive impact on any administrative functions these sites may have had.”

The Chinese government has previously said there are centers outside China run by local volunteers, not Chinese police officers, that aim to help Chinese citizens renew documents and offer other services.

U.S. federal agents arrested two New York residents in April for allegedly operating a Chinese “secret police station” in the Chinatown district of Manhattan. China had said it firmly opposed what it called “the U.S.’s slanders and smears.”

The British government has said it was aware of about 100 such stations around the world.

“The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office have told the Chinese Embassy that any functions related to such ‘police service stations’ in the U.K. are unacceptable and that they must not operate in any form,” Tugendhat said.

“The Chinese Embassy have subsequently responded that all such stations have closed permanently. Any further allegations will be swiftly investigated in line with U.K. law.”

Asked about Tugendhat’s statement, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in London said in a statement translated from Mandarin by Reuters:

“There is simply no existence of so-called ‘overseas police posts.’ The facts have proven that the so-called ‘overseas police posts’ [are] a complete political lie, and politicians who speculate on this topic are purely in political manipulations.

“The Chinese government urges the U.K. government to stop spreading false information, to stop generating hype and slandering China.”

Golf: PGA Tour, European Tour and LIV Golf Announce Merger

The PGA Tour, European Tour and rival Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit announced a landmark agreement on Tuesday to merge and form a commercial entity to unify golf. 

Additionally, the three organizations said in a joint news release that they will work cooperatively to allow a process for any LIV Golf players to reapply for PGA Tour and DP World Tour membership following the 2023 season. 

“After two years of disruption and distraction, this is a historic day for the game we all know and love,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a joint news release. 

The LIV Golf series is bankrolled by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and critics have accused it of being a vehicle for the country to attempt to improve its reputation in the face of criticism of its human rights record. 

The announcement of the merger includes an agreement to end all pending litigation between the participating parties. 

Additionally, the Public Investment Fund will make a capital investment into the new entity to facilitate its growth and success. 

“Today is a very exciting day for this special game and the people it touches around the world,” said PIF Governor Yasir al-Rumayyan. “We are proud to partner with the PGA Tour to leverage PIF’s unparalleled success and track record of unlocking value and bringing innovation and global best practices to business and sectors worldwide.” 

The rival LIV Golf circuit launched in 2022 and lured some big-name players away from the rival circuits with staggering sums of money in 54-hole events that feature no cuts and paydays for every golfer. 

Among the more popular players who made the move to LIV Golf are Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson, former world number one Dustin Johnson, reigning PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka and 2022 British Open winner Cameron Smith. 

Russia Copying Iran to Evade Western Sanctions, Report Claims

Russia is seeking to copy Iran’s tactics in evading Western sanctions imposed on Moscow since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, according to a report from Britain’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), published June 6.

Ukraine’s allies, including the United States, the European Union, Britain, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, have imposed successively tougher sanctions on Russia, initially since its forceful annexation of Crimea in 2014. 

Russia sanctions

The measures have been significantly tightened since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, targeting the Russian Central Bank, its finance and military-industrial sectors, alongside the country’s significant oil and gas exports. Individuals close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the military have also faced asset freezes and travel bans.

The RUSI report, titled “Developing Bad Habits: What Russia Might Learn from Iran’s Sanctions Evasion,” says that “evidence is emerging of adaptations in Russia’s

financial and trade strategy.” 

“Examples include the switching of ownership of companies and properties to family members or affiliates, the use of trading companies to source foreign exchange to avoid the sanctions imposed on the Central Bank of Russia, and import substitution. … Alongside these steps, Russia is now gravitating further towards other states that have faced similarly sweeping restrictive measures or that facilitate sanctions evasion, to learn best practices, secure necessary services and establish trade relationships,” the report says.


In a televised speech on June 4, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia is using a network of suppliers to evade international sanctions designed to prevent it from making missiles and other weapons.

“Unfortunately, the terrorist state manages to obtain the technologies of the world through a network of suppliers, manages to bypass international sanctions,” Zelenskyy said. “And we must close all such routes — together with our partners — so that there are no products of the free world in Russian missiles, in Russian weapons.”

He added, “Necessary steps will be taken.” 

Russia has procured drones from Iran and has used them to attack cities across Ukraine.

“In response — and demonstrating the seriousness with which Ukraine’s allies are treating this growing relationship — Western allies are increasingly targeting Iranian entities with sanctions,” the RUSI report says.


Russia is rapidly learning to adapt to the sanctions, said Tom Keatinge, a co-author of the report.

“In particular, sourcing the kind of electronic components they need to support their military, that’s the first thing,” he told VOA. “The second thing is obviously, they’ve had to look for new markets for their hydrocarbons, their oil exports. That’s a key revenue generator for the country.”

Russia said its economy shrank by 2.1% in 2022 — less than many expected —although some analysts question the reliability of the government figures. 

Russian oil

Meanwhile, imports of Russian crude oil by China and India hit an all-time high in May. Analysts said buyers took advantage of discounted prices. In December, Western nations imposed a price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian crude oil. The U.S. Treasury said that has resulted in a more than 40% drop in oil revenue in the first quarter of 2023.

The sanctions only apply to Western governments and companies trading with Russia.

“And therefore, if you’re a bank in India, you can perfectly well have a financial connection with a Russian bank,” Keatinge said.

Nevertheless, most global trade is still conducted in U.S. dollars. So, how has Russia circumvented attempts to strangle its economy? 

Iran’s playbook

Keatinge said the Kremlin is increasingly looking to Iran as a model on how to evade sanctions. Tehran has been subject to various Western sanctions since 1979 over its nuclear and missile programs and its support for terrorist groups, which Iran denies.

“Iran — as a hydrocarbon economy trying to export oil — has learned a lot of tricks over the recent years that we do see Russia start to employ. So, for example, shadow fleets of tankers — so this kind of switching oil between tankers in the middle of the night, with location devices switched off. But also using front companies in places like Turkey or the UAE to try and hide the origin of trade,” Keatinge told VOA.

Last month, Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB, opened an office in Tehran. The two countries have begun connecting their financial systems to facilitate transactions outside the global SWIFT payment system. Russian banks were ejected from the SWIFT network in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year, while Iranian banks were first excluded in 2012 before being readmitted four years later as part of the JCPOA nuclear agreement. Iran was again ejected from SWIFT in 2019, following the reimposition of sanctions by then-U.S. President Donald Trump.


The RUSI report draws parallels between the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, which is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, and the Wagner Group, a private army with close links to the Kremlin.

“Iran’s funding and resourcing of Hezbullah is reciprocated in numerous ways, including through support for the state’s intermediary oil trading schemes. Such joint ventures or marriages of convenience between rogue states and their proxies may possibly be mirrored in the ways in which private military companies patronized by Russia advance Russian interests (and enable the circumvention of sanctions) globally,” the report says.


How can Ukraine’s allies prevent Russia from evading the sanctions? The private sector is the front line of compliance, Keatinge noted.

“The private sector has had to scramble to get itself in a position to ensure that it knows who its customers are, it knows who it’s exporting things to, it knows what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. And so, the result is that there are huge gaps in the system,” Keatinge said.

“We see that in the way that companies are still exporting electronics to places like Kazakhstan and celebrating the fact that their exports have gone up without thinking that perhaps Kazakhstan is just a cutout on the way to Russia,” he said.


The report urges the West to educate the private sector on detecting illegal trades. It warns that Moscow will increasingly seek to use Iran’s playbook as it tries to circumvent sanctions.

“We need to look at countries like Iran to learn how did they shape-shift, how did they change, (in order) to anticipate what Russia might do. There has been a lax attitude towards sanctions, particularly across Europe, in the years gone by. And that has to change,” Keatinge said.

Австралія може передати Україні 41 винищувач Hornet – ЗМІ

Hornet – винищувачі четвертого покоління. Як пише Financial Review, у разі успіху переговорів літаки можуть бути приведені в бойову готовність за чотири місяці

European Court Condemns Russia Over Navalny 2020 Poisoning

Europe’s top rights court said Tuesday condemned Russia for failing to properly investigate the 2020 poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny which the West says was an assassination bid.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said Russia had notably failed “to explore the allegations of a possible political motive for the attempted murder, as well as possible involvement of state agents,” unanimously finding Russia had violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

It said Russia had refused to open criminal proceedings into the poisoning, which led to Navalny falling into a coma and being put on life support.

The anti-corruption campaigner, seen by supporters as a potential political rival of President Vladimir Putin, fell ill while on a domestic flight from Siberia.

Navalny was later evacuated to Germany where he recovered. He has been behind bars since he returned to Moscow in early 2021.

The ECHR noted that tests by the German government had shown “definite proof” of the presence of the Soviet-era chemical nerve agent Novichok in Navalny’s system.

The court said the inquiry by Russia was not open to scrutiny and Navalny had not been allowed to participate.

‘Not adequate’

The investigation was not “capable of leading to the establishment of the relevant facts and the identification and, if appropriate, punishment of those responsible,” it said.  

“It (the probe) therefore could not be considered adequate.”

Russia was ordered to pay Navalny $43,000 in damages.

The ECHR is part of the pan-European rights body the Council of Europe from which Russia was expelled in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine last year.

It still has a backlog of cases filed by Russian nationals before then and is continuing to issue verdicts.

The ECHR says Russia has a binding legal obligation to implement its judgements concerning Moscow’s actions or violations up until 16 September 2022.

Russia joined the Council of Europe under the presidency of president Boris Yeltsin, when the country was mired in post-Soviet chaos but also amid some optimism over its future within Europe.

One of the crucial consequences of its bid for membership was that Russia imposed a moratorium on use of the death penalty which remains in place to this day.

Navalny and his supporters say he was poisoned by a hit squad from the FSB security service sent by the Kremlin to eliminate him.

While recuperating in Germany, Navalny even called up one of the men he alleges was sent to poison him, a scene memorably captured in the Oscar-winning documentary “Navalny” about his case.

Navalny, 47, is currently held in the IK-6 penal colony in the Vladimir region of Russia, with concerns growing over his health.

He has been repeatedly sent by the prison authorities into a punishment cell known by its acronym of SHIZO.

He serving a nine-year prison sentence on embezzlement and other charges that supporters say were fabricated in retaliation for him daring to organize protests against Putin and allege corruption by the president and his inner circle.

Navalny is soon set to go on trial in a new “extremism” case, and faces a further 35 years in prison.

In a message for his 47th birthday this month, Navalny insisted he was in a “good mood” despite living in a “hellhole” and missing his family.

“Life works in such a way that social progress and a better future can only be achieved if a certain number of people are willing to pay the price for their right to have beliefs,” he said.

ЄСПЛ присудив Навальному 40 тисяч євро компенсації через відмову Москви розслідувати його отруєння

Європейський суд з прав людини присудив 40 тисяч євро компенсації російському опозиціонеру Олексію Навальному за фактичну відмову Москви розслідувати його ймовірне отруєння. Гроші має виплатити російська держава.

Навального госпіталізували 20 серпня 2020 року до лікарні в Омську з симптомами тяжкого отруєння. Він проходив лікування в берлінському шпиталі. Фахівці встановили, що політик міг бути отруєний російською отрутою. Прихильники Навального звинуватили у замаху ФСБ та владу країни.

Згідно з рішенням ЄСПЛ, влада була зобов’язана провести розслідування. Суд ухвалив, що слідство не вивчило твердження про можливий політичний мотив замаху, про можливу участь у ньому державних агентів, і не простежило за повідомленнями про застосування речовини, ідентифікованої як хімічна зброя, попри те, що її використання порушує не лише міжнародне, а й російське законодавство.

Крім того, навіть формальна перевірка, проведена російською владою, не була відкритою та не враховувала право жертви на участь у розгляді.

Згідно з взятими на себе раніше міжнародними зобов’язаннями, Росія зобов’язана виконувати рішення ЄСПЛ у справах, взятих на розгляд до 16 вересня 2022 року. Москва відмовляється це робити. Свою роль у ймовірному замаху на Навального Кремль заперечує.

Normandy Marks D-Day’s 79th Anniversary, Honors WWII Veterans

An overwhelming sound of gunfire and men’s screams. That’s how World War II veteran Marie Scott described D-Day, as Tuesday’s ceremonies got underway in honor of those who fought for freedom in the largest naval, air and land operation in history.

This year’s tribute to the young soldiers who died in Normandy also reminds veterans, officials and visitors what Ukraine faces today.

On Tuesday, the whistling sound of the wind accompanied many reenactors who came to Omaha Beach at dawn to mark the 79th anniversary of the assault that led to the liberation of France and Western Europe from Nazi control. Some brought bunches of flowers; others waved American flags.

Scott lived it all through her ears. She was just 17 when she was posted as communication operator in Portsmouth, Britain. Her job was to pass on messages between men on the ground and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and senior officers who were supervising the operation.

“I was in the war. I could hear gunfire, machine guns, bombing aircraft, men screaming, shouting, men giving orders,” she recalled.

“After a few moments of horror, I realized what was happening … and I thought, well, you know, there’s no time for horror. You’ve got a job to do. So get on with it. Which is what I did.”

Now about to turn 97, Scott said D-Day was a “pivotal point” in her life.

“As a noncombatant, I was still in the war and I realized the enormity of war. People were dying in that moment.”

Scott said she was “disgusted” that another war was now raging on the European continent following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“For me, war should only be undertaken if it’s absolutely, if there’s no other way of solving the problem. It’s an atrocity. That’s how I feel,” she said.

British veteran Mervyn Kersh, who landed on D-Day on Gold Beach, said Western allies should send maximum military aid to Ukraine: “The only way to stay free is to be strong.”

Kersh, 98, added with a sense of humor: “I’m still in the reserve, I’m waiting to go to Ukraine now. Next job.”

On Tuesday, a ceremony took place at the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach, which is home to the graves of 9,386 United States soldiers, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing are inscribed 1,557 names. Some of those named have since been recovered and identified.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Mark Milley took part in the commemoration alongside WWII veterans.

The Normandy celebrations were also a chance for Gen. Milley to linger with troops who consider him one of their own, as he winds down his own four-decade military career. The chairman held commands in both the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division, and the Normandy fields, towns and causeways are these divisions’ hallowed ground.

Hundreds of current soldiers from both units were there, some on leave with beers in hand, some jumping out of aircraft as their predecessors did 79 years before.

This was Milley’s last Normandy visit as their top commander – and as he walked through Sainte-Mere-Eglise, known as the first town to be liberated from Nazi occupation, attended commemorative football games or spoke at ceremonies, it felt like the general stopped to talk to and give a commemorative coin to every last one of them.

An international ceremony was later scheduled at the nearby British Normandy Memorial in the presence of officials from Germany and the nine principal Allied nations: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, Norway and the U.S. French Minister of Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace were expected to attend.

Many visitors came to the American Cemetery ahead of Tuesday’s ceremonies to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives.

Jean-Philippe Bertrand, a visitor from the southern French city of Marseille, walked through the countless lines of white crosses Monday. “It’s unimaginable to make such a sacrifice for my freedom, for my son’s freedom,” he said.

“You hear about it on the news and you see the pictures. But once you’re here and you see the reality and the sacrifice that has been made for our beautiful country — I wanted to make the trip once in my life to thank all these people to whom we owe so much,” he added.

German professor Andreas Fuchs, who is teaching French in Berlin, brought students ages 10 to 12 to Normandy via an exchange program.

“It’s very important for children to have a moment in their lives to understand the liberation of Europe. And to know what peace has been for 80 years,” he said.

Колишнього агента ФБР, що працював на радянську і російську розвідки, знайшли мертвим у в’язниці США – ЗМІ

Роберт Ганссен помер, найімовірніше, природною смертю, заходи з його реанімації не дали результату

Latest in Ukraine: Dam Blown Up in Southern Ukraine

Latest developments:

Britain's defense ministry said Tuesday that during the previous 48 hours "there has been a substantial increase in fighting along numerous sectors of the front, including those which have been relatively quiet for several months."
Ukraine's ambassador to the Vatican said he hopes a visit from Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the pope's peace envoy, will help in "finding appropriate answers" in the name of "just peace."

Ukraine and Russia accused each other of blowing up a major dam Tuesday near Kherson in southern Ukraine.

The destruction of the Kakhovka dam in an area of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces prompted evacuation warnings for people living along the Dnipro River.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called an emergency meeting of his National Security and Defense Council to discuss the situation.

“The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam only confirms for the whole world that they must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “Not a single meter should be left to them, because they use every meter for terror. It’s only Ukraine’s victory that will return security. And this victory will come. The terrorists will not be able to stop Ukraine with water, missiles or anything else.”

The head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Telegram that Russia’s destruction of the dam was “ecocide” and a war crime.

Russian officials said Ukrainian strikes damaged the dam.

Ukraine’s military also said Tuesday it destroyed all 35 cruise missiles that Russia launched in an early morning attack. The Ukrainian defense ministry said most of the missiles were directed at Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

On Monday, there was heavy fighting in the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Reuters that Ukraine is weapon-ready for its much-anticipated counteroffensive against Russia but remained mum as to whether it already has — or when it will — begin.

Kuleba expressed confidence that Ukraine’s planned assault against Russia will turn the tide of the war and will allow Ukraine to reclaim its territories from Russia. He said such a victory will usher Ukraine into NATO.

Membership in the military alliance would “probably” only be possible for Ukraine after the end of active hostilities, he said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last month that Ukraine joining NATO with the war ongoing was “not on the agenda.”

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

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Reuters that Ukraine is weapon-ready for its much-anticipated counteroffensive against Russia but remained mum as to whether it already has — or when it will — begin.

Law Protecting Independence of Slovenian Public TV to Take Effect

A new management team could be announced at Slovenia’s public broadcaster RTV in the coming weeks, as a new law takes effect.

On Monday, a newly formed RTV Council — which has the power to name RTV SLO’s chief executive and approve production plans — met for the first time.

The body was unable to meet until the Constitutional Court issued its ruling on some parts of the law, the Act on RTV Slovenia, that were being contested. 

Passed by Slovenia’s center-left government, the law is designed to protect public media from political interference. The reform also restructures the management of RTV from two governing councils into a single, 17-member decision-making body.

The changes were proposed when Slovenia’s center-left government took power in 2022, after journalists and media analysts warned that political interference in RTV under the last administration risked damaging the broadcaster’s credibility.

Prime Minister Robert Golob said in May that enforcement of the law means “that politics is withdrawing from managing RTV Slovenia and giving its employees the necessary autonomy.”

The Vienna-based media group, the International Press Institute or IPI also welcomed the enforcement of the law.

Calling it a “long overdue and positive step forward for a troubled public broadcaster,” IPI Europe Advocacy Officer Jamie Wiseman told VOA that it “finally creates the legal framework for RTV to depoliticize its management structures, limit interference and slowly regain its independence.”

He pointed out, however, that several challenges at RTV remain “that will take sustained and systemic efforts to address, including a staffing crisis, serious financial problems, internal division and public distrust.”

Many journalists and academics agree with that assessment.

The European Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution condemning Slovenia’s previous center-right government for attempts to discredit public and privately owned media. It called on Slovenia, which is part of the EU, to “cease all political interference in (RTV) editorial policy.”

However, the leader of the opposition and former Prime Minister Janez Jansa responded to the court’s ruling on RTV via Twitter, saying, “If such obvious cheating is possible even at the Constitutional Court, then no one can expect a just trial.” 

Jansa had repeatedly accused the broadcaster of bias, and his center-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) had unsuccessfully challenged the law at a referendum in November, arguing that it was passed solely to change the leadership of RTV.

At the referendum more than 62 percent of voters supported the law.

On May 31, a group of protesters led by Pavel Rupar, a former member of parliament for the SDS, gathered outside the broadcaster’s main office to protest the change of management, saying RTV should represent “plurality.”

And last week the outgoing head of the RTV Council, Peter Gregorcic, appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, saying that the Constitutional Court failed to protect the legal position of RTV leadership.

Government pressure

Slovenia’s RTV has come under pressure from ruling parties since the country gained independence in 1991.

But Slavko Splichal, a professor of communications at the University of Ljubljana, said, the pressure was never as bad as under Jansa’s administration.

The implementation of the law, said Splichal, will end “a catastrophic situation” at RTV in the past two years which had turned the broadcaster into “a propaganda tool of the SDS.”

During that time, the former RTV Council, nominated mostly by then center-right parliament members, elected Andrej Grah Whatmough as the RTV Slovenia CEO.

Under Whatmough’s leadership, a number of programs were cancelled, shortened or moved to a less prominent channel. In July 2022, he named Uros Urbanija as director of the broadcaster’s TV unit, a move that sparked protests from staffers and the Association of Journalists of Slovenia.

Urbanija was director of the government communication office under Jansa and during that time his department alleged bias at RTV and temporarily stopped financing the state press agency STA.

In August, Urbanija told VOA that he was not a member of any political party, nor has he ever worked for one, adding that his position at the government’s communication office was purely professional.

Whatmough too has dismissed claims of political interference under the previous government, saying in interviews he is not connected to the SDS and is acting solely as a professional.

Staffers warned of consequences

During the changes last year, 38 staffers at RTV received warnings of possible dismissal if they breached their contracts.

The warning letters came after staff entered a studio during a live broadcast to show support for two colleagues, including anchor Sasa Krajnc, whom they said were under pressure from TV director Urbanija.

Krajnc has remained in his position as anchor of the main evening TV news program but says the number of his slots have almost halved.

“We hope that after the new management takes over professional standards will be reinstated, that respect of employees will return and that that program will be improved so that viewership will rise,” Krajnc told VOA, adding that in his 20 years at RTV he has never seen such a decline of standards as under the outgoing leadership.

Krajnc said that viewership of most news programs has fallen over the past two years, although the exact numbers are not publicly available.

The management of RTV did not respond to VOA’s request for the latest viewership figures.

Splichal said that the new RTV leadership will need to address digitalization and find ways to attract younger viewers. He added too that the new law may not prevent the possibility of political pressure in the future.

“The new RTV Council is not nominated by parliament directly, but parliament still has most say in it indirectly,” he said, explaining that some institutions that nominate council members — such as National Council for Culture — are nominated by parliament.

“So, the risk of political interference in the program is still there,” said Splichal.

Wiseman said that if the new system at RTV is properly implemented “this would represent a much-needed boost for independent journalism and media freedom in Slovenia.”

At Normandy D-Day Celebrations, Echoes of Ukraine’s Looming Fight

While U.S. military officers here caution against too direct a comparison between the 1944 D-Day landings and Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive, the echoes of what Kyiv faces today are a dominant theme of this year’s commemorations of the young U.S. soldiers who died on the Normandy beaches nearly 80 years ago. 

For days the villages and towns surrounding Omaha and Utah beaches have held parades, memorial events, flyovers and parachute demonstrations to build up to the annual celebration of D-Day, the launch of Operation Overlord. The June 6, 1944, invasion marked the beginning of the Allies’ massive ground invasion which would eventually lead to Germany’s surrender and the end of World War II in Europe. 

The celebration is taking place as Ukraine prepares to launch its own counteroffensive against Russia — an impending fight for which many of those same allied forces have now provided billions of dollars in weapons and training to Kyiv’s soldiers to best prepare them to win. 

“There’s echoes of that of course,” said Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Mark Milley. However, he cautioned against making a direct comparison to World War II’s Normandy invasion, where more than 150,000 troops made landfall in Normandy in a 24-hour period and millions eventually fought across Europe to defeat the Nazis. 

The goal “is certainly the same, to liberate occupied territory and to free a country that has been unjustly attacked by an aggressor nation, in this case, Russia,” Milley said. 

Over the last several days, Ukraine has been a theme. 

“[They are] very naive, those who think peace is eternal: history shows us quite the opposite,” said Alain Holley, mayor of Ste Mere Eglise, at a D-Day commemoration ceremony Sunday. “The proof is that today, the shells are again falling in Europe, two hours by plane from here. Where and when this new war will stop, no one knows today.” 

Holley said it was imperative to stop “these arsonists, before the fire takes away our children, our grandchildren, as well as these brave young American paratroopers.” 

At the spot where Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower established the first forward Supreme Allied Command headquarters in 1944, current U.S. Army Europe and Africa commander Gen. Darryl Williams said Eisenhower’s choice to push forward was like the West’s decision to continue arming Ukraine – that it was a sign of hope. 

“We particularly need hope today, because the dark clouds of war once again hang over Europe.” 

Just 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Omaha Beach, the larger town of Carentan was the site of a key victory allowing Allied forces to advance. The commander of the current 101st Airborne Division 2nd brigade air assault troops – whose predecessors gave their lives freeing Carentan one week after D-Day — said the grounds were a hallowed reminder of the present. 

The unit was one of the first sent back to Europe after Russia invaded last year, to bolster Eastern European defenses. 

“While we did not return to fight, we were ready to fight,” said Col. Ed Matthaidess, commander of 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (air assault). “So, we stand here in Carentan today, and across Normandy this week, in remembrance not only of our past, but also mindful of our present.” 

Two days before the annual celebration of Operation Overlord, Ukraine’s ministry of defense posted a video to Twitter of soldier after soldier putting their finger to their lips, in a hint that Kyiv’s much anticipated counteroffensive is imminent. 

“Plans like silence,” the video text read. “There will be no announcements about the beginning,” according to a translation by the Kyiv Post. 

There’s usually a Ukrainian military delegation here as part of the commemorations, but not this year, as they focus on the fight at home, said a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. 

Ste Mere Eglise became the first French town liberated by Allied forces; its namesake church was made famous by 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper John Steele, whose parachute got caught on the church steeple, leaving him hanging there for two hours during the initial invasion. 

“D-Day is a commemoration. I think it’s also a warning,” said Army Col. Marty O’Donnell, spokesperson for U.S. Army forces in Europe. “While certainly there is not a world war going on right now, we certainly must reflect upon the history as we deal with current events.” 

Рада ЄС запровадила санкції проти 9 росіян за переслідування опозиціонера Кара-Мурзи

7 квітня Московський міський суд засудив російського опозиційного політика Володимира Кара-Мурзу до 25 років колонії суворого режиму

China Establishing ‘Commanding Lead’ with Key Military Technologies

Chinese research on some key military technologies is so far ahead that the United States and its key allies may never be able to catch up, according to a new analysis by an Australian think tank.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) issued its findings Tuesday based on a review of the top 10% of the most highly cited research papers, concluding China leads in 19 of 23 key categories, including some that are likely to play a major role in Beijing’s push for military prominence in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

China “has a commanding lead in hypersonics, electronic warfare and in key undersea capabilities,” the ASPI study found, further warning, “China’s leads are so emphatic they create a significant risk that China might dominate future technological breakthroughs in these areas.”

The analysis further found that for hypersonics, nine of the 10 leading research institutions are based in China, while China is home to all 10 of the top research venues for undersea drones.

Unlike ballistic missiles, which fly at hypersonic speeds but travel along a set trajectory, hypersonic weapons are highly maneuverable despite flying at Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.

And the gaps between China and everyone else are significant. With some technologies, like hypersonics, China produces more than 73% of all high-impact research, more than the U.S. and the next eight countries combined.

The analysis also found indications that China is using Western research institutions to its advantage.

More than 14% of “high-impact” Chinese authors — those who wrote the works cited most often — did their post-graduate training in the U.S., Australia or Britain, ASPI said, noting the percentage is close to 20% for researchers writing about hypersonic detections and close to 18% for electronic warfare.

There are some areas, however, where the U.S. and its allies maintain an edge.

ASPI said the U.S. leads in high-impact research on autonomous systems, quantum computing and quantum sensors, some areas of artificial intelligence and in protective cybersecurity.

When U.S. research efforts are combined with those of Australia and Britain, the so-called AUKUS partnership, the gap closes a bit more, though China still retains a considerable research advantage.

“The fact that the three AUKUS nations still trail China in some fields even when their efforts are tallied underscores the value of the technology-sharing agreement, whose aim is to accelerate shared technological development by enabling the partners to leverage one another’s strengths,” ASPI wrote in a statement accompanying the report.

ASPI also said it hopes the findings would “strengthen some calls for AUKUS to expand technology cooperation to other countries such as Japan.”

The U.S., Australia and Britain entered into the AUKUS agreement in September 2021 to address mutual concerns in the Indo-Pacific and to boost advancements in artificial technology, quantum computing and cyber defense.

One of the most prominent pieces of the three-country alliance included a U.S.-Australian plan to build Australia at least eight nuclear powered submarines.

U.S. defense and military officials have repeatedly voiced concerns about China’s expanding military and the advanced technology fueling the expansion.

In March, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s chief scientist told reporters in Washington that Beijing already has the world’s leading arsenal of hypersonic weapons.

The U.S. is developing its own hypersonic weapons but all of them remain in testing or development.

Other U.S. intelligence officials have also warned about China’s ability to leverage advanced technology.

In February, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines warned that the high-altitude spy balloon China sent over the continental U.S. could just be the start of Chinese surveillance efforts.

“As technology improves, as we start to see more high-altitude vehicles, in effect, we’re going to see more of this,” she said. “We’re going to have to understand that and manage it.”

Chinese officials continue to deny the high-altitude balloon that was ultimately shot down off the U.S. Atlantic coast was a surveillance device, arguing instead it was a weather balloon.


Майк Пенс подав документи для участі у виборах президента США

Як пише агентство Reuters із посиланням на неназвані джерела, 63-річний Майк Пенс має намір публічно оголосити про своє висування 7 червня під час виступу в штаті Айова

Moscow Bans ‘Unfriendly’ Journalists From Economic Forum

Moscow announced that journalists from what it deems “unfriendly countries” would not be allowed to attend this year’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, marking the latest move by the Kremlin to hinder Western journalists from covering Russia. 

Held annually since 1997, the economic forum is considered Russia’s version of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. President Vladimir Putin uses the forum, one of the country’s showpiece events, to advertise Russia’s economy to global investors. This year the forum will be held June 14-17.

Western journalists have never been banned from covering the forum in such a sweeping way, according to Reuters. But this ban — announced Saturday — comes amid ever-rising tensions between Moscow and Western countries that have imposed extensive sanctions on Russia over the country’s ongoing war in Ukraine. 

“It was decided not to accredit media outlets from unfriendly countries to the SPIEF this time,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state-owned news outlet Tass on Saturday. SPIEF is the forum’s acronym.

The Kremlin’s list of “unfriendly countries” is composed of those that have sanctioned Russia over the war in Ukraine.

“Interest in SPIEF is always great, all other journalists will work on the site,” Peskov also said. 

Some Western reporters were initially accredited to cover the forum this year. 

Reuters’ Moscow bureau received a confirmation of accreditation Thursday but was notified the next day that accreditation for its reporters had been canceled. 

Foreign journalists have already been leaving Russia in droves for safety reasons since the country invaded Ukraine last year. 

Those who have opted to stay face escalating risks, including arbitrary detention. American reporter Evan Gershkovich, who works for The Wall Street Journal, has been detained for over two months in Russia on espionage accusations that he and the U.S. government deny. 

Some information in this report came from Reuters and The Associated Press.  

Latest in Ukraine: Ukraine Dismisses Russian Claims of Offensive as ‘Fake’

Latest developments:

In a meeting with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in Kyiv on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed preparations for a NATO summit and Ukraine's plan for ending Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden is hosting talks Monday with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen that are expected to include discussion of support for Ukraine and training of Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets.  
Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had retaken part of a village near Bakhmut, Ukraine, after his Wagner paramilitary group handed its positions there to the regular Russian troops.
The Vatican said Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi was visiting Kyiv on Monday and Tuesday as an envoy of Pope Francis to listen to Ukrainian authorities about ways to achieve peace.  

Ukraine’s military Monday dismissed claims by the Russian military that it foiled a major Ukrainian offensive in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk.  

“We do not have such information, and we do not comment on any kind of fake,” a spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces’ general staff said in response to a question from the Reuters news agency.

In a tweet, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak cautioned against trusting Russian information on the fighting in Ukraine. 

“Russian news reports have long since become a separate virtual meta-universe,” he wrote.

Russia said Monday its forces had repelled a large-scale Ukrainian attack in the Donetsk region of southern Ukraine.  

Russia’s defense ministry said the Ukrainian side’s goal was to try to break through what they considered the weakest area along the front lines, but that it “had no success.”  

The Ukrainian attack, Russia said, included six mechanized battalions and two tank battalions. 

Donetsk is one of the Russia-occupied areas that President Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed last year in a move that was rejected by the international community. 

It was not clear if the reported Ukrainian attack was part of a long-planned counter-offensive by Ukraine to reclaim areas Russian forces seized after launching a full-scale invasion early last year.  

Ukraine’s military said during a daily report that there were 29 combat clashes in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.  

Ukrainian gains – Bakhmut

Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said Monday that Ukrainian forces had retaken part of a village near Bakhmut, Ukraine after his Wagner mercenary group had handed its positions to Russian troops. 

“Disgrace!” Prigozhin exclaimed in an audio message on his Telegram channel. “Now part of the settlement of Berkhivka has already been lost, the troops are quietly running away,” he added and urged Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, to come to the front to rally the troops.

“Come on, you can do it!” he said in his message. “And if you can’t, you’ll die heroes.”

Denis Pushilin, the top Moscow-backed official in the Russian-occupied part of the Donetsk region, which includes Bakhmut, told Russian state television the situation on the city’s flanks was “under control” but “very difficult.”

Belgian weapons 

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Monday his government has launched an investigation after The Washington Post reported weapons sent by NATO allies to Ukraine were used in a cross-border raid in Russia’s Belgorod region. 

The Post said the arms used included tactical vehicles provided by the United States and Poland, as well as rifles from Belgium and the Czech Republic. 

“European weapons are delivered to Ukraine under the condition that they are used on Ukrainian territory with the purpose of defending that territory. And we have strict controls in place to see that this is the case,” De Croo told Belgium’s Radio 1. 

Ukrainian children 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy used his nightly address Sunday to remember the children who have died “as the result of Russian aggression” since 2014, including a 2-year-old girl in the Dnipro region late Saturday. 

“Today in our country is the day of remembrance for children who died as a result of Russian aggression. Since 2014. Children who would have been alive if a bunch of thugs in the Kremlin, in Moscow, hadn’t considered themselves chieftains who allegedly had the right to decide the fate of nations,” Zelenskyy said. 

Zelenskyy said 485 children have lost their lives from Russian attacks. 

“This is a number that we can officially confirm, knowing the data of each child. The real number is much higher,” he said. 

He also noted the 19,505 Ukrainian children who have been deported to Russia and are still “in the hands of the enemy.”

The United Nations says that around 1,000 other Ukrainian children have been wounded. 

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

Бельгія чекає на роз’яснення України щодо можливого використання своїх гвинтівок у Бєлгородській області РФ

«Наше Міністерство оборони та його розвідувальні органи розпочали розслідування і просять надати інформацію, щоб визначити, що саме сталося»