УЄФА хоче дозволити російським футболістам до 17 років брати участь у своїх змаганнях

«Усі матчі російських команд мають проводитися без прапора країни, гімну, національної екіпіровки і не на території Росії»

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At Least 20 Dead in Gas Station Explosion in Nagorno-Karabakh

At least 20 people were killed and nearly 300 others injured by an explosion at a crowded gas station in Nagorno-Karabakh as thousands of people rushed to flee into Armenia, separatist authorities in the region said Tuesday.

More than 13,500 people — about 12% of the region’s population — have fled across the border since Azerbaijan defeated separatists who have governed the breakaway region for about 30 years in a swift military operation, Armenia’s government said Tuesday morning.

Residents of Nagorno-Karabakh scrambled to flee as soon as Azerbaijan lifted a 10-month blockade on the region’s only road to Armenia, causing severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel. While Azerbaijan has pledged to respect the rights of Armenians, many residents feared reprisals.

The explosion took place as people lined up to fill their cars at a gas station outside Stepanakert, the region’s capital, late Monday. The separatist government’s health department said that 13 bodies have been found and seven people have died of injuries from the blast, the cause of which remains unclear.

It added that 290 people have been hospitalized and scores of them remain in grave condition.

Armenia’s health ministry said a helicopter brought some blast victims to Armenia on Tuesday morning, and more flights were expected.

Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev said on X, formerly Twitter, that hospitals in Azerbaijan were ready to treat victims, but not if any had been taken to them. Azerbaijan has sent in burn-treatment medicine and other humanitarian aid, he said.

The Azerbaijani military routed Armenian forces in a 24-hour blitz last week, forcing the separatist authorities to agree to lay down weapons and start talks on Nagorno-Karabakh’s “reintegration” into Azerbaijan.

Gasoline has been in short supply in Stepanakert for months, and the explosion further adds to anxiety about whether residents they will be able drive the 35 kilometers (22 miles) to the border.

Cars bearing large loads on their roofs crowded the streets of Stepanakert, and residents stood or lay along sidewalks next to heaps of luggage.

Moscow said that Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh were assisting the evacuation. Some 700 people remained in the peacekeepers’ camp there by Monday night.

Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region within Azerbaijan under the Soviet Union, but separatist sentiment grew in the USSR’s dying years and then flared into war.

Nagorno-Karabakh came under the control of ethnic Armenian forces, backed by the Armenian military, in separatist fighting that ended in 1994. During a war in 2020, Azerbaijan took parts of Nagorno-Karabakh along with surrounding territory that it lost of control of during the earlier conflict.

Under the armistice that ended the 2020 fighting, Russia deployed a peacekeeping force of about 2,000 to the region.

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Ukrainian Captain Found Guilty in Hungary for 2019 Boat Collision That Killed at Least 27

The captain of a river cruise boat that collided with another vessel in Hungary’s capital in 2019, killing at least 27 people who were mostly tourists from South Korea, was found guilty on Tuesday of negligence leading to a fatal mass catastrophe and sentenced to five years and six months in prison. 

Judge Leona Nemeth with the Pest Central District Court found that the negligence of the Ukrainian captain, 68-year-old Yuriy Chaplinsky, had led to his boat, the Viking Sigyn, colliding with the tourist boat Hableany (Mermaid) from behind on the Danube river, causing that boat to sink within seconds.

In its ruling, the court acquitted Chaplinsky of 35 counts of failure to render aid. Both Chaplinsky and the prosecution have appealed the court’s decision, and the judge remanded the defendant to house arrest pending a new trial. 

The collision occurred May 29, 2019, when the Hableany, carrying 35 people, sank after being struck beneath Budapest’s Margit Bridge by the much larger Viking Sigyn. 

Seven South Koreans were rescued from the water in the heavy rain following the collision, and 27 people were recovered dead including the two-member Hungarian crew. One South Korean woman is still unaccounted-for. 

Some of the victims’ bodies were found weeks after the crash more than 100 kilometers  downstream.

The Hableany spent more than 12 days underwater at the collision site near the neo-Gothic Hungarian Parliament building, before being lifted from the river bed by a floating crane. 

Chaplinsky, the captain of the Viking Sigyn, has been in police custody since the collision, including being remanded to house arrest in Hungary since 2020. The judge ordered the time Chaplinsky has already served to count toward his five-and-a-half-year sentence. 

In a final statement before the verdict Tuesday, Chaplinsky called the collision a “horrible tragedy,” and said that the deaths of “so many innocent victims” kept him awake at night. 

“This will stay with me for the rest of my life,” he said.  

Three staffers from the South Korean Embassy in Budapest were present for the reading of the verdict, but no South Korean family members of the victims attended the hearing. 

After the proceedings, Zsolt Sogor, a lawyer with the prosecution, said the verdict was in line with legal requirements, but that prosecutors believed Chaplinsky was liable for failing to render aid to the Hableany after the collision. 

“I feel sorry for this person. He really did commit (this act) negligently,” Sogor said. “But our opinion differs from that of the court in that according to our perspective, the captain of a ship must act. It’s not enough that his sailors go and perform a rescue. He should have coordinated the entire rescue to save human lives.”

“We will see what happens during the appeal. It’s possible (the sentence) will be harsher, but one thing is for sure: It won’t be reduced,” he said. 

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Зеленський на ставці заслухав доповідь розвідки про «поточний стан справ у російській армії»

На засіданні також виступив міністр стратегічних галузей промисловості Камишін щодо заходів із нарощування власного виробництва зброї

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Санду: Росія несе відповідальність за «всі наслідки» війни в Україні

В тому числі йдеться про ті наслідки, які впливають на суверенну територію Молдови, уточнила вона

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Через нічну атаку на Одещину не працює пункт пропуску з Румунією – Гуменюк

Через нічну атаку з боку російських військ припинив роботу пункт пропуску «Орлівка-Ісакча» між Україною та Румунією в Одеській області. Про це в ефірі Радіо Свобода (проєкт Свобода.Ранок) повідомила начальниця Об’єднаного пресцентру сил оборони «Південь» Наталія Гуменюк.

«Сьогоднішня нічна атака в прикордонній інфраструктура фактично припинила роботу одного з пунктів пропуску. Орлівка зараз не працює. Тому, плануючи маршрути на Румунію, треба це враховувати, – сказала Гуменюк.

У Держприкордонслужбі зазначили, що на вказаному пункті пропуску відбуваються заходи зі стабілізації.

«Ми повідомимо про відновлення пропускних операцій, а поки радимо обрати інші напрямки для перетину кордону, зокрема, автомобільний пункт пропуску «Рені», – звернулися прикордонники.


Вона також спростувала поширену у телеграм-каналах інформацію про те, що дрони нібито перетнули територію Румунії.

«У нас немає заяви від суміжної держави про те, що такі факти були. Ми також не фіксували нічого подібного», – сказала речниця ОК «Південь».

При цьому, за словами Гуменюк, під прицілом російських військ була не лише Одещина, а й інші південні області.

«Вони намагалися розвіятися, максимально роззосередитися, щоб заплутати систему протиповітряної оборони. Це була атака і в напрямку Миколаївської області, і центральних областей, і по Херсонщині працювала наша система протиповітряної оборони. Більш сконцентровано ворог діяв, звісно, по Подунав’ю, вже такий улюблений маршрут у нього. Постраждала прикордонна і портова інфраструктура. Є влучання в зерносховище», – додала Гуменюк.

Загалом у зоні відповідальності ОК «Південь» знищили 22 безпілотники, каже вона: шість – над Миколаївщиною, по три – над Кіровоградщиною і Херсонщиною, і десять – на Одещині.

Гуменюк також розповіла, що наразі в ОК «Південь» не фіксують збільшення атак, однак зауважують, що здебільшого російські військові застосовують безпілотники.

«Ці атаки мішаного типу, з використанням тих видів озброєння, які ворог може собі дозволити. Звісно, що акцент робиться на безпілотниках. Цю війну і так вже називають війною дронів. Тут ми говоримо про те, що в порівнянні з ракетами, це дещо дешевший спосіб нанесення вогневого ураження. Отримавши підтримку від своїх партнерів з Ірану, і налагодивши певне виробництво у себе, вони можуть собі дозволяти ось такі атаки. Наша задача – відбивати і захищатися», – сказала Наталія Гуменюк.

Раніше сьогодні голова Одеської обласної військової адміністрації Олег Кіпер повідомив, що російські війська цієї ночі обстріляли регіон. В Ізмаїльському районі є влучання у припортову інфраструктуру. Пошкоджено будівлю пункту пропуску, складські приміщення, близько 30 вантажівок. Загорілися 6 фур. Також постраждали двоє чоловіків, водії вантажівок.

За даними Повітряних сил ЗСУ, уночі було знищено 26 із 38 «шахедів», запущених Росією по Україні.

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Генштаб ЗСУ: РФ втратила за добу на війні в Україні близько 400 своїх вояків

Загальні втрати РФ на війні в Україні перевищили 276 тисяч військових

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What is Behind Renewed Tensions Between Serbia and Kosovo?

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo flared anew over the weekend when some 30 heavily armed Serbs barricaded themselves in an Orthodox monastery in northern Kosovo, setting off a daylong gunbattle with police that left one officer and three attackers dead.

Sunday’s clash was one of the worst since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It came as the European Union and the United States are trying to mediate and finalize yearslong talks on normalizing ties between the two Balkan states.

There are fears in the West of a revival of the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo that claimed more than 10,000 lives and left over 1 million homeless.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti accused Serbia of sending the attackers into Kosovo. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic denied that, saying the men were Kosovo Serbs who have had enough of “Kurti’s terror.”

A look at the history between Serbia and Kosovo, and why the latest tensions are a concern for Europe.

Why are Serbia and Kosovo at odds?

Kosovo is a mainly ethnic Albanian territory that was part of Serbia before it declared independence. The Serbian government has refused to recognize Kosovo’s statehood, even though it has no formal control there.

Some 100 countries have recognized Kosovo’s independence, including the United States and most Western countries. Russia, China and five EU nations have sided with Serbia. The deadlock has kept tensions simmering in the Balkan region following the bloody breakup of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

What are the roots of the conflict?

The dispute over Kosovo is centuries-old. Serbs cherish the area as central both to their religion and statehood. Numerous medieval Serb Orthodox Christian monasteries are in Kosovo, and Serb nationalists view a 1389 battle against Ottoman Turks there as a symbol of their national struggle for independence.

Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanians, most of whom are Muslim, meanwhile, view Kosovo as their country and accuse Serbia of occupying it and repressing them for decades.

Ethnic Albanian rebels launched an uprising in 1998 to rid the country of Serbian rule. Belgrade’s brutal response prompted a NATO intervention in 1999, forcing Serbia to pull out and cede control to international peacekeepers.

There are still some 4,500 peacekeepers stationed in Kosovo, a poor country of about 1.7 million people with little industry and where crime and corruption are rampant.

Are tensions running particularly high now?

There are constant tensions between Kosovo’s government and ethnic Serb residents who live mostly in the north of Kosovo and who keep close ties to Belgrade. Mitrovica, the main city in the north, is effectively divided into an ethnic Albanian part and a Serb-held part, and the two sides rarely mix. There are also smaller Serb-populated enclaves in southern Kosovo.

Government attempts to impose more control in the north are usually met with resistance, and the situation deteriorated earlier this year, when Serbs boycotted local elections held the north. They then tried to prevent the newly elected ethnic Albanian mayors from entering their offices.

Some 30 NATO peacekeepers and more than 50 Serb protesters were hurt in the ensuing clashes.

Is there a link to Russia and the war in Ukraine?

Well before Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the breakup of Yugoslavia to justify a possible invasion of a sovereign European country.

Putin, whose troops illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, has repeatedly argued that NATO’s bombardment of Serbia in 1999 and the West’s recognition of Kosovo created a precedent. He has claimed that allows Russia to intervene in Ukraine’s strategic Black Sea peninsula and majority Russian areas in the country’s east.

Western officials have vehemently rejected Putin’s reasoning, saying the NATO intervention in Kosovo was triggered by mass killings and other war crimes committed by Serbian troops against ethnic Albanians. That was not the case in Ukraine before Russia’s full-scale invasion.

There are fears in the West that Russia, acting through its ally Serbia, is trying to destabilize the Balkans and thus shift at least some attention from its aggression on Ukraine.

What has been done to resolve the dispute?

There have been constant international efforts to find common ground between the two former war foes, but no comprehensive agreement has emerged so far. European Union and U.S. officials have mediated negotiations designed to normalize relations between Serbia and Kosovo since 2012.

The negotiations have led to results in some areas, such as freedom of movement without checkpoints and establishing multiethnic police forces in Kosovo. However, the latter broke down when Serbs pulled out of the force last year to protest Pristina’s decision to ban Serbian-issued vehicle license plates.

After international pressure, Kurti, Kosovo’s prime minister, suspended the decree but that did not bring Serbs back to the Kosovo institutions.

Adding to the difficulty of finding a solution, Kosovo and Serbia both have nationalist leaders. Kurti is often accused by international mediators of making moves that trigger unnecessary tensions.

Vucic, meanwhile, is a former ultra-nationalist who insists Serbia will never recognize Kosovo and says that an earlier deal to give Kosovo Serbs a level of independence must first be implemented before new agreements are made. Vucic has tacitly acknowledged Serbia’s loss of control over Kosovo, but also says the country won’t settle unless it gains something.

What happens next?

International officials still hope Kosovo and Serbia can reach a deal that would allow Kosovo to get a seat in the United Nations without Serbia having to explicitly recognize its statehood. Both nations must normalize ties if they want to advance toward EU membership.

No breakthrough in the EU-mediated negotiations would mean prolonged instability, economic decline and the constant potential for clashes. Any Serbian military intervention in Kosovo would mean a clash with NATO peacekeepers there, and Serbia is unlikely to move in, unless it gains some sort of Russian backing.

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EU Trade Chief Warns Businesses Questioning Future in China

The EU’s trade chief told Beijing Monday that tough security laws and a more “politicized” business environment have left European companies struggling to understand their obligations and questioning their future in China.

China’s refusal to condemn ally Russia for its war in Ukraine also poses a “reputational risk” for the world’s second-largest economy, Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a speech at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.

He said transparency and openness were “a winning strategy in the long run,” at a time when trade tensions between the European bloc and China are mounting.

“China is navigating a challenging transition from an investment-led economy to a broad-based economy,” he said. “For this it needs to remain open.”

Dombrovskis’s four-day trip, which kicked off Saturday, follows a report by the EU Chamber of Commerce that showed business confidence was at one of its lowest levels in years.

It also follows Brussels’ decision to launch a probe into Beijing’s electric car subsidies.

The investigation could see the EU try to protect European carmakers by imposing punitive tariffs on vehicles it believes are unfairly sold at a lower price.

Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng reiterated Beijing’s “strong dissatisfaction” over the probe Monday.

“China once again expresses its high concern and strong dissatisfaction with the EU’s plan to launch an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles,” He told a joint news conference with Dombrovskis following their talks.

“We hope that the EU side will deal with that issue with caution and continue to maintain a free and open market,” he added.

But Dombrovskis painted a more positive picture of Monday’s conversations, saying the two sides had agreed to “resume regular exchanges” over economic issues.

“China’s economic performance is critical also for a broader global economy,” he said.

“We therefore agreed to resume regular exchanges to discuss macroeconomic issues, reigniting the economic and financial dialogue and macroeconomic dialogue will be important in this regard and we look forward for these dialogues in coming months,” he added.

Vice Premier He also said the two sides had agreed to “strengthen communication and coordination on macroeconomic policies, work together to address global challenges such as the international food and energy crisis, and promote stable growth of the world economy.”

They will also restart an EU-China working group on alcoholic beverages, as well as “conduct dialogue and exchanges on the regulation of cosmetics,” He said. Both are areas of discord between the bloc and Beijing.

From ‘win-win’ to ‘lose-lose’

Earlier in the day, the EU trade commissioner said growing challenges for European business in China meant that “what many saw as a ‘win-win’ relationship in past decades could become a ‘lose-lose’ dynamic in the coming years.”

A new foreign relations law aimed, in part, at combating foreign sanctions and a recent update to China’s tough anti-espionage regulations are of “great concern to our business community,” Dombrovskis said.

“Their ambiguity allows too much room for interpretation,” he warned.

“This means European companies struggle to understand their compliance obligations: a factor that significantly decreases business confidence and deters new investments in China.”

Asked about Dombrovskis’s remarks, China’s foreign ministry insisted the country would “protect the legitimate rights and interests of individuals.”

“We will continue to provide a market-oriented, legal and international business environment for companies from all over the world to legally operate in China,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing.

“China is not the source of risks, but rather a firm force for preventing and defusing risks,” he added.

The EU commissioner also criticized China’s refusal to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine, which he said, “is affecting the country’s image, not only with European consumers, but also businesses.”

China has sought to position itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, while offering Moscow a vital diplomatic and financial lifeline as its international isolation deepens.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow in March, while Russian leader Vladimir Putin is due to visit China next month.

“Territorial integrity has always been a key principle for China in international diplomacy. Russia’s war is a blatant breach of this principle,” Dombrovskis said.

“So, it’s very difficult for us to understand China’s stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, as it breaches China’s own fundamental principles.”

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Burkina Faso Junta Suspends French Magazine Over ‘Untruthful’ Articles

Burkina Faso’s military junta on Monday suspended the French news magazine Jeune Afrique for publishing “untruthful” articles that reported tension and discontent within the country’s armed forces, it said in a statement. 

Jeune Afrique’s suspension marks the latest escalation in a crackdown on French media since the West African country fell under military rule last year. 

The statement accused the publication of seeking to discredit armed forces and of manipulating information to “spread chaos” in the country, following two articles published over the past four days. 

Relations between Burkina Faso and its former colonizer, France, have soured since frustrations over worsening insecurity linked to a jihadist insurgency spurred two military takeovers last year. 

These tensions have led to the expulsion of diplomatic officials, including the French ambassador to the country, and fueled a backlash against foreign media. 

The junta has already suspended French-funded broadcasters Radio France Internationale and France24 for allegedly giving voice to Islamist militants staging an insurgency across the Sahel region south of the Sahara. 

French television channel La Chaine Info, of private broadcaster TF1, was suspended for three months in June for airing a report on the insurgency that “lacked objectivity.” 

In April, two French journalists working for newspapers Le Monde and Liberation were expelled from the country. 

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Vietnam Reportedly Seeking Military Aid From Both Moscow and Washington

Military analysts say Vietnam is desperate for a new generation of powerful fighter jets and other arms, and recent news reports indicate the country could be seeking them from both the United States and Russia, although no details can be confirmed.  

Reuters reported Saturday that the Biden administration is in talks with Vietnam over an agreement for the largest transfer of arms between the two countries, including F-16 fighter jets.  The report says the deal is still in its early stages and may not come together. But it was a key topic of recent Vietnamese-U.S. Talks in Hanoi, New York and Washington over the past month, according to Reuters.  

The White House declined comment on the matter. 

A few weeks ago, before President Joe Biden visited Vietnam and upgraded the two country’s relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the New York Times reported that Vietnam’s military was pursuing a secret Russian arms deal that would violate U.S. sanctions on Moscow. 

Since the release of the report, U.S. and Vietnamese officials have declined to discuss the issue. 

The deal was outlined in a March 2023 document from Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance and has been verified by former and current Vietnamese officials, according to the Times report. The Times report contends that Hanoi plans to fund defense purchases by shifting $8 billion over 20 years to Vietsovpetro – a joint oil venture in Siberia. 

Although experts say the Times report is well-founded, it is unclear whether it will go through and how it could affect Hanoi’s standing with Western partners, particularly the United States.       

“I do believe the NYT story has credence … If true, the report highlights that Vietnam still views Russia as an important defense cooperation partner,” wrote senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute Ian Storey over email.     

“We do not yet know if the Vietnamese government has decided to follow through on the deal,” he wrote.     

Nguyen The Phuong, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New South Wales who specializes in Vietnam’s defense and maritime security, told VOA he first heard about a potential arms deal with Russia in June. Although he said he had not seen the leaked Finance Ministry document, he has seen a letter of intention from Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to his Russian counterpart to pursue an arms purchase.     

“There’s a letter of intention from the Vietnamese prime minister to push that plan,” Phuong said of the arms deal. “It’s become more and more clear about the intention of the Vietnamese to move forward with that plan.”   

Historic ties     

Even as defense purchases from Russia become riskier, the secret arms deal would make a certain kind of sense for Hanoi, experts said.     

“The military is the most pro-Russian and anti-Western among all the national institutions in Vietnam,” said Alexander Vuving, professor at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu.     

“The leaders in the Ministry of Defense are still embracing Russia,” he said.     

The tight-knit bond is just part of the story, though. Vietnam’s supply of fighter jets is quickly aging beyond its service life and Russia can provide an affordable update without training pilots, ground, and mechanic crews in a new language and weapons system, said Zachary Abuza, professor at the National War College in Washington.     

“Vietnam is desperate for a new generation of fighter jets, and they have a limited budget. They’re comfortable with the Russians, and the Russians are willing to consider alternative funding mechanisms, so it’s kind of a win-win,” Abuza told VOA.     

The deal could fulfill another crucial requirement for Vietnam through the joint oil venture: energy. Following the slump in manufacturing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam is scrambling for enough energy to power its growing economy.      

“Vietnam can lock into a long-term supply contract for energy it desperately needs given its economic growth,” Abuza said. “At the same time, they can make sure some of that money is then directed into an arms procurement platform.”     

Risky deal     

Despite the benefits, the proposed Russian arms deal carries risks and the document leak reveals potential dissent among Vietnamese officials. 

“This leaked document would cause a lot of trouble for the Vietnamese,” Vuving said, adding that Hanoi is looking for support to build up a semiconductor supply chain and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh recently advocated for Vietnam to be granted market economy status during a Washington visit this month, which would benefit Vietnamese exporters in antidumping disputes.     

“It shows that they are not reliable to the United States,” Vuving stated. “That’s why they wanted to keep [the arms deal] secret.”     

A defense partnership with Moscow is also increasingly chancy as Russia becomes more isolated and moves closer to China. The prospect of Russian lack of support in disputes between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea may have contributed to the leak.    

“There are less reasons for Vietnamese to trust Russia in the South China Sea than before,” Vuving said. “That’s why I think some Vietnamese officials were so unhappy with this agreement and they leaked the document.”     

Even with the uncertainty, the majority consensus still supports the Russian arms deal.      

“At the moment, Vietnam sees that the benefits outweigh the risks in dealing with Russia in the short term,” Phuong said.  

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Зеленський провів нараду з членами уряду щодо зернового експорту

«Робота із сусідами може й мусить стати цілком конструктивною, і Україна все для цього робить»

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МЗС відреагувало на повідомлення в ЗМІ про нібито обіцянку Україні вступу до ЄС в обмін на «повалення» уряду Польщі

Українська сторона жодних подібних пропозицій не отримувала, намірів втручатися у внутрішні справи Польщі не мала і не має

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Infamous Italian Mafia Boss Matteo Denaro Dies in Prison Hospital

Italian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, who was arrested in January after evading arrest for decades, died of colon cancer in a prison hospital, Italian prosecutors said Monday.

Denaro, 61, was captured in Palermo on January 16, following decades on the run as Italy’s most wanted fugitive. His colon cancer diagnosis and need for treatment was what led Italian officials to his location and arrest.

Denaro has been cited as the mastermind behind some of the Italian mafia’s most brutal crimes, including two bombings in 1992 that killed Italy’s top anti-Mafia prosecutors.

Prosecutors in Palermo are requesting an autopsy, despite it being known that Denaro had been dealing with illness at his time of death. According to doctors, Denaro had been in a coma since Friday and died on Monday morning at around 2 a.m. local time.

Denaro was a mafia boss in Cosa Nostra, which primarily operates on the Italian island of Sicily, where he had spent the last 30 years. Italian investigators had hoped that Denaro would comply upon capture and reveal secrets about Cosa Nostra, though the mafia boss made it clear that he had no intention of talking, and took vital mafia information with him to the grave.

Denaro’s arrest came after years of mafia leaders and lower-level members being arrested in a crackdown on the Sicilian based crime group, sparked by the 1992 bombings. His capture led Palermo’s chief prosecutor, Maurizio De Lucia, to say “We have captured the last of the massacre masterminds.”

Denaro’s burial is expected to take place later this week in Sicily, according to Italian media.

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EU Member States Weaken Proposal Setting New Emission Standards for Cars and Vans

European Union member countries have watered down a proposal by the bloc’s executive arm aimed at lowering vehicle emissions.

The European Commission had proposed last year updated pollution standards for new combustion engine vehicles that are expected to remain on European roads well after the 27-nation bloc bans their sale in 2035, with the aim of lowering emissions from tailpipes, brakes and tires.

The Commission hoped that new guidelines would help lower nitrogen oxide emissions from cars and vans by 35% compared to existing exhaust emission regulations for pollutants other than carbon dioxide, and by 56% from buses and trucks.

But several member states and automakers pushed for a weaker legislation and agreed Monday on a diluted compromise put forward by the rotating presidency of the EU currently held by Spain.

Member states instead decided to keep existing emissions limits and test conditions for cars and vans, and to lower them only for buses and heavy commercial vehicles. They also agreed to reduce brake particle emissions limits and tire abrasion rate emissions.

The standards are separate from but intended to complement the EU’s climate change rules for CO2.

“The Spanish presidency has been sensitive to the different demands and requests of the member states and we believe that, with this proposal, we achieved broad support, a balance in the investment costs of the manufacturing brands and we improve the environmental benefits derived from the regulation,” said Héctor Gómez Hernández, the acting Spanish minister for industry, trade and tourism.

The position adopted by member countries will be negotiated with the European Parliament once lawmakers have also defined their stance.

EU lawmakers and member states last year reached a deal to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans by 2035. The deal was part of the bloc’s “Fit for 55” package, which the European Commission set up to achieve the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55% over this decade.

Under the deal, carmakers will be required to reduce the emissions of new cars sold by 55% in 2030, compared to 2021, before reaching a 100% cut five years later.

The Commission thought that introducing new pollution norms for the last generation of combustion engines was crucial because vehicles that enter the market before the 2035 deadline will remain in service for years.

According to the EU, emissions from transportation are responsible for some 70,000 premature deaths each year in the bloc.

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США підписала угоду щодо фінансування оборони Польщі на 2 мільярди доларів

«Безпека Польщі є життєво важливою для колективної оборони східного флангу НАТО»

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Україна отримала 100 мільйонів доларів від Світового банку під гарантії Британії – Мінфін

Кошти спрямують на часткову компенсацію видатків державного бюджету на пенсійні виплати за липень 2023 року

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Some London Police Put Down Guns After Colleague Charged with Murder

Some members of London’s police force are refusing to carry firearms after a colleague was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man.

Such a charge against a police officer is extremely rare in England.

The Telegraph newspaper reports that more than 300 officers, about 10% of the armed police, have refused to carry their weapons following their colleague’s charge.

The officers’ move has prompted Scotland Yard to ask the Ministry of Defense for help with counter-terrorism policing. The MoD would provide London with soldiers who would do specific tasks, but not routine police work.

Only about one in ten police officers in London carries a weapon, after undergoing intensive training.

Chris Kaba, 23, was the unarmed Black man who was killed in an encounter with police last year.  The Associated Press reports Kaba was shot by single bullet as he sat in his car.

The officer accused of killing Kaba has not been publicly named. His trial is expected to begin next year.

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Kosovo Observes Day of Mourning After Monastery Siege

Kosovo was observing a day of mourning Monday, following the death of a Kosovar Albanian police officer killed by Serbian gunmen, who then barricaded themselves at an Orthodox monastery north of the capital, Pristina.  

It was not immediately clear who supports the approximately 30 gunmen who were dressed in combat uniforms when they used an armored vehicle to storm the monastery in Banjska and engage in a standoff Sunday with Kosovo police. 

Most of the gunmen were able to escape the monastery Sunday evening, but at least three of them were killed and two arrested.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti each blamed the other for the clash.  

The U.S. ambassador in Pristina condemned what he called the “orchestrated, violent attacks” on the Kosovo police. In a statement, Jeffrey Hovenier said, “The perpetrators must and will be held accountable and brought to justice.”  

Separately, Caroline Ziadeh, the head of UNMIK, the U.N. Mission in Kosovo, called for the perpetrators “to be held accountable.” Ziadeh made her comments on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. 

Serbia and Kosovo, its former province, have clashed for decades. A 1998–1999 war between them left more than 10,000 people dead, mostly Kosovo Albanians.  

Meanwhile, in Russia, a Kremlin spokesman said it was monitoring what he called the tense and potentially dangerous situation in Kosovo. 

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Belgrade has refused to recognize the move. Russia has stood by Serbia’s non-recognition of Kosovo.

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У Єврокомісії розповіли, скільки Україна заробила влітку на агроекспорті

«За оцінками, цей експорт приніс Україні близько 38 мільярдів євро загального доходу, але за той же час Україна також імпортувала 34 мільйони тонн товарів через шляхи солідарності на суму близько 70 мільярдів євро»

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Зеленський: «Абрамси» – вже в Україні

«Абрамси» – вже в Україні й готуються підсилити наші бригади»

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ССО заявляють про загибель командувача Чорноморського флоту через удар по штабу в Криму

Офіційно у Росії наразі не повідомляли про загибель Віктора Соколова

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EU Businesses ‘Questioning Their Position’ in China: Trade Commissioner

European businesses in China are increasingly questioning their positions in the face of tough new security laws and a politicization of trade, an EU commissioner warned in Beijing on Monday.

“European companies are concerned with China’s direction of travel,” Valdis Dombrovskis said in a speech at the capital’s Tsinghua University.

“Many are questioning their position in this country.”

He pointed to a new foreign relations law and a recent update to China’s anti-espionage laws as being of “great concern to our business community.”

“Their ambiguity allows too much room for interpretation,” he warned.

“This means European companies struggle to understand their compliance obligations: a factor that significantly decreases business confidence and deters new investments in China,” Dombrovskis said.

The EU trade commissioner is on a multi-day visit to the world’s second-biggest economy, where he is set to meet senior economic officials and press the bloc’s case that it is not seeking an economic decoupling from China.

His trip follows a report by the Chamber of Commerce of the European Union last week that showed business confidence was at one of its lowest levels in decades.

“For decades, European companies thrived in China,” the Chamber’s president Jens Eskelund said.

But, after three “turbulent” years, he said, “many have re-evaluated their basic assumptions about the Chinese market”.

And it comes in the face of mounting trade tensions between the EU and China, following Brussels’ decision to launch a probe into Beijing’s electric car subsidies.

The investigation could see the EU try to protect European carmakers by imposing punitive tariffs on vehicles it believes are unfairly sold at a lower price.

The day after that announcement, the Chinese commerce ministry hit back at the EU’s “naked protectionism” and said the measures “will have a negative impact on China-EU economic and trade relations”.

Speaking in Beijing on Monday, Dombrovskis insisted China remained an attractive investment opportunity for European businesses.

“The EU and China both benefited immensely from being open to the world,” he said. “Trading and cooperating across borders helped to shape our economic and geopolitical strength.”

But, he said, growing challenges for business risked turning “what many saw as a ‘win-win’ relationship in past decades could become a ‘lose-lose’ dynamic in the coming years”.

Ukraine war

China’s refusal to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine also poses a “reputational risk”, he said.

Beijing’s position “is affecting the country’s image, not only with European consumers, but also businesses”, he said.

China has sought to position itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, while offering Moscow a vital diplomatic and financial lifeline as its international isolation deepens.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is due to visit China next month.

“China always advocates for each country being free to choose its own development path,” Dombrovskis said.

“So, it’s very difficult for us to understand China’s stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, as it breaches China’s own fundamental principles.”

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Turkey’s Erdogan to Meet Azeri’s Aliyev as Thousands Flee Karabakh

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is to meet his ally Azeri President Ilham Aliyev on Monday, as thousands of ethnic Armenians began an exodus from Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijan defeated the breakaway region’s fighters last week.

Erdogan will pay a one-day visit to Azerbaijan’s autonomous Nakhchivan exclave – a strip of Azeri territory nestled between Armenia, Iran and Turkey – to discuss with Aliyev the situation in the Karabakh region, the Turkish president’s office said.

The Armenians of Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but previously beyond its control, were forced into a ceasefire last week after a 24-hour military operation by the much larger Azerbaijani military.

On Sunday, the Nagorno-Karabakh leadership told Reuters the region’s 120,000 Armenians did not want to live as part of Azerbaijan for fear of persecution and ethnic cleansing and started fleeing the area.

Russia’s RIA news agency cited early on Monday an Armenian government statement saying that more than 1,500 people had crossed into Armenia from Nagorno-Karabkah as of midnight.

Those with fuel had started to drive down the Lachin corridor toward the border with Armenia, according to a Reuters reporter in the Karabakh capital known as Stepanakert by Armenia and Khankendi by Azerbaijan.

Reuters pictures showed dozens of cars driving out of the capital toward the corridor’s mountainous curves.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars over the enclave in 30 years — with Azerbaijan gaining back swathes of territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh in a six-week conflict in 2020.

Erdogan, who backed the Azeris with weaponry in the 2020 conflict, said last week he supported the aims of Azerbaijan’s latest military operation but played no part in it.

Armenia says more than 200 people were killed and 400 wounded in last week’s Azeri operation, a hostility condemned by the United States and other Western allies of Armenia.

On Sunday, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said it had confiscated more military equipment from Armenian separatists, including rockets, artillery shells, mines and ammunition.

The Karabakh Armenians are not accepting Azerbaijan’s promise to guarantee their rights as the region is integrated.

Armenia called for an immediate deployment of a U.N. mission to monitor human rights and security in the region.

“99.9% prefer to leave our historic lands,” David Babayan, an adviser to Samvel Shahramanyan, president of the self-styled Republic of Artsakh, told Reuters.

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Місія МВФ розпочинає технічні дискусії з Україною щодо підготовки до перегляду програми фінансування

Раніше в українському уряді заявляли, що очікують від МВФ у 2024 році  траншів на суму 5,4 мільярда доларів

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Помер народний депутат України Андрій Іванчук

Про причини смерті не повідомляється, Іванчуку було 50 років

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