Нічна атака військ РФ по Кривому Рогу – виникла пожежа на промисловому об’єкті

Голова міської військової адміністрації Олександр Вілкул каже: головне – без втрат

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Ukrainian Train Is Lifeline Connecting Kyiv With the Front Line

Among the hundreds of trains crisscrossing Ukraine’s elaborate railway network every day, the Kyiv-Kramatorsk train stands apart, shrouded in solemn silence as passengers anticipate their destination.

Every day, around seven in the morning, passengers of this route leave the relative safety of the capital and head east to front-line areas where battles between Ukrainian forces and Russian troops rage and Russian strikes are frequent with imprecise missiles that slam into residential areas.

The passengers are a mix of men and women that offer up a slice of Ukrainian society these days. They include soldiers returning to the front after a brief leave, women making the trip to reunite for a few days with husbands and boyfriends serving on the battlefields, and residents returning to check on homes in the Donetsk region.

They are all lost in thought and rarely converse with each other.

Nineteen-year-old Marta Banakh anxiously awaits the train’s next brief stop at one of its nine intermediate stations on the way to Kramatorsk. She disembarks at the station for a quick cigarette break, shifting her weight back and forth from one foot to the other. Her family doesn’t know she has made this journey from western Ukraine, crossing the entire country to meet her boyfriend, who has been serving in the infantry since the onset of Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. He rarely gets a break, and Banakh has decided to surprise him with a visit.

“I worry that every day could be his last, and we may never see each other again,” she said wearing her hair down, crowned with a pearl-studded headband.

It’s the only high-speed daily train that drives to Kramatorsk. The city is about 30 kilometers (less than 20 miles) from the front line, which makes it susceptible to Russian strikes. And just a few kilometers away from the city, battles near the Russian-held city of Bakhmut rage for the second year.

The war has become an integral part of the lives of millions of Ukrainians, and the country’s vast railway system has remained operational despite the war. Night trains that rattle across the country still welcome customers with hot tea and clean sheets in the sleeping compartments. The trains also carry cargo, aid and gear.

The popularity of the Kyiv-Kramatorsk route highlights the reality of war.

Around 126,000 passengers used this route during the summer months this year, according to national railway operator Ukrzaliznytsia. It holds the fourth position for passenger volume among all intercity high-speed trains and maintains one of the highest occupancy rates — 94% — among all Ukrainian trains.

The connection was suspended for six months early in the war. The halt in April last year followed a Russian missile strike on the Kramatorsk railway station while passengers were waiting for evacuation. The strike killed 53 people and wounded 135 others in one of the deadliest Russian attacks.

Alla Makieieva, 49, used to regularly travel on this route even before the war. Returning from a business trip to the capital and back to Dobropillia, a town not far from Kramatorsk, she reflects on the changes between then and now.

“People have changed, now they seem more somber,” she says. “We’ve already learned to live with these missiles. We’ve become friends,” she joked. “In Kyiv, the atmosphere is completely different; people smile more often.”

Kyiv is regularly attacked by Russian missiles and drones. But unlike Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region, the capital has powerful air defense protection, which gives residents an illusion of safety.

As the morning light gradually gives way to the midday sun, it fills the spacious train carriages in warm radiance. The train shelves are mostly filled with military backpacks and small bags. Occasionally, a waiter breaks the silence in the aisle, offering coffee, tea, and snacks. Along the way, one can order dishes like bolognese pasta or a cappuccino.

The high-speed train ride from Kyiv to Kramatorsk costs approximately $14. In nearly seven hours, passengers cover a distance of around 700 kilometers (400 miles).

Twenty-six-year-old Oleksandr Kyrylenko sits in the train’s lobby with a coffee in hand, gazing thoughtfully out of the window as the landscapes change rapidly.

It’s his first time heading to the front line, and he admits he didn’t expect to travel to the epicenter of the grinding war with such comfort.

He had been working as a warehouse manager in Poland when Russia invaded Ukraine. “I helped as much as I could,” he said. “Then I decided I needed to go myself.”

“There is no fear. I simply want it to end sooner,” he says of the war, dressed in military attire.

His parents were not thrilled about this idea, but this summer the young man returned to Ukraine and immediately went to the military enlistment office.

“It even feels lighter on my conscience,” he said, adding that this decision came naturally to him. “Human resources are running out. Something needs to be done about it.”

The train arrives at its destination on time, and the platform quickly fills with people.

Some, wearing military-colored backpacks slung over their shoulders, stride forward swiftly, while others linger on the platform in long-awaited embraces.

Twenty-year-old Sofiia Sidorchuk embraces her boyfriend, who has been serving since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. The 20-year-old soldier refrains from disclosing his name for security reasons.

He holds Sidorchuk tightly, as if trying to make up for all the lost time during their longest separation in seven years of the relationship. “We missed each other,”  

Sidorchuk explains her decision to come from the northwestern Rivne region to Kramatorsk.

“It’s love,” added her partner, wearing military fatigues.

His commander granted him a few days alone with his beloved to recharge. In five days, he will embark on a new assault mission.

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Зеленський назвав «дуже продуктивним» тиждень за підсумками зустрічей у США та Канаді

Президент України Володимир Зеленський назвав дуже продуктивним тиждень за підсумками його зустрічей у США та Канаді. Про це він сказав у вечірньому відеозверненні.

За словами президента, Україна змогла отримати багато оборонних та інших рішень.

«Оборонні пакети. Від Сполучених Штатів – це й артилерія, потрібні снаряди, ракети для «хаймарсів», ракети для ППО, додаткові системи ППО, тактичні машини. І ще деякі інші види зброї, які заявлять самі про себе на полі бою. Від Канади маємо рішення про тривалу оборонну підтримку. Обсяг – пів мільярда доларів США. Зокрема, це «медеваки» – евакуаційні машини, які дуже потрібні на фронті. Домовилися про виробництво та постачання. Є історичне рішення Америки про спільне виробництво зброї та оборонних систем, зокрема й ППО», – сказав Зеленський.

За його оцінкою, у США пролунало «багато морально сильних і важливих позицій» на різних рівнях, так само і в Канаді.

«Ми маємо економічні домовленості – і з урядами, і бізнесом. Є рішення про зону вільної торгівлі з Канадою. У Вашингтоні – меморандум щодо взаємодії в енергетиці. В Оттаві – домовленість щодо відновлення Каховської ГЕС та реконструкції Канівської. Очевидний інтерес великих компаній і США, і Канади працювати в Україні… Хочу подякувати за готовність уряду Канади виділити фінансування для музею Голодомору-геноциду, для добудови цього музею», – зазначив Зеленський.

Президент Володимир Зеленський перебував із візитом у США 18–21 вересня, а 22-го – прибув на переговори до Канади.

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Macron: France Pulling Ambassador, Troops From Niger After Coup

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday, France is imminently to withdraw its ambassador from Niger, followed by the French military contingent in the next months, in the wake of the coup in the west African country that ousted the pro-Paris president.

Macron’s announcement appeared to end two months of French defiance over the coup, which had seen Paris keep its ambassador in place in Niamey despite him being ordered by the coup leaders to go.

“France has decided to withdraw its ambassador. In the next hours our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France,” Macron told French television in an interview, without giving details over how this would be organized.  

Niger’s military rulers have banned “French aircraft” from flying over the country’s airspace, according to the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) website. It was not clear if this would affect the ambassador being flown out.

Macron added that military cooperation was “over,” and French troops would withdraw in “the months and weeks to come” with a full pullout “by the end of the year.”

“In the weeks and months to come, we will consult with the putschists, because we want this to be done peacefully,” he added.

France keeps about 1,500 soldiers in Niger as part of an anti-jihadis deployment in the Sahel region. Macron said the post-coup authorities “no longer wanted to fight against terrorism.”  

Niger’s military leaders told French ambassador Sylvain Itte he had to leave the country after they overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.  

But a 48-hour ultimatum for him to leave, issued in August, passed with him still in place as the French government refused to comply, or to recognize the military regime as legitimate.

Earlier this month, Macron said the ambassador and his staff were “literally being held hostage” in the mission eating military rations with no food deliveries taking place.  

Macron in the interview reaffirmed France’s position that Bazoum was being held “hostage” and remained the “sole legitimate authority” in the country.

“He was targeted by this coup d’état because he was carrying out courageous reforms and because there was a largely ethnic settling of scores and a lot of political cowardice,” he argued.

The coup against Bazoum was the third such putsch in the region in as many years, following similar actions in Mali and Burkina Faso in 2021 and 2022 that also forced the pullouts of French troops.

But the Niger coup is particularly bruising for Macron after he sought to make a special ally of Niamey, and a hub for France’s presence in the region following the Mali coup. The U.S. also has over 1,000 troops in the country.

Macron regularly speaks by phone to Bazoum who remains under house arrest in the presidential residence.

The French president has repeatedly spoken of making a historic change to France’s post-colonial imprint in Africa, but analysts say Paris is losing influence across the continent especially in the face of a growing Chinese, Turkish and Russian presence.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) threatened military action to restore Bazoum but so far, its threats, which were strongly supported by France, have not transferred into action.

“We are not here to be hostages of the putschists,” said Macron. “The putschists are the allies of disorder,” he added.

Macron said that jihadi attacks were causing “dozens of deaths every day in Mali” after its coup and that now such assaults had resumed in Niger.  

“I am very worried about this region,” he said.

“France, sometimes alone, has taken all its responsibilities and I am proud of our military. But we are not responsible for the political life of these countries, and we draw all the consequences.”

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Опозиція у Вірменії оголосила з понеділка загальну по країні акцію непокори

У столиці Вірменії Єревані протестувальники у неділю анонсували загальну по країні акцію непокори, яка має розпочатися о 8-й ранку 25 вересня. Про це повідомляє Вірменська служба Радіо Свобода (Радіо Азатутюн).

«Треба вийти на вулиці, підняти рівень непокори настільки, що уряд стане на коліна», – заявив депутат опозиційної фракції «Аястан» Ішхан Сагателян під час мітингу, який шостий день поспіль проходить на площі Республіки в Єревані.

У неділю представники вірменської опозиції провели черговий мітинг у Єревані, вимагаючи відставки прем’єр-міністра Нікола Пашиняна через події довкола сепаратиського регіону Нагірний Карабах.

Цього тижня в результаті військової операції Азербайджану вірменська влада самопроголошеної республіки Нагірний Карабах, яка існувала понад 30 років, фактично капітулювала перед Баку. Наразі ведуться переговори щодо умов реінтеграції вірменської громади Нагірного Карабаху в Азербайджані. Очікується, що вся територія регіону перейде під контроль азербайджанської влади.

Чинна влада Вірменії побічно звинуватила у події російський миротворчий контингент, який, на їхню думку, не втрутився у події.

Вірменська опозиція звинувачує Пашиняна у зраді національних інтересів та не наданні допомоги вірменам Карабаху, водночас заявляючи про небезпеку етнічних чисток у регіоні. На акціях протесту звучить і критика на адресу Москви.

Під час кількаденних мітингів відбулися сутички з поліцією. Влада затримала кілька сотень протестувальників, з них 49 осіб стали підозрюваними у кримінальних справах.

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Перша група вірмен з Нагірного Карабаху прибула до Вірменії

Перша група вірменських жителів сепаратистського регіону Нагірний Карабах, які захотіли покинути його територію, у неділю прибула до Вірменії, повідомляє «Радіо Азатутюн». Люди розміщені у Корнідзорі в Сюнікській області на півдні Вірменії. Там розгорнуто пункт гуманітарної допомоги.

Карети швидкої допомоги у супроводі медиків та представників Червоного Хреста, як повідомляється, також перевезли з Нагірного Карабаху до Вірменії 23-ох тяжко поранених.

Прем’єр-міністр Вірменії Нікол Пашинян у неділю заявив, що країна готова прийняти вірменських жителів Нагірного Карабаху в тому випадку, якщо їм не вдасться домогтися від азербайджанської влади гарантій безпеки після того, як Баку, як очікується, встановить повний контроль над територією регіону. При цьому він сказав, що Вірменія «не проводитиме політику позбавлення Нагірного Карабаху вірменського населення».

У регіоні нині мешкає, за оцінками, понад 100 тисяч етнічних вірмен. Влада сепаратистського регіону в неділю оголосила, що сім’ї, які залишилися без даху над головою внаслідок військових дій Азербайджану і виявили бажання покинути Нагірний Карабах, будуть перевезені до Вірменії в супроводі російських військових.

Влада Азербайджану заперечує твердження про те, що прагне влаштувати етнічну чистку в регіоні, і заявляє, що забезпечать вірменським жителям, які захочуть залишитися в Нагірному Карабаху, всі права. Про конкретні кроки зараз домовляються між владою Азербайджану та представниками вірменської громади.

Азербайджанська армія 19 вересня оголосила про «антитерористичну операцію» в сепаратистському регіоні Нагірний Карабах. Вже наступного дня Міноборони Азербайджану заявило про домовленість щодо припинення вогню, а президент Ільгам Алієв заявив, що його країна досягла всіх цілей за добу «антитерористичних заходів» і «відновила свій суверенітет». У Єревані ці події спричинили акції протесту, учасники яких звинувачують владу Вірменії в тому, що вона не прийшла на допомогу вірменам Карабаху.

21 вересня відбулася перша сесія «реінтеграційних» переговорів між представниками Азербайджану і керівництвом сепаратистського регіону Нагірного Карабаху в місті Євлах на заході Азербайджану завершилася без будь-яких ознак прориву. Сторони обмінялися звинуваченнями і запереченнями повідомлень про стрілянину і ймовірні порушення режиму припинення вогню в столиці Нагірного Карабаху, проте заявили, що плануються подальші зустрічі.


Міжнародне співтовариство визнає Нагірний Карабах суверенною територією Азербайджану, проте з початку 1990-х Баку не контролював більшу частину регіону.


Баку та Єреван роками перебувають у конфлікті через сепаратистський регіон Нагірний Карабах. Підтримувані Вірменією сепаратисти захопили регіон Азербайджану, населений переважно етнічними вірменами, під час війни на початку 1990-х років, у якій загинуло близько 30 000 людей.


За підсумками короткострокової війни восени 2020 року Азербайджан та Вірменія за посередництва Росії підписали угоду про припинення бойових дій. Баку повернув собі під контроль частину територій Нагірного Карабаху та прилеглі райони Азербайджану.


Упродовж понад трьох десятиліть Росія була посередником між двома колишніми радянськими республіками, але Брюссель і Вашингтон останнім часом стали активнішими, оскільки Москва на тлі повномасштабного вторгнення в Україну більше не може активно брати участь у проблемах Нагірного Карабаху.


Вірменія неодноразово звинувачувала російських миротворців у невиконанні обіцянок захистити етнічних вірмен згідно з погодженим Москвою перемир’ям 2020 року.


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Оперативна ситуація на сході та півдні України залишається складною – Генштаб

Генеральний штаб Збройних сил України повідомив про оперативну ситуацію на фронті станом на вечір 24 вересня. Повідомляється, що упродовж доби відбулося 24 бойових зіткнення.

«Оперативна обстановка на сході та півдні України залишається складною… На Бахмутському напрямку наші захисники успішно відбили атаки противника в районі східніше Богданівки та південно-східніше Білої Гори Донецької області. Ворог намагався відновити втрачене положення в районі Кліщіївки Донецької області, але успіху не мав», – йдеться у зведенні.

У Генштабі додають, що армія РФ намагалася відновити втрачене положення і в районі Авдіївки Донецької області – безуспішно.

«На Мар’їнському напрямку протягом доби наші захисники успішно відбили 11 атак ворога в районі Мар’їнки Донецької області…На Мелітопольському напрямку Сили оборони продовжують наступальну операцію. Наші захисники успішно відбили атаки противника в районі Роботиного Запорізької області», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Триває п’ятсот сімдесят восьма доба широкомасштабної збройної агресії РФ проти України.

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Стефанчук про переговори України щодо вступу в ЄС: до жовтневої оцінки Рада виконає свої зобов’язання

«А далі, якщо буде позитивна оцінка, а в мене є великі сподівання, що вона буде, тоді у грудні Єврорада ухвалить рішення про відкриття перемовин про повноцінне членство»

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Armenian PM Says Armenians May Flee Karabakh, Blames Russia

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Sunday the likelihood was rising that ethnic Armenians would flee the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh and blamed Russia for failing to ensure Armenian security.

If 120,000 people go down the Lachin corridor to Armenia, the small South Caucasian country could face both a humanitarian and political crisis.

“If proper conditions are not created for the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to live in their homes and there are no effective protection mechanisms against ethnic cleansing, the likelihood is rising that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh will see exile from their homeland as the only way to save their lives and identity,” Pashinyan said in address to the nation.

“Responsibility for such a development of events will fall entirely on Azerbaijan, which adopted a policy of ethnic cleansing, and on the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said, according to a government transcript.

He added that the Armenian-Russian strategic partnership was “not enough to ensure the external security of Armenia.”

Last week, Azerbaijan scored a victory over ethnic Armenians who have controlled the Karabakh region since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. An adviser to the leader of the Karabakh Armenians told Reuters earlier on Sunday that the population would leave because they feel unsafe under Azerbaijani rule.

Russia had acted as guarantor for a peace deal that ended a 44-day war in Karabakh three years ago, and many Armenians blame Moscow for failing to protect the region.

Russian officials say Pashinyan is to blame for his own mishandling of the crisis, and have repeatedly said that Armenia, which borders Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and Georgia, has few other friends in the region.

“The government will accept our brothers and sisters from Nagorno-Karabakh with full care,” Pashinyan said.

Pashinyan has warned that some unidentified forces were seeking to stoke a coup against him and has accused Russian media of engaging in an information war against him.

“Some of our partners are increasingly making efforts to expose our security vulnerabilities, putting at risk not only our external, but also internal security and stability, while violating all norms of etiquette and correctness in diplomatic and interstate relations, including obligations assumed under treaties,” Pashinyan said in his Sunday address.

“In this context, it is necessary to transform, complement and enrich the external and internal security instruments of the Republic of Armenia,” he said. 

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Holocaust Revisionist Is Top Mayor Candidate in One German City 

A populist far-right politician is the front-runner in a mayoral race Sunday in the German city of Nordhausen, best known as the location of the Nazi concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora.

Joerg Prophet of the Alternative for Germany party, won 42.1% of the vote in the first round of the election earlier this month. His opponent, independent incumbent candidate Kai Buchmann, had just 23.7%.

The prospect of a far-right mayor holding a revisionist version of Germany’s Holocaust past has not gone unnoticed by Holocaust survivors and people who work in Germany to combat discrimination.

Jens-Christian Wagner, director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, told AFP that an AfD mayor would not be welcome at commemorative events.

Agence France-Presse reports that Prophet posted in a blog in 2020 that the Allied forces liberated Mittelbau-Dora because they were interested only in the site’s rocket and missile technology.

“Everything I hear,” Wagner said, “suggests that Prophet will be elected not despite such historical revisionist positions, but precisely because of such positions.”

The AfD party’s popularity has been growing, especially as thousands of migrants have sought asylum in Germany recently. Migration is AfD’s signature issue.

AfD’s growing popularity has presented a dilemma for other political parties that must decide whether or how to cooperate with the controversial party.

Information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

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Ukraine Grain Shipment Reaches Turkey

A second shipment of Ukrainian wheat reached Turkey on Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse. Russia had threatened to attack vessels headed to or from Ukraine.  However, Ukraine is now testing shipping waters controlled by NATO members Bulgaria and Romania. The Palau-flagged ship is headed to Egypt.

Gasoline and diesel customers of Russia have “highly likely” experienced local shortages, the British Defense Ministry said Sunday in its daily intelligence update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ministry said Russia suspended almost all diesel and gasoline exports on Thursday “to stabilize its internal markets.” That move, according to the ministry, “will almost certainly” further limit supplies globally.

The shortages are “unlikely” a direct result of the war but are instead “probably” caused by several factors, including “short term increases” in agricultural demands, the summer maintenance needs of refineries, and “attractive” export prices.

Countries currently depending on Russia for the supplies will “likely” be impacted the most, the ministry said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asserted Saturday that the Black Sea Grain Initiative allowing safe passage for Ukrainian exports will not be revived and castigated Ukraine’s proposed 10-point peace plan, calling both “not realistic.”

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

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

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

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

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

Lavrov also lashed out at “the U.S. and its subordinate Western collective,” for stoking conflicts “which artificially divide humanity into hostile blocks and hamper the achievement of overall aims. They’re doing everything they can to prevent the formation of a genuine multipolar world order,” he said.

Lavrov addressed the U.N. General Assembly four days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden.

During his speech, Zelenskyy accused Russia of weaponizing food, energy and even children against Ukraine and “the international rules-based order” at large.

Biden struck a similar note, while urging world leaders to keep up support for Ukraine: “If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?” he mused.

Pope Francis suggested Saturday that some countries were “playing games” with Ukraine by first supplying weapons and then mulling on whether they should back out of their promises.

The pope’s comments to a reporter’s question, aboard a plane returning from the French port city of Marseilles, reflected frustration that his efforts to bring about peace in Ukraine had not succeeded.

Francis has condemned the international arms trade in general but said last year that it is morally legitimate for nations to supply weapons to Ukraine’s defensive war against Russian aggression.

Several countries, including the United States, face domestic political pressure to stop or reduce spending on military aid to Ukraine.

During a stopover in Poland Saturday, Zelenskyy presented state awards to two Polish volunteers in Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression. He honored Bianka Zalewska, a journalist who helped transport wounded children to Polish hospitals, and Damian Duda, who gathered a medical team to help wounded soldiers near the front line.

During his visit he did not meet with Polish officials as the relations between Ukraine and Poland are strained over Poland’s ban on Ukraine’s grain imports.

Zelenskyy offended his neighbors when he told the United Nations General Assembly in New York that Kyiv was working to preserve land routes for grain exports, but that the “political theater” around imports was only helping Moscow.

Ukraine targets Sevastopol

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

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

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

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

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

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

Budanov’s claims could not be independently verified.

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

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

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1 Police Officer Killed, 1 Wounded in Kosovo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Illegal Migration to Greece Surges, Sparking Measures to Shield Borders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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6 Young Portuguese Activists Head to Court in Climate Fight

Sofia Oliveira was 12 years old when catastrophic wildfires in central Portugal killed more than 100 people in 2017. She “felt it was now or never to raise our voices” as her country appeared to be in the grip of deadly human-caused climate change.

Now a university student, Sofia and five other Portuguese young adults and children between 11 and 24 years of age are due on Wednesday at the European Court of Human Rights, where they are accusing 32 European governments of violating their human rights for what they say is a failure to adequately address climate change. It’s the first climate change case filed with the court and could compel action to significantly slash emissions and build cleaner infrastructure.

Victory for them in Strasbourg would be a powerful instance of young people taking a legal route to force their governments to adopt a radical recalibration of their climate measures.

The court’s rulings are legally binding on member countries, and failure to comply makes authorities liable for hefty fines decided by the court.

The courts are increasingly seen by activists as a way of sidestepping politics and holding governments to account. Last month, in a case brought by young environmental activists, a judge in the U.S. state of Montana ruled that state agencies were violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment by allowing fossil fuel development.

When the Portuguese group decided in 2017 they would pursue legal action, Sofia wore braces on her teeth, stood taller than her younger brother André and was starting seventh grade at school. The braces are long gone and André, who is now 15, is taller than her by a few centimeters.

The past six years, André noted in an interview with The Associated Press, represent almost half of his life.

What has kept them going through the piles of legal documents gathered by the nonprofit group supporting them and through lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic is what they call the pressing evidence all around them that the climate crisis is getting worse.

The Praia do Norte beach at Costa da Caparica near where Sofia and André live, just south of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, was about 1 kilometer long when his father was his age, André says. Now, amid coastal erosion, it measures less than 300 meters. Evidence like that led him to attend climate demonstrations even before he became a teen.

The other four members of the Portuguese group — Catarina, Cláudia, Martim and Mariana — are siblings and cousins who live in the region of Leiria in central Portugal where summer wildfires are common.

Scientists say the climate of the Sahara is jumping across the Mediterranean Sea to southern European countries like Portugal, where average temperatures are climbing and rainfall is declining. Portugal’s hottest year on record was 1997, followed by 2017. The four driest years on record in the country of 10.3 million people have all occurred since 2003.

It’s a similar story across Europe, and the legal arguments of the six Portuguese are backed by science. The Earth sweltered through its hottest Northern Hemisphere summer ever measured, with a record warm August capping a season of brutal and deadly temperatures, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The world is far off its pledge to curb global warming, scientists say, by cutting emissions in line with the requirements of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Estimates say global average temperatures could rise by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times by 2100 at current trajectories of warming and emissions reductions plans.

Among the specific impacts listed by the young Portuguese are being unable to sleep, concentrate, play outside or exercise during heat waves. One of their schools was closed temporarily when the air became unbreathable due to wildfire smoke. Some of the children have health conditions such as asthma that makes them more vulnerable to heat and air pollution.

They are being assisted by the Global Legal Action Network, an international nonprofit organization that challenges human rights violations. A crowdfunding campaign has drawn support from around the world, with messages of support coming from as far away as Japan, India and Brazil.

Gerry Liston, a GLAN legal officer, says the 32 governments have “trivialized” the case. “The governments have resisted every aspect of our case … all our arguments,” he said.

André describes the governments as “condescending.” Sofia adds: “They don’t see climate as a priority.”

Portugal’s government, for example, agrees the state of the environment and human rights are connected but insists the government’s “actions seek to meet its international obligations in this area” and cannot be faulted.

At the same time, some governments in Europe are backsliding on commitments already made.

Poland last month filed legal challenges aimed at annulling three of the European Union’s main climate change policies. Last week, the British government announced it is delaying by five years a ban on new gas and diesel cars that had been due to take effect in 2030. The Swedish government’s state budget proposal last week, meanwhile, cut taxes on gas and diesel and reduced funding for climate and environmental measures.

Amid those developments, the courts are seen by activists as a recourse.

The London School of Economics says that globally, the cumulative number of climate change-related cases has more than doubled since 2015 to more than 2,000. Around one-fourth were launched between 2020 and 2022, it says.

The Portuguese activists, who are not seeking any financial compensation, will likely have to wait some more. The verdict in their case could take up to 18 months, though they see the court’s decision in 2020 to fast-track the proceedings as an encouraging sign.

A precedent is also giving the activists heart. The Urgenda Foundation, a Dutch organization that promotes sustainability and innovation, brought against the Dutch Government the first case in the world in which citizens argued that their government has a legal obligation to prevent dangerous climate change.

In 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court found in Urgenda’s favor, ruling that the emissions reduction target set by the government was unlawfully low. It ordered authorities to further reduce emissions.

The government consequently decided to shut down coal-fired power plants by 2030 and adopted billion-euro packages to reduce energy use and develop renewable energy, among other measures.

Dennis van Berkel, Urgenda’s legal counsel, accused governments of choosing climate change targets that are “politically convenient” instead of listening to climate scientists. Judges can compel them to justify that what they are doing on climate issues is enough, he said.

“Currently there is no such scrutiny at any level,” he told the AP. “That is something incredibly important that the courts can contribute.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ukraine attacks Sevastopol

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

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

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

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

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

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

Budanov’s claims could not be independently verified.

Counteroffensive makes gains, says think tank

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘We keep giving them hell’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Стефанчук розповів, за яких умов у Шуфрича можна забрати мандат

20 вересня Верховна Рада відкликала народного депутата Нестора Шуфрича з посади голови парламентського комітету з питань свободи слова

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 VOA Immigration Weekly Recap, Sept. 17–23

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

Texas City Sees Jump in Irregular Migrant Crossings

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

New York Mayor Urges UN Leaders to Act on Migration Crisis

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

Biden Grants Protection to Hundreds of Thousands of Venezuelans

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

VOA in Photos:

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

Immigration around the world

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

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

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

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

Migrants Burst Into Southern Mexico Asylum Office Demanding Papers

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

Italy Toughens Asylum Laws Amid Surge in Migrant Arrivals

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

Protesters Urge Compassion for Migrants Left in Limbo in Australia

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

European Leaders Visit Lampedusa

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

News brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Former FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Concealing Loan From Former Albanian Official

Former FBI official Charles McGonigal pleaded guilty on Friday to accepting $225,000 from Albanian-American Agron Nezaj, a former Albanian intelligence officer who McGonigal admitted was helping him foster relationships in Albania to help lay the groundwork for future business opportunities in the country.

According to court documents, Nezaj became an informant for the FBI’s investigation into McGonigal’s contacts in Albania.

In Washington, McGonigal faced a nine-count indictment charging him with failing to report cash payments, contacts with foreign officials and trips to Europe he took with Nezaj in 2017 and 2018 that neither he nor the FBI paid for.

The guilty plea was entered in U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia in Washington, based on a deal between prosecutors and McGonigal’s lawyers. He pleaded guilty to one count of the indictment — concealing material evidence — and prosecutors dropped the other eight counts.

The settlement means the case will not go to trial.

McGonigal apologized to the court for his actions.

“Before I left the FBI in September 2018, I was planning to launch a security consulting business with a friend. I knew that my government contacts and international relationships might be useful to me when I later launched the business,” he told U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

“I did not disclose an approximately $225,000 loan I received from my friend and prospective business partner in the U.S. for several meetings I attended with foreign nationals. These meetings were an effort to develop potential business relationships for my future consulting business. And the loan was intended to help start the business,” McGonigal said.

Those contacts included several meetings in 2017 and 2018 with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in the presence of Nezaj and an adviser to the prime minister, who had business interests in arranging the meetings.

In one instance, McGonigal opened a criminal investigation in New York into a U.S. lobbyist who was working for an Albanian opposition party. According to the indictment, he received this information from the Albanian prime minister’s office. The indictment does not identify the American lobbyist nor the Albanian party.

But on November 14, 2017, lobbyist Nick Muzin — an ex-Trump aide — filed on the lobbying activity on behalf of the Albanian Democratic Party, the main opposition party, with the Department of Justice. While lobbying for a foreign political force is not illegal for a registered lobbyist, Muzin had filed that activity months after an initial filing that was not complete.

The payment he received eventually became the subject of an investigation in Albania over the suspect origin of the money.

McGonigal told the court he had an ongoing relationship with the prime minister.

Rama has denied any wrongdoing.

McGonigal’s lawyer Seth DuCharme said after the hearing that his client takes full responsibility for his actions and looks forward to putting the case behind him.

“While he may have had or did have, I think, some pretty legitimate interests that aligned with the United States in keeping up those relationships, he also clearly had a personal interest,” DuCharme said.

McGonigal led the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York before retiring in 2018.

In a separate case in New York, McGonigal pleaded guilty in August to a conspiracy charge, admitting that after leaving the FBI he agreed to work for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. McGonigal went to work for Deripaska, whom McGonigal had once investigated, to dig up dirt on the oligarch’s wealthy rival in violation of U.S. sanctions on Russia. He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in mid-December.

The District of Columbia court charge carries a maximum of five years in prison, but prosecutors will likely seek a more lenient sentence as part of the plea agreement.

The judge said McGonigal will be sentenced in February and said he will not be able to appeal it.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and The Associated Press.

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Стефанчук: «закон про олігархів» показав свою ефективність, але його імплементація розпочнеться після завершення війни

Спікер парламенту не визнає, що закон, який ухвалила Верховна Рада України був юридично недосконалим, спікер каже, що «практика покаже»

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Swedish Sinkhole Opens After Landslide

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

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

The highway has been closed in both directions.

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Стефанчук вважає, що в парламенті наразі немає голосів для заборони діяльності Московського патріархату в Україні

У День Незалежності 24 серпня 2023 року у Верховній Раді зібрали понад 125 підписів депутатів під зверненням до спікера Руслана Стефанчука із закликом розглянути законопроєкти про заборону УПЦ (МП)

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Україна і Канада розширили угоду про вільну торгівлю

Передбачено розширення дії угоди на товари, які мають складові з Євросоюзу, Британії та Ізраїлю

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UK Trophy-Hunting Bill Fails; Southern African Countries Relieved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ukraine Claims Responsibility for Striking Russian Navy Headquarters in Crimea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poland tensions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Зеленський перерахував «основні труднощі» для проведення виборів під час війни

«Мільйони українців перебувають за кордоном і поки ніхто не може знайти відповідь, як організувати їхнє голосування»

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