Stark World Divisions, As BRICS And EU Meetings Coincide
Russian President Vladimir Putin is being hosted (virtually) by China, along with Brazil, India and South Africa, as Europe is set to offer precious EU candidate status to Ukraine.
The synching of the diplomatic calendar is pure coincidence, but it offers a clear picture of a world starkly divided nearly four months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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China is hosting the 14th BRICS summit alongside the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa to discuss global economic recovery, climate action and public health. The meeting is the clearest opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin since his invasion of Ukraine to demonstrate that he is not isolated diplomatically.
Though treading carefully, Chinese President Xi Jinping has not wavered in his support of Russia. Along with India, China has largely helped Moscow withstand the harsh Western sanctions by buying up huge oil and gas supplies. The presence of South Africa is also a reminder of the ambivalence of African countries on the war in Ukraine.
Still, Thursday will also offer a massive show of unity against the Russian aggression from Europe, as EU countries are expected to grant accelerated candidate status for Ukraine (and neighboring Moldova) to join the Union.
"This is a decisive moment for the European Union," said European Council President Charles Michel on Thursday morning.
Scholz Vows “Massive” New German Support For Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promises further German support to Ukraine, during a speech to the Bundestag national assembly. Germany would continue to support Ukraine "massively – financially, economically, humanitarian, politically and not least with the delivery of weapons," Scholz said in the Wednesday address.
German daily Die Welt reported that Scholz promised Ukraine a "Marshall plan" of long-term support for reconstruction after Russia's war.
The Chancellor added to his comments on Twitter, saying he opposed ‘dictated peace’ in Ukraine. "Ukraine - and only Ukraine - decides what is right for them," he wrote.
Macron Criticized For Misguided "Don’t Humiliate Putin" Strategy
Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany, during a pro-Ukraine demonstration on June 19
French President Emmanuel Macron has sparked a wave of criticism for his recent efforts at keeping an open dialogue with Vladimir Putin and “not humiliate” the Russian strongman, for fear it might trigger an all-out war.
In Paris-based daily Les Echos, political analyst Dominique Moïsi gives a quick history lesson about why Macron (and Henry Kissinger) are making the wrong war comparisons.
Donetsk Governor: Russia Controls More Than Half Territory
A view of a building damaged in shelling Donetsk
Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said that Ukraine remains in control of less than half of the heavily damaged Donetsk region. Russia and its proxies currently hold the remaining 55%, including destroyed cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, Kyrylenko said during an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Why Belarus Will — Or Won’t? — Join The War
Military hardware takes part in the Allied Resolve 2022 joint military drills held by Belarusian and Russian troops at the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground.
Belarusian troops have been conducting exercises in the country’s regions bordering Ukraine, raising fears about the potential involvement of the Belarusian army in the Russian invasion. A former diplomat even says Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko might have been given an ultimatum by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
And yet, anti-war sentiment dominates the Belarusian public. Igor Ilyash of Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg, explores the reasons why Belarus will or won’t join the war against Ukraine.
RSF Report Shows Photojournalist Maks Levin Killed “In Cold Blood”
Maks Levin on assignment
According to Reporters Without Borders, Russian troops “executed in cold blood” veteran Ukrainian photographer Maksim Levin, alongside his friend and bodyguard Oleksiy Chernyshov north of Kyiv in mid March.
In a 16-page report, RSF also details possible evidence of torture on the two bodies.
Levin, a longtime Reuters contributor, was one of his country’s leading photographer and videographer. He was killed while covering the Ukraine war for a Ukrainian news website.
Zelensky Asks Ukrainian Students In Canada To “Come Back”
Toronto Star Front Page
The University of Toronto in Canada organized a virtual exchange on Wednesday between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and students from universities across the country.
Zelensky took a moment to address the Ukrainian students who had sought refuge in Canada at the start of the war: “Come back. With your cutting-edge knowledge, with the will to live and build an independent Ukraine."
The Ukrainian president spoke about the impact that social media had on the war: “For us, the internet is a kind of weapon because we can show what's going on." He also encouraged the students to continue communicating through different platforms, so the awareness about the war continues to spread.