Total Shutdown Of U.S.-Russia Contact
Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed the complete absence of high-level communication between Moscow and Washington, as tensions continue to rise over the U.S. delivery of long-range rocket launchers to Ukraine.
There are currently no contacts between Russia and the United States. This stark fact was confirmed by Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov. “You can say no, not at the moment,” Peskov said Thursday morning in response to a question from Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on the state of communication between the two countries. “Now all contact is virtually non-existent."
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A similar lack of communication was confirmed in early April, shortly after the Russian invasion began. On May 20, the U.S. State Department announced that the time had not yet come to resume contacts with Russia at the Foreign Ministry level. On May 13, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu for the first time since the start of the military operation in Ukraine.
In the intervening weeks, no new contacts between Washington and Moscow have been reported, as the public rhetoric from the two capitals grows continuously hostile.
Russia Calls U.S. Rocket Deliveries “Direct Provocation”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS/Zuma
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the U.S. decision to send advanced rocket launchers to Ukraine goes beyond "all limits and decency" and is a "direct provocation."
President Joe Biden announced the inclusion this week of the longer-range Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) to Ukraine as part of a $700 million package of military aid. Though the launchers could reach well into Russian territory, Washington obtained assurances from Kyiv that they wouldn’t be used to fire rockets across the border.
No Risk Of Another Munich 1938: Why We Have To Talk To Putin
Chamberlain (Left) in Munich with Hitler and Mussolini.
France's Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Olaf Scholz, and Austria's Karl Nehammer have all spoken in past weeks with Vladimir Putin. While some accuse the European leaders of naivety, of trying to appease a dictator, Bartosz T. Wieliński, writing for Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, says there are many reasons why Ukraine is not and will not be a second Czechoslovakia, which was sacrificed during the 1938 Munich Conference to appease Hitler. Read more here
Denmark Votes To Join EU Defense Policy
Representatives of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Life Guards of the Danish Army
Denmark, which had worked to maintain its “opt-out” status inside the European Union, has finally decided to join the EU’s common defense policy with 67% in favor. The decision comes two weeks after Finland and Sweden submitted applications to join NATO in light of Russia’s aggressive offensive in Ukraine. Denmark is already part of NATO. There are calls for Austria to also join NATO. Austria, Sweden and Finland are already part of the EU defense policy.
U.S. Cyberspace “Offensive Operations” Against RussiaPhoto by Moritz Erken on Unsplash
The United States has confirmed that it is conducting "offensive operations" against Russia in cyberspace, but does not consider these actions a “direct confrontation” with Moscow that it had vowed to avoid after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The clarification was made by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, reacting to a statement by the head of the U.S. Cyber Command, General Paul Nakasone, who confirmed such operations in an interview with Sky News.
“We just don't take it that way. We talked about this before,” the spokeswoman said during the briefing , answering the question of whether the actions of Cyber Command contradict Mr. Biden’s previously stated position.
Nakasone had told Sky News: “We conducted a series of operations across the spectrum: offensive, defensive and information operations.” He did not offer further details of the ongoing operations, but noted that Russia is also actively conducting cyber attacks.
Russia: We Have No More Casualties
Russian Western Military District troops
Russian Defence Ministry/TASS/Zuma
Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee Andrey Kartapolov declared that Russia has practically stopped losing people during the hostilities in Ukraine. This was in response to a question of why the Russian Defense Ministry has stopped reporting losses.
“We have practically stopped losing people. The extreme figures released by the Ministry of Defense in March are 1,351 dead. Since then, the data has not come from the Ministry of Defense and I will explain why. At present, of course, there are wounded, but there are no such number of dead,". Kartapolov told RIA Novosti .
Zelensky Says 200,000 Ukrainian Children Forcibly Deported To Russia
Ukraine: Children sit on a sofa in an underground shelter
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that more than 200,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly deported into Russia.
“Russia forcibly removes both adults and children. This is one of Russia's most heinous war crimes,” Zelensky said. “In total, more than 200,000 Ukrainian children have been deported so far. These are orphans from orphanages. And children with parents. And children separated from their families.”
Zelensky also reported that at least 243 children have died during the war, 446 injured, and another 139 are missing.
Russian Nobel Peace Prize Winner Auctions Off Medal For Funds For Ukraine
Dmitry Muratov, the editor of Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, will auction off the precious award to raise funds for Ukraine.
All the proceeds from the sale of the medal will go to UNICEF's humanitarian efforts for Ukrainian children displaced by the war.
The New York Times also reported that the $500,000 in prize money awarded to Muratov would be distributed to different charities in Ukraine on top of the funds from the auction.
Captured Russian Soldier Makes Movie
Mykhailo Tkach, a Ukrainian journalist, has compiled videos found on a Russian soldier’s phone, to make a unique kind of war movie.
The Russian soldier, Lieutenant Shalaev, was captured in Ukraine in early April. His video footage was turned into a 24 minute movie called “The Occupant”.
The movie demonstrates what it was like for young Russian soldiers to invade Ukraine, as well as the brutal reality of war.
Ukraine One Win Away From Qualifying For Soccer World Cup
\u201cThe Ukrainian national soccer team defeated Scotland, 3-1, on Wednesday, bringing Ukraine within reach of its second World Cup appearance. https://t.co/Zt4c9G7CkA\u201d— The New York Times (@The New York Times) 1654161307
After its 3-1 victory over Scotland, Ukraine is set to play Wales on Sunday, with the winner qualifying for a spot in the World Cup in November.
Wednesday night’s match was the first game Ukraine has played since Russia’s invasion.
President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated the team in an online post saying: “Thank you guys! Two hours of happiness, something we have become unaccustomed to!”
As bars in Kyiv were unable to broadcast the match due to curfew, many Ukrainians watched the game from home, bomb shelters and trenches. The mood in Kyiv was upbeat as the city celebrated the win.
Olga Tokariuk, a prominent independent journalist, took to twitter to discuss the match: “It’s a morale boost, it’s a source of joy in dark times. Soldiers watched it in the trenches, millions of Ukrainians watched it in the bomb shelters while Russian missiles were striking Lviv.”