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In The News

New Probe Finds Russia's “Relentless” Bombing Of Kharkiv Is War Crime

Amnesty International has accused Russia of committing war crimes, causing “widespread death and destruction by relentlessly bombarding residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv” since the war began on February 24.

New Probe Finds Russia's “Relentless” Bombing Of Kharkiv Is War Crime

Kharkiv, Ukraine: An apartment block destroyed by Russian shelling

Meike Eisberg, Anna Akage, Lisa Berdet and Emma Albright

Amnesty International has accused Russia of committing war crimes during its efforts to capture the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. According to the international NGO’s 40-page report, Russian forces have caused “widespread death and destruction by relentlessly bombarding residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv” since the war began on February 24.

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“People have been killed in their homes and in the streets, in playgrounds and in cemeteries, while queueing for humanitarian aid, or shopping for food and medicine,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser, said. “The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives.”

According to the director of the Medical Department at Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, a total of 606 civilians had been killed and 1,248 injured in the Kharkiv region since the conflict began.

The report details the alleged use of cluster munitions, inherently inaccurate rockets, and other indiscriminate means of attack. Amnesty International in particular found evidence of Russian forces repeatedly using 9N210/9N235 cluster munitions as well as scatterable mines. Both of these are subject to the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines.

Russia is not a party to either treaty, but international humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate attacks and the use of weapons that are indiscriminate by nature. Launching indiscriminate attacks resulting in death or injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects, constitutes war crimes, Amnesty International stated.

Ukrainian Forces In Severodonetsk Desperate For Weapons

​Ukrainian soldier watches howitzers hidden in forests near the Zaporizhzhia province

Celestino Arce Lavin/ZUMA

Hundreds of Ukrainian civilians are still sheltering in the Azot plant in Severodonetsk, which is under heavy fire from the Russians.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine that also includes Severodonetsk, says Russian forces control about 70% of the city. He added that it is impossible for the moment to bring humanitarian aid or plan a mass evacuation due to the heavy shelling.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukrainian troops are fighting for "literally every meter" of the city. Ukraine is calling for more weapons to be sent from the West. Defense ministers from all around the world are meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, has said on Twitter that to end the war his country need “heavy weapons parity”.

Very Quiet “Russia Day” Celebrations In Occupied Kherson

Russia day in Kherson

screenshot from video

In Ukraine's occupied territories, Russian troops and officials are rapidly attempting to “Russify” cities it has seized just a couple of weeks ago. This includes decorating these partially destroyed cities with Russian flags, firing salutes, and forcing people to attend pro-Russian rallies.

Yet on “Russia Day,” which Russian citizens celebrate on June 12 to mark the end of the Soviet era, celebrations marked in the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson were a flop, residents told Ukrainian Pravda, with more Russian soldiers than participants.

Even facing threats, people did not take to the streets, and the Ukrainian anthem was played from the windows. "Residents of the Kherson region ignored the celebration of Russia Day, despite attempts to bribe with food baskets. There were more weapons than spectators," writes Pravda.

Canada Apologizes After Official Takes Part In Russia Day Celebrations

Canadian officials said late Sunday it had been a mistake for one of its diplomats to attend a celebratory event earlier in the day at Moscow’s embassy in Ottawa. Yasemin Heinbecker, the deputy chief of protocol at Canada’s Department of Global Affairs, had been sent to attend Russia Day celebrations, The Globe And Mail daily reported.

“No Canadian representative should have attended the event hosted at the Russian embassy and no Canadian representative will attend this kind of event in the future,” Christelle Chartrand, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said in a statement.

Putin The Tsar: A New Imperial Model?”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly made references to Peter the Great, the imperial ruler born 350 years ago, last Thursday. But, as Cameron Manley writes, the current would-be tsar's selective memory is notable, exalting a leader best known for his Westernization and modernization ambitions:

“Indeed, inspired by his time abroad, Peter I built St. Petersburg as Russia’s "window to Europe." Now, instead, Putin's invasion of Ukraine has slammed the door shut on Russia's rapport with the Continent — and indeed threatens to undo whatever progress Russia has made in recent years.

“Putin’s Russia appears more isolated than ever, with heavy sanctions and global companies exiting the Russian market by the hundreds. Thus it's not surprising that Putin and friends are choosing to downplay Peter's affinity for Europe, instead focusing on his role in expanding Russian territories and consolidating state power.” Read more here

The War In Ukraine Has Reached Italian Port Of Trieste

File Photo: MSC Trieste | Doug Letterman | Flickrwww.flickr.com

The direct impact of the war in Ukraine has arrived in Italy’s northeastern port city of Trieste, which has become a major commercial hub for trade in Central and Eastern Europe since the closing of significant commercial areas in the Black Sea, French business daily Les Echos reports.

According to Zeno d’Agostino, president of the port, the conflict in Ukraine is “a humanitarian disaster, but also an economic opportunity” for Trieste.

The boost in traffic diverted from central Europe has combined with a rise in commerce from the Chinese market, with Italy concluding an agreement in 2019 with Beijing linked to its New Silk Road mega grade project.

In one year, the traffic increased by 19.6%, with 14.1 million of goods passing through the Italian port. Along with the port of Monfalcone, Trieste will get more than 30 billion euros for the modernisation of its infrastructures, an investment intended to further develop trade on the international level.

Boris Johnson Mobilizes Government For Release Of Britons Sentenced To Death

A still image, taken from footage of the Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, shows Britons Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged cabinet ministers to “do everything in their power” in order to guarantee the release of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, two Britons sentenced to death for fighting with the Ukrainian army against the Russian invasion

Foreign secretary Liz Truss spoke to her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba regarding the captured men and said: "the judgment against them is an egregious breach of the Geneva Convention".

The leader of the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region of Ukraine said on Sunday there was no reason to pardon the pair, who were sentenced to death last week alongside a third man, Moroccan national, 21-year-old Brahim Saadoun, after being captured while fighting for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the family of Jordan Gatley, a former British soldier, confirmed he has died fighting Russian forces in Ukraine in Severodonetsk. He is thought to be the second Briton to be killed during the war.

Russia’s Massive Earnings From Fuel Exports Since War Began

International Gas Pipeline route from Russia to Europe


Despite demands from Kyiv to sever all trade ties with Russia, the country has earned $98 billion from fossil fuel exports during the first 100 days of the war in Ukraine, a new report from the independent Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) has revealed.

Although Russia’s exports plummeted in May, as a result of countries and companies shunning its supplies, the global rise in fossil fuel prices increased Russia’s export revenue by 60% compared to last year, and continued “to fill the Kremlin’s coffers,” Aljazeera reported.

The fossil fuel earnings come from the sale of crude oil ($48.2bn), followed by pipeline gas ($25.1bn), oil products ($13.6bn), liquefied natural gas, or LNG, ($5.3bn) and coal ($4.8bn). According to the report, the European Union was the top importer, taking 61% of Russia’s fossil fuel exports, worth about $60bn.

Earlier this month, the EU agreed to halt most Russian oil imports. It aims to reduce gas shipments by two-thirds by this year, but a full embargo has yet to be implemented. Some countries have even increased their purchases from Russia, including China, India, the United Arab Emirates and France.

In fact, France has increased its imports to become the largest buyer of LNG in the world, according to CREA analyst Lauri Myllyvirta. “Since most of these are spot purchases rather than long-term contracts, France is consciously deciding to use Russian energy in the wake of the invasion,” he added.

Kharkiv Shelling Sets Off Forest Fires In Protected Wildlife Zones

Ukrainian firefighters in Kharkiv earlier this month

Cover Images/ZUMA

As the Russian army continues to shell the northeastern city of Kharkiv and neighboring villages, the human toll mounts, with dozens of injuries and destroyed homes reported this weekend.

But as Ukrainian Pravdawrites, the missile attacks have also set off fires that have spread throughout the Kharkiv region and almost completely destroyed the coniferous forest, included in the list of protected wildlife areas.

In total, more than 8 hectares of natural ecosystems were destroyed. Extinguishing the fires is complicated by ongoing active military operations in the region.

The New McDonald’s In Moscow: “Tasty & that’s it”

The new Russian fast food chain replacing McDonald's, had its grand opening this weekend in Moscow without the golden arches and rebaptized “Tasty & That’s It” (Vkusno & tochka). By all appearances, the first 15 outlets appear to be a copy of the American chain, serving the same things like fish burgers, chicken nuggets, and double cheeseburgers.

No word on whether the Russian managers obtained the recipe to the “secret sauce.”

“Our goal is that our guests do not notice a difference either in quality or ambiance,” said Oleg Paroev, chief executive of Vkusno & tochka.

McDonald’s announced its exit from the Russian market in May, saying it would sell its 850 restaurants due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Vkusno & tochka plans to reopen all 850.

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The Demagogue's Biggest Lie: That We Don't Need Politics

Trashing politics and politicians is a classic tool of populists to seduce angry voters, and take countries into quagmires far worse than the worst years of democracy. It's a dynamic Argentina appears particularly vulnerable to.

Photograph of Javier Gerardo Milei making a speech at the end of his campaign.​

October 18, 2023, Buenos Aires: Javier Gerardo Milei makes a speech at the end of his campaign.

Cristobal Basaure Araya/ZUMA
Rodolfo Terragno


BUENOS AIRES - I was 45 years old when I became a politician in Argentina, and abandoned politics a while back now. In 1987, Raúl Alfonsín, the civilian president who succeeded the Argentine military junta in 1983, named me cabinet minister though I wasn't a member of his party, the Radicals, or any party for that matter. I was a historian, had worked as a lawyer, wrote newspapers articles and a book in 1985 on science and technology with chapters on cybernetics, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

That book led Alfonsín to ask me to join his government. My belated political career began in fact after I left the ministry and while it proved to be surprisingly lengthy, it is now over. I am currently writing a biography of a molecular biologist and developing a university course on technological perspectives (futurology).

Talking about myself is risky in a piece against 'anti-politics,' or the rejection of party politics. I do so only to make clear that I am writing without a personal interest. I am out of politics, and have never been a member of what Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni calls la casta, "the caste" — i.e., the political establishment.

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