War in the neighborhood: IPN updates

The people of North Korea are yet different from Latvians

The Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevich yesterday congratulated the Russian Federation: “Russia is marking its National, I wish defeat in the aggressive war against Ukraine, abandoning imperial ambitions and ultimately creation of modern and democratic country.”

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also congratulated Putin on Russia Day - a national holiday celebrated on June 12 to commemorate adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation which marked the country’s “independence” from the USSR.

“The Russian people achieved great success in carrying out the just cause of protecting their dignity and security of their country, overcoming all sorts of difficulties and problems. The Korean people express their full support and approval to them,” runs his message.

The Washington Post said that schools in Russia have been ordered to conduct “patrioticclasses parroting the Kremlin line on the war, and teachers who refuse have been fired.

Bureaucracy and pragmatism, much more powerful than values

According to the Economist, the defense minister of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov is concerned by what he sees. “Either the world doesn’t quite understand what is happening,” he says, “or it does understand, is tired, and is content with a few Ukrainians dying.” When Russia attacked his country on February 24th, few expected Ukraine to survive. Heroic resistance transformed fatalism into hope, and led to promises of military support. But cracks in the Western alliance are appearing just as the war enters a bloody new phase. Ukrainian losses are now running at an average of 100-200 men a day. “We need assistance, quickly,” says the minister, “because the cost of any delay is measured in Ukrainian blood.”

Russia’s invasion caused this unfavorable chain reaction

The speaker of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Oleg Nikolenko responded to the call of the head of the African Union Macky Sall to clear Ukrainian ports for the export of grain to African countries, despite the threat from the Russian Federation.

“Africa is facing a surge in food prices and a potential famine because Russia invaded Ukraine. The Russian army is destroying critical agricultural infrastructure, blocking Ukraine’s sea ports and grain terminals and launching missile attacks on Ukraine’s southern agricultural regions. Russia also steals grain from the Ukrainian territories it has seized by force. In that context, it is frustrating to hear that Ukraine must do something while not condemning Russia and calling on it to end its devastating war. We have learned the lesson that President Putin’s words cannot be trusted.”

Will Ukraine break stereotypes?

According to Bloomberg sources, the European Commission is expected to recommend on June 17 that Ukraine be granted candidate status to join the bloc with conditions linked to the rule of law and the fight against corruption.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukrainian military is gradually liberating the territory of Kherson Oblast. “Today a village of Tavriiske was added to the list of the liberated settlements. There is some progress in Zaporizhzhia region as well. Heavy fighting continues in Severodonetsk.

Everyone wants to be praised for success and not to be blamed for failure

U.S. President Joe Biden said Zelensky had ignored warnings that Russia would invade his country. “I know a lot of people thought I might be exaggerating, but I knew, and we had data to confirm that he [Putin] was planning to cross the border. There was no doubt. And Zelensky didn’t want to hear that, and so did many people,” Biden said during a political fundraiser.

In response, the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Mykhailo Podolyak said that it was “pointless” to accuse Ukraine of anything. Kyiv understood the intentions of the Russians and “was preparing for one or another aggressive scenario.”

However, he noted, there was doubt over the scope of the invasion. According to him, the intensity of the Russian attacks throughout Ukraine could not have been predicted, and there is no doubt that the scale of the invasion shocked many countries, including Ukraine's partners.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, at the Shangri-La Dialogue at the Asian Security Summit, said that on the battlefield in Ukraine, it is being decided what rules the world will live by. “Russia’s war against Ukraine is far from being just about Europe. This is about globally important things,” Zelensky said, noting that the Russian leadership wanted to reject all the achievements of human history, including the system of international law, and return to life in the 19th century or even earlier.

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said the Chinese government is not interested in a conflict in Ukraine, but, at the same time, it does not believe that sanctions can help in resolving the crisis. The government of China supports the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine and hopes that the United States and NATO would hold talks with Russia for a soonest ceasefire.

“With regard to the Ukrainian crisis: China has never provided any material support to Russia,” he said.

Wheat, as bullets, shells and rockets…

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said he planned to hold talks next week with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky to discuss safe grain exports from Ukraine.

In this connection, Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Dmytro Senik said that Ukraine has established two routes through Poland and Romania to export grain and avert a global food crisis although bottlenecks have slowed the supply chain.

In his Sunday prayer, Pope Francis urged not to allow the war in Ukraine to become a banal thing and to pray and fight for peace.

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