War in the neighborhood: IPN updates

European Political Community, only discussions for now
EU Ambassadors discussed the paper on a new European Political Community that won’t replace organs such as CoE & OSCE & won’t be “an alternative” to EU enlargement. More questions than answers at this point, notably on budget & added value,” said journalist Rikard Jozwiak, of RFE/RL.

Battle for the future of Europe conducted in Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is only the first step the Russian leadership needs to open its way into other states, and a battle for the future of Europe is taking place in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky told the two houses of the Czech parliament in a video transmission. He thanked the Czech people and the state for their warm acceptance of Ukrainian refugees.

He said that the Czech Republic helped Kyiv with significant weapons when Ukraine needed them most urgently. “But you can be sure that in doing it, you also supported yourself, your own freedom, and your own life,” he said. The support should continue until the victory is reached,” Zelensky said.

If it’s a war, let it be war

Jarosław Kaczyński, the chairman of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) Party, in an interview with the conservative Gazeta Polska, said that the West should not concentrate on avoiding a military solution of the conflict in Ukraine. “The Wests’ obsession to avoid the war does not make us weaker before Russia, which does not take any values into account – we attack it with equipment and training, but reduce our determination to win.”

Children stolen for being programmed

U.N. investigators, who have completed a first visit to Ukraine, say information gathered over the past 10 days indicates the probability that war crimes and crimes against humanity are likely to have been committed by invading Russian forces. They consider it necessary to investigate further reports about the alleged transfer of children placed in institutions in the temporarily occupied territories to the Russian Federation as well as information about expedited citizenship and adoption processes for some of these children.

The investigators plan further visits to other parts of Ukraine in coming months to gather information and evidence of abuse. They say their findings will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September.

Western Balkan countries do not compete with Ukraine

Montenegro’s Dritan Abazovic and Albania’s Edi Rama visited Irpin & Borodianka on June 15, both reiterating during their visit that they stand firmly with Ukraine.

Abazovic posted a video on Facebook of the visit of the heads of government of Irpin. He pointed out that he arrived in Kyiv together with the Prime Minister of Albania to provide sincere support to Ukraine and its citizens in protecting their right to freedom. He also assured that Montenegro will continue to help Ukraine in this difficult moment of humanitarian catastrophe.

The officials reiterated that Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia support the granting of the candidate country status to Ukraine. “On the European path, our countries are not competitors and only complement each other and improve their capacities.”

Gazprom, asked to leave room for others

EU nations seeking to reduce their reliance on Russian gas because of the war in Ukraine may soon be able to source supplies from Israel instead.

On Wednesday, the EU, Israel and Egypt signed a provisional natural gas export deal at an energy conference in Cairo. The Israeli gas is expected to be sent to liquefaction plants in Egypt, then shipped north to markets in Europe.

Gazprom announced that it was forced to stop the operation of another Siemens gas turbine engine at the Portovaya compressor station. Gas is pumped through it to the Nord Stream. From June 16, the company will be able to supply no more than 67 million cubic meters to the gas pipeline per day. Yesterday, the pumping was reduced to 100 million cubic meters per day instead of 167 million cubic meters.

Ramstein meetings more productive
Representatives from more than 50 nations pledged to get more military capabilities into the hands of Ukrainian forces battling Russian invaders, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in Brussels.

Austin announced that President Joe Biden had approved a $1 billion security assistance package for Ukraine. This will include multiple launch rocket system munitions, 18 more 155 mm M777 towed howitzers and the tactical vehicles to tow them, and 36,000 rounds of 155 mm ammunition.

“This package also includes $650 million in Ukraine security assistance initiative funds that will help Ukraine defend itself with two additional Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems and thousands of secure radios, night vision devices, thermal sights and other optics,” the secretary said.

Unblocking of Ukrainian grain exports in the focus

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday detailed a UN plan to create a sea corridor from Ukraine for grain exports, saying safe routes could be formed without needing to clear the mines around Ukrainian ports.

His comments appeared to mark a shift from an earlier proposal to de-mine Ukraine’s ports, a move that Kyiv fears would leave it far more vulnerable to Russian attacks from the Black Sea.

Cavusoglu discussed the plan with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Ankara last week, but said further discussions with Moscow and Kyiv were needed. Lavrov then said that the onus was on Ukraine to clear mines around its ports for commercial ships to approach.

D. Medvedev, a small man with huge insecurities

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an apparent response to the former Russian president’s assertion that Ukraine might not exist in two years, said that if Russian “imperialism had a face it would be Medvedev”.

“A small man with huge insecurities, who sprinkles poison towards Ukraine or threatens the world as the only way to assert oneself. Ukraine was, is and will be. The question is where Dmitry Medvedev would be in two years,” Podolyak added.

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