Trump says US has become ‘the laughing stock of the world’

photo: donald trump. source: wikipedia

Former US President Donald Trump has criticized the state that he believes the United States has become in the past two years.

Speaking at a rally of his supporters in Illinois, Trump called the United States “a country of decline “and” laughing stock. RBC writes about this, referring to the broadcast of Trump's speech, which was broadcast by the WMBD News channel.

“This is no longer a great country, this is a country of decline,” Trump said.

And added, that he was “disgusted” to say these words to his compatriots. But he attributed them to record inflation rates, soaring fuel prices, the loss of energy independence, which is why the United States is now asking for oil from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, as well as a lack of media freedom and a high crime rate. ”.

Trump stated: “In many ways, this country has become a laughingstock.”

In the United States, according to the country's Ministry of Labor, annual inflation in May increased to 8.6%. This is a record figure since December 1981.

The current President Joe Biden, commenting on these figures, called the increased prices for fuel and products “Putin's tax.”

At the same time, he said that the authorities The United States is able to fight inflation “from a position of strength like no other country in the world.”

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Canceled a day later: how US and UN sanctions were lifted from different countries

Over the past decades, UN and US sanctions have been imposed repeatedly – South Africa, Myanmar, Yugoslavia, Iraq. Why sanctions were imposed and how quickly they were lifted from different countries – in the RBC video 7/30/756560064213307.jpg” alt=”Canceled a day later: how US and UN sanctions were lifted from different countries” />

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Abortion ruling exposes deep chasm over the issue in the US

class=”MuiTypography-root-229 MuiTypography-h1-234″>Abortion ruling exposes deep chasm over the issue in the USAssociated PressJune 24, 2022 · 1:00 PM EDT

The Supreme Court in Washington, June 24, 2022.

Steve Helber/AP

Click here for more abortion-related coverage from The World.

The US was convulsed with anger, joy, fear and confusion on Friday after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The canyon-like divide across the country over the right to terminate a pregnancy was on full display, with abortion rights supporters condemning the decision as a dark day in history, while abortion foes rejoiced and said it will save countless lives.

In eliminating the constitutional right to abortion that has stood for a half-century, the high court left the politically charged issue up to the states, about half of which are now likely to ban the procedure.

Hundreds of people surrounded the barricaded Supreme Court in Washington, some questioning the high court's legitimacy, while others cheered the ruling and proclaimed the dawn of a “post-Roe” world.

Many young people in the crowd wore red shirts that read “The Pro-Life Generation Votes," while chanting, “Pro life is pro woman!”

Others involved in the decades-long fight for women's rights felt an acute setback to the movement but remained hopeful it might prove temporary.

“It’s not unexpected, but I’m absolutely furious that we are seeing … the major backlash of white male supremacy. And that's what this is about. It's about controlling women's reproductive lives,” said Carol E. Tracy, the executive director of the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia.

“They want women to be barefoot and pregnant once again. But I have no doubt that women and like-minded men, and people in the LGBTQ community, who are also at great risk, … we're going to fight back. I think it's going to be a long, hard fight.”

Garrett Bess, who works with a lobbying arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, watched the scene unfold at the Supreme Court and said his group will continue to press states to restrict abortion.

“We’ll be working with grassroots Americans to ensure the protection of pregnant mothers and babies,” Bess said. “This has been a long time coming, and it’s a welcome decision.”

Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans favor preserving Roe.

The reaction in statehouses across the country was swift. In Indiana, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced plans to add abortion restrictions to the agenda of a special legislative session early next month meant to address inflation.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is clear, and it is now up to the states to address this important issue,” Holcomb said. “We’ll do that in short order in Indiana.”

Medical student LaShyra Nolen, the first Black woman to become class president of Harvard Medical School, feared the effect of abortion bans on minority and poor women, among others.

“In the past month, we’ve seen that this country is not prepared to make sure that babies have access to formula, to be fed everyday. We’ve seen that our children are not safe at our schools, because of a lack of gun control. We also continue to see devastating statistics that Black women are more likely to die in childbirth compared to white women,” Nolen said.

“So when you have these harrowing disparities that exist in our country, and you force someone to give birth," she said, “I think it's going to lead to really dangerous measures and really dangerous conclusions.”

Bloomberg learned about India’s plans to prevent BRICS statements against the US

India will ensure that all statements following the summit are neutral, and also intends to study the criteria for admitting new countries, the agency writes. The summit will be held on June 23–24 in the online format

Xi Jinping

India intends to “resist” Chinese President Xi Jinping's efforts to use the BRICS summit to highlight efforts to build a world order alternative to US leadership. This is reported by Bloomberg with reference to Indian officials.

The Indian side intends to make sure that all statements following the summit are neutral, the sources said. The interlocutors of the agency indicated that New Delhi also intends to slow down China's attempts to expand the BRICS by forcing members to develop criteria for the admission of new countries.

The 14th BRICS summit will be held on June 23 & ndash; 24 in an online format under the chairmanship of China. Its theme will be “Promoting Quality BRICS Partnership, Starting a New Era of Global Development”. 

The summit will be attended by the leaders of the countries of association— Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian and South African Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Cyril Ramaphosa.

The website of the Indian Foreign Ministry says that the summit will discuss cooperation within the BRICS in such areas as countering terrorism, trade, health, environment, agriculture.

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The first summit of the organization was held in June 2009 in Yekaterinburg, then it included Brazil, Russia , India and China. South Africa officially joined the BRICS in 2011, at the third summit.

In late March, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the countries of the association would become the basis of the new emerging world order. According to him, the BRICS countries play a significant role in protecting international law and combating the sanctions policy of Western countries

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Bloomberg: India is going to prevent BRICS statements against the US

Image: Wikipedia

According to the media, the Indian leadership will oppose anti-American rhetoric at the next BRICS summit. According to bloomberg.com, the alleged attacks against the US will be part of a Chinese plan that India does not support. In this regard, the Indian negotiators plan to ensure that the joint statement following the summit is neutral.

India also believes that BRICS should not be expanded without agreeing on strict criteria first.

China will chair the summit on June 23-24, which will be held online. Its theme is formulated as follows: “Promotion of quality BRICS partnership, the beginning of a new era of global development.” It will be attended by the leaders of the five countries that make up the international group.

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Zakharova dedicated a verse to the US diplomat who showed the middle finger to the letter Z

Naval attaché caught showing obscene gesture to symbol of special operation

The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry commented in verse on the incident involving the naval attache of the US Embassy in Moscow, Dale Samuel. The captain of the first rank was convicted of showing the middle finger on a sticker with the letter Z.

Photo: Global Look Press

The Rupolit Telegram channel reported about the trick involving the diplomat. Its authors said that Samuel, while cycling around Moscow, stopped near a pole with a sticker on which the letter Z was applied, and showed her the middle finger while taking a picture of him on his phone. The channel published a corresponding snapshot of the diplomat's actions.

“Actually, D. Samuel should interact with the military departments of Russia, and not defiantly violate Russian law,” the authors of the channel noted, adding that the actions of the naval attaché can fall under the criminal article “Public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”

The authors of the channel also noted that this is not the first time Samuel has shown this indecent gesture. They published another photo in which he allegedly shows the middle finger while driving a car with diplomatic plates.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacted to the incident involving Samuel, who dedicated a poem to the diplomat:

The laws are not written to the State Department:

The embassy troops burn bridges,

Until everyone is expelled from Moscow,

They use a finger, asphalt and poles.

A representative of the department did not specify whether any measures would be taken against the American diplomat by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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Bloomberg learned about US fears due to the “side effect” of sanctions

With large companies leaving Russia, US authorities “were caught off guard by the potential side effects,” Bloomberg learned. However, the American administration does not consider its sanctions policy a mistake, writes

A number of officials in the US presidential administration have expressed concern that sanctions, “instead of affecting the Russian authorities, exacerbate inflation, worsen food security and punish ordinary Russians to a greater extent,” Bloomberg writes, citing sources, citing sources.

According to the agency, with the withdrawal of large companies from Russia, the US authorities “were caught off guard by the potential side effects” from supply chain bottlenecks to uninsured grain exports. In this regard, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended until September 30 the validity of a general license that allows US companies to pay taxes, fees and import duties associated with doing business in Russia. “The message was clear: Doing business in Russia is allowed, as long as companies do not work with organizations that fall under sanctions,” — writes Bloomberg.

In addition, due to the fact that “the collateral damage from sanctions turned out to be greater than expected,” the US authorities encourage some types of trade, including in agriculture, medicine and telecommunications. For example, they are “secretly encouraging agricultural and shipping companies to buy and ship more Russian fertilizers as companies' fears of sanctions have led to a sharp reduction in supplies, which in turn has led to higher food prices,” agency sources said. .

At the same time, Bloomberg notes that “there are no signs that the US presidential administration considers its policy to be erroneous or wants to reduce the sanctions pressure.”

Since the end of February, after Russia recognized the DPR and LPR and launched a military special operation in Ukraine, the United States has repeatedly tightened sanctions against the country. They included representatives of the top leadership of Russia, a number of heads of companies and businessmen, and restrictive measures also affected the financial and industrial sectors, the import of Russian energy resources and the export of technologies. On June 13, the State Department reported that the United States, with the governments of other G7 states, develop new sanctions against Russia.

The Kremlin called the current situation “an unprecedented economic war.” “But there is no evil without good. This situation pushes us and our friendly countries to search for new ways of interaction, new mechanisms of interaction, new mechanisms of financial mutual settlements,— said the press secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov.

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Western countries, according to Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Russian Security Council, are beginning to understand that without Russian resources they will not be able to avoid inflation and economic decline. In the fall, the time will come for them to “harvest the main harvest of the sanctions,” but for now, “the engine of their economy of services and digital currencies is flying into the wall at full steam,” he believes.

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WP learns about US aid to the Saudi military in Yemen airstrikes

The Washington Post learned that the United States provided military support to the Saudi Air Force in Yemen The armed conflict in Yemen began in 2015. At first, the US worried that the airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition might violate the customs of war. However, then they began to conclude military contracts with this country

The consequences of the airstrikes of the Saudi-led coalition on the city of Sanaa in Yemen, March 2022

The United States supported the air force of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which has been targeting Yemeni civilian infrastructure since 2015, The Washington Post and Security Force Monitor found out in a joint investigation.

The journalists analyzed more than 3,000 publicly available images, press releases, media reports and videos and identified 19 fighter squadrons that participated in the military campaign.

They found that most of the aircraft belonged to Saudi Arabia or the UAE, which entered into at least 94 contracts with the United States for weapons, training or maintenance. Most of the 39 squadrons of countries— members of the coalition who had the ability to carry out airstrikes flew fighter jets designed and sold by American companies.

The United States participated in joint exercises with at least 80% of the squadrons that carried out strikes on Yemen, an analysis of more than 1,500 videos, photos and military statements showed. Moreover, approximately four times such exercises were held in the United States.

Since 2015, US officials have raised concerns that coalition airstrikes may have violated the rules of war. They also trained the Saudi Air Force in civilian casualty prevention, the law of armed conflict and human rights. After four years of hostilities, in 2019, the United States adopted a policy requiring high-precision missile guidance.

Since the bombing began in 2015, the United States has awarded dozens of contracts to support the F-15SA fighter and upgrade other aircraft from the same series and pilot training. The last fighter jet was delivered to Saudi Arabia in 2020.

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“Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates face a significant threat to their territories. We intend to continue to strengthen the defense capabilities of these countries, — Pentagon spokesman Ned Price said in a comment to the publication. He explained the support by the fact that over the past year the Houthis have attacked Saudi Arabia hundreds of times.

Since August 2014, a conflict has been going on in Yemen between government forces and armed groups of the Houthis. In March 2015, the conflict moved into an active phase, when coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia entered Yemen.

According to the UN, more than 17.4 million Yemenis suffer from food shortages due to the consequences of hostilities. To resolve the humanitarian crisis in the country, UNICEF will need $484.4 million in 2022 alone. The situation is complicated by military operations in Ukraine, from which Yemen receives 30% of all wheat.

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Antonov spoke about the impact of US sanctions on food security

Russian Ambassador Antonov: US sanctions will affect food security Antonov spoke about the impact of US sanctions on food security” />

Washington's decision to expand anti-Russian sanctions will affect food security around the world, as well as the situation within the United States. Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov stated this on his Telegram page.

The Russian ambassador called the imposition of sanctions “vicious” practice. Such measures, according to Antonov, will aggravate the state of affairs in the world. In addition, US sanctions will lead to new disruptions in supply chains and affect food security, the diplomat is convinced.

“Economic” fluctuations ” may affect the United States itself, where the problem of certain food shortages is becoming more acute <…> We are sure that attempts to block the possibility of making payments by Russia will not go unnoticed by serious investors. They will undermine the credibility of the United States itself,»,— he wrote.

Since the beginning of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the United States has already imposed several packages of sanctions against Moscow. The last time Washington expanded the restrictions on June 2 & mdash; then the Severstal companies fell under the sanctions of the US Treasury; and “Severgroup” Alexei Mordashov, the businessman himself, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko, Construction Minister Irek Fayzullin, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and others. They were included in the list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN), which involves the blocking of assets and isolation from the dollar system.

In addition, on May 30, a meeting was held on the introduction of the sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia. The restrictions will affect the import of Russian oil and the disconnection of Sberbank from SWIFT. The EU ambassadors agreed on sanctions on June 2, the full list will be published on June 3.

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Russia and Ukraine— one of the largest suppliers of grain in the world, follows from the data of the foreign agricultural service of the US Department of Agriculture. In the 2021/22 season, which began in July, Russia accounted for 16% of world wheat exports, Ukraine— 10%.

At the same time, Ukraine is among the leaders in the export of corn in the world, its share is 14% (Russia has 2%). Exports of Russian and Ukrainian suppliers of sunflower oil and meal previously amounted to about 80%.

In early May, the UN announced that about 4.5 million tons of grain had accumulated in Ukrainian ports. It cannot enter the world market due to a Russian special operation, the organization believes. The same opinion is expressed by some Western politicians. In particular, US President Joe Biden spoke about this. At the same time, the head of state cited data on 20 million tons of unexported grain. Moscow denies the allegations and cites “illegal actions” as the cause of the food crisis. West and anti-Russian sanctions.

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More migrants are attempting to cross into the US via the perilous Rio Grande

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>More migrants are attempting to cross into the US via the perilous Rio Grande

A series of recent drownings has brought to light the dangers of migrants trying to cross the Rio Grande as they attempt to flee to the United States.

The WorldMay 31, 2022 · 2:15 PM EDT

Migrants cross the Rio Grande river toward the US in Eagle Pass, Texas, May 22, 2022.

Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

In Spanish, it’s called Río Bravo, which means “fierce river.” It’s the 1,896-mile-long Rio Grande river that separates the United States from Mexico.

For years, it has been used by migrants to illegally cross into the US. But a series of drownings over the past few months has activists in the area concerned. They attribute the deaths to heightened border security that has led some migrants to take up dangerous routes.

Three bodies were found in the river last Sunday, according to Mexico’s National Immigration Institute. Local news media reported that six migrants drowned in less than 24 hours while trying to cross the river.

“The current doesn’t take you where you want to go,” said José Loya, a migrant from Venezuela who recently made the crossing.

Related: ‘It’s like cultural rescue’: Eelgrass festival in Mexico celebrates Indigenous Comcáac conservation efforts

During his journey, he went through six countries across Central America and Mexico. He said that he was robbed, kidnapped and extorted before he was able to reach the Eagle Pass river crossing in South Texas. The water seemed to be shallow at the beginning, he said, but then it surprised him when it became 8 feet deep. 

“For the first time, I thought about turning back, it was very scary,” he said. “To survive, you have to know how to swim and how to control your nerves.”

Loya made it safely into Texas, and is now applying for asylum from there. Since the Trump-era Title 42 legislation has been imposed, allowing the US to turn away migrants at the US southern border, there are no legal pathways to applying from outside of the country.

Migrants who attempt to cross the river are not always aware of the dangers they may encounter, said Eddie Corrales, director of the South Texas Human Rights Center.

Corrales said that there are no warnings for water being released from Falcon Dam, an earthen embankment dam on the Rio Grande located between Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

“It creates a very treacherous undertow, and it can be totally unexpected,” he said.

A tragic end

That was the tragedy for Nicaraguan journalist Calixto Rojas, who fled his country in 2018. In a letter he wrote to Radio Dario, where he used to work as a radio host, he said that he was threatened by the government of President Daniel Ortega after attending an opposition protest. He then moved to Belize, where he said he struggled financially. In April, he decided to embark on a trip to the United States by land.

A month ago, Rojas tried to swim across the Rio Grande. In a video recorded by a Fox News reporter, Rojas is seen struggling to tread water. His friend is nearby, holding onto a cement pillar in the middle of the river, screaming for help.

Related: As Mexico's last glaciers melt, communities that depend on mountain springs scramble to find solutions

Eventually, Rojas goes under, and does not come back up. He was swept down the waterway, and his body was found near an islet further down the river.

Rojas’ death was witnessed by dozens of people, including Mexican and US border officials who were at the scene. But they were instructed not to attempt any rescues because it came after a member of the National Guard lost his life in the same stretch of river while trying to pull a woman from the water just nine days prior.

Offering a public service

The recent news of people drowning in the Rio Grande has encouraged a professional swimmer in Nicaragua to offer a public service.

Mario Orozco owns a swimming school in the city of Estelí, and he started teaching free lessons to Nicaraguans planning to cross the Rio Grande.

“We took [up] the initiative in March, after several of my friends died while trying to cross the river. This was a tragedy, so I decided to teach people how to swim in open waters.”

Mario Orozco, owner of a swimming school in Estelí

“We took [up] the initiative in March after several of my friends died while trying to cross the river,” he said. “This was a tragedy, so I decided to teach people how to swim in open waters.”

Orozco has said that he doesn't encourage people to attempt crossing into the US, but he wants to help them survive if they do decide to try.

The crossing can be between 300 to 600 feet wide. The most popular starting point is Piedras Negras, right across the Eagle Pass, said Valeria Wheeler, who runs the Mission Border Hope shelter in the area.

Related: Indigenous communities score victories against two mining projects in Mexico

Wheeler said that her shelter is now welcoming 500 people a day, compared to around 30 people before the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that she has helped three families so far this year who have lost a loved one to drowning.

“They don't even have the time to grieve."

Valeria Wheeler, Mission Border Hope shelter

“They don't even have the time to grieve because they have to go and recognize the body of their family member, go to the funeral home to make the arrangements, so they can take the remains with them,” Wheeler said. This can be expensive and traumatic.”

Wheeler said it is hard to know how many people lost their lives to drowning in the river: “Many bodies are never recovered.”

A spokesperson with the US Customs and Border Protection said that they are working to publish official numbers of rescues in the Rio Grande this year.

The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded 1,248 migrants dead or missing in the Americas in 2021. This is the highest number since they started recording the numbers in 2014.

The majority — 728 people — died or disappeared along the US-Mexico border. The IOM said that the main direct cause of death along the border has been drowning in the Rio Grande.

But these numbers are not deterring migrants from trying to reach the United States.

Related: Russians and Ukrainians attempt to flee to the US through Mexico

This past April, 234,000 people tried to cross the border, according to the US Customs and Border Protection.

That’s more than double the number from the same month in 2019, before the pandemic. 

Wheeler said that as long as the legal path for crossing the border remains closed, more migrants will keep trying to make it across the Río Bravo.

Biden named the US goal in the conflict in Ukraine

Biden: The United States will continue to help Ukraine, but will not directly participate in the conflict Washington does not want a war between Russia and NATO and will not put pressure on Kyiv to make concessions to Moscow, he pointed out

Joe Biden

The United States has no intention of directly engaging in a conflict in Ukraine until it or its allies are attacked, US President Joe Biden wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times.

Biden pointed out that the fighting in Ukraine has been going on for the fourth month, and in these conditions, he considers it necessary to clearly define the goals of the United States. “America's goal is simple: we want a democratic, independent, sovereign, and prosperous Ukraine that has the means to deter and defend against further aggression,” he stressed.

The US President also listed what the US would and would not do. According to him, Washington intends:

  • to supply Kyiv with more modern missile systems and ammunition that will allow it to “more accurately strike key targets on the battlefields in Ukraine”;
  • continue to supply modern weapons, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, artillery and high-precision missile systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters;
  • continue to provide financial assistance to Kyiv;
  • cooperate with allies and partners on sanctions against Russia;
  • work to overcome the global food crisis;
  • help European allies and other countries reduce their dependence on Russian fossil fuels;
  • strengthen NATO's eastern flank.

At the same time, Biden stressed, the United States does not want to allow war between Russia and NATO. Washington will not:

  • try to bring about regime change in Russia;
  • send US troops to fight in Ukraine or attack Russian troops;
  • encourage Ukraine to inflict strikes outside its borders;
  • put pressure on Ukraine so that it makes “any territorial concessions”; Russia.

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According to Biden, Russia's negotiations and Ukraine have reached an impasse, but not through the fault of Kyiv, which, as Moscow insists, carried out “sabotage”; negotiation process, but because the Russian side decided to “take control of as much of Ukraine as possible.” He stated that Washington supports Kyiv in efforts “to achieve a negotiated end to the conflict.”

In his article, the US President also indicated that many in the world are concerned about the possible use of nuclear weapons. According to him, Washington sees no signs that Russia intends to use it (Moscow has repeatedly stressed that, in accordance with military doctrine, such weapons can be used if the existence of the state is threatened).

Since the beginning of the military operation in Ukraine, the United States, like other Western countries, supplied Kyiv with several shipments of weapons, but at the same time refrained from transferring heavy equipment for a long time due to fears about Moscow's reaction. On the eve of Biden said that the United States will not supply Ukraine with missile systems capable of reaching Russian territory. The next day, the White House announced the decision to transfer HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems to Kiev. They stressed that the Ukrainian military will not use them to strike targets in Russia. MLRS will be transferred as part of a new $700 million military aid package.

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The Pentagon did not confirm reports of US readiness to supply MLRS to Ukraine

The fact that the United States next week may begin supplying multiple launch rocket systems to Kyiv was reported by CNN. Washington said that they have not yet finalized the next package of military assistance to Ukraine ” alt=”The Pentagon has not confirmed reports that the United States is ready to supply MLRS to Ukraine” />

Pentagon, USA

The US authorities have not yet decided on the possibility of supplying Ukraine with multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), another package of military assistance so far not finalized. This was stated at a briefing by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

«We know that the Ukrainian side is requesting both privately and openly multiple launch rocket systems. But I will not talk about decisions that have not yet been made, — he said.

Kirby explained that Washington is working closely with Kyiv in order to “provide the best capabilities (weapons and equipment. — RBC)”, “but in order to start supplying something , need presidential approval».

Answering the question of how quickly weapons can be delivered to Ukraine, Kirby said that the delivery to the region after all the approvals and the formation of the cargo can be transferred within 48 hours. The Pentagon spokesman clarified that this was not about the time of final delivery to the territory of Ukraine, but about “the region as a whole.”

Speaking of how quickly Ukraine needs new arms deliveries, Kirby said: “Time doesn't work for us.

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Earlier on May 27, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the possibility of delivering multiple launch rocket systems to Kyiv. “MLRS will help them [the Ukrainian military] defend themselves against extremely hard strikes from Russian artillery, that’s what the world should be striving for now,” — said the British prime minister in an interview with Bloomberg.

He also said that the Russian armed forces are making “slow but tangible progress” in Donbass, while the Ukrainian side needs military support.

Since the beginning of the Russian military special operation in Ukraine, Western countries and NATO have refrained from supplying Kyiv with heavy weapons, fearing to provoke a negative reaction from Moscow. Deliveries of such equipment began only in the second half of April, although the Ukrainian leadership asked for them from the very beginning of the special operation.

The issue of the supply of MLRS to Ukraine began to be discussed in the US administration. Pentagon officials met with the CEO of Lockheed Martin last week to discuss deliveries and ramping up production of multiple launch rocket systems, a White House source at CNN reported May 27. CNN claimed that Washington intended to deliver MLRS to Ukraine next week.

The American self-propelled MLRS M270, adopted by several NATO countries, is capable of firing up to 12 tactical missiles in less than 60 seconds, and its accuracy is maintained in all modes, since the retargeting after each shot is monitored by a computer. Depending on the ammunition used, the M270 can hit targets at a distance of up to 300 km, which, as the channel notes, “will significantly increase the firing range of the Ukrainian artillery forces.” The crew of such an installation is three people, on the march it develops a speed of up to 64 km/h.

Representatives of the Ukrainian leadership and President Volodymyr Zelensky have previously stated that their country needs M142 and M270 multiple launch rocket systems. However, the Biden administration withheld such supplies for several weeks amid fears expressed in the National Security Council that Ukraine could use weapons to shell Russian territory. Another reason why the United States was in no hurry to transfer the MLRS, & mdash; doubts whether Washington can afford to give away so many high-quality military weapons.

Politico wrote that in response to requests from Kyiv, in recent months the United States has supplied Ukraine with old Soviet missile systems stored in allied warehouses.

p>

Moscow has warned that the supply of weapons by Western countries to Ukraine, the charges of which are capable of reaching the territory of Russia, will lead to an escalation. Moscow considers “inflating” supply of arms to Ukraine. At the same time, the Kremlin stated that they would not prevent Russia from achieving the goals of the military operation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also warned that the Russian military would consider any shipments in Ukraine that Russia considers to be foreign weapons supplies as legitimate targets.

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Trump calls for US teachers to be allowed to carry guns in schools

U.S. teachers who have received the required training should be eligible to carry personal weapons in schools, former U.S. President Donald Trump said at the U.S. National Rifle Association convention.

“We can all agree that our schools should not be the weakest targets <…>. That is why, as a comprehensive school safety plan, the time has come to allow trained teachers to carry weapons discreetly,— he said.

In addition, the ex-president called for more funding for the police. “We need to expand the funding, recruitment and training of police officers across the country. This is not a question of money, but will. If the United States has $40 billion for Ukraine, then we should be able to do whatever is necessary to protect our children,” — he noted.

As additional measures to protect schools, Trump proposed equipping all educational institutions with metal detectors, reinforcing classroom doors, and introducing a rule according to which a police or armed guard will be on duty at every educational institution on a permanent basis.

p>

An extraordinary convention of the association takes place against the backdrop of a shooting at an elementary school in the Texas city of Uvalde. The first reports of events at the school were received on May 24 at 11:43 local time (19:43 Moscow time). During the shooting, 21 people were killed— 18 children and three adults, said Senator Rolland Gutierrez. The attacker turned out to be an 18-year-old man, said Gov. Greg Abbott, who died during police detention.

US President Joe Biden, speaking to Congress after the tragedy, said that it was necessary to confront the “gun lobby”, because over the past ten years there have been more than 900 mass shootings in the United States.

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Biden made Colombia one of the main US allies outside NATO

The status gives the recipient the opportunity to acquire various types of weapons and participate in joint defense activities and gives other privileges. However, he does not oblige the United States to provide security guarantees to an ally.

Joe Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden signed a resolution granting Colombia the status of a major ally of a state outside of NATO, the White House press service reports.

“Within his powers as president<…> I include Colombia among the main allies of the United States outside of NATO, — said in the resolution.

Biden announced plans to make Colombia one of the main allies of the United States outside of NATO in mid-March. At the time, he said the move would strengthen the “unique and close relationship” between the countries.

The status of a major ally outside the alliance “gives [the United States] foreign partners certain advantages in the field of defense trade and security cooperation, but does not oblige Washington to provide them with security guarantees, as is the case with states & mdash; members of NATO, according to the State Department website. In particular, they get the opportunity to acquire various types of weapons and participate in joint defense activities.

Washington established the status of the main US ally outside NATO in 1989. Now it has been assigned to 17 countries, including Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and others. Taiwan is also considered the main US allies outside NATO, although the country has not been officially assigned the status.

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Russian military destroyed a warehouse of shells for US howitzers in Donbass

Aviation destroyed the Buk-M1 air defense system and shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter in Donbass

Russian high-precision air-launched missiles destroyed a large depot with 155-mm shells for American M-777 howitzers in Razdolovka in Donbass , said the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense Igor Konashenkov at a briefing.

According to him, the missiles also hit three command posts, a self-propelled artillery battalion of the 14th mechanized brigade near the city of Soledar, and six ammunition depots in the Minkovka, Bakhmut, Nikolayevka, Spornoye and Krasny Liman regions in the DPR.

Russian fighter jets shot down a Ukrainian MiG-29 near Kramatorsk in the Donetsk People's Republic. Aviation also destroyed the Buk-M1 air defense system. near the village of Pilipchatino in the Donbass, two command posts, three ammunition depots.

Rocket troops and artillery destroyed, including 13 tanks and armored fighting vehicles, four “Grad” and three ammunition depots.

At the request of Roskomnadzor, RBC provides data on the details of the military operation in Ukraine based on information from Russian official sources.

Russian air defense shot down five Ukrainian drones in the Kherson and Kharkov regions , and also intercepted four shells of the Smerch multiple launch rocket system.

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The day before, the Ministry of Defense reported that the Russian self-propelled in Ukraine, a unit of American howitzers M-777 was destroyed. The department also spoke about the destruction of the weapons and military equipment of the 10th mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from Ivano-Frankivsk and the Osa-AKM missile system transferred to the Donbass. in the Bakhmut area in the DPR.

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Turkish experts predicted possible compromises on NATO

Although Turkey has blocked Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, Turkish experts interviewed by RBC consider a compromise possible, but warn that negotiations may drag on for a long time

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Why Turkey objects to Finland and Sweden in NATO

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on May 23 that NATO needs to take specific measures to remove Ankara's objections to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance. “We have not received adequate support from NATO partners in the fight against terrorism. We expect NATO to take concrete steps to address concerns [over Sweden and Finland joining the alliance], rather than make useless statements,— he said (quote from The Daily Sabah).

Finland and Sweden filed formal applications for NATO membership on May 18, which all 30 countries of the alliance must approve. Erdogan said the same day that Ankara could not support the aspirations of Helsinki and Stockholm.

Later, he put forward three conditions under which he would withdraw objections, namely:

  • Helsinki and Stockholm stop supporting Kurdish groups designated as terrorist groups in Turkey;
  • providing clear security guarantees;
  • the lifting of export bans (both pretender countries imposed an arms embargo on Turkey in 2019 after another Turkish operation against the Kurds in Syria).

Turkey's position did not come as a surprise: between Ankara on the one hand, Stockholm and Helsinki— on the other hand, there are long-standing contradictions, said Torgul Ismail, head of the department of political science and international relations at Syutchu University Imam Kahramanmarash in Ankara, in a conversation with RBC. “These two states openly support terrorist organizations, the PKK; (PKK) and related Kurdish organizations in Syria and Iraq. In addition, both states once imposed sanctions against Turkey in terms of arms sales to it. So this misunderstanding has been around for a long time. Now Turkey has the opportunity, based on its national interests, to make such a decision, — he explained.

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The expert emphasizes that Turkey is aware of the relations of other European countries with the PKK. According to him, the fact that members of the PKK and the Gülen Movement receive a residence permit or citizenship in the EU, is considered by Turkey as a “hostile attitude”; to its security interests. Aslan recalled that there is also a Kurdish representation in Moscow, which, in his opinion, could become a problem for bilateral relations between Russia and Turkey.

The Valdai Club expert, Professor of International Relations at the Middle East Technical University of Turkey, Huseyin Bagci, believes that Erdogan's decision on Finland and Sweden is not related to Russia's position on NATO expansion. “First of all, this is an internal question,” & mdash; he emphasized. “Turkey would like to receive written guarantees that the PKK and the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) will not be active in northern Syria, nor in Finland and Sweden, which will be very difficult to implement: they can simply change their names and continue their activities,” — Baggi told RBC.

What is the status of the PKK in the EU and the US

“PKK” (PKK) is recognized as a terrorist organization in Turkey, the United States, the European Union (Sweden and Finland are members of it). The US State Department designated the PKK as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. The European Union first recognized the organization as a terrorist organization in 2002, but then in 2008 the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU did not provide sufficient justification for classifying the PKK as a terrorist organization. Nevertheless, Brussels did not change its position on the PKK. In 2018, the organization again won a trial for wrongful listing as a terrorist organization, but the EU again upheld its decision.

What can be a compromise

In the end, Turkey, which has been a member of NATO since 1952, will agree to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, Baggi is sure. “Turkey has a veto and will try to delay, as far as possible, Sweden and Finland joining the alliance, so the negotiations may take a long time. But in the long run, Turkey will not be able to prevent the membership of these countries in NATO. Six months, a year, two years? Let's see, — says the expert. If Erdogan is not re-elected in next year's elections, then this process will go much faster, he stipulates. If Erdogan remains in power, then perhaps he will try to use the same scheme that was previously used to resolve the dispute between Greece and North Macedonia. “It took ten years just for North Macedonia to change its name and be able to apply,” — reminded Baggi.

In June 2018, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev put an end to the dispute and signed an agreement according to which Macedonia received a new name— Republic of North Macedonia. In return, the Greek authorities stopped blocking Skopje's attempts to join NATO and the EU. For the first time, Greece blocked the application of a neighboring country in 2008.

The former name of the republic did not suit Athens, since the toponym “Macedonia” extends geographically, including to the Greek Aegean Macedonia, which supposedly could give the Macedonians a reason to claim rights to Greek territories and cultural heritage. North Macedonia became a member of NATO in 2020.

Compromise is always possible, since NATO expansion does not contradict Turkey's national interests, Ismail is sure. “When Finland and Sweden withdraw their support for the PKK and officially declare it, we will be very close to a compromise. Turkey already had such an experience with Greece, which Ankara supported without looking back, but in the end, Athens does not fulfill its obligations, — he said. In 1980, Ankara, despite unresolved differences over the control of airspace in the Aegean, supported the restoration of full participation of Athens in NATO.

Video

Aslan also believes that Turkey could support the entry Finland and Sweden in NATO on the condition that “these countries will review their policies and respect Turkey's security interests.” “But there must be visible policy changes and concrete steps. If geopolitical and security considerations push these states to take advantage of Alliance guarantees, they must sacrifice their “hobbies” to for the sake of vital interests»,— he concluded.

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Ex-ambassador reported about US deception regarding Ukraine’s accession to NATO

Former US Ambassador McFaul: American diplomats deceived Ukraine about joining NATO

For several years, United States diplomats promised Ukraine to join the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO), which turned out to be a lie. This was stated by former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, speaking at The Munk Debate.

Thus, the moderator of the debate, Radoslav Sikorsky, reminded McFaul of the promises made by Washington to Kyiv on the country's accession to NATO and asked the question— “Did the [American] diplomats lie?”

The ex-ambassador answered in the affirmative, adding that this is how the “real world” works.

McFaul served as US Ambassador to Moscow from 2012 to 2014. In November 2016, he came under Russian sanctions. The diplomat claimed that this was due to his close ties with former US President Barack Obama. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, McFaul came under restrictions due to “targeted damage to Russian-American relations.”

In March 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky approved a national military security strategy. The document envisaged measures to strengthen integration with NATO for further membership in it.

He also repeatedly criticized the position of Western countries on Ukraine's membership in the alliance. In September, the Ukrainian leader also discussed this issue at the talks with Joe Biden, and, according to Zelensky, the US President announced his consent to Ukraine's entry into NATO.

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US redeployment of troops to Somalia raises questions about ‘strategic endgame’

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>US redeployment of troops to Somalia raises questions about 'strategic endgame'

The decision effectively reverses former President Donald Trump's move in January 2021 to withdraw hundreds of US troops operating in Somalia. 

The WorldMay 19, 2022 · 3:30 PM EDT

US Army soldiers assigned to the 1-186th Infantry Battalion, Task Force Guardian, Combined Joint Task Force — Horn of Africa, provide security for a 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (EAS) C-130J Super Hercules during loading and unloading operations at an unidentified location in Somalia, July 10, 2020. 

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ruano/Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa/AP

United States President Joe Biden has signed off on a plan to send US special forces back to Somalia, reestablishing a small US military presence to provide support for Somali forces in the ongoing fight against the militant group al-Shabab.

“The decision to reintroduce a small but persistent presence was made first and foremost to maximize the safety and effectiveness of our force and enable them to provide better support of our partners."

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

“The decision to reintroduce a small but persistent presence was made first and foremost to maximize the safety and effectiveness of our force and enable them to provide better support of our partners,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. 

The announcement came a day after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was newly elected to office following long-delayed elections.

In a statement online, Mohamud thanked Biden for redeploying US troops. Some Horn of Africa analysts, however, have raised questions about the long-term strategy of a US military presence in Somalia. 

Related: Three months after ISIS attacked a prison in northeast Syria, the fate of at least 100 child detainees remains unclear

The decision effectively reverses former President Donald Trump's move in January 2021 to withdraw hundreds of US troops operating in Somalia. 

“I view that as being done more for domestic political reasons in terms of ending these sort of 'forever wars,'” said Omar Mahmood, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, referring to post-9/11 conflicts. 

But these troops remained in the region by essentially repositioning to Kenya and Djibouti, Mahmood said. 

For years, the US has worked with international partners to establish security in the country, which has faced ongoing terrorist attacks by the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabab group.

But during a congressional hearing in March, US Africa Commander Gen. Stephen Townsend warned that the group and others remain a big problem in the region.

“[Al-Shabab] are among the world’s fastest-growing, wealthiest, and deadliest terrorist groups, and remain grave and growing threats that aspire to kill Americans both there and in our homeland."

US Africa Commander General Stephen Townsend

“[They] are among the world’s fastest-growing, wealthiest and deadliest terrorist groups, and remain grave and growing threats that aspire to kill Americans both there and in our homeland,” Townsend said.  

In 2020, al-Shabab fighters attacked a military camp used by Kenyan and US troops in Kenya, killing three Americans. 

They’ve continued to wreak havoc in Somalia, attacking civilians and soldiers alike.

The US has been training an elite Somali special forces team to counter the group, but the repositioning of US troops meant that trainers now had to fly in and out of the country, Mahmood noted. 

“I think it impacted [the elite training] because they weren't there day-to-day on the ground,” he said.

Related: After months of fighting, Ethiopia’s Amhara region tries to recover from war

Mahmood raised a question about the US’ long-term goals in Somalia. 

“Maybe you can kind of put a little bit of pressure and have some tactical success against the group. But where is the strategic endgame there?”

Omar Mahmood, senior analyst, International Crisis Group

“Maybe you can kind of put a little bit of pressure and have some tactical success against the group. But where is the strategic endgame there?” he said. 

Despite large financial and military resources from international partners over the years to help combat al-Shabab, the militant group continues to control large swaths of territory in rural central and southern Somalia.

“Yes, they are an actor that engages in terrorist violence as well, but they are also a governing actor that operates on the ground, that has relationships, that has control in areas where the federal government just hasn't been able to penetrate,” Mahmood said. 

He said there’s increasing recognition that a military defeat of al-Shabab isn’t possible, and that officials will need to look for alternatives — which might include a negotiated settlement.

Related: US’ indefinite ban on Iranians drafted into Iran’s Revolutionary Guard continues to separate families

But before any resolution can be found, Somali officials need to come together following a volatile year of delayed elections and clan clashes.

“The environment in Somalia is so divisive, it's become so polarized. This election has exacerbated that,” Mahmood said. “Without focusing on that first, I think it's going to be very hard to make progress on other fronts,” like security.

WSJ learned about US plans to lift sanctions from Minsk in exchange for grain transit

Washington may temporarily lift sanctions on Belarusian potash fertilizers if the country allows Ukrainian grain to be exported to Latvia, WSJ sources say. Earlier, the newspaper reported that the UN Secretary General offered Moscow a similar deal “WSJ learned about the US plans to lift sanctions from Minsk in exchange for the transit of grain” />

The US authorities are considering the possibility of lifting restrictive measures imposed against potash fertilizers produced in Belarus if the official Minsk agrees to the transit of Ukrainian grain through the territory Belarus, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing informed sources.

The interlocutors of the publication clarified that these sanctions could be lifted for six months, if the Belarusian authorities agree, grain crops will be delivered by rail to the port of the Lithuanian city of Klaipeda .

Earlier, WSJ diplomatic sources reported a similar proposal by UN Secretary General António Guterres. According to sources, he urged Moscow to ease export restrictions on fertilizers from Russia and Belarus in exchange for the passage of ships with grain from Ukraine.

Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya then called the publication “a free interpretation.” The diplomat said that during his visit to Russia at the end of April, Guterres did discuss the lifting of sanctions against potash fertilizers, but without reference to the situation with grain. “This issue was indeed raised by Guterres, but not in terms of exchanging one for the other,” — claimed Nebenzya.

The American authorities believe that about 20 million tons of grain have accumulated in Ukraine, which are difficult to take out of the country. The UN World Food Program estimates the volume of grain at 25 million tons, indicating that this situation has developed due to the “blocked ports of the Black Sea”; and infrastructure problems. “We are studying ways to bring this grain back to the world market and thereby achieve lower prices,” — US President Joe Biden announced in mid-May.

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Venezuela confirms the lifting of US sanctions on the work of oil workers in the country

The US oil embargo on Venezuela has been in place since 2019. Negotiations to lift part of the restrictions have been ongoing since March. According to Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, this step was the beginning of the complete abolition of “illegal sanctions”

The United States abandoned restrictive measures that prevented the work of American and European oil companies in Venezuela. This was announced on Twitter by the vice-president of the Latin American country, Delcy Rodriguez.

“The Venezuelan government has verified and can confirm that the US has allowed its and European companies to negotiate and resume operations in Venezuela,” she wrote.

Rodriguez also noted that “Venezuela hopes that after this decision, the United States will start moving towards the complete removal of illegal sanctions.”

Earlier in the day, the US Treasury, in consultation with the State Department, issued a narrow license allowing US oil and gas company Chevron to negotiate a possible resumption of production in Venezuela that was halted by US sanctions.

United The states severed diplomatic relations with Caracas, imposed sanctions, and closed their embassy in 2019, accusing President Nicolás Maduro of electoral fraud. Negotiations between the United States and Venezuela on lifting the oil embargo resumed after Russia launched a special operation in Ukraine and imposed oil supply sanctions against Moscow.

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In early March, Reuters, citing sources, reported that US officials could not agree with the leadership of Venezuela on the easing of sanctions on oil exports. Proposals to ease sanctions included allowing Caracas to sell oil through Western companies. Venezuela demanded, among other things, the return of control over the state oil company PDVSA.

A few days later, US President Joe Biden announced the release of two Americans who were in custody in Venezuela. This happened after the visit of an American government delegation to Caracas.

Against the backdrop of the military operation in Ukraine and the ensuing anti-Russian sanctions, gasoline prices in the United States reached record levels. Biden has repeatedly accused Russia and President Vladimir Putin personally of rising prices and inflation, which also began to rise since the beginning of the conflict.

The Russian Embassy in the United States has previously stated that Washington is trying to earn political points through Russophobia to justify its own failures in solving domestic problems. The real cause of the fuel crisis, according to the embassy, ​​is record inflation for the United States— “unsecured trillion-dollar financial investments in the economy, as well as sanctions wars against objectionable states.”

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CNN learned about the development of US and EU routes for the export of Ukrainian grain

According to the TV channel, Western countries are considering the possibility of exporting wheat and corn from Ukraine by rail and aircraft

The US authorities, together with European partners, are working on ways to export wheat and corn from Ukraine in order to further deliveries to global markets, CNN reports, citing sources.

According to the channel, the administration of US President Joe Biden began to work on this issue with European allies after the blockade of the Ukrainian port by the Russian Navy. The interlocutors of CNN specified that the States are considering, among other things, the possibility of exporting grain by rail and by plane.

At the same time, according to sources, the development of scenarios will not include Russia's position on this issue. “There is still a long way to go before any deal is reached. There are many factors, many things that can influence the course of these discussions, — one source said.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Russia is the world's largest exporter of wheat, and Ukraine ranks fifth. Together they provide 19% of the world's supply of barley, 14%— wheat and 4%— corn.

After the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, wheat prices jumped to record levels. Bloomberg attributed the jump in prices to fears that military operations in Ukraine would lead to a shortage of this cereal on the market. The fighting has cut off more than a quarter of global wheat exports, according to the agency.

In April, the Russian Ministry of Defense suspended the passage of foreign warships and other government vessels in three areas of the Black Sea for six months, from April 24 to October 31. We are talking about an elongated section of the water area along the coast of Crimea (approximately from Sevastopol to Gurzuf), a rectangular area off the coast of the Kerch Peninsula (abeam of the Opuk Nature Reserve), as well as a small area of ​​the sea near the western tip of Crimea.

On Against this background, Biden announced the search for an opportunity to export 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine. The US president explained the need to export grain with record food prices in the world. According to him, the return of Ukrainian grain to the world market should help reduce prices

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The Wall Street Journal, citing informed diplomatic sources, previously wrote that UN Secretary General António Guterres proposed easing restrictions on export of Russian and Belarusian potash fertilizers in exchange for the passage of ships with grain from Ukrainian ports. According to the sources of the newspaper, the UN Secretary General is negotiating with Russia, Turkey and other countries, and Ankara has already agreed to participate in the clearance of the Black Sea.

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US ‘walks fine line’ at Southeast Asia summit to strengthen ties

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>US 'walks fine line' at Southeast Asia summit to strengthen ties

US President Joseph Biden pointed to a host of global challenges that make the ASEAN-US partnership “critical" at this time. But some experts who focus on Southeast Asia say the administration came up short at the summit. 

The WorldMay 16, 2022 · 3:30 PM EDT

President Joe Biden participates in the US-ASEAN Special Summit to commemorate 45 years of US-ASEAN relations at the State Department in Washington, Friday, May 13, 2022.

Susan Walsh/AP

Last week, the Biden administration turned its attention to Southeast Asia with a historic convening in Washington. 

For the first time, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) representing a 10-country regional bloc were summoned to the White House to launch a “new era in relations,” President Joe Biden said.

Biden pointed to a host of global challenges that make the ASEAN-US partnership “critical” at this time, alluding to Russian aggression in Ukraine, among other issues. But some experts who focus on Southeast Asia say the administration came up short at the summit. 

Related: Amid war in Ukraine, India maintains 'strategic partnership' with Russia

Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at RAND Corporation, said as far as he can tell, “there were no specific deliverables.” Even the headlining commitment of $150 million for the region’s pandemic preparedness, infrastructure, security and other efforts is laughable, he said.

“I think it’s pretty insulting, to be honest,” Grossman told The World. 

“I think it’s pretty insulting … To pledge such a paltry amount to a region that Biden himself, at the White House, during the summit, that ASEAN centrality is at the heart of his administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy.”

Derek Grossman, senior defense analyst, RAND corporation

“To pledge such a paltry amount to a region that Biden himself at the White House, during the summit, you know, he said that ASEAN centrality is at the heart of his administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy.”

Many aspects of this strategy are clearly aimed at countering Beijing’s economic power in the region, but they are not explicitly anti-China. And not releasing more details about the Indo-Pacific Strategy’s economic framework during the summit was a missed opportunity, Grossman said. 

Those plans are slated to be released later this month. 

“I mean, when you look at what China’s doing on the other side of the ledger here, I mean, they’re literally investing billions — with a B — dollars through their Belt and Road initiative throughout Southeast Asia,” he said. 

Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative is a program worth trillions of dollars that looks to establish a vast network of investment and infrastructure spanning Asia, Europe and Africa. 

Exact numbers are hard to come by, but in 2019, China invested an estimated $166 billion into Southeast Asia and its emerging markets, according to the nonpartisan, Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institution

Today, the total would be billions more.

With a total population of over 600 million, ASEAN has a gross domestic product of some $2.55 trillion. If it were its own country, the bloc would be the 5th largest economy in the world. 

China’s trade with Southeast Asia totaled $685 billion in 2020. That’s nearly twice the $362 billion the region traded with the US in the same year. 

Related: Southeast Asia allies express concern over US commitment amid Afghanistan crisis

Still, Marc Mealy, senior vice president for policy at the DC-based US-ASEAN Business Council, points out that six of the United States’ top 30 trade partners in the world are in ASEAN, with Vietnam leading the pack. This indicates the importance of the relationship between the two countries, he said. 

The $150 million investment may not be a stand-out commitment in light of Congress’ allocation of $40 billion in aid to Ukraine, but other notable commitments were made at the summit, Mealy said. 

Yohannas Abraham, who currently serves on President Biden’s White House National Security Council, was announced as the nominee for US Ambassador to ASEAN. The post has been vacant since the Trump administration. 

Mealy also noted that other initiatives were announced, including the revamping of a training initiative for young Southeast Asian leaders, as well as a bilateral agreement between Malaysia and the US on semiconductor supply chains

Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with billionaire businessman Elon Musk on the sidelines and Mealy’s group hosted an event that brought together ASEAN leaders with US chief executive officers and cabinet secretaries.

“I think there’s lots of other initiatives that, at the end of the day, really do offer some tangible benefits in terms of strengthening the US-ASEAN economic relations."

Marc Mealy, senior vice president for policy, US-ASEAN Business Council, Washington, DC

“I think there’s lots of other initiatives that, at the end of the day, really do offer some tangible benefits in terms of strengthening the US-ASEAN economic relations,” Mealy said. 

Related: Opening the door to Chinese investment comes with risks for Southeast Asian nations

Still, for a region that feels perpetually ignored by the US, it’s unclear whether the summit ultimately sent the intended message. 

Reactions from some Southeast Asian figures, such as leaders of Singapore and Vietnam, appear positive, according to Hunter Marston, a doctoral researcher at Australian National University in Canberra, and a contributor for 9DashLine, a platform that focuses on Asian and Indo-Pacific relations. 

“I think the Biden administration walked a fine line and not pushing ASEAN states too hard to either break ties with Russia entirely, which it understands is unrealistic given Russia's strategic importance to many Southeast Asian countries, and also not to sort of choose sides in this competition with China."

Hunter Marston, doctoral researcher, National University, Canberra, Australia

“I think the Biden administration walked a fine line and not pushing ASEAN states too hard to either break ties with Russia entirely, which it understands is unrealistic given Russia's strategic importance to many Southeast Asian countries, and also not to sort of choose sides in this competition with China,” he said.

Southeast Asian leaders still crave more specifics, Marston said, particularly on how the US can help them economically.

“So hopefully, we'll see the Indo-Pacific economic framework announced soon with further detail,” he said. “And if that contains a little more meat on the bones, it'll only add to the appeal that Washington strategy has for regional partners.”

In Chechnya, they announced the death of seven US citizens in a special operation in Ukraine

Seven Americans who fought on the side of Ukraine as part of the special forces were killed in the Donbass, the Chechen authorities said. The State Department previously said that one of them is alive and safe

Rubezhnoye

Seven American citizens who fought on the side of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as part of special forces were killed in the Ukrainian city of Rubezhnoye, RIA Novosti said. assistant to the head of Chechnya on the security bloc Apta Alaudinov.

He clarified that US citizens died as a result of the battle at the Dye Plant, one of them was named Joseph Ward Clark. “They were fixed by us, and they all departed to another world, leaving behind Javelins, documents and their weapons,” — Alaudinov reported.

A month earlier, on April 14, Clark's documents were published by the Minister of Information and Press of Chechnya, Akhmed Dudayev. He posted on VKontakte video showing the passport of a US citizen named Joseph Ward Clark.

Dudayev claimed that the passport belonged to one of the “representatives” of the US intelligence agencies that “work on the territory of Donbass and are engaged in the destruction of the civilian population.” “They all find shelter here in the Ukrainian land, the so-called,” added the Chechen minister.

On the same day, the State Department called reports of Clark's death or capture untrue. “I'm limited in what I can say due to privacy concerns, but I have reason to believe this person is safe,” — said department spokesman Ned Price.

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The US administration then recommended that US citizens refrain from traveling to Ukraine and not participate in hostilities. “We know that people want to help, but we urge Americans to find other ways to do it, — urged the representative of the White House Jen Psaki.

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The Pentagon announced the rotation of US troops in Europe

10.5 thousand troops will return to the United States, while the other 10.5 thousand will go to bases in Europe. The Pentagon spokesman stressed that American soldiers are not sent there to participate in hostilities in Ukraine

The United States plans to rotate the military contingent in Europe in the near future, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a briefing. Washington continues its course to strengthen the defensive capabilities on the eastern flank of NATO against the backdrop of events in Ukraine, he explained.

“For this reason, Secretary [of Defense Lloyd] Austin has ordered the dispatch of approximately 10,500 troops in the coming months to replace the previously sent army units that serve in the European zone, — told Kirby.— This is a one-on-one replacement of military units. Thus, the total number of American soldiers stationed in Europe will remain the same— about 100,000. Replacements will be carried out gradually over the summer.

Kirby stressed that the newly arrived military “won't fight in Ukraine” and the deployment of troops is not permanent.

In April, US Charge d'Affaires in Estonia Brian Roraff said that Washington allows the deployment of troops in Europe not only on a rotational basis, but also on a permanent basis.

Army Chief of Staff James McConville said at the end of March that the United States would not increase its military presence in Europe to the level of the Cold War (350 thousand).

The American authorities emphasize that US troops are in the region to protect allies for NATO, and not for the war with Russia and participation in hostilities in Ukraine.

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WP learns about US development of guidance on intelligence sharing with Ukraine

WP: The US has banned the transfer of data on Russian military leadership and targets outside Ukraine to Kiev Washington will not be able to transfer information to Kyiv about Russian targets outside Ukraine and the top leadership of the Russian Armed Forces, for example, about Shoigu or Gerasimov. The ban does not apply to data on Russian officers on the territory of Ukraine

The administration of US President Joe Biden has developed guidelines for intelligence sharing with Ukraine in order to avoid escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow, The Washington Post reports, citing sources.

The document, according to the newspaper, prohibits the United States from transmitting Ukraine information that “helped to take life” high-ranking Russian officers. This also applies to Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

At the same time, the newspaper writes, the ban does not apply to data on Russian officers, including generals, who are on the territory of Ukraine. However, a senior Pentagon official told WP that Washington has tacitly decided not to give Kyiv information about the whereabouts of the Russian generals.

The second category of information that Washington will not be able to share with Kyiv,— this is any data that would help the Ukrainian side to attack Russian targets outside of Ukraine, the newspaper writes. According to WP sources, the ban is in part to prevent “the United States from becoming a participant in attacks that Ukraine could carry out on Russian territory.”

The United States regularly exchanges intelligence with Ukraine about Russian ships in the Black Sea, which could be used to support offensives against cities like Odessa, according to an unnamed Pentagon official. He stressed that it— “not specific information,” the purpose of the data transfer is not for Ukraine to strike at them, but for Kyiv to be able to prepare for defense. For example, the authorities may take measures to strengthen the defense of the city or evacuate civilians, the source said.

According to US and Ukrainian officials, in addition, the United States transmits real-time information to Ukraine about the location and movement of Russian troops on territory of the country. This includes satellite imagery and intelligence.

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The New York Times also reported that the United States gave Ukraine intelligence data that the Ukrainian military used to strike Russian positions, stating, that they do not include information about the advances of high-ranking officials of the Russian military leadership. The Pentagon indicated that Kyiv is provided with the information “which they can use for self-defense.”

On May 6, CNN, citing sources, reported that the United States had provided intelligence to Ukraine about the location of the Moskva cruiser. in the Black Sea shortly before the fire started on the ship. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, on April 14, due to a fire on board, ammunition detonated, the cruiser sank. As a result, the ministry said one person was killed, 27 were missing and 396 more were evacuated. The Pentagon denied passing this information to Kyiv.

NBC reported May 7 that Biden, in a meeting with CIA Director William Burns and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, demanded an end to leaks of information about the exchange of data between US and Ukrainian intelligence, as it “distracts from our common goal».

According to the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, the transfer of intelligence by the West to Ukraine will not prevent Russia from achieving the goals of the military operation.

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Washington Post learned about US purchases of new types of weapons for Ukraine

The United States plans to purchase laser-guided missiles, Puma handheld drones, and additional Switchblade kamikaze drones for Ukraine, writes The Washington Post

“Switchblade” drone;

The Pentagon decided to expand the supply of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine through purchases from US enterprises worth $136 million, The Washington Post reported. We are talking about laser-guided missiles, drones, binoculars and other military assistance.

According to the publication, the United States has not previously sent weapons and equipment that are planned to be purchased from American manufacturers to Ukraine. Previous shipments have been made from existing Pentagon stocks, the newspaper writes.

As for the purchase of weapons for Ukraine by Washington, it includes high-precision helicopter-launched 70mm missiles for a total of $22.6 million, as well as Puma handheld drones for $19.7 million. called in the Pentagon, “kamikaze drones” Switchblade for $17.8M

Deputy head of the Pentagon Bill LaPlante told reporters that the department has at its disposal funding approved by the US Congress in the amount of $300 million, which can be spent on the purchase of weapons for Ukraine. He also added that the US Department of Defense is negotiating with contractors to replace missiles for the Stinger and Javelin systems, which were previously transferred to Kyiv from the Pentagon's stocks.

“We are in contact with manufacturers every day as our requests grow. , and [the administration of US President Joe Biden] will continue to use all available tools to support the armed forces of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, — cites the edition of LaPlante's word.

On May 6, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced another round of military assistance to Kyiv in the face of the “offensive of Russian troops” in the east of Ukraine. The supply of weapons and equipment from the US Department of Defense stockpiles totaling $150 million includes 25,000 155mm artillery shells, 3 AN/TPQ-36 anti-artillery radars, electronic jamming systems, as well as field equipment and spare parts.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a special operation in Ukraine on February 24. He called its goal “demilitarization” and “denazification” neighboring country, as well as protecting the population of Donbass. Kyiv in response to this declared martial law and general mobilization. At the end of March, the Ministry of Defense announced the regrouping of troops in connection with the implementation of the main tasks in the Kiev and Chernigov directions. The ministry also called the “complete liberation of Donbass” the main goal of the operation.

After the start of the special operation, Western countries, led by the United States, increased their military assistance to Ukraine. This has repeatedly provoked criticism from Moscow. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that by supplying weapons to Kyiv, NATO was actually entering into a “proxy war”; with Russia. He also said that any cargo in Ukraine that Moscow considers foreign weapons will become targets for Russian troops.

The Ministry of Defense has repeatedly reported the destruction of warehouses with foreign weapons in Ukraine, including near Lvov, near Kharkov and in Zaporozhye.

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CNN learned about the transfer of US data to Kyiv on the location of the cruiser Moskva

According to CNN sources, Washington, at the request of Kyiv, provided data on the location of the cruiser shortly before the fire started on the ship. At the same time, the United States did not know exactly how Ukraine would use the intelligence data alt=”CNN learned about the transfer of US data to Kyiv on the location of the cruiser “Moskva”” />

Guards missile cruiser “Moskva”

The United States provided Ukraine with intelligence on the location of the Moskva cruiser. shortly before the fire started on the ship, CNN reports, citing sources.

According to the TV channel, the Ukrainian military, having noticed a warship in the Black Sea, checked with their American colleagues, who confirmed the target and provided accurate cruiser position data. Some time later, on the “Moscow” a fire started and the ship sank, clarifies CNN.

At the same time, the channel's sources emphasize that the United States did not know exactly how Kyiv would use the intelligence.

On the night of April 14, the Ministry of Defense reported a fire on the Moskva cruiser. Due to the fire on board, the ammunition detonated, later the fire was localized, and the explosions stopped, the ministry said. They also stated that the cruiser was seriously damaged, and the crew of the “Moskva” was evacuated.

Late in the evening of the same day, the ministry reported that the cruiser, as a result of the damage to the hull and in the “conditions of stormy seas” sank during towing.

At the request of Roskomnadzor, RBC provides data on the details of the military operation in Ukraine based on information from Russian official sources.

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On April 22, the Ministry of Defense reported one dead and 27 missing as a result of an incident on the cruiser Moskva. “In the course of the struggle for the ship's damage, one serviceman was killed, another 27 crew members were missing. The remaining 396 crew members were evacuated from the cruiser to the ships of the Black Sea Fleet in the area and taken to Sevastopol, — indicated by the department. The deceased turned out to be midshipman Ivan Vakhrushev, they have already said goodbye to him in Sevastopol, said the governor of the city, Mikhail Razvozhaev.

The flagship cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet was laid down on the slipway of the Nikolaev Shipbuilding Plant in 1976 with the original name “Slava”. In 1979 he was launched. In 1999, “Moscow” relocated to Sevastopol. In 2008, the cruiser participated in the Russian operation in South Ossetia, aimed at “forcing the Georgian authorities to peace”, and from September 2015 to January 2016, she provided cover from the sea direction of the air base of the Russian Aerospace Forces Khmeimim in Syria.

Experts interviewed by RBC said that the failure of the cruiser is unlikely to have an impact on the course of the special operation in Ukraine. During the operation “Moscow” mainly provided information obtained from the cruiser's radar system, said Navy specialist Ilya Kramnik. Vasily Kashin, an expert of the Russian International Affairs Council, specified that the cruiser was outdated long ago and shortly before the start of the special operation, the issue of decommissioning it was decided.

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Congress submitted a resolution on the involvement of the US military in Ukraine

The author of the resolution proposed to allow the use of US military forces in Ukraine if Russia uses chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that the risks of nuclear war are very significant alt=”Resolution submitted to Congress to bring US military to Ukraine” />

US Congressman Adam Kinzinger

US Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) introduced a draft resolution that allows the use of American Armed Forces in Ukraine, if Russia uses chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, follows from the statement on the congressman's website.

“I am introducing this AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) as a clear red line so that the administration [of US President Joe Biden] can take appropriate action if Russia uses a chemical. biological and/or nuclear weapons,— Kinzinger said.

He clarified that this resolution authorizes US President Joe Biden to use “forces to respond to a scenario” in which Russia uses any of these weapons.

“Having spoken to Secretary of State [Anthony] Blinken and listened to his serious concerns about [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's use of chemical weapons, I am confident that the United States will demonstrate to the world community that we will not tolerate senseless violence,”— added by Kinzinger.

Three days after the start of the military operation in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered that the strategic deterrence forces (SSS) be placed on a special alert regime. These forces are designed to deter aggression against Russia and its allies in order to defeat the aggressor, including— in a nuclear war.

In March, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he did not believe in a possible nuclear war. “I draw your attention to the fact that in the context of the events that have unfolded in Ukraine in recent years and have escalated literally in recent months and weeks, the nuclear topic has been thrown into this discourse exclusively by Western representatives, primarily NATO members,” — he said.

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At the same time, in March, he announced the dispatch of the US military to Europe. “Our troops are heading to Europe not to fight in Ukraine, but to protect our NATO allies in case Putin decides to continue moving west,” the president explained. According to him, the hostilities in Ukraine, which is not part of NATO, do not require the direct participation of the United States.

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FT reports talks between the US and Britain on the “Chinese threat” to Taiwan

Washington and London held high-level talks in March on closer cooperation to reduce the likelihood of a war with China over Taiwan. During the meeting, the parties studied emergency action plans for the first time “FT Reports US-UK Talks on 'China Threat' to Taiwan” />

The US and UK held high-level talks in early March to discuss options for closer cooperation to reduce the likelihood of war with China from -for Taiwan, according to the Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter.

White House Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Region Kurt Campbell and senior National Security Council spokesperson for China Laura Rosenberger held a meeting in Taiwan with British representatives. During the talks, the parties studied contingency plans for the first time, the publication writes.

Taiwan— an island in the South China Sea, about 150 km off the coast of China. In 1949, during the revolution, the territory declared secession from China, but Beijing considers it one of the Chinese provinces.

The United States does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but at the same time sells weapons to it. Officially, the United States, like Russia, supports the One China principle.

The situation in the South China Sea escalated last March. China has repeatedly accused the United States of having its warships enter waters that China considers its own. The Taiwan Ministry of Defense, in turn, has repeatedly reported violations of the island's airspace by Chinese aircraft. Beijing claimed that the planes were taking part in the exercise.

In October 2021, US President Joe Biden said that Washington would side with Taiwan in case of a potential attack on it by the PRC. According to him, the United States has assumed the corresponding obligations. Taiwanese President Zai Ing-wen has said that the US military is on the island to train the local army, but she said there are “not as many US soldiers in Taiwan as people think.”

In mid-April, Beijing decided to conduct exercises off the island of Taiwan. The Chinese Defense Ministry said they were provoked by “serious misinformation” that the United States is sending to “Taiwanese separatists.” Prior to this, a delegation of six US congressmen arrived on the island to meet with Tsai Ing-wen, Reuters wrote. During the talks, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said that Taiwan— “country of global importance” and its safety matters “for the whole world.”

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On April 26, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that Washington intends to provide Taiwan with everything necessary to protect against any potential aggression, including from China. In response, Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, urged the US to avoid “wrong signals to separatist forces supporting 'Taiwan independence' so as not to cause serious damage to Sino-US relations, as well as 'peace and stability on both sides of the Taiwan Strait'.” ;.

On April 28, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that NATO must solve global problems, including protecting the Pacific region, so that democracies like Taiwan “have the opportunity to defend themselves.”

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FT learned about the discussion in China of protecting foreign assets from US sanctions

The FT's interlocutors reported that China is concerned about the freezing of foreign assets of the Bank of Russia and fears the introduction of such measures against Beijing “in the event of a regional military conflict or other crisis”

Chinese regulators held an emergency meeting with local and international banks, where they discussed ways to protect China's overseas assets from possible US sanctions similar to those imposed on Russia, according to the Financial Times, citing sources familiar with the discussion.

According to the interlocutors of the publication, representatives of the central bank and the Ministry of Finance of China, as well as heads of local and international banks, took part in the discussion on April 22. The publication noted that the meeting began with the words of a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of Finance that Beijing was alarmed by the ability of the United States and its allies to freeze the dollar assets of the Bank of Russia.

According to the Financial Times, Chinese officials are wary of imposing such measures against Beijing “in the event of a regional military conflict or other crisis,” while the meeting did not mention specific scenarios in which China could face sanctions.

One of the sources told the publication that in the event of a Chinese attack on Taiwan, “the separation of the Chinese and Western economies will be much more serious” than with Russia, since Beijing's economic influence affects the whole world. Another source of the newspaper noted that the Chinese banking system is not ready to freeze its foreign exchange assets or disconnect from the SWIFT system. at a high level, which discussed options for closer cooperation to reduce the likelihood of a war with China over Taiwan.

Taiwan — an island in the South China Sea, about 150 km from the coast of China. In 1949, during the revolution, the territory declared secession from China, but Beijing considers it one of the Chinese provinces.

The United States does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but at the same time sells weapons to it. Officially, the United States, like Russia, supports the One China principle.

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In mid-April, Beijing decided to conduct exercises near Taiwan, saying that it was provoked by the “serious misinformation” that the US is sending to the “Taiwanese separatists.” Before that, a delegation of six US congressmen arrived on the island to meet with the President of Taiwan, Reuters wrote.

On April 26, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that Washington intends to provide Taiwan with everything necessary to protect Taiwan from any potential aggression, including including from China.

In response, Beijing urged the United States to avoid “wrong signals to separatist forces supporting 'Taiwan independence' so as not to cause serious damage to Sino-US relations, as well as 'peace and stability on both sides'. Taiwan Strait».

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