Russian town of Shebekino under attack, anti-Putin forces claim another raid

Just over a week after two anti-Kremlin Russian paramilitary groups fighting on the side of Ukraine launched a cross-border raid into Russia's Belgorod Oblast, the same two groups - the Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) and the nationalist Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) - have claimed another raid into Russian territory on Thursday (1 June), this time towards the town of Shebekino.

patrickn97 Thu, 06/01/2023 - 13:47
Italian government lifts restrictions on Saudi weapons exports

The Italian government has lifted a 2019 embargo on exporting military weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The decision, taken on Wednesday (31 May) was announced in a communique at the end of a Council of Ministers meeting presided over by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and was made "in accordance with the foreign and defense policy of Italy".

Restrictions on the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia were put in place in 2019 to prevent Italian-made weaponry being used in the conflict in Yemen.

patrickn97 Thu, 06/01/2023 - 10:08
European Political Community summit taking place in Moldova, Pashinyan and Aliyev to meet
The second summit of the European Political Community (EPC) is taking place today in Moldova (Thursday 1 June). During the summit, the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will meet with European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The brainchild of Emmanuel Macron, the European Political Community's first summit took place in Prague, in October 2022. The EPC says that it is "a platform for political coordination among European countries across the continent," adding that it "aims to promote political dialogue and cooperation to address issues of common interest and to strengthen the security, stability, and prosperity of the European continent." The EPC says that there are three main topics expected to be addressed by the 47 member states, which include every European country except Russia and Belarus. Those three topics are: joint efforts for peace and security; energy resilience and climate action; and interconnections in Europe for a better connected and more stable continent.
patrickn97 Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:44
The time is now to finalise Sweden's accession to NATO, says Blinken
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the "time is now" to finalise Sweden's accession to NATO. While both Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO together on 18 May 2022, some two and a half months after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden's bid has been held up by objections from Hungary and Turkey. Finland on the other hand became the 31st member of the military alliance on 4 April 2023. Speaking at a press conference in the northern Swedish city of Luleå alongside Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Tuesday (30 May), Blinken added that Sweden has "taken very significant steps to address very legitimate concerns, and I think in terms of its own qualifications for membership, from day one it was qualified precisely because it’s been such a long-time partner for NATO; of course, the European Union; and with values that are fundamentally the same." Turkey has accused Sweden of being soft on groups that they perceive as terror organisations or consider existential threats, including Kurdish groups such as the PKK, and the Syrian Kurdish militia group, the YPG and its political branch, the PYD. In an attempt to address Turkey's concerns and to persuade Ankara to approve Sweden's bid to join NATO, at the start of May Sweden tightened anti-terrorism laws to include a prison term of up to four years for individuals convicted of participating in an extremist organisation in a way that is intended to promote, strengthen or support the group. 
patrickn97 Wed, 05/31/2023 - 09:56
From Sochi to Moscow: is Russia derailing the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process again?

We might again have returned to a game of Russia trying to derail the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process after progress is made in Western-mediated negotiations, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for

patrickn97 Wed, 05/31/2023 - 08:58
Editorial: China moves in where angels fear to tread
It seems as if you cannot be respected as a superpower unless you burn your fingers trying to pacify Afghanistan, writes in this editorial. The British in the heyday of the Raj, tried it in the 19th century; the Soviets tried it at the peak of their power in the 20th century, and the Americans had a go at a time when they were the only superpower, in the early 21st century. Now it seems it's China’s turn, and of course it is being done the Chinese way. There are no armies swarming across the Khyber Pass, nor forward military bases established across Central Asia. Instead, the Chinese are using their time tested tool – the Belt and Road Initiative. The first announcement came on 8 May following the 4th round of the Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue in Islamabad with the participation of Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. In essence, the two sides agreed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, will be extended into Afghanistan. At that meeting it was also agreed that both sides will “continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Afghanistan”.
patrickn97 Tue, 05/30/2023 - 12:44
Analysis: Landmine contamination in Azerbaijan’s Aghdam region prevents tens of thousands of displaced persons from returning to their homes
The dust of war from the decades-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has started to settle, and although peace remains elusive, there is hope across the region for a better future. No-one has waited for this moment more than the hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis who were displaced by the First Karabakh War in the early 1990s.
Maximiliaan va… Tue, 05/30/2023 - 09:12
Drones fly above Kyiv and Moscow, Russia attacks three times in 24 hours
Russia has launched three mass aerial assaults on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in 24 hours, with the latest coming in the early hours of Tuesday (30 May).  It was the 17th such attack just this month, with the Kyiv City Military Administration reporting that Iranian-made Shahed drones approached the city from different directions, and in several waves. According to Ukrainian authorities, the country's Air Defense shot down 29 out of 31 drones mostly fired at Kyiv. There are reports of one woman being killed and three others being injured after debris from a destroyed drone fell on a tower block, causing a fire. Drones shot down over other parts of Kyiv did not cause any other casualties, Kyiv City Military Administration reported. Between midnight and 5am yesterday, on Monday (29 May), Ukrainian Air Defenses had also fought off yet another aerial attack from Russia, shooting down 37 out of 40 cruise missiles, and 29 out of 35 Shahed drones. No casualties were reported on that occasion, although a second attack that came late morning yesterday reportedly injured one. Meanwhile, also on Tuesday morning, Muscovites awoke to the sound of explosions as alleged Ukrainian drones were shot down over Moscow. Although Russia's state-run RIA Novosti reports that eight drones were shot down over Moscow, reports on social media suggest that as many as two dozen drones flew over Moscow. Russian authorities have reported that falling debris damaged a tower block, injuring two people, although they were not hospitalised. Ukraine has not commented on the claims.
patrickn97 Tue, 05/30/2023 - 09:05