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Ukraine and Eastern Europe

Stories under this heading cover Ukraine and Eastern Europe. 

Ukraine faces emergency power blackouts as Russian military bases targeted

Following continued Russian strikes on Ukraine's critical energy infrastructure on Monday (5 December), President Zelensky announced on Tuesday that the country would begin implementing emergency power shutdowns in order to stabilise its power grid.

He added that regions throughout Ukraine would be affected, and that about half of Kyiv region would remain without electricity for the coming days.

patrickn97 Tue, 12/06/2022 - 10:59 Monday Commentary: NATO’s new sense of purpose well reflected during last week’s Bucharest Ministerial Meeting
The Foreign ministers of NATO member states met in Bucharest on Tuesday and Wednesday,  (29 – 30 November), at a time when, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe faces one of the most serious security challenges since the alliance came into being in 1949. It was not NATO that triggered the Ukraine crisis. Indeed NATO, in its’ past quest not to alienate Russia, is sometimes accused of being overcautious in its relations with Ukraine prior to February. The Russian invasion has tested the alliance in many ways – the political will and unity of the member states; the capability of the alliance to support an ally who is not a member through a hybrid response; and the speed with which it could bolster its military capability on its Eastern flank to reassure member states. So far one can say that NATO has performed well, writes Dennis Sammut in today's Monday Commentary on commonspace.eu. This response however needs to be sustained. NATO comes out from the Bucharest Ministerial meeting strengthened and resolute. It is an alliance that is on the move as it responds to new challenges. But NATO also remains rooted in its principles. As the foreign ministers declared in their final statement, NATO is a defensive alliance. “We will continue to strive for peace, security and stability in the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area”, they declared.
dennis2020 Mon, 12/05/2022 - 04:54

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Russian occupied Crimea under attack

Russian occupied Crimea under attack

A drone strike hit the headquarters of Russia’s Navy headquarters in Crimea, sparking a huge explosion today in another suspected raid by Ukrainian forces. Smoke plumes billowed into the sky following the strike on Putin’s navy HQ. Russian forces tried to shoot down the drone but it detonated. No-one was killed. There were reports of "a powerful explosion" near the Russian Black Sea Fleet's headquarters in occupied Sevastopol at 8.20 on Saturday morning (20 August). The Russian-installed "governor" of occupied Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev said a drone hit the roof of the fleet's headquarters, writing on Telegram: "Unfortunately, [the drone] was not shot down, although they worked on the bay with small arms. [It] went low. There were no victims." It is the latest in a string of blasts, widely believed to be inflicted by Ukrainian forces, deep in the occupied peninsula. Russia considers Crimea to be an impregnable fortress and attacks on the peninsula which is full of military facilities is a serious embarrassment for the Kremlin
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Historic Lviv hosts meeting between Zelensky, Erdogan and Gutteres

Historic Lviv hosts meeting between Zelensky, Erdogan and Gutteres

The visit of Turkish president Recip Tayip Erdogan and UN Secretary General, Antoniuo Gutteres, to Lviv on Thursday once more opened the possibility of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.  However a lot of the discussions were focused on the more immediate issue of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has agreed to the parameters of a potential mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, after repeated shelling of the complex raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe.. Speaking at a news conference in Lviv on Thursday following a trilateral meeting with the Turkish president and the UN secretary-general, Zelenskyy said “only absolute transparency and control of the situation” by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), among other bodies, could guarantee nuclear safety. It was not immediately clear if Russia would agree to the parameters. The Ukrainian leader also reiterated a call for Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from the nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine and stop all military activity in the area. Concerns about the plant mounted on Thursday when Russian and Ukrainian authorities accused each other of plotting to attack the site and then blame the other side. Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of multiple recent incidents of shelling at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which Russian troops captured early in the war. 
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International community calls on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

International community calls on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

EU member states and other countries in the international community have issued a statement on the situation around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, and have called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the territory of the plant. In a statement the 42 countries called on Russia to immediately withdraw its military forces and all other unauthorised personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, its immediate surroundings, and all of Ukraine so that the operator and the Ukrainian authorities can resume their sovereign responsibilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and the legitimate operating staff can conduct their duties without outside interference, threat, or unacceptably harsh working conditions. This will also enable the IAEA to carry out its verification pursuant to Ukraine’s safeguards obligations under safe and secure conditions and in a timely manner. The statement said that the international community will hold Russia accountable for its aggression, and Russia must bear full responsibility for its unlawful actions in Ukraine.
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Commentary: Ukraine crisis helps Europe re-discover the meaning of the word “solidarity”

Commentary: Ukraine crisis helps Europe re-discover the meaning of the word “solidarity”

Since the start of the Russian invasion, the EU and its member states have given Ukraine billions of euros of budgetary assistance, have welcomed more than 3.7 million refugees, and have extended unprecedented levels of military assistance. Europe has re-discovered the meaning of the word solidarity, even if not all of the solidarity is altruistic but involves also a measure of self-preservation in the face of Putin's Russia naked aggressiveness and expansionist ambitions. Solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainians is also ultimately in the interest of every European Union country and citizen. But this does not in any way lessen the significance of Europe’s support for Ukraine. Can this solidarity be sustained for the months, and probably years ahead, as Ukraine struggles to defeat Russia, and hopefully afterwards, victorious, start the difficult process of reconstruction? The decision to give Ukraine EU candidate status was in this regard significant, and indicates that the EU sees Ukraine as a long term commitment. For sure, as the winter cold starts biting and Putin plays politics with Russian gas supplies, there will be those who will question the value of Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine.  It is important they remain marginalised. For this, European leaders, decision makers and opinion shapers, need to communicate constantly to European citizens the righteousness of the decision to help Ukraine to stand up to Russia, and to help the Ukrainian people in their hour of need.
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Three ships loaded with Ukrainian grain arrive in Istanbul

Three ships loaded with Ukrainian grain arrive in Istanbul

Three grain-loaded ships from Ukraine anchored at the Black Sea entrance of Turkey's Istanbul Strait en route to Ireland, the Turkish National Defence Ministry said on Saturday (6 August) The first ship, the Panama-flagged Navi-Star, which departed from Ukraine's port of Odesa on 5 August, is carrying 33,000 tons of corn under a recent grain shipment deal signed by Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the U.N. On July 22, those countries and the U.N. signed a deal in Istanbul to reopen three Ukrainian ports for exports of Ukraine grain. A team from the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, consisting of representatives from all four sides, are inspecting the ship. After the inspection, it is expected to proceed on its way.
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Ukrainian grain looted by Russia shipped to Lebanon

Ukrainian grain looted by Russia shipped to Lebanon

A Syrian cargo ship, sanctioned by the United States and carrying what Ukraine says is stolen barley from the war-torn country, has docked in Lebanon, the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in the Mideast nation said on Thursday (28 July). According to the Ukrainian Embassy in Beirut, the cargo vessel Laodicea docked in the port of Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city. It was carrying 5,000 tons of flour and 5,000 tons of barley, the embassy said. Ukraine has accused Russia of plundering grain and steel from its territory since Moscow invaded the country in late February. Earlier Thursday, Ukrainian Ambassador Ihor Ostash met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and warned the Lebanese leader that purchasing stolen goods from Russia would “harm bilateral ties,” according to the embassy statement. Kyiv had previously praised Lebanon for condemning Russia for its war on Ukraine. Ukraine has promised to export wheat to Lebanon, currently experiencing a crippling food security and economic crisis.
United Kingdom to host 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine

The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be hosted next year in a city in the United Kingdom, to be decided later. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced this on Monday (25 July). Ukraine was originally supposed to organise the event, but due to the Russian invasion this will not happen.

Maximiliaan va… Mon, 07/25/2022 - 15:27