UKRAINE: War updates
Courtesy of: Council on Foreign Relations (USA), East Journal (Italy), International Criminal Court (Holland) and Transitions (Czech Republic)
- COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
Top of the Agenda
Leaders of France, Germany, Italy Visit Kyiv
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met with (NYT) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during their first trip to Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine. The visit came as European Union (EU) countries debate Ukraine’s bid for candidate status in the bloc and after the United States announced (Politico) $1 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Macron said the three leaders brought “a message of European unity and support for the Ukrainian people” and aimed to discuss “very difficult” weeks ahead. They visited a Kyiv suburb where investigations of reported Russian atrocities are underway.
“EU countries are all for Ukraine in its war against Russia, but they are all over the map when it comes to Ukraine’s demand to be recognized as a candidate for EU membership,” Politico’s David M. Herszenhorn, Barbara Moens, Hans von der Burchard, Jakob Hanke Vela, and Maia de la Baume write.
“European leaders should approve [Ukraine’s EU] candidacy, on condition it passes reforms to bolster the rule of law and curb corruption before any membership talks begin. To do any less would be a geopolitical error—and send a highly unfortunate signal to Kyiv, and to Moscow,” the Financial Times’ editorial board writes.
This Backgrounder looks at how the EU works.
Russia Hosts Scaled-Down Economic Forum
Many Western government and business leaders were absent (Moscow Times) from this year’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, though officials from former Soviet Union countries, Asia, and the Middle East were present.
Western Officials Weigh Additional Military Aid to Ukraine
The meeting of officials from around fifty countries in Brussels is occurring at the same time (WaPo) as a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ministers.
At this meeting, CFR’s Haass, Stephen J. Hadley, and Charles A. Kupchan join Alina Polyakova and Stephen M. Twitty to discuss how the war in Ukraine could end.
- EAST JOURNAL
L’OPINIONE: Gli ucraini non decideranno della pace
Saranno gli ucraini a decidere della pace, o gli alleati imporranno la propria volontà? Le sorti del conflitto non sembrano in mano a Kiev...
Please, check the whole story by clicking HERE.
- INTERNATIONAL CRFIMINAL COURT
Statement: 17 June 2022
Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on completion of his visit to Kharkiv and Kyiv, Ukraine
ICC Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan QC visits Kharkiv, Ukraine on 15 June 2022
Today I concluded my third official visit to Ukraine. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the President of Ukraine, His Excellency Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to the Prosecutor-General of Ukraine, Ms. Iryna Venediktova and to all representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and of the diplomatic community who dedicated time to meet with me during this visit despite the exceptionally difficult circumstances currently faced by all in Ukraine.
On the first day of my visit I travelled to Kharkiv, in the east of Ukraine, witnessing the extensive damage caused to this city and listening to the accounts of suffering endured by civilians. My message to those I spoke with was clear: the law remains with them on the front lines. They have fundamental rights which must be vindicated even during a time of war. I told them that my Office was acting with urgency to demonstrate to all those involved in this conflict that they have responsibilities under international law to which there are no exceptions.
Every person who picks up a gun, drives a tank or launches a missile should know that they can be held accountable where crimes are committed. My team is already working extensively on the ground in Ukraine and we will continue to engage with all partners to identify alleged crimes falling within our jurisdiction and uncover the truth.
During my visit, I met with the President of Ukraine, His Excellency Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and his senior advisers. I was grateful for our positive discussions and for their expression of steadfast support for the independent investigative activities of my Office.
Based on these consultations, and those with other relevant officials during my time in Kyiv, I can confirm the imminent opening of a field office of the International Criminal Court to further support the continued and increased presence of our personnel on the ground. This will be crucial in deepening our engagement with all actors in Ukraine and accelerating our investigative activities.
On 15 March, my delegation and I participated in a roundtable meeting with senior representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and intelligence services. During those discussions I outlined priority areas for action in support of the independent investigations conducted by my Office. We identified a number of ways in which the cooperation between Ukraine and my Office can be further strengthened in accordance with the principle of complementarity that lies at the heart of the Rome Statute. In this regard, I would wish in particular to commend the continued strong cooperation and determined efforts of the Office of Prosecutor-General Venediktova.
I would like to conclude by underlining my personal commitment to ensuring that those involved in conflict, in Ukraine and in all situations addressed by my Office, feel that the law is something relevant to their lives. Now more than ever it is crucial we bring our work closer to victims and survivors and demonstrate our continued commitment to work together, to the best of our abilities, to ensure that the perpetrators of international crimes are held accountable.
17 June 2022
Your five-minute rundown of news from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, and Eurasia.
THE BIG STORY: EUROPEAN COMMISSION BACKS EU MEMBERSHIP FOR UKRAINE, MOLDOVA
What happened: Ukraine and Moldova received approval from the European Commission today as candidates for EU membership, the first step of the long process to join the bloc of nations, Euronews reports. Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said "we all know that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective, we want them to live with us, the EU." The commission did not approve Georgia’s bid for candidacy.
More context: The commission’s announcement comes a day after the leaders of France, Germany, and Italy – the bloc’s three biggest nations – made their first visits to Kyiv, all stating their strong support for Ukraine’s bid. The clear backing by the three countries “sent an unequivocal message to [Russian leader] Vladimir Putin: the Soviet sphere of influence is dead” and “The EU and its allies will not strongarm Ukraine into any surrender or territorial compromise” to end Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to an analysis on Politico. EU leaders will decide whether to accept the commission’s recommendation at a summit in Brussels on 23-24 June.
Worth noting: Intense battles continue in the eastern region of Donbas where Ukrainian forces are holding out against massive Russian bombardments in the key city of Severodonetsk, according to RFE/RL. Two American volunteers serving in the Ukrainian armed forces are missing and U.S. officials are investigating reports of their capture by Russian forces, The Guardian reports.
NEWS FROM THE REGIONS
Central Europe and the Baltics
• During a meeting with leaders in Kyiv on Wednesday, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama asked Ukraine to recognize Kosovo as an independent country, Exit News reports. “Ukraine has not recognised Kosovo and … you should reconsider the recognition of Kosovo, because they deserve it,” Rama said in a meeting with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
- Eastern Europe and Russia
• The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Russian law on foreign agents violated the human rights of 73 Russian organizations, RFE/RL reports. The Russian legislation, which has been expanded to target nonprofit organizations, media outlets, journalists, and activists, places restrictions on any organization deemed to be engaging in political activity using foreign financial support. The court said the law is incompatible with the rights to freedom of assembly and association. The ruling sets an international precedentthat could allow civil society organizations in other countries to challenge draconian legislation, according to the European Human Rights Advocacy Center.
• Vladimir Putin’s highly anticipated speech today was delayed for 90 minutes after a cyberattack interrupted the visitor accreditation system at the St. Petersburg venue, CNN reports. In the speech, the Russian leader lambasted the United States and its allies, saying, “They live in the past on their own under their own delusions” and “They think that ... they have won and then everything else is a colony.”
- The Caucasus
• The exodus of tens of thousands of Russians to the Caucasus following the invasion of Ukraine includes around 200 Russian Jews who have relocated to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, Eurasianet reports. “Greater Armenia historically has been a place where significant Jewish communities have lived,” Yerevan’s chief rabbi, Gershon Meir Burshtein, said in a recent interview.
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