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submitted 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) by poVoq@slrpnk.net to c/europe@feddit.de

Keeping up with the tradition, please submit banner pictures here.

I look forward to your submissions 😊

The Rules

  • Picture must be made on the European continent;
  • You must adhere to the local laws in your country and the German ones as well (since Feddit.de is hosted there);
  • Only real photos, no AI generated pictures;
  • You must have took the picture and have all rights to it, or it needs to have a licence where usage is possible (e.g. Creative Commons), please indicate it accordingly;
  • No personal identifiable data in the picture. Please blur any licence plates or faces (except when it’s a mass gathering of people e.g. a Christmas market, and the picture shows the Christmas market and not singles out a single person);
  • Please provide a short description where the image was taken and what it shows.
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submitted 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) by nachtigall@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

Hello!

Unfortunately, the previous moderator of c/europe has deleted their account a while ago, leaving c/europe largely unmoderated. We are now looking for someone to take over as moderator for this community.

As c/europe is one of the largest and most active communities on feddit.de, we would like to finde someone who is interested in ensuring that it is properly moderated. If you are interested in taking on this role, please let us know! The purpose of this role is to oversee discussions and prevent the spread of spam and misinformation (though I can assure you that the users in this community are generally polite). You can count on receiving support in resolving reports from the instance admins too, so you are not left alone with this task.

Ideally we are looking for users that are already active in this community, have a calm mind and follow "European values".

If you're interested, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send a direct message.


Finally, we would like to thank the previous moderator of this community, albert180, for your efforts and wish you all the best!


EDIT: @poVoq@slrpnk.net will take over the role of lead mod, please respond to their comment if you are interested in supporting them.

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submitted 7 hours ago* (last edited 7 hours ago) by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

Archived link

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a note to Russian diplomats refusing to issue visas for the entire Russian delegation to the OSCE PA session.

The reason for the refusal was Russia's war against Ukraine. The session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly should be held in Bucharest at the end of June, Russian Senator Grigory Karasin said in his Telegram channel, but Russia received a note from the Romanian Foreign Ministry.

The document states that given the “Russian aggression against Ukraine,” none of the members of the Russian delegation will be issued a visa or allowed to enter the country.

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submitted 14 hours ago* (last edited 14 hours ago) by onion@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

The Belgian Council presidency seems set to greenlight Chat Control on Wednesday 19 June.
This confirms fears: the proponents of Chat Control want to exploit the situation after the European Elections, in which there is less public attention and the European Parliament is not yet constituted.
If Chat Control makes it through the Council now, there is a risk that the Parliament in its new composition will not fight as fiercely as before and surrender our previous wins.

Timeline

On Thursday, 13 June, ministers were set to debate a progress report. (Find a recording here) The Belgian Council presidency announced that they will present a new compromise proposal afterwards. According to documents leaked by netzpolitik.org, the session to seek an agreement on it will already take place on Wednesday, 19 June.

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submitted 13 hours ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

Archived link

For over half a year, Russian companies have been facing difficulties in processing payments with China. Fearing secondary sanctions, banks are refusing to transfer funds, leaving importers unable to bring goods into the country. Vladimir Putin raised this issue during his visit to Beijing in May, but the situation doesn’t seem to have improved.

On December 22, 2023, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing sanctions to be imposed on banks from third countries if they are caught aiding the Russian military-industrial complex. Once blacklisted, these companies would be banned from holding correspondent accounts in American banks, meaning they’d be unable to conduct any dollar transactions. Following this order, dozens of Chinese financial organizations refused to accept transfers from Russia — not only in U.S. dollars but also in Chinese yuan.

On June 12 of this year, Washington tightened its demands. Previously, transactions involving five sectors of the Russian economy — technology, defense, construction, aerospace, and manufacturing — were under scrutiny. Now, the U.S. Treasury has expanded the definition of the military-industrial complex to include all companies previously sanctioned under Executive Order No. 14024. This means that the number of Russian entities that foreign banks must avoid to maintain access to dollar transactions has significantly increased. According to Castellum.AI, there are more than 4,000 such organizations.

Biden’s executive order — neither in its new nor old versions — has yet to be enforced against banks from third countries. So far, representatives of the U.S. administration have only issued verbal warnings: Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “serious concern” about the supply of machines and microelectronics to Russia, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen publicly mentioned the sanctions risk during her visit to China in early April.

This was enough to trigger significant shifts in trade between Russia and China. By the end of 2023, trade turnover had increased by 26 percent to a record $240 billion. However, in April 2024, China’s customs authority reported a 15 percent reduction in deliveries of cars, equipment, and other machinery. Bloomberg noted that exports to Russia fell for the first time in two years, linking this to sanctions risks. Chinese exports to Russia also fell in May, and Russian customs confirmed the continued decline of imports from Asia. Russia’s Central Bank acknowledged that it had become generally more difficult for Russian banks to open correspondent accounts abroad, even in “friendly” currencies, and directly linked this to “sanctions the United States adopted in December 2023.”

The issue was also discussed at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Industry players reported that money transfers from Russia to China could take as long as three months, and even then might end up being returned to the sender. Businesses complained that they couldn’t even pay for theater decorations or children’s displays. Pavel Brun, the head of MasterProf, said his company hasn’t been able to arrange the supply of plumbing fixtures. “It’s like walking through a minefield,” he told Business FM.

Finding a workaround

Some hopes were pinned on Vladimir Putin’s mid-May visit to China. However, although Putin mentioned that the payment issue was discussed, he didn’t provide any specifics, and business owners confirmed that the difficulties in making payments persisted even after the delegation returned to Moscow.

A source in the trade industry told Reuters that the typical way Russian businessmen solve this problem is by going “from bank to bank, opening current accounts.” “If their payment doesn’t go through, they go to the next one,” the source explained. In response, Chinese financial institutions have started imposing additional requirements, such as asking for an office lease agreement in the province where the bank is located. “While this would have seemed like a harsh requirement before, we have no choice now,” business owners commented to Kommersant FM.

One of the most promising options was to open an account at the Chinese branch of the Russian bank VTB. The demand for this was so high that businesses were often left waiting as long as a year to open an account. VTB Bank CEO Andrey Kostin promised to more than double the staff to speed up this service. However, in its broadened interpretation of Russia’s military-industrial complex, the U.S. Treasury directly named VTB as one of the banned entities for transactions. This will likely complicate the bank’s operations.

As an alternative, businesses have started using banks in third countries as intermediaries, sending money through companies in Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the U.A.E., and other “friendly” jurisdictions, rather than directly from Russia, according to Reuters sources. This scheme can prove costly: intermediaries may charge a commission of several thousand dollars per transaction, they don’t guarantee success, and the sender will have trouble getting the money back if the payment fails. Goods may also be confiscated in the intermediary countries. Nevertheless, half of the payments are currently processed this way.

Some companies have started using cryptocurrency to make payments to China, specifically the stablecoin Tether, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, reports Bloomberg. Instead of waiting months, payments are processed in 5-15 seconds, and without the hefty commissions intermediaries charge. However, there are risks for Chinese partners: since 2021, the local regulator has deemed all cryptocurrency transactions illegal. To circumvent these issues, an even more unorthodox solution has been devised: Russian steel companies are now bartering metal for any goods that Chinese businesses are willing to offer. This way, no cross-border financial transactions are needed at all. Both Russian customs and the Industry and Trade Ministry have noted the growing popularity of this bartering system.

If businesses still need to make monetary payments, they often turn to small rural banks in northeastern China. According to Reuters, these banks, located along the Russian border, are willing to accept transfers and have less stringent compliance requirements. However, due to high demand, even these banks have waiting lists to open an account that stretch for several months.

The System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) — Russia’s SWIFT analogue for domestic and international transactions — could potentially help. However, VTB has complained that too few foreign companies are currently connected to it. Additionally, the system was developed by the Central Bank, which deters non-residents from using it due to sanctions risks. And with good reason: Bloomberg pointed out that the E.U. and the G7 could jointly impose sanctions for connecting to the system.

Ripple effects

Paradoxically, the current payment issues are having a positive impact on the Russian economy. The inability to transfer money has hit imports, thereby reducing the demand for foreign currency. This supports the ruble exchange rate, as noted in the Central Bank in official reports. The bank doesn’t believe this factor will have a significant impact on GDP.

However, as Sofia Donets, the chief economist at Tinkoff Investments, told RBC, these problems will ultimately lead to additional costs for sellers. The Moscow-based investment company Tsifra Broker concurs that prices for many goods could rise if timely shipments can’t be ensured. Categories making up the largest share of Chinese exports to Russia are at risk: equipment, land transport vehicles, electrical machinery, and electrical equipment.

Currently, importers are complaining that fraudsters are trying to exploit the situation: they write to Russian entrepreneurs posing as Chinese partners and notify them of a change in banking details. There’s been at least one known case where a business ended up sending money to an account, only to find that they couldn’t reach the sender afterward and were left without the paid-for goods.

Some market participants believe that resolving the payment crisis will depend on how much banks can earn from conducting such operations. For instance, Anatoly Semenov, director of the Parallel Import Association, points out that so long as the markets of countries unfriendly to Russia are of interest to Chinese businesses, they won’t openly violate the sanctions regime and risk their investments. Banks in Turkey and the U.A.E. are also refusing transactions with Russia. Against this backdrop, The Bell estimates that imports from some countries have dropped by a third this year.

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submitted 16 hours ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

European Union ambassadors agreed on Friday formally to start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, the Belgian EU presidency said, adding this would take place at intergovernmental conferences on June 25.

Belgium, which holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, said on social media post X that the decision should be officially cleared by finance and economy ministers meeting next Friday.

Opening talks with the European Union would be a morale boost for Ukraine as Russia's forces are advancing in the Donetsk region and opening a new front in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

The agreement means that Hungary has dropped for now its opposition to Ukraine's graduation to EU membership. Budapest, which has close ties to Moscow, has said it has doubts about European Commission's assessment that Ukraine is ready.

The Commission said a week ago that both countries met all the criteria for accession negotiations formally to begin.

The 27 EU members have to agree unanimously agree to start the negotiations, which take years to conclude.

Belgium and the Commission had been keen to get agreement before Hungary takes over the rotating presidency from July 1 for six months.

Kyiv applied for EU membership in the weeks after Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022 and it was granted candidate status four months later.

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submitted 16 hours ago* (last edited 16 hours ago) by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

Russian inflation accelerated in May to the highest in more than a year, adding to pressure on the central bank to hike the key rate to curb price growth.

Annual inflation reached 8.3% last month, from 7.84% in April, the highest since February last year, Federal Statistics Service data showed late Friday. Price growth jumped to 0.74% in monthly terms from 0.5% in April.

Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina last week warned of the possibility of a “significant” rate hike in July if inflationary pressures don’t start to ease. That came after the central bank held the rate at 16% for the fourth meeting in a row, as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to overheat the economy and stoke inflation.

With government spending on the rise, Nabiullina has been turning more hawkish as economic growth, local demand and price increases have consistently outpaced the central bank’s expectations. The bank said June 7 that it anticipates inflation will return to its 4% goal in 2025.

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submitted 16 hours ago* (last edited 16 hours ago) by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

Archived link

Moldova's authorities and an opposition politician said Friday aviation officials had denied landing permission to a flight bound for the capital Chisinau carrying pro-Russian opposition activists.

According to Romanian authorities, the flight from Armenia was redirected to an airport near the capital Bucharest.

Moldovan pro-Russian MP Marina Tauber announced the incident in a post on Telegram.

"Chisinau airport refused to allow a flight from Moscow via Yerevan carrying participants in the congress of the Moldovan opposition political bloc 'Victory' to land," she wrote.

"The aircraft was diverted to Bucharest."

Low-cost carrier FlyOne failed to "notify [flight] schedule changes three days in advance as required by law," Moldova's Civil Aviation Authority said in a Facebook post Friday.

A source at Otopeni airport near Bucharest confirmed to AFP that an aircraft with 174 passengers on board landed there on Friday morning.

Once there, the plane was checked following a bomb threat that turned out to be a false alarm, the source added.

Videos posted by Tauber on Telegram showed passengers getting off the FlyOne flight for identity checks.

The incident came a day after the United States, Britain and Canada warned of a Russian "plot" to influence Moldova's presidential elections this autumn.

Their joint statement published on Thursday said they feared Moscow would "incite protests" if a pro-Russian candidate failed to win in the country.

In late April, Moldovan pro-Russian opposition parties gathered in Moscow to announce the formation of the "Victory" political bloc, ahead of the presidential elections and an EU membership referendum in October.

Moldova, led by pro-European President Maia Sandu, frequently accuses the Kremlin of interfering in its internal affairs.

Sandu has accused Moscow of trying to stoke tensions in the former Soviet republic of 2.6 million people.

In the run-up to the presidential election on October 20, in which Sandu is seeking a second term, the political situation has been especially tense.

Wedged between war-torn Ukraine and EU member Romania, Moldova has been an official candidate to join the European Union since June 2022, just months after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine.

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submitted 16 hours ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

International Criminal Court (ICC) investigating alleged Russian cyberattacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure as possible war crimes, sources say

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/icc-probes-cyberattacks-ukraine-possible-war-crimes-sources-2024-06-14

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court are investigating alleged Russian cyberattacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure as possible war crimes, four sources familiar with the case said.

It is the first confirmation that attacks in cyberspace are being investigated by international prosecutors, which could lead to arrest warrants if enough evidence is gathered.

The probe is examining attacks on infrastructure that endangered lives by disrupting power and water supplies, cutting connections to emergency responders or knocking out mobile data services that transmit air raid warnings, one official said.

ICC prosecutors are working alongside Ukrainian teams to investigate "cyberattacks committed from the beginning of the full-scale invasion" in February 2022, said the official, who declined to be named because the probe is not finished.

Two other sources close to the ICC prosecutor's office confirmed they were looking into cyberattacks in Ukraine and said they could go back as far as 2015, the year after Russia's seizure and unilateral annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Moscow has previously denied that it carries out cyberattacks, and officials have cast such accusations as attempts to incite anti-Russian sentiment.

Ukraine is collecting evidence to support the ICC prosecutor's investigation. The ICC prosecutor's office declined to comment on Friday, but has previously said it has jurisdiction to investigate cybercrimes. It has also said it cannot comment on matters related to ongoing investigations.

Russians accused of crimes against humanity

The court has issued four arrest warrants against senior Russian suspects since the beginning of the invasion. These include President Vladimir Putin, suspected of a war crime over the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Russia, which is not a member of the ICC, dismissed that decision as "null and void". Ukraine is also not a member, but has granted the ICC jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory.

In April, a pre-trial chamber issued arrest warrants alleging that two Russian commanders had committed crimes against humanity with strikes against civilian infrastructure. The Russian defence ministry did not respond to a request for comment at the time.

At least four major attacks on energy infrastructure are being examined, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters.

A senior source said one group of Russian hackers in the ICC's crosshairs is known in cybersecurity research circles as "Sandworm", and is believed by Ukrainian officials and cyber experts to be linked to Russian military intelligence.

A team at the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law, has been investigating Sandworm's cyberattacks targeting Ukrainian civilian infrastructure since 2021, and made confidential submissions to the ICC in 2022 and 2023 identifying five cyberattacks it said could be charged as war crimes.

Sandworm is suspected of a string of high-profile attacks, including a successful 2015 attack on a power grid in western Ukraine – one of the first of its kind, according to cybersecurity researchers.

A group of activist hackers calling themselves "Solntsepyok" ("hot spot") claimed responsibility for a major attack on the Ukrainian mobile telecommunications provider Kyivstar last Dec. 12. Ukrainian security services identified that group as a front for Sandworm.

Sandworm is also believed by Kyiv to have carried out extensive cyberespionage against Western governments on behalf of Russia's intelligence agencies.

Can a cyberattack be a war crime?

Cyberattacks that target industrial control systems, the technology that underpins much of the world's industrial infrastructure, are rare, but Russia is one of a small club of nations that possess the means to do so, the cybersecurity researchers said.

The ICC case, which could set a precedent for international law, is being closely followed.

The body of international law covering armed conflict, enshrined in the Geneva Conventions, bans attacks on civilian objects, but there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a cyber war crime.

Legal scholars in 2017 drafted a handbook called the Tallinn Manual on the application of international law to cyberwarfare and cyber operations.

But experts interviewed by Reuters say it is unclear whether data itself can be considered the "object" of an attack banned under international humanitarian law, and whether its destruction, which could be devastating for civilians, can be a war crime.

"If the court takes on this issue, that would create great clarity for us," said Professor Michael Schmitt of the University of Reading, who leads the Tallinn Manual process. Schmitt believes that the hack of Kyivstar, owned by the Dutch company Veon, meets the criteria to be defined as a war crime.

"You always look at the foreseeable consequences of your operation. And, you know, that was a foreseeable consequence that placed human beings at risk."

Ukraine's intelligence agency said it had provided details of the incident to ICC investigators in The Hague. Kyivstar said it was analysing the attack in partnership with international suppliers and the SBU, Ukraine's intelligence agency.

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submitted 17 hours ago by CAVOK@lemmy.world to c/europe@feddit.de
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submitted 1 day ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

Norway’s prime minister signaled a hardening stance on China, pledging tighter cooperation with businesses on security risks linked to the Asian nation.

In his security policy statement to lawmakers in Oslo on Thursday, Jonas Gahr Store said China is the country “with the greatest capacity” for activity targeted at “undermining our interests and values.” While the premier highlighted the threats from neighboring Russia following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he said Norwegians must pay more attention to risks when collaborating with China.

“Going forward, risk reduction will have to be part of our approach to China and Chinese actors,” Store said. “We want cooperation with China, in trade, climate, the green shift - to solve global problems. But it is not advisable in sensitive areas.”

The Norwegian government has so far struck a more cautious tone on China than many of its European counterparts, even as the country’s intelligence agencies have repeatedly warned about risks posed by China, including influence efforts focused on the Arctic.

Norway also harbors painful memories of China suspending ties with the Nordic nation for most of last decade after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded human rights advocate Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

“We are now intensifying the dialogue with the business world, the knowledge sector and other social actors, about risks linked to cooperation with China and other countries,” Store said.

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submitted 1 day ago by inlandempire@jlai.lu to c/europe@feddit.de
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submitted 1 day ago by CAVOK@lemmy.world to c/europe@feddit.de
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Markuszower, a Tel Aviv-born Dutch senator who on Wednesday was tapped to serve as the country’s immigration minister, fought about politics “with the whole high school” in his left-leaning Jewish community, Markuszower’s father Zvi told the NRC daily in a 2017 profile.

Within his Jewish community, too, Markuszower was never one to mince words. In 2010, Markuszower called in a statement to ban Jewish “traitors” from the community if they supported the UN Goldstone Report that in the previous year had accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.

In 2018, the Organization of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands, or NIK, decided it could no longer accommodate Markuszower’s divisive remarks. It kicked him off its board for what it called “a long pattern of insults, threatening language and verbal intimidation.”

A leader of the Rights Forum, a pro-Palestinian organization founded by a former prime minister whom Dutch Jewry has accused of antisemitism, on Wednesday called Markuszower “the most unsettling” appointment so far by the four-party coalition led by Wilders and the Party for Freedom. Penned by Berber van der Woude, the op-ed (in Dutch) on the Rights Forum’s website is titled: “Watch out, the Fascists are here.”

In 2010, he dropped out of an election campaign following a warning issued about him by the AIVD secret service, which said he had had contacts with an unnamed foreign intelligence agency. He returned to politics several years later, raising no further AIVD objections and getting selected to serve as a Party for Freedom senator in 2017.

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submitted 1 day ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

The United States, Britain and Canada accused Russia on Thursday of carrying out a plot to sway the outcome of the Moldovan presidential election in October and incite protests if a pro-Moscow candidate should lose.

Russia is working to exacerbate societal tensions and foment negative perceptions of the West and the incumbent team of Moldova's pro-Western President Maia Sandu through disinformation and online propaganda, they said in a statement issued by the State Department in Washington.

"We are taking this step to warn our democratic partners and allies that Russian actors are carrying out a plot to influence the outcomes of Moldova's fall 2024 presidential election," they said.

The plot, they said, is part of wider attempts by Moscow to subvert democratic elections to "secure results favorable to the Kremlin."

The threat is especially relevant this year as hundreds of million of voters in Europe and North America cast ballots in national, regional and local elections, the statement said.

The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean said on social media platform X that he was grateful for support from the three allies and vowed that the "Kremlin’s attempts to undermine our sovereignty and incite unrest will not succeed."

Moldova, a former Soviet republic of 2.5 million people, has fiercely condemned Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine, accused Moscow of plotting the Moldovan government's overthrow and expelled Russian diplomats.

Russia, the allies said, is backing presidential candidates in Moldova and unidentified pro-Russia actors are "actively using disinformation and propaganda online, on the air and on the streets to further their objectives."

These actors are fanning criticism of Sandu and her Party of Action and Solidarity to incite protests and plan to spread lies about her character and "supposed electoral irregularities."

The allies issued the statement a day after the United States imposed sanctions on Evgenia Gutul, the pro-Russia governor of Moldova's Gagauzia region.

Gutul faces criminal allegations of channelling funds from Russia to finance the now-banned Shor Party set up by Ilan Shor, an exiled pro-Russia businessman convicted of fraud in Moldova.

She denies the allegations as fabricated.

During a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Chisinau last month, Sandu accused the Kremlin of using criminal groups in Gagauzia to bring in Russian money to finance de-stabilizing activities and attempts "to bribe the elections."

In the joint statement, the allies said they shared Sandu's concerns that the Kremlin is using criminal groups to finance political activities.

Moscow's political interference, they said, dates back years, and they cited as an example "direct support" that employees of Russia's state-funded RT media network have provided to Shor.

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submitted 1 day ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

- Kremlin hawk talks of need for harsh campaign against West - Ex-president Medvedev: Response needed against sanctions - Calls for Western society, infrastructure to be targeted - Western officials have accused Russia of sabotage - Moscow has publicly rejected those allegations

One of Russia's top security officials called on Thursday for Russians to mobilise to inflict "maximum harm" on Western societies and infrastructure as payback for increasingly tough sanctions being imposed on Moscow by the U.S. and its allies.

The statement by Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council and Vladimir Putin's predecessor as president, came as the West sharply escalated sanctions on Moscow in efforts to degrade its ability to wage war in Ukraine.

"We need to (respond). Not only the authorities, the state, but all our people in general. After all, they - the U.S. and its crappy allies - have declared a war on us without rules!," Medvedev wrote on his official Telegram channel, which has over 1.3 million followers.

"Every day we should try to do maximum harm to those countries that have imposed these restrictions. Harm their economies, their institutions and their rulers. Harm the well-being of their citizens, their confidence in the future."

Diplomats say Medvedev gives a flavour of hardline and high level thinking in the Kremlin, though Kyiv and Kremlin critics play down his influence, casting him as a scaremonger whose job is to deter Western action over Ukraine.

In his latest comments he spoke of the need to find critical vulnerabilities in Western economies, to target energy, industry, transport, banking and social services, and to stir up social tensions.

Western officials have already spoken about suspected Russian sabotage activities across the West, including arson, with some calling for Russian diplomats' movements to be curbed.

The Kremlin, which said on Thursday it was considering retaliatory action against the U.S. that would best suit Moscow's own interests, and the Russian foreign ministry have rejected the sabotage allegations as false.

'Fake news'

Medvedev, who styled himself as a Western-friendly liberal during his 2008-12 presidency before reinventing himself as one of the Kremlin's toughest hawks, spoke of the need to step up an information war against the West.

"Are they screaming about our use of fake news? Let's turn their lives into a crazy nightmare in which they can't distinguish wild fiction from the realities of the day, infernal evil from the routine of life," he wrote.

Medvedev also called for Russia to weaponise space and arm the West's enemies, as the new U.S. sanctions forced Russia's leading exchange to halt dollar and euro trading, obscuring access to reliable pricing for the Russian currency.

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submitted 2 days ago by CAVOK@lemmy.world to c/europe@feddit.de

The EU’s top court on Thursday fined Hungary 200 million euros ($216 million) and imposed a daily one-million-euro penalty for failing to follow the bloc’s asylum laws and illegally deporting migrants, a decision Budapest slammed as “unacceptable”.

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Article 17 - five years later (copyrightblog.kluweriplaw.com)
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Turkey: Brics instead of EU? (www.eurotopics.net)
submitted 2 days ago by CAVOK@lemmy.world to c/europe@feddit.de
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submitted 2 days ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/europe@feddit.de

The link contains also an version of the report in Ukrainian.

- 12-month comprehensive investigation finds Russian forces “intended to starve civilians as a method of warfare” in the battle for Mariupol.

- 450,000 civilians targeted by Russian assault on the City, cutting off all water, electricity and gas supply.

- Ukrainian civilians forced to drink from puddles, radiator batteries, and melt snow.

- Civilians exposed to plummeting -12.4°C temperatures by Russian attacks on city’s power.

- 90% of healthcare facilities and residential homes destroyed or damaged during siege.

- Russian forces indiscriminately bombed food distribution points, medical facilities, and agreed-upon humanitarian corridors.

- Attempts to provide humanitarian aid to encircled civilians denied.

- Report analyses over 1.5 billion square metres of satellite imagery, photographs, videos, official public statements, and other digital data.

- Report comprises information from the Ukrainian government and unseen photos from a Mariupol police officer present during the siege.

- Report forms part of a wider submission to the International Criminal Court.

-Report by international human rights foundation lands ahead of Global Peace Summit aimed at achieving peace in Ukraine from 15-16 June.

A new 81-page report by international human rights foundation Global Rights Compliance publishes evidence of Russian and pro-Russian forces using starvation as a method of warfare against Ukrainian civilians during their 85-day siege of Mariupol City in the South East of Ukraine, between February and May 2022.

‘The Hope Left Us’, produced by Global Rights Compliance’s Starvation Mobile Justice Team (SMJT) consisting of international lawyers, OSINT researchers, and arms and munitions experts, concludes a 12-month investigation and analysis on the battle for Mariupol.

The report finds evidence of a strategy by Russian sieging forces to deliberately attack and destroy critical civilian infrastructure, obstruct humanitarian evacuation corridors, and prevent the distribution of humanitarian aid to starving Ukrainians confined in the city.

Global Rights Compliance’s SMJT is part of the UK, EU and US-sponsored Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), which was launched in response to the need of the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) to increase capacity to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes perpetrated since the full-scale invasion by Russian forces in February 2022.

The investigation utilised cutting-edge open-source research, analysing over 1.5 billion square metres of satellite imagery, as well as photographs, videos, official public statements, and other digital data collected between May 2022 and February 2024. Thorough damage analysis involved the creation of a bespoke algorithm cross-referencing the damage identified by online mapping data and Weapons Ordnance Munitions and Explosives specialists, as well as Ukrainian governmental military experts.

The report focusses on the 85-day siege of Mariupol revealing evidence of systematic attacks by Russian forces against critical civilian infrastructure, including energy, water, food and distribution points, and healthcare infrastructure. These attacks crippled Mariupol civilians’ access to critical resources while wilfully impeding their access to aid and simultaneously denying them access to organised evacuation routes, part of a ruthless plan to starve the city’s population into submission.

This pattern of conduct, the report states, leaves experts to conclude that the starvation of civilians in Mariupol City by Russian forces was intentionally used as a method of warfare.

Mariupol was one of the first cities to come under Russian attack in the opening weeks of the 2022 invasion, with deliberate attacks against energy infrastructure documented by the report from as early as 27 February, when Russian forces struck a major powerline blacking out half of Mariupol city.

This was immediately followed by a four-day onslaught of shelling that fully cut power and gas to over 450,000 Ukrainian residents, exposing them to winter temperatures plummeting to -12.4°C. Water pumping stations were also neutralised, cutting off access to heating and drinking water, forcing civilians to melt snow for drinking water and in some cases radiator water or street puddles to avoid dehydration.

90% of healthcare facilities indispensable to civilian’s survival were damaged or destroyed during the siege, with all 19 of the city’s hospitals impacted by end of May 2022.

Russian forces often treated full city blocks as military targets, making no effort to mitigate risk to civilian life or objects, damaging and destroying 90% of Mariupol’s residential homes in the siege. In the midst of an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, Ukrainians set up ‘distribution points’ across the city for basic necessities. However, these too came under attack, with at least 22 supermarkets damaged or destroyed despite being used for distribution.

One attack investigated by the SMJT was on the Neptun Swimming Pool Complex, despite satellite imagery showing the clear presence of hundreds of civilians queuing at this distribution point in the days immediately prior.

An attack on the same day on the Mariupol Drama Theatre, where several hundred people were residing, seemingly ignored clear lettering – ‘ДЕТИ’ (‘children’ in Russian) – written in front of the building. The SMJT’s analysis shows that this lettering was clearly visible from the altitude range from which Russian warplanes would have dropped the involved ammunition and unavoidable to surveying flights.

Seeking to justify these attacks, Russian authorities put forward a series of claims that these areas had been overtaken by Ukrainian forces. However, analysis by Global Rights Compliance of satellite imagery and videos posted to social media notes a lack of evidence of any legitimate military targets – soldiers, checkpoints, or equipment – present.

The report also finds that, throughout Russia’s siege, efforts to alleviate the suffering of civilians were severely obstructed, with agreed-upon evacuation routes and humanitarian corridors subjected to airstrikes and shelling. It finds that contrary to statements by representatives of the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic,’ Ukrainian humanitarian aid was denied entry to the city. Where Russian aid was delivered, this was only to those supporting Russian occupation,with aid boxes branded: “We do not abandon our own”.

Evidence and analysis from ‘The Hope Left Us’ will form part of a larger dossier of starvation tactics used across Ukraine, which will be submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for further consideration.

Catriona Murdoch, Global Rights Compliance Vice President and Director of the Starvation and Humanitarian Crisis Division, said:

“The present report further captures the broader narrative of the siege through the patterned lens of attacks against objects indispensable to survival (OIS) of the civilian population – electricity, heating, drinking water, food, and medical care. It does so because – in the aggregate – the seemingly isolated attacks against OIS, when paired with associated violations and crimes related to the weaponisation of humanitarian aid, the denial of humanitarian access and humanitarian evacuations, filtration, and arrests of humanitarian actors, reveal a deliberately calculated method of warfare carried out by pro-Russian forces who intentionally employed several starvation tactics as a means to an end.

"I urge the International Criminal Court to consider these crimes and the collective punishment against innocent Ukrainian civilians, in pursuit of justice to Russian leadership, all the way up to the Kremlin.”

Yuriy Belousov, Head of the Department for Combating Crimes Committed in Conditions of Armed Conflict, Office of the General Prosecutor, said:

“There is no crime under the Rome Statute that was not committed by the Russian military during a full-scale invasion. Every day, investigators and prosecutors document the consequences of war crimes, as well as the testimony of victims and witnesses. In this regard, Mariupol is a vivid example of the policy of destruction of the city and its population by the Russian occupiers.

“To combat such crimes, we optimize the work of the Prosecutor General’s Office and strengthen the knowledge and skills of our prosecutors and investigators with the support of international partners. We are open to strengthening our cooperation to ensure that these and other war crimes are effectively investigated, and the perpetrators brought to justice. We are grateful to everyone involved in this process, because only by coordinating joint efforts will we be able to ensure the inevitability of punishment.”

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The EU is planning to impose new tariffs on Chinese EVs starting in July

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Group of Seven leaders are set to reach a political agreement to provide Ukraine with $50 billion of aid using the profits generated by frozen Russian sovereign assets, according to an Elysee official.

However, the technical details of a deal will need to be finalized after a G-7 leaders’ summit taking place in Italy this week — meaning that it could be a while for a final agreement to be concluded, said the French official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The French view followed comments by the US on Tuesday that leaders had all but reached a political deal. People familiar with the negotiations in both countries said the aim would be to disburse the funds by the end of the year.

G-7 participants cautioned that beyond any agreement — which is expected to be one of the main deliverables of the summit — some remaining issues on how it will work are complicated.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic have for months been discussing how to use the profits generated by the about $280 billion in frozen Russian central bank funds, most of which lies immobilized in Europe.

The proceeds from the frozen assets are estimated to be worth between €3 billion to €5 billion annually. The EU has already agreed to provide Ukraine the profits twice a year, but the US has been urging G-7 allies to find ways to frontload the support in order to provide Kyiv with more immediate support.

Complex issues that will need to be ironed out include figuring out how to structure any loans to Ukraine, how risks are shared among allies and ensuring that the assets remain frozen for years.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters during a gaggle aboard Air Force One on Wednesday that discussions were continuing and making good progress.

“What we are working toward is a framework that is not generic — that is quite specific, in terms of what it would entail,” he said. “But of course, the core operational details of anything that is agreed in Italy will then have to be worked through and the leaders would give direction to the experts to work that through on a defined time frame,” Sullivan added.

[Edit typo.]

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Original article behind paywall

An inquiry by the Financial Times (FT) on June 12 highlighted that four children who were forcibly taken from Ukraine and transported to Russia during the outset of the conflict were potentially listed for adoption on a Russian government-associated website, usynovite.ru.

Official statements reveal that since the commencement of Russia’s intensified aggression against Ukraine, over 19,500 children have been kidnapped by Russian forces, with fewer than 400 managing to return home. This information is corroborated by the Ukrainian administration’s database.

Through utilizing facial recognition software, public data, and testimonies from families of the missing youths, the investigation by the FT managed to locate four Ukrainian kids on the adoption portal usynowite.ru. These children, ranging from ages eight to 15, were taken from Ukrainian orphanages.

Modifications were observed in the children’s identity presentations, with one of them having a reinvented Russian name and altered age, and another bearing a Russified variant of their original name. The listings did not disclose their Ukrainian origins.

The genuine identities of these children have been confirmed by the Ukrainian Child Rights Protection (CPRC), a state agency, as reported by the FT.

While the relatives of these children have opted not to make public statements out of concern that it may hinder opportunities for the children’s repatriation, the incidents of kidnapping and the operation of the adoption site have become items of concern.

Reports, including one from the Guardian dated Feb. 4, advise that Ukrainian minors forcibly moved to Russia are being subjected to deliberate indoctrination by Russian officials.

In March 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) initiated arrest warrants for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova given their alleged roles in the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to Russian territories.

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