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Obama Warns North Korea Not To Launch Rocket

US President Barack Obama looks through binoculars toward North Korea from Observation Post Ouellette during a visit to the Joint Security Area of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near Panmunjom on the border between North and South Korea.
U.S. President Barack Obama has warned North Korea that it will "achieve nothing by threats or by provocations" related to its nuclear and missile programs.

Obama added that Pyongyang needs "to understand that bad behavior will not be rewarded."

"There had been a pattern for decades in which North Korea thought that if they acted provocatively then somehow they would be bribed into ceasing and desisting acting provocatively," he said.

Obama's warning comes as North Korea prepares to launch a long-range missile which Pyongyang says will put a satellite in orbit.

The launch will contravene an agreement Pyongyang reached last month which would have seen it receive food aid in exchange for a partial freeze on nuclear activities and an end to ballistics tests.

Obama was speaking in Seoul ahead of global nuclear security talks at an international summit in Seoul.

More than 50 world leaders are expected to attend the gathering on March 26 and March 27.

Earlier on March 25, Obama visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

All Of The Latest News

Zelenskiy Mocks Russia's Claim Of Laser Weapon Ready To Deploy In Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivers video address on May 18.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says Russia's claim that it is close to introducing a high-powered laser weapon system to shoot down drones in Ukraine is wartime propaganda distributed by leaders afraid to admit their "catastrophic mistakes."

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said at a conference near Moscow on May 18 that Russia has developed laser systems that “are many times more powerful, allowing for the incineration of various targets," the state-run news agency TASS reported.

According to the report, the new system has a range of 5 kilometers and was tested on May 18, incinerating a drone within five seconds.

Asked if such weapons were being used in Ukraine, Borisov said: "Yes. The first prototypes are already being used there."

The information could not be verified, and no pictures of the laser system accompanied the report, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018 unveiled that a laser weapon was part of a secret arsenal.

The laser system is to replace air defense missiles, which are much more expensive, according to Borisov, who also praised a Russian laser weapon called Peresvet, which he said is being widely deployed and, while it cannot shoot down drones, can blind satellites up to 1,500 kilometers above Earth.

Zelenskiy mocked the announcement in his nightly video address, saying it “clearly indicates the complete failure of the invasion” and shows that Russian leaders “are afraid to admit that catastrophic mistakes were made at the highest state and military level in Russia.”

Zelenskiy said Russian leaders are searching for a “wonder weapon,” a reference to propaganda that Nazi Germany spread about nonexistent weapons that would ensure a turning point after it became clear that Germany had no chance of winning the war.

The Ukrainian military earlier said its forces repulsed 16 attacks by the Russian army in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and destroyed several units of Russian equipment, including eight tanks and more than 20 armored vehicles, and shot down a Su-34 fighter jet.

But the military also said fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions had killed at least 15 civilians and destroyed and damaged dozens of houses.

The claims of the Ukrainian military could not be independently verified.

Ukrainian officials said earlier on May 18 that they were trying to negotiate the release of the remaining soldiers holed up at Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said that nearly 1,000 Ukrainian fighters at the plant -- Ukraine's last stronghold in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol -- had "surrendered" by early on May 18.

All of them were reportedly transferred to territory in eastern Ukraine that is controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed the numbers, and Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said negotiations for the fighters' release were ongoing, as were plans to extract those who are still inside the sprawling steel plant.

Reports have estimated that as many as 2,000 Ukrainian fighters had been holed up in Azovstal.

In diplomatic developments, the United States said it was reopening its embassy in Kyiv, and the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved President Joe Biden's nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

"The Ukrainian people...have defended their homeland in the face of Russia's unconscionable invasion, and, as a result, the Stars and Stripes are flying over the Embassy once again," said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement announcing the reopening of the embassy.

The nomination of veteran diplomat Bridget Brink is expected to easily win a vote in the full Senate after clearing the committee.

Russia said it was expelling embassy staff from France, Spain, and Italy in retaliation for similar moves by those countries.

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on May 18 that it had informed diplomats from the three countries that they been declared personae non gratae.

In another retaliatory move, Russia announced that it will close the Moscow offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) after Canada formally banned RT and RT France from its airwaves.

RT has been accused of spreading propaganda and blocked in most Western countries since Russia's launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova underscored that the decision was a retaliatory measure, saying Canada's ban on RT had been "Russophobic" and said the CBC had become "propaganda noise."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed decision, saying "responsible journalism -- sharing what's actually going on with citizens -- is a deep threat to Vladimir Putin."

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, BBC, and TASS

Russia Closes Moscow Bureau Of Canadian Public Broadcaster

The stand of Russia's state-controlled RT broadcaster is seen at a forum in St. Petersburg (file photo)

Russia has announced that it will close the Moscow offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in retaliation for Ottawa's ban of Russian state media outlet RT.

Canada in March formally banned RT and RT France from its airwaves, saying their programming is "not consistent with Canadian broadcasting standards."

RT has been accused of spreading propaganda and blocked in most Western countries since Russia's launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.


Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on May 18 announced the decision to close the CBC offices, underscoring that it is a retaliatory measure related to the actions of Canada. Visas and accreditation for the broadcaster's journalists also will be revoked, she said.

Zakharova said Canada's ban on RT had been "Russophobic" and said the CBC had become "propaganda noise."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed decision, saying "responsible journalism -- sharing what's actually going on with citizens -- is a deep threat to Vladimir Putin."

Trudeau added on Twitter that the move was "unacceptable" and that journalists must be "free from censorship, intimidation, and interference."


Canada has been a strong supporter of Ukraine in the conflict, and Trudeau was in Kyiv last week promising to send weapons and equipment to help it defeat the Russians. The Canadian Senate also is considering a bill that would ban Putin and around 1,000 members of his government and military from entering the country.

CBC News Editor in Chief Brodie Fenlon said the public broadcaster was "deeply disappointed" by the decision, which it said "appears to be another step by Russia to stifle a free and independent press within its borders."

Fenlon said in a statement that CBC's journalism "is completely independent of the Canadian government and we are saddened to see the Russian government conflate the two."



With reporting by AFP and Reuters

Biden's Nominee To Be U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine Approved By Senate Committee

Bridget Brink, President Biden's nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (file photo)

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has unanimously approved President Joe Biden's nominee to be the next ambassador to Ukraine.

The nomination of veteran diplomat Bridget Brink is expected to easily win a vote in the full Senate, which in 2019 unanimously confirmed her to her current post as U.S. ambassador to Slovakia.

Biden nominated Brink late last month, and the committee held her confirmation hearing less than two weeks later. The quick action underscored lawmakers’ desire to fill a crucial position that has been vacant for three years.

Congress also sees it as a show of support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy along with nearly $40 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Kyiv that is expected to pass later this week.

Brink, who speaks Russian, has been a career diplomat for 25 years and has worked in Uzbekistan and Georgia as well as in several senior positions across the State Department and the White House National Security Council.


With reporting by Reuters

Russian Director Condemns War At Cannes Film Festival

Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov is seen outside a court in Moscow (file photo)

Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov spoke out against the war in Ukraine on May 18 following the global premiere of his film Tchaikovsky's Wife at the Cannes Film Festival.

"No to the war," Serebrennikov said in Russian as he received a standing ovation for his drama, which is the only film by a Russian director among 21 entered for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d'Or.

Serebrennikov appeared at a Cannes press conference on May 18 over FaceTime and discussed Russia's war in Ukraine and later told the AP that he perceives the making of movies and plays “a big, vast statement against war.”

Serebrennikov, who fled Russia in March, said even as late as February 23 -- one day before the invasion started -- he did not believe war with Ukraine was possible, but it happened.

“My motherland destroyed another country,” he said in the AP interview. “It's very painful, it's very sad. It's a catastrophe for all people, for Europe, for both sides.”

He said many people “can't say anything, and sometimes, powerlessness and speechlessness is much more painful.”

Cannes Artistic Director Thierry Fremaux said the festival wrestled with whether to include Tchaikovsky’s Wife, which was partially financed by sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, in the competition. Organizers ultimately decided to allow it because it counters Russian state narratives and it was shot before the war and subsequent sanctions.

The movie highlights the destructive marriage of Russian composer Piotr Tchaikovsky to a young woman.

Set in the 19th century, the film portrays Tchaikovsky as a troubled and charismatic genius who prefers the company of men -- a challenge to Russian propaganda, which has attempted to hide the famous composer's homosexuality.

Serebrennikov left Russia after a court canceled a suspended three-year prison sentence he was handed in an embezzlement case that many have called politically motivated.

The case drew international attention and prompted accusations that Russian authorities were targeting cultural figures who are at odds with President Vladimir Putin and his government.

Hailed as a daring and innovative force on Russia's modern art scene, Serebrennikov before leaving Russia took part in antigovernment protests and voiced concern about the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox church in the country.

The war has already been a major theme at the festival. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on May 17 made a surprise appearance during the opening ceremony, speaking in a live video broadcast from Kyiv.

There will be a special screening of Mariupolis 2, a documentary about the conflict by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed in Ukraine last month.

Ukrainian filmmakers also will get a special day at the festival, and one of the country's most promising directors, Serhiy Loznitsa, will show The Natural History of Destruction, a film about the bombing of German cities in World War II.



With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

Russian Soldier Accused Of War Crime Pleads Guilty At Trial In Kyiv

Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin is seen in court in Kyiv while standing trial for war crimes on May 18.

The first Russian soldier to stand trial on accusations of committing a war crime in Ukraine has pleaded guilty at a hearing in a Kyiv court.

When asked in court on May 18 if he was guilty of killing a 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian who was riding a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the northeastern region of Sumy, Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, dressed in a blue and gray hoodie at the hearing, replied: "Yes."

Shishimarin, who comes from the Siberian region of Irkutsk, faces life in prison if convicted.

Ukrainian state prosecutors say Shishimarin, 21, was ordered to kill the civilian to prevent him reporting on the Russians' presence. He fired several shots through an open car window, hitting the civilian in the head, according to the prosecution.

Viktor Ovsyannikov, the soldier's lawyer, said he would build his case after hearing witness testimony and described the trial as without precedent.

He added that he had not consulted with anyone in Russia about the case except Shishimarin's mother, and he "provided her with all the necessary explanations."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia has no information about the trial, adding that Russia's ability to provide assistance is limited due to the absence of its diplomatic mission.

The killing occurred just days after Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit that was captured by Ukrainian forces, admitted that he shot the civilian in a video posted earlier this month by the Security Service of Ukraine.

“I was ordered to shoot,” Shishimarin said in the video as he described the February 28 killing. “I shot one (round) at him. He falls. And we kept on going.”

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova last month identified 10 soldiers of the 64th Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Russian armed forces, saying that they are suspected of "cruelty toward civilians and other war crimes," adding that Ukrainian investigators are continuing to gather evidence and those named were just the first.

She also said at the time that investigations were under way to find out if the 10 Russians took part in the killing of civilians in Bucha.

The retreat of Russian forces from Bucha and other towns near Kyiv revealed harrowing evidence of brutal killings, torture, mass graves, and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in the fighting.

On May 12, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) overwhelmingly approved a resolution to set up an investigation into allegations of abuses by Russian troops in areas of Ukraine they temporarily controlled.

The UNHRC's resolution cited apparent cases of torture, shootings, and sexual violence, along with other atrocities documented by a UN team on the ground.


With reporting by Reuters and AFP

Biden Expresses Strong Support For Finland, Sweden NATO Bids

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds up papers with the flags of Finland and Sweden in Brussels on May 18.

U.S. President Joe Biden has strongly backed the bids of Finland and Sweden to join NATO in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and said the United States will remain vigilant against any threats to their security.

"I warmly welcome and strongly support the historic applications from Finland and Sweden for membership in NATO and look forward to working with the U.S. Congress and our NATO Allies to quickly bring Finland and Sweden into the strongest defensive alliance in history," Biden said in a statement on May 18.


The statement came after Finland and Sweden handed in their official applications for NATO membership, ending their longtime neutrality amid growing concerns over Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.

Biden said while the bids are considered the United States "will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression."

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking earlier in Brussels, also welcomed the move.

"The applications you have made today are an historic step. Allies will now consider the next steps on your path to NATO," Stoltenberg said.


Both Sweden and Finland are members of the European Union, and the latter shares 1,340 kilometers of border with Russia.

The two Nordic countries' choice to join NATO marks a watershed in the current European security architecture.

Helsinki chose to remain neutral in the postwar era following two wars with the Soviet Union that saw Finland lose one-tenth of its territory, while Sweden has been traditionally nonaligned for the past two centuries.

The application has set in motion a process that is expected to move quickly, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

Erdogan said on May 16 he could not agree to the accession of two countries that support "terrorist organizations," a reference to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdish militia People's Defense Units (YPG) in Syria.

If Turkish objections are resolved, the two Nordic countries could become members within a few months, fast-forwarding a process that usually takes eight to 12 months.

NATO wants to speed up the accession process given the two countries' proximity to Russia and Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.


With reporting by AP, Reuters, dpa, and AFP

Ukraine Marks Anniversary Of Stalin-Era Deportations Of Crimean Tatars

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi gave an address for the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Crimean Tatar Genocide in Kyiv on May 18.

KYIV -- Ukraine has marked the 78th anniversary of the Stalin-era deportations of Crimean Tatars from Crimea.

May 18 is the date that Ukraine officially marks as the Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatars.

Due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, events devoted to the anniversary were not held as widely as they normally are, however, smaller gatherings were held across the country to offer prayers for the victims of the deportations in 1944.

Refat Chubarov, chairman of Crimean Tatar’s self-governing body Mejlis, said on Facebook that a commemoration of the deportations' victims was held in Russia-occupied Crimea as well.

Hundreds of people took part in honoring the victims in the Crimean city of Kerch, bringing flowers to a monument to the victims and taking part in prayers.

Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 was vocally opposed by many Crimean Tatars, who are a sizable minority in the region.

Exiled to Central Asia by Soviet authorities under the dictatorship of Josef Stalin during World War II, many Crimean Tatars are very wary of Russia and Moscow's rule.

U.S. Unlikely To Extend License Allowing Russia To Pay Bond Debt, Increasing Possibility Of Default

Russian ruble banknotes and coins (file photo)

The United States is unlikely to extend a license that allows Russia to pay U.S. bondholders, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on May 18.

Moscow faces deadline on May 25 when the license allowing it to make payments to U.S. bondholders is due to expire. Failure to make the payments could put Moscow closer to defaulting on its debt.

Yellen, who is on a visit to Europe meant to address the effects of the war in Ukraine, spoke in Germany ahead of a Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers meeting in Bonn.

Asked by reporters if the United States would allow the license to expire, Yellen said: "There's not been a final decision on that, but I think it's unlikely that it would continue."

But she added that if Russia is unable to make the payments and it defaults, it would not represent a significant change in Russia's situation because the country is already cut off from global capital markets.

Russia has so far managed to make its international bond payments even though Western sanctions ban transactions with the Russian Finance Ministry, central bank, or national wealth fund.

Yellen also noted risks to the world economy brought on by the war, which has touched off a sharp increase in energy and food prices that are contributing to a slowdown in growth.

“The economic outlook globally is challenging and uncertain,” Yellen said. “And higher food and energy prices are having stagflationary effects, namely depressing output and spending and raising inflation all around the world.”

To address concerns about food shortages, the United States, several global development banks, and other groups on May 18 unveiled a multibillion dollar plan that aims to prevent starvation prompted by the war, the U.S. Treasury Department said.

Based on reporting by Retuers and AP

Russia Expels Dozens Of European Diplomats In Reciprocal Move

The headquarters of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow (file photo)

Russia has announced the expulsion of dozens of European diplomats in a "retaliatory" move for similar actions taken across the continent as part of a coordinated campaign over Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on May 18 that it had informed France, Spain, and Italy that members of their diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared personae non grata.

It said the French ambassador was told that 34 employees of French "diplomatic institutions in Russia" must leave the country within two weeks, while Rome was informed that 24 Italian diplomats also were being expelled for similar reasons and were ordered out of the country within eight days.

Another 27 diplomats from Spain were also told they must leave Russia within seven days.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called the decision a "hostile act" that he said "absolutely must not lead to an interruption of diplomatic channels because it is through those channels that, if we succeed, peace will be achieved and that is certainly what we want."

France, which in April kicked out 35 Russians with diplomatic status, condemned the May 18 move by Moscow.

At the same time, Rome informed Moscow that 30 Russian diplomats had been told to leave the country "for national security reasons."

In all, European countries have expelled more than 300 Russian diplomatic staff since Moscow launched its war against Ukraine on February 24.


With reporting by RIA Novosti

Police Break Into Apartment Of Self-Exiled Former Associate Of Navalny

Natalya Peterimova, an associate of jailed Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny (file photo)

Police in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk have broken into the apartment of a former associate of jailed opposition activist Aleksei Navalny and searched the home, the former Navalny associate told RFE/RL.

Natalya Peterimova, who fled Russia fearing for her safety, told RFE/RL that police broke in her apartment on May 18.

According to Peterimova, police ordered her mother to arrive at her apartment in Krasnoyarsk and unlock its door, which Peterimova's mother refused to do.

Peterimova says police then broke the door and windows and searched the premises.

"They refused to give any explanations to my mom and when I talked to them by phone, they also refused to give explanations. A number of procedural regulations were violated," said Peterimova, who worked in Navalny's regional office in Krasnoyarsk before fleeing the country.

She added that it is very likely that a criminal case on extremism charges similar to cases launched against other former associates of Navalny has been launched against her.

Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation and his political movement were declared extremist organizations by the Russian authorities in June 2021 and disbanded.

Several of the Kremlin critic's associates subsequently were charged with establishing an extremist group. Many of them have fled the country amid pressure from the Russian authorities.

Hearings Into Cases Against Noted Kyrgyz Journalist Start In Bishkek

Kyrgyz journalist Bolot Temirov (file photo)

BISHKEK -- A court in Bishkek has adjourned a preliminary hearing into the high-profile case against investigative journalist Bolot Temirov on charges that he and his supporters call politically motivated.

Temirov and traditional bard singer Bolot Nazarov, who performed his anticorruption songs on the YouTube channel Temirov LIVE, were arrested in January for allegedly possessing illegal drugs, which the two men say were planted by police.

Temirov's lawyer, Razak Ashimbaev, told RFE/RL that the Sverdlov district court on May 18 rejected his motion to find all charges against his client baseless and exclude what investigators call "evidence' from the trial.

Ashimbaev says the drugs police claim they found in Temirov's belongings cannot be considered as evidence as there is no video or photos proving that they had not been planted. He added that the hearing was adjourned until May 25.

In April, Bishkek city police came filed additional charges against Temirov, accusing him of forgery and illegally crossing the border with Russia. It said Temirov, who was born and raised in Russia and holds a Russian passport, used forged documents to obtain a Kyrgyz passport in 2008 and used it to illegally exit and enter Kyrgyzstan in recent years.

The same court also started a separate preliminary hearing into the additional charges on May 18 and promptly adjourned it until May 20.

Temirov has rejected all of the charges saying they were brought against him after he published results of his investigation suggesting corruption among top officials of the Central Asian nation.

Kyrgyz authorities have denied that probes against Temirov are politically motivated.

Temirov was among 12 people recognized by the U.S. State Department last year as anticorruption champions.

Belarusian Businessman Autukhovich, Associates Begin Trial On Terrorism Charges He Rejects

Belarusian businessman and political activist Mikalay Autukhovich (file photo)

HRODNA, Belarus -- The high-profile trial of Belarusian businessman and political activist Mikalay Autukhovich, along with 11 others accused of terrorism, has started in the western city of Hrodna.

The trial started on May 18 at the Detention center No.1 in Hrodna, with Autukhovich and one of his co-defenders, Lubou Razanovich (eds: a woman), sitting in separate tiny metal cages in the courtroom that are designated for "the most dangerous defendants." The other nine defendants were placed in two wider metal cages.

Autukhovich was charged with high treason, creating a criminal group and participating in its activities, attempting to power seizure, inciting social hatred, publicly calling for sanctions against Belarusian officials, preparing the implementation of a terrorist act, attempting a terrorist act, illegal activities involving weapons, ammunition, and explosives, and illegal weapons trafficking.

If convicted, Autukhovich faces the death penalty or life in prison.

The other defendants face the same charges, with the exception of high treason. Some were also charged with conspiracy and the preparation of actions to disrupt social order.

Autukhovich and the other defendants were arrested in December 2020 in the wake of a crackdown on activists, opposition politicians, independent journalists and civil society following months-long rallies protesting the results of an August 2020 presidential poll that announced authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has ruled the country since 1994, as the winner.

Opposition members, protesters and the West have insisted that the election was rigged.

Investigators say Autukhovich and his group conducted several arson attacks against vehicles belonging to police officers and planned attacks on their property. Autukhovich has rejected all of the charges. It is not known for public if any of his co-defenders pleaded guilty.

Autukhovich previously spent 7 years and five months in prison on charges of illegal weapons possession, which he and his supporters rejected as politically motivated.

Russian Soldier Accused Of War Crimes Pleads Guilty In Kyiv

Vadim Shishimarin, 21, sits inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Kyiv on May 13.

The first Russian soldier to stand trial on accusations of committing a war crime in Ukraine has pleaded guilty at a hearing in a Kyiv court.

When asked in court on May 18 if he was guilty of killing a 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian who was riding a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the northeastern region of Sumy, Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, dressed in a blue and gray hoodie at the hearing, replied, "Yes."

Shishimarin, who comes from the Siberian region of Irkutsk, faces life in prison for the crime.

The killing occurred just days after Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The 21-year-old Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit that was captured by Ukrainian forces, admitted that he shot the civilian in a video posted by Ukraine's Security Service.

"I was ordered to shoot," Shishimarin said in the video as he described the February 28 killing. "I shot one (round) at him. He falls. And we kept on going."

Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova last month identified 10 soldiers of Russia's 64th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, saying they were suspected of "cruelty toward civilians and other war crimes," that investigators were continuing to gather evidence, and those named were just the first.

She also said at the time that investigations were under way to find out if the 10 Russians took part in the killing of civilians in Bucha.

The retreat of Russian forces from Bucha and other towns near Kyiv revealed harrowing evidence of brutal killings, torture, mass graves, and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in the fighting.

On May 12, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) overwhelmingly approved a resolution to set up an investigation into allegations of abuses by Russian troops in areas of Ukraine they temporarily controlled.

The UNHRC's resolution cited apparent cases of torture, shootings, and sexual violence, along with other atrocities documented by a UN team on the ground.

Russia Expels Dozens Of French, Italian Diplomats In Reciprocal Move

France and Italy expelled Russian diplomatic personnel as part of a coordinated European action over Russia's campaign in Ukraine.

Russia has announced the expulsion of dozens of French and Italian diplomats in a "retaliatory" move for their similar actions as part of a coordinated European action over Russia's campaign in Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on May 18 that it had informed the French ambassador that 34 employees of French "diplomatic institutions in Russia" had been declared personae non grata and must leave the country within two weeks.

The same day, the ministry said 24 Italian diplomats were also being expelled for similar reasons.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called the decision a "hostile act" that he said "absolutely must not lead to an interruption of diplomatic channels because it is through those channels that, if we succeed, peace will be achieved and that is certainly what we want."

France, which in April kicked out 35 Russians with diplomatic status, condemned the May 18 move by Moscow.

At the same time, Rome informed Moscow that 30 Russian diplomats had been told to leave the country "for national security reasons."

With reporting by RIA Novosti

Russian Gymnast Banned For One Year For Wearing Pro-War 'Z' Symbol

Ivan Kulyak won a bronze medal in the parallel bars at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha in March.

A Russian artistic gymnast has been banned from competition for one year for displaying the letter "Z" -- a sign of support for Russia's war against Ukraine -- on his outfit during a competition in Qatar in March.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) said in a statement dated May 17 that Ivan Kulyak, who won a bronze medal in the parallel bars at the Apparatus World Cup in Doha, "breached the FIG Statutes, the FIG Code of Discipline, the FIG Code of Ethics, the FIG Code of Conduct and the FIG Technical Regulations" by taping the "Z" symbol to his uniform while he stood on the podium next to Ukrainian gold medalist Illya Kovtun.

Russian military vehicles in Ukraine are marked with the letter "Z," and the symbol has begun appearing on social media and on clothing in support of the war, which began on February 24.

The FIG said Kulyak "is not allowed to participate in any FIG-sanctioned event or competition organized by an affiliated FIG member federation for one year as of the date of this decision."

Kulyak was also forced to return his bronze medal and ordered to pay back the prize money of 500 Swiss francs (almost $503). He also must make a contribution of 2,000 Swiss francs for the costs of the proceedings.

"If the protective measures keeping Russian athletes from competing are still in place on May 17, 2023, the ban shall continue and expire six months after the removal of said measures," the federation's disciplinary commission said in its ruling.

Kulyak has 21 days to appeal the decision.

Russia Claims Nearly 1,000 Ukrainians 'Surrendered' In Mariupol

Ukrainian soldier sit in a bus after they were extracted from the Azovstal steel plant in territory held by the separatists in eastern Ukraine on May 17.

Russia says that nearly 1,000 Ukrainian fighters holed up in the Azovstal steel plant -- their last stronghold in the besieged southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol -- have given themselves up.

Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on May 18 that 694 Ukrainian fighters at Azovstal had "surrendered" over the past 24 hours, including 29 wounded soldiers.

Konashenkov said that 265 Ukrainian troops, including 51 wounded, had laid down their arms during the previous 24 hours.

That brings the total number of Ukrainian troops who have left the plant this week to 959. All of them were reportedly transferred to territory in eastern Ukraine that is controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists.

Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed the numbers.

On May 17, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said negotiations for the fighters' release were ongoing, as were plans to extract those who are still inside the sprawling steel plant.

She added that Kyiv would not disclose how many fighters remained inside until all were safe.

Mariupol has been the site of some of the heaviest fighting since Russia launched its war against Ukraine on February 24.

Kyiv has said it hopes to exchange the surrendered Ukrainian fighters for Russian prisoners of war. Russia has yet to confirm whether the soldiers would be part of a prisoner swap, but some lawmakers in Moscow have come out strongly against such a move.

Reports have estimated that as many as 2,000 Ukrainian fighters had been holed up in Azovstal's sprawling maze of tunnels and bunkers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that "the most influential international mediators are involved" in the current negotiations.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP and dpa

Nine Dead In 'Anti-Terrorist Operation' As Protests Roil Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan

Local media reports quoted witnesses as saying several protesters were injured during the fresh clashes.

DUSHANBE -- Tajik authorities say nine people, including a police officer, have been killed in "an anti-terrorist operation" in the volatile Gorno-Badakhshan region as the government tries to quell protests sparked by anger over the lack of an investigation into the 2021 death of an activist while in police custody.

The Interior Ministry said on May 18 that a security officer was killed, and eight soldiers were injured during the latest clashes in the restive region, which borders Afghanistan and China.

It added that eight others were also killed, and 11 wounded, while more than 70 "active members of a terrorist group" were apprehended.

The unrest was sparked by protests in recent days that have seen demonstrators take to the streets to demand the resignation of the regional governor and the mayor of the regional capital for their inaction after the death of a kidnapping suspect in police custody in November 2021.

The ministry said the situation in the region was now "stable" and that public transportation and other social institutions had resumed operations. RFE/RL correspondents, however, reported from the region that schools and state entities in Badakhshan remain closed.

According to the ministry, "criminal groups" blocked a highway connecting the Rushon district with the regional capital, Khorugh and clashed with law enforcement officers for a second day as they tried to clear the road.

The Interior Ministry said the decision to start the "anti-terrorist operation" was made because the highway was blocked by "members of an organized criminal group with the goal to destabilize the social and political situation" in the region.

It added that the protesters were supported by unnamed international terrorist groups, who, according to the ministry, supplied the protesters with weapons and ammunition and sent their representatives to the region "to conduct terrorist acts."

It provided no evidence to back up the claim.

The day before, the ministry said one protester was killed and three law enforcement officers wounded as security forces used rubber bullets and tear gas against the protesters.

Four RFE/RL journalists -- two from its Tajik Service (known as Radio Ozodi) and two from Current Time -- were attacked on May 17 by unknown assailants after they interviewed civil rights activist Ulfatkhonim Mamatshoeva, who was accused by Tajik authorities of organizing the protests.

Mamatshoeva's relative told RFE/RL that police detained the activist early in the morning on May 18.

The protesters have insisted their actions are peaceful and that they have a right to peaceful demonstrations.

Opposition groups based abroad have called on Tajik authorities to stop what they called the "persecution of peaceful demonstrators" in Badakhshan.

The protests started earlier in the week after the regional authorities refused to consider the resignation of Governor Alisher Mirzonabot, and Khorugh Mayor Rizo Nazarzoda.

The situation in the restive region that borders with Afghanistan has been tense since November 2021 when security forces fatally wounded Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, a local man wanted on charges of kidnapping. Locals rallied at the time to demand a probe into Ziyobekov's death.

The rally turned violent when protesters tried to seize the local government building, prompting security forces to fire into the crowd, killing at least one person.

The violence then continued for several days.

Protests are rare in the tightly controlled country of 9.5 million where President Emomali Rahmon has ruled for nearly three decades.

Tensions between the government and residents of the restive region have simmered ever since a five-year civil war broke out shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Gorno-Badakhshan, a linguistically and ethnically distinct region, has been home to rebels who opposed government forces during the conflict.

While it occupies almost half of the entire country, its population is a mere 250,000. The region is difficult to travel around because of the mountainous terrain, while its economy is wracked by unemployment, difficult living conditions, and high food prices.

War Crimes Court Sentences Kosovo Veterans To Prison For Witness Intimidation

Nasim Haradinaj appears in court at the start of his trial in October 2021 at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague.

A war crimes court in The Hague has sentenced two Kosovo war veterans to 4 1/2 years in prison each after finding them guilty of witness intimidation, obstructing the administration of justice, and violating the secrecy of court proceedings.

Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj, the leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans Association, had pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial in October at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague.

Witness intimidation has been a major problem as investigators built their cases, and the court has struggled to protect people who offer to assist its investigations.

"This judgment clearly paints those acts for what they are: criminal and not patriotic," presiding Judge Charles Smith said as he sentenced Gucati and Haradinaj on May 18.

Hysni Gucati appears in court in October2021.
Hysni Gucati appears in court in October2021.

The court is mandated to investigate and prosecute suspects in war crimes committed during Kosovo's 1998-99 guerrilla war against rule from Belgrade.

Gucati and Haradinaj were acquitted of the charge of seeking retaliation.

The two will each have to pay a 100-euro ($105) fines and the time spent in detention on remand will be deducted from the sentence. They have been in custody since September 2020.

The veterans' association represents former ethnic Albanian separatists who fought Serbian troops during the Kosovo war, in which more than 10,000 people were killed.

The most prominent Kosovar to be indicted to date is former President Hashim Thaci on charges of murder, torture, and persecution. He has denied the charges.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after the end of the fighting.

The United States and most of the West recognize Kosovo’s independence. Serbia does not, however, and tensions between Kosovo and Serbia persist.

With reporting by AFP

Fighting Rages In Ukraine As Talks Over Soldiers At Steelworks Continue

Buses carrying Ukrainian soldiers who were holed up at the Azovstal steel works drive away under escort of Russia's forces in Mariupol on May 17.

Fighting continues to rage in several parts of Ukraine as Kyiv negotiates the release of soldiers holed up at Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on May 18 that nearly 1,000 Ukrainian fighters at the steel plant -- Ukraine's last stronghold in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol -- have "surrendered," including 694 over the past 24 hours.

Konashenkov said that 265 Ukrainian troops, including 51 wounded, had laid down their arms during the previous 24 hours.

That brings the total number of Ukrainian troops who have left the plant this week to 959. All of them were reportedly transferred to territory in eastern Ukraine that is controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

Ukrainian authorities have not confirmed the numbers, with Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar saying negotiations for the fighters' release were ongoing, as were plans to extract those who are still inside the sprawling steel plant.

"The state is making utmost efforts to carry out the rescue of our servicemen. Let's wait. Currently, the most important thing is to save the lives of our heroes," added Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzaynik.

"Any information to the public could endanger that process," he added.

Reports have estimated that as many as 2,000 Ukrainian fighters had been holed up in Azovstal.

Thousands of civilians, some of them members of the fighters' families, had also been sheltered in the sprawling maze of tunnels and bunkers of the industrial complex, in increasingly dire sanitary conditions, without, food, water, or medicines.

A large number of civilians have been evacuated, some to Ukraine, some to Russian-held parts of Ukraine where they were interned in so-called triage camps, many against their will.

Anna Zaitseva, a young civilian who managed to leave Azovstal after two months, described to Current Time on May 18 the conditions inside the bunkers where she and other civilians had been sheltered.

Hundreds Of Ukrainian Fighters From Taken From Azovstal Steelworks
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She said civilians lived in quarters separate from the fighters, who would regularly provide them with supplies and sometimes with news about their loved ones. Anna did not get to see her husband, who was one of the fighters defending the complex, for the duration of her stay.

"Stocks of food, water, medicines have almost run out. And most importantly, there are the wounded guys, who, unfortunately, are now left without medical care," Anna said, adding, "they are without arms, without legs, their bodies rot."

Anna said she found out that her husband was badly wounded but she does not know if he is among those who have already left Azovstal or if he is still there.

“I don't know his current situation, but all the information I've been given is that he's badly injured. Unfortunately, he is unable to walk now. He is on crutches," she said.

Kyiv has said it hopes to exchange the surrendered Ukrainian fighters for Russian POWs. Russia has yet to confirm whether the soldiers would be part of a prisoner swap, but some lawmakers in Moscow have come out strongly against such a move.

In launching the invasion on February 24, President Vladimir Putin pointed to the expansion of the NATO military alliance as a threat to Russia -- even though Ukraine had not officially applied for membership in the aliiance -- thus necessitating what Moscow is calling "a special military operation."

However, the war appears to have had the opposite effect on this front, with Finland and Sweden both formally applying on May 18 for NATO membership, citing increased security risks due to Russia's unprovoked war.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden were both militarily non-aligned throughout the Cold War, and their decision to join NATO represents the biggest change in European security in decades. It will more than double the alliance's land border with Russia and give NATO control over nearly the entire Baltic Sea coast.

"This is a historic moment which we must seize," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

More Ukrainians Evacuated From Mariupol's Besieged Azovstal Steelworks
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Meanwhile, the cost of the war in terms of human life continues to rise.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says 3,752 civilians have been killed in the 12 weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, while a further 4,062 have been injured.

Most of the recorded civilian casualties were caused by shelling, missile and air strikes, OHCHR said, adding that given the difficulties in verifying information on the ground, the true figures for civilian deaths in the conflict are probably considerably higher.

Russia has repeatedly claimed it has not targeted civilians in the fighting, but evidence to the contrary continues to mount.

On May 18, the first Russian soldier to stand trial on accusations of committing a war crime in Ukraine entered a guilty plea at a hearing in a Kyiv court.

When asked in court if he had killed a 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian who was riding a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the northeastern region of Sumy, 21-year-old Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, dressed in a blue and gray hoodie at the hearing, replied: "Yes."

Shishimarin, who comes from the Siberian region of Irkutsk, faces life in prison for the crime.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on May 18 that staunch Ukrainian resistance is likely to have forced Moscow to use thousands of Chechen fighters in the Mariupol and Luhansk areas, underlining its "significant resourcing problems in Ukraine."


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Ukrainian fighters would be treated "in accordance with international standards," and that Russian President Vladimir Putin had guaranteed this.

Ukraine's General Staff of the Armed Forces said in an update on May 18 that Russian forces are also attacking in Donetsk in the east, and continue to shell border areas of Chernihiv and Sumy.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, BBC, and TASS

NATO Chief Says Finland, Sweden Have Officially Applied For Membership

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (left) receives Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin prior to a meeting in Stockholm on April 13.

Finland and Sweden have handed in their official applications for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), ending their longtime neutrality status amid growing concerns over Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.

“I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on May 18 after receiving the application letters from the two Nordic countries' ambassadors at alliance headquarters in Belgium.

"The applications you have made today are an historic step. Allies will now consider the next steps on your path to NATO," Stoltenberg said.

Both Sweden and Finland are members of the European Union, and the latter shares a 1,340-kilometer border with Russia.

The two Nordic countries' choice to join NATO marks a watershed in the current European security architecture.

Helsinki chose to remain neutral in the postwar era following two wars with the Soviet Union that saw Finland lose 1-10th of its territory, while Sweden has been traditionally nonaligned for the past two centuries.

The application has set in motion a process that is expected about two weeks, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

Erdogan said on May 16 he could not agree to the accession of two countries that support "terrorist organizations," a reference to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdish militia People's Defense Units (YPG) in Syria.

If Turkish objections are resolved, the two Nordic countries could become members within a few months, fast-forwarding a process that usually takes eight to 12 months.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he also was confident Turkey would support the move by both countries, and U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price likewise expressed confidence that Ankara would not block their entrance into the alliance.

The White House said earlier that U.S. President Joe Biden will host Niinisto and Andersson for a meeting on May 19 to discuss the applications as well as the broader topic of European security.

The two countries have moved quickly toward joining NATO since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The steps taken by the two Nordic neighbors have prompted warnings from Russia, which would see NATO expand right up to its western border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on May 16 that while Russia did not see Finland and Sweden's decision to join NATO as a threat, any deployment of military infrastructure there may trigger a response from Moscow.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, dpa, and AFP

U.S. Launches Program To Document War Crimes In Ukraine

Cemetery workers exhume the corpse of a civilian killed in Bucha, outside Kyiv, from a mass grave in April.

The U.S. State Department has announced the launch of a new program to capture and analyze evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

The goal of the program will be the documentation, verification, and dissemination of open-source evidence to ensure that Russia is held accountable for its actions, the U.S. State Department said on May 17 in a statement.

Known as the Conflict Observatory, the program will make its reports and analyses available on its website.

"The Conflict Observatory will analyze and preserve publicly and commercially available information, including satellite imagery and information shared via social media, consistent with international legal standards, for use in ongoing and future accountability mechanisms," the statement said.

The online platform will help refute Russia's disinformation efforts and shine a light on abuses, the statement added.

Ukraine has accused Russia of committing atrocities during its unprovoked invasion and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes.

'I Came To Identify My Son': In Bucha, Relatives Retrieve Bodies Of Loved Ones
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Russia denies targeting civilians and claims that evidence of atrocities presented by Ukraine was staged.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said last week there were many examples of possible war crimes in Ukraine.

The International Criminal Court is also working with Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Polish prosecutors in investigating war crimes allegations against Russian forces.

With reporting by Reuters

Ukraine's Zelenskiy Surprises Cannes Film Festival

Volodymyr Zelensky appears on a screen during the opening ceremony of the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 17.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has delivered an unscheduled address to the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, assuring attendees that "hatred will disappear and dictators will die."

The actor-turned-politician referred to the connection between cinema and reality, making references to films like Apocalypse Now and Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, which mocked Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

"We need a new Chaplin who will demonstrate that the cinema of our time is not silent,” Zelenskiy said in his surprise video message to the ceremony in Cannes, France.

"Today, the cinema is not silent. Remember these words. The power they've taken from the people will be returned to the people."

He received a standing ovation from the audience gathered at the festival's main venue.

The festival, which was canceled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of COVID-19, had an eye turned to the war in Ukraine as it kicked off this year largely without pandemic protocols.

Several films from Ukrainian filmmakers, including Sergei Loznitsa's documentary The Natural History Of Destruction, are scheduled to be shown.

Mariupolis 2, a documentary about the conflict by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol last month, will get a special screening.

Twenty-one films will vie for the festival's top award, the Palme d'Or, over the next 12 days. Top Gun: Maverick!, Elvis!, and the zombie comedy Final Cut are all premiering during the festival.

Final Cut, whose premiere opened the festival, was renamed from its original title, Z, after Ukrainian protesters noted that the letter Z symbolizes support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Festival organizers have barred Russians with ties to the government.

With reporting by AFP and AP

Russia Scraps Several Key Car Safety Standards As Western Producers Exit Market

Russian employees work at the assembly line of the Lada Izhevsk automobile plant, part of the Avtovaz Group, in Izhevsk.

MOSCOW -- Russia's government has relaxed safety and emission standards for locally built vehicles as it looks to stimulate production following an exodus of Western manufacturers over Moscow's war in Ukraine.

According to a government resolution quietly approved on May 12, airbags and seat-belt pretensioners, which lock seat belts in place in the event of a crash, will no longer be mandatory in automobiles.

The resolution, which will be valid until February 1, 2023, also allows the production of vehicles without anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability controls (ESC), and emergency signal systems, all standard safety equipment for new cars in most parts of the world.

The safety systems were introduced in car-making standards in Russia after leading foreign automobile makers came to the market in the early 2000s.

However, major car producers have exited the market since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The most recent major automaker to leave was Renault, which on May 16 said it was selling its 100 percent stake in Renault Russia to the city of Moscow, while its 67.69 percent interest in AvtoVAZ will be sold to the state-owned Central Research and Development Automobile and Engine Institute, with a provision to buy back that stake "at certain times during the next 6 years."

'Deeply Alarmed' UN Calls On Tehran To Halt Imminent Execution Of Iranian-Swedish Doctor

Ahmadreza Djalali with his wife, Vida Mehrannia.

The United Nations says it is "deeply alarmed" by the imminent execution in Iran of Swedish-Iranian doctor and academic Ahmedreza Djalali, and called for an immediate halt to it.

Liz Throssell, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement on May 17 that the authorities in Tehran should revoke Djallali's death sentence immediately.

Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, was arrested in Iran in 2016 during an academic visit. Jalali specializes in disaster relief and has taught at European universities. Rights groups have condemned his detention.

He was accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists.

Iran has threatened to execute him by May 21.

"Use of the death penalty for espionage offenses is incompatible with international human rights law. Countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty may only impose it for the 'most serious crimes,' which is interpreted as crimes of extreme gravity involving intentional killing," Throssell said in the statement.

Many Western groups say the threat to execute Djalali is tied to the current trial of an Iranian in Stockholm for his alleged role in the mass execution and torture of political prisoners at an Iranian prison in the 1980s.

Tehran has denied the cases, which have strained relations between Iran and Sweden, are linked.

Russia Leaves Baltic Council Amid Standoff With West Over Ukraine War

Russia says it is quitting the Council of the Baltic Sea States, accusing the organization of becoming "an instrument of anti-Russian policy" and "increasingly bogged down in Russophobia and lies."

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on May 17 that it is leaving the regional grouping that also includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the European Union amid tensions with the West over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

The statement came as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country will intensify its military collaboration with Sweden and Finland as the two countries seek NATO membership in the wake of Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

Last month Russia quit the Council of Europe under threat of expulsion after its membership was suspended over its invasion of Ukraine.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

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