новини, досягнення, звершення


Війська РФ завдали ракетного удару по Богодухову на Харківщині, постраждав літній чоловік

Постраждав 73-річний чоловік, у нього контузія

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Уряд пропонує денонсувати угоду з Сирією про економічну співпрацю

Торік Україна розірвала дипломатичні відносини з Сирією. А нещодавно офіційний Київ терміном на 10 років запровадив санкції проти президента Сирії Башара аль-Асада

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US Concerned About Russia-Iran Partnership

The United States expressed concern Monday about the strengthening of ties between Russia and Iran. 

“It should be a concern for countries not just neighboring Russia and Iran, but the world broadly,” deputy State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters at a briefing. 

“We have seen the havoc caused by Iranian-made drones that Russia has unleashed on Kyiv, targeting energy and civilian infrastructure, so of course this relationship is one that we are paying close attention to,” Patel added. 

Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed drones to carry out widespread aerial attacks on Ukraine during its full-scale invasion. 

The tactic, which includes crashing the drones into targets, led Ukrainian officials to ask for anti-drone missiles to knock them out of the sky.  

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter, that at the same time as the expansion of military cooperation between Iran and Russia, the Russian government is helping Iran achieve advanced digital surveillance capabilities. 

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South Africa Mulls Options After ICC’s Putin Arrest Order

With an International Criminal Court arrest warrant out for Vladimir Putin, South Africa is weighing what to do if the Russian president accepts an earlier invitation to attend an August summit in the country.

The court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader March 17 for war crimes involving the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. South Africa is a signatory to the ICC’s Rome Statute that obligates countries to execute the court’s international arrest warrants. 

But Pretoria is also a close ally with Moscow and has refrained from criticizing Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine – going as far as holding bilateral talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier this year and hosting Russian war ships in February for joint military exercises.

Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s minister for international relations, told local radio station SAfm in an interview that the government was awaiting a refreshed legal opinion on the matter and would then consider its options. 

“It is a difficult situation, but, you know, I think that the Cabinet needs to discuss this,” she said. “Once I have the opinion I will take it to Cabinet, so our actions will be guided by the overall views of government.”

However, the minister demurred on the possibility of withdrawing Putin’s invitation to the summit of the group of emerging economic powers known as BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. South Africa is due to host a summit of the bloc’s leaders this August. Moscow has not yet confirmed whether Putin will attend in person.

Pandor also criticized the ICC for not having what she called an “evenhanded approach” to all leaders responsible for abuses of international law, and for focusing on some states rather than others.

But Darren Bergman, shadow minister for international relations with South Africa’s main opposition party the Democratic Alliance, said the government must stick by its ICC commitments.

“The Democratic Alliance believes that the Cabinet should not be extending the invitation any more to President Putin and therefore should withdraw that invitation,” he said. “If they do not, they should be ready to effect the warrant of arrest on President Putin.”

Steven Gruzd, a Russia analyst at the South African Institute for International Affairs, told VOA there are a number of routes the government could take. It could dodge the issue by making the BRICS summit virtual, withdraw from the court entirely, or, most likely, he said, they could try looking for some sort of diplomatic immunity for Putin as a sitting head of state. 

“We’ve seen this dilemma before,” he said. “In 2015, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan came to South Africa for the African Union Summit and South Africa was ordered to arrest him. There was a local court order. But this was ignored and defied, and he was allowed to escape from a military base.”

Lunga Ngqengelele, a spokesman for South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation told VOA the Cabinet would likely discuss the matter this week. 

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Британія і Польща побудують нові тимчасові села в Україні

Лондон пообіцяв виділити на це 10 мільйонів фунтів (12,3 мільйона доларів)

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Розміщення ядерної зброї РФ в Білорусі не стане підставою посилювати мобілізацію – Веніславський

Зараз потреби в додатковій мобілізації немає, заявив член комітету Верховної Ради з питань національної безпеки

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Russia Fires Supersonic Anti-Ship Missile at Mock Target in Sea of Japan

Russia’s navy fired supersonic anti-ship missiles at a mock target in the Sea of Japan, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday. 

“In the waters of the Sea of Japan, missile ships of the Pacific Fleet fired Moskit cruise missiles at a mock enemy sea target,” it said in a statement on its Telegram account. 

“The target, located at a distance of about 100 kilometers, was successfully hit by a direct hit from two Moskit cruise missiles.” 

The P-270 Moskit missile, which has the NATO reporting name or SS-N-22 Sunburn, is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile of Soviet origin, capable of destroying a ship within a range of up to 120 kilometers. 

Japan’s foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tokyo will stay vigilant against Moscow’s military operations, while adding that no damage had been reported after the missile launches. 

“As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Russian forces are also becoming more active in the Far East, including Japan’s vicinities,” Hayashi told a regular press conference. 

The firing of the missiles comes a week after two Russian strategic bomber planes, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, flew over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours in what Moscow said was a “planned flight.” 

Asked about Russia’s plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Hayashi said Japan condemned the move and demanded Russia and Belarus to stop “such an action that would further increase tensions.” 

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Botswana, Belgian Diamond Trader Strike Deal

The government of Botswana said Monday it will buy a 24% stake in Belgian diamond company HB Antwerp. The deal comes amid uncertainty over Botswana’s long-standing sales agreement with industry giant De Beers.   

Officially opening HB Antwerp’s cutting and polishing plant in Gaborone, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said Botswana must gain more from its diamond resources, for the “simple reason that the returns that come with having control to sell our diamonds with value addition, are much, much, higher than the returns on the sales of rough diamond stones.” 

To that end, Masisi said that, “It is time for Botswana to participate not only in the process of extracting diamonds and selling them as rough stones without having processed them into value-added commodities across the diamond trade value chain.” 

Last month, Masisi indicated his unhappiness with a 54-year-old sales deal with De Beers, in which Botswana is allocated 25% of rough diamonds mined under a joint venture. That deal is due to expire June 30.  

Masisi said Monday that as part of Botswana’s bond with HB Antwerp, his government will make a significant investment in the three-year-old company. According to Masisi, both parties “have agreed to a strategic partnership whereby the government of Botswana will invest in HB by acquiring a 24% equity stake in HB Antwerp.”  

“In addition,” Masisi said, “The government of Botswana, through its rough diamond trading company, Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), will supply rough diamonds to HB Botswana, which is HB Antwerp’s local subsidiary, for a period of five years, with all the value addition to take place in Botswana.”            

No dollar figure for the total revenue expected to be generated from the 24% stake was given. 

HB Antwerp co-founding director Rafael Papismedov, who was also at the ceremony, said the polishing and cutting factory opened in Gaborone is the world’s most advanced diamond facility.  

According to Papsimedov, HB Antwerp will ensure Botswana gets a fair value for its precious stones, which are the main pillar for the southern African country’s economy.        

“We are not here to nibble around the edges; we are all in,”  Papsimedov emphasized. “Our success has come and will continue to come from our fearless willingness to challenge every aspect of the way things have been done to date and to recognize value where others overlooked it.”    

Botswana’s Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi said that HB Antwerp will help the country extract more revenue from its stones through value addition.        

“Today we break ground on many frontiers, as we seek to expand and grow meaningful participation in the entire diamond value chain,” said Moagi. “This investment is a step in the right direction, to ensure we increase our stake. In addition, we are breaking ground in our participation in the downstream, which currently, has not much footprint in the country.”           

Botswana is the world’s second largest diamond producer by value, behind Russia.   

The country enjoyed a surge in gem sales last year as buyers shunned stones mined in Russia due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

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Germany’s DW to Close Office in Turkey

Germany’s public broadcaster Deutsche Welle is set to close its Turkey office Tuesday after Ankara declined to extend its operating license, a move condemned by media rights groups.

The case shows the pressure that Ankara is putting on foreign media to make it harder for them to work in the country, some analysts say.

Authorities had already blocked access to the Turkish-language websites of DW and VOA last year when the broadcasters refused to comply with license requirements that they said amounted to censorship.

In the case of DW, the broadcaster says the Ministry of Industry and Technology informed it on March 7 that they would not extend the operating license of DW Turkish because it had failed to “choose its field of activity correctly.” There was no explanation of what this meant, the broadcaster said.

The broadcaster’s director was cited in reports as saying they had not been informed of errors in the application and that DW had not changed the way it operates in Turkey since the last time the paperwork was renewed.

DW has said it is considering legal steps over the decision, which will affect how the broadcaster can hire staff, with employees being cut off from retirement and other benefits.

Local reports say more than 10 journalists will now work on a freelance basis so that DW Turkish can keep reporting on events inside the country.

Media watchdogs have noted the timing of the decision comes just weeks before presidential and parliamentary elections.

Renan Akyavas, Turkey program coordinator for the Vienna-based International Press Institute, said the exit of DW represented the latest attempt by the government to muzzle foreign media.

“We expect that the crackdown [on foreign media] will only intensify before elections in May,” she told VOA.

“This stems from this government’s attempts to try to push out the foreign media. They can control the local media. The foreign media were being protected by their own [organizations],” Akyavas said.

VOA emailed the Turkish government’s directorate of communications for comment but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

Erkan Arikan, director of Turkish services for DW, was not available to speak with VOA before publication. Other journalists working for the broadcaster declined VOA’s interview requests.

Under pressure

DW and other foreign broadcasters have come under pressure from Turkish authorities for over a year.

In February 2022, Turkey’s media regulator, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), ordered DW, VOA and Euronews to obtain broadcast licenses.

DW and VOA refused, citing concerns that the new licensing regulation gave RTÜK broad powers over online content.

Because of their refusal to comply, RTÜK in late June blocked access to the Turkish editions of DW and VOA.

At the time, Peter Limbourg, DW general director, said his agency refused to apply for a Turkish license because it would harm independent broadcasting.

“For example, media licensed in Turkey are required to delete online content RTÜK interprets as inappropriate. This is simply unacceptable for an independent broadcaster,” he said in a statement published by DW in July last year.

Media commentators see the actions as an effort by Turkey to control domestic and foreign media outlets.

Turkey has a poor media freedom record, with Reporters Without Borders ranking it 149 out of 180 countries where 1 denotes the best environment for journalism.

In its country analysis, the media watchdog said that with around 90% of the country’s media now under government control, the public has come to rely on foreign media such as DW for insight into politics and the economy.

Özgür Ögret, the Turkey representative for New York’s Committee to Protect Journalists, said that move against DW meant Turkish people were prevented from seeing independent reporting of their own country.

“Denying DW’s license serves only to disrupt the broadcaster’s activities and deny Turkish citizens critical, independent reporting as elections approach,” he said in a statement.

An investigation by the news agency Reuters published last year said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had bent the country’s media to his will.

“The Turkish mainstream media, once a livelier clash of ideas, has become a tight chain of command of government-approved headlines, front pages, and topics of TV debate,” the report said.

The report, based on interviews with people in the media, government and regulatory bodies, said the media industry in Turkey “has fallen in line with other formerly independent institutions that Erdogan has bent to his will.”

Reuters cited the head of Turkey’s communications directorate as saying that while he “occasionally briefs editors and reporters,” he had never done so in a way that could be “viewed as infringing on the editorial independence of news organizations or violating the freedom of the press.”

Directives and regulations on foreign media are tactics used by several authoritarian countries to try to control or retaliate against foreign media.

China has been accused of delaying or refusing to renew journalist visas to retaliate against critical reporting.

Spanish daily newspaper ABC had its website blocked in China, along with other foreign media organizations, after it published a critical report of the Chinese government, claiming its reporters had been victims of state intimidation in March 2022.

In Cuba last year, reporters at the Spanish state news agency EFE waited for months for accreditation from Havana, which nearly resulted in EFE withdrawing from the country.

Some information for this article came from Reuters.

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VOA Interview: Belarus Opposition Chief on Ukraine, Holding Lukashenko Accountable

Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who led a delegation of the Belarusian opposition to Washington, spoke to VOA’s Russian Service on Saturday about the democratic movement in her country and the war in Ukraine.  

Tsikhanouskaya fled Belarus after facing President Alexander Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential elections that drew mass protests over allegations of electoral fraud. Lukashenko, who won a new term, has long denied the fraud allegations. Earlier this month, a court in Belarus sentenced Tsikhanouskaya to 15 years in prison after a trial in absentia on charges including conspiring to overthrow the government, the latest move in a monthslong effort by the Belarusian government to suppress dissent. 

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

VOA: Just over a year ago, the world was expressing support and solidarity with Belarussians who fought for their freedom. Now many people call Belarus a co-aggressor. How much does it complicate the lives of ordinary people and your life as a national leader? 

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: It took us a while after the beginning of the war [in Ukraine] to explain to the world that the Belarusian people and the Belarusian regime are two different things; that the Belarusian regime became an accomplice in this war, and all those who are responsible have to bear responsibility for this. The Belarusian people oppose this war, they are on the side of Ukraine, and it’s necessary to put as much political and economic pressure as possible on the regime.  

Our nation, our people — despite the huge level of repression inside the country — try to support the Ukrainians as much as we can. We saw acts of sabotage of our partisans on railways, blowing up a Russian surveillance airplane, acts of disobedience, putting Ukrainian flags in Belarus. It all cost a lot. People are being detained every day in Belarus for their anti-regime and anti-war position. But participation of the regime in this war doesn’t make our nation a participant.  

It is also very important to distinguish Belarusian people from Russians, because 86% of Belarusians are against the participation of Belarus in the war, and you will never see these “Z” or “V” signs [pro-Russia symbols] on our streets. We consider Ukrainians a close nation and we are facing actually the same enemy: the imperialistic ambitions of Russia. And we have to fight together. 

VOA: You called [President Alexander] Lukashenko a puppet of Putin. How does it affect the future policies of Belarus? Is the very independence of the country at stake? 

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: We are fighting for freedom, sovereignty and independence of Belarus. Belarusian people have made their choice back in 2020. We are against the regime, and now after the beginning of the war, this geopolitical choice of Belarusians became evident. Belarusians feel themselves as part of the European family of countries.  

Now Russia is connected with war and poverty; the West [with] peace and security. People want our beloved Belarus to be a prosperous, safe country, a good ally and partner for our neighbors. This is what we are fighting for. Belarusians don’t see their future with the imperialistic Russia. I think all the deals that are made between Lukashenko and Putin for these two years shouldn’t be recognized as legitimate and should be overlooked. So, there is no future of any democratic and free country with such Russia. 

VOA: What is the possibility of Belarus entering full-scale war with Ukraine in the future? 

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: So, here again we must distinguish between the regime and Belarus as it is. The Belarusian regime has already become a full accomplice in this war. Lukashenko and his cronies have provided our territorial infrastructure to Russia, from which the Russian army can attack Ukraine. And they have to be made accountable for this. A special tribunal has to be opened against Lukashenko and all those who have been participating. Lukashenko has to be recognized as a sponsor of terrorism.  

But Belarusian people, the Belarusian army are against this war. And if at the beginning of the war there were more chances for the Belarusian army to participate in the war because of the huge tension in the region, it has now become evident that Belarusian soldiers don’t want to fight with Ukrainians. They don’t want to kill or to be killed for Lukashenko and Putin.  

So, I see this scenario of participation of the Belarusian army as minimal. But again, the Belarusian land can be used at any moment for launching missiles or attacking Ukraine again. It is Lukashenko who must bear responsibility for this. 

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Без виведення сил РФ із ЗАЕС ініціативи щодо ядерної безпеки будуть безуспішні – Зеленський на зустрічі з Ґроссі

Зустріч відбулася на території Дніпровської гідроелектростанції

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Окремих хвиль мобілізації немає, все відбувається у плановому порядку – Маляр

Потреби у мобілізації залежать від розвитку ситуації на фронті, каже представниця Міноборони

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Scotland Elects First Muslim Leader

The Scottish National Party elected Humza Yousaf as its new leader Monday. This comes after what analysts describe as a bruising five-week campaign that exposed deep cracks in Scotland’s pro-independence movement.

The 37-year-old Yousaf, who is currently Scotland’s health minister, will be Scotland’s first Muslim and first person of color to serve as First Minister. He will succeed Nicola Sturgeon, who unexpectedly stepped down from her position last month after eight years. 

Yousaf is widely seen as a ‘continuity of Sturgeon,’ as they share similar social liberal views. Yousaf said his main goals are to concentrate on tackling the cost-of-living crisis, end divisions in the ruling SNP party, and make a renewed push for independence. 

Yousaf narrowly beat two other Scottish lawmakers, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and member of Parliament Ash Regan with 52% of the vote. All three candidates share the mission of independence but differ in their economic and social visions for Scotland. 

“The people of Scotland need independence now, more than ever before and we will be the generation that delivers independence,” Yousaf said in a speech in Edinburgh after the results were announced. 

Both Forbes and Regan opposed a controversial bill championed by Sturgeon to make it easier for people in Scotland to legally change their gender, while Yousaf supported it. The bill is hailed as a landmark piece of legislation by transgender rights activists but has faced opposition from some SNP members who said it did not consider the need to protect single-sex spaces for women, such as domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. 

Scottish voters backed remaining in the United Kingdom with 55% of the vote in a 2014 referendum. The SNP wants a new vote, but the central government in London has refused to authorize one, and the U.K. Supreme Court has ruled that Scotland can’t hold one without London’s consent.

The SNP is the largest of the country’s political parties with 72,000 members. The unity of the party has been its greatest strength but recently that has weakened due to disagreements over how to achieve independence and the best way to introduce social reforms such as transgender rights. Other prominent parties include the Scottish Conservative Party, the Scottish Labour Party, and the Scottish Greens.

Some information from this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.


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Найзапекліші бої тривають за Бахмут, Авдіївку та Мар’їнку – Генштаб

Триває триста дев’яносто сьома доба широкомасштабної збройної агресії РФ проти України

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У Чехії можуть висунути звинувачення колишньому радянському військовому у справі про вибух на складі у 2014 році

Шапошников, який зараз живе у Греції, працював консультантом компанії Imex Group. Саме на складі компанії стався вибух, внаслідок якого загинули двоє людей і було завдано великих збитків

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New Russian Campaign Tries to Entice Men to Fight in Ukraine

Advertisements promise cash bonuses and enticing benefits. Recruiters are making cold calls to eligible men. Enlistment offices are working with universities and social service agencies to lure students and the unemployed.

A new campaign is underway this spring across Russia, seeking recruits to replenish its troops for the war in Ukraine.

As fighting grinds on in Ukrainian battlegrounds like Bakhmut and both sides prepare for counteroffensives that could cost even more lives, the Kremlin’s war machine badly needs new recruits.

A mobilization in September of 300,000 reservists — billed as a “partial” call-up — sent panic throughout the country, since most men under 65 are formally part of the reserve. Tens of thousands fled Russia rather than report to recruiting stations.

The Kremlin denies that another call-up is planned for what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, now more than a year old.

But amid widespread uncertainty of whether such a move will eventually happen, the government is enticing men to volunteer, either at makeshift recruiting centers popping up in various regions, or with phone calls from enlistment officials. That way, it can “avoid declaring a formal second mobilization wave” after the first one proved so unpopular, according to a recent report by the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War.

One Muscovite told The Associated Press that his employer, a state-funded organization, gathered up the military registration cards of all male employees of fighting age and said it would get them deferments. But he said the move still sent a wave of fear through him.

“It makes you nervous and scared — no one wants to all of a sudden end up in a war with a rifle in their hands,” said the resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisal. “The special operation is somewhat dragging on, so any surprises from the Russian authorities can be expected.”

It’s been more than a week since he handed in his card, he said, and exemptions usually get resolved in a day or two, heightening his anxiety.

Russian media report that men across the country are receiving summonses from enlistment offices. In most of those cases, men were simply asked to update their records; in others, they were ordered to take part in military training.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week that serving summonses to update records in enlistment offices is “usual practice” and a “continued undertaking.”

Other unconfirmed media reports say authorities have told regional governments to recruit a certain number of volunteers. Some officials announced setting up recruitment centers with the goal of getting men to sign contracts that enable them to be sent into combat as professional soldiers.

Ads have appeared on government websites and on the social media accounts of state institutions and organizations, including libraries and high schools.

One of them, posted by a municipal administration in the western Yaroslavl region, promised a one-time bonus of about $3,800 to sign up, and if sent to Ukraine, a monthly salary of up to $2,500, plus about $100 a day for “involvement in active offensive operations,” and $650 “for each kilometer of advancement within assault teams.”

The ad said the soldier would also get tax and loan repayment breaks, preferential university admission status for his children, generous compensation for his family if he is wounded or killed in action, and the status of a war veteran, which carries even more perks.

In the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, officials asked universities, colleges and vocational schools to advertise for recruits on their websites, said Sergei Chernyshov, founder of a private vocational school there.

Chernyshov posted the ad on his social media account “so that everyone knows what our city hall is up to,” but he told the AP that he doesn’t plan to put it on the school website. “It’s weird” to target vocational school students, he said.

Other efforts include enlistment officials meeting with college students and unemployed men, or phoning men to volunteer.

A Muscovite who spoke on condition of anonymity for his own safety said that he received such a call and was surprised at how polite it was: “After my ‘No,’ there were no threats or (attempts to) convince me -– (just) ‘Thanks, goodbye.'”

There have only been isolated cases of enlistment officials really pressuring men to sign up, said Grigory Sverdlin, founder of a group called Go by the Forest that helps men avoid mobilization.

The group gets up to 100 messages a day from men seeking advice on dealing with summonses or enlistment officials, he said, compared with dozens per day in recent months. In most cases, the officials wanted to update their records with addresses and phone numbers, and they might try to recruit men during that process.

But Sverdlin said some cases stand out.

In the Vologda region, about 400 kilometers north of Moscow, the group received messages saying that almost everyone going to the enlistment office after receiving a summons “is forced to sign a paper barring them from leaving the region,” he said.

Lawyer Alexei Tabalov, who runs the Conscript’s School legal aid group, believes there’s nothing unusual in authorities handing out summonses now. Some of the notices are traditionally served before Russia’s spring conscription draft, scheduled to begin April 1 for those eligible for mandatory service.

All Russian men from age 18 to 27 must serve one year in the military, but a large share avoid the draft for health reasons or get student deferments. The share of men who avoid the draft is particularly big in Moscow and other major cities, and many simply evade enlistment officials bearing conscription summonses.

Tabalov said that men have reported going to enlistment offices to update their records but have officials there who “beat around the bush and promote the idea of signing the contract, talk about how one should love their motherland and defend it.”

He doubted anything could make volunteering attractive after 13 months of a war that has killed and wounded tens of thousands.

“People already understand what it means to sign a contract,” he said. “Those who got burned once are unlikely to fall into the same trap.”

Tabalov said that his group continues to get messages from soldiers who want to terminate their contracts, but that isn’t legally possible until President Vladimir Putin ends the partial mobilization, which began in September, with a new decree.

“Getting out of the war automatically means criminal prosecution,” Tabalov said, adding there has been a flurry of criminal cases since December, with prosecutions of soldiers who desert or go AWOL.

The news outlet Mediazona counted 247 verdicts in 536 criminal cases on these and similar charges, adding that over a third of those convicted got suspended sentences, which allows authorities to send them back to the front line.

The current recruitment campaign is similar to one enacted last summer, before the September call-up, said Kateryna Stepanenko, a Russia analyst with the Institute for the Study of War.

Back then, authorities also used financial incentives, and various volunteer battalions were formed, but the effort clearly wasn’t successful, because Putin eventually turned to the partial mobilization.

Whether this one will succeed or not is not clear.

“They’ve already recruited a significant portion of people that were financially incentivized last summer. And they struggled to do so last year,” Stepanenko said.

The current recruitment effort shows the military’s awareness of manpower needs in Ukraine.

“What the mobilization campaign of 300,000 servicemen told us is that it’s not enough to form a sufficient strike group for Russia to push forward with its offensive operations,” she said.

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Guard Killed in Gun Attack on Albanian TV Channel

A security guard was killed in a gun attack on Albania’s largest broadcaster early Monday, with the country’s prime minister calling the assault on the media outlet “worrying”.  

The 60-year-old guard was in a booth outside the Top Channel headquarters in Tirana when he was hit by a burst of gunfire from a passing SUV.

The police gave no possible motive for the attack, saying “the investigation is ongoing”. But they said the attackers used a Kalashnikov rifle. 

The SUV was found hours later on the side of the road approximately 40 kilometers away from the scene of the attack, where it had been set on fire. 

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama offered condolences to the victim’s family and the staff at Top Channel, and called for “everyone’s solidarity at this very worrying moment”.

The U.S. embassy in Tirana condemned the shooting. 

“We urge law enforcement to carry out a comprehensive investigation that will bring perpetrators to justice,” the embassy said. 

Albania was once infamous for illegal arms trafficking. More than a million Kalashnikov rifles were stolen from military depots during an uprising in the 1990s. 

However, mass shootings and violent attacks on journalists are rare in the poor Balkan nation.

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У 6 областях опалювальний сезон завершать раніше, ніж планувалося – Чернишов

«Україна успішно завершує найважчий опалювальний сезон. Погодні умови дозволяють це зробити раніше, ніж було заплановано»

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Продовження наступу РФ на Донбасі свідчить, що Путін все ще хоче перемогти в затяжній війні – ISW

«Впертість Путіна в цих наступальних операціях, втім, може мати сенс у затяжному конфлікті, протягом якого західна підтримка України ослабне або закінчиться»

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German Transportation Unions Strike for Higher Wages

Germany’s public transportation workers are striking Monday as unions demand higher wages for their members.  

The schedules of trains, buses and planes are being disrupted by the 24-hour work stoppage.  

The strike is intended to pressure employers as a new round of negotiations begins this week.  

German news outlet Deutsche-Welle reports that Frank Werneke, head of Verdi, one of the unions involved in the strike, said, “What employees right up into the middle-income groups find to be a burden, above all, are the enormous price increases for electricity, gas, and groceries.” 

Some German airports began canceling flights Sunday in anticipation of Monday’s strike.  

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