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Dimitriy

Dimitriy 

: 25

: 9633
27/02/2007 .
: , -
: 27.05.2022 0:49  |  #149157

26.05.2022 . 26.05.2022 .

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Customs and Border Protection bulletin: American fighters headed to Ukraine questioned at U.S. airports
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U.S. officials, worried about domestic security issues, have been questioning Americans at airports as they travel to Ukraine to fight Russia, according to an intelligence bulletin reviewed by POLITICO.
The document shows that the U.S. government is gathering information about Americans traveling to Ukraine and is interested in their activity after they return. But critics say the focus on violent extremist-white supremacists echoes one of the Kremlins top propaganda points: that supporting Ukraine means also supporting neo-Nazis.
It comes as Washington grapples with a messy challenge: dissuading Americans from fighting alongside soldiers who have received some of their training and many of their weapons from the U.S. itself.
The Justice Department has not said whether its legal for Americans to join the Ukraine conflict. But no Americans are known to face criminal charges just for traveling to Ukraine to fight Russia, which invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24. This document shows that if law enforcement officials wanted to bring charges, theyve had plenty of opportunities.
The bulletin also highlights with little detail a concern U.S. officials hold: that American white supremacists who fight in Ukraine could return to the U.S. with greater military training. Property of the People, a government watchdog group, obtained the document through an open records request and shared it with POLITICO.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson declined to comment on the document, citing agency policy.

Joining the Fight
The document, titled United States Citizens Joining the Fight for Ukraine, is an intelligence bulletin from CBP. Its dated March 7, 2022 roughly two weeks after Russia launched its full-scale invasion.
United States citizens, including some with previous service in the United States, will continue to attempt to depart the United States with the intention of fighting alongside the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine to fight in the armed conflict against the Russians, the document says, referring to a group of foreigners fighting for Ukraine.
The CBP bulletin makes note of six unnamed Americans who traveled to Ukraine to fight.
CBP officers stopped and questioned five of them at John F. Kennedy International Airport and searched luggage belonging to the sixth. Some were questioned earlier in 2022, before Russia launched its full-on onslaught.
One admitted to prior involvement in the anti-government Boogaloo movement. Another was a Marine veteran whose electronic device showed he wanted to join up with the Azov Battalion, the original name for the volunteer group of Ukrainian ultranationalist fighters formed in May 2014 and brought into the government fold later that year. A friend of that veteran also a U.S. military veteran and an active-duty police officer was also traveling to Ukraine the same day by another route, according to the document. Officers searched both mens baggage and found military equipment.
Ukrainian nationalist groups including the Azo[v] Movement are actively recruiting racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist-white supremacists (RMVE-WS) to join various neo-Nazi volunteer battalions in the war against Russia, the report said.
Another American noted in the document had previously served in the French Foreign Legion and also tried to join the fight against ISIS. A search of his device showed that he had also tried to join the armed conflict in Burma, Syrian National Defense Forces, and several other groups. CBP stopped him on Jan. 27. The document said he planned to travel to a Kyiv sports complex that operates as a training base for people hoping to join the Azov regiment.
The document did not indicate whether the other two Americans they stopped had links to far-right groups. One of those two told officers he had served in the U.S. Army for four years. And in a questionnaire he filled out to join the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, he said he had expertise as a Javelin gunner. Another was an Army veteran with demolition experience, who was questioned on Feb. 5 as he traveled to Ukraine. The CBP document said that post encounter analysis showed that later that month, after arriving there, he provided military training to Ukrainians.
Besides the American who trained Ukrainians in February, the document did not indicate whether the people scrutinized by CBP actually reached Ukraine.
The document concludes with a list of unanswered questions, called Intelligence Gaps, including how many people would travel from the U.S. to Ukraine to fight, what groups they would try to join and what strategies they would use to avoid detection by law enforcement.
What kind of training are foreign fighters receiving in Ukraine that they could possibly proliferate in US based militia and white nationalist groups? the document also asked.
While its unclear how many Americans are fighting in Ukraine, a March Washington Post report said thousands had signed up. Its unclear how many have been stopped at airports.

Music to the Kremlins ears
Daniel Vajdich, president of Yorktown Solutions, which represents and lobbies for Ukraines state-owned energy industry, told POLITICO that the Kremlin will cheer the document.
This document and its explicit reference to supposed neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine is going to be music to the ears of the Kremlin and Russias propaganda machine, he said. Theyll cite it to justify their invasion of Ukraine and the destruction of Mariupol.
Its like CBP is telling the Russians, Yes, we agree with you that Ukraine is full of neo-Nazis, he added. This was the Kremlins entire basis for invading Ukraine, and we now have a U.S. government agency agreeing with that. Incredible.
Marta Farion, vice president of the Illinois division of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, noted that a key claim of Russian propaganda is that neo-Nazis control Ukraine. Farions group is an umbrella organization for the Ukrainian American community.
That there are white extremists in Ukraine, theres no doubt, she said. But I can bet you anything that the percentage of the population thats on the right and extremist, white supremacist, Nazi-types is way below the percentage of such people in the U.S. or in Germany or in any other country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that the denazification of Ukraine is the reason for his effort to decapitate the countrys government even though Ukraines president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish. Russian propagandists often point to the Azov Battalion and other far-right Ukrainian paramilitaries to bolster the claim that Nazis have overrun Ukraine.
In a recent Washington Post interview, the head of the battalion, Andriy Biletskiy, said the group completely rejects Nazism. The Post noted that he has been quoted previously making white supremacist statements, and now denies having made those comments. The article quoted Bellingcats Michael Colborne, who has written a book on the battalion, saying that there are clearly neo-Nazis within the Azov movements ranks.
Because of concerns about the group, the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act banned the provision of U.S. military aid to the battalion. Facebook has also banned the group, as BuzzFeed News reported. The group was integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard in late 2014, Al Jazeera has detailed, and won praise from Ukraines then-President Petro Poroshenko for fighting for Mariupol during Russias first onslaught.
The day after Russia launched its full-scale invasion, the Azov Regiment invited foreigners to join, Rita Katz of SITE Intelligence Group has detailed. Since then, neo-Nazis around the world have expressed enthusiasm for the fight, with many aligning themselves with neo-Nazi groups on the Russian side, including private military contractor Rusich, as Der Spiegel
reported. Katz echoed the CBP documents concerns about fighters returning to their home countries after battling in Ukraine.

It is important that governments understand that Azovs cache among Western extremists is a very material concern, Katz told POLITICO in an email. Turning a blind eye to white supremacists fight alongside Azov in Ukraine would be equally reckless as doing the same to Western jihadists leaving to fight in the Middle East.
The groups fighters were the last defenders of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, holding out amid heavy bombardment in a steel plant until finally surrendering to Russia last week. They became national heroes for resisting the Russian siege alongside Ukrainian marines and received awards from Zelenskyy. People around the world rooted for the fighters and called for their rescue.
Its unclear how many people have traveled to Ukraine because of far-right views. Farion said that Americans joining Ukraines fighters has become burdensome for local troops.
A lot of Ukrainians from Ukraine that were involved with defense were telling me that getting Americans who volunteer is a big problem because theyre not properly trained, she said. And they have to feed them, and theyre not the kind of people they want in the army that theyre more of a problem than anything else.
Just asking questions
A host of U.S. officials have said explicitly that they think its a very bad idea for Americans to travel to Ukraine and join the fighting. On March 11 just five days after the date on the CBP document then-Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby urged Americans not to go.
And if any are still there, we urge them to leave, he added, according to the Washington Post.
The war has claimed thousands of lives, including a former U.S. Marine who joined the fight.
But the question of whether they could face criminal charges is an open one. The Neutrality Act, a law dating to George Washingtons presidency, bans Americans located in the U.S. from signing up to join foreign armies.
The law is old, but its not obsolete. As Lawfare has detailed, the Justice Department used it in 2019 to charge two Americans who allegedly planned to fight to overthrow the government of Venezuela. Both men also had ties to far-right fighters in Ukraine, and BuzzFeed News reported in October that the Justice Department was investigating one Craig Lang for committing war crimes there. At the time of that report, Lang was in Ukraine fighting extradition to the U.S.
Now Lang, a former Army soldier charged in an ambush-style double killing of a couple in Florida, is again fighting on the Ukrainian battlefield. He joined a volunteer brigade in February and took part in the battle for Hostomel, a strategic city northwest of Kyiv, Dmytro Morhun, his lawyer, told POLITICO.
Reached on WhatsApp, Lang declined to comment on his current activities. On Twitter, he posted a new profile picture of himself wearing a Ukrainian military uniform and brandishing an anti-tank weapon. Lang opened the Twitter account one of three he has operated last October. His brief communication with other users on the platform indicates he is actively serving with Ukrainian forces. Morhun confirmed the photo posted by Lang was taken after Russias Feb. 24 invasion. Lang also retweeted a photograph that included himself and other foreign volunteers at a firing range in Ukraine.
Dakota Rudesill, a professor at The Ohio State Universitys Moritz College of Law, has closely tracked the legal ambiguity surrounding enforcement of the Neutrality Act.
What worries me in particular, to be blunt about it, is we could have a different president in a few years, one who is partial to Vladimir Putin, one who might very well hear complaints from President Putin that Americans are in Ukraine killing his Russian soldiers, Rudesill said. And that American president could say, You know what, Kremlin, I agree with you. And then that American president could say, Hey, lets start prosecuting people for violating the Neutrality Act.
The fact that CBP is questioning Americans at airports doesnt clarify the situation, he said. But it does show that the U.S. is collecting intelligence on Americans traveling there to fight, he added.
The U.S. government should want to know the composition of forces in Ukraine and should also want to know if there are Americans violating federal law and indeed, a federal law that dates to the founding of the country, he said.


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Dimitriy

Dimitriy 

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27/02/2007 .
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: 27.05.2022 0:50  |  #149158

26.05.2022 . 26.05.2022 .

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A Forecasting Model Used by the CIA Predicts a Surprising Turn in U.S.-China Relations
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Heres some good news on the gloomy international scene: Tensions will ease significantly between the U.S. and China soon, as the Biden administration slashes consumer tariffs and Beijing welcomes the move, at least privately. Expect a new round of trade negotiations too. The thaw comes after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen makes a big push for change, and as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, long dismissed as an also-ran, becomes a key player. President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping reluctantly go along.
At least thats the surprising outcome of a forecasting model that the Central Intelligence Agency has used and praised and which was deployed for POLITICO Magazine to seek insights on where the most important geopolitical relationship is going next.
Whether the predictions come to pass is anyones guess, of course, but were already seeing some echoes in the real world as Biden and his top officials debate what to do about China tariffs. And by parsing the potential interactions between policymakers, we can get a clearer picture of the decision-making processes occurring in different capitals. The model basically seeks to answer the question: Who is calling the shots, and how will they exercise power?
The idea for the exercise sprang from the Biden administrations halting efforts to craft a new Asia economic policy to keep nations out of Chinas orbit. (Biden finally launched what he calls the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework on Monday.) Jon Grady, a graduate student at New York Universitys Stern Business School, proposed running a game theory exercise to forecast the next steps the U.S. and China would take in their economic rivalry. Grady, a preternaturally patient 32-year-old with a shaved head, licensed game theory software from Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, an NYU game theorist so prominent in the field that hes known simply by his initials BDM.
BDMs game theories are different from war games where experts play the roles of political leaders during a crisis. Its also very different from simply asking experts in the field what actions either government might take. Bueno de Mesquita and other game theorists contend that experts do a crappy job of making predictions and war games lack rigor.
An expert may be very, very skillful at telling you a very good story about Chinese history and telling good stories about possible future actions, says Philip Tetlock, a University of Pennsylvania political scientist who has won a Pentagon forecasting competition. That doesnt translate all that well into making predictions. Political experts are only slightly more likely to make accurate calls than a chimpanzee tossing darts, he says.
Forecasting strategies vary. The BDM model looks at power relations, figuring that decision-making is a battle of people following their self-interest and self-aggrandizement. Although the president has the most power in Washington, for instance, he is often thwarted by other power players who are more focused on an issue (i.e., the National Rifle Association on gun control) or inflexible (Joe Machin on Build Back Better). The model doesnt try to assess the best possible resolution of a problem or the decision that would best reflect the national interest. The BDM model is more akin to assessing scorpions in a bottle.
For our exercise, we recruited experts to serve on the U.S. or China teams. The American team consisted of several people close to the Biden administration, including Matthew Goodman, an Obama National Security Council economic official; Daniel Russel, an Obama State Department Asia official; and Barbara Weisel, a former senior U.S. trade negotiator. Jeremie Waterman, who runs the U.S. Chamber of Commerces China Center, and I were also part of that team.
On the China side were Lucy Hornby, a former Financial Times China reporter who is now a visiting scholar at Harvard; David Dollar, Obamas Treasury representative in Beijing; James McGregor, who has spent decades in China representing American business; and Ryan Hass, an Obama NSC China expert.

The Players
U.S. players:

Matthew Goodman, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Daniel Russel, Asia Society Policy Institute
Barbara Weisel, Rock Creek Global Advisors
Jeremie Waterman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce China Center
Bob Davis, former Wall Street Journal senior editor
China players:

Lucy Hornby, former Financial Times China reporter
David Dollar, Brookings Institution
James McGregor, APCO Worldwide, greater China region
Ryan Hass, Brookings Institution
The game was designed in February to forecast whether China would ever meet its obligations to boost purchases of U.S. goods by more than $200 billion, as required under the Phase One trade deal negotiated under former President Donald Trump. And if Beijing didnt as seemed certain even before the game started what the U.S. would do in response.
Ultimately, the game stretched on through the end of April. By that time, the trade deal had become somewhat irrelevant as Washingtons focus turned to Russias invasion of Ukraine and the impending midterm elections. Bidens recent comments on whether the U.S. would defend Taiwan have also unsettled some China watchers. Fortunately, the game also examined broader questions of what economic moves the U.S. would take next to influence China and how Beijing would respond.

The Model
Developed by New York University political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, the forecasting model make predictions by assessing power relations among decision makers. The model looks at four characteristics: decision makers influence, their positions on an issue, their negotiating flexibility, and their focus on the issue. The models algorithms calculate millions of different possible interactions, and using game theory, spits out the most likely outcome.
The focus on China right now is much more on how theyre going to respond to Russia than whether they will carry out a trade deal, said Goodman, the ex-NSC Asia hand now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, during an April 8 U.S. team meeting.
Under Gradys prodding, the two teams were asked to list those in Washington and Beijing involved in deciding what to do next on U.S.-China trade relations. Then they would rank each player on a scale of zero-to-100 on four attributes: their influence, the importance of the issue to them, their position on the issue and how flexible they would be during negotiations.
In Washington, the team came up with two dozen power players, including White House officials, cabinet secretaries, business and labor lobbyists and four shades of lawmakers progressive Democrats, labor Democrats, free-trade Republicans and agriculture state Republicans. For China, whose political decision-making is wrapped in mystery, the exercise was a struggle. It was tough to know who to pick beyond members of the ruling Politburo Standing Committee and some prominent economic and foreign policy advisers.
I look at this more as a Tony Soprano setup where if [the top leaders] want something, theyll figure out the corruption in each of the families and threaten them to get what they want, said McGregor, chair of APCO Worldwides China region, who started in China as a Wall Street Journal reporter.
Next, each team was asked to rank the influence of the players essentially how much clout they could bring to bear on the decision should they choose to battle for it. Joe Biden and Xi Jinping were ranked as 100. What combination of other players could equal Biden or Xis power, Grady asked the teams.
It forces people to think logically and numerically about an issue, Grady says.
The question initially stumped the team members. Thats not how decisions are made, they argued. White House chief of staff Ron Klain isnt going to line up three cabinet members and march into the Oval Office and demand Biden make one decision or another.
Think of it differently, Grady said. Imagine that a group of officials argued to Biden in favor of a decision. Would they be able to convince him to accept their recommendation? Ditto with Xi and Chinese officials? What combination of officials would then equal the leaders score of 100?
Still, the discussion had an otherworldly feel to it. It was like the conversations I had as a kid: If Batman and Wonder Woman fought with Superman, could they defeat him?
Eventually, the teams came up with rankings. The U.S. team decided that Klain had roughly half the influence of Biden, given his long relationship with the president and the broad mandate of a chief of staff. Then they ranked others compared to Klain. Janet Yellen had just about one-third of Klains influence on the China trade issue, they decided, and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai had about half.
On the Chinese side, the decisions were tougher, given how thoroughly Xi dominates politics there. By some accounts, he is the most powerful Communist Party leader since Mao Zedong. Eventually, the Chinese team decided that Vice Premier Liu He, Xis economic envoy to the U.S., had about one-third of Xis influence largely because of his mastery of economic issues and his deep roots in the Chinese bureaucracy. Premier Li, who has been overshadowed by Xi and seen much of his economic portfolio stripped away, had just about 10 percent.
On and on the assessments went. How would the teams rank each of the players, from zero-to-100 on their passion for the issue what Grady called the issues salience. How flexible were they? What was their real position on U.S.-China relations, not just what they said in public?
At various points, the choices seemed arbitrary. How could anyone know what Wang Yang, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee who is viewed as having a shot at succeeding Li as premier, really thought about trade relations with the U.S.? Would he be more flexible in dealing with the U.S. because he might think that could improve Chinas economic outlook? Or might he be less flexible for fear of being seen as weak?
McGregor broke the tension in the fourth and last meeting of the China team: You guys are getting lost in the real world here, he said. This is a game.
Still, the game players reactions reflected one of the biggest problems of forecasting. No matter how sophisticated the model, a models accuracy depends on the quality of the information it processes. Garbage-in, garbage-out.
To convince the players of the reliability of the BDM model, Grady would point to a Central Intelligence Agency assessment. The CIA compared the predictions by the BDM model in the 1980s to one it used and found BDMs got the bulls eye twice as often.
The CIA study found [the BDM model] was accurate 89 percent of the time, said Stanley Feder, a former CIA analyst who ran the review. We used it pretty extensively at the CIA. The study was declassified in 1995 and has been a marketing calling card for Bueno de Mesquita ever since.
Bueno de Mesquita has had some big hits. He correctly forecast the successors to the Ayatollah Khomeini five years before the Iranian leader died. But he admits to some misses too, including getting nearly every prediction wrong about how Bill Clintons health care bill would turn out. House Ways and Means Chair Dan Rostenkowskis indictment, he says, messed up the models assumptions about his influence in pushing through legislation.
By the end of the game, Grady had U.S. team members put together a list of possible U.S. actions toward China with the lightest being removing all tariffs immediately and the harshest hitting Beijing immediately with a fresh round of sanctions without even bothering to seek industry input. In between was starting a new trade action that could eventually lead to sanctions.
As the U.S. players assessed how American authorities would look at the options, Chinas behavior toward Russia became more important. Since President Richard Nixon unfroze relations with Beijing in 1972, trade has played a crucial role in bringing the U.S. and China closer together. Whatever the vast differences between the two political systems, both countries recognized that trade could benefit them by expanding markets and places for production. Even during the Trump administration, the two countries eventually signed a deal to end trade hostilities.
Russel, the former Obama State official who is now a vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute, a think tank, laid out the dilemma facing Biden officials. Every week we get closer to the midterms, there will be pressure to do something that looks strong on trade, he said in the third U.S. session on April 8. But on the other hand, they dont want to rock the boat because they want to convince China to exercise some degree of restraint in material support for the Russian military operation.
As the game drew to a close at the end of April, the conundrum had the effect of elevating the power of Janet Yellen. Thats because the U.S. team saw her as laser-focused on removing tariffs, which Yellen complained were having an inflationary impact although she has been talking tougher on China recently. Easing inflation could help Biden politically as well as act as an opening to the Chinese, which scored well in the forecasting model.
On the Chinese end, a similar dynamic was elevating the importance of Liu, the economic adviser, and Li, the premier. Both are responsible for Chinas economy, which was starting to sputter due to unending Covid lockdowns. An easing of tariffs, especially if it indicated a possible rapprochement with the U.S., could help.
The BDM model uses the following equation: Influence X Salience = Power. While the influence of Yellen and Li started out as minimal, their salience their focus on the trade issue grew immensely as the game played out. Ergo, their power grew.
Salience inflates the clout of some players that look like they dont have much more clout because they care intensely, says Bueno de Mesquita.
Once the game players ranked officials from zero-to-100 in the various categories, the computer model took over, with algorithms that used those rankings to play out millions of possible interactions between officials in both countries. The formulas look to assess the clout each countrys players have, how focused they are on the issue and other criteria. It also simulates interactions between U.S. and Chinese players.
The bottom line: In the U.S., Yellens power grew on the trade issue over time while Klain, who the team viewed as mainly interested in politics, saw his shrink. Biden went along with a position of eliminating most but not all tariffs on Chinese consumer goods. The computer model didnt explain itself. It spit out spreadsheets filled with numbers. But a reasonable explanation for the finding would be that cutting some tariffs, but not all of them, could be presented as an overture to China but not caving in.
On the Chinese side, economic officials, including Premier Li and Vice Premier Liu, turned out to be much more flexible in negotiations than expected and had enough clout to convince ideologically minded officials to go along with them. Although all Chinese officials started off by demanding that the U.S. immediately lift all tariffs, the model forecast that the partial rollback would be welcome, and China would be open to negotiations where it would be willing to increase its U.S. purchases.
None of the experts recruited to play the game predicted the outcome forecast by the model, although a few said they hoped the model would turn out to be accurate. Most figured that the Biden team would pair any tariff relief with some aggressive action toward China too in order not to look weak.

The Takeaways
1) Expect a thaw in U.S.-China relations.

2) Russias war on Ukraine changes the equation on trade.

3) Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Premier Li Keqiang both pack a punch.

Grady said it wasnt unusual for the players to disagree with the outcome of their work. As the U.S. Chambers Waterman noted, We werent playing a war game, we were helping build an economic model through assessments of power and influence.
Biden and Xi, who initially showed no interest in a deal, would go along, the model predicted, in part, because so much of their attention was now focused on other issues and because a deal met their needs. In fact, Biden said earlier this month that he was weighing whether to ease the tariffs. In the game, as in real life, the leaders make compromises they didnt expect to make.


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Dimitriy

Dimitriy 

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27/02/2007 .
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: 27.05.2022 0:51  |  #149159

26.05.2022 . 26.05.2022 .

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Horrifying conspiracy theories swirl around Texas shooting
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) By now its as predictable as the calls for thoughts and prayers: A mass shooting leaves many dead, and wild conspiracy theories and misinformation about the carnage soon follow.
It happened after Sandy Hook, after Parkland, after the Orlando nightclub shooting and after the deadly rampage earlier this month at a Buffalo grocery store. Within hours of Tuesdays school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, another rash began as internet users spread baseless claims about the man named as the gunman and his possible motives.
Unfounded claims that the gunman was an immigrant living in the U.S. illegally, or transgender, quickly emerged on Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms. They were accompanied by familiar conspiracy theories suggesting the entire shooting was somehow staged.
The claims reflect broader problems with racism and intolerance toward transgender people, and are an effort to blame the shooting on minority groups who already endure higher rates of online harassment and hate crimes, according to disinformation expert Jaime Longoria.
Its a tactic that serves two purposes: It avoids real conversations about the issue (of gun violence), and it gives people who dont want to face reality a patsy, it gives them someone to blame, said Longoria, director of research at the Disinfo Defense League, a non-profit that works to fight racist misinformation.
In the hours after the shooting, posts falsely claiming the gunman was living in the country illegally went viral, with some users adding embellishments, including that he was on the run from Border Patrol.
He was an illegal alien wanted for murder from El Salvador, read one tweet liked and retweeted hundreds of times. This is blood on Bidens hands and should have never happened.
The man who authorities say carried out the shooting, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, is a U.S. citizen, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news conference on Tuesday.
Other social media users seized on images of innocent internet users to falsely identify them as the gunman and claim he was transgender. On the online message board 4Chan, users liberally shared the photos and discussed a plan to label the gunman as transgender, without any evidence to back it up.
One post on Twitter, which has since been deleted, featured a photo of a trans woman holding a green bottle to her mouth, looking into the camera, headphones hanging from one ear.
BREAKING NEWS: THE IDENTITY OF THE SHOOTER HAS BEEN REVEALED, claimed the user, saying the shooter was a FEMBOY with a channel on YouTube.
None of that was true. The photo actually depicted a 22-year-old trans woman named Sabrina who lives in New York City. Sabrina, who requested her last name not be published due to privacy concerns, confirmed to The Associated Press that the photo was hers and also said she was not affiliated with the purported YouTube account.
Sabrina said she received harassing responses on social media, particularly messages claiming that she was the shooter. She responded to a number of posts spreading the image with the misidentification, asking for the posts to be deleted.
This whole ordeal is just horrifying, Sabrina told the AP.
Another photo that circulated widely showed a transgender woman with a Coca-Cola sweatshirt and a black skirt. A second photo showed the same woman wearing a black NASA shirt with a red skirt. These photos didnt show the gunman either they were of a Reddit user named Sam, who confirmed her identity to the AP on Wednesday. The AP is not using Sams last name to protect her privacy.
Its not me, I dont even live in Texas, Sam wrote in a Reddit post.
Authorities have released no information on the gunmans sexuality or gender identification.
Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar fit both unfounded claims about Ramos in a single now-deleted tweet that also misspelled his name. Its a transsexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos, Gosar tweeted Tuesday night.
Gosars office did not return a message seeking comment.
In some cases, misinformation about mass shootings or other events are spread by well-intentioned social media users trying to be helpful. In other cases, it can be the work of grifters looking to start fake fundraisers or draw attention to their website or organization.
Then there are the trolls who seemingly do it for fun.
Fringe online communities, including on 4chan, often use mass shootings and other tragedies as opportunities to sow chaos, troll the public and push harmful narratives, according to Ben Decker, founder and CEO of the digital investigations consultancy Memetica.
It is very intentional and deliberate for them in celebrating these types of incidents to also influence what the mainstream conversations actually are, Decker said. Theres a nihilistic desire to prove oneself in these types of communities by successfully trolling the public. So if you are able to spearhead a campaign that leads to an outcome like this, youre gaining increased sort of in-group credibility.
For the communities bearing the brunt of such vicious online attacks, though, the false blame stirs fears of further discrimination and violence.
Something as seemingly innocuous as a transphobic comment on social media can spark an act of violence against a transgender person, said Jaden Janak, a PhD candidate at the University of Texas and a junior fellow at the Center for Applied Transgender Studies.
These children and adults who were murdered yesterday were just living their lives, Janak said Wednesday. They didnt know that yesterday was going to be their last day. And similarly, as trans people, thats a fear that we have all the time.
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26.05.2022 .
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Dimitriy

Dimitriy 

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27/02/2007 .
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: 27.05.2022 0:52  |  #149160

26.05.2022 . 26.05.2022 .

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A look at Queen Elizabeth II's style through the decades
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NEW YORK (AP) Queen Elizabeth II just might have the hardest working wardrobe on the planet.
Every outfit worn in public is carefully calibrated to inspire or remind, to signal gratitude or respect, to convey a sense of power or familiarity, wrote The Mail on Sunday in 2015. Her Majesty neither sets trends nor follows them but while she is deaf to the siren call of fashion, she has her own singular style.
From her tiaras, hats and Hermes scarves to her Launer London handbags and even her umbrellas, the queens style has been hyper-documented since her birth, young princess days, ascension to the throne and now, more than 70 years into her reign, as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee at age 96.
Now known for her bright coats (so as to be seen by huge crowds) with matching brimmed hats, the queen was a young, glamorous princess and monarch in earlier decades.

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HER CHILDHOOD
Cotton or wool? The queens very birth prompted style debate, writes Bethan Holt, fashion editor of The Telegraph and author of this years The Queen: 70 Years of Majestic Style.
Her wardrobe from the get-go was a topic of national fascination with a layette sewn by her mother and grandmother, and a little help from underprivileged women throughout Britain. Declaring that babies in wool looked like little gnomes, Lilibets mum, then the Duchess of York, opted for frilly cotton, rejecting anything too fussy.
When sister Margaret came along four years later, the princesses often twinned it, dressing alike into their teens. But the future queen as a girl never cared a fig about clothes, according to her former governess, Marion Crawford.
She wore what she was told without argument, apart from a long, drab mackintosh that she loathed, Crawford wrote in her controversial memoir, The Little Princesses.

THE YOUNG HEIRESS
With the tumultuous abdication of her uncle and the rise of her father to become King George VI, Princess Elizabeth became heiress presumptive (absent any future male heir, who never materialized).
Enter couturier Norman Hartnell, according to Holt. While there were other designers, he was entrusted with dressing the family as they emerged on the world stage, including the two princesses at ages 11 and 6. Their bow-adorned dresses and little cloaks signalled a return to the calm dependability of the monarchy, Holt wrote.
During World War II, 18-year-old Elizabeth began to make more public appearances, training as a mechanic in early 1945 toward the end of the war. It was the only time she routinely wore trousers (and boiler suits), according to Holt.
The queen was, and remains, a practical dresser when necessary, but also glamorous in sparkly gowns when the moment beckoned. And she often went short sleeved or with no sleeves at all, something that doesnt happen today. She stood for photos with Prince Philip in a simple, light-colored dress with sleeves above the elbow and peekaboo low heels on her size 4 (6 U.S.) feet shortly before their wedding in 1947.
People want to see their royals looking like royals, but equally, they dont want to think that taxpayers money is being blown away, said Nick Bullen, editor in chief of True Royalty TV.

THE WEDDING DRESS
Hartnell transformed the florals of Botticellis Primavera into a gown of white crystals and pearls. But it wasnt easy. There were diplomatic questions in the still-miserable aftermath of the war, Holt wrote. Customs impounded 10,000 seed pearls from the U.S., and journalists were assured that the origins of the silk produced in Kent and woven in Essex were worms from nationalist China rather than enemy Japan.
Thousands in the U.K. sent in their ration coupons for Princess Elizabeth to use for dress materials. That would have been illegal, so she saved up her own and asked the government for 200 extra, Holt told The Associated Press.
It showed the thirst there was in the country for this big moment of glamour, she said. In recent years, we have known the queen and Prince Philip as this sweet old couple but we have to remember, in that time they were this dazzling, glamorous new couple on the scene.
The wedding was not without behind-the-scenes drama. Queen Marys Fringe tiara, made by Elizabeths grandmother from a necklace given to Mary by Queen Victoria, snapped right before the ceremony and was rushed off to crown jeweler Garrard for repair.
The dress, and the wedding, offered a real moment of hope, Holt said.

HER HEMLINES
She settled years ago on skirts and dresses just below the knee, but her hemlines were sometimes an issue for senior members of her family. In 1952, the 25-year-old queen led her family in mourning at her fathers funeral in accordance to strict dress codes set out during the reign of Queen Victoria, according to Holt.
As Queen Mary curtsied to her granddaughter and kissed each cheek, she admonished: Lilibet, your skirts are much too short for mourning, Holt writes. The new queens dress hovered well above her ankles yet respectfully below the knee, while that of her grandmother reached the ground. All, including Queen Elizabeth II, were shrouded in black veils, as Queen Victoria was for 40 years after the death of Prince Albert in 1861.
The evolution of the queens style from young princess to longest-serving monarch in British history has her being of the time but not following fashion, Bullen said.

FINDING A UNIFORM
The queen we know today wears sensible block heels or brogues, usually handmade by Anello & Davide, a custom Launer perched on her arm and a brooch on one shoulder. She goes with kilts and skirts in tartans and plaids as her country style. But the queen of the early 1950s charmed the world in nipped-in waists, pencil silhouettes and some floaty, full experiments as a post-war fashion quake took hold in the country.
In the early years of her reign, she really embraced Diors New Look aesthetic, and women looked to her outfits as a source of inspiration, much like people do with the Duchess of Cambridge today, said Kristin Contino, style reporter for Page Six.
There was a playful glamour in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, including a bold multicolored evening dress in 1999 for a Royal Variety Performance. Created by Karl-Ludwig Rehse, it featured a riotous sequin diamond-pattern bodice of bright yellow, blue, green and pink.
There were also some trouser days and a turban phase in the 60s and 70s amid a wide range of hat styles.
The queen learned of her fathers passing on a stop in Kenya en route to Australia. Some reports indicate she was wearing jeans for an encounter with a herd of elephants the moment her father died in his sleep at Sandringham, Holt wrote. She donned slacks on safari in Zambia in 1979, and a trouser set in 2003 as she left King Edward VIII hospital in London after a knee operation.
It was Margaret, the rebel, who was renowned as a fashion plate in Dior and other designers, and her influence on Elizabeth was tangible. Little sister helped the queen scout new British designers and introduced her to up-and-comers, such as milliner Simone Mirman, according to Holt. Mirman created some of the queens standout hats, including her Tudor-style medieval helmet, as Hartnell called it, in soft yellow, for the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles.
Margaret was really in tune with fashion. She would have been the one reading Vogue. And so she would often go with the queen to appointments to help her inject that little bit of extra style into her looks, Holt said.
Usually sticking to British designers, the queen has a long-held fondness for silk scarves by the French fashion house Hermes. The brand has issued several special designs in her honor. It did so in 2016 with a horse-themed scarf to mark her 90th birthday.
One doesnt equate the queen of today with a mad rush to copy her style, but for a brief spell in the 1950s women could do just that thanks to her love of cotton dresses in dainty floral or abstract prints from Horrockses Fashions, a British ready-to-wear brand, Holt said.
Another look from those early years stands out as well. In October 1952, soon after ascending the throne, the queen was a sensation at the Empire Theatre for a royal viewing of the musical comedy Because Youre Mine. She wore a tuxedo-like Hartnell gown in black with a white front and wide lapels in a halter design, paired with long white gloves, a tiara on her head and a diamond bracelet on one wrist.
She hit every magazine and newspaper the next day. Manufacturers rushed to copy it. It was dubbed the Magpie and she never wore it again.

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MATCHY MATCHY
The queen loves to color coordinate, sticking to bright colors and pastels in coats and floral dresses today.
That goes for her signature clear, bird-cage umbrellas as well. Theyre made by Fulton Umbrellas and are attainable at $30 or less, though the queens are custom made. She owns about 100 in a rainbow of colors but contrary to reports, she doesnt possess 200 of her favorite Launer bags, Holt said. Gerald Bodmer, who rescued Launer in 1981 after a period of decline, was keen to clear up that myth.
He says she has several styles in several colors. He says that 200 is very far off the mark, Holt said.
Launer extends the straps of her leather bags to make it easier for her to hang them on her arm, and they make them lighter for her to carry. And what does she carry? Bullen said hes heard theres always a lipstick, a handkerchief and a photo of Prince Philip, who died last year at 99.
Irish designer Paul Costelloe, who dressed Princess Diana in the 1980s and 90s, told the AP of the queens style: Shes a bit like a schoolteacher, a good schoolteacher. She never shocks. She gets it right.
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Hard Brexit plans by ex-MI6 chief hacked and leaked by Russians
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A group of Russian hackers is believed to be behind the release of a cache of emails obtained from a former director of MI6 and other Brexiters unhappy with Theresa Mays failure to negotiate a clean EU exit deal.
Google said the clumsy campaign bore the hallmarks of a Russian group it called Coldriver and the hackers published the correspondence under the title Very English Coop dEtat, claiming it revealed the existence of shadowy group of pro-Brexit plotters.
But the principal cluster of emails dated from August 2018 to July 2019 instead appears to show a group of Brexiters frustrated with Mays willingness to seek compromises with the EU and their attempts to campaign against it.
Shane Huntley, who directs Googles threat analysis group, said the Russian Coldriver hackers had previously tried to steal peoples login credentials. This is the first time weve seen them step into the disinformation / hack-and-leak space, he added.
Hack-and-leak operations are part of the standard modus operandi of Russian hackers, who are often linked to one of the countrys spy agencies and the attack is one of the first detected during the now three-month-long Ukraine war.
A key figure targeted was Sir Richard Dearlove, a former director of MI6 between 1999 and 2004, including the period leading up to the Iraq war. The former spymaster told Reuters, which first reported the story: I am well aware of a Russian operation against a Proton [email] account which contained emails to and from me.
The emails describe a short-lived plan to create a hard Brexit campaign group in the summer of 2018 amid growing opposition to Mays proposed Chequers deal, which had already prompted the resignation of Boris Johnson from government.
Using the codename Operation Surprise the group was to be chaired by leave-supporting former Labour MP and peer Gisela Stuart with Dearlove among a group of public figures who would sit on its advisory board.
Its goals, the leaked document says, were to block any deal to leave the EU arising from the Chequers white paper, to ensure that we leave on clean WTO terms and if necessary remove this prime minister and replace with one fit for purpose. Later it adds: May has now been shown to be incapable of office and lists a group of well known rightwing journalists as part of its media circle.
But the group never got going, after Stuart told others on the would be advisory board in August 2018 that she did not believe it was necessary, because other anti-Chequers campaigns were developing rapidly.
Many of the other emails consist of ongoing complaints about civil servants, the drift of Mays policy, and even tittle tattle about anti-Brexiter George Soros, consisting largely of political remarks he had supposedly made to family members over dinner.
Dearlove said that the emails had captured a legitimate lobbying exercise which, when seen through this antagonistic optic of a Russian hack-and-leak operation is now subject to distortion.
The website containing the emails is called sneaky strawhead a reference to Johnsons often chaotic hairstyle. It was registered on 19 April by individuals using a commercial domain name provider.
Democratic party emails were hacked by members of Russias GRU military intelligence in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election and passed to WikiLeaks, where their publication helped pave the way for the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Confidential documents relating to US-UK trade talks were stolen from a personal email account belonging to former trade minister Liam Fox. The 451-page cache was dumped on Reddit and eventually ended up in the hands of then Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, during the 2019 election campaign.


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Pelosi pushes back on archbishop who denies her Communion
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back Tuesday on the decision by San Francisco's conservative Catholic archbishop to deny her Communion over her support of abortion rights, saying she respects that people have opposing views but not when they impose them on others.
The California Democrat says she comes from a large family with many members who oppose abortion. I respect peoples views about that. But I dont respect us foisting it onto others. Pelosi added, Our archbishop has been vehemently against LGBTQ rights. In fact he led the way in an initiative on the ballot in California.
Pelosi made her comments on MSNBCs Morning Joe. In a letter last month to Pelosi, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he would refuse her Communion after she vowed to codify into law the Supreme Courts Roe vs. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. That legislation passed the House but died last week in the Senate.
Pelosi said women and families need to know this is about more than abortion. These same people are against contraception, family planning, in vitro fertilization. Its a blanket thing and they use abortion as the front man for it.
Cordileone has said he told Pelosi that she must either repudiate her support of abortion rights or stop speaking publicly about her Catholic faith. In a separate letter to church members, he said he had asked several times to meet with Pelosi but that her office didnt respond or told him she was busy.
After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion, Cordileone wrote.
Over the past year, Cordileone has been among the most outspoken U.S. bishops advocating that Communion be denied to President Joe Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights.
However, each bishop has authority in his own diocese on this matter, and the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, has affirmed that Biden is welcome to receive the sacrament there.
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: 28.05.2022 22:54  |  #149167

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Russia test-fires its latest hypersonic Zircon missile
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The Defense Ministry said the Admiral Gorshkov frigate of the Northern Fleet in the White Sea launched the Zircon cruise missile in the Barents Sea, successfully hitting a practice target in the White Sea about 1,000 kilometers (540 nautical miles) away.
The launch was the latest in a series of tests of Zircon, which is set to enter service later this year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Zircon is capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and has a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles). Putin has emphasized that its deployment will significantly boost the capability of Russias military.
Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines and could be used against both enemy ships and ground targets. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.
Russian officials have boasted about Zircons capability, saying that its impossible to intercept with existing anti-missile systems.
Putin, who has sternly warned Western allies against interfering in Ukraine, has warned in the past that Russian warships armed with Zircon would give Russia a capability to strike decision-making centers within minutes if deployed in neutral waters.


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Putin defiant as Macron and Scholz call for fresh Ukraine peace talks
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Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz held a three-way telephone conversation with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on Saturday, with the French and German leaders urging Putin to hold direct serious negotiations with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The call came as Russias assault on Ukraines Donbas region continues to grind on. During the 80-minute conversation, the two leaders insisted on an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops, according to a readout from Scholzs office.
Putin is unlikely to heed such calls. Instead, he warned Macron and Scholz that western weapons deliveries to Ukraine were dangerous and risked further destabilisation of the situation, according to a Kremlin readout.
Hopes for diplomacy have faded in recent weeks as Russias invasion reaches the three-month mark. Although Ukraine is taking heavy losses on the battlefield, there is a widespread belief in the country that agreeing to a negotiated settlement would simply give Russia time to regroup ahead of a further attack.
Russias army confirmed on Saturday that it now controls the strategic town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine, as Moscows assault on the Donbas region continues to grind on.
Lyman, a town of 20,000 people, lies on the road to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, two of the major Donbas population centres not yet under Russian control.
The town of Krasny Liman has been entirely liberated from Ukrainian nationalists, said Russias defence ministry in a statement, using the towns old name.
Ukraine is on the back foot in Donbas, the industrial heartland of the country where Russia-backed forces already seized territory eight years ago and which has now become the centre of Moscows Ukraine invasion after the failed attempts to take the major cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv.
In his daily video address on Friday evening, Zelenskiy, said the Russians had concentrated maximum artillery, maximum reserves in Donbas, making life very difficult for the Ukrainian army.
There are missile strikes and aircraft attacks everything, Zelenskiy said.
Attention this week has been focused on the city of Sievierodonetsk, which if captured would give Russia control of the whole Luhansk region. The city has been under intense artillery and missile bombardment all week, and the Russians have taken control of the Myr hotel on the edge of town.
On Saturday morning, the Luhansk regional governor, Serhiy Haidai, said the Russians had so far not been able to advance any further than the hotel.
We have not yet been able to get them out of there, despite their losses. But they are not able to move further either. Their tactics are always the same: a few hours of shelling, and then they try to advance, he wrote.
Ukraines defence minister said foreign military deliveries were helping Ukrainian forces on the frontline, noting three systems that were now in active use against the Russians: M777 and FH70 howitzers as well as the Caesar self-propelled artillery. He also said American M109 howitzer systems had arrived in Ukraine.
To imagine this back in March would have been impossible. But today it is a reality, Oleksii Reznikov wrote on Facebook.
At the same time, Ukrainian officials continue to demand more weapons deliveries from the west, saying they risk being outgunned in Donbas and need the deliveries urgently.
There were reports in Washington that the Pentagon may be preparing to send Ukraine advanced long-range rocket systems to help their battle in the Donbas, something that the Ukrainian army and political leaders have been requesting for months.
Meanwhile, Russian forces also carried out a demonstrative test of a new hypersonic missile on Saturday. The Zircon missile, which was first tested in late 2020, was fired from a frigate in the Barents Sea and hit a target in the White Sea in the Arctic that was 625 miles away, said Russias defence ministry.
The Zircon can reach speeds of up to 10-times the speed of sound and flies at a low altitude, making it more difficult to intercept.
Also on Saturday, Ukraines former president Petro Poroshenko said he was barred from leaving the country, accusing Zelenskiy of breaking a political ceasefire in place since the start of the war. Poroshenko was due to travel to a Nato parliamentary assembly meeting in Vilnius.
Zelenskiy defeated Poroshenko in a 2019 election and before the start of the war prosecutors were investigating Poroshenko over his participation in an allegedly corrupt coal export scheme. Many observers suggested the charges were politically motivated.
After the outbreak of the war, Ukrainian authorities suspended the activities of a number of political parties with pro-Russian platforms, but others were allowed to continue, including Poroshenkos European Solidarity party. Despite the longstanding acrimony between Zelenskiy and Poroshenko, both appeared to put their quarrels aside to focus on the threat from Russia.
There is a risk that by this decision, the authorities have broken the political ceasefire in place during the war which one of the pillars of national unity in the face of Russian aggression, said Poroshenkos office in a statement.


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Ukraine war live: Macron, Scholz call on Putin to hold serious negotiations with Zelensky
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European leaders have urged Vladimir Putin to engage in serious negotiations with Ukraines president Volodymyr Zelensky.
French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz also called on Mr Putin to release the 2,500 Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steel plant, who are currently detained by Russian forces.
In a joint phone call with Mr Putin, the two European leaders asked Mr Putin to hold direct serious negotiations with Mr Zelensky. They insisted on an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops, the German chancellors office said.
It comes as Russia claims to have seized control of Lyman after days of fighting over the Ukrainian town. The claimed success is believed to be key to the next phase of Moscows assault in the Donbas region.
In his late-night address on Friday, Ukraines Volodymyr Zelensky had declared: If the occupiers think that Lyman and Sievierodonetsk will be theirs, they are wrong. Donbas will be Ukrainian.
But the UKs Ministry of Defence said it was likely that Vladimir Putins forces had captured most of the town of Lyman, in what is likely a preliminary operation for the next stage of Russias Donbas offensive.
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: Dimitriy (28.05.2022 23:21), 1
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: 28.05.2022 22:56  |  #149168

28.05.2022 . 28.05.2022 .

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Ukraine pleads for weapons as Russian onslaught threatens to turn the tide
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Ukraine is in a race against time to save the eastern Donbas region as relentless Russian artillery and air strikes threaten to turn the tide of the war, and support for Kyivs continued defiance among some west European allies appears to be slipping.
Ukrainian officials say they urgently need advanced US-made mobile multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to halt Russian advances in Luhansk and Donetsk. The rockets would be capable of striking Russian firing positions, military bases, air strips and supply lines at a range of up to 300km (185 miles).
We are in great need of weapons that will make it possible to engage the enemy over a long distance, Ukraines commander-in-chief, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said. The price of delay is measured by the lives of people who have protected the world from [Russian] fascism.
Ongoing disagreements in Washington have held up MLRS deliveries. Some of President Joe Bidens national security advisers are said to be fearful Ukraine may use the rockets to hit targets inside Russia, a development that could spark an escalation drawing in the US and Nato. Kyiv has previously launched attacks on Russian soil.
Moscow, keenly aware of the game-changing potential of the rocket systems, has already voiced strong objections. If the Americans do this, they will clearly cross a red line, said Olga Skabeeva, an influential Russian state TV host whose views reflect the Kremlins. Russias response could be very harsh, she warned.
US news outlets reported on Saturday that Biden had agreed to provide some rocket systems as part of a major new US arms package for Ukraine to be announced this week. The package may also include another advanced weapon, the high mobility artillery rocket system, known as Himars.

The decision reportedly followed talks between the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraines foreign minister. Heavy weapons on top of our agenda, and more are coming our way, Kuleba said after the talks.
But doubts remain about which weapons systems will be provided, and the timing of the US move. The White House and the Pentagon have yet to confirm the reports.
I wont get ahead of decisions that havent been made yet, the Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, said. Despite the delay, he insisted it was not too late to send new weapons to Ukraine.
If the US defies Russias warnings and goes ahead this week, the UK is expected to simultaneously announce it will also supply advanced long-range rocket systems. The British version of the MLRS, which can fire 12 missiles in less than a minute, has a more limited range of 84kms (52 miles). Earlier this month, Britain announced an additional £1.3bn in military support.
Speaking in Prague on Friday, the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said it was completely legitimate for Nato and EU countries to provide more weapons, including tanks and planes, to Ukraine despite Russias objections. Like Boris Johnson, Truss says Russias leader, Vladimir Putin, must be seen to lose the war. Britain has demanded a return to Ukraines pre-2014 borders.
The UKs uncompromising stance is not shared by leading European countries shaken by Russias advances, whose focus is increasingly on notional peace negotiations. Henry Kissinger, the veteran American diplomat, fuelled this debate last week in Davos by suggesting Kyiv should prepare to make concessions, amounting to a possible de facto partition.

Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz held an 80-minute phone conversation with Putin, during which they urged the Russian president to hold direct serious negotiations with Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The French president and German chancellor called for an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops.
Keir Giles, of London-based thinktank Chatham House, said a quick end to the conflict appeared to be the priority for France and Germany.
There are already worrying indications that the flakiest of the western European partners may be discussing between themselves how to force a surrender on Ukraine in the form of territorial concessions in order to end the fighting ... It is more important to them [France and Germany] to end the fighting than to arrive at a workable outcome, Giles said.
This apparent shift has angered east European governments such as Poland, whose president accused Germany of failing to keep a promise to provide heavy weapons. After Italy last week put forward a peace plan, which was dismissed by the Kremlin as fantasy, Edgars Rinkevics, Latvias foreign minister, warned that, in any case, Putin could not be trusted to stick to any settlement.
Any agreement with Russia isnt worth a broken penny, the Ukrainian presidential adviser and peace talks negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, said. Is it possible to negotiate with a country that always lies cynically? ... Russia has proved that it is a barbarian country that threatens world security. A barbarian can only be stopped by force.
Pressure to talk peace or make concessions is feeding Ukraines concerns that it is in a race against time to turn around its battlefield fortunes. The Kyiv government said on Saturday that its forces may have to retreat from Luhansk to avoid encirclement.
Russias defence ministry said the eastern Ukrainian town of Lyman had fallen under the full control of Russian and Russian-backed forces in the region. Meanwhile, a group of independent international legal experts accused Russia of committing genocide.
Notwithstanding recent Ukrainian setbacks, Peter Ricketts, a former UK national security adviser, said the west must not back away now.
Having supported Ukraine and encouraged them to stand up to Russian aggression in the early phase, weve now got a real obligation to see it through for the long term, he said. It would be disastrous to scale down western support after theyve done the really hard bit to face the Russians. Weve got to knuckle down for the long term. Military support can reduce over time and probably the economic support will become more important as the fighting gradually subsides.


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WHO condemns Russia for mounting attacks on Ukraine health facilities
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At least 75 people have been killed and 59 injured in attacks on Ukrainian health facilities and personnel since Russia began its unprovoked invasion, according to World Health Organization data this week.
Driving the news: The WHO has verified over 240 attacks on Ukrainian health care since Feb. 24. On Thursday, it passed a resolution condemning Russia's attack on Ukraine, particularly on the country's health system.
The big picture: The resolution notes that Russia's invasion is "causing a serious impediment to the health of the population of Ukraine, as well as having regional and wider than regional health impacts."
It also urges Russia to "immediately" cease all attacks on health care facilities and to "fully respect and protect" personnel engaged in medical duties.
Between the lines: Russia had proposed a counter-resolution that expressed "grave concerns over the ongoing health emergency in and around Ukraine," but did not include its role in causing that emergency.
WHO member-states rejected the resolution.
What they're saying: "As children and families seek safety, the medical services they rely on must be protected," the WHO in Ukraine said on May 5.
"The disruption of health services across Ukraine has been catastrophic, compounded by displacement and the fact millions of people remain trapped in conflict areas unable to move," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a pledging conference for Ukraine this week.
"This puts health workers, care workers, services and infrastructure, and the health of millions of health workers at severe risk," he added.
"But even worse than disruptions to health services are attacks on health care. Let's be clear, attacks on health are a violation of international humanitarian law. This is utterly unacceptable."
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28.05.2022 . 28.05.2022 .
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War surges Norway's oil, gas profit. Now, it's urged to help



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Europes frantic search for alternatives to Russian energy has dramatically increased the demand and price for Norway's oil and gas.
As the money pours in, Europe's second-biggest natural gas supplier is fending off accusations that it's profiting from the war in Ukraine.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who is looking to the Scandinavian country to replace some of the gas Poland used to get from Russia, said Norway's gigantic oil and gas profits are indirectly preying on the war. He urged Norway to use that windfall to support the hardest-hit countries, mainly Ukraine.
The comments last week touched a nerve, even as some Norwegians wonder whether they're doing enough to combat Russias war by increasing economic aid to Ukraine and helping neighboring countries end their dependence on Russian energy to power industry, generate electricity and fuel vehicles.
Taxes on the windfall profits of oil and gas companies have been common in Europe to help people cope with soaring energy bills, now exacerbated by the war. Spain and Italy both approved them, while the United Kingdom's government plans to introduce one. Morawiecki is asking Norway to go further by sending oil and profits to other nations.
Norway, one of Europe's richest countries, committed 1.09% of its national income to overseas development one of the highest percentages worldwide including more than $200 million in aid to Ukraine. With oil and gas coffers bulging, some would like to see even more money earmarked to ease the effects of the war and not skimmed from the funding for agencies that support people elsewhere.
Norway has made dramatic cuts into most of the U.N. institutions and support for human rights projects in order to finance the cost of receiving Ukrainian refugees, said Berit Lindeman, policy director of human rights group the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
She helped organize a protest Wednesday outside Parliament in Oslo, criticizing government priorities and saying the Polish remarks had some merits."
It looks really ugly when we know the incomes have skyrocketed this year," Lindeman said.
Oil and gas prices were already high amid an energy crunch and have spiked because of the war. Natural gas is trading at three to four times what it was at the same time last year. International benchmark Brent crude oil burst through $100 a barrel after the invasion three months ago and has rarely dipped below since.
Norwegian energy giant Equinor, which is majority owned by the state, earned four times more in the first quarter compared with the same period last year.
The bounty led the government to revise its forecast of income from petroleum activities to 933 billion Norwegian kroner ($97 billion) this year more than three times what it earned in 2021. The vast bulk will be funneled into Norways massive sovereign wealth fund the worlds largest to support the nation when oil runs dry. The government isn't considering diverting it elsewhere.
Norway has contributed substantial support to Ukraine since the first week of the war, and we are preparing to do more," State Secretary Eivind Vad Petersson said by email.
He said the country has sent financial support, weapons and over 2 billion kroner in humanitarian aid independently of oil and gas prices.
European countries, meanwhile, have helped inflate Norwegian energy prices by scrambling to diversify their supply away from Russia. They have been accused of helping fund the war by continuing to pay for Russian fossil fuels.
That energy reliance provides Russia with a tool to intimidate and to use against us, and that has been clearly demonstrated now, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, told the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Russia has halted natural gas to Finland, Poland and Bulgaria for refusing a demand to pay in rubles.
The 27-nation European Union is aiming to reduce reliance on Russian natural gas by two-thirds by year's end through conservation, renewable development and alternative supplies.
Europe is pleading with Norway, along with countries like Qatar and Algeria, for help with the shortfall. Norway delivers 20% to 25% of Europes natural gas, vs. Russia's 40% before the war.
It is important for Norway to be a stable, long-term provider of oil and gas to the European markets, Deputy Energy Minister Amund Vik said. But companies are selling on volatile energy markets, and with the high oil and gas prices seen since last fall, the companies have daily produced near maximum of what their fields can deliver, he said.
Even so, Oslo has responded to European calls for more gas by providing permits to operators to produce more this year. Tax incentives mean the companies are investing in new offshore projects, with a new pipeline to Poland opening this fall.
We are doing whatever we can to be a reliable supplier of gas and energy to Europe in difficult times. It was a tight market last fall and is even more pressing now, said Ola Morten Aanestad, a Equinor spokesman.
The situation is a far cry from June 2020, when prices crashed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and Norway's previous government issued tax incentives for oil companies to spur investment and protect jobs.
Combined with high energy prices, the incentives that run out at the end of the year have prompted companies in Norway to issue a slew of development plans for new oil and gas projects.
Yet those projects will not produce oil and gas until later this decade or even further in the future, when the political situation may be different and many European countries are hoping to have shifted most of their energy use to renewables.
By then, Norway is likely to face the more familiar criticism that it is contributing to climate change.
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Gas prices are rising. So where are the electric cars?
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Soaring gasoline prices may help Democrats get the electric future theyre pining for but not before it wipes them out at the polls.
This years stream of record-breaking fuel prices is pushing growing numbers of consumers to consider swapping their gas guzzler for a battery-powered car or truck, the kind of mindset shift that could go a long way toward meeting President Joe Bidens climate goals.
But in the short term, the overheating U.S. economy offers little solace for either motorists or Bidens party.
Electric vehicles are still too expensive for many American households and the stuttering supply chain means theyre also hard to find, with some automakers warning of possibly yearslong waits to buy their most popular models. Meanwhile, proposals in Washington to help ease the supply crunch or make electric cars more affordable are languishing on the Hill. And polls show that voters largely blame inflation on Bidens policies, part of a sour political atmosphere that could put Congress back in Republicans hands after November.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said some Americans can afford a new electric vehicle, but a lot of people are in a position where they absolutely cant, and they are just at the mercy of the price at the pump right now.
Democrats stalled policy agenda is hampering electric vehicles from taking off, said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who added that she is very worried that the party will fail to address climate change unless it passes expanded consumer tax credits and measures to spur domestic production of car parts.
EVs are one critical weapon in fighting against climate change, Warren said. We are collectively putting a lot of hope on the impact of getting gasoline-burning engines off our highways and using more EVs and mass transit to move people around. If we dont make that transition and make it soon there is no way we can meet our climate goals.
The national average for regular gasoline hit $4.60 a gallon on Thursday, setting a new record, up from its pandemic-era low of $1.82 per gallon two years ago. On Friday it dropped by a penny. Interest in alternative-fueled vehicles has grown in the same time frame electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids share of the automobile market has more than doubled since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
In early March, as gas prices rose toward what was then their all-time peak, Google Trends recorded its highest ever search traffic for electric vehicles. People in the U.S. bought more than 204,000 electric cars and trucks in the first four months of this year, up 60 percent from the year before, according to auto market analyst firm Wards Intelligence, though they still make up less than 1 percent of the vehicles on the road.
Despite growing interest, however, consumers looking to buy an electric vehicle face a major obstacle: finding one to buy.
Global shortages of the computer chips and rare minerals that go into automaking have triggered a huge supply crunch for new cars and trucks and have hit the electric variety especially hard, given their added dependence on electronics. (An electric vehicle needs about twice as many chips as a gas-powered car.)
Automakers including Ford and Volkswagen have said theyre essentially sold out of their popular electric cars and trucks for at least this year, Insider reported last week, while anyone wanting to order the most affordable Tesla models will need to wait until as late as December. Rivian Automotive, a company building electric SUVs and trucks, slashed its projected 2022 production in half because of supply chain issues, mostly relating to chips. The shortages are so dire that prospective buyers often put their names on multiple waiting lists.
Then theres the price. An entry-level electric vehicle like the Chevy Bolt can still cost nearly $15,000 more than an equivalent gas-powered car, such as the same automakers Malibu sedan. That cost is significantly more than the $5,000 in savings that analysts say electric vehicle owners will realize on fuel and maintenance over 10 years. And finding a used electric vehicle is nearly impossible.
There probably is going to be more interest in electric vehicles and demand may rise more because of it, Haig Stoddard, a principal analyst at Wards Intelligence, said about the influence of high gasoline prices on the market. But its not going to be very fast because most of the people that are interested are the people who can pretty much afford to buy what they want.
Another impediment for some people considering electric vehicles is uncertainty about where to charge them. Last years bipartisan infrastructure law provided $7.5 billion for building out charging infrastructure around the country, representing Democrats biggest legislative win for electric vehicle owners but that money wont show any tangible effects before the midterms.
Its going to be a while before those chargers are lit up and people are seeing the benefit of that investment; its not the same as stimulus checks going out, said E.J. Klock-McCook, a principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, which researches sustainability. Folks that are much smarter than me are going to need to think about how to communicate around that.

Charging up consumers
Getting people and businesses to switch to electric vehicles will be the most effective way to combat high gasoline prices over the long term, Bidens Energy secretary said May 18.
Ultimately, what we need to do the strategy that will work best is to reduce demand by moving to electrification, Jennifer Granholm said at POLITICOs Sustainability Summit.
A leader at one electric vehicle advocacy group agreed, while saying his organization doesnt see high gas prices as a good thing.
The high gas prices highlight the importance of electric vehicles, said Andres Hoyos, vice president of the Zero Emission Transportation Association. He added, If we make those right policy choices now, our EV market here has an opportunity to be an amazing success story.
Biden has proposed a goal of making electric vehicle sales 50 percent of the U.S. market by 2030. Last year, they made up 3.4 percent of new cars sold.
But at the moment, the same volatile gas prices that could encourage more car owners to switch are a political anchor for Democrats in an election year threatening their ability to enact any significant policies once a new Congress takes office in January.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll taken May 13-16 shows that registered voters see Bidens policies as the biggest driver of inflation, ahead of Russias war with Ukraine and a lack of competition among large corporations. People responding to a poll in April placed blame for high gas prices at the foot of Russian President Vladimir Putin and oil companies but also saw Democratic policies taking a much larger share of the blame than Republicans.
The GOP is poised to reap the benefits in November: Republicans hold an 8-percentage-point lead in the midterm battleground districts, a poll by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee showed last week. Bidens approval ratings remain underwater, and an AP-NORC poll on May 20 showed them dropping to the lowest point of his presidency.
Democrats know the challenge this creates for the message theyre trying to send to voters.
I think weve got to communicate to our neighbors that were the ones fighting for lower costs across the board, said Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Its the same with energy costs, whether its weatherizing your home to make sure you have the insulation, to electric vehicles. We are standing up for them and weve got to get off the reliance on gas and oil.
Republicans say easing regulations on oil and gas drilling is the way to lower gas prices quickly, which would help the majority of Americans who cannot afford a new electric vehicle or are likely to purchase a used car. Theyve also rejected Democrats attempts to blame the soaring gas prices on Russia, the pandemic or oil industry price gouging.
Democrats are content to play the blame game rather than help the American people deal with skyrocketing inflation, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) said during a floor speech.

Drivers habits slow to change
Complicating matters is that while drivers are suffering sticker shock from gasoline prices firmly above $4 a gallon, they largely havent made wholesale changes to their habits yet.
For now, motorists are still filling up their tanks as summer driving season approaches: 60 percent of Americans are likely to take more vacations this year than in 2020 or 2021, an American Hotel & Lodging Association poll found, although a third said high gas prices would probably make them cancel their vacation plans and not reschedule.
Fuel prices, when adjusted for inflation, are still off their modern high of $5.32 a gallon in July 2008. They are also driving more fuel-efficient cars than ever before, meaning theyre getting more out of a tank of gas than they were during the Carter or Reagan era.
But a tipping point is approaching when the average household will soon start paying more than 3 percent of their disposable income on gasoline purchases, said Kevin Book, managing director at the energy analyst firm ClearView. Thats the point when drivers will probably start seriously looking at cutting miles, carpooling and canceling vacations, and what had been an annoyance for many becomes a widespread economic problem.
A lot of things will get cut out of family budgets before the gasoline demand stops, Book said. A number of vacations probably got canceled for August, but those already booked for May are probably going to go through.
Even then, the move to electric vehicles will require years to really take off, said Seth Goldstein, an analyst at the market research firm Morningstar. He said the shift will accelerate as costs come down, more varied models hit showrooms and charging stations take shorter times to rejuice a car.
I think well see EV adoption speed up, Goldstein said. The infrastructure bill signed last year should fund the development of thousands of fast charges along highways and in the cities, and that should all help boost EV adoption the next several years. But you know, these things arent immediate.
Certainly not fast enough to help Democrats this November.
In the shorter term, Congress can ease the supply-chain crunch plaguing electric vehicles by passing bipartisan legislation to spur the domestic production of chips and semiconductors, said Hoyos, of the Zero Emission Transportation Association. But even that, he acknowledged, wont offer an immediate solution.
Hoyos said ZETA is also pushing to expand the federal tax credit for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and having it apply at the point of sale, which would lower the purchase price instead of showing up a year later as a tax savings. The group also wants Congress to expand the tax credits to include used electric-vehicle purchases and remove the cap that reduces the tax credits once a manufacturer has sold 200,000 vehicles.
If Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) can come to an agreement that includes some or all of those policy changes, Hoyos said, the American electric vehicle market can become a huge success story.
Democrats are negotiating on the tax credits, including whether to include an additional credit for cars made in America and a third credit for vehicles manufactured with unionized labor, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) said in an interview. Republicans, meanwhile, are seeking to expand oil production. But none of the ideas being pitched will make an immediate dent in energy prices, he said.
Anything that we do that requires construction or new manufacturing materials will take time, Casten said. None of those things are going to be built fast enough to change the trajectory. But Im hard pressed to find something more effective to do than to give people access to electric vehicles and renewable energy.


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The world's car buyers are ready to go electric
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Consumer interest in electric vehicles has hit a global tipping point, with more than half of car buyers saying they want their next car to be an EV, new research from Ernst & Young shows.
Yes, but: Americans still aren't as enthusiastic as consumers in Europe and Asia.
Why it matters: The world is in the midst of a global transition away from gasoline-powered vehicles, driven by environmental concerns and, in some countries, avoidance of stiff penalties on vehicles with internal combustion engines.
Driving the news: 52% of respondents to EY's annual Mobility Consumer Index who are looking to buy a car want an EV, according to the survey of 13,000 people in 18 countries.
That's a leap of 22 percentage points in two years, and the first time that EV interest exceeded 50%, the company said.
Buyers in Italy (73%), China (69%) and South Korea (63%) were the most interested.
Consumers in Australia (38%) and the U.S. (29%) showed less interest.
Between the lines: Government policies are probably driving consumer choices in many markets.
The European Union, for example, plans to ban sales of conventional gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
China wants 40% of vehicles sold to be electric by 2030 and has used buyer subsidies and other policy measures to support the transition.
In the U.S., President Biden set a target for 50% of new cars to be electric by 2030. But with gas prices spiking, a proposal to boost tax credits for consumers who choose EVs is now getting congressional pushback.
For the first time in the poll, 34% of respondents identified rising penalties on conventional cars as a key factor in their purchase decision, E&Y found.
And 88% say they would pay more for an EV.
One issue that's starting to fade: range anxiety, especially for second-time EV owners, the survey showed.
As battery technology advances and access to charging infrastructure improves, such worries will disappear, said EY.
What they're saying: These findings truly mark a tipping point in the global car-buying market," said Randy Miller, leader of the firm's advanced manufacturing and mobility practice.
"There is no doubt that global gas price rises have played their part in making internal combustion engines more expensive, but environmental concerns also remain top of the list of motivators."
The old issues of worrying about charging infrastructure and the range of EVs will soon come to an end."
Where it stands: In the U.S, electric vehicles accounted for a record 4.6% of new car registrations in the first quarter of 2022 nearly double last year's 2.4%, according to new data from S&P Global Mobility.
But EV ownership varies widely throughout the country, ranging from 14.7% in Los Angeles to 1.6% in Detroit.
Tesla dominates the EV market, with 71.1% share, down slightly from 71.8% a year ago.
There are 1.44 million electric vehicles in operation in the U.S. now, up a whopping 40% from last year.
Reality check: Overall, EVs still account for less than 1% (0.51%) of all vehicles on U.S. roads.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on May 23. An earlier version of this story misstated the European Union's position on conventional gas-powered vehicles: It will ban sales of the vehicles not the vehicles themselves and do so by 2035, not 2030.

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Dimitriy

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28.05.2022 . 28.05.2022 .

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U.S. awards $624 million contract to replenish Stinger missile stock
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The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon Technologies a $624 million contract to produce 1,300 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to replenish its stock after sending around 1,400 of the missile systems to Ukraine in response to Russia's unprovoked invasion.
Why it matters: U.S. lawmakers voiced concerns in April that the diversion of Stinger and Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine could leave the U.S. militarily vulnerable and called on President Biden to replenish supplies.
U.S. allies, such as Germany, also sent Stinger systems to Ukraine to help thwart Russian air assaults throughout the invasion.
The big picture: Raytheon said in a release Friday that the contract is being funded through the $40 billion military and humanitarian aid package that Congress passed for Ukraine earlier this month.
Greg Hayes, chief executive of Raytheon said during an earnings call in April that increasing the production of these missiles "is going to take us a little bit of time."
The company said Friday that the contract includes "provisions for engineering support, as well as the test equipment and support needed to address obsolescence, modernize key components, and accelerate production."
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Orthodox Church of Ukraine breaks with Moscow over invasion
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Leaders of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine declared independence from the Russian Orthodox Church over its support of the Kremlin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, according to a statement on the Ukrainian church's Facebook page on Friday.
Why it matter: Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of Russia's Orthodox Church, has repeatedly publicly supported the war, even though he is the spiritual leader of Orthodox churches in both countries, according to the New York Times.
The Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church breaking away represents a major schism, though it is unclear how many Ukrainian bishops and parishes will follow the leaders of the church.
The big picture: Earlier this month, Pope Francis criticized Kirill for his support for the invasion, telling him to not "transform himself into Putin's altar boy."
"Brother, we are not state clerics, we cannot use the language of politics but that of Jesus. We are pastors of the same holy people of God. Because of this, we must seek avenues of peace, to put an end to the firing of weapons," Francis said.
Kirill was also heavily criticized by the World Council of Churches in April for not supporting an Easter ceasefire for the conflict.
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