News Trending

Since the outset of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Poland has been a staunch supporter of Kyiv, providing military aid and making a passionate case for this support as crucial to Poland’s own defense against Russian aggression. However, there has been a notable shift in the Polish government’s stance on Ukraine.

Recently, a change in tone has emerged, raising questions about Poland’s commitment to Kyiv. Some Polish officials have suggested that Ukraine should show more gratitude for Poland’s support. Poland’s prime minister even hinted at the possibility of ending weapons transfers to Ukraine, though others in his party tried to backtrack on that message.

Polish President Andrzej Duda made a particularly controversial statement, likening Ukraine to a drowning man who could potentially pull down his rescuers. Moscow seized upon these remarks with enthusiasm.

The downturn in relations between the two neighboring countries began over a dispute about grain imports that remains unresolved. Ukraine needs to export its harvest, and land routes are vital since Russia has been deliberately targeting ports on the Black Sea and the Danube River. However, Poland, in a bid to protect its own farmers, has restricted cheaper Ukrainian grain from entering its domestic market, only permitting it to transit to the rest of the European Union.

This shift in Poland’s stance is not occurring in isolation, as “Ukraine fatigue” is looming over election campaigns in various countries. Poland’s governing Law and Justice party (PiS), which is leading in the polls but faces tight margins, is positioning itself as the defender of Polish interests. PiS aims to attract conservative voters who may be sympathetic to the idea that Ukraine is not showing enough gratitude for Polish support.

Despite criticism from opposition politicians who label this shift as dangerous nationalism, Poland’s changing tone reflects a broader trend. Ukraine is concerned about maintaining strong Western support as it faces Russian forces, making this shift in Poland’s stance a cause for worry. However, Poland emphasizes that international aid will continue to reach Ukraine’s frontlines through Rzeszow in the east, a critical transit hub for military supplies. Talks between Ukraine and Poland regarding the grain dispute are ongoing.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending

A day after Azerbaijan initiated an offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, ethnic-Armenian forces have agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Russia. This agreement includes the significant concession of complete disarmament by Karabakh forces. Nagorno-Karabakh, home to around 120,000 ethnic Armenians, is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Three years ago, Azerbaijan reclaimed areas in and around Karabakh and, on Tuesday, demanded an unconditional surrender. Karabakh authorities have reported at least 32 casualties, including seven civilians, and approximately 200 injuries since Azerbaijan launched what it termed “anti-terror” operations.

Azerbaijan’s leadership has announced plans to meet with Armenian representatives from Karabakh to discuss “re-integration” matters in the Azerbaijani town of Yevlakh, located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Karabakh’s regional capital, known as Khankendi to Azerbaijanis and Stepanakert to Armenians.

Mediated by Russian peacekeepers, enclave leaders have confirmed a comprehensive cessation of hostilities beginning at 13:00 local time (09:00 GMT). However, despite the ceasefire, loud explosions persisted in the regional capital, and minor clashes were reported by both sides. Azerbaijan claimed to have captured over 90 positions from ethnic Armenians since the conflict began.

Karabakh officials urged residents to remain in shelters and avoid heading to the local airport, which adjoins a Russian peacekeeping base. Nonetheless, a group of civilians gathered near the airport.

Russia revealed that its peacekeepers had evacuated 2,000 people from Karabakh villages since the offensive commenced. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that his government played no part in crafting the ceasefire text and insisted that Russian peacekeepers bore full responsibility for the safety of the local population. On Tuesday, he accused Azerbaijan of carrying out “ethnic cleansing” in Karabakh.

The terms of the truce require complete disarmament and disbandment of local Karabakh forces, along with a commitment for Armenian forces to withdraw, despite Yerevan’s denial of any military presence there.

Azerbaijan’s presidential envoy, Elchin Amirbekov, stated that Russian peacekeepers played a crucial role in facilitating the ceasefire’s implementation.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending

Azerbaijan’s defense ministry has initiated “anti-terrorist” operations in regions of Nagorno-Karabakh controlled by Armenia. Tensions have remained elevated for several months concerning the disputed ethnic-Armenian enclave, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

In Karabakh’s main city, air raid sirens and mortar fire were heard. Tragically, eleven Azerbaijani police and civilians lost their lives in a mine explosion and another incident.

Officials from the breakaway region of Karabakh stated that the Azerbaijani military breached the ceasefire by launching missile and artillery attacks along the entire line of contact. Representatives from Karabakh described it as a “large-scale military offensive.”

Azerbaijan and Armenia, neighboring nations, have previously engaged in two conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh: first in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union and again in 2020. Three years ago, Azerbaijan successfully regained territories surrounding Karabakh, which had been held by Armenia since 1994.

Since December, Azerbaijan has imposed an effective blockade on the only route into the enclave from Armenia, known as the Lachin Corridor.

On Tuesday, Baku’s defense ministry accused Armenian forces of “systematically shelling” its military positions and claimed to have responded by launching “local, anti-terrorist activities” aimed at disarming and securing the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijani territories. They emphasized that their targets were strictly military and not civilians or civilian infrastructure.

Armenia’s defense ministry denied claims of Armenian military fire, stating that they did not correspond to reality.

The sounds of artillery and gunfire were reported from Khankendi, the regional capital of Karabakh, known as Stepanakert to Armenians. An estimated 120,000 ethnic Armenians reside in this mountainous enclave.

Journalist Siranush Sargsyan reported that residential areas of the city had been struck, including a neighboring building.

Armenian officials noted that, as of 14:00 (10:00 GMT), the situation along Armenia’s own borders was “relatively stable.”

Russia’s foreign ministry disclosed that it had been informed of the Azerbaijani offensive only moments before it occurred, urging both nations to respect the ceasefire that was signed after the 2020 war. The EU’s regional special representative, Toivo Klaar, emphasized the “urgent need for an immediate ceasefire.”

The fragile truce that ended the six-week war in 2020 had been under increasing strain in recent months. Approximately 3,000 Russian peacekeepers were deployed to monitor the ceasefire, but Russia’s attention has been redirected to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recently stated that Russia was “spontaneously leaving the region.”

Azerbaijan had denied increasing troop numbers in the region. On Monday, it permitted aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross to enter Karabakh via two routes, one through the Lachin Corridor from Armenia and the other on Azerbaijan’s Aghdam road.

Hopes for tensions to ease were dashed when Azerbaijani officials reported six casualties, including four police officers, in an incident where their vehicle hit a landmine in the Khojavand area, which had been retaken during the 2020 war. Meanwhile, ethnic Armenian officials in Karabakh asserted that it was Azerbaijan’s military that had violated the ceasefire.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending

Austria’s former Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl, known for her pro-Russian stance, is relocating to St. Petersburg, Russia, accompanied by her two ponies.

Karin Kneissl had previously been residing in Lebanon but left her government position amid a scandal involving the far-right Austrian party that appointed her.

She explained that her ponies were transported to St. Petersburg via a Russian military transport plane from Syria.

Ms. Kneissl disclosed that her decision to move to Russia was driven by her role in managing a think tank at St. Petersburg University, which she co-founded. She emphasized the dedication required for this work and her inability to carry it out remotely.

When asked about her move to Russia’s second-largest city, she declined to provide further comment. However, on social media, she mentioned that her stay in Lebanon had been temporary “to survive” while she commuted to Russia for teaching.

Ms. Kneissl is renowned for her love of animals and cited sanctions against Syria and the security situation there as the reasons for using a military transport plane to bring her ponies and belongings to Russia.

The Leningrad region’s veterinary department confirmed that the ponies had undergone examinations and were placed in quarantine.

Karin Kneissl served as Austria’s Foreign Minister from 2017 to 2019, appointed as an independent by Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, which has close ties to Russia.

She gained international attention in 2018 when she invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to her wedding in southern Austria, with photographs showing her dancing with him.

Ms. Kneissl announced her move to Russia while attending the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, an annual event aimed at encouraging investment in Russia’s far east. During the forum, she was seen appearing to fall asleep while listening to President Putin’s keynote speech.

Karin Kneissl is a regular commentator on the Russian state-backed news channel RT and served as a board member of the state-owned oil company Rosneft.

She left Austria in 2020, citing death threats and a de facto ban on working in the country.

Her departure followed the collapse of the government coalition between the conservatives and the far-right Freedom Party in 2019, triggered by a scandal involving FPÖ leader Heinz Christian Strache, who was filmed allegedly promising government contracts to a woman posing as a niece of a Russian oligarch at a villa in Ibiza.

Currently, the Freedom Party is in opposition but leads in opinion polls, making it a strong contender in upcoming elections. Its new leader, Herbert Kickl, has criticized EU sanctions against Russia, blaming them for the rising cost of living.

Peter Gridling, Austria’s former spymaster from 2008 to 2020, expressed concerns about the Freedom Party’s ties with Russia and warned that the party had not severed its connections with the Kremlin.

Vienna, Austria’s capital, has a longstanding tradition as a hub for espionage, which persists to this day.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending

President Zelensky has strongly condemned a deliberate attack on the peaceful city of Kostyantynivka in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region. The attack, which occurred in broad daylight on a bustling market street, claimed the lives of 17 people, including a child, and left at least 32 others injured. Videos circulating on social media captured a vivid orange explosion at one end of the street, where people were engaged in shopping. Russia has yet to issue a statement regarding the attack.

President Zelensky, holding Moscow responsible, expressed his outrage at the loss of innocent lives, emphasizing that the victims were ordinary citizens who had done nothing wrong. He cautioned that the death toll could rise further, characterizing dealing with Russia as confronting audacious malevolence.

The blast damaged a market, shops, and a pharmacy, but Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal assured residents that all essential services were functioning, and the fire was under control.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Ihor Klimenko, later announced that the search and rescue operation had concluded. Online footage and images depicted the explosion and its harrowing aftermath.

This incident represents one of the most severe attacks of its kind in recent months, striking a bustling street as people gathered at market stalls and café terraces. Ukraine’s prosecutor-general has initiated an investigation into the attack, pursuing criminal proceedings for violations of the laws and customs of war and documenting potential war crimes committed by the Russian Federation.

Russian officials have not claimed responsibility for the attack, and they have previously denied targeting civilians during their offensive.

Kostyantynivka, situated near the conflict zone, has experienced several attacks this year, causing civilian casualties and extensive damage to residential buildings and infrastructure. Additionally, the city is approximately 17 miles (27km) from the heavily contested city of Bakhmut.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Kyiv coincided with the attack, where he met with Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Ahead of his arrival, sirens blared across the country, and Kyiv’s air defense system intercepted missiles aimed at the capital. It was anticipated that Mr. Blinken would announce a new US aid package for Ukraine during his visit.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending War

Moscow’s atmosphere is heavily influenced by Russia’s imperial history. The imposing Kremlin walls and towers create a sense of insignificance among visitors on Red Square.

A similar feeling arises five miles away at Victory Park, a vast complex of museums and memorials honoring the Soviet Union’s triumph over Nazi Germany. Its centerpiece, a colossal square with a 141.8-meter obelisk, pays tribute to each day of World War Two.

During my visit, the National Day of the Russian Flag is celebrated, marked by the unfolding of a massive tricolor flag, reportedly the nation’s largest. Ringed by Russian soldiers, the flag unfurls to the tune of patriotic music. The museum director’s speech underscores the unifying power of such events.

In the wake of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin has actively promoted such patriotic gatherings.

Inside the Victory Museum, an exhibition glorifies the “heroes” of the “special military operation,” likening Russian involvement in Ukraine to the Soviet efforts in WW2.

Andrei Afanasiev, a pro-Kremlin blogger and academic, believes that patriotism gains importance during wartime, asserting that Russia is facing a Western-led conflict that necessitates self-reliance and unity. He maintains that patriotism has surged and that the Russian people are mobilized and united by the war.

Russian state TV portrays “successes” and “progress,” but the actual situation contrasts starkly. A military analyst reveals that the Russian military acknowledges being in a tough spot, having lost territory and with morale low due to their unpreparedness for modern warfare.

The analyst indicates that information about the battlefield situation is distorted as it moves up the chain of command, including to the president.

The overall atmosphere in Moscow exudes apprehension. Recent events, such as Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mutiny and the devaluation of the ruble, contribute to a sense of unease. The city’s skyline is juxtaposed with an anti-aircraft system atop the Russian Defence Ministry, symbolizing the coexistence of beauty and apprehension.

While individuals might not be perturbed by individual occurrences, there’s a prevailing sentiment of concern about the present and fear for the future.

In Gorky Park, a picturesque scene unfolds, with families enjoying the surroundings. Nearby, the Russian Defence Ministry stands, topped by an anti-aircraft system. This contrast doesn’t alarm locals, with some expressing approval for the military stance.

Fear has taken root in Moscow. Opposition activists convene in inconspicuous spaces, with Yulia Galyamina leading the meeting. She laments the frequent arrests of activists but remains committed to her cause. Other activists, using pseudonyms due to fear, underscore the presence of anti-war sentiment in Russia and their dedication to the cause.

Despite the challenges, they believe in humanity’s ultimate triumph and vow to persevere.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending War

Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was reportedly among the passengers aboard a Russian jet that crashed, resulting in the deaths of all 10 individuals on board. The crash occurred in the Tver region, northwest of Moscow. Social media linked to the Wagner mercenary group have suggested that Prigozhin’s private plane was shot down by Russian air defenses. The Grey Zone Telegram channel stated that Prigozhin died due to actions by traitors to Russia.

Prigozhin had previously led a failed mutiny against the Russian armed forces in June, though some experts believe the mutiny was staged, and he abandoned his “justice march” on Moscow after direct orders from President Vladimir Putin. The crash coincided with reports of the removal of senior Russian general Sergei Surovikin, who was known to have a connection with Prigozhin. The crashed aircraft, an Embraer-135, was en route from Moscow to St Petersburg with seven passengers and three crew members.

An investigation has been initiated into the crash, and all 10 bodies have been recovered. The Wagner mercenary group, which Prigozhin was associated with, has been involved in various conflicts including those in Ukraine, Syria, and West Africa, and is known for its brutality. Prigozhin’s mutiny had created tensions with Russian military commanders and President Putin.

President Putin’s initial response to Prigozhin’s challenge to Russia’s defense establishment was strongly negative. The circumstances surrounding Prigozhin’s death, if confirmed, have raised speculation, with some eyebrows being raised about the possibility of deliberate targeting. US President Joe Biden expressed that he was “not surprised” by the news of Prigozhin’s potential death.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending War

Following a drone attack on the Belgorod region of Russia, three people have lost their lives. This incident occurred shortly after another drone struck central Moscow. Russian authorities have attributed the attack on Belgorod to Kyiv and Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov implicated Ukrainian forces, alleging that they deployed an explosive device via a drone while people were present on the streets. However, Kyiv has not taken responsibility for either of the incidents, which is in line with its usual practice of refraining from commenting on attacks within Russia.

In response to the initial drone strike in Belgorod that resulted in three fatalities, the Russian Defence Ministry reported the destruction of a second drone in the region. Drones were also noted in Moscow, with one hitting a building under construction, according to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. The Russian defence ministry stated that air defenses successfully downed two drones in the Mozhaisk and Khimki districts of the Moscow region, with no reported casualties.

In the wake of the drone attack in the capital, all flights to and from Moscow’s airports were temporarily suspended on Wednesday, although they were later resumed. This suspension marked a recurrent response to a series of recent drone attacks targeting the capital. Notably, this event represented the sixth consecutive night of aerial assaults on the Moscow region.

The drone responsible for striking the under-construction building in the Moscow city complex was reportedly neutralized by electronic warfare systems. Subsequently, it lost control and collided with the building, leading to damage. Emergency services were dispatched to assess the situation and address the damages caused.

The US State Department responded to reports of the downed drones, asserting that the US does not endorse drone attacks in Russia. American officials emphasized that it is Ukraine’s prerogative to determine its defense strategy and urged Russia to conclude the conflict by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine. Incidences of alleged drone strikes inside Russian territory have grown increasingly frequent in recent months.

The Russian defence ministry indicated that it had intercepted two drones over the Moscow region on Tuesday, and two additional drones were reportedly thwarted over the Bryansk region near the Ukrainian border. Furthermore, Russian authorities claimed that a Ukrainian reconnaissance boat in the Black Sea was destroyed by a Russian warplane after approaching Russian gas production facilities. Although Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the drone incursions on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously characterized attacks on Russian territory as an “inevitable, natural, and entirely justifiable process.”

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending

The owner of the Domino’s Pizza franchise in Russia has announced plans to close its branches and file for bankruptcy, signaling an end to its operations due to the challenging business environment in the country.

DP Eurasia, which operates 171 Domino’s Pizza outlets in Russia, has decided not to proceed with the sale of its pizza chain’s shops in the face of increasing difficulties. This move comes in the wake of Western companies disengaging from Russia following the Ukraine invasion and economic sanctions.

While some businesses have chosen to exit, others, including Domino’s, have faced criticism for remaining. DP Eurasia owns 68 of the Domino’s Pizza shops in Russia and franchises 103 to local operators. The company’s presence in Russia will be terminated as a result of this decision.

DP Eurasia, which also holds master franchise rights for Domino’s in Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, had been evaluating its options after sanctions were imposed. The Russian economy has been impacted by sanctions since the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, leading to several well-known companies shuttering their operations.

Pressure was applied to other major brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola to follow suit. Some companies, such as Unilever, have defended their continued operations in Russia, citing complexities and potential takeovers by the Russian state.

Despite this, Domino’s Pizza Inc., the American multinational and master franchisor, clarified that it had ceased supporting the Russian market through its subsidiaries since early 2022.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright

News Trending

Russia’s unmanned Luna-25 spacecraft has crashed onto the Moon’s surface after losing control, marking the country’s initial lunar endeavor in nearly half a century. The spacecraft, intended to achieve the first-ever landing at the Moon’s southern pole, encountered complications while transitioning into its pre-landing orbit. This particular area of the Moon holds potential for frozen water and valuable elements, prompting anticipation.

Russia’s state space corporation, Roscosmos, reported the loss of contact with Luna-25 around 14:57 pm on Saturday. A preliminary investigation revealed that the 800kg lander was obliterated upon impact with the Moon’s surface. A dedicated committee will investigate the causes behind the mission’s failure.

The incident signifies a setback for Roscosmos, as Russia’s non-military space program has experienced a decline due to shifting funding priorities. Concurrently, India was in a race to reach the Moon’s southern pole with its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, scheduled for imminent landing, aiming to explore and send back data and images of the region’s hidden areas.

Parts of the Moon’s southern pole remain enshrouded in permanent shadow, boosting the possibility of locating water. An official from the Indian space agency, Isro, expressed regret about the Luna-25 mishap, acknowledging the risks and technical challenges inherent in space missions.

Roscosmos had acknowledged the risky nature of the Luna-25 mission, which launched from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome on August 11. The spacecraft had successfully entered the Moon’s orbit earlier in the week and was poised for a historic soft landing attempt just before India’s own scheduled touchdown.

While the US and China have soft-landed on the Moon’s surface, no country had previously achieved a successful landing at the Moon’s southern pole. Luna-25 marked Russia’s return to lunar exploration since 1976 when the successful Luna-24 mission took place during the Soviet era.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright