Category Archives: WORLD

China opposes India’s plans to hold G20 meeting in J&K, says report

“We have noted this latest development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a media briefing

China on Thursday voiced its opposition to India’s reported plans to hold the next year’s meeting of G-20 leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, echoing close ally Pakistan’s objection, and underlined that relevant sides should avoid “unilateral moves” that may “complicate” the situation..

“We have noted this latest development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here on Thursday while replying to a question from the official media.

“China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear-cut. The Kashmir issue, a dispute left from the past, should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement,” Zhao said.

He said the “parties concerned need to avoid unilateral moves that may complicate the situation. Efforts should be made to settle the dispute through dialogue and consultation so as to maintain regional peace and stability.”

Stating that the G20 is a premier forum for international economic and financial cooperation, Zhao said, “we call on all major economies to focus on steady recovery of the world economy, avoid politicising relevant cooperation and make positive contributions to improving global economic governance.”

Asked whether China, a member of G20, would attend the meeting to be held in 2023, he said, “We will look at whether China will attend the meeting.”

To another question that China is building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the disputed region in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and India’s objections over it, Zhao said the “two matters are completely different in nature. China has undertaken some projects in Pakistan to help it grow its economy and improve people’s livelihood.”

“These projects are in Pakistan-occupied areas of Kashmir,” Zhao said, perhaps a rare occasion when China has described PoK in this way.

“Relevant Chinese companies conduct the relevant projects with the purpose of helping Pakistan to develop its economy and improve people’s livelihood,” he said.

“This does not affect China’s position on the Kashmir issue,” he underlined.

On June 25, Pakistan said it rejected India’s attempt to hold a meeting of G20 countries in Kashmir, hoping that members of the grouping will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would oppose the proposal outright.

Jammu and Kashmir will be hosting the 2023 meetings of G-20, an influential grouping that brings together the world’s major economies, with the union territory administration last Thursday setting up a five-member high-level committee for overall coordination.

This will be the first major international summit expected to be held in Jammu and Kashmir after its special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution was withdrawn and the erstwhile state was divided into two union territories in August 2019.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a statement that Islamabad had taken note of news items appearing in the Indian media indicating that India might be contemplating to hold some G20-related meeting in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Pakistan completely rejects any such attempt by India,” Ahmad said.

He said it was a well-known fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory between Pakistan and India, and has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for over seven decades.

He hoped that in case of any such controversial proposal from India, the G20 members will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would reject it outright.

UN INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SUPPORT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE

Every year, on 26 June, UN marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, reminding the world to condemn torture and show solidarity with those suffering.

The continued annexation of the Kashmir valley intensified after August 2019, when India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in its constitution. Over 800,000 security forces from the Indian army, paramilitary forces/ police have been deployed in the disputed region.

They are armed with special powers (Armed Forces’ Jammu and Kashmir’ Special Powers Act, 1990) and PSA (Public Safety Act-1978) as a carte blanche. This gives Indian security forces absolute authority to detain, capture, kidnap, kill/ dump and keep people incommunicado without being called to accountability.

Indian security forces have “employed rape, torture, degrading treatment and killings of Kashmiri women as instruments of state terrorism.” Women, men and children living in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir have “faced pellet guns, sexual assault, electrocution, and physical and mental torture” at the hands of Indian forces. The genocide in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir continues unabated leaving a blotch on India’s face of a ‘so-called champion of human rights’. Brutalities in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir reveals a data of over 96,000 killings of Kashmiris, 22,900 plus each widows and 107,860 orphans, 6,000 mass graves and over 8,000 enforced disappearances.

The 77th UNGA session is a test case for the global organization to bail out the beleaguered population of Occupied Jammu and Kashmirfrom perpetual humiliation, oppression and subjugation by more than half a million Indian security forces. Indian violence in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is “going towards genocide.”  The Indian military openly commits war crimes against women, the elderly and children. Every house, every family in the Valley has stories to tell of torture and degradation at the hands of the Indian forces.

Russian journalist’s Nobel Peace Prize fetches record $103.5 mln at auction to aid Ukraine children

June 21 (Reuters) – Dmitry Muratov, the co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize and the editor of one of Russia’s last major independent newspapers, auctioned off his Nobel medal for a record $103.5 million to aid children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

All proceeds from the auction, which coincided with the World Refugee Day on Monday, will benefit UNICEF’s humanitarian response for Ukraine’s displaced children, Heritage Auctions, which conducted the sale in New York, said in a statement

Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, fiercely critical of President Vladimir Putin and his government, suspended operations in Russia in March after warnings from the state over its coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Pressure against liberal Russian media outlets has been continuous under Putin, Russia’s paramount leader since 1999, but it has mounted after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Muratov was attacked with red paint in April

Russia’s mainstream media and state-controlled organisations follow closely the language used by the Kremlin to describe the conflict with Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation” to ensure Russian security and denazify its neighbour. Kyiv and its Western allies say it is an unprovoked war of aggression.

According to U.S. media reports, the auction of Muratov’s prize shattered the record for any Nobel medal that has been auctioned off, with reports saying that the previous highest sale fetched just under $5 million.

“This award is unlike any other auction offering to present,” Heritage Auctions said in a statement before the sale.

“Mr. Muratov, with the full support of his staff at Novaya Gazeta, is allowing us to auction his medal not as a collectible but as an event that he hopes will positively impact the lives of millions of Ukrainian refugees.”

Muratov, who co-founded Novaya Gazeta in 1991, won the 2021 the Nobel Peace Prize with Maria Ressa of the Philippines for what the Nobel Prize committee said were “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”.

Muratov, who pledged to donate about $500,000 of that prize money to charities, dedicated his Nobel to the six Novaya Gazeta journalists who have been murdered since 2000.

That list included the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of Russia’s war in Chechnya, who was killed in 2006 in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building.

Ukraine braces for Russian ‘storm’ in east in run-up to EU meeting

KYIV, June 21 (Reuters) – Ukraine acknowledged on Tuesday difficulties in fighting in its east as Russian forces regrouped after stepping up pressure and making advances on two cities ahead of an EU summit this week expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.

The governor of the Luhansk region, scene of the heaviest Russian onslaughts in recent weeks, said Russian forces had launched a massive attack and gained some territory on Monday though it was relatively quiet overnight.

Advertisement · Scroll to continue

“It’s a calm before the storm,” the governor, Serhiy Gaidai, said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had predicted Russia would step up attacks ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. He was defiant in a late Monday address to the nation, though referring to “difficult” fighting in Luhansk for Sievierodonetsk and its sister city, Lysychansk.

“We are defending Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” he said. “But we have our strong guys and girls there.”

Advertisement · Scroll to continue

Gaidai said Russian forces controlled most of Sievierodonetsk, apart from the Azot chemical plant, where more than 500 civilians, including 38 children, have been sheltering for weeks. The road connecting Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk to the city of Bakhmut was under constant shell fire, he said.

Rodion Miroshnik, ambassador to Russia of the self-styled Luhansk People’s Republic, said its forces were “moving from the south towards Lysychansk” with firefights erupting in a number of towns.

Advertisement · Scroll to continue

“The hours to come should bring considerable changes to the balance of forces in the area,” he said on Telegram.

ATTRITIONAL PHASE

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a “special operation” to degrade its military capabilities and root out what it calls dangerous nationalists.

It has also introduced a law making the spread of “knowingly fake” information or reporting that could discredit the Russian military an offence.

Dmitry Muratov, the co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize and editor of an independent Russian newspaper, auctioned off his Nobel medal for a record $103.5 million to aid children displaced by the war. His paper, fiercely critical of President Vladimir Putin, suspended operations in Russia in March after warnings over its coverage of the war. read more

The war has entered a brutal attritional phase in recent weeks, with Russian forces concentrating on Ukrainian-controlled parts of the Donbas, which Russia claims on behalf of separatists.

In Odesa, Ukraine’s biggest Black Sea port, which is blockaded by the Russian navy, a Russian missile destroyed a food warehouse on Monday, Ukraine’s military said.

The United States and its European allies have provided weapons and financial assistance to Ukraine but avoided direct involvement in the conflict.

Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv region
A view shows a damaged residential building in Donetsk
Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv region

1/14

A man stands outside a damaged residential building located in Panfilova street following recent shelling in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in Donetsk, Ukraine June 20, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Read More

British military intelligence said Ukraine forces claimed their first successful use of Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles, destroying a tug delivering weapons and personnel to a Russian held island in the Black Sea. read more

“Ukrainian coastal defence capability has largely neutralised Russia’s ability to establish sea control and project maritime force in the north-western Black Sea,” it said.

CAPTURED AMERICANS

Some foreign citizens have volunteered to fight for Ukraine.

On Monday, the Kremlin said two Americans detained in Ukraine were mercenaries not covered by the Geneva convention who should face responsibility for their actions. read more

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s comments were the first formal acknowledgment that the two, identified in U.S. reports as Andy Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drueke, 39, were being held.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said they had been in touch with Russian authorities regarding any U.S. citizens who may have been captured and called on Russia and its proxies “to live up to their international obligations” in their treatment of any captive.

This month, a separatist court sentenced two Britons and a Moroccan to death after they were caught fighting for Ukraine.

International concern has focused on trying to restore Ukrainian exports of food, now shut by a de facto Russian blockade. Ukraine is one of the world’s main sources of grain and food oils, leading to fears of global shortages.

Russia blames the food crisis on Western sanctions.

The war has also disrupted energy markets, including Russian shipments of oil and gas to Europe, still the continent’s main source of energy and Russia’s primary income source. Russia says EU sanctions prevented it from restoring pipeline equipment.

Russia threatened to retaliate against EU member Lithuania for banning transport of coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology to Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost on the Baltic Sea surrounded by EU territory.

Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Lithuania’s top diplomat and demanded it reverse the “openly hostile” move or Russia “reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests.” Lithuania said EU sanctions obliged it to enforce the ban.

Bush mistakenly calls Iraq invasion ‘brutal, unjustified’

Former United States President George W. Bush mistakenly described the invasion of Iraq as “brutal” and “unjustified” before correcting himself to say he meant to refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Bush made the comments in a speech during an event in Dallas on Wednesday, while he was criticising Russia’s political system.

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq,” Bush said, before correcting himself and shaking his head. “I mean, of Ukraine.”

He jokingly blamed the mistake on his age as the audience burst into laughter.

In 2003, when Bush was president, the United States led an invasion of Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that were never found. The prolonged conflict killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced many more.

Bush’s remarks quickly went viral on social media, gathering over three million views on Twitter alone after the clip was tweeted by a Dallas News reporter.

The former US President also compared Ukranian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy to Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill, while condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching the invasion of Ukraine in February.