NATO declares Russia ‘direct threat’ as Putin cries ‘imperialism’





More: Slovaks cure dog disease, UK supports cyber defense in Georgia, police brutality in Romania, and more.

The big story: Putin says NATO has ‘imperial ambitions’ as Russia declares threat

What happened: NATO said Russia a “direct threat” under the alliance’s new strategy, DW Reportswhile the US President Joe Biden took advantage of the NATO summit in Madrid to announce a new reinforcement of the American military presence in Europe. Russian President Vladimir Poutinespeaking during his visit to Turkmenistanaccused NATO of wanting to “assert their supremacy, their imperial ambitions”, AFP reports.

More context: Dozens of people are still missing in addition to the 20 killed by the Russians bombing of a crowded mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk and authorities fear that more bodies may be found, Kyiv Independent reports. Human Rights Watch has asked for investigations in the missile strike while another potential Russian war crime. In the southern city of Mykolaiv, the death toll following yesterday’s Russian strike on an apartment building has risen to six, Ukrinform reports.

To note: Ukraine regained strategic importance snake island, NPR reports. Ukrainian forces have been attacking Russian outposts on the island for days, but the Kremlin claimed its troops withdrew from the island as “gesture of goodwill.” Snake Island became famous in February when a Ukrainian soldier on the island told an attacking Russian warship to “kiss my ass.”

News from the Regions

Central Europe and Baltic States

  • Analysis in Politics exposes the challenges Czech Republic as he takes over the EU Presidency tomorrow. While navigating through the energy crisis, soaring inflation and war in Ukraine, the Czechs will have to ensure that the EU has sufficient supplies of stored natural gas; put free exchange back to top of agenda; set global standards for artificial technology; get the EU on board with the proposal zero emissions a plan that would eliminate the use of internal combustion engines in cars by 2035 and meet other environmental targets; and implement the European Union Health Data Space Project which could add billions of euros to the EU economy by digitizing health data.
  • Scientists in Slovakia have developed a cure for a tick-borne disease that affects a growing number of dogs, The Slovak viewer writes.
  • Hundreds of Latvian monuments, memorial plaques and statues that glorify the former Soviet Union have been added to a list for possible removal, LETA reports.
  • The only concrete example so far of Moscow’s threat of retaliation against Vilnius over a trade dispute between Lithuania and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad is the removal of a memorial plaque to a Lithuanian philosopher in a small town in the region, SLR Reports. The city of Sovetsk removed a plaque from Lithuanian philosopher Vydunas earlier this week.

Southeast Europe

  • A recent apparent case of police brutality against the Roma in Romania highlights a long history of such attacks in the country, according to the European Roma Rights Center. The ERRC notes that the European Court of Human Rights issued 20 judgments between 2015 and 2019 condemning Romania for police brutality and failure to effectively investigate police abuse. The ERRC’s own recent report “found that 20 years of ‘serious concerns’ and recommendations from international bodies…have had no tangible impact on reducing police brutality and racism against the Roma in Romania.
  • A restaurant at Pristina protested against the lack of progress on the issue of visa exemption for Kosovars by erecting a sign prohibiting “European citizens without visas” from his restaurant, Euronews reports.

Eastern Europe and Russia

  • A ship loaded with grain left the Ukrainian Port of Berdyansk today, a rare event since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, The Moscow Times reports. Earlier this month, Putin discussed grain deliveries with the head of the African Union, according to RFE/RL.

The Caucasus

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged £5million to help Georgia defend against cyberattacks Russian pirates, reports TVP from Poland. ” Cheese fries cannot be allowed to use Georgia’s sovereign institutions to sharpen the knife of its cyber capacity…the support announced today will not only protect Georgia, but also the United Kingdom and all other free democracies under threat from the Russian hostility,” Johnson said.

Borderlands

  • The agreement that Turkey strike with Finland and Sweden to unblock the two countries’ NATO candidacies raises fears that Ankara could start demanding the extradition of Kurdish rights activists and other opponents of the government, Political reports. The two countries received formal invitations to the alliance at a summit in Madrid yesterday.

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