Global Review – 24th August

Zelensky vows Ukraine will retake Crimea

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed Kiev will use any means it deemed fit to recapture the Crimean peninsula and would restore its rule over Crimea. Speaking at the Crimea Platform conference, he also pledged a strong response to any Russian attacks on Independence Day. The peninsula was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. “To overcome terror, it is necessary to gain victory in the fight against Russian aggression,” he told delegates to the Crimea Platform, an online video conference. The forum seeks to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity over the peninsula. “It is necessary to liberate Crimea. This will be the resuscitation of world law and order,” said Zelensky. The president said Ukraine would recapture Crimea by any means his government deemed right, and that it would not consult other countries before doing so. Zelenskyy also pledged that any Russian attacks on or around today, Wednesday, the Independence Day of Ukraine – which marks the end of Soviet rule over the country in 1991 – would be met with a strong response. “The military would respond to an attack on Kiev, the same way it would for any city struck by Russia.”

Universal support for Kiev’s position

Polish President Andrzej Duda, who met Zelenskyy in person, urged other leaders not to turn a blind eye on Russian aggression, or abandon the idea that Ukraine could take back the peninsula. “Crimea was, remains and will be a part of Ukraine, just like Gdansk is a part of Poland, Nice is a part of France, Cologne is a part of Germany, and Rotterdam is a part of Netherlands,” Duda said.

Other leaders who took part in the Crimea Platform virtually said they supported Ukraine in its will not to concede any territory lost to Russia since 2014. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Western leaders “condemn Russia’s attempts to forcefully integrate parts of Ukrainian territory. Any sham referenda or other attempts to alter the status of parts of Ukrainian territory will never be recognized. Such steps preclude any negotiations,” Scholz said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the conference that, since February, Moscow has been using Crimea as a staging post for attacks on Ukraine as well as “a testing ground for the brutal methods Russia is now applying across the other occupied parts of Ukraine”.

Six months after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron used the forum to pledge continued EU support for Ukraine. “Our determination has not changed, and we are ready to maintain this effort for the long term,” Macron told participants. “This destabilisation of the international order and the disruptions that have followed, on the humanitarian level, in terms of energy and food, are the consequences of the choice made by Russia and Russia alone to attack Ukraine on February 24,” Macron said. “Against this there can be no weakness, no spirit of compromise, because it’s a matter of our freedom, for everyone, and of peace everywhere around the world,” he added.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has, once again, uttered his country’s support for Crimnea to be given back to Ukraine. Speaking at the ongoing Crimea conference in Ukraine, Draghi said Italy had always condemned the occupation of Crimea, adding “we are concerned about the worsening of human rights in the peninsula and the injustices towards the Tatar community: the struggle for Crimea is part of the struggle to liberate Ukraine.”

Western allies of Ukraine have supplied Kyiv with billions of dollars in military equipment and other aid. They are wary, however, of becoming embroiled in a direct fight against Russian forces, which now occupy large swaths of Ukraine’s east and south.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  has urged Moscow to return Crimea to Ukraine. According to the Turkish news agency, Anadolu, the Turkish leader emphasized the importance of territorial integrity Kiev, saying, “the return of Crimea to Ukraine, of which it is an inseparable part, is essentially a requirement of international law.” He said this also underlined the importance for regional and global “protection of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political unity of Ukraine”.

Western allies of Ukraine have supplied Kyiv with billions of dollars in military equipment and other aid. They are wary, however, of becoming embroiled in a direct fight against Russian forces, which now occupy large swaths of Ukraine’s east and south.

Bangladesh cuts school, office hours due to energy prices

Schools in Bangladesh will close an additional day each week and government offices and banks will shorten their work days by an hour to reduce electricity usage amid concerns over rising fuel prices and the impact of the Ukraine war. The reduced hours take immidiate effect. In Bangladesh, most schools are closed on Fridays, but now will also close on Saturdays. Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said government offices and banks will cut their work days to seven hours from the previous eight hours, but that private offices will be allowed to set their own schedules. Supply disruptions caused by the Ukraine war have led to soaring world prices for energy and food. Last month, fuel prices were raised by more than 50%. The government says it is exploring options to get cheaper fuel from Russia under a special arrangement.

Nigeria: kidnapped Catholic nuns released

The four Catholic nuns who had been kidnapped in Nigeria have been released, according to the director of the pontifical foundation ‘Aid to the Church in Need’, Alessandro Monteduro. The four nuns of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus the Saviour had been kidnapped while returning to the community after attending Mass in the State of River, Nigeria. Through ACS, the mother superior of the congregation, Sister Zita Ihedoro, thanked “for the prayers and for the moral support in these difficult moments”. 

New embarrassing photos for Sanna Marin

New embarrassments and new apologies for Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. The Scandinavian Prime Minister, fresh from the controversy over the wild dances, Tuesday apologised for a topless photo of two well-known influencers that she had invited to her official residence. The BBC reports Marin had admitted that “the picture is not appropriate” and she apologised. In the image, spread on social media, two women are seen kissing while covering their breasts with a sign with the words “Finland”. According to Finnish media, the photo was taken in the guests’ bathroom of the residence. “We took the sauna, swam and spent time together,” said Marin. “That kind of picture shouldn’t have been taken, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary happened,” she added.

Record high English Channel migrant crossings

The number of people crossing the Channel to the UK from northern France in small boats has hit a new high, the government in London said on Tuesday. Some 1,295 people were detected on Monday, beating the previous single-day record of 1,185 on November 11, 2021, the Ministry of Defence said.So far this year there have been some 22,670 crossings. At the same point in 2021, nearly 12,500 were intercepted making the journey. Last year, the UK authorities brought ashore a total of 28,526 people as they tried to cross the busy shipping lane. The issue has caused a major political headache for the UK government, which promised tighter border controls after leaving the European Union.

6 billion UK class action against Sony Playstation

A € 6 billion class action has been launched in Britain against Sony for abuse of dominant position in the sale of software used on its Playstation platform. The lawsuit was filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal by Alex Neill, head of the consumer protection site Resolver, on behalf of nearly 9 million Playstation users in the country. The accusation against the Japanese giant is that of unfairly charging a 30% commission on every digital game or purchase from the Playstation Store.

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