Borrell Says EU Members Agree on Suspension of Visa Deal for Russians

The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, says the bloc’s 27 members have agreed to suspend an agreement with Russia, which had made it easier for Russians to obtain tourist visas, as a sanction for Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Borrell announced the decision, which falls short of the total ban on visa issuance some countries sought, on Tuesday after the second day of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Czech capital. A 2007 visa agreement to ease EU entry requirements for Russians was partially suspended in late February, targeting people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, such as Russia’s official delegations and holders of diplomatic passports. But it left so-called “ordinary Russians” untouched, allowing them to continue to enjoy EU visa-facilitation benefits, such as reduced waiting times …

Fans of Princess Diana Gather to Mark Her Death 25 Years Ago

Fans of the late Princess Diana placed tributes outside the gates of her Kensington Palace home on Wednesday, marking the 25th anniversary of her death in a Paris car accident. An arrangement of white chrysanthemums spelling out “Princess Diana” sat among dozens of photos and messages left by admirers, some of whom said they make annual pilgrimages to the spot to remember the tragedy. “We just come here, do the memorial and, you know, we just chat about things that she used to do, you know, to … let people know that we will never forget the princess, we will never forget what she’s done,’’ said Julie Cain, 59, who traveled 300 miles (480 kilometers) from Newcastle in northern England. “We just want her legacy kept, like, going as long …

Condolences Pour in as Last Soviet Leader Gorbachev Dies At 91

Leaders and politicians around the world have expressed their condolences as news spread that the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms helped end the Cold War and free Eastern Europe from communism, but also led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, died overnight at the age of 91. Some in Russia and elsewhere took to social media to criticize the man they blamed for making Russia a second-rate power, a feeling that eventually led to the rise of President Vladimir Putin, who has tried for the past quarter-century to restore Russia to its former glory and beyond. Gorbachev died late on Monday “after a serious and prolonged illness,” the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow said. The news triggered an immediate outpouring of praise from global leaders far and …

As Johnson Departs, Britain’s Next Leader Faces Daunting Challenges

A new prime minister will take power in Britain next week after the resignation of Boris Johnson in July, following a series of scandals. His successor faces a series of daunting economic and political challenges, while Britain’s allies — especially Ukraine — are watching closely. The fewer than 200,000 Conservative party members, around 0.3 percent of Britain’s voting population, will choose the next leader of the party and the country. The field has been whittled down to two candidates: former chancellor Rishi Sunak, who resigned from Johnson’s cabinet, and the current foreign secretary, Liz Truss, who polls show as the overwhelming favorite. Ukraine Their first challenge: war in Ukraine. Britain has provided around $2.7 billion of military aid to Kyiv since Russia’s invasion in February, second only to the United …

India and China to Take Part in Joint Military Drills with Russia

India and China are among several countries taking part in Russia’s weeklong joint military drills scheduled to get underway on Thursday in the east of the country, according to Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass.  While India has previously taken part in multinational military drills in Russia — an Indian contingent was part of Zapad military exercises held in September 2021 — analysts say its participation in the “Vostok-2022” military exercises in the midst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reaffirms New Delhi’s friendly ties with Moscow despite a tightening strategic partnership with the United States.  “India’s participation in exercises in Russia is not unusual, but this time, they are also making a political point,” said Manoj Joshi, distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. “New Delhi is emphasizing …

UN Team Heads to Assess Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant 

A team of inspectors from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog headed Wednesday to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to assess safety and security issues at the Russian-controlled site. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said the team he is leading will spend several days at the plant and said their mission is a “very complex operation.” “We are going to a war zone. We are going to occupied territory. This requires the explicit guarantees from not only from the Russian Federation but also from the Republic of Ukraine. And we have been able to secure that,” Grossi told reporters in Kyiv. He also said inspectors would be talking to personnel at the nuclear plant, which despite Russian control is being run by Ukrainian engineers. “Of course, that is one …

Global Reaction to Death of Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, hospital officials in Moscow said. Below are some reactions from around the world: Russian President Vladimir Putin: He expressed “his deepest condolences,” his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency. “Tomorrow he will send a telegram of condolences to his family and friends.” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, a one-of-a kind statesman who changed the course of history. He did more than any other individual to bring about the peaceful end of the Cold War. “On behalf of the United Nations, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mikhail Gorbachev’s family and to …

Mikhail Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader, Dies at 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the demise of the Soviet Union and helped end decades of Cold War fear, earning a Nobel Peace Prize and the lasting enmity of millions of Russians bitter about the chaos unleashed by the collapse of the world’s largest country, has died at age 91. The Central Clinical Hospital on the outskirts of Moscow told the state news agency Tass that Gorbachev died Tuesday night “after a serious and prolonged illness.” Born in a rural corner of Russia less than 15 years after the Bolshevik Revolution to parents whose families had been peasants, Gorbachev became one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, gathering global accolades for his role in reducing the threat of a nuclear apocalypse and in freeing millions of people …

Russian Media: Ex-Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev Is Dead at 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, who as the last leader of the Soviet Union waged a losing battle to salvage a crumbling empire but produced extraordinary reforms that led to the end of the Cold War, has died at 91, Russian media reported Tuesday. News organizations quoted a statement from the Central Clinical Hospital as saying he died after a long illness. No other details were given. Though in power less than seven years, Gorbachev unleashed a breathtaking series of changes. But they quickly overtook him and resulted in the collapse of the authoritarian Soviet state, the freeing of Eastern European nations from Russian domination and the end of decades of East-West nuclear confrontation. His decline was humiliating. His power hopelessly sapped by an attempted coup against him in August 1991, he spent …

Vatican Seeks to Clarify Pope’s Stance on Ukraine

The Vatican sought on Tuesday to clarify the pope’s position on Ukraine, after the pontiff’s comment on the death of a Russian ultranationalist’s daughter ruffled feathers in Kyiv. “The Holy Father’s words on this dramatic issue are to be read as a voice raised in defense of human life and the values associated with it, and not as political positions,” the Vatican said in a statement. It stressed that the war in Ukraine had been “initiated by the Russian Federation” and that Pope Francis had been “clear and unequivocal in condemning it as morally unjust, unacceptable, barbaric, senseless, repugnant and sacrilegious.” Speaking on Ukraine’s Independence Day on August 24, the pope had said of the conflict: “So many innocents… are paying for madness.” He cited as one example Daria Dugina — …

Ukraine Lawmaker Questions Kyiv’s Strategic Partnership With Beijing

While China’s strategic partnership with Russia “without limits” has been widely reported since the start of the war in Ukraine, much less known is the strategic partnership Ukraine and China forged in 2011. Now, that partnership is being questioned by a key lawmaker in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this month sounded a soft tone on China, casting Beijing’s role in the conflict as “neutral” and inviting Chinese government and business to play an active role in his country’s rebuilding. Back in June 2011, then-Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Ukraine after stopping in Moscow. China and Ukraine agreed to boost cooperation in energy, technology, agriculture and trade. The two sides also upgraded their ties to a “strategic partnership.” China is now Ukraine’s number one trading partner. While Ukraine figures …

Ukraine Reports Heavy Fighting in Kherson Amid Southern Offensive

Ukraine’s presidential office reported heavy fighting Tuesday in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, an area occupied by Russian forces where Ukraine says it has launched a counteroffensive to try to retake territory. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed in his nightly address Monday that Ukrainian forces would take back their territory. He said Ukraine would chase Russia’s forces “to the border.” “If they want to survive — it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,” he said. Britain’s defense ministry said Tuesday that as of early Monday, “several brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces increased the weight of artillery fires in front line sectors across southern Ukraine.” It added that since the start of August, Russia has worked to reinforce its presence on the western bank of …

Russian Prosecutors Ask for 24-Year Sentence for Ex-Reporter

Russian prosecutors at the trial of a former journalist asked the court Tuesday to hand him a 24-year prison sentence on treason charges. Ivan Safronov who worked as a journalist for a decade before becoming an adviser to the head of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, has been in custody since his July 2020 arrest in Moscow. He has rejected the charges of passing military secrets to Czech intelligence and insisted on his innocence.  Safronov’s case reflects the challenges faced by Russian journalists, which have grown even tougher amid Moscow’s military action in Ukraine. Safronov, who covered military and security issues for the leading Russian business daily Kommersant before joining Roscosmos, stated that he had collected all the information from open sources in the course of his work and did …

Russia’s Latest Move Toward ‘De-Dollarization’ Seen as Symbolic

In the Russian government’s latest move to reduce its reliance on a global financial system dominated by the United States and its allies, Kremlin authorities Monday began a policy of barring the use of U.S. dollars as collateral for transactions on the Moscow Exchange, Russia’s largest financial services marketplace. According to experts, the change was more symbolic than practical, because a broad slate of sanctions imposed on Russia over its expanded invasion of Ukraine have made it almost impossible for Russian businesses to make dollar-based transactions. The change comes just a few weeks after the Moscow Exchange reduced the acceptable percentage of U.S. dollars in collateral from 50% of total value to 25%. Still, the change underlines Moscow’s efforts to chart a path through the maze of economic barriers constructed …

Turkey Places Pop Star Under House Arrest Over Remark

An Istanbul court has released Turkish pop star Gulsen from pretrial detention but put her under house arrest with judicial control on Monday over a remark she made about religious schools in Turkey. The 46-year-old singer-songwriter, whose full name is Gulsen Colakoglu, was taken into custody for questioning on charges of “inciting hatred and enmity among the public” and put in pretrial detention last Thursday. The charges were based on a joke she made onstage about Turkey’s religious Imam Hatip schools in April. “He studied at an Imam Hatip [school] previously. That’s where his perversion comes from,” Gulsen says in a video of the incident, referring to a musician in her band. The video was circulated by pro-government daily Sabah a day before her detention and widely shared on social …

Norwegian CO2 Storage Company Agrees to Store Emissions Captured at Fertilizer Maker

Norwegian carbon dioxide (CO2) storage company Northern Lights and its owners have agreed to store emissions captured at fertilizer maker Yara’s Dutch operation from 2025 in what they say is a commercial breakthrough for the business. The joint venture founded by oil companies Equinor, TotalEnergies and Shell plans to inject CO2 from industrial plants into rock formations beneath the North Sea ocean floor. “With the first commercial agreement for transportation and storage of CO2, we open a value chain that is critical for the world to reach net zero by 2050,” Equinor Chief Executive Anders Opedal said in a statement. Under the deal with Yara, 800,000 tons of CO2 per year will be transported on ships from the Netherlands from early 2025. Northern Lights also has preliminary deals to store …

Dutch Soldier Shot in Indiana Dies

The Dutch defense ministry said Monday one of its soldiers died after being shot in the U.S. city of Indianapolis, Indiana.  The defense ministry did not identify the soldier, but said he was a member of the Commando Corps who was participating in training in Indiana.  Two other Dutch soldiers were also shot in the same incident early Saturday in front of their hotel, and the defense ministry said they were “conscious and able to speak.”  Indianapolis police said they believe the shooting followed some type of altercation involving the three soldiers and another person or people.  No arrests have been made in connection with the shootings.  Some information for this story came from The Associated Press and Reuters.  …

Germany Secures Link to Planned Baltic Sea Renewable Energy Island

Germany has secured a power link to a planned offshore wind hub in the Danish part of the Baltic Sea that will help reduce energy dependence on Russia, Denmark’s energy ministry said on Monday. The planned energy hub on the island of Bornholm will by 2030 link several offshore wind parks in the Baltic Sea with a total generating capacity of at least 3 gigawatts, enough to power 4.5 million German households, the ministry said in a statement. The hub will be connected to Germany via a 470 kilometer power cable. Investment and future profit will be shared equally between Germany and Denmark, the statement said without giving financial details. “The Danish-German cooperation is a flagship project,” Germany’s Minister of Economy and Climate, Robert Habeck, said in the statement. “The …