This weekend, the leaders of the world's seven most powerful democracies will gather for a summit in Hiroshima, the site of the world's first nuclear attack at the end of World War II.
The so-called G-7 format is an informal grouping of leading industrialised countries. It is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA. This year it is Japan's turn to host the meeting, and two representatives of the European Union will join the leaders of the regular members. The leaders of some non-G7 countries and international organisations will also attend the meetings. The meetings normally cover a wide range of global issues, including economic policy, security, climate change, energy and gender equality.
The first summit took place in 1975, when France hosted the then Group of Six meeting to discuss the problem of overcoming the recession following the Arab oil embargo. A year later, Canada became the seventh member.Russia joined the G8 in 1998, but was excluded after Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Over the weekend, G-7 leaders are expected to strongly condemn Russia's war against Ukraine and pledge their continued support for Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will join the session remotely. The agenda will focus on Beijing's growing threats against Taiwan and measures to reduce the economic and supply chain dependence of Western democracies on China.
However, no grand breakthroughs are to be expected. The talks and joint statements by the G-7 are almost as meaningless as the United Nations' expressions of concern and regret. The G7 will certainly not accept any agreements or commitments to each other, so the world will continue to spill blood freely, trade in death and weapons of all kinds, humanity will indiscriminately destroy nature and itself, and the rising global temperature will bring the inevitable catastrophe nearer: the flight of millions of hungry, starving people from the devastation of the elements and the poverty-stricken areas to the obese and overweight, lazy, so called 'developed' West.
Without waiting for the speeches in Hiroshima, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister met with the visiting Chinese mediator to discuss how to end the Russian war, but no details of the meeting were disclosed, and the next steps remain completely unclear. Over the course of two days, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and envoy Li Hui discussed "ways to stop Russian aggression", according to a statement by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
D. Kuleba briefed Li, the former Chinese Ambassador to Moscow, "on the principles of restoring a stable and just peace based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity". According to the statement, Kuleba reiterated his government's position that Ukraine will not accept any proposals involving the loss of its territories or a "freezing of the conflict".
The position of the Chinese envoy is not reported, but it is known that he will continue his tour in Poland, France and Germany.
The Russian occupiers are losing the initiative near Bakhmut as the Ukrainian defenders are counter-attacking from different directions in the area. The Ukrainians appear to have advanced near Bohdanivka (5 km north-west of Bakhmut) and Ivanivske (6 km west of Bakhmut). Yesterday, the Ukrainian Defence Forces advanced up to 500 metres in various directions near Bakhmut as part of a defensive operation, according to Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. At the same time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have not lost the almost 20 square kilometres of suburbs they have liberated in recent days.
In response, Russia is throwing new groups of marauders towards Bakhmut. In addition, the terrorists in Moscow have again launched a missile attack in Ukraine tonight. The scale of the Russian attack on the capital, Kiev, was unclear and no information on casualties was reported. The attack was carried out by the Drisksis with strategic bombers from the Caspian Sea region, probably using cruise missiles, and was followed by Russian drone strikes on the capital. Preliminary data indicate that all enemy targets have been destroyed, said Serhiy Popko, head of the military administration in Kyiv. Debris fell on two neighbourhoods and a fire in a garage complex was extinguished.
The war criminal Russia and its war crimes have now been openly supported by Hungary. Its Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said yesterday that Hungary will continue to block the disbursement of the new tranche of the EU's military aid to Ukraine. The official reason is that Kyiv has placed a Hungarian bank on the international list of Russian war sponsors. Speaking in Vienna after a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, Szijjarto called Ukraine's recently listed OTP bank "scandalous and unacceptable" and said Hungary would not approve the disbursement of €500 million from the EU's European Peace Facility until the bank is removed from the list.
Hungary uses blackmail and the same terrorist - but even softer - measures as the Kremlin. In our view, the EU must immediately organise an emergency summit of leaders with one single issue in mind - Hungary's expulsion from the EU and the imposition of sanctions on it as a Russian sponsor.
Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Russia had agreed to extend for two months an agreement allowing Ukraine to ship grain via the Black Sea to parts of the world struggling with famine.
Belarus has partially resumed control of its border with Russia, Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik announced. This is the first time in 28 years that the 1,239 km long border will be re-inspected. Mhm, what are the Gagauz scared of now?
Russia has frozen the bank accounts of the Finnish diplomatic missions in Moscow and St Petersburg, disrupting cash flows and forcing the Finnish missions to pay in cash, the Finnish Foreign Minister said yesterday.
On Tuesday 16 May, two components of the Patriot battery were damaged in a Russian attack. This was reported by CNN, citing a "US official familiar with the matter". "Russian-launched Kijal hypersonic missiles, Kalibr cruise missiles and other munitions damaged the Patriot battery generator and some of the system's electronics," the media outlet reported.
Myanmar's military has imported at least $1 billion worth of weapons from Russia, China and other countries since the February 2021 coup, some of which it has used to commit atrocities against civilians, according to a UN report published on Wednesday.
Yesterday, more than 40 countries agreed to set up a system to count the damage caused by Russia to Ukraine in order to expect reparations. The damage register, which will allow Ukrainians affected by the war to identify the damage they have suffered, received strong support at a 46-nation Council of Europe summit in Iceland. Participants also discussed the details of a possible future tribunal where Russia could be indicted for acts of war.
The Senate, the upper house of the French Parliament, recognised the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide against the Ukrainian people. On his Twitter account, Ukrainian President Zelensky described the decision as an important step towards restoring historical justice.
A child was killed and two others were injured when Russian invaders shelled the Kherson area, all of them near a shop.
The scandal of the absorption of councillors' allowances reminds us more and more of the works of David Lynch.
For many who receive compensation for their work as councillors, and for all sorts of elected representatives who float in the political bubble, it seems that allowances are just another form of remuneration. You would have to be a complete fool not to take what is due under the law.
The trouble is that even if it is 'legal', taking is far from both simple logic and basic decency. Not to mention the possible falsification of financial documents - accounts. It is particularly disgusting when one is caught red-handed saying that, you know, there is a technical error in the accounts. And, by the way, not just one. Even more amusing is - why not?
No, my dears. It is not a technical error, and it is not even the great-grandchildren of the smoke-belching peasants, but the true mentality of the Drisskyite that shines through in all its glory here in the reports.
In this photo, a man plants sunflowers in his garden next to a damaged Russian tank and its turret in the village of Velyka Dymerka, Kyiv region, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 17, 2023 (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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