Tag Archives: Belarus

Campaigners Decry ‘Dangerous Escalation’ as NATO Chief Floats Nuclear Deployment

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said both NATO and Russia must “reverse course” and end their nuclear brinkmanship.

By Jake Johnson. Published 6-17-2024 by Common Dreams

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Photo: NATO/flickr/CC

Nuclear disarmament campaigners on Monday implored NATO and Russia to step back from the brink after the head of the Western military alliance said its members are considering deploying additional atomic weapons to counter Moscow and Beijing.

“This is the dangerous escalation inherent to the deterrence doctrine,” the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) wrote on social media, referring to the notion that the threat of catastrophic nuclear retaliation prevents nations from using atomic weaponry.

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Report Shows How Governments Reach Beyond Their Borders to Crush Dissent

Human Rights Watch examines how repressive governments use harassment, surveillance, and assassination to target dissidents.

By Jake Johnson. Published 2-22-2024 by Common Dreams

Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Kremlin/Wikimedia Commons

report published Thursday by Human Rights Watch details how governments around the world relentlessly target dissidents, journalists, and others beyond their borders, resorting to threats, harassment, and even abduction and assassination to silence those perceived as threats.

“Transnational repression looks different depending on the context,” notes the new report. “Recent cases include a Rwandan refugee who was killed in Uganda following threats from the Rwandan government; a Cambodian refugee in Thailand only to be extradited to Cambodia and summarily detained; and a Belarusian activist who was abducted while aboard a commercial airline flight. Transnational repression may mean that a person’s family members who remain at home become targets of collective punishment, such as the Tajik activist whose family in Tajikistan, including his 10-year-old daughter, was detained, interrogated, and threatened.”

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‘Utterly Absurd’: Rich Nations Spending Climate Dollars on Coal Projects and Chocolate Shops

“Essentially, whatever they call climate finance is climate finance,” said one developing nation’s lead climate negotiator.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 6-2-2023 by Common Dreams

Activists including members of frontline communities protest Japanese financing of international fossil fuel projects including coal plants in Matarbari, Bangladesh and Indramayu, Indonesia on October 4, 2021 in Tokyo. (Photo: @market_forces/Twitter)

Wealthy nations are spending money under the guise of “climate finance” to fund projects that have little or nothing to do with tackling the climate crisis and—as in the case of three Japanese-backed coal plants—are sometimes fueling the planetary emergency, according to a Reuters investigation published Thursday.

While media outlets including Reuters have recently reported that rich countries are on track—albeit long overdue—to finally meet their 2009 pledge to invest $100 billion annually in climate financing by 2020, the new Reuters investigation shows that governments are funding climate-harming projects and counting the expenditures toward their giving total.

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The risk of nuclear war over Ukraine is real. We need diplomacy now

The Cold War may be over, but Russia’s nuclear threat is real and dangerous. We must act to avoid a crisis

By Paul Rogers Published 4-14-2023 by openDemocracy

Nuclear missile in a Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square. Photo: kremlin.ru/CC

Four days into the war in Ukraine, with the Russian advance slowed by unexpected Ukrainian resistance, Vladimir Putin made his first threat of escalation, implying the use of tactical nuclear weapons if NATO became heavily involved in supporting Ukraine. Since then, the threat of escalation has always been in the background – and has occasionally come to the fore.

The most recent example of this is the announcement from Moscow that Russian nuclear weapons will be forward-based in Belarus. These will mainly be nuclear-armed versions of the Iskander missile, which will be placed close to Belarus’s western border with NATO states. Russia will also train Belarusian pilots in flying planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

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Is This or Isn’t This a Photo of a Broken US Nuclear Weapon?

“If the image is indeed from a nuclear weapons accident, it would constitute the first publicly known case of a recent nuclear weapons accident at an air base in Europe,” according to the Federation of American Scientists.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 4-3-2023 by Common Dreams

A photo in a Los Alamos National Laboratory student briefing from April 2022 shows four people inspecting what appears to be a damaged B61 nuclear bomb. (Photo: Federation of American Scientists)

 

Was a U.S. nuclear bomb damaged in a recent accident at a European air base?

This question is being asked Monday after the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) discovered and published a photo—used in an April 2022 student briefing at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico—that shows four people inspecting what looks like a damaged B61 atomic bomb. The U.S. is set to soon deliver a new generation of this so-called “tactical” nuclear weapon to Europe.

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Did the Kremlin launch an invasion to guarantee Putin’s succession?

Independent Russia has yet to come up with a way of transferring power other than war

By Dmytro Babachanakh  Published 5-4-2022 by openDemocracy

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power since 2000 | Image: Kremlin.ru

Much has been written about Russia’s war against Ukraine and yet for many, one fundamental question remains unanswered: why did Vladimir Putin decide to launch a full-scale invasion in the first place?

When the Kremlin annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and occupied the Ukrainian Donbas region in 2014, the explanation for its actions seemed straightforward. In response to Ukraine’s revolution that removed a pro-Russian president, Russia had sought to gain complete control of Crimea and turn it into a military base, weakening Ukraine and stalling the country’s integration with NATO and the EU. Continue reading

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A wave of grassroots humanitarianism is supporting millions of Ukrainian refugees

Women offering Ukrainian refugees a place to stay in Berlin on Mar. 4, 2022.
Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Elizabeth Cullen Dunn, Indiana University

Along the Poland-Ukraine border, Polish volunteers have been driving Ukrainian refugees to local train stations, or directly to cities like Warsaw.

Other Poles are doing their volunteer work online or at train stations and airports, matching Ukrainian refugees with perhaps the most generous volunteers of all: those who are hosting some of the more than 2 million Ukrainians had fled their beseiged country, in their own homes.

The largest refugee flow in Europe since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s – has elicited an enormous volunteer humanitarian effort in Europe, particularly in Poland, as well as in Germany, Moldova and Romania. Continue reading

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Putin’s attack on Ukraine isn’t going as planned. What will happen next?

With an unexpectedly strong Ukrainian resistance, harsh global sanctions and low morale among Russian troops, we face an unpredictable few months

By Paul Rogers.  Published 3-4-2022 by openDemocracy

Photo: The Resistor Sister/Twitter

Nine days into Russia’s assault on Ukraine and it is clear the Kremlin’s original plan has been derailed. The aim was to move rapidly on the capital, Kyiv, seizing the international airport to airlift troops in, then link with ground forces moving in from Belarus, occupy the city and take down the government in, at most, 72 hours.

From the start, Russia would make a concerted effort to take control of the Ukrainian air space, mainly with missile attacks on air bases, air defences and logistics support. This, combined with troops spread across the whole country, would induce a fear factor to help cower the people of Ukraine into submission, rather like the ‘shock and awe’ approach used by the US at the start of the Iraq War. Continue reading

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Putin is about to start the most senseless war in history

A view from Russia: no sanctions will stop Moscow, and its actions will drive more countries into NATO’s arms

By Greg Yudin  Puvlished 2-22-2022 by openDemocracy

Vladimir_Putin. Photo: Kremlin/CC

In the near future, a big war will begin – a war that we have not seen in the lifetime of my generation, and perhaps the previous generation too.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, last night formally recognised the separatist ‘People’s Republics’ in Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent territories. Now, he has ordered so-called ‘peacekeeping forces’ into the Donbas region.

Meanwhile, on the borders of Ukraine, Russia has gathered an army of 75% of all available forces. Belarus has officially confirmed that, following extensive exercises, Russian troops are not leaving Belarus. A few kilometres from Ukraine, tanks sit in Russian forests and fields – as can be seen in videos filmed in Russia’s Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions, as well as in Belarus’ Homyel region. This military force is fully prepared for a large-scale operation – and is already in position to attack. Continue reading

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The Cold War, modern Ukraine and the spread of democracy in the former Soviet bloc countries

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Michael De Groot, Indiana University

As Russia masses forces and equipment on Ukraine’s border, international tensions over a possible invasion intensify almost daily. Ukraine has emerged as ground zero of what some pundits have dubbed a new Cold War between Russia and the West.

In my view as a Cold War historian, this comparison distorts the Cold War and misrepresents the stakes of the current crisis.

Yet reviewing the Cold War is important because its legacy shapes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy toward Ukraine. Continue reading

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