Europe
crimea

UN documents Russian rights abuses in Ukraine

The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission (UNHRMM) accused Russia of hundreds of arbitrary detentions and forced disappearances in Ukrainian territory, and violating the basic human rights of Ukrainian war captives. The UNHRMM documented numerous cases of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war, finding that at many detention sites they lack adequate food, water, healthcare and sanitation. The UNHRMM also documented 416 cases of forced disappearance of Ukrainian civilians. (Photo: chief39/Pixabay)

Europe
ter apel

Netherlands asylum center conditions bashed

The Council of Europe published a letter criticizing conditions at the Netherlands’ Ter Apel “registration center” for asylum seekers. According to the Council’s findings, more than 700 asylum seekers are forced to sleep outside at the center, and many lack access to clean water, food and sanitary facilities. The Council said these conditions “fall short of even the minimum standards under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.” Article 3 of the ECHR establishes the right to absolute freedom from torture and inhumane treatment. (Photo: Refugees in the Netherlands)

Europe
Nordstream

Russia ‘weaponizes’ gas supplies to Europe

Russian energy giant Gazprom cut off the flow of natural gas to Germany and other European markets via the Nord Stream pipeline, calling it a three-day shut-down for maintenance. But Western governments charge that Russia is “weaponizing” gas supplies amid the Ukraine war. Days earlier, Germany’s government broached allowing the blocked Nord Stream 2 pipeline to begin pumping Russian gas. Wolfgang Kubicki, vice president of the Bundestag, said the move is necessary so “people do not have to freeze in winter and that our industry does not suffer serious damage.” His comment prompted a harsh response from Kyiv, where Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “addiction to Russian gas kills.” (Map: Wikipedia)

Europe
cluster bomb

Russia slammed for use of cluster munitions

This year alone, Russian forces are believed to have launched hundreds of cluster munition attacks in contravention of various principles of international humanitarian law, according to a scathing report by the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), an international advocacy group. Cluster munitions are weapons that contain dozens to hundreds of explosive submunitions. They open mid-air, flooding massive areas with explosions, making it effectively impossible to limit destruction to an intended target. “Russia’s extensive use of internationally banned cluster munitions in Ukraine demonstrates a blatant disregard for human life, humanitarian principles, and legal norms,” Human Rights Watch arms advocacy director Mary Wareham said in a statement accompanying the release of the report. (Photo: Ole Solvang/HRW)

Europe
mariupol ruins

UN protests illegal Russian trial of Ukrainian POWs

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) denounced apparent plans by Russian-backed authorities to try Ukrainian prisoners of war in the port city of Mariupol. The OHCHR believes that the trials may begin imminently, and could themselves amount to a war crime. The OHCHR warned Russia that “international humanitarian law prohibits the establishment of courts solely to judge prisoners of war and that willfully depriving a prisoner of war of the rights of fair and regular trial amounts to a war crime.” Officials added that they are “concerned that prisoners of war have generally been held without access to independent monitors, exposing them to the risk of being tortured to extract a confession.” (Photo via Twitter)

Europe
dugin

Intrigue over assassination of Daria Dugina

Darya Dugina, Russian state media war propagandist and the daughter of ultra-nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, was killed when a remote-controlled explosive device planted in her SUV went off as she was driving on the outskirts of Moscow. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is charging that the assassination was “prepared and perpetrated by the Ukrainian special services.” According to the FSB, a Ukrainian citizen, Natalya Vovk, carried out the attack and then fled to Estonia. Russian media reports are claiming she was a member of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, and that the elder Dugin was the actual target of the attack. A statement from Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the killing reflects Kyiv’s reliance on “terrorism as an instrument of its criminal ideology.” Kyiv vigorously denies any involvement in the killing. In Estonia, the prosecutor general’s office said that it “has not received any requests or inquiries from the Russian authorities on this topic.” (Image: Social media post in which Dugin called for “genocide” of the Ukrainian “race of degenerates.” Via Twitter)

Europe
Ukraine

Ukraine: debunking Russia’s war propaganda

In Episode 136 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg debunks Vladimir Putin’s “de-Nazification” propaganda for his invasion of Ukraine,  a paramount example of the ultra-cynical phenomenon of paradoxical fascist pseudo-anti-fascism. Putin’s stated justifications for the Ukraine war are either paranoid delusions or outright lies. His real objectives are to rebuild the Russian Empire, re-establish the Russian dictatorship, and exterminate Ukraine as a cultural and political entity. These are the open aims of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Putin’s revanchist imperial project, and the political heir of Ivan Ilyin, the 20th century theorist of “Russian Fascism.” Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Map: PCL)

Europe
Crimea

Nuclear flashpoint Crimea?

A series of explosions tore through a Russian airbase on the Crimean Peninsula, leaving one dead. Saki airfield is some 200 kilometers from the Ukrainian lines, and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office denied responsibility for the blasts. However, an unnamed Kyiv official anonymously told the New York Times that Ukrainian forces carried out an attack on the base. Zelensky later stated: “Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up. This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea—with its liberation.” But last month, in response to the arrival of US High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in Ukraine, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedevimplied that Ukrainian strikes on targets in Crimea would meet Russia’s stated criteria for use of nuclear weapons. Saying that the refusal of Ukraine and Western powers to recognize Moscow’s control of Crimea poses a “systemic threat” to Russia, he added: “Doomsday will come very fast and hard. There will be no hiding from it.” (Map via Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
SS-27

Russia suspends compliance with New START

Russia officially informed the US that it is “temporarily” suspending on-site inspections of its strategic nuclear weapons, a condition of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Moscow accused Washington of seeking “to create unilateral advantages” and deprive Russia of “the right to carry out inspections on American soil” through the closure of air space to Russian planes and visa restrictions on Russian officials. The suspension comes a week after President Joe Biden said he was ready to work on a new nuclear arms deal with Vladimir Putin. New START, set to expire in 2026, is the last remaining arms pact between the US and Russia. The 2010 agreement limits the US and Russia to 1,550 deployed long-range nuclear missiles each.  (Photo: Russian SS-27 missile, via SIPRI)

Europe
Chernobyl

UN: ‘real risk of nuclear disaster’ in Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials blamed each other for a series of blasts within the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian forces shelled the plant in what he called “an act of terror.” The Russian military responded by claiming a Ukrainian artillery strike was responsible, calling the attack “nuclear terrorism.” Kyiv had been accusing Russian forces of using the plant as a “shield,” firing on the Ukrainian positions from within the complex. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said the “possible consequences of hitting an operating reactor are equivalent to the use of an atomic bomb.” UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi warned of a “very real risk of a nuclear disaster.” (Photo: Wikipedia)

Europe
CNT

Podcast: the Spanish Revolution revisited

In Episode 132 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg expounds on the legacy of anarchist heroism in the Spanish Civil War and Spanish Revolution, which both began on July 19, 1936. Interestingly, that same date also marks the victory of the Nicaraguan Revolution in 1979 and the Rojava Revolution in Syria in 2012. There was an anarchist element to all these revolutions—but it was strongest by far in Spain. The betrayal of the Spanish anarchists holds lessons for these later struggles, as a counter-revolutionary dictatorship is established in Nicaragua, and the Kurdish revolutionaries of Rojava face growing contradictions in the context of Syria’s ongoing civil war. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image: LibCom.org)

Europe
Budapest

European Commission sues Hungary over civil rights

The European Commission announced that it will sue Hungary in the EU’s Court of Justice over an anti-LGBT law and Hungary’s refusal to allow a dissident radio station to broadcast. Hungary adopted a law in June 2021 that prevents companies from featuring LGBTQ couples in educational or advertising content intended for children. The legislation was swiftly condemned by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who later initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary. The Commission’s case also concerns Hungary’s refusal to renew broadcaster Klubradio‘s license, taking them off the air. Klubradio is highly critical of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. Hungary is being sued on the basis of violating the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive, e-Commerce Directive and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. (Photo: Pixabay)