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‘No country should give Putin a platform’ – Update Ukraine at war for June 20

After leaving North Korea, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived on Wednesday for a two-day state visit to Vietnam. Just as he did the day before in Pyongyang, Putin will also sign agreements with that country’s leader, seeking to show solidarity with a second Asian nation that supports his invasion of Ukraine.

Putin will meet with Nguyễn Phú Trọng, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam; Tô Lâm, President of Vietnam; Phạm Minh Chính, Prime Minister of Vietnam; and Trần Thanh Mẫn, Speaker of the Vietnamese Parliament.

Vietnam did not send a representative to the Peace Summit in Switzerland last week, nor did China, nor did North Korea, of course. A Vietnamese contingent led by its deputy foreign minister instead went to a meeting in Russia of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates ).

Kremlin media outlets RIA Novosto and TASS reported that Putin and the government in Hanoi will discuss their partnership.

While Russia is Vietnam’s main arms supplier, the United States is its largest trading partner. US President Joe Biden visited Hanoi last September and his administration expressed strong disapproval of the welcome extended to the Russian dictator, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

“No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities,” a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Hanoi said this week.

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The SBU arrests an alleged informant for Russia in Kharkov, while another receives a fifteen-year prison sentence in Odesa

On Wednesday, the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) announced that they have detained a Ukrainian man who was allegedly recruited by Russian agents on a Telegram online dating platform on charges of passing on information and images of Ukrainian forces and installations near Kharkov .

Russian agents had targeted the man, described as sympathetic to Moscow, to obtain on-the-ground information to launch targeted attacks on the Kharkov region.

“The SBU seized the man’s phone, which was used by the suspect to communicate with his Russian ‘friend’ and take photos of military facilities,” the SBU said in a press release. “SBU agents arrested the informant red-handed when he was taking photos of special vehicles of Ukrainian soldiers.”

The man faces eight years in prison. His is one of thousands of criminal cases against alleged and convicted informants since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Also on Wednesday, in an unrelated case, the SBU announced that a man March had arrested on charges of high treason and found guilty of helping Russia’s FSB spy agency identify targets for attacks in the southern Odesa region, had been sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

“He adjusted Russian air strikes on the territory of the southern region of Ukraine, primarily missile and drone attacks on the civilian infrastructure of the city of Odessa,” the SBU said.

Russian shells kill civilians in Kherson and injure others

Russian shells in Kherson killed a 52-year-old civilian and wounded another on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, a 52-year-old man who was injured today as a result of enemy shelling died in the hospital,” the head of the military administration of Kherson City, Roman Mrochko, announced on social media.

The man suffered closed head injuries and shrapnel wounds as a result of the attack on the city’s Dniporvskyi district, which injured another.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Russian and Ukrainian forces continued to fight this week along the left bank of the Dnipro in the Kherson region near Krynky and Kozachi Laheri.

A movement for Russian LNG sanctions in Europe is growing in France

On Wednesday, a French Senate committee proposed an end to imports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the country, and urged the EU to impose sanctions on those fuels, which are currently not on the list.

Towards the beginning of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Western countries imposed sanctions on crude oil and its products, and stopped the supply of Russian gas through pipelines, but LNG, mainly used for heating, was not targeted.

AFP reported that the commission’s report calls on France to take a leading position within the EU “by proposing the inclusion of Russian LNG on the list of sanctioned energy products and setting a good example by restricting the import of Russian LNG into France to stop as soon as possible.”

Currently, leading French energy company TotalEnergies continues to transport gas from Siberian oil fields to Europe. The commission’s report proposed that the state obtain special voting shares in the company to have greater say over TotalEnergies’ strategic decisions. AFP noted that North American shareholders make up a large percentage of the company’s ownership.

The investigation, initiated by the Green Party but quickly backed by others in the Senate, also called on French companies to halt existing and planned oil and gas projects in Azerbaijan, a major oil refining hub. will host the UN Climate Conference in November.

TotalEnergies has stressed that US supply of LNG will be crucial for Europe to replace Russian sources, but there is still a long way to go to increase that capacity.

Johannes Moretti

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