Ukraine, Briefly

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This week, the Group of Seven (G7) nations emphasized its continued support for Ukraine, even as the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas threatens to overshadow the conflict, Al Jazeera reported. During a meeting in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, G7 representatives and European Union (EU) officials issued a joint statement stressing their commitment to Ukraine and asked China to refrain from backing Russia. Meanwhile, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev linked the West’s behavior to a rising risk of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons being deployed. He also criticized the so-called colonial approach of Western powers in regard to EU enlargement negotiations.

Also this week:

  • The European Commission has recommended the start of formal EU membership negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, marking a significant step toward their joining the bloc, the Guardian wrote. The decision is contingent on Kyiv satisfying conditions related to combating corruption, adopting lobbying laws in line with EU standards, and enhancing safeguards for national minorities. The recommendation, which could lead to the largest expansion of the bloc since 2004, must be ratified by prime ministers at a summit in December. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the decision, emphasizing the country’s European aspirations amid its ongoing conflict with Russia.
  • A Ukrainian spy agency confirmed on Telegram they were responsible for the car bomb that killed Luhansk lawmaker Mikhail Filiponenko on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Filiponenko had been involved in the separatist movement in the Luhansk region since 2014. He had served as a high-ranking military official in the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, which Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed days before ordering the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The spy agency justified their actions saying that Filiponenko “brutally tortured people” – he allegedly set up torture chambers for civilians and war prisoners in the region. His election to the local assembly in September was heavily opposed by the international community.
  • Polish truckers blocked border crossings with Ukraine to protest an EU deal allowing easier access for cheaper Ukrainian drivers into the bloc, Politico noted. The truckers demanded the restoration of transport operation limits for Ukrainian haulers, arguing that the influx undermined their business. The protests were not officially sanctioned by the Polish government. The EU deal permits shippers to transport cargo between Ukraine and an EU country without extra paperwork, but does not allow Ukrainian truckers to pick up and drop off loads within the EU. Ukraine, already impacted by Poland’s grain import ban, has faced challenges exporting goods crucial for its wartime economy due to the border protests.

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