Massive pro-EU, anti-Russia protest erupts in Georgia

Thou­sands of peo­ple demon­strat­ed in Tbil­isi overnight, wav­ing EU flags and fac­ing down riot police in protest against a con­tro­ver­sial law which Georgia’s pres­i­dent says is “dic­tat­ed by Moscow.”  In video footage and pho­tographs, pro­test­ers chant­ed “down with the Russ­ian law” as they squared off with heav­i­ly armored police who blast­ed them with water cannons…

Putin’s attack on democracy is working. Just look at Europe.

Putin’s attack on democ­ra­cy is work­ing. Just look at Europe. As win­ter approach­es, cracks in the West’s sup­port for Ukraine are start­ing to show. By Matthew Kar­nitschnig Illus­tra­tion by Ann Kier­nan for POLITICO BERLIN — It was a scene that has played out on city squares across Europe for months: jar­ring eye­wit­ness accounts of the war…

South Africa’s Ramaphosa and US’s Biden to meet amid Russian war — Al Jazeera

Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone in April, are expect­ed to focus their talks on trade and invest­ment, infra­struc­ture, cli­mate and ener­gy, among oth­er issues.South African Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and Unit­ed States Pres­i­dent Joe Biden will meet on Sep­tem­ber 16, the White House has announced.
Thursday’s announce­ment comes as the admin­is­tra­tion looks to draw African nations clos­er to the US at a time when South Africa and many of its neigh­bours have staked out neu­tral ground on Russia’s inva­sion of Ukraine.
Last month, US Sec­re­tary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden admin­is­tra­tion sees Africa’s 54 nations as “equal part­ners” in tack­ling glob­al prob­lems, dur­ing a vis­it to South Africa.
But the admin­is­tra­tion has been dis­ap­point­ed that South Africa and much of the con­ti­nent have declined to fol­low the US in con­demn­ing the Russ­ian inva­sion of Ukraine.
South Africa abstained in a Unit­ed Nations vote to con­demn Russia’s action, and Ramaphosa has avoid­ed any crit­i­cism of Rus­sia and has instead called for a medi­at­ed peace.
Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone in April, are expect­ed to focus their talks on trade and invest­ment, infra­struc­ture, cli­mate and ener­gy, pub­lic health and South Africa’s lead­ing role on the con­ti­nent, offi­cials said.
“The two Pres­i­dents will reaf­firm the impor­tance of our endur­ing part­ner­ship, and dis­cuss our work togeth­er to address region­al and glob­al chal­lenges,” White House press sec­re­tary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a state­ment announc­ing this month’s meeting.
Biden also plans to host a US-Africa lead­ers’ sum­mit in December.
Dur­ing the Blinken vis­it, for­eign min­is­ter Nale­di Pan­dor main­tained South Africa’s neu­tral­i­ty in the Ukraine war. In a press brief­ing fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Pan­dor accused the US and oth­er West­ern pow­ers of focus­ing on the Ukraine con­flict to the detri­ment of oth­er inter­na­tion­al issues.
“We should be equal­ly con­cerned at what is hap­pen­ing to the peo­ple of Pales­tine, as we are with what is hap­pen­ing to the peo­ple of Ukraine,” she said.
Blinken, for his part, under­scored that Russia’s block­ade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has led to scarci­ties in grain, cook­ing oil and fer­tilis­er — an issue that has had dis­pro­por­tion­ate effects on Africans.
“The US is there for African coun­tries in this unprece­dent­ed cri­sis, because that’s what part­ners do for each oth­er,” Blinken said. “The Unit­ed States will not dic­tate Africa’s choic­es, and nei­ther should any­one else. The right to make these choic­es belongs to Africans, and Africans alone.”
South Africa’s neu­tral posi­tion is large­ly because of the sup­port the Sovi­et Union gave dur­ing the Cold War era to Ramaphosa’s African Nation­al Con­gress in its fight to end apartheid – South Africa’s regime of repres­sion against the Black major­i­ty that end­ed in 1994. South Africa is seen as a leader of sev­er­al African coun­tries that will not side against Russia.
The Biden meet­ing will come at a crit­i­cal time for Ramaphosa, who is fac­ing crit­i­cism from oppo­si­tion par­ties and from with­in his own par­ty for a scan­dal over rev­e­la­tions that $4m was stolen from his cat­tle ranch.
He has been grilled this week by mem­bers of par­lia­ment about whether the for­eign cash had been prop­er­ly reg­is­tered with South Africa’s finan­cial author­i­ties and why he did not imme­di­ate­ly report the theft. The scan­dal has dam­aged Ramaphosa’s rep­u­ta­tion as a leader com­mit­ted to bat­tling his nation’s ram­pant corruption.
Ramaphosa faces sig­nif­i­cant oppo­si­tion in his efforts to be re-elect­ed as the leader of his par­ty at a con­fer­ence in Decem­ber. If he fails to win the par­ty lead­er­ship he will not be able to stand for re-elec­tion as South Africa’s pres­i­dent in 2024.
South Africa’s econ­o­my has been in reces­sion since even before the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and a third of the coun­try is unem­ployed, so Ramaphosa would wel­come any announce­ment of eco­nom­ic sup­port from the US.
Dur­ing Blinken’s vis­it to South Africa last month, he praised South Africa and Ramaphosa for achiev­ing a mul­ti-racial democ­ra­cy after years of white minor­i­ty rule. He also used the vis­it to for­mal­ly launch a new US strat­e­gy towards sub-Saha­ran Africa.

Global community urged not to let Ukraine crisis affect support for African nations

ISTANBUL The inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty has been urged to ensure that the fall­out from the Ukraine cri­sis should not have an impact on glob­al sup­port for African nations.A joint state­ment released after a meet­ing of the Forum on Chi­na-Africa Coop­er­a­tion on Thurs­day held vir­tu­al­ly and addressed by China’s For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi, urged the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to “active­ly help African coun­tries address food secu­ri­ty, cli­mate change, ener­gy cri­sis and oth­er glob­al issues.”Expressing sup­port for a peace­ful nego­ti­a­tion between Rus­sia and Ukraine, the state­ment called on the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty not to “lev­el down sup­port and input to Africa because of the Ukraine issue.”Russia launched a war on Ukraine in Feb­ru­ary of this year, result­ing in hun­dreds of deaths on both sides and mil­lions flee­ing the coun­try, affect­ing glob­al sup­ply chains, espe­cial­ly ener­gy and food supplies.However, thanks to the efforts of Türkiye and the UN, a grain cor­ri­dor with a coor­di­na­tion cen­ter in Istan­bul has been estab­lished, allow­ing food sup­plies from Ukraine and Rus­sia to reach the rest of the world.“The two sides urge the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to take seri­ous­ly Africa’s con­cerns on expand­ing devel­op­ment financ­ing and pro­mot­ing eco­nom­ic recov­ery, accel­er­ate the chan­nel­ing of Spe­cial Draw­ing Rights, in a bid to help Africa achieve inde­pen­dent and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment,” the state­ment said.Wang told the forum that Chi­na sup­ports the African side in imple­ment­ing the “Silenc­ing the Guns” ini­tia­tive as the two sides not­ed that the world is fac­ing grow­ing secu­ri­ty chal­lenges, con­demn­ing all forms of ter­ror­ism and vio­lent extremism.Reciprocal sup­port­Reaf­firm­ing their com­mit­ment to the prin­ci­ple of non-inter­fer­ence in inter­nal affairs, the Chi­nese side urged the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to “pro­vide finan­cial and tech­ni­cal sup­port to counter-ter­ror­ism oper­a­tions led by Africa in accor­dance with the mech­a­nisms of the African Peace and Secu­ri­ty Architecture.”Expressing sup­port to uphold the pur­pos­es and prin­ci­ples of the UN-cen­tered inter­na­tion­al sys­tem, the state­ment urged uphold­ing “equal­i­ty among all coun­tries regard­less of their size, strength and wealth.”Without men­tion­ing any coun­try, the two sides opposed uni­lat­er­al­ism, pow­er pol­i­tics, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, the for­ma­tion of oppos­ing blocs, and divi­sion and confrontation.The state­ment reaf­firmed their mutu­al sup­port for ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty, sov­er­eign­ty, secu­ri­ty, and devel­op­ment inter­ests, say­ing “there is but one Chi­na in the world … Tai­wan is an inalien­able part of China’s ter­ri­to­ry, and the gov­ern­ment of the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na is the sole legal gov­ern­ment rep­re­sent­ing the whole of China.”“The African side reaf­firms its com­mit­ment to the one-Chi­na prin­ci­ple, and its sup­port for China’s nation­al reuni­fi­ca­tion and China’s efforts to safe­guard the sov­er­eign­ty and ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty,” it added.China and African nations also said they will con­tin­ue to fight COVID-19 with “sol­i­dar­i­ty, deep­en prac­ti­cal coop­er­a­tion, pro­mote green devel­op­ment, uphold equi­ty and justice.”According to the state­ment, the two sides will syn­er­gize China’s mul­ti-bil­lion-dol­lar Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the Glob­al Devel­op­ment Ini­tia­tive with the African Union’s Agen­da 2063, and nation­al devel­op­ment strate­gies of African coun­tries, “in order to ele­vate Chi­na-Africa coop­er­a­tion to high­er levels.”

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‘France Has Delivered Almost Nothing’

As the war in Ukraine approach­es the six-month mark, much has changed. Since Rus­sia invad­ed, more than 12 mil­lion Ukraini­ans have been dis­placed, of whom at least 5 mil­lion became refugees across Europe. Sev­er­al cities and towns, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the country’s cen­tral and east­ern regions, have been reduced to rub­ble. Some 5,000 civil­ian deaths have…

Biden to send new precision-guided artillery rounds to Ukraine — POLITICO

Out of the total promised, eight HIMARS have already been deliv­ered to Ukraine. | Evan Vucci/AP Pho­to  By Lara Selig­man 07/08/2022 01:34 PM EDT Updat­ed: 07/08/2022 02:35 PM EDT Pres­i­dent Joe Biden has approved send­ing a new type of pre­­ci­­sion-guid­ed artillery round to Ukraine that the admin­is­tra­tion believes will give Kyiv a tech­no­log­i­cal edge in its battle…