KW 23: Putin signs law taking Russia out of Open Skies arms control treaty, Mali coup leader Goita sworn in as interim president, NATO concerned about destabilization of Russia and Belarus


Putin signs law taking Russia out of Open Skies arms control treaty: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Monday that formalizes Russia’s exit from the Open Skies arms control treaty, a pact that allows unarmed surveillance flights over member countries. Russia had hoped that Putin and US President Joe Biden could discuss the treaty when they meet later this month at a summit in Geneva. But the Biden administration informed Moscow in May that it would not re-enter the pact after the Trump administration quit it last year.

Mali coup leader Goita sworn in as interim president: Assimi Goita, the Malian colonel who has overthrown two presidents in the past nine months, said he would oversee a transition toward democratic elections as he was sworn in as interim president on Monday. His inauguration took place days after both the West African economic bloc ECOWAS and the African Union suspended Mali’s membership in a reflection of international concern about the political situation in the war-torn Sahel state. Goita has said elections will be held in 2022 and a new prime minister appointed within days.,

NATO concerned about destabilization of Russia and Belarus: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned Moscow and Minsk against activities that would destabilize the alliance’s eastern flank. Belarus borders the NATO member states of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The warning comes after Minsk diverted a Ryanair flight traveling from Athens to Vilnius two weeks ago in order to detain a dissident journalist, Raman Pratasevich, and his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, who were on board. Stoltenberg noted NATO is monitoring what is happening in Belarus very closely.

Netanyahu calls to block Israel’s newly formed coalition: Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at a newly agreed coalition which looks set to remove him from power after 12 years as prime minister. Netanyahu called on right-wing members of parliament to block the coalition from taking office. Eight parties reached an agreement to work together to form a new government late on Wednesday. But the group, from across Israel’s political spectrum, still needs parliamentary backing to take office. In his first comments since the coalition was announced, Netanyahu urged members of the Knesset „elected by votes from the right“ to oppose the coalition.

France, Germany, Spain push ahead with fighter jet project: Following weeks of intense talks, France, Spain and Germany pledged to push on with the next stage of developing the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) platform. The project includes building a next-generation fighter jet and drones, as well as creating a communications network dubbed the „combat cloud“ with artificial intelligence capabilities. The three nations previously clashed over intellectual property and splitting the workload between the NATO allies.

Iraq: Several dead after Turkish drone attack
Sanctions: EU closes airspace for Belarusian aircraft
Reserves: Russia foregoes some reserves in dollars due to sanctions
US: US President Biden expands blacklist with Chinese companies
Caucasus: Border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan


Around 380 Afghans that worked with the German military will be allowed to move to Germany.


European Council wants to fill the position of anti-terrorism coordinator: The incumbent coordinator Gilles de Kerchove has been in office for 14 years. Now the position needs to be filled again. The Council Secretariat has sent out an internal call for applications with an application deadline of June 15. The post is limited to five years, with a one-off reappointment being possible. The appointment of an anti-terrorism coordinator was decided as a reaction of the EU member states to the terrorist attacks on March 11, 2004 in Madrid. The Dutchman Gijs de Vries held the office first, followed in 2007 by the Belgian Gilles de Kerchove. Tasks include the coordination of the fight against terrorism. As a political official, the coordinator cannot issue orders, but regularly publishes political recommendations and proposals for measures to the Council and then monitors their implementation.

Second military coup in Mali raises doubts about German military mission: Due to the latest developments in Mali, there are increasingly critical voices regarding the Bundeswehr mission abroad. Malian generals had overturned the government of the West African crisis state a few days ago. With up to 1,100 troops, the Bundeswehr took part in the UN blue helmet operation Minusma. In addition, security forces are being trained by 600 German soldiers as part of the EU Training Mission (EUTM). The German parliament extended both mandates in May. The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Norbert Röttgen, is now criticizing the behavior with regard to the latest developments, as many officers are trained by the European training mission in Western countries, but „become putschists“ in their own country and are also willing to work with Islamists.

MH17 plane crash trial starts hearing evidence: The trial of four individuals suspected of being involved in the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 started on Monday in the Netherlands. Three Russian nationals — Oleg Pulatov, Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky — and one Ukrainian citizen, Leonid Kharchenko, are being tried in absentia for the crime of downing MH17. Pulatov is the only one represented in the proceedings, but denies involvement. The other three do not have lawyers appointed to them. The Boeing 777 jet was en route from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. It was shot down as it flew over a part of eastern Ukraine that is under the control of pro-Russian rebels.


„Relations between NATO and Russia have now reached a low point that we haven’t seen since the end of the Cold War. Dialogue is the best way to address tension.“
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called Russia for a meeting because the so-called NATO-Russia Council has not met for 19 months.


Iran’s largest naval ship sunk in the Gulf of Oman: The largest warship in the Iranian navy caught fire and later sank Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman under unclear circumstances, the latest calamity to strike one of the country’s vessels in recent years amid tensions with the West. “For the regular Iranian navy, this vessel was very valuable because it gave them reach,” said Mike Connell of the Center for Naval Analysis, an Arlington, Virginia-based federally funded nonprofit that works for the US government. “That allowed them to conduct operations far afield. They do have other logistics vessels, but the Kharg was kind of the most capable and the largest.”

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