Kiev Corruption – Arena Kiev http://arena-kiev.com/ Fri, 04 Jun 2021 22:01:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://arena-kiev.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default.png Kiev Corruption – Arena Kiev http://arena-kiev.com/ 32 32 Burisma-linked company offered Ukrainian prosecutor ‘access’ to Camp Clinton in 2016, emails from Obama officials say https://arena-kiev.com/burisma-linked-company-offered-ukrainian-prosecutor-access-to-camp-clinton-in-2016-emails-from-obama-officials-say/ https://arena-kiev.com/burisma-linked-company-offered-ukrainian-prosecutor-access-to-camp-clinton-in-2016-emails-from-obama-officials-say/#respond Fri, 04 Jun 2021 13:38:47 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/burisma-linked-company-offered-ukrainian-prosecutor-access-to-camp-clinton-in-2016-emails-from-obama-officials-say/ EXCLUSIVE: Former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko told former Obama State Department official George Kent he was “presented” by a lobbying firm linked to Hunter Biden and Burisma to give him “access To “high levels” of the Clinton campaign in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, according to emails between former Obama State […]]]>


EXCLUSIVE: Former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko told former Obama State Department official George Kent he was “presented” by a lobbying firm linked to Hunter Biden and Burisma to give him “access To “high levels” of the Clinton campaign in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, according to emails between former Obama State Department officials obtained by Fox News.

Lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies is reportedly under federal investigation for possible illegal lobbying. Politico first reported the investigation, which would take place as the Justice Department steps up enforcement of foreign government efforts to influence US policy. Those efforts have been linked to the work of Republicans, but the Blue Star investigation is also taking a closer look at companies and agents linked to the Democratic Party.

In an email released Thursday to Citizens United as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing, and obtained by Fox News, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eastern European George Kent has written to a number of Obama administration officials about a meeting he had with Ukrainian Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko in September 2016 regarding Blue Star Strategies.

E-MAILS TO HUNTER BIDEN SHOW MEETING PLANS WITH STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICERS ABOUT BURISMA PROBE

The email, with the subject line “Lutsenko now likely not to go to DC with Blue Star, further comments on the Ukr problem”, was sent by Kent to the former deputy secretary at the fossil fuel Christopher Smith, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Alan Purcell, Kyiv Embassy Policy Officer from 2014 to 2017.

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuri Lutsenko attends a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine on May 30, 2016. REUTERS / Gleb Garanich – D1BETHAMTIAA

In the email dated September 4, 2016, Kent writes that he met Lutsenko “one-on-one after I texted him about stories he was using a third-party lobbyist to organize a planned trip. in DC turned into a cat on Thai food at DCR.

Kent, a key witness to the first impeachment proceedings against former President Trump in 2019, said the two discussed options of a trip Lutsenko had planned to the United States and “confirmed that it was presented by Blue Star, not wanted. ”

“He said he honestly didn’t know how Blue Star was to be paid – he didn’t have any money – and that a BPP MP we probably didn’t know” and that’s good “(Truhubenko? ?) had presented them to him, “Kent wrote. It is not known who “Truhubenko” is.

“CEO of the Blue Star [Karen] Tramantano’s pitch was that she could get him up to high levels of the Clinton campaign (GPK note: she was Podesta’s deputy as Deputy COS in Bill Clinton’s last year in office), and c ‘was attractive – to meet the next presidential chief of staff,’ Kent wrote.

“But I stressed that it was not too likely 6 weeks before the elections and that the embassies could organize meetings at the DOJ and in the state, as well as at the Ukrainian embassy on the Hill,” he continued. “As for the Hill, few members would be about 6 weeks before an election when Congress was on vacation, and the attention of the talkative think tank class would be on UNGA. This isn’t the best. moment, aside from the DOJ and the State. ”

Kent then wrote on Blue Star Strategies, which helped represent Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden served on the board.

“As for Blue Star, I noted their portrayal of Burisma / Zlochevsky,” Kent wrote.

Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014 and, at the time, reportedly connected Burisma with Blue Star to help the company fight corruption charges. The founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, the former minister of ecologies, had been the subject of an investigation in Ukraine.

The Obama administration has been pushing for the prosecutor investigating Zlochevsky, Viktor Shokin, to be removed from his post. Shokin was sacked in April 2016 and the case was closed by the prosecutor who replaced him, Lutsenko. Joe Biden once bragged on camera that when he was vice president he had successfully put pressure on Ukraine to sack Shokin.

Biden’s allies, however, argue that his intervention had nothing to do with his son, but rather related to the administration’s concerns over corruption in Ukraine. At the time, as vice president to former President Obama, Biden led US-Ukraine policy and anti-corruption campaigns.

HUNTER BIDEN SAYS IN BRIEF THAT HE WON’T RETURN TO WORK AT BURISMA, BUT INSISTS IT WAS NOT “IMALTHIC”

Burisma Holdings was at the center of the first impeachment proceedings against former President Trump in 2019, after pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call to examine the Biden family’s relations in Ukraine.

In the email, Kent went on to describe the reports surrounding the 2016 election regarding Ukrainian lobbying, including the work of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who had a lucrative political consulting business that understood Ukraine and then pleaded guilty to financial crimes arising from it. job; as well as the work of Tony Podesta, brother of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, who also lobbied Ukraine; money from Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk to the Clinton Foundation; and others.

Kent said during his conversation with Lutsenko, that he “mentioned the various cash flows from Ukraine to lobbyists who made headlines last month, be it Manafort / Klueyev via Brussels to the group. Podesta and Weber / Mercury, Justice Minister from Yanu Lavrynovych to Skaden / arps-and Greg Caid-and Pinchuk to the Clinton Foundation, and media attention currently being given to the Kiev / Washington lobbyists’ gravy train… And he got it. No ideal timing, few receptive audiences and poor host, “Kent wrote.

Kent added: “He said he would find a better time where there was more traction / a better audience.”

Kent and Yovanovitch both testified in connection with Trump’s impeachment in 2019.

Kent, during his testimony, said he raised concerns with Biden’s office in 2015 that Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board could present “the possibility of the perception of conflict of interest “.

Kent also said he “would love” to see Ukraine examine the circumstances surrounding the closure of the Burisma investigation.

STATE DEPARTMENT E-MAILS INDICATE THAT YOVANOVITCH MET BURISMA’S REPRESENTATIVE, DESPITE TESTIMONY

Yovanovitch said she didn’t know much about Burisma Holdings and noted that she only learned of her connection to Biden through “news articles” she read while preparing for his confirmation hearing in the Senate.

Fox News, however, first reported last year after getting a note posted via a Citizens United FOIA that Yovanovitch had met Blue Star Strategies CEO Karen Tramontano as a representative for Burisma at the interior of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine on December 8, 2016.

Meanwhile, last year, the Senate Homeland Security Committee, chaired at the time by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Approved subpoenas for Blue Star Strategies as part of its investigation into Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board of directors; and whether individuals in the company abused the relationship with the then vice president’s son to “influence” US government agencies.

At the time, Tramontano said the company would cooperate with the committee.

Meanwhile, the investigation into Blue Star Strategies is said to be led by the Delaware attorney’s office – the same office that heads the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s “tax matters”.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the existence of an investigation.

Biden announced he was under federal investigation for his tax matters in December 2020, following the presidential election.

At the time, a prominent government source told Fox News that Hunter Biden was the subject / target of a grand jury investigation. According to the source, a “target” means that there is a “high probability that this person has committed a crime”, while a “subject” is someone you “don’t know for sure” has committed a crime. crime.

The source also told Fox News that the investigation was based, in part, on Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding foreign transactions. Another source close to the investigation told Fox News that the SAR involved funds coming from “China and other foreign countries.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter, began in 2018.

Hunter Biden maintained that he had done nothing wrong. In his December statement making the inquiry public, Hunter Biden said he took “this matter very seriously” and was “confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I have treated my affairs in a manner that is correct. legal and appropriate, including with the help of professional tax advisers. “



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Former Treasury employee jailed over Trump leaks https://arena-kiev.com/former-treasury-employee-jailed-over-trump-leaks/ https://arena-kiev.com/former-treasury-employee-jailed-over-trump-leaks/#respond Thu, 03 Jun 2021 22:35:11 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/former-treasury-employee-jailed-over-trump-leaks/ A former senior US Treasury Department official who pleaded guilty to conspiring to give a journalist sensitive information about former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison. Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, former senior advisor to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has been convicted […]]]>


A former senior US Treasury Department official who pleaded guilty to conspiring to give a journalist sensitive information about former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, former senior advisor to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has been convicted by U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods in Manhattan.

Edwards has been charged with unauthorized disclosure of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) – used by banks to alert law enforcement to potential money laundering and other crimes – to a reporter of BuzzFeed News using an encrypted email program.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards leaves court after being sentenced to six months in prison for leaking confidential financial reports to a Buzzfeed reporter, Thursday, June 3, 2021, in New York City

Prosecutors said more than 2,000 leaked reports in a year involved Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, both of whom oversaw Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, as well as the Russian embassy in Washington and others.

The reports served as the basis for articles regarding former special adviser Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Edwards, 43, of Quinton, Va., Had asked for no jail time, after being indicted in October 2018 and pleaded guilty in January 2020.

Natalie Mayflower Edwards

Natalie Mayflower Edwards

Before being sentenced, she called herself a whistleblower who spoke to the media after discovering suspicious behavior elsewhere in the Treasury Department.

Citing principles of her Native American origin, she said before being sentenced that she could not “sit idly by” in silence, but apologized for her revelations.

Woods said “reporting through the proper channels is an incredibly valuable exercise,” but Edwards went too far in disclosing about 50,000 records, including SARs.

‘Dr. Sours Edwards has decided to abuse his position of trust, ”he said.

Woods said it should have been “exceptionally clear” that “breaking his oath and exposing sensitive law enforcement information that could be used to aid bad guys and tarnish the reputations and interests of innocent people was to be done. both illegal and bogus “.

Edwards called herself a whistleblower, but a federal judge said she

Edwards called herself a whistleblower, but a federal judge said she “decided to abuse her position of trust”

Edwards admitted to leaking financial information about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison

Edwards admitted to leaking financial information about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison

Other disclosures concerned former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, who cooperated with authorities in the Russia probe

Other disclosures concerned former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, who cooperated with authorities in the Russia probe

Prosecutors said the more than 2,000 leaked reports in one year concerned Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, both of whom oversaw Trump's presidential campaign in 2016

Prosecutors said the more than 2,000 leaked reports in a year concerned Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, both of whom oversaw Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016

Federal Prosecutor Kimberly Ravener said Edwards ‘”widespread disclosure of private information” was “unprecedented” in FinCEN history and could have a chilling effect on banks’ willingness to file detailed SARs.

“She said she followed the procedure. But she made up hers, ”Ravener said.

Edwards was also sentenced to three years on probation. BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold has not been charged with wrongdoing. He kissed Edwards after meeting her outside the courthouse after the sentencing.

“I apologize for the disclosure of this information,” Edwards said before the sentencing.

She said she “couldn’t stay aimless,” Buzfeed reported.

Constantine Kilimnik

Constantine Kilimnik

Buzzfeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal condemned the conviction in a statement and called Edwards “a courageous whistleblower who has fought to warn the public of serious risks to the national security of the United States, d ‘first through the official whistleblower process, then through the press. “

An October 2017 Buzzfeed report identified 13 wire transfers totaling $ 3 million involving Manafort, who would later be sentenced to 7.5 years for bribery. President Trump pardoned him before stepping down.

The story contained detailed information about the transfers, including one by Global Endeavor, affiliated with Manafort, in 2013, to Konstantin Kilimnik, identified at the time as a “Kiev-based political operator”. Last year, the Senate Intelligence Committee identified Kilimnik as a Russian intelligence officer.



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Hariri bombing tribunal “could close without urgent funding” https://arena-kiev.com/hariri-bombing-tribunal-could-close-without-urgent-funding/ https://arena-kiev.com/hariri-bombing-tribunal-could-close-without-urgent-funding/#respond Wed, 02 Jun 2021 12:33:49 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/hariri-bombing-tribunal-could-close-without-urgent-funding/ BEIRUT: A UN tribunal set up after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has warned it will be forced to close after July unless it finds urgent funding. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) said it was facing an “unprecedented financial crisis” and needed immediate funding if it was to continue […]]]>


BEIRUT: A UN tribunal set up after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has warned it will be forced to close after July unless it finds urgent funding.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) said it was facing an “unprecedented financial crisis” and needed immediate funding if it was to continue operations after July.

The tribunal was established in 2009 to investigate and try suspects in the Beirut bombing in 2005 that killed Hariri and 21 others.

It is the first international criminal tribunal of its kind to prosecute terrorism at the level of individuals, not states, with the aim of “sending a strong message to the world that terrorism will not go unpunished”.

The Netherlands-based court said in a statement on Wednesday: “Without immediate funding, the court will not be able to function beyond July 2021”, calling its financial crisis “unprecedented”.

In the statement, the STL said the lack of funding “will affect its ability to carry out its current mandate and the two cases currently before it.”

In August 2020, the trial chamber tried suspect Salim Ayyash in absentia on five charges related to the bombing.

On December 11 last year, Ayyash was sentenced to life imprisonment, the court saying he “played a key role in the attack that killed Rafik Hariri”.

He added: “The attack was political and aimed at eliminating a political opponent, and although there is no direct evidence, it most likely involved state actors.”

Ayyash, 58, has acted as a prominent military leader within Hezbollah. The US State Department said it had played a “senior operational role in Hezbollah Unit 121, the group’s assassination squad.”

Its Rewards for Justice program offered a reward of up to $ 10 million for information that could help locate or identify Ayyash.

The other defendants Hassan Habib Merhi, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra were found not guilty on all counts. Appeal proceedings are ongoing against Ayyash and others, due to other assassinations that took place after 2005.

“Court officials have officially informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the financial situation which will result in the tribunal’s inability to complete its work if no contribution is obtained before the end of July,” the STL statement read. .

The tribunal relies on 51 percent of its budget from donor countries and 49 percent from the Lebanese government.

STL spokesman Wajed Ramadan told Arab News: “The closure of the court is an extremely serious and unprecedented matter. Therefore, the STL calls on the international community and Lebanon to support it so that it can continue its judicial work in favor of victims of terrorism in Lebanon. The tribunal is also very crucial for international prosecutions.

Ramadan did not say whether Lebanon had notified the court of its decision not to pay, but said: “If no funding is secured before the end of July, everything the court has accomplished so far would be in vain.” .

Sources told Arab News that this would mean that “all of Ayyash’s arrest procedures would also come to a halt and it would be as if the tribunal never existed, with no other alternative mechanism to prosecute the terrorists.”

Paul Morcos, lawyer and founder of Justicia Consulting Law in Beirut, said: “Lebanon is unable to pay its share, even if the amount is reduced, due to its financial crisis.

When asked if the state’s reluctance to fund the tribunal had a political basis, Morcos added: “The risk of the tribunal closing is due to financial problems, at least that’s the apparent cause. However, this tribunal, which was set up to prosecute individuals and not states, is a cause of distress for many because its decisions are not substantive. “

The tribunal had previously cut its budget for 2021 by 37% compared to previous years, given the difficult conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic situation in Lebanon.

In March, a contribution of $ 15.5 million to the STL was made by the UN, covering 75 percent of Lebanon’s quota and leaving the government only 25 percent of its annual share to pay.

Registrar David Tolbert said: “Despite the STL’s initiative to reduce its staff and budget in general, it will still have to close in the coming months if no funding is secured.

After a 30 percent reduction in staff, the tribunal is now composed of five judges in the trial chambers, five judges in the appeals chamber and 300 staff.



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Israeli lawmakers to vote for next president https://arena-kiev.com/israeli-lawmakers-to-vote-for-next-president/ https://arena-kiev.com/israeli-lawmakers-to-vote-for-next-president/#respond Wed, 02 Jun 2021 06:13:25 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/israeli-lawmakers-to-vote-for-next-president/ BEIRUT: Political appeals and meetings have intensified in Lebanon over the past 48 hours in what has been described as perhaps “the last attempt” to salvage the process of forming a new government as the Bank Global said the authorities’ political response to the challenges was “highly inadequate.” “ Efforts to assemble a cabinet preceded […]]]>


BEIRUT: Political appeals and meetings have intensified in Lebanon over the past 48 hours in what has been described as perhaps “the last attempt” to salvage the process of forming a new government as the Bank Global said the authorities’ political response to the challenges was “highly inadequate.” “

Efforts to assemble a cabinet preceded the arrival Thursday of a World Bank delegation to meet with officials.
“The economic and financial crisis should be among the top 10, if not the top three, of the most serious crises in the world since the middle of the 19th century,” the bank warned. He said that, since late 2019, Lebanon has faced aggravated challenges, including its biggest peacetime economic and financial crisis, the spread of the coronavirus and the massive explosion in the port of Beirut last year.
“The response of the Lebanese authorities to the challenges in terms of public policies has been very insufficient,” noted the World Bank.
There was some optimism on Tuesday, when meetings were held mediated by Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri which resulted in the approval of a government of 24 ministers instead of 18.
But the remaining stumbling block is linked to the insistence of President Michel Aoun and his political party to appoint the two Christian ministers of the interior and of justice.
This position has been described by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s team as “an attempt to secure the blocking third party by appointing eight ministers and two others”.
A meeting was held Monday evening between the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) Gebran Bassil, who is Aoun’s son-in-law, and representatives of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement. The meeting, according to leaked information, did not advance.
Sources noted that Bassil insisted on appointing the two ministers, especially the interior minister, refusing to let Hariri appoint one of the two Christian ministers.

QUICKLYMADE

Lebanon’s GDP has grown from nearly $ 55 billion in 2018 to about $ 33 billion in 2020, while GDP per capita has fallen by about 40% in dollars.

According to Hariri’s media office, the prime minister-designate on Tuesday briefed his parliamentary bloc on what he had proposed in terms of forming a bailout government under the constitution.
Future Movement vice president Dr Mustafa Alloush said Hariri’s resignation as prime minister designate was one of the options and was not unlikely. “What can Hariri say to the people who were waiting for a new relief government, when he couldn’t form it due to intransigence on the other side?” Does he tell them that we have reached the point of collapse? He told Arab News. “Aoun’s political party is counting on the country to achieve a presidential vacuum without a government, which would allow it to maintain its position.
“If a government is formed without anyone getting the third blockade, Aoun, by the end of his term next year, will have to leave the palace and return home. However, in light of an interim government and parliament that will become illegitimate once Aoun’s term ends next May without legislative elections, Aoun and his party will remain in the presidential palace, bringing history back. upheavals the country witnessed in the 1980s. “
Hariri’s media adviser, Hussein Al-Wajh, said the FPM “threatened” a collective resignation from parliament.
“If FPM deputies resign, Lebanese Forces deputies will follow suit as they are among those calling for early parliamentary elections,” he told Arab News. “We have no problem organizing early parliamentary elections. However, is the other party ready for this scenario? “
A member of the Democratic Rally parliamentary bloc, MK Bilal Abdullah, said all indicators showed that the efforts of Berri and Socialist Progressive Party leader Walid Joumblatt had resulted in “some flexibility” in Hariri’s position. However, the meeting held between Bassil and representatives of Hezbollah and the Amal movement had negative results, he added.
“What is happening reflects a lack of awareness of the gravity of the situation in Lebanon and of the dire economic and social situation facing the citizens,” Abdullah said.
The World Bank report, according to the Associated Press, said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract 9.5 percent in 2021, after declining 20.3 percent in 2020 and 6 percent, 7% the previous year.
Lebanon’s GDP has grown from nearly $ 55 billion in 2018 to about $ 33 billion in 2020, while GDP per capita has fallen by about 40% in dollars.
Information International, which is a private institution for studies and statistics in Lebanon, said in a report Tuesday that poverty has affected an estimated 2.365 million Lebanese residents.
“About 45% of Lebanese have no health coverage. Most areas suffer from power shortages for more than 10 hours a day.
The report also found that 95 percent of workers received their wages in Lebanese pound, which lost 76 percent of its value. Inflation reached 85% in 2020 and had reached another 26% in the first four months of 2021, bringing the total to 111%.
On October 22 last year, Hariri was tasked with forming a new government following the resignation of then Prime Minister Hassan Diab following the port explosion on August 4.



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Anna Maxwell Martin: “I like my 40s. It’s my best decade ‘ https://arena-kiev.com/anna-maxwell-martin-i-like-my-40s-its-my-best-decade/ https://arena-kiev.com/anna-maxwell-martin-i-like-my-40s-its-my-best-decade/#respond Tue, 01 Jun 2021 05:01:04 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/anna-maxwell-martin-i-like-my-40s-its-my-best-decade/ “I was absolutely delighted! I was the face of Covid, Ofsted, 2021 (large), venereal disease … ” Yes, Anna Maxwell Martin was “ super excited ” to be the biggest meme of 2021, when one of her expressions – like the smug and irritating DCS. Patricia Carmichael in Line Of Duty – went viral, soon […]]]>


“I was absolutely delighted! I was the face of Covid, Ofsted, 2021 (large), venereal disease … ” Yes, Anna Maxwell Martin was “ super excited ” to be the biggest meme of 2021, when one of her expressions – like the smug and irritating DCS. Patricia Carmichael in Line Of Duty – went viral, soon to be branded as the face of everything the internet could think of.

Anna has truly been everywhere this year – 12.8 million people watched the sixth finale of the LOD series and Motherland (which she directs as the frenzied and hard-to-love Julia) is currently airing as one of the biggest hits of BBC Two, while its previous seasons top Netflix Charts. She’s filming an ITV thriller Hollington Drive, as we speak, will be on the West End Constellations show with Chris O’Dowd starting in August, has a six month Atlantic funded project more late in the year (‘what I can’t talk about’) and something else she can’t disclose ‘but literally when I got the email I almost died ‘. She’s already won two BAFTAs in her 20-year career, but is that saying too much that this is her best year?

“I think it would be absurd to say that there isn’t much around Line Of Duty,” she said. “ There is a huge zeitgeisty moment and I just find myself in it. However, at 44, Anna in particular appears to be becoming one of the UK’s biggest stars, in what is traditionally an ageist industry (well, for women). “Maybe the industry has changed, hasn’t it caught up a bit? ” she says. ‘You have Sarah Lancashires and Keeleys [Hawes] all lead the way in massive shows built around them … Nicola Walker [in, respectively, shows such as Happy Valley, Finding Alice and Unforgotten]. I’m really happy to be working, but I always assumed I would always be working. I always thought something was going to pop up! I’m busy…’

Despite this, Anna says she can live life with her two daughters (she and their father, director Roger Michell, are estranged) for the most part without the pain. “I’m not really recognized, maybe a little more recently, but it’s probably because Line Of Duty is watched by 10 billion people,” she says. “ I think there must be something in my face that is quite rubbery and that turns into the background. And also, they help you a lot, hairstyle and makeup – maybe I look so haggy and bouffant in real life that people just can’t tell.

There is no hagginess or baggy as Anna is sitting in a P & Co jumpsuit after our photoshoot. “ I’m not very confident about my face or anything like that, but I really like the clothes and work with it [stylist] Alexandra Mann, and she’s amazing at getting weird stuff and putting it on me and weirdly feeling good and confident. I really like that side. But isn’t she really so sure of her face? Since it is … ‘My business! This is where the money is! she interrupts with a laugh. “No, I really don’t feel anything on my face. While playing, you must have a memorable face, whatever that may mean.

© Zoe McConnell

Funny she should say memorable – when Motherland’s final season began, half of Twitter couldn’t believe Julia was the same person as LOD’s Carmichael, while the other half tried to explain is to act. She laughs (she laughs a lot, but not in Julia’s distinctive way). “In a way, it’s flattering – overwhelmingly, I felt really lucky to have two very different parts.

Did she feel so lucky to be filming Line Of Duty, Motherland and Sky’s Code 404 simultaneously in a pandemic? “ I wasn’t really a parent during that time, ” she jokes, pointing to her two adorable and very polite daughters who joined her on set. “That’s why they’re sprawled out there on an iPad – they don’t know why they’re here, they don’t know who I am.”

So no whining – Anna is very aware of privileges. “On Motherland we’re all buddies, so you go back to a set like that and you feel taken care of and have a laugh with your friends, it’s not that hard, is it?” She is careful when we talk about the reopening of the theater so that it is clear that times haven’t been as tough for bigger actors like her as they have for all the backstage and theater staff. .

As to whether she likes the very female-centric cast and crew of Motherland, she says, “I don’t think, ‘Hooray, I’m on an all-female show,’ I think we’re really getting into the balance. when it doesn’t. dominated by males and Caucasians. We absolutely need a different face from film and TV and we’re getting there, so that’s good.

For most people, Motherland is great because it’s such a recognizable take on middle class parenthood. But Anna doesn’t see herself in any of the characters, “ because they’re pretty extreme and I think the show is more and more about parenting more and more. Essentially, they are adults behaving like children. She does know, however, how Julia would have dealt with the pandemic, “Ooooh, badly. Very, very badly. She would have killed [her husband] Paul. ‘

Anna was never drawn into the culture or comparison of “mumfluencers”. “No, I have a radar, ‘Beep beep, looking for some fun mom friends,’ she said. “I chose my mother, my friends. Everyone at the gates of the school is a real hoot and the group is a real laugh. Not an Amanda in sight.

Aside from knowing her own memory, Anna barely has a social media presence, having only recently joined Instagram. “ My friend forced me to go to Instagram when I was pretty drunk, ” she says. “ I’m not very interested in people who constantly post or who seem like they’re having super idyllic lives. I’m raising two girls so it’s not very healthy, is it? But I like the other bum, like, “You like floral wallpaper, so we’re going to bombard you with chintzy sofas.”

“I’m not my friends,” she adds. “I’m going to call them, why would I speak to them via direct message?” I’m not on Twitter, you can’t just let it go on Twitter. Diane [Morgan from Motherland] tried. We both know this shouldn’t happen. I would be canceled before you could say, “Hashtag the face of the canceled year.”

Far from being canceled, Anna is set to return to Wales for ITV’s new four-part Hollington Drive, a project she spotted after loving the Irish crime drama Blood, which Sophie Petzal also has. written. “ Front foot – I never do that, but it’s so good I thought I would give it a try. ”

And her new ‘front line position’ means she may not just be based in the UK forever. “ It wasn’t until recently that I thought, ‘Oh we could all go and I’m going to try to finally work with Wes Anderson – my dream – and try to be a little more ambitious,’ she said. about a possible transatlantic movement. “ It wasn’t until now that I thought I could go to LA and brag a bit. When I was younger I just couldn’t … I love my 40s. I’m in the early days and think this is definitely my best decade. You really know yourself, you have a lot of friends, I have my lovely kids, I have a great life, I am very lucky and I work and when I go to work I never feel shy because I know people so i have a good time there. I feel a lot more confident than in my twenties. I was miserable in my twenties, ”she said, adding,“ If Covid doesn’t put things into perspective, what does?

Before heading to Los Angeles, could she take another turn as Carmichael – will there be another Line Of Duty series? “I wouldn’t know and I would never be told,” she promises, despite rumors on the Internet that the casting has started. Terribly, it all sounds a bit OCG (organized crime group, in the jargon of the show). ‘Until I get in the car and jump on the plane to Belfast [where it’s filmed], I wouldn’t know … I’m not in the crowd there and I’m not even sure the crowd knows. ‘

It cannot influence the reaction at the end of the division, with a spoiler alert! – see Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells’ unmasking as criminal mastermind H as a wet firecracker, others as a scathing political commentary on the nature of corruption. “I haven’t seen him,” she said. “My friends were pretty mixed, some of them loved the ending because they thought it was open to new things. I liked that it was Nigel [Boyle, who played Buckells], I always thought it was hilarious. I went on filming and my television in my hotel is not working, ”she adds, explaining how she managed to avoid the final. “I still haven’t spoken to reception. I say to myself: “Oh, I feel bad, they are so nice! “

Anna maxwell martin

© Zoe McConnell

As we wrap up, with me trying to figure out one of her secret projects, we joke that she’s doing I’m A Celebrity – a not-so-ridiculous idea, it turns out. “I was asked to go to the jungle; I would love a challenge, but I wouldn’t like boredom, ”she says – even though her daughters were enthusiastic. ‘They were like, “Oh my God, we’re going to be at the Versace Hotel for five weeks!” “In case future producers read, Anna shares that her two phobias are sandwiches and mayonnaise (she’s not laughing, she can’t say the words and has to spell them).” If they threw me in a coffin with it. those … that would be good TV, ”she said to herself.

Now, however, she needs to come home for some family time (“Oh, me and the kids are going to get hammered,” she jokes), homemade chicken Kiev and “to freak out.” the idea of ​​walking the dog – it’s not yet done ”. The dog, Bobby, is the star of his Instagram. “I support Battersea and everything they do – Paul O’Grady is my hero,” she said. “Diane and I want to continue. They once had Tom Hardy. It was the best TV ever.

One of the few big shows she hasn’t performed in this year. Again…

“Motherland” is Mondays at 9pm on BBC Two. Series 1-2 are available on BBC iPlayer

Photographer @zoemcconnell Styling @whatmollysees @alexandramann Hair @bjornkrischker Makeup @florriewhitemakeup Stylist assistants @sammiey_hughes @remyfarrell

READ MORE: Which Homeland Character Are You?

READ MORE: Kim Kardashian West: ‘Life Becomes A Little Less About You Than Before’



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Invest in Pulitzer Prize-focused journalism as we continue our fight for the truth https://arena-kiev.com/invest-in-pulitzer-prize-focused-journalism-as-we-continue-our-fight-for-the-truth/ https://arena-kiev.com/invest-in-pulitzer-prize-focused-journalism-as-we-continue-our-fight-for-the-truth/#respond Fri, 28 May 2021 17:43:56 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/invest-in-pulitzer-prize-focused-journalism-as-we-continue-our-fight-for-the-truth/ For almost 20 years, we have done our part to support the unheard of. Undeterred by chaos or corruption, our intrepid team of investigative journalists defended democracy, exposed the truth, and spared no effort. Become a subscriber and fund our essential work to make sure the facts are always accessible. We believe honest information should […]]]>


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Turkey seeks arrest of crime boss at heart of video scandal https://arena-kiev.com/turkey-seeks-arrest-of-crime-boss-at-heart-of-video-scandal/ https://arena-kiev.com/turkey-seeks-arrest-of-crime-boss-at-heart-of-video-scandal/#respond Thu, 27 May 2021 13:37:12 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/turkey-seeks-arrest-of-crime-boss-at-heart-of-video-scandal/ LONDON: Over three decades ago, Ebrahim Raisi made a name for himself overseeing the summary execution of thousands of Iranian political prisoners – an act considered one of Tehran’s first crimes against humanity. Now the justice of the peace-turned-prosecutor is running for the presidency of the Islamic Republic, and experts have warned that a wave […]]]>


LONDON: Over three decades ago, Ebrahim Raisi made a name for himself overseeing the summary execution of thousands of Iranian political prisoners – an act considered one of Tehran’s first crimes against humanity.

Now the justice of the peace-turned-prosecutor is running for the presidency of the Islamic Republic, and experts have warned that a wave of disqualifications has effectively left the infamous lawyer ahead in a horse race.

In what is set to be one of the most restricted elections in the country, June 18 will see Iranians go to the polls to vote for Hassan Rouhani’s replacement.

Last week, the Council of Guardians (GC), a body accountable to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, announced the list of state-sanctioned presidential candidates.

Of the roughly 600 candidates who applied to run for office, a large proportion – some 585 people – were rejected by the Board, including well-known political figures like former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Larijani. , a former speaker of parliament and Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

There are only seven candidates left: Secretary of the Opportunity Council Mohsen Rezaei; former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili; parliamentary vice-president Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi; former vice-president Mohsen Mehralizadeh; the governor of the central bank Abdolnasser Hemmati; lawmaker Alireza Zakani; and Raisi, the Chief Justice of the Islamic Republic.

Mirko Giordani, founder of the strategic advisory group Prelia, says the unexpected disqualification of Ali Larijani – previously seen as the only viable alternative to Raisi – reduced the presidential election to a “horse race” in Raisi’s favor.

“Larijani was on the conservative side, but he has become more moderate lately. He was about to be the only possible candidate for Raisi – and even then the latter was supposed to win, ”Giordani told Arab News.

The programming is now so uncompetitive that incumbent Rohani and even Raisi himself have both appealed for a greater variety of candidates.

On May 27, 2021, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed parliamentarians via a video connection during an online meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran, which urged the Iranians to ignore calls for a boycott presidential election next month, after several hopefuls were barred from running against ultra-conservative candidates. . (AFP)

“Usually, Iranian elections are characterized by their high turnout – around 70% – but the current figures should be around 50%. It’s going to be a big blow in terms of legitimacy, ”said Giordani. “Even if Raisi wins the election, there are going to be a lot of questions asked.”

During his time as an insider of the Islamic Republic, presidential favorite Raisi oversaw a catalog of human rights violations that have shocked Iranians, rights groups and the international community.

Among those he sentenced to death is champion wrestler Navid Afkari for his alleged role in anti-government protests. His assassination in late 2020 sparked global outrage and protests from world sporting bodies – including the Olympics.

Perhaps his most heinous crime was his direct involvement in the “death commission” which ordered the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Described as a crime against humanity by Amnesty International, Raisi, then prosecutor Tehran’s deputy, oversaw the mock trials that sentenced thousands to death.

Supporters of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gather outside the Interior Ministry headquarters in the capital Tehran on May 12, 2021. In what is expected to be one of the country’s most restricted elections, on the 18th June will see Iranians go to the polls to vote. Replacement of Hassan Rohani. (AFP / File Photo)

“Groups of prisoners have been arrested, blindfolded and brought before committees of justice, prosecution, intelligence and prison officials,” Amnesty International reported. “These ‘death commissions’ were nothing like a tribunal and their procedures were summary and arbitrary in the extreme.

“The prisoners were asked questions such as whether they were prepared to repent for their political views, publicly denounce their political groups and declare their loyalty to the Islamic Republic. Some of the cruel questions were asked, for example whether they were prepared to cross an active minefield to assist the military or participate in firing squads.

“They were never told that their answers could sentence them to death.”

The exact number of people killed by Raisi is unknown, but estimates range from 1 to 3,000 in the summer of 1988 alone. Other suspected dissidents have been subjected to torture and harassment.

“Many of those believed to have been implicated in the 1988 murders still hold positions of power,” Amnesty said, with Raisi arguably most important. Now, with the help of the Supreme Leader and the Council of Guardians, he is on his way to the presidency.

“The regime essentially chooses who will be the next president by disqualifying so many candidates who have stood for election,” Meir Javedanfar, Iranian lecturer at IDC Herzliya and former Persian reporter for the BBC, told Arab News. “The chances of one person being upset, or that whoever wins, are low.”

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps chief Hossein Salami leaves after delivering a speech during a march condemning the ongoing Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in Palestine Square in the capital, Tehran, the May 19, 2021 (AFP)

For Javedanfar, Raisi is the candidate for the continuity of the regime.

“A Raisi presidency will mean the pursuit of Ayatollah Khamenei’s foreign policy, which means acrimonious relations with America; continued support for the Iranian presence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen; continue the economy of resistance.

“I also think that we will see a repression of existing freedoms, for example on social networks. I even fear that a Raisi government will set up a national intranet. “

An intranet would allow Tehran to tightly control the flow of online information inside and outside Iran by effectively sealing off the Iranian cybersphere.

“The Islamic Republic is concerned about the dissemination of Western ideas among Iranians, especially feminism. Raisi would be the person to do it, ”Javedanfer said.

Giordani says that a Raisi presidency is likely to focus heavily on eradicating corruption, a trait he said was a hallmark of the Tories’ tenure in the country’s controversial justice system.

People, masked due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, walk under a billboard depicting the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (right) and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (at left) in Enghelab Square in the center of the Iranian capital Tehran in May 16 January 2021 (AFP)

Ali Alfoneh, senior researcher at the Washington-based Institute for the Arab States of the Gulf, believes the focus on corruption has always been very selective – and political.

“Raisi has dedicated his tenure as Chief Justice of Iran to engage in a selective fight against corruption,” Alfoneh told Arab News. “Selective because Raisi, for the most part, targeted his political opponents and those close to them.”

Alfoneh also believes that, despite the media attention that the conservative-leaning list of presidential candidates has invited, the distinction “hard” and “reformist” is a misnomer that does not accurately describe the obscure politics of the Iran.

“The hard-line-soft-line dichotomy in Iranian politics is totally wrong,” Alfoneh said. “Due to the lack of formal political parties with written party platforms, the ruling elites of the Islamic Republic are organizing themselves into fluid networks around leaders to ensure personal gain.”

This photo provided by the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on May 27, 2021, shows members of the Iranian parliament greeting him via a video connection during an online meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran. (AFP)

Therefore, “personal gain, rather than ideology” is “the organizing principle of Iranian politics”.

Alfoneh shares Giordani’s point of view on the flagrant lack of legitimacy of the June 18 elections in the eyes of the Iranian public.

“The ruling elites of the Islamic Republic are subject to a permanent purge, and over the years the regime has become less representative of the Iranian population,” he said.

“This has already posed problems for a regime which, despite all its authoritarianism, is sensitive to public opinion.”

—————-

Twitter: @CHamillStewart





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Croatia Airlines hires US company to compete https://arena-kiev.com/croatia-airlines-hires-us-company-to-compete/ https://arena-kiev.com/croatia-airlines-hires-us-company-to-compete/#respond Thu, 27 May 2021 12:00:00 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/croatia-airlines-hires-us-company-to-compete/ Croatia Airlines has chosen the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to support its post-Covid-19 strategy, which will include competition with low-cost giant Ryanair on its territory in Zagreb. BCG will develop plans on how the carrier can capitalize on the rapidly unfolding summer opportunities, albeit in an agile manner in light of the lingering uncertainty. The […]]]>


Croatia Airlines has chosen the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to support its post-Covid-19 strategy, which will include competition with low-cost giant Ryanair on its territory in Zagreb. BCG will develop plans on how the carrier can capitalize on the rapidly unfolding summer opportunities, albeit in an agile manner in light of the lingering uncertainty. The strategy also focuses on preparing Croatia Airlines for the “new normal”. “BCG will help us redefine new market opportunities to connect European destinations to the South East European region, maximize future revenue potential and increase aircraft productivity. This will help us identify opportunities for streamlining and improving business processes, ”Croatia Airlines said.

Boston Consulting Group is an American management consulting firm and the second in the world by revenue. “We serve seven of the top ten network carriers and six of the top twenty low cost carriers, in addition to airports, original equipment manufacturers, freight carriers and other key players in the ecosystem of aviation. Our online consulting teams combine their expertise in all aspects of the airline industry including strategy, network planning, flight operations, pricing and revenue management, sales and distribution, personalization and airline loyalty, MRO, people and organization, digital and travel technologies and sustainability. By working in cross-functional teams, we look at each airline as a whole to ensure that each move has cascading benefits for the entire company, ”said BCG.

The company noted that his work had a “revolutionary impact.” “The transformation of an airline customer has been described as ‘the greatest corporate turnaround in the history of the country’. Another client has become the world’s most punctual airline. And another got a three point improvement in starts on time, ”the consulting firm said. Croatia Airlines faces increased competition, with Ryanair scheduled to begin operations in Zagreb next week and base its first of two planes in the city by the end of August. In addition, the carrier is awaiting a ruling from the General Court of the European Union on a complaint by Ryanair regarding state aid provided to the airline by the Croatian government to cover losses generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. last year. The court ruled in favor of Ryanair last week in similar cases brought against the European Commission over aid granted to KLM and TAP on the grounds that regulators failed to justify the cash injections.



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Hunter Biden’s salary in Ukraine slashed – after Joe Biden left https://arena-kiev.com/hunter-bidens-salary-in-ukraine-slashed-after-joe-biden-left/ https://arena-kiev.com/hunter-bidens-salary-in-ukraine-slashed-after-joe-biden-left/#respond Wed, 26 May 2021 20:50:00 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/hunter-bidens-salary-in-ukraine-slashed-after-joe-biden-left/ The Ukrainian energy company that paid President Biden’s son Hunter $ 1 million a year cut his monthly pay in half two months after his father quit being a vice president. As of May 2014, Burisma Holdings Ltd. was paying Hunter $ 83,333 a month to sit on his board, bills on his abandoned laptop. […]]]>


The Ukrainian energy company that paid President Biden’s son Hunter $ 1 million a year cut his monthly pay in half two months after his father quit being a vice president.

As of May 2014, Burisma Holdings Ltd. was paying Hunter $ 83,333 a month to sit on his board, bills on his abandoned laptop.

But in an email from March 19, 2017, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi asked Hunter to sign a new director agreement and informed him that “the only thing that has been changed is the rate of pay. “.

“We are very interested in working closely together, and the compensation is always the highest in the company and above the usual monthly directors fees. I am sure you will find it both fair and reasonable. “

After the email was sent, the amount on Hunter’s Burisma monthly invoices was reduced to $ 41,500, as of May 2017. The amount was paid in Euros, at the rate between 35,000 and 36,100 euros per month, depending on currency fluctuations at the time.

This letter details Hunter Biden's Burisma pay cut.
This letter details Hunter Biden’s Burisma pay cut.

No reason is given for the reduction in salary. The only change in circumstance seems to be that Hunter’s father was no longer in office.

In 2016, Hunter’s total income from Burisma was $ 999,996. In 2017, it fell to $ 665,000, then to $ 498,000 in 2018.

Hunter resigned from Burisma’s board in April 2019, according to his lawyer George Mesires, after his controversial business relationship hampered his father’s presidential campaign.

Burisma’s invoices and emails were among thousands of documents on the water damaged Macbook Hunter, left in a Delaware repair shop in April 2019 and then failed to collect or pay the repair invoice.

Documents on the laptop also show that Hunter invited Pozharskyi to meet then-Vice President Biden at a dinner in Washington DC in April 2015.

Burisma's Vadym Pozharskyi told Hunter Biden his monthly rate will change.
Burisma’s Vadym Pozharskyi told Hunter Biden his monthly rate will change.
Bella Bellini / Wikimedia

In December 2015, Biden flew to Kiev and armed the Ukrainian government to fire its chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma at the time, including seizing four large houses and a Rolls-Royce Phantom. owned by the owner of the company Mykola Zlochevsky. .

Three months later, Shokin was forced to step down and nine months later all lawsuits against Burisma were dropped. Joe Biden has said in the past that Shokin isn’t doing enough to fight corruption and that the push has nothing to do with Hunter’s position.

In a 2018 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, VPBiden boasted of threatening to withhold $ 1 billion in US loan guarantees for Ukraine unless Shokin was sacked.

“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the attorney isn’t fired, you don’t get the money. Well, son of a bitch. He was fired, ”he said.

Hunter Biden stepped down from Burisma's board of directors in April 2019.
Hunter Biden stepped down from Burisma’s board of directors in April 2019.
Kris Connor / WireImage



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EU blocks Belarus flights ahead of new round of sanctions – Courthouse News Service https://arena-kiev.com/eu-blocks-belarus-flights-ahead-of-new-round-of-sanctions-courthouse-news-service/ https://arena-kiev.com/eu-blocks-belarus-flights-ahead-of-new-round-of-sanctions-courthouse-news-service/#respond Tue, 25 May 2021 14:43:52 +0000 https://arena-kiev.com/eu-blocks-belarus-flights-ahead-of-new-round-of-sanctions-courthouse-news-service/ After Belarus forced a Ryanair flight to land so it could arrest a prominent opposition figure, the EU is toughening up with Minsk by banning flights to and from Belarus and preparing new sanctions. Belarusians living in Poland and Poles who support them gaze at paper planes during a protest demanding the freedom of Belarusian […]]]>


After Belarus forced a Ryanair flight to land so it could arrest a prominent opposition figure, the EU is toughening up with Minsk by banning flights to and from Belarus and preparing new sanctions.

Belarusians living in Poland and Poles who support them gaze at paper planes during a protest demanding the freedom of Belarusian opposition activist Roman Protasevich in Warsaw, Poland on Monday. (AP Photo / Czarek Sokolowski)

(CN) – Tensions over Belarus escalated on Tuesday, with the European Union banning air travel to and from Belarus and the exiled Belarusian opposition leader calling on the United States and European capitals to take stronger measures against Minsk.

Meeting in Brussels, EU leaders also said they were preparing a new package of sanctions against Belarus and demanded the release of Roman Protasevich, a 26-year-old Belarusian journalist and opposition activist who was arrested Sunday in Minsk after the Ryanair flight in which he was. was redirected to the Belarusian capital as part of an alleged operation by the Belarusian KGB secret service.

European diplomats denounce Minsk’s actions as “air piracy” and the latest heinous act of a dictatorial and repressive regime on their doorstep that cannot be tolerated. The EU, often seen as ineffective and largely toothless vis-à-vis authoritarian powers such as Russia and Turkey, was praised on Tuesday for its toughening stance against Belarus.

“Until Protasevich’s kidnapping, the EU’s reaction to what was happening in Belarus was lukewarm,” wrote Judy Dempsey, editor-in-chief of Carnegie Europe, a Brussels-based think tank.

Dempsey said the limited sanctions the EU imposed last year on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and a few other officials and entities “reinforced the perception that the EU was powerless.” But Protasevich’s arrest “ultimately forced the EU’s hand,” she wrote.

Like many commentators in Europe, Dempsey supported tougher EU actions, but said much more needed to be done, such as giving visas to Belarusians facing persecution and providing greater financial support to the EU. Belarusian opposition. On Monday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU has a € 3 billion ($ 3.7 billion) investment program waiting to be spent on the Belarus once “it becomes democratic”.

In Lithuania, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya urged the EU and the US to put even more pressure on Lukashenko. Tikhanovskaya declared herself the winner in the disputed August elections. She fled to Lithuania after the elections and tried to build international support against the Lukashenko regime from her base in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.

In Riga, the capital of neighboring Latvia, the official Belarusian flag has been replaced by the red and white Belarusian flag used by the opposition outside an ice hockey arena where Belarus is participating in an international tournament of hockey.

This demonstration of solidarity by the mayor of Riga Martins Stakis for Tikhanovskaya and the Belarusian opposition was violently condemned by Belarus and prompted Minsk to expel the Latvian ambassador to Belarus, Einars Semanis, and the staff of the embassy.

“We cannot leave such provocative actions unanswered,” Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said, according to Belta, the Belarusian news agency. He equated the snub of the flag with an “act of state vandalism” and called it a “cynical violation of all norms of international law”.

The red and white flag used by the opposition had already been adopted by a pre-Soviet republican and democratic Belarusian state. But its use today is seen by the pro-government side as a highly provocative symbol and akin to showing support for fascism, a suggestion rejected by the opposition. The mass protests against Lukashenko became a sea of ​​people displaying red and white.

On Tuesday, Minsk presented his version of the events that led to Protasevich’s arrest and said he behaved correctly in escorting the plane to Minsk after receiving an alleged bomb threat from Hamas, the militant group fighting Israel, which had warned that the Ryanair plane was going to explode over Vilnius. Minsk said he was investigating the false bomb threat and welcomed an international investigation. He claimed that the pilot of the Ryanair plane made the decision to go to Minsk.

Belarusian police arrested journalist Roman Protasevich, center, in Minsk in 2017 (AP Photo / Sergei Grits, File)

Western leaders have dismissed the Minsk account as false.

“The explanations given so far by the Belarusian government for the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk are absurd and not credible,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

On Monday evening, EU leaders said they were preparing a new package of sanctions against Belarus and blocking flights to and from Belarus, a move that will mainly affect Belavia, the Belarusian airline run by Belarus. ‘State. EU leaders also urged planes to avoid flying over Belarus. They called for an investigation by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a move Belarus hailed.

The EU said the forced landing was unprecedented and illegal. Belarusian and Russian diplomats and experts retaliated, saying similar incidents had taken place with the support of Western countries and their outrage was now hypocritical.

In Moscow, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, spoke of the forced landing in 2013 of Evo Morales’ plane in search of Edward Snowden, the Agency’s whistleblower. national security. Morales, the then Bolivian president, was returning home after a meeting in Russia, where Snowden had fled.

Zakharova also spoke of more obscure incidents, such as when the personal plane of a former Russian deputy finance minister was forced to land in Florida and a 2016 Belavia flight that was forced to return to Kiev, Ukraine. , leading to the arrest of Armen Martirosyan, a journalist and activist who opposed the 2014 uprising that led to the overthrow of a pro-Russian government in Ukraine. Martirosyan was wanted by the Ukrainian authorities.

In Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Belarus acted in accordance with international rules involving a terrorist threat and argued that a Belarusian fighter plane was sent to escort the Ryanair flight because it was a threat to a neighboring Belarusian nuclear power plant.

Zakharova said Protasevich was on a Belarusian list of “persons implicated in extremist activities” and that his arrest was “an internal Belarusian affair”.

The Ryanair flight’s forced landing likely broke international rules, experts say. The International Civil Aviation Organization said in a statement it was calling an urgent meeting on Thursday. The United Nations aviation body said it was “deeply concerned” about what happened to the Ryanair flight and said it “may violate the Chicago Convention”. The Chicago Convention, signed in 1944, is a global agreement defining the rules of international airspace.

In addition to calling for an investigation and preparing for new sanctions, EU leaders also called on Belarus to immediately release Protasevich and his 23-year-old Russian girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, who was also on the plane. and detained in Minsk.

A video of Protasevich was released to Belarusian state media on Monday evening. In the disturbing video, which his supporters and family say appears to be a forced confession made under duress and possibly as a result of physical violence, Protasevich says he is being treated well in a Minsk detention center.

“I am in SIZO [a pre-trial detention center] No. 1 in Minsk, ”he says in Russian. “I can declare that I have no health problems, including with my heart and with any other organ. The officers treat me with the utmost accuracy and in accordance with the law. I continue to cooperate with the investigation and confess to organizing mass riots in the city of Minsk.

Protasevich faces severe prison terms for helping to organize the protests against Lukashenko. He could even be sentenced to death if convicted of terrorism. Belarus is the last country in Europe to carry out executions.

Belarusian opposition leader Tikhanovskaya said the video showed Protasevich had been beaten.

“He says he’s being treated legally, but he’s clearly beaten and under pressure,” she said. “There is no doubt that he can be tortured.”

Tikhanovskaya said Protasevich had been taken hostage and was now among dozens of political prisoners in Belarus. Tikhanovskaya’s husband, anti-corruption blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky, is among those detained, allegedly for his political activities, including seeking to run against Lukashenko in the presidential elections. After her husband was jailed, Tikhanovskaya jumped in and garnered a surprising level of support.

Tikhanovskaya said she had spoken with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and EU leaders and urged them to put more pressure on Lukashenko. G7 leaders plan to invite him to a meeting in Britain in June where they could put Belarus at the top of the agenda.

“Let me stress: the suspension of flights over Belarus does not solve the real problem,” Tikhanovskaya said in his call for tougher sanctions and more support for the Belarusian opposition. “The problem is the terrorist regime that rigged elections last year, routinely violates the constitution and breaks international law. The Lukashenka regime is a threat to regional and European security. The only solution to this crisis is to conduct free and fair elections and democratic reforms. “

Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since he was first elected in 1994, turning the country of 9.5 million people into what many see as a Soviet-style dictatorship.


Courthouse News reporter Cain Burdeau is based in the European Union.



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