US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


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"UN Agency Reports Sharp Drop In Afghan Opium Production"

Eine schwere Dürre hat der UN zufolge dazu geführt, dass die Opiumproduktion in Afghanistan um 29% zurückgegangen ist. "The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual report released November 19 that the drop - from 9,000 tons to 6,400 tons - coincided with a decrease in the amount of land area being used for cultivating the crop. The Afghanistan Opium Survey, which is jointly compiled by the UN agency and the Afghan Ministry of Counternarcotics, said a total of 263,000 hectares of land was used for opium cultivation, representing a decline of 20 percent compared to 2017. 'Despite the decreases, the overall area under opium-poppy cultivation is the second-highest ever recorded. This is a clear challenge to security and safety for the region and beyond,' said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov."

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"Azov, Ukraine's Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe"

Das "ultranationalistische" ukrainische Asow-Bataillon ist Christopher Miller zufolge dabei, neue Kontakte zu anderen rechtsextremen Gruppen in Europa und den USA aufzubauen. "'We think globally,' Olena Semenyaka, the international secretary for Azov's political wing, the National Corps, told RFE/RL in an interview at one of the group's Kyiv offices last week. (...) Another thing that has helped, Hrytsenko noted, is that Ukraine's break from Russia and move toward the European Union has allowed Ukrainians visa-free travel, making Azov's outreach easier logistically. In recent months, Semenyaka and other Azov members have taken advantage of that, making several visits to EU countries to meet numerous European counterparts, according to investigations by RFE/RL and the open-source investigative group Bellingcat. (...) Semenyaka described praise of Azov from foreign ultranationalist groups who are increasingly welcoming it as evidence that the organization is taking the right path. And she said it isn't about to let up. Next, she said, Azov hopes to win over larger, more mainstream far-right and populist Western political forces who 'can be our potential sympathizers.' 'If crises like Brexit and the refugee problem continue, in this case, partnerships with nationalist groups in Europe can be a kind of platform for our entry into the European Union."

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"British Muslims Urge U.K. To Grant Asylum To Pakistani Christian, Challenge 'Intolerant Voices'"

Eine Gruppe prominenter britischer Muslime hat die Regierung in London aufgefordert, der pakistanischen Christin Asia Bibi trotz drohender Proteste durch "intolerante Stimmen" Asyl zu gewähren. "Prominent British Muslims, including three imams, have joined calls for Britain to offer asylum to Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy. A letter to British Home Secretary Sajid Javid asked him 'to make a clear and proactive statement that Britain would welcome a request for sanctuary here.' The letter, also signed by 15 members of Parliament, was made public on November 13, nearly a week after Bibi, a mother of five, was freed from prison following eight years on death row."

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"Poland, Baltic States Host Their Biggest-Ever NATO Military Drills"

Polen, die baltischen Länder und weitere NATO-Verbündete haben mit insgesamt etwa 17.500 Soldaten das Großmanöver "Anakonda" begonnen. "The Polish Defense Ministry (...) said the 'Anakonda' exercise is the biggest drill the Polish forces have ever held, with 12,500 Polish troops involved at training grounds in the country. A further 5,000 soldiers from NATO member countries are taking part in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The schedule also includes naval maneuvers in the Baltic Sea."

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"Italy Working To Find Safe Home In West For Pakistani Christian Woman"

Die italienische Regierung bemühe sich, der wegen Blasphemie verurteilten pakistanischen Christin Asia Bibi die sichere Ausreise in den Westen zu ermöglichen. "Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (...), a populist politician known for his hard-line stance against illegal immigration, said Italy does not blame Pakistan's government for Bibi's plight. 'The enemy is violence, extremism, and fanaticism,' he told the radio station. 'Obviously this goes hand in hand with rejecting illegal immigration, which otherwise risks bringing chaos to Rome or Milan,' he said. Salvini spoke after the Italian branch of Aid to the Church in Need, a Vatican organization which helps persecuted Christians, released a message from Bibi's husband. 'I ask and appeal to the Italian government to help me and my family leave Pakistan because we are in danger,' Ashiq Masih was quoted as saying by the organization."

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"Putin Says Russia Has Ruled Out Launching Preemptive Nuclear Strikes"

Präsident Putin hat auf einer Podiumsdiskussion des Valdai Clubs klargestellt, dass Russland seine Atomwaffen nur einsetzen werde, wenn es selbst atomar angegriffen wird. "The comments by Putin, made October 18 at an international policy forum, jolted nuclear analysts and arms control experts who have worried that the state of U.S.-Russian relations has increased the dangers of a nuclear exchange. Putin told the forum that Moscow would only use nuclear weapons if early warning systems spotted nuclear missiles heading toward Russia. (...) The ambiguity surrounding Russia’s exact position on nuclear weapons use has been problematic for Western officials trying to understand Moscow’s intentions, according to Olga Oliker, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 'The real danger is...the Kremlin’s failure to communicate its goals effectively to leaders in Washington and elsewhere,' she wrote in an article published by Foreign Affairs, released prior to Putin’s comments."

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"Militants Fail To Leave Buffer Zone In Syria's Idlib Under Russia-Turkey Deal"

Die syrische Regierung hat erneut eine Militäroffensive in der Idlib-Provinz angedroht, sollten die radikalen Rebellengruppen die zwischen der Türkei und Russland vereinbarte demilitarisierte Zone nicht verlassen. "Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said Syrian forces are ready to resume their fight to 'eradicate' militants who remain in Idlib, but he said Syria would give Russia time to determine whether they complied with the deal. (...) Moualem said at a press conference in Damascus that it is now up to Russia to judge whether the agreement has been fulfilled, and that may take time. 'We have to wait for the Russian reaction. Russia is monitoring and following the situation,' he said. 'Our armed forces are ready around Idlib to eradicate terrorism if the Idlib agreement is not implemented,' he said 'Idlib, as any other province, has to return to Syrian sovereignty. We prefer to have it through peaceful means, through reconciliation, but if not, there [are] other options.'"

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"UN: Afghan Civilian Killings, Mostly By Insurgents, At 'Extreme Levels'"

Auch Radio Free Europe berichtet über den UN-Bericht zu den gestiegenen Opferzahlen unter Zivilisten in Afghanistan. Die Zahl der Zivilopfer in Afghanistan ist der UN zufolge auf ein "extremes" Maß angestiegen. Verantwortlich für diesen Anstieg seien überwiegend Anschläge der Aufständischen. "The United Nations says that civilian deaths in Afghanistan remain at 'extreme levels,' with the highest number recorded in the first nine months of 2018 since the same period in 2014. A new report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) issued on October 10 has found that 2,798 civilians were killed and 5,252 were wounded between January 1 and September 30. It's a 21 percent spike compared to the same period last year, with a 46 percent increase in casualties from suicide attacks alone. Improvised explosive devices caused nearly half of all deaths and injuries, the report says, while fighting between insurgents and Afghan security forces comes next with 605 civilian deaths. Air strikes by Afghan and U.S. forces caused 313 deaths and 336 injuries."

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"IMF Says U.S. Sanctions Have Pushed Iran's Economy Into Recession"

Der Internationale Währungsfonds hat in seinem aktuellen World Economic Outlook die US-Sanktionen für die Rezession im Iran verantwortlich gemacht. "In May, before U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he was reinstating sanctions against Tehran, the IMF had projected Iran's economy would grow by 4 percent in 2018 and 2019. The IMF said the contraction in the Iranian economy that it now is projecting over the next two years was due to 'reduced oil production' under the sanctions. (...) While the IMF's cut in Iran's growth forecast was particularly dramatic, it also reduced its growth forecast for the Middle East region as a whole, citing the slump in the Iranian economy and increased energy costs due to soaring oil prices. The IMF also sees a darker outlook for the world economy mostly as a result of tariff wars between the United States and China, the two largest economies."

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"Russia-Friendly Party, Populists Top Latvian Elections"

Bei den Parlamentswahlen in Lettland ist die pro-russische Partei "Harmonie" mit einem Stimmenanteil von 19,9% als stärkste Kraft hervorgegangen. "Latvia, a member of the European Union and NATO, shares a 270-kilometer border with Russia. It has a sizable ethnic-Russian minority of around 25 percent, a legacy of nearly 50 years of Soviet occupation that ended in 1991, when the nation regained its independence. Latvia's mainstream parties have kept pro-Russia politicians from power as they sought ever closer ties with the West. At the last election, Harmony won the most seats but was excluded from power when the other parties refused to include it in any deal due to its ties with Russia."

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"Islamic Dress: Europeans Say No"

Free Europe/Radio Liberty präsentiert eine Infografik mit Umfrageergebnissen, die zeigen, dass in den meisten westeuropäischen Ländern Restriktionen für das öffentliche Tragen muslimischer Frauenkleidung befürwortet werden. "According to a recent poll, most Western Europeans support at least some restrictions on Muslim women's Islamic dress."

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"In Surprise Move, Putin Proposes Signing Peace Pact With Japan This Year"

Russlands Präsident Putin hat Japans Premierminister Abe bei ihrem Treffen in Wladiwostok überraschend vorgeschlagen, noch in diesem Jahr ein Friedensabkommen ohne Vorbedingungen abzuschließen. "A treaty without preconditions would leave Russia in control of the disputed islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kuriles and Japan calls the Northern Territories. (...) Russian commentator Georgy Kunadze, a former deputy foreign minister, told Ekho Moskvy radio that he believes Putin was 'trolling' Abe and 'does not expect anything' to result from the proposal. The quest for the return of the islands is an emotive issue in Japan, and Kunadze suggested that Abe would never accept a deal that would be political suicide. In years of talks, Russian officials have repeatedly signaled that Japan could not hope for a swift solution and hinted that the best way to get closer to a deal was to invest in the sparsely populated, windswept islands and engage in other areas of economic cooperation."

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"Explainer: Why Does The U.S. Have It Out For The International Criminal Court?"

Ron Synovitz erläutert nach der offenen Drohung des Nationalen Sicherheitsberaters John Bolton gegen den ICC, warum die USA den Internationalen Strafgerichtshof in Den Haag so vehement ablehnen. "During the 1990s, before the ICC was established, negotiators from U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration sought to give the UN Security Council the power to screen ICC cases. Such a safeguard in the Rome Statute would have given the United States and other permanent Security Council members the ability to veto cases they opposed. But other countries refused to agree to those measures. Global Policy Forum, a nongovernmental policy watchdog monitoring the work of the UN, said that is when Washington began 'campaigning to weaken and undermine the ICC.'"

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"Ukraine-NATO Joint Military Exercises Begin In Lviv Region"

Im Westen der Ukraine hat eine gemeinsame Übung von ukrainischen und NATO-Truppen begonnen. "Ukraine has begun joint military exercises with 10 NATO countries in western Ukraine amid ongoing tensions with Russia over Moscow's illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists. The Rapid Trident 2018 drills officially opened on September 3 at the Hetman Petro Sahaidachnyy National Ground Forces Academy in the western region of Lviv. Taking part are about 2,200 troops from 14 countries, including the United States and nine other NATO member states. The maneuvers are scheduled to continue until September 15."

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"Tens Of Thousands Attend Funeral For Slain Ukraine Separatist Leader Zakharchenko"

Zehntausende Menschen haben sich am Sonntag in Donezk versammelt, um den bei einem Anschlag getöteten Rebellenführer Aleksandr Zakharchenko öffentlich zu betrauern. "Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the head of the separatists who control the city of Donetsk, was killed in an explosion at a cafe on August 31. The killing was the latest in a series of violent deaths of separatist officials and commanders in eastern Ukraine, where the Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since April 2014 in a war that has killed more than 10,300. Many of the assassinations have been blamed on fellow separatists. Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame for Zakharchenko's death."

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"Thousands In Pakistan Protest Dutch Prophet Muhammad Cartoon Contest"

In Pakistan ist es zu Massenprotesten gegen einen geplanten Cartoon-Wettbewerb in den Niederlanden gekommen. "An estimated 10,000 Pakistanis have protested in Lahore over a Dutch politician's plans to hold a cartoon competition featuring caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, with more mass protests expected in the coming days. (...) Physical depictions of Allah or the Prophet, even positive ones, are forbidden in Islam and considered deeply offensive. Pakistan's newly elected government has denounced the Dutch cartoon contest, calling it an attempt to defame Islam. (...) emotions have been running high over the matter in Pakistan, where blasphemy is punishable by death and where the mere accusation of it can cause lynchings. A former Pakistani cricketer, Khalid Latif, has offered a $28,000 reward for anyone who would 'kill the Dutchmen' behind the cartoon contest."

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"France Calls On EU To Not Rely On U.S. Defense, Reach Out To Russia"

Der französische Präsident Macron hat den EU-Ländern empfohlen, sich nicht länger auf den sicherheitspolitischen Schutz durch die USA zu verlassen und militärisch enger zu kooperieren. Zudem sollte sich Europa Macron zufolge um eine neue strategische Partnerschaft mit Russland bemühen. "Although the did not call for any break with NATO, the U.S.-led military alliance that has been the foundation of Western European security since World War II, Macron called for Europe to build a 'strategic partnership' with Russia, despite differences with the Kremlin over Ukraine, Syria and other issues. He qualified his call for talks with Russia, however, by saying Moscow must first make progress on putting an end to the conflict between the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine."

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"Sea Of Troubles: Azov Emerging As 'Tinderbox' In Russia-Ukraine Conflict"

Das Asowsche Meer entwickle sich immer mehr zu einem neuen Brennpunkt im Konflikt zwischen Russland und der Ukraine, berichtet Christopher Miller. "(...) now tensions are spilling into the sea that washes the 300-kilometer shoreline Ukraine still controls after the annexation of Crimea. The Sea of Azov, a rich fishing ground in Soviet times that has been of great strategic importance to independent Ukraine, has emerged after months of growing friction as the latest flash point in the four-year conflict between Moscow and Kyiv. (...) Russia launched the opening salvo here in 2016, with its $3.7 billion Crimean Bridge project to link that occupied Ukrainian peninsula with southern Russia across the Kerch Strait -- the gate to the Azov. (...) 'We have Russian vessels floating nearby, ready to attack from the sea. And each provocation may turn this situation into a war,' Galina Odnorog, a co-founder of the Mariupol Social Movement, a local non-governmental organization focused on issues related to the Sea of Azov, told RFE/RL. 'We are in a tinderbox.' And there might be little, if anything, Ukraine can do about it."

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"UN Confirms Return Of Peacekeepers To Syrian-Israeli Border"

Nachdem sie sich vor sechs Jahren aufgrund des Kriegs in Syrien zurückziehen mussten, haben UN-Blauhelme ihre Positionen in der Pufferzone der Golanhöhen nun wieder eingenommen. "United Nations has confirmed Russia's claim that UN peacekeepers have returned to a buffer zone on the border between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights for the first time in six years. UN spokesman Farhan Haq said on August 3 that the force, known as UNDOF, is 'implementing a gradual return' to the area. 'The ultimate goal for UNDOF is full return, conditions permitting,' he said, adding that a key goal for the peacekeepers is the reopening of the Quneitra crossing between the two countries. UNDOF had patrolled the Golan Heights area until 2012 under a 1974 cease-fire deal between Israel and Syria that created a UN-monitored buffer zone between the two countries following the Arab-Israeli War of 1973."

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"Mattis: U.S. Not Pursuing Regime Change In Iran"

US-Verteidigungsminister Mattis hat noch einmal versichert, dass die USA keinen Regimewechsel in Iran anstreben. "Asked whether the U.S. administration had created a regime change or collapse policy, Mattis said on July 27, 'There's none that's been instituted.' He said the goal of the United States was to change Iran’s behavior, as stated by other U.S. officials. 'We need them to change their behavior on a number of threats that they can pose with their military, with their secret services, with their surrogates, and with their proxies,' Mattis said during an off-camera briefing at the Pentagon. Mattis's remarks followed high-level discussions at the White House that included the issue of Iran."

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"Russia, Ukraine In EU-Backed Talks To Avoid New 'Gas Wars'"

Vertreter der EU, Russlands und der Ukraine haben in Berlin Gespräche geführt, um den Transit von russischem Erdgas durch die Ukraine auch künftig zu sichern. "Russian gas giant Gazprom has already dramatically reduced the volume of gas transiting via Ukraine, as Moscow and Kyiv remain at loggerheads over Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv is concerned about the loss of revenue from transit taxes and being left out of routes for new gas pipelines. The talks will focus on Gazprom's plan to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and put it into operation by the end of next year. Nord Stream 2 would bring gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine. The pipeline will follow the course of the existing Nord Stream 1 and will double the quantity of Russian gas imported by Germany -- the European Union's most powerful economy -- via this route."

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"Military Spending: Russia Vs NATO"


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty vergleicht in dieser Infografik die Militärausgaben Russlands mit den Ausgaben der europäischen NATO-Länder. "Russia, one of the world’s top military spenders, reduced its defense budget by 20 percent in 2016-2017 to $55.3 billion. Here's how it compares to NATO's European members."

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"Kremlin: Putin-Trump Summit Set For Helsinki On July 16"

Das Weiße Haus und der Kreml haben ein Gipfeltreffen zwischen Donald Trump und Wladimir Putin am 16. Juli in Helsinki angekündigt. "'The two leaders will discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues,' the White House said in a statement. Putin and Trump will discuss U.S.-Russia relations as well as international issues, the Kremlin said, according to Russian news agencies. (...) Earlier on July 27, Bolton told a news conference after holding talks with Putin that Trump will raise a 'full range of issues' with Russia's leader, including alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, something Moscow has denied, and the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. Bolton told the news conference that 'both President Trump and President Putin feel that it is important for these two leaders of these critically important countries to get together and discuss their mutual problems and areas of cooperation.' 'It is something that both feel will contribute to the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship and civility around the world,' he added."

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"U.S. Security Adviser’s Moscow Trip Seen As Prelude To Trump Meeting With Putin"

John Bolton, nationaler Sicherheitsberater von Präsident Trump, wird im Zuge seiner Europa-Reise auch nach Moskau fahren, um das Treffen zwischen Trump und Wladimir Putin vorzubereiten. "Bolton is scheduled to first meet with U.S. allies on June 25-26 in London and Rome before moving on to Moscow on June 27. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a television interview over the weekend that Trump was likely to meet Putin 'in the not-too-distant future.' The location of such a meeting has not been set, although officials have said it could take place in Vienna. An Austrian newspaper said teams from the United States and Russia were already in Vienna preparing for a July 15 meeting between the two leaders."

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"U.S. Warns Of 'Terrorism' Risk During World Cup In Russia"

Dem US-Außenministerium zufolge muss die am Freitag eröffnete Fußball-WM in Russland wie andere Großveranstaltungen zuvor als potentielles Ziel von Terroranschlägen betrachtet werden. "The U.S. State Department is warning that 'terrorists' may target World Cup venues in Russia, which is hosting the monthlong soccer tournament, but it did not point to any specific threat. In a travel advisory issued late on June 15, the department urged U.S. citizens to reconsider traveling to Russia due to the threat of 'terrorism' as well as 'harassment and extortion' from law enforcement and other Russian officials. 'Large-scale international events such as the World Cup present an attractive target for terrorists,' the department said. (...) The Islamic State extremist group has threatened to disrupt the games in social-media postings since late last year. Russian officials say they are prepared, and have stationed tens of thousands of security personnel in Moscow and the other 10 Russian cities that are hosting games."

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"Norway Asks For Doubling Of U.S. Troops, Deployed Closer To Russia"

Norwegen will die USA offenbar bitten, zusätzliche US-Truppen in der Nähe der Grenze zu Russland zu stationieren. "Nine nations along NATO's eastern flank last week called for an increased presence by the military alliance in their region amid concerns about Russian aggression. Some 330 U.S. Marines currently are scheduled to leave Norway at the end of this year after an initial contingent arrived in January 2017 to train for fighting in winter conditions. They were the first foreign troops to be stationed in Norway, a member of NATO, since World War II. (...) Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told reporters on June 12 that the decision to increase the U.S. presence has broad support in parliament and does not constitute the establishment of a permanent U.S. base in Norway."

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"Italy's New Prime Minister Calls For Ending Some EU Sanctions On Russia"

Der neue Premierminister Italiens, Giuseppe Conte, hat sich für eine teilweise Aufhebung der Sanktionen gegen Russland ausgesprochen. "'We'll be the advocates of an opening toward Russia,' including ending European Union sanctions against Russia that hurt 'civil society,' Conte said in an address to senators in Rome after the upper chamber of parliament voted to support the new populist coalition government in a 171-to-117 confidence vote on June 5. (...) 'We will promote a review of the sanctions system' in meetings with other EU members, making good on campaign pledges to improve ties with Russia, Conte said. 'The truth is that we have created a radical change and we're proud of it.'"

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"India, Top Iranian Oil Importer, Says Will Not Heed U.S. Sanctions"

Indien hat angekündigt, neue US-Sanktionen gegen den Iran zu ignorieren und weiterhin iranisches Erdöl zu importieren. "India will keep trading with Iran and Venezuela despite the threat of penalties for violating U.S. sanctions recently announced against the two countries, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has said. India is currently a top destination for Iran's oil exports. Asked about the U.S. move to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions at a news conference on May 28, Swaraj said that India's policy was to honor only UN sanctions, not sanctions imposed by individual countries."

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"Putin, Abe Vow To Seek WWII Treaty, Solution To Island Dispute"

Präsident Putin und Premierminister Abe haben bei ihrem Treffen in Moskau ihre Bereitschaft bekräftigt, den Streit um die Kurilen-Inseln beizulegen und einen offiziellen Friedensvertrag zu unterzeichnen. "The Soviet Union occupied the islands at the end of World War II, forcing 17,000 Japanese inhabitants to leave, and the issue has spoiled relations between the two regional powers ever since. Because of the dispute, a formal WWII peace treaty has yet to be signed between the two sides. The two countries began discussing the island dispute in 1956. Abe's late father Shintaro Abe -- as a foreign minister -- at one time led the negotiations with Russia but died in 1991 without an agreement. Japan has pushed to establish joint business projects on the islands as a way to gain momentum to resolve the dispute. 'The Japanese and the Russians will be able to reap the fruits of the joint work on the islands,' Abe said. 'If we cooperate, we can achieve great results that bring mutual benefit.'"

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"Ukraine Showcases Javelin Firepower From United States"

Der ukrainische Präsident Poroschenko hat die vor kurzem von den USA gelieferten Anti-Panzer-Raketen vom Typ Javelin in einem Facebook-Video präsentiert. "'Finally, this day has come -- and today, on May 22, for the first time in Ukraine, a test of the third-generation Javelin antitank complex took place,' a grinning Poroshenko told his soldiers in a video of the closed test published on his Facebook page. 'Thanks to them, the combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have increased significantly.' (...) 'Of course this is a defensive weapon and will be used only when there is an attack by the Russian Federation on positions of Ukrainian forces,' Poroshenko said at the test. The special U.S. envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, has said that the Javelins are being stored in a secure facility far from the front line of the conflict in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where government forces continue to fight Russia-backed separatists."

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