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Ukraine Crisis

Russia sends ruthless Syrian general to take charge of Ukrainian invasion

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The Russian general who is now in charge of the invasion of Ukraine helped to oversee a brutal, scorched-earth campaign in Syria – that drew criticism from human rights groups.

Aleksandr V. Dvornikov was dispatched to Syria in 2015 to shore up the flagging forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

He was named a Hero of the Russian Federation for his role and is currently the commander of Russia’s southern military district.

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Russian forces in Syria were widely accused of bombing civilian neighbourhoods, targeting hospitals, to try to break the back of the rebel movement.

“Bashar al-Assad is not the only one to be held accountable for killing civilians in Syria — the Russian general should too,” according to the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor based in Britain.

“As the commander of military operations, that means he’s behind killing Syrian civilians by giving the orders.”

The actions of Russian and Syrian forces over the last seven years have been labelled as war crimes by Western governments.

Key war role

General Dvornikov is accused of playing a key role in organising Russian and Syrian forces to battle the Islamic State.

One commander in a Syrian Christian militia that received support and fought alongside Russian forces in Syria said that the general had been involved in battles near the city of Deir al-Zour in the east.

The Institute for the Study of War noted that General Dvornikov emphasised the importance of increasing the speed with which data is analyzed and translated into orders to subordinates in the field.

Russian forces have been accused of lacking training, equipment and strategy in the first month of the Ukrainian invasion.

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Russia’s lack of communications between commanders and units on the ground and flawed intelligence on the stance of Ukrainian troops appear to have contributed to its decision to withdraw from cities in Ukraine’s north.

But human rights groups are now concerned what General Dvornikov’s actions will look like in Ukraine, given his track record in Syria.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

Media

Body behind Eurovision “understands the disappointment” over next host city

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Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision contest in May, capturing the hearts of the world

After taking out the win, that would mean Ukraine would host the competition next year.

But the European Broadcasting Union announced last week it could not be held in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

The body behind Eurovision now says it “understands the disappointment” over its decision not to hold next year’s song contest in Ukraine.

The EBU said it was in talks with the BBC to host the contest in the UK.

That’s because British entrant Sam Ryder came second in this year’s contest with his single Spaceman.

The announcement was met with disappointment by Ukrainians but the E-B-U doubled down on its position, saying in a statement that it “fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement”.

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Business

Nike to fully exit Russia

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U.S. sportswear maker Nike is making a full exit from Russia, three months after suspending its operations there, the company said in an emailed statement Thursday

The sportswear giant had said back in March that it would suspend operations at all the stores it owns or operates there.

On Thursday (June 23) the firm said it would leave the country altogether.

In a statement, Nike said it would scale down over the coming months.

The move is largely symbolic for the company, which gets less than 1% of its revenue from Russia and Ukraine combined.

It says any stores that are still open there are run by independent partners.

In May, Russian media reported that Nike had not renewed agreements with Inventive Retail Group, its largest franchisee there.

Now the full exit lputs Nike in line with other major western brands such as McDonald’s and Google.

Foreign companies seeking to leave face the prospect of new laws being passed that will allow Moscow to seize assets and impose criminal penalties.

That has prompted some businesses to accelerate their departure plans.

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Ukraine Crisis

New candidates – Ukraine and Moldova one step closer to joining EU

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Ukraine and Moldova have officially been granted E-U candidate status, moving the nations one step closer to joining the union

At a European leaders meeting in Brussels, the decision comes nearly four months after Ukraine’s Zelensky launched his country’s bid to join the bloc, and deals a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But the Kremlin has been acting as though it’s no big deal, with Putin claiming he has “nothing against” the possible membership, saying it’s Ukraine’s “sovereign decision” to join or not.

Ukrainian President Zelensky has welcomed the move, calling it “a unique and historic moment” and says his country’s future is in the EU.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has declared it “a good day for Europe”.

While candidate status is the first official step toward E-U membership, it can take many years to join and there’s no guarantee the process will be successful.

The process can also go into reverse, if a future Ukrainian government fails to implement certain reforms on the rule of law and its economy.

But the Commission president has hope.

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