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António Costa at the UN: “The gravity of the crimes committed cannot go unpunished. We cannot but condemn Russia” – current events

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Prime Minister António Costa today criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “irresponsible threats to use nuclear weapons” and called on Russia to stop hostilities rather than escalate the conflict in Ukraine.

António Costa left these messages at the start of his speech at the general debate of the 77th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, a meeting marked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its global consequences.

“Russia must stop hostilities and allow for a serious and sustainable dialogue focused on a ceasefire and peace. Now is not the time for Russia to escalate the conflict or irresponsibly threaten to use nuclear weapons,” he said.

The Prime Minister began his speech in Portuguese, noting that the UN was created to maintain world peace and security and “save future generations from the scourge of war,” in 1945, adding: “So, 77 years, we still have have not been able to achieve these goals. All over the world, many children and even adults have never known peace.”

He then spoke of “an unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a flagrant violation of international law, in violation of the Charter of the United Nations”, with “devastating consequences for the Ukrainian people, brutally affecting the civilian population.”

António Costa stated that “the seriousness of the actions committed make it necessary for an independent, impartial and transparent investigation to ensure that the crimes committed do not go unpunished”, and stressed the need to “once again condemn the Russian aggression” and reiterate Portugal’s “support for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity Ukraine”.

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The Prime Minister also expressed Portugal’s solidarity with “all those around the world and in particular on the African continent, suffering from the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine”, stressing that “those who felt the most impact were the most vulnerable.” energy and food crisis – after almost three years of pandemic crisis”.

Therefore, he wanted to “clearly and unequivocally make it clear that the necessary sanctions applied to Russia cannot directly or indirectly affect the production, transportation and payment of grains or fertilizers.”

“We applaud the efforts of the entire United Nations system, in particular its Secretary-General António Guterres, to resolve this conflict and mitigate its harmful effects, such as the food crisis,” he said.

The Prime Minister also referred to African countries, saying that “we must support the efforts of African countries by offering African solutions to African problems.”

Speaking about Portugal’s contribution to peacekeeping missions, Costa said he was “greatly proud of the contribution of the armed forces of the entire continent to the UN, NATO or the EU.”

With regard to measures to combat climate change, the Prime Minister of Portugal emphasized the importance of respecting previous agreements, since “countries like Portugal, which suffer from the scourge of forest fires, are well aware of the problems of climate change.”

He then expressed his hope that the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held this November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, will lead to “an inclusive transition that ensures a more balanced distribution of climate finance between mitigation and adaptation.”

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“The transition to a prosperous, green and digital future cannot leave anyone behind. Social policy must be at the center of our actions, the development of our economies, the fight against climate change,” he defended.

Prime Minister António Costa also said that with his candidacy for the post of non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2027-2028, Portugal wants to contribute to making the UN more fair, efficient and representative.

Costa reaffirmed Portugal’s position in favor of reforming the Security Council so that “the African continent is present” in this body and “at least Brazil and India have a permanent seat”.

According to the prime minister, it is also necessary that “small states be more fairly represented” in the UN Security Council, which should reflect the changes that have taken place in the world since 1945.

“Since then, the world has changed radically,” he stressed.

“The challenges we face today make it inevitable that our home will continue to adapt, making it more efficient, fairer and more representative. Portugal is also ready to contribute. And that is why we are candidates for membership of the Security Council in the biennium. 2027-2028 and we hope to once again earn your trust,” he added, linking this candidacy to UN reform.

António Costa argued that “strengthening multilateralism is not an option” but “an absolute must to address global challenges” and build a “more peaceful, more sustainable, more inclusive and more prosperous future”.

“Today is the time to move from words to deeds: with more cooperation, more solidarity and more multilateralism. Portugal, as always, will not miss this call,” he promised at the end of his speech, delivered in Portuguese.

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Currently, the UN Security Council includes the United States of America, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China as permanent members with veto power.

The Prime Minister defended a Security Council “representative, flexible and functional, capable of responding to the challenges of the 21st century without being paralyzed, and whose actions are closely monitored by other members of the United Nations.”

On the other hand, in his opinion, it should be a body “that brings together a comprehensive vision of security, recognizing, in particular, the role of climate change as an accelerator of conflicts.”

“The transformative potential of the United Nations is enormous, but to do so, it must be given the necessary tools to meet the high expectations that the people of the world place on it,” he said.

(News updated at 23:10)

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Nord Stream: Anthony Blinken called Putin’s accusations about the pipeline “absurd and outrageous”

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“I have nothing to add to these absurd statements by President Putin that we or our allied partners are somehow responsible for this,” Blinken said at a press conference.

The head of the US diplomatic mission once again condemned the “scandalous disinformation campaign” of Russia.

At the conference, along with his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly, the American said he did not intend to prejudge the “ongoing investigation” into the origin of the explosions that led to leaks in gas pipelines, but assured that he was in “close contact with the Europeans on this issue.

The head of the Russian state today, during his speech in the Kremlin after the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, accused Western representatives of being behind the “explosions” that caused large leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines built for transporting Russian gas towards Europe.

“By organizing explosions on international gas pipelines crossing the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they actually began to destroy the European energy infrastructure,” he condemned, attributing this “sabotage” to the “Anglo-Saxons”.

Vladimir Putin also stressed that the United States is “pressing” on European countries so that they completely stop Russian gas supplies “in order to capture the European market.”

Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the European Union (EU) and NATO said this week that the Nord Stream leaks were due to “deliberate acts” and “sabotage”.

For its part, the Kremlin called “meaningless and absurd” European accusations that Russia could be held responsible for the damage found in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.

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Ukraine on Tuesday blamed Russia for the pipeline leak, condemning a “terrorist attack” against the European Union (EU).

The first Nord Stream, capable of pumping 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year, was halted after Russia claimed an oil leak at the only Russian compressor station still in operation.

On the other hand, Nord Stream 2 was never put into operation due to the blockade of infrastructure by Berlin even before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

However, both pipelines are filled with gas and therefore must maintain a stable pressure.

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“Victory will be ours!” Putin assured on Red Square

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“Victory will be ours!” shouted the President of Russia to the applause of a crowd of thousands.

“Welcome home!” – Putin said, addressing the residents of the annexed Ukrainian territories, believing that they “returned to their historical homeland.”

“Russia does not just open the doors of its home to people, it opens its heart,” he said from a stage specially installed on the symbolic square near the Kremlin wall (the residence of the President of Russia).

Many Russian flags fluttered among the crowd in attendance, and some people also wore black and orange striped St. George ribbons, an old tsarist military award that became a symbol of the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany.

Several giant screens and a powerful sound system were also installed so that people could follow the speech of the President of Russia and the performance of various Russian pop stars who performed on stage.

The Russian head of state, in power for 22 years, referred to a “special, historic day of truth and justice” at a time when Russian soldiers are “heroically defending the people’s choice” in Ukraine, he said.

“We will do everything to support our brothers and sisters in Zaporozhye, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk, improve their security, restart the economy, restore,” he also said, hours after signing the annexation of these four Ukrainian regions, in a ceremony in the Kremlin.

After this symbolic act in the Kremlin, which was a new step in his war against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a neighboring country, Putin defended his mantra with a raised microphone that Russia created modern Ukraine.

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“I can’t help but remember how the Soviet Union was formed. It was Russia that created modern Ukraine, transferring significant territories there, the historical territories of Russia itself along with the population,” Putin said.

“We are stronger because we are together. The truth is with us, and there is strength,” Putin said, adding once again: “Then victory will be ours!”

Kyiv and its Western allies have widely condemned such an annexation, with NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a Western defense bloc) classifying it as “illegitimate” and the countries of the European Union (EU) and the G7 (a group of the most industrialized countries in the world : Germany, Canada, USA, France, Italy, Japan and the UK) declared that they would “never recognize [tais] alleged annexations.

Putin has no intention of visiting the four Ukrainian regions now annexed by Moscow in the midst of a military conflict with Kyiv, a Kremlin spokesman said.

“Not yet, because at the moment there is a lot of work ahead, but this will definitely happen after some time,” said Dmitry Peskov, who was quoted by Russian news agencies and asked about the possibility of such a visit.

The four occupied regions of Ukraine, whose annexation treaties Putin signed today, make up about 15% of Ukraine’s territory – Donetsk and Lugansk (which he had already recognized as independent republics shortly before the invasion of Ukraine), Kherson and Zaporozhye (which hosts the largest nuclear power plant in Europe). ).

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine has already caused the flight of more than 13 million people – more than six million internally displaced people and more than 7.5 million to European countries – according to the latest UN figures, which rank this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).

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The Russian invasion, justified by Putin as the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community as a whole, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions against Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed since the beginning of the war, which entered its 219th day today, 5,996 civilians killed and 8,848 wounded, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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EU Agreement on Excess Profit Tax and Energy Savings

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This Friday in Brussels, European Union energy ministers reached an agreement on emergency intervention in the face of rising energy prices, which includes a solidarity contribution to the exceptional profits of companies in the energy sector.

The regulation, proposed this month by the Commission and given political approval this Friday 27, provides for a 33 percent tax on excessive profits from fossil fuel companies, to be converted into a “solidarity contribution” to be redistributed to the most vulnerable, a profit ceiling companies producing low-cost (renewable) electricity, and plans to reduce electricity consumption, voluntary (10% for total demand) and mandatory (5% during “peak hours”).

“Agreement! The ministers reached a political agreement on measures to reduce high electricity prices: a mandatory reduction in electricity demand, limiting the market revenues of over-marginal electricity producers and solidarity contributions from fossil fuel producers,” announced the current Czech Presidency of the Council. EU.

At the meeting, represented by Portugal’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Duarte Cordeiro, 27 countries will discuss policy options to reduce high gas prices, but no decision is expected today despite a large group of 15 member states. , including Portugal, demanded a “ceiling” on gas prices.

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