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The European Parliament suspended the mandate of Vice President Eva Kaili

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The European Parliament (EP) has suspended the vice-presidential mandate of Greek Social Democracy MEP Eva Kaili, who was arrested on Friday in Belgium.

“In the light of ongoing judicial investigations by the Belgian authorities, President [do Parlamento Europeu, Roberta] Metsola has decided to suspend with immediate effect all the powers, duties and functions that were delegated to Eva Kaili as Vice President of the European Parliament,” the press secretary of the leader of the European Parliament said today.

MEP Eva Kaili was arrested on Friday in Belgium along with four other people as part of an investigation into alleged illegal Qatari lobbying to influence political decisions in Strasbourg.

The arrests followed at least 16 raids as part of an investigation into alleged “substantial” payments from a Gulf state to influence decisions by MEPs.

The federal prosecutor did not name the country, but a judicial source close to the case confirmed to AFP that it was Qatar, according to media outlets Le Soir and Knack.

The case arose in the midst of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, when the host country had to make an effort to defend its reputation for upholding human rights, especially workers’ rights.

The case took on an additional dimension when the identity of the fifth person arrested on Friday evening was confirmed, namely the Greek MEP Eva Kaili, a 44-year-old former TV presenter who has become a figure of social democracy in your country. He is also Vice President of the European Parliament along with 13 other MEPs.

See also  Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

Hearings in the case of five suspects continued today in Brussels, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor said.

The action prompted Green and Social Democrat MEPs to announce that on Monday they would oppose the start of negotiations on visa liberalization for Qatari citizens in the European Union, as corruption is suspected in the country.

On Monday in Strasbourg, MEPs are due to approve the start of negotiations between the European Parliament and EU member states to finalize a text to ease the visa regime for travelers from Qatar and Kuwait.

The text, which already received a green light from member states at the end of June, exempts citizens of Qatar and Kuwait traveling to the EU bloc from the need to obtain a visa for a maximum period of 90 days, subject to mutual agreement with both countries. countries.

“Zero tolerance for corruption. The Greens will oppose a mandate to start visa liberalization talks with Qatar on Monday,” Greens MEP Terry Reintke said on Twitter.

For its part, the Social Democratic Group (SID) calls for “the suspension of work on all dossiers and votes relating to the countries of the Persian Gulf, in particular on the liberalization of the visa regime.”

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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