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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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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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