Євросоюз не має сумнівів щодо легітимності Зеленського – Стано

Формально президентський термін Володимира Зеленського справді минув. Його інавгурація відбулася 20 травня 2019 року, а за Конституцією України термін повноважень президента чітко обмежений пʼятьма роками

US expects South Korea and Japan to manage ties with China at summit amid growing differences

WASHINGTON — Ahead of a trilateral summit involving South Korea, Japan, and China this weekend in Seoul, Washington said it expects the event to be an opportunity for its two allies to manage their relations with Beijing.

“The United States respects the ability of nations to make sovereign decisions in the best interests of their people,” said a spokesperson for the State Department.

“Just as the United States takes steps to responsibly manage our relationship with the PRC, so do our partners and allies,” the spokesperson continued in an email to VOA’s Korean Service on May 15. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is China’s official name.

The summit would come amid a heightened tension between Washington and Beijing over trade  and after China agreed with Russia to establish a “new era” partnership to create “a multipolar world order” during their summit last week.

The three East Asian countries are expected to hold their summit from May 26 to 27, but the official dates have not been announced. Chinese Premier Li Qiang is expected to attend in place of Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The meeting would be their first trilateral summit since December 2019.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, told VOA on May 14 that Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul should be main drivers responsible for regional stability and security.

Pointing out what Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after a trilateral foreign ministers meeting in November, Pengyu said the three countries need to “address differences and disputes in peaceful ways” and “act as front runner of East Asia cooperation.”

Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing are planning to discuss trade and investment, peace and security, and science and technology, among other items and include in a joint statement their cooperation on economic issues and infectious diseases, according to the Japan Times, citing Japanese government sources Sunday.

Former U.S. officials said while it will be important for the three countries to meet and talk at the summit, differences that Seoul and Tokyo have with Beijing on North Korea are unlikely to be resolved.

“With China determined to establish a new China-centric regional order and because of Beijing’s open-ended support for the DPRK, we should not expect progress on this issue,” said Evans Revere, a State Department official with extensive experience negotiating with North Korea.

North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

“Nevertheless, it is important for South Korea and Japan to use this summit to convey their strong concerns,” Revere continued.

At a bilateral summit last week, Beijing and Moscow criticized Washington and its allies for their “intimidation in the military sphere” against North Korea.

 

Zhao Leji, who ranks third in the Chinese Communist Party, visited Pyongyang in April and agreed with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to boost cooperation on mutual concerns. It was the highest-level talks the two countries had held in years.

The upcoming summit comes after trilateral cooperation was agreed among Washington, Seoul and Tokyo at their Camp David summit in August 2023 to strengthen their deterrence against North Korean threats and to defend a free and open Indo-Pacific against Chinese aggressions.

Joseph DeTrani, who served as the U.S. special envoy for six-party denuclearization talks with North Korea from 2003 to 2006, said, “China will ask that the ROK and Japan not to align with the U.S. against China, an issue that wasn’t on the table in 2019.”

South Korea’s official name is the Republic of Korea (ROK).

DeTrani said Seoul and Tokyo will “try to get China to convince North Korea to cease providing arms to Russia for its war in Ukraine” and “to use its leverage” with Pyongyang “to halt ballistic missile launches.”

Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of Kim Jong Un, denied Pyongyang’s arms dealings with Moscow, according to state-run KCNA on Friday. The same day, North Korea launched a tactical ballistic missile, said KCNA. 

Gary Samore, who served as the White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction during the Obama administration, said the summit will become “an opportunity for communication” among Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing to avoid conflict, but the differences that grew among them since 2019 will not be resolved as South Korea and Japan “leaned in the direction of cooperating with the U.S.”

Eunjung Cho contributed to this report.

 

White House welcomes Kenya for first African state visit

The White House — The White House says it chose Kenya for its first state visit for an African leader for many reasons — not least because the East African powerhouse has stepped up on the global stage, offering to staff a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Haiti that could see boots on the ground as early as this week. 

VOA White House correspondent Anita Powell sat down with Frances Brown, the newly appointed director for African affairs at the National Security Council, ahead of a state visit by Kenyan President William Ruto. They discussed a range of issues, including technology, climate management, debt relief, democracy, health and more. 

The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: In a few days, President Joe Biden hosts Kenyan President William Ruto at the White House, his first African leader for a state visit. Why was Kenya chosen and what deliverables can we expect?

Frances Brown, NSC director for African affairs: We chose Kenya for a few reasons. No. 1 is the Kenya-U.S. partnership has really grown from a regionally focused one to a globally focused one. … and we see a lot of complementarities in terms of what we’re trying to do on climate. What we’re trying to do on debt for the developing world, and on security issues. 

The second reason we wanted to have this state visit with Kenya is that we are both democracies, and our bond is very deep as democracies, and our bond is very deep on people-to-people ties. 

The third reason is that Kenya and the U.S. really work similarly in terms of bringing in the private sector to solve global challenges. So, we’ll be talking a lot about those. The deliverables you’ll see are in the realms of technology, clean energy and climate transition, of debt relief, of democracy, of people-to-people ties and on health-related issues. 

VOA: Kenya hopes to soon have peacekeepers in Haiti. Why is this so important to the administration? 

Brown: We do really welcome the Kenyans raising their hand to help lead this multinational security support mission in Haiti, because it’s kind of an example of what I just mentioned of Kenya raising its hand to solve problems even outside of its region. … As you may know, there’s been planning under way for a number of months. It has included policing experts from around the world working to develop a concept of operations. Kenya is not going it alone. The U.S. has provided $300 million towards this, so it’s a big thing for us. 

VOA: Are there any other security agreements these two countries might come up with during the state visit?

Brown: I would say watch this space, because I think security cooperation with Kenya is a really important plank.

VOA: Is it going to be focused on threats from Somalia or from other parts of East Africa?

Brown: The U.S. and Kenya have long cooperated on Somalia. I think you can look for security-related announcements that go beyond that.

VOA: U.S. troops are pulling out of the Sahel and the so-called “Coup Belt.” What are the concerns the administration has about security in the Sahel region, especially as Russia expands its footprint there? 

Brown: As has been widely reported, we are making an orderly withdrawal from Niger. I will say that is pretty consistent with our administration’s [counterterrorism] posture in general that we have made changes to our posture that are consistent with our CT policy. It is no secret that democracy is on the backfoot in a lot of places globally. 

If you talk to democracy scholars, democracy is on something like its 20th year of global decline. So, Africa is not alone in this regard. The Biden administration is focused on lifting up and partnering with democracies to help them deliver. 

You may have seen USAID’s initiative on democracy delivering. We’re working with a few African countries on that. And I think this is, again, something that we’ll be talking a lot to the Kenyans with, because President Ruto has talked about the imperative of democracy delivering. 

VOA: Regarding issues of trade and the African Growth and Opportunity Act — obviously, this is going to be a decision made by Congress, but how does the administration feel about the benefits of trade and of barrier-free trade with the United States?

Brown: President Biden has been really vocal that he sees AGOA reauthorization and AGOA modernization as a huge priority. It has been huge, I think from our perspective, but also from the perspective of the region. It’s something we hear a lot about from our Kenyan partners. We do look to Congress for that. But as you know, reauthorization is due next year, and obviously we hope that things can get in motion before then.

VOA: The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — which has been a literal lifesaver for people around the African continent — is up for renewal next year. How does the White House see this program as contributing to national security?

Brown: We see PEPFAR as essential. And as you know, PEPFAR has been supported with bipartisan congressional support and across administrations since the George W. Bush initiative initially. We think PEPFAR is delivering for people across the continent, and we’ve been proud to support it, and we look for reauthorization.

VOA: When is President Biden going to visit Africa, and where will he go?

Brown: So, I cannot make news at this moment by announcing presidential travel. But what I will say is thus far, I think President Biden’s commitment to the relationship with the continent is pretty clear. If you think about Kenya, it’s the first state visit that we’re giving to a non-G20 country this term. There’s only been five other state visits. … But then you just look at the steady stream of Cabinet official travels to the continent over the past two years — by our count, there’s 24 principals or Cabinet-level officials who’ve made that trip, all of them bringing their own agenda. 

I’d also say just in terms of the other ways President Biden has shown his commitment, advocating for AU [African Union] membership with the G20 has been huge. Advocating for more African seats and international financial institutions and all the other transformative investment. 

VOA: You’ve just joined the NSC in this capacity. What priorities do you bring to this post?

Brown: I think I see this post as moving forward on the affirmative agenda that President Biden laid out first, and the Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy, which was published at the end of 2021. Then the African Leaders Summit, which came at the end of 2022. There were a lot of initiatives launched by those two events. Now we are running forward on implementation. 

At the same time, of course, at the NSC, the urgent sometimes competes with the important, so of course, we’re seized with managing crises. And we’re really sobered by the crises that are happening in many parts of the continent. So, I see my role as a balance between those two, and I’m thrilled to be on board.

US 2024 election: What to expect in Kentucky’s primaries

washington — All of Donald Trump’s top opponents for the Republican nomination for president dropped out of the race weeks ago, but the whole gang will be back together on Kentucky’s primary ballot Tuesday.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie all suspended their campaigns after Kentucky finalized its ballot in January, as did pastor Ryan Binkley.

Trump has easily won nearly every Republican contest so far, but Haley has won a significant number of votes in several recent primaries, including Maryland (20%) and Nebraska (18%) this week.

President Joe Biden’s opponents in Kentucky are author Marianne Williamson and U.S. Representative Dean Phillips. Democrats can also vote for “uncommitted,” which has attracted protest votes in other states.

Kentucky voters will also decide six primaries for the U.S. House. One race to watch is the 4th Congressional District Republican primary. Representative Thomas Massie, who backed DeSantis’ presidential bid and co-sponsored a motion to remove House Speaker Mike Johnson, is facing a challenge from Eric Deters, a staunch Trump supporter. However, Deters hadn’t reported raising any money as of the latest filing deadline and placed fourth in the 2023 gubernatorial primary.

Here’s a look at what to expect on Tuesday. 

Primary day

Kentucky will hold presidential primaries and will also choose nominees for the U.S. House, the state legislature and the state Senate. Polls will close locally at 6 p.m. across the state. However, Kentucky is nearly cut in half by time zones; most of it falls in the Eastern time zone, while 41 counties in the western part of the state are on Central time.  

Who gets to vote 

Kentucky has a closed primary system, which means that only voters registered with a political party may participate in that party’s primary. Democrats may not vote in the Republican primary or vice versa. Independent or unaffiliated voters may not participate in either primary.

Delegate allocation rules

Kentucky Republicans allocate their 46 delegates proportionally to any candidate who receives more than 15% of the vote, meaning any of Trump’s opponents could qualify for delegates. They could also splinter the anti-Trump vote, increasing Trump’s chances of being the only candidate to receive 15% of the vote and therefore the only candidate to receive any delegates. 

Kentucky’s 53 pledged Democratic delegates are allocated according to the national party’s standard rules. Twelve at-large delegates are allocated in proportion to the statewide vote, as are six PLEO delegates, or “party leaders and elected officials.” The state’s six congressional districts have a combined 35 delegates at stake, which are allocated in proportion to the vote results in each district. Candidates must receive at least 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for any statewide delegates, and 15% of the vote in a congressional district to qualify for delegates in that district. 

Decision notes 

While Republican state parties that hold primaries this late in the cycle tend to embrace a winner-takes-all system for delegate allocation, Kentucky Republicans are dividing their delegates proportionally among candidates who receive at least 15% of the vote. 

For signs that a candidate not named Trump could reach that 15% threshold, look to suburban areas like Louisville and Lexington. Those areas — Jefferson and Fayette counties — are also the biggest sources of GOP votes in the state. 

In the 2020 presidential primary, “uncommitted” and Trump were the only two options on the Republican ballot. Statewide, “uncommitted” received 13% of the vote in the GOP primary. In Jefferson County, however, “uncommitted” received 23%. 

In the 4th Congressional District — which runs along the Ohio River, sharing its northern boundary with Indiana and Ohio — the United Democracy Project, a group that has criticized Massie for his record on Israel, had spent $328,672 on the race as of last Tuesday. However, those ads have not supported an alternative candidate. 

The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why. 

Kentucky mandates a recount if the top candidate wins by less than 0.5 percentage point. However, that recount rule does not apply to the presidential race. Candidates can ask for a recanvass of the vote, which entails retabulating the vote totals, if the margin is less than 1 percentage point. However, to request a recount, in which each ballot is hand-counted, a court must approve and prescribe the procedure. 

What do turnout and the advance vote look like? 

As of March 31, there were 3,487,292 registered voters in Kentucky. Of those voters, 43% were Democrats and 46% were Republicans.  

In 2022, 17% of voters cast their ballots before Election Day.  

How long does vote-counting usually take?

In the 2023 primary election, the AP first reported results at 6:03 p.m. Eastern time, or three minutes after the first polls closed. The election night tabulation ended at 9:56 p.m. with about 98% of total votes counted. 

Are we there yet?

As of Tuesday, there will be 168 days until the November general election. 

«Поки нічого позитивного» – Зеленський про переговори з союзниками про дозвіл на удари по РФ

Київ, за словами українського президента, веде переговори з партнерами щодо використання їхньої зброї для ударів по військовій техніці РФ на території Росії

US agency warns of increasing cyberattacks on water systems

washington — Cyberattacks against U.S. water utilities are becoming more frequent and more severe, the Environmental Protection Agency warned Monday as it issued an enforcement alert urging water systems to take immediate protective action. 

About 70% of utilities inspected by federal officials over the last year violated standards meant to prevent breaches or other intrusions, the agency said. Officials urged even small water systems to improve protections against hacks. Recent cyberattacks by groups affiliated with Russia and Iran have targeted smaller communities. 

Some water systems are falling short in basic ways, the alert said, including failure to change default passwords or cut off system access to former employees. Because water utilities often rely on computer software to operate treatment plants and distribution systems, protecting information technology and process controls is crucial, the EPA said.

Possible impacts of cyberattacks include interruptions to water treatment and storage; damage to pumps and valves; and alteration of chemical levels to hazardous amounts, the agency said. 

“In many cases, systems are not doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is to have completed a risk assessment of their vulnerabilities that includes cybersecurity and to make sure that plan is available and informing the way they do business,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. 

Attempts by private groups or individuals to get into a water provider’s network and take down or deface websites aren’t new. More recently, however, attackers have targeted utilities’ operations. 

Geopolitical rivals

Recent attacks are not just by private entities. Some recent hacks of water utilities are linked to geopolitical rivals and could lead to the disruption of the supply of safe water to homes and businesses. 

McCabe named China, Russia and Iran as the countries that are “actively seeking the capability to disable U.S. critical infrastructure, including water and wastewater.” 

Late last year, an Iranian-linked group called “Cyber Av3ngers” targeted multiple organizations including a small Pennsylvania town’s water provider, forcing it to switch from a remote pump to manual operations. They were going after an Israeli-made device used by the utility in the wake of Israel’s war against Hamas. 

Earlier this year, a Russian-linked “hacktivist” tried to disrupt operations at several Texas utilities. 

A cyber group linked to China and known as Volt Typhoon has compromised information technology of multiple critical infrastructure systems, including drinking water, in the United States and its territories, U.S. officials said. Cybersecurity experts believe the China-aligned group is positioning itself for potential cyberattacks in the event of armed conflict or rising geopolitical tensions. 

“By working behind the scenes with these hacktivist groups, now these [nation states] have plausible deniability and they can let these groups carry out destructive attacks. And that to me is a game changer,” said Dawn Cappelli, a cybersecurity expert with the risk management firm Dragos Inc. 

The world’s cyberpowers are believed to have been infiltrating rivals’ critical infrastructure for years, planting malware that could be triggered to disrupt basic services. 

The enforcement alert is meant to emphasize the seriousness of cyberthreats and inform utilities the EPA will continue its inspections and pursue civil or criminal penalties if they find serious problems. 

“We want to make sure that we get the word out to people that, ‘Hey, we are finding a lot of problems here,’ ” McCabe said. 

 

Broader federal effort

Preventing attacks against water providers is part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to combat threats against critical infrastructure. In February, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to protect U.S. ports. Health care systems have been attacked. The White House has pushed electric utilities to increase their defenses, too. EPA Administrator Michael Regan and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan have asked states to come up with a plan to combat cyberattacks on drinking water systems. 

“Drinking water and wastewater systems are an attractive target for cyberattacks because they are a lifeline critical infrastructure sector but often lack the resources and technical capacity to adopt rigorous cybersecurity practices,” Regan and Sullivan wrote in a March 18 letter to all 50 U.S. governors. 

Some of the fixes are straightforward, McCabe said. Water providers, for example, shouldn’t use default passwords. They need to develop a risk assessment plan that addresses cybersecurity and set up backup systems. The EPA says it will train water utilities that need help for free. Larger utilities usually have more resources and the expertise to defend against attacks. 

“In an ideal world … we would like everybody to have a baseline level of cybersecurity and be able to confirm that they have that,” said Alan Roberson, executive director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators. “But that’s a long ways away.” 

Some barriers are foundational. The water sector is highly fragmented. There are roughly 50,000 community water providers, most of which serve small towns. Modest staffing and anemic budgets in many places make it hard enough to maintain the basics — providing clean water and keeping up with the latest regulations. 

“Certainly, cybersecurity is part of that, but that’s never been their primary expertise. So, now you’re asking a water utility to develop this whole new sort of department” to handle cyberthreats, said Amy Hardberger, a water expert at Texas Tech University. 

States, industry groups object

The EPA has faced setbacks. States periodically review the performance of water providers. In March 2023, the EPA instructed states to add cybersecurity evaluations to those reviews. If they found problems, the state was supposed to force improvements. 

But Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa, joined by the American Water Works Association and another water industry group, challenged the instructions in court on the ground that EPA didn’t have the authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act. After a court setback, the EPA withdrew its requirements but urged states to take voluntary actions anyway. 

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires certain water providers to develop plans for some threats and certify they’ve done so. But its power is limited. 

“There’s just no authority for [cybersecurity] in the law,” said Roberson. 

Kevin Morley, manager of federal relations with the American Water Works Association, said some water utilities have components that are connected to the internet — a common but significant vulnerability. Overhauling those systems can be a significant and costly job. And without substantial federal funding, water systems struggle to find resources. 

The industry group has published guidance for utilities and advocates for establishing a new organization of cybersecurity and water experts that would develop new policies and enforce them, in partnership with the EPA. 

“Let’s bring everybody along in a reasonable manner,” Morley said, adding that small and large utilities have different needs and resources.

Supreme Court rejects appeal from Canadian man once held at Guantanamo

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by a Canadian-born former Guantanamo detainee who was seeking to wipe away his war crimes convictions, including for killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.

Omar Khadr had waived his right to appeal when he pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges that included murder. But his lawyers argued that a subsequent ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington called into question whether Khadr could have been charged with the crimes in the first place.

A divided three-judge panel ruled that, despite the appellate ruling, Khadr gave up his right to appeal.

Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson did not take part in the Supreme Court’s consideration of Khadr’s appeal because both had dealt with the case while they served as appeals court judges. Jackson explained her recusal from Monday’s order; Kavanaugh did not.

Khadr had been sentenced to eight years in prison plus the time he already had spent in custody, including several years at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But he was released in May 2015 pending his appeal of the guilty plea.

A Canadian judge ruled in 2019 that his war crimes sentence had expired.

Khadr was 15 when he was captured by U.S. troops following a firefight at a suspected al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of an American special forces medic, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer. Khadr, who was suspected of throwing the grenade that killed Speer, was taken to Guantanamo and ultimately charged with war crimes by a military commission.

Уряд повідомляє про розширення критеріїв для бронювання працівників ОПК від мобілізації

Як уточнює Мінстратегпром, зміни стосуються критеріїв, які дають підставу для бронювання від 50% працівників, незалежно від військово-облікової спеціальності

London court rules WikiLeaks founder Assange can appeal US extradition order 

London — A British court has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can appeal against an order that he be extradited to the U.S. on espionage charges.

Two High Court judges on Monday said Assange has grounds to challenge the U.K. government’s extradition order.

The ruling sets the stage for an appeal process likely to further drag out a years-long legal saga. Assange faces 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over his website’s publication of a trove of classified U.S. documents almost 15 years ago.

The Australian computer expert has spent the last five years in a British high-security prison after taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years.

Assange’s lawyers have argued he was a journalist who exposed U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sending him to the U.S., they said, would expose him to a politically motivated prosecution and risk a “flagrant denial of justice.”

The U.S. government says Assange’s actions went way beyond those of a journalist gathering information, amounting to an attempt to solicit, steal and indiscriminately publish classified government documents.

In March, two judges rejected the bulk of Assange’s arguments but said he could take his case to the Court of Appeal unless the U.S. guaranteed he would not face the death penalty if extradited and would have the same free speech protections as a U.S. citizen.

The court said that if Assange couldn’t rely on the First Amendment then it was arguable his extradition would be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, which also provides free speech and media protections.

The U.S. provided those reassurances, but Assange’s legal team and supporters argue they are not good enough to rely on to send him to the U.S. federal court system because the First Amendment promises fall short. The U.S. said Assange could seek to rely on the amendment but it would be up to a judge to decide whether he could.

Attorney James Lewis, representing the U.S., said Assange’s conduct was “simply unprotected” by the First Amendment.

“No one, neither U.S. citizens nor foreign citizens, are entitled to rely on the First Amendment in relation to publication of illegally obtained national defense information giving the names of innocent sources, to their grave and imminent risk of harm,” Lewis said.

The WikiLeaks founder, who has spent the past five years in a British prison, was not in court to hear his fate being debated. He did not attend for health reasons, Fitzgerald said.

Commuters emerging from a Tube stop near the courthouse couldn’t miss a large sign bearing Assange’s photo and the words, “Publishing is not a crime. War crimes are.” Scores of supporters gathered outside the neo-Gothic Royal Courts of Justice chanting “Free Julian Assange” and “Press freedom, Assange freedom.”

Some held a large white banner aimed at President Joe Biden, exhorting: “Let him go Joe.”

Assange’s lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted, though American authorities have said any sentence would likely be much shorter.

Assange’s family and supporters say his physical and mental health have suffered during more than a decade of legal battles, which includes seven years spent inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London from 2012 until 2019. He has spent the past five years in a British high-security prison.

His legal team is prepared to ask the European Court of Human Rights to intervene. But his supporters fear Assange could be transferred before the court in Strasbourg, France, could halt his removal.

Judges Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson may also postpone issuing a decision.