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Ukraine defence to receive $500 millions from USA

The US Senate passed roughly $700 billion for National Defense, foreseeing budget of $500 million to support Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko said.

“The US Senate approved the draft, providing for the allocation of $500 million to support Ukraine in the field of security and defense,” Poroshenko wrote on his official Twitter page.

The draft law authorizes the provision of Ukraine with lethal weapons of a defensive type. It also includes provisions allowing the use of US defense budget funds for the rehabilitation of wounded Ukrainian servicemen in medical institutions in the United States, as well as strengthening the capabilities of air and naval forces.

“For the first time at the legislative level, it is proposed to provide Ukraine with such defensive means: radar equipment of air defense and observation of the sea surface; naval anti-mine equipment; coastal and coast guard ships” – Poroshenko continued in detail.

“We really appreciate the fact that the United States stands shoulder to shoulder in our struggle,” Poroshenko said during a speech at the military academy West Point.

“Your country remains the world leader in providing practical assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Poroshenko said, adding that Ukraine’s military spending has already exceeded 6% of GDP – “a figure that is much higher than the obligations for NATO.”

Previously, Peter Poroshenko noted that Kiev is waiting  not only defensive weapons from the US. He also confirmed that now Ukraine is reforming its defence and security in accordance with NATO standards.

Zapad-2017 Russian military drills

he Zapad-2017 (or West 2017) joint Russian-Belarusian military drills have kicked off in the two countries, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“Heads of military administrative bodies and commanders of units involved in the drills have received instructions from the General Staff of the Union State concerning their training tasks,” the statement reads.

The drills involve up to 12,700 troops, including 7,200 Belarusian and around 5,500 Russian troops, with up to 3,000 of them deployed to Belarus.

“Staged tactical events and live firing exercises, involving aircraft and air defense units, will take place at the Lepelsky, Losvido, Borisovsky, Osipovichesky, Ruzhansky and Domanovsky training ranges, as well as in the Dretun area in Belarus, and also at the Luzhsky, Strugi Krasnye and Pravdinsky training ranges in Russia.

The Russian and Belarusian chiefs of General Staff are in charge of the drills that constitute the final stage of the joint training program of the Russian and Belarusian Armed Forces.
The drills are purely defensive and not aimed against any countries, the Russian Defense Ministry stressed, according to TASS news agency.


UK committed to European security

The UK will offer to contribute military assets to EU operations, cooperate on sanctions and agree joint positions on foreign policy as part of a deep security partnership with the EU after Brexit, the Government will say today Tuesday 12 September.

In a renewed demonstration of the UK’s commitment to European security, the latest future partnership paper signals the Government’s willingness to partner with the EU in the face of ever-growing global threats.
It makes clear the UK will seek to use our assets, capabilities and influence to combat the shared challenges facing the continent —- including illegal migration, terrorism, cyber and state-based threats and amounts to a security partnership ‘that is deeper than any other third country and that reflects our shared interest’.
There is a significant amount of collaboration between the UK and EU on defence, security and development.

The paper lays out how Britain will want to build a new partnership with the EU that goes beyond existing third country arrangements, and reflects our shared interests and values of upholding democracy and protecting peace across Europe and the world.

“After we leave the European Union we will continue to face shared threats to our security, our shared values and our way of life. It’s in our mutual interest to work closely with the EU and its member states to challenge terrorism and extremism, illegal migration, cyber-crime, and conventional state-based military aggression.” – secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said.  “Today’s paper highlights Britain’s world class diplomacy and defence capabilities, our leading contribution to international development, and our desire to continue to use these as part of a deep and special partnership with the EU.”
“As we leave the EU, the UK’s commitment to European security is undiminished. We will pursue a global foreign policy, and continue to work in partnership with our neighbours to promote peace, democracy and security in our continent and across the world, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said. “In recent years, the European Union has helped achieve crucial foreign policy goals – from bringing Iran to the negotiating table, to uniting in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.  We want this EU role to continue after we leave” – Johnson added. “This is why, in addition to stronger relations with EU member states, we also envisage a strong UK-EU partnership on foreign and defence policy following our departure. This will allow us to continue our work in tackling the shared challenges we face worldwide.”

“At a time of increased threats and international instability the UK remains unwavering in its commitment to uphold European security. With the largest defence budget in Europe, the largest Navy British troops and planes deployed across land, air and sea in Europe, our role in the continent’s defence has never been more vital” – Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said . “As we leave the EU, the UK and our European allies will ensure a close partnership that meets these shared challenges head-on.”

The paper highlights the UK’s successful military cooperation with the EU on tackling piracy off the Horn of Africa, to joint defence projects with the EU — including the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The UK has the largest defence budget and development budget in Europe, and is the only European country that meets both the NATO target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence, with 20 per cent of this on equipment, and the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) on international development.

The UK has also committed to invest at least 50 per cent of development spend in fragile states and regions. The UK and France are the two European permanent members of the UN Security Council and the only European countries with an independent nuclear deterrent, while UK proscriptions and asset freezes are the basis of many of the EU sanctions on terrorist organisations.

Russia and Japan ‘decisively condemn’ DPRK tests

Concluding talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “decisively condemned” North Korean ballistic weapons tests.

“We decisively condemned North Korea’s launch of a medium-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan’s territory on August 28, as well as the new nuclear tests conducted on September 3,” Putin said in a statement.

Condemning North Korea’s missile and nuclear development as posing a threat to international and regional peace and safety, Putin added, that “there are only political and diplomatic means to resolve the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula.”

Russian President reiterated that the crisis around North Korea should be resolved only by political means, and that it posed a threat to peace and stability in the region, calling to resolved it through a road map proposed by Moscow and Beijing.

Putin also said he and Abe discussed the prospect of joint economic activities by their countries on the disputed Kuril islands.

Putin said he and Abe discussed the prospect of a peace treaty officially ending World War Two hostilities, which has never been signed because of the territorial dispute over islands.

Abe and Putin also agreed in talks on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok to conduct joint economic activities on disputed islands off Hokkaido in five areas: aquaculture, greenhouse farming, tourism, wind power and waste reduction.

Merkel supports EU lawsuit against Poland

Germany’s enters alongside France into a battle between the European Commission and Poland over the rule of law increasing the probability of unprecedented EU action to punish Warsaw.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week by criticized Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, showing the European Union’s executive has the firm support of its most influential member.

Poland risks a reprimand under procedures of Article 7 that have never been used before and would deal a heavy blow to its prestige, causing its isolation in the bloc and diminishing its ability to influence EU policies.

“As much as I wish for good relations with Poland — they are our neighbor and I will always strive for this given the importance of our ties — we can’t simply keep our mouth shut in order to keep the peace,” Merkel said in Berlin. “This goes to the very foundations of our cooperation within the European Union” she added.

Citizens’ rights remain a top priority

“.. It is only through flexibility and imagination that we’ll achieve a deal that truly works for both sides. In some areas we have found this from the Commission’s side, which I welcome, but there remains some way to go” – EU top negotiator David Davis said by the end of the third round of talks in Brussels.

“Talks this week have once again focussed on citizens’ rights, on financial matters, on Northern Ireland and Ireland, and on issues relating to our separation. I’m pleased to say we have engaged in detail on all of those areas.”

“.. I set out the need for us to drive forward the technical discussions. I wanted us to establish the areas where we agree, and work through the areas where we disagree, to ensure that we make further progress on a whole range of issues. I think we’ve delivered that.”

“The UK’s approach has been informed by a series of detailed papers – on customs; on Northern Ireland; on goods; on civil judicial cooperation; on data; on enforcement and dispute resolution; and on technical matters regarding our separation, such as ongoing confidentiality obligations.”

“These papers represent the hard work and detailed thinking that has been going on behind the scenes across Whitehall over the past twelve months.”

“They offer pragmatic and innovative solutions to issues related to our withdrawal and the future deep and special partnership that we want with the European Union. They do not aim to dictate a single approach, but rather considered options for us to work on.”

“… Issues around our withdrawal and our future relationship are inextricably linked.”
Our approach of setting out positions on them both is designed to progress the current negotiations as swiftly as possible.

“… The most obvious area for that is on citizens’ rights which remain a top priority.”

“.. We should at least protect existing healthcare rights and arrangements for EU27 citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. The EHIC arrangements.”

“That is good news for example, for British pensioners in the EU: it means that they will continue to have their health care arrangements protected both where they live and – when they travel to another Member State – to be able to use an EHIC card.”

“On economic rights, we have secured the right of British citizens in the EU27 to set up and manage a business within their Member State of residence, and of course visa versa.”

“On mutual recognition of qualifications, we have made progress in protecting the recognition of qualifications for British citizens resident in the EU27 and EU27 citizens in the UK.” – David Davis concluded.













Szydlo trades barbs with Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron caused Polish ire after an attempt to review a controversial EU rule on cheap labour:

“Poland today is not a country that can show Europe the way, it’s a country that has decided to go against European interests in many areas,” Macron said at press conference in the coastal city of Varna in Bulgaria, where has been warmly received by Prime minister Boyko Borissov.

“Europe was built on public freedoms that Poland violates… It is placing itself on the margins of Europe’s future history,” – Macron continued.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has not ignored the criticism:

“Perhaps (Macron’s) arrogant comments result from lack of political experience, which I can understand, but I expect that he will make up for this shortcoming and will be more restrained in the future,” she told news website on Friday, August 25.

The whirlwind swept on Macron’s final day of a short tour through Austria, Romania and Bulgaria, while seeking to win support for changing the so-called Posted Workers Directive at an EU summit on October 19-20.

The regulation lets firms send workers from low-wage countries to wealthier economies on short-term assignments without paying their hosts’ social charges.

The rule has caused resentment in western countries like France, Germany and Austria, which argue it amounts to “social dumping” and creates unfair competition on national labour markets.

Backed by Berlin and Vienna, Paris wants the duration of the postings to be limited to 12 months – half the period proposed by the European Commission – and demands greater efforts to fight abuse of the directive.

The reform is a key election promise of 39-year-old Macron who has suffered plummeting approval ratings at home since his election.

However the Eastern Europe is far from embracing the change: Warsaw and Budapest say the proposals go too far and will undercut their interests.

Poland – the EU member that benefits most from the regulation – wants to keep its current rules intact.

An estimated more than half-a-million of Polish nationals are employed by Polish companies in other EU members.

“We will defend our position to the end, because it is a position that is in the interest of Polish workers,” Szydlo ensured.

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