Потік новин

лише гола правда

Столичні укриття обладнають автоматизованою системою доступу – КМДА

«Використання ворогом балістичної зброї спонукає створювати додаткові укриття в оперативній доступності для людей насамперед у спальних районах міста»

Більшість українців не допускає територіальних поступок для припинення війни – опитування

Лише 10% респондентів вважають, що для досягнення миру і збереження незалежності можна відмовитися від деяких територій

Reporting on Serbian Leader’s Links to Criminal Groups Raises Questions for US

In early May, The New York Times Magazine published an in-depth story about Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic with details about his alleged connections with a criminal group that is being prosecuted for a range of crimes including drug trafficking and murder.

The story drew broad attention internationally, not just in the Balkans where local investigative outlets have reported many of the same allegations, which Vucic denies.

The State Department declined to comment on the merit of the allegations in the story, however at least one high-ranking State Department official shared the story on social media. And the allegations were raised last month during a congressional hearing about the Western Balkans.

Outside analysts though have been vocal.

“It’s a shocking and horrific story that the highest levels of government are so intertwined with criminal enterprises. I think we have seen this in enough other nations that it is a growing concern, the conflation between authoritarian governments and criminal networks,” Gary Kalman, executive director of Transparency International USA, told VOA’s Serbian Service.

“It’s terrible. It’s too bad,” said Susan Rose-Ackerman, professor of law and political science at Yale University, who co-authored the book “Corruption and Government.” She told VOA that connections between people in political power and organized crime create an extreme version of political corruption.

The Times story reported that the connections between police and the criminal group, led by a soccer hooligan Veljko Belivuk, nicknamed Trouble, were well documented. The story also claimed “there is little doubt that Belivuk and his gang are in prison because Europol cracked the code” of the phone-messaging app through which they communicated.

Author Robert Worth reported that Belivuk testified in court that “his gang had been organized ‘for the need and by the order of Aleksandar Vucic.'” He added that the group, among others, used to intimidate political rivals and prevent fans at soccer games from chanting against Vucic.

Worth also wrote that he is skeptical that Vucic was unaware of all the groups did since Vucic “now exercises near-total control over almost every aspect of public life” in Serbia.

International context

Vucic has been in politics since the 1990s. He served as information minister to Slobodan Milosevic, where he led a crackdown on the press, and he publicly voiced support for Serbian war criminals.

His Serbian Progressive Party has now been in power for more than 10 years, during which he was also a prime minister.

Vucic’s spokespeople declined Worth’s requests for comments, but in an interview for pro-government Happy TV in Serbia, Vucic said that the “preposterous New York Times story was ordered” and that he understands it as a message during the dialogue about normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Serbia has never recognized.

“I know how they do it,” said Vucic for Happy TV. “You know, CIA sets you up, CIA watches you, if you don’t behave well and don’t listen, this is only the beginning.”

It has become common practice in past years that Serbian authorities denote any criticism as treason, conspiracy against the country or a plot to overthrow the government.

Both Worth and The New York Times denied such allegations.

VOA interviewees noted that the most significant aspect of the story was the fact that it was published in English, in a reputable outlet with a great number of readers.

“It is an exposé of Aleksandar Vucic and his government. And it put it in an international context, given that it’s The New York Times,” Tanya Domi, professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, told VOA. “Everybody is reading this.”

Is Serbia a reliable partner for the United States?

“Is this reporting credible?” Senator Bob Menendez asked the State Department’s counselor Derek Chollet during a May hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about U.S. policy toward the Western Balkans, referencing the Times story.

“We believe it is. I can’t speak to the specifics of the article, but there is absolutely a lot of corruption,” replied Chollet, with Gabriel Escobar, State Department deputy assistant secretary, sitting next to him.

“So what are the real prospects for a reliable partner in Serbia with that background?” Menendez asked.

“We’re doing this with eyes open, but we are holding Vucic to account and his colleagues to account for their corruption, for their behavior and activity,” said Chollet, noting that corruption is a major issue in the whole region.

But in an interview for VOA’s Bosnian Service, Kurt Bassuener, senior associate at the Democratization Policy Council, pointed out that the U.S. has not sanctioned any Vucic administration official for corruption as it has done in some neighboring countries.

“They essentially dodged it,” Bassuener said of State Department officials. “They didn’t deal with any of the substance. And I think that’s emblematic of the overarching policy, which is pacification toward the region.”

Domi believes the United States and the West are pursuing the idea that Serbia is “a stabilizing force in the region.” But if the goal of such foreign policy toward the Western Balkans is to draw Serbia closer to the West and further from Russia, Domi says there is no proof such a strategy works.

Serbia is one of the rare European countries that has not introduced sanctions against Russia, and there is a strong pro-Russian sentiment in the country.

Transparency International’s Kalman said Washington’s strategy with Serbia could shift in the future.

“I think there is a possibility that the U.S., given sort of Serbia’s role and where it sits in the world, that they might put some pressure on to try and improve things in Serbia,” he said.

“How far they push and whether or not they are concerned that the Serbian government will start an alliance with countries and interests that the U.S. counter to their national security, and so then they back up. I don’t know the answer to that question,” Kalman said.

Trump Indicted Over Handling of Classified Documents

In a stunning development, a federal grand jury in Florida indicted former U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday over his retention of sensitive government documents after he left the White House.

The Justice Department informed Trump that he had been indicted and asked him to make his first court appearance in Miami on Tuesday, the former president confirmed on his social media platform.

“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform, apparently alluding to boxes of documents seized by the FBI from his Florida estate last August.

The indictment remains under seal, but seven news outlets, citing sources familiar with the case, said it contains several criminal charges.

In a request for a search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last year, the FBI listed three statutes that may have been breached.

The first is part of the Espionage Act and prohibits the unauthorized transmission or retention of “national defense information” such as classified government documents.

Another statute concerns obstruction of a federal investigation by destroying, altering and falsifying records.

Violations of the two statutes are punishable by as much as 10 to 20 years in prison.

The indictment makes Trump the first former president to be charged in federal court. He is facing separate charges in New York state of falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to an adult film star in 2016. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Evan Corcoran, an attorney for Trump, did not immediately respond to a VOA request for comment.

The Justice Department had been investigating Trump since early last year after learning from the National Archives that the former president stashed hundreds of sensitive government documents at his Florida resort and thwarted government efforts to retrieve them.

The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last August led to the discovery of more than 100 classified documents.

In all, prosecutors have retrieved more than 300 classified government documents from Trump bearing various classification markings, including “top secret/sensitive compartmented information,” the highest level of classification.

The investigation was led through most of last year by the Justice Department. But Trump’s announcement in November that he was running for president prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint Jack Smith, a former career Justice Department prosecutor, as special counsel.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the documents, calling the investigation a witch hunt designed to sabotage his bid for reelection.

He also claimed that he had a standing order to declassify all documents taken from the Oval Office to the White House residence.

But prosecutors have reportedly obtained a 2021 audio recording in which Trump acknowledged that he had retained a classified Pentagon document, which contradicts his claim that he had declassified all documents.

The indictment can’t prevent Trump from forging ahead with his presidential campaign.

In fact, former federal prosecutor John Malcolm noted, there are no laws that would stop him from running, even if he is convicted.

“There have been people who have run for office from prison cells,” Malcolm said.

In 2002, former Representative Jim Traficant ran for his old congressional seat while serving a prison sentence for corruption.

Biden, Sunak Sign US-UK Agreement on Clean Energy, AI

U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday agreed to deepen close economic ties between their countries, pledging to accelerate the clean energy transition and strengthen critical mineral supply chains.

The two leaders also discussed their “unwavering support for the people in Ukraine,” Biden told reporters at a joint news conference with Sunak, an opportunity not afforded to every world leader who visits the White House.

Biden and the British prime minister released the Atlantic Declaration, which Sunak described as a first-of-its-kind economic partnership on issues like artificial intelligence, climate change and protecting technologies that would help shape the future.

“I know some people have wondered what kind of partner Britain would be after it left the EU,” Sunak said. “I’d say, judge us by our actions. We’re as committed to our values as ever, as reliable of an ally as ever, as attractive an investment destination as ever.”

Biden hailed the intensity of the economic relationship as an “enormous source of strength” that underpinned broader ties between the NATO allies. “We discussed how we can continue to adapt and upgrade our partnership to ensure our countries remain at the cutting edge of a rapidly changing world,” he said.

The two leaders shared laughs and more sober sentiments when they met in the Oval Office about the close relations between prior leaders from the two countries as they previewed topics for the meeting, including artificial intelligence and Northern Ireland, as well as joint economic and security interests, including in Asia.

The meeting, their fourth in as many months, came as Western officials sought to ascertain whether Russia was responsible for the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, which has displaced thousands of people and caused major economic and environmental damage. Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for the dam’s destruction.

Biden and Sunak both underscored continued support for Ukraine to ensure its long-term security and deter aggression after the war ends.

Sunak said Ukraine’s supporters needed to send a strong signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that their backing for Kyiv will not weaken as the war goes on.

“We’re not going anywhere. We will be here for as long as it takes,” he said. “And hopefully that will speed up the calculation in his mind that he should withdraw his forces.”

Thursday’s discussion focused heavily on ensuring the safety of AI and other emerging technologies, Sunak told reporters, saying Britain would host the first summit on the issue this autumn to discuss how the risks of AI can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action.

Sunak had pushed to strengthen trading ties between Britain and the United States, keen to show some progress after the Biden administration quashed any speedy prospect of a post-Brexit free trade agreement between the two countries.

Asked about the absence of a bigger trade deal, Sunak said the “specific, targeted measures” now being discussed were the right thing to focus on since they would remove red tape and facilitate billions of pounds of new investment in Britain.

Sunak also sought Biden’s backing for defense minister Ben Wallace’s bid to become the next secretary-general of NATO. Biden said it remains to be seen whether it’s time for a British leader of NATO, adding that the organization’s members need to build consensus on a future leader.

Kremlin Says Ammonia Pipeline Blast Is Negative for Black Sea Grain Deal 

The Kremlin on Thursday said a blast that damaged a pipeline once used to export Russian ammonia via Ukraine could have a “negative impact” on the fate of a Black Sea grain deal.

The Togliatti-Odesa pipeline, which once pumped up to 2.5 million tons of ammonia annually for global export to Ukraine’s Pivdennyi port on the Black Sea from Togliatti in western Russia, has been idle since the start of the war in February last year. 

Russia has accused Ukrainian forces of blowing up a part of the pipeline, the world’s longest to carry ammonia, in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Monday. The regional Ukrainian governor said Russia had shelled the pipeline on Tuesday. Neither side provided evidence to back its allegations. 

Asked by reporters about how the damage to the pipeline could affect the fate of the Black Sea grain deal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It can only have a negative impact.”  

He described it as “yet another complication in terms of extending the deal,” adding that Russia did not know “what kind of destruction” there had been to the ammonia pipeline.  

Russia has threatened to walk away from the Black Sea grain deal on July 17 if demands to improve its own food and fertilizer exports are not met. The deal, struck in July last year, facilitates the “safe navigation” of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers — including ammonia — for export to global markets. 

U.N. officials are continuing discussions with all the parties to the deal, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday.  

“We’re continuing our efforts through as many avenues as we can, given the importance of all of this to the fight against global hunger and ensuring that the prices of food do not spike on the global market,” Dujarric told reporters.  

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Ukraine grain Black Sea export deal to help alleviate a global food crisis worsened by conflict disrupting exports from two of the world’s leading grain suppliers. 

To help persuade Russia to allow Ukraine to resume its Black Sea grain exports last year, a separate three-year agreement was also struck in July in which the United Nations agreed to help Russia with its food and fertilizer exports. 

Dujarric said top U.N. trade official Rebeca Grynspan was due to meet with Russian officials in Geneva on Friday “as part of our routine contacts on our efforts to facilitate the trade in Russian fertilizer and Russian grain.”

Russian Industry and Trade minister Denis Manturov said earlier Thursday that Moscow had no access to the damaged part of the pipeline and did not expect to be granted it, the Interfax news agency reported. 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that it would take one to three months to repair the damaged section of the pipeline.

«Укргідроенерго» звернулось до ЄСПЛ через руйнування Каховської ГЕС

Компанія «Укргідроенерго» повідомила, що звернулася до Європейського суду з прав людини (ЄСПЛ) та проінформувала суд в межах справи «Ukrgidroenergo, PAT v. Russia» про «вчинений Росією терористичний акт».

«З метою якнайшвидшого захисту порушених прав та інтересів компанія просить суд розглянути можливість визначити першочерговість розгляду відповідної справи у зв’язку з терористичними діями Росії. Варто відзначити, що організований підрив греблі, що є об’єктом критично-важливої соціальної інфраструктури, порушує Женевську конвенцію, зокрема, Перший додатковий протокол до Женевських конвенцій, що стосується захисту жертв міжнародних збройних конфліктів від 8 червня 1977 року, який встановив перелік об’єктів, які не можуть бути об’єктами нападу. Крім того, вчинені Росією дії грубо порушили порядок ведення війни, створили додаткові та невиправдані ризики для життя, здоров’я та майна цивільних осіб, а також призвели до пошкодження та знищення майна Укргідроенерго, яке, за попередньою оцінкою, відновленню не підлягає», – йдеться у заяві компанії.

У компанії кажуть, що ЄСПЛ вже прийняв до розгляду позов «Укргідроенерго» проти РФ щодо компенсації збитків через воєнну агресії проти України.

«Загальна сума заявлених збитків, завданих активам компанії – Каховській ГЕС та недобудованій вітровій електростанції на острові Зміїний, за незалежною експертною оцінкою, сягнула майже 17 млрд грн», – йдеться в повідомленні.

6 червня генпрокурор України Андрій Костін підписав документ, яким Міжнародному кримінальному суду у Гаазі надається вся необхідна інформація стосовно руйнування дамби Каховської ГЕС.

За даними ОГП, Костін поінформував прокурора МКС Каріма Хана «про підрив дамби Каховської ГЕС російськими окупаційними військами».

«Зробимо все, щоб притягнути винних до відповідальності. Ми відкриті до співпраці з МКС і готові надавати всі необхідні докази, які збирають і обробляють прокурори, для встановлення і покарання усіх причетних до цього злочину», – зазначив Костін.

У свою чергу, російська служба ВВС сьогодні повідомила, що у четвер російські представники виступили у МКС із звинуваченнями на адресу України щодо руйнування Каховської ГЕС.

На світанку 6 червня стало відомо про руйнування дамби Каховської ГЕС. Українська влада звинуватила у підриві дамби російські окупаційні сили, які захопили і контролюють гідроелектростанцію від 24 лютого 2022 року. Російські окупаційна влада натомість стверджує, що це ЗСУ вночі обстріляли і пошкодили дамбу Каховської ГЕС.

У компанії «Укргідроенерго» переконані, що руйнування окупованої Каховської ГЕС спричинив вибух всередині станції, і що такий вибух стався у трьох місцях.

США і Велика Британія заявляють, що поки зарано говорити, що спричинило руйнування Каховської ГЕС.

Four Children Wounded in Knife Attack in French Town, Two in Critical Condition

A Syrian national wounded four children and an adult in a knife attack in a park in the southeastern French town of Annecy on Thursday, police said, leaving some of the victims critically ill in hospital.

The attacker was a Syrian national with legal refugee status in France, a police official told Reuters. He was not known to security agencies and his motives were unclear, an investigative source said.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter that the attacker had been arrested.

Two children and one adult were in life-threatening condition, while two children were slightly hurt, police said.

“Children and one adult are between life and death. The nation is in shock,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement on Twitter, calling the attack “an act of absolute cowardice.”

Witnesses said at least one of the children wounded in the attack was in a stroller. The incident took place at around 0745 GMT in the playground of a lakeside park in Annecy, a town in the French Alps.

“He jumped (in the playground), started shouting and then went towards the strollers, repeatedly hitting the little ones with a knife,” a witness who gave his name as Ferdinand told BFM TV.

“Mothers were crying, everybody was running,” said George, another witness and owner of a nearby restaurant.

The TV channel showed footage of several policemen overpowering an individual in a park. 

“Nothing more abominable than to attack children,” National Assembly speaker Yael Braun-Pivet said on Twitter. Parliament observed a minute of silence to mark the incident.

In Photos: Ukrainians Flee Flood Following Destruction of Kakhovka Dam

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the Kherson region where thousands of people are dealing with the effects from flooding following the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam. The hydroelectric dam in Russian-held territory was destroyed on June 6, flooding dozens of villages and parts of a nearby city, with Russia and Ukraine blaming each other for the destruction.

В умовах евакуації населення армія РФ вдарила по Херсону. На Миколаївщині є перша жертва затоплення

Південь України третій день бореться з наслідками масштабного затоплення територій через руйнування Каховської ГЕС

Biden To Host British Prime Minister Sunak for White House Talks

U.S. President Joe Biden will host British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for talks at the White House Thursday that are expected to cover economic ties and supporting Ukraine in its defense against a Russian invasion.

The visit by Sunak is his first to the United States since becoming prime minister in October, but he and Biden have already met three times this year.

“The two leaders will review a range of global issues, including our economic partnership, our shared support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s brutal war of aggression, as well as further action to accelerate the clean energy transition,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday. “The president and the prime minister will also discuss the joint U.S.-U.K. leadership on critical and emerging technologies as well as our work to strengthen our economic security. They will also review developments in Northern Ireland as part of their shared commitment to preserving the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.”

Ahead of Thursday’s talks, Sunak said he would push for closer economic relations in the same spirit as the countries’ defense and security cooperation.

“Just as interoperability between our militaries has given us a battlefield advantage over our adversaries, greater economic interoperability will give us a crucial edge in the decades ahead,” Sunak said.

British officials said Sunak also wanted to discuss ways to protect global supply chains, particularly against individual countries that may corner and manipulate markets for certain sectors.

Another topic on the agenda for Sunak is the regulation of the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence.

Before meeting with Biden, Sunak held talks with congressional leaders and took part in a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery. He also appeared at the Washington Nationals baseball game where the team was honoring U.S.-U.K. Friendship Day.

White House correspondent Anita Powell contributed to this report. Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters

Latest in Ukraine: Zelenskyy Visits Flood-Hit Kherson

Latest developments:

U.S. President Joe Biden to host NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg for talks Monday with support for Ukraine at the top of the agenda ahead of next month’s NATO summit.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said Thursday he spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the upcoming visits to Russia and Ukraine by a delegation of African leaders who are seeking to help resolve the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday he visited the Kherson region where thousands of people are dealing with the effects from flooding following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam.

Zelenskyy shared a video on Telegram of him meeting with officials and said they discussed evacuations, restoring the region’s ecosystem and the military situation in the area.

That followed his nightly address Wednesday in which he called for a “clear and quick response from the world.”

He said “large-scale efforts are needed” including the help of groups such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The ICRC said earlier Wednesday it was closely coordinating with the Ukrainian Red Cross to support the humanitarian response to the dam’s destruction.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg “promised NATO mechanisms will be used to provide humanitarian assistance.”  Kuleba and Stoltenberg announced they would lead a meeting Thursday with NATO allies to discuss the situation.

The governor of the Kherson region said Thursday about 600 square kilometers were under water.

Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said about two-thirds of the flooded land was on the side of the Dnipro River occupied by Russia, while one-third was on the side still under Ukrainian control.

Prokudin said efforts to evacuate people from flooded areas were ongoing.

The hydroelectric dam collapsed Tuesday, with Russia and Ukraine blaming each other for the destruction.

Some information came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.  

‘I’m Going to Miami:’ Messi Confirms Move to Major League Soccer

Lionel Messi on Wednesday announced that he intends to join Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami as a free agent after parting ways with French champions Paris Saint-Germain and snubbing a lucrative contract offer in Saudi Arabia.

Messi, who played his final game for PSG over the weekend, was also linked with a return to Barcelona, but the Spanish club have had their hands tied due to LaLiga’s financial fair play rules.

“I made the decision that I’m going to go to Miami,” Messi said in an interview with Mundo Deportivo and Sport newspapers.

“I still haven’t closed it 100%. I’m still missing a few things, but we decided to go ahead. If Barcelona didn’t work out, I wanted to leave Europe, get out of the spotlight and think more about my family.”

Messi, who led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar in December and has earned a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, won the Ligue 1 title in his two seasons with PSG, as well as the French Super Cup in 2022.

“After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barca, it was time to go to the U.S. league to experience football in a different way and enjoy the day-to-day,” Messi said.

“Obviously with the same responsibility and desire to want to win and to always do things well. But with more peace of mind.”

Ownership stake

The MLS said it was pleased that Messi intends to join Inter Miami this summer.

Messi had wanted to go to a club where he could eventually have an ownership stake, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told Reuters this week. He also wanted to maximize his existing deal with Adidas and MLS’s relationship with Apple.

MLS earns a flat fee of around $250 million per year from Apple until it reaches a certain threshold of subscriptions, after which point it will earn a share of the revenue from those subscriptions.

Messi’s move to MLS is expected to drive viewers to the Apple TV streaming platform, as the world’s most recognizable soccer player.

The forward was also linked with a move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad after he received a formal offer.

The Gulf country has been looking to bring the game’s biggest players to its league and was successful in persuading Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo to join Al Nassr soon after the World Cup. French striker Karim Benzema joined Al Ittihad this week.

Inter Miami is co-owned by former England captain David Beckham, who was one of the first major European stars to move to the United States to play in the MLS, winning the MLS Cup twice with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Messi will have his work cut out in Miami, however, with the club rock bottom of the Eastern Conference standings — six points from ninth place, the final spot which would give them a chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

The team sacked coach Phil Neville last week after a dismal run of 10 defeats and five wins this season, a stark contrast to last season when they finished sixth and qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs.

Ukraine Rejects Calls to ‘Freeze’ Conflict, Foreign Minister Says

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday that talks about resolving the conflict with Russia could not start with a mere cessation of hostilities.

“If anyone thinks they should freeze the conflict and then see how to solve it, they don’t understand it,” he said in an online briefing aimed at African journalists, following a tour of African countries.

More than 100 rounds of consultation and attempts at a cease-fire since Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 only led to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, he said.

A delegation of African heads of state is expected to visit Ukraine and Russia in the next few days, hoping to persuade them to cease hostilities, a spokesperson for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told Reuters last month.

He said on Wednesday that no date had been set for the mission.

Such a proposal means that Russian troops would remain on Ukrainian soil even as peace talks start. Ukraine previously said Russian forces should withdraw before such negotiations could start, while Moscow wants Kyiv to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea as a precondition for negotiations.

President Macky Sall of Senegal, last year’s African Union chairman, whose country was not present at the latest U.N. vote condemning Russia in February, leads the initiative. The current African Union chairman, Comoros Islands President Othman Ghazali, was recently added to the delegation.

It also includes Presidents Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt and Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia — which both voted for the resolution — and Congo Republic’s Denis Sassou Nguesso and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, which both abstained, as did South Africa.

Kuleba has been on a charm offensive in Africa to win support on a continent where 30 of the 54 African U.N. member states voted in favor of the U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s invasion.

“What we see in our relations with the continent right now is fair to call a Ukrainian-African renaissance,” Kuleba said.

He had no details on what the African peace mission entailed, but he welcomed it.

“We are looking forward to hosting these presidents in Kyiv,” he said.

Trump’s Lawyers Notified That Former President Is Target of Classified Documents Probe

Federal prosecutors have notified former U.S. President Donald Trump’s attorneys that he is the target of an investigation into his handling of classified materials, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, adding to his legal troubles as he campaigns for the White House in 2024. 

The Justice Department typically notifies people when they become targets of an investigation to give them an opportunity to present their own evidence before a grand jury. The notification does not necessarily mean Trump will be charged.  

News of the notification to Trump’s legal team surfaced just two days after his attorneys met with Justice Department officials to discuss the case.  

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump’s attorneys in the documents case could not be reached for comment. 

Trump’s legal team was notified on Monday, the person said. Although there are some signs that the documents investigation is coming to a close, the timing of when a person is told they are a target cannot necessarily be used as a predictor of when charges might be brought, said David Schoen, an attorney who represented Trump ally Steve Bannon during his criminal trial on contempt of Congress charges. 

“Sometimes they are issued at the beginning of a long investigation and sometimes at the conclusion of an investigation,” he said. 

Trump, the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has repeatedly described the multiple investigations as politically motivated.  

A federal grand jury has been investigating Trump’s retention of classified materials after leaving the White House in 2021. 

A second criminal investigation is looking into alleged efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

A spokesperson for Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the probes, declined to comment. 

Thousands of documents 

Investigators in August 2022 seized roughly 13,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. One hundred of these were marked as classified, even though one of Trump’s lawyers had previously said that all records with classified markings had been returned.  

Trump has defended his retention of documents, suggesting that he declassified them while he was president. However, Trump has not provided evidence of this, and his attorneys have not made that argument in court filings. 

Trump handed over 15 boxes of records in January 2022, a year after leaving office, but federal officials came to believe he had not returned all the documents.  

The Justice Department issued Trump a grand jury subpoena in May 2022 asking him to return any other records bearing classified markings, and top officials traveled to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve the materials. 

Trump’s attorneys turned over 38 pages marked as classified to FBI and Justice Department officials and showed them a storage room at Mar-a-Lago but did not permit the agents to open any of the boxes. 

One of Trump’s lawyers also signed a document attesting that all records with classified markings had been returned to the government, a claim later proven false after the FBI searched his home.  

Trump’s legal woes are growing.  

A jury in federal court in Manhattan in May decided in a civil lawsuit that Trump must pay $5 million in damages for sexually abusing former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll and then defaming her by branding her a liar. 

Trump also faces a criminal investigation by a county prosecutor in Georgia relating to his efforts to undo his 2020 election loss in that state. 

Trump’s legal woes are growing.