Several US missile warships, over 800 sailors and a Navy SEALs team have arrived in the Black Sea to take part in the 12-day Sea Breeze 2017 naval exercise off Ukraine, which will include maritime forces from 16 countries.
The multinational war games are taking place in the northwestern part of the Black Sea near the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. They will feature 31 vessels, 29 aircraft and over 3,000 troops, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Monday.
Naval forces from 16 nations, including the US, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Poland and Turkey will practice “planning and conducting operations in compliance with NATO standards,” focusing on anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, air defense, mine clearance and hostage rescue.
The US Navy has sent its Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser ‘USS Hue City’ and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer ‘USS Carney’, along with a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft, the Sixth Fleet said in a press release.
Bomb disposal teams from the Naval Special Warfare Unit 2, otherwise known as Navy SEALs, as well as combat divers are also expected to arrive in Ukraine, as are some 800 US sailors and marines.
"We’re building strong relationships here which are crucial to peace and stability in the region,” said Captain Dan Gillen, a commanding officer of the ‘USS Hue City’.
“Our presence and participation in Sea Breeze bolsters confidence and reassures our allies and regional partners of our commitment to security in the Black Sea,” he added.
Chechens interviewed by Meduza said that expectations for behavior are more rigid and strict in among Chechen emigrants in Germany than in Chechnya itself. This situation has been described as "a competition in righteousness" between Chechens living abroad and those in Chechnya who are loyal to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov: each party is seeking to prove that they are the better Chechens, and threats of violence against "errant" women are viewed as "acts of patriotism."
The annual survey of EU citizens recently carried out by Project 28 found a unanimity on the issue of migration almost unequalled across an entire continent. The survey found, for instance, that 76% of the public across the EU believe that the EU's handling of the migration crisis of recent years has been "poor". There is not one country in the EU in which the majority of the public differs from this consensus. In countries such as Italy and Greece, which have been on the frontline of the crisis of recent years, that figure rockets up. In these countries, nine out of ten citizens think that the EU has handled the migrant crisis poorly.
How could they think otherwise? The German government's 2015 announcement that normal asylum and border procedures were no longer in operation exacerbated an already disastrous situation. The populations of Germany and Sweden increased by 2% in one year alone because of that influx of migrants. These are monumental changes to happen at such a speed to any society.
On Sunday, Venezuela’s opposition marked one hundred days since a series of daily protests against the socialist government, triggered by the Supreme Court’s aborted attempt to replace the National Assembly and install itself as the national legislative body.
During those hundred days, beginning in late March, over one hundred people have died and an untold number of others arrested for peacefully assembling against the government. According to the Venezuelan outlet Runrun.es, 108 people ranging in age from 14 to 54 have been killed since the latest wave of protests began, mostly students in their late teens and early 20s. The government has not prosecuted anyone over these deaths in nearly 90 percent of cases.
Protesters have largely remained peaceful as dictator Nicolás Maduro ordered the nation’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) to attack civilians with tear gas and rubber bullets and, in some cases, run civilians over with armored tanks. Opposition leaders in the National Assembly are demanding the liberation of all political prisoners, free and fair elections, and the full restoration of the democratic order. In response, Maduro has created a parallel legislature tasked with drafting a new constitution that would greatly expand his powers.
In what appeared to some an attempt to preempt hundred-day protests on Sunday, the government transferred the nation’s most prominent political prisoner, Leopoldo López, to house arrest on Saturday, citing health concerns. López, the head of the opposition party Popular Will, was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison in 2015 for organizing peaceful protests; his wife, Lilian Tintori, says he was tortured shortly before his release and has lost some of his eyesight.