Europe

Helsinki protests Trump-Putin lovefest

A leading LGBT rights group projected messages for Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in giant letters on the wall of the Presidential Palace in Helsinki hours before the summit between the two leaders was set to open. "Trump and Putin: Stop the Crimes Against Humanity in Chechnya," read one message displayed by the Human Rights Campaign. Other projections read: "The whole world is watching" and "Silence is deadly." The group said in a tweet ahead of the action: "Last year, reports surfaced of Chechen authorities rounding up and detaining more than 100 men who were suspected of being gay or bisexual and 20 have been murdered. Today HRC confronted Trump and Putin in Helsinki over these crimes against humanity." The statement continued: "For more than 15 months, @realDonaldTrump has refused to publicly condemn the systematic torture, abuse and murder of LGBTQ people occurring in Chechnya as Vladimir Putin has licensed the violence to continue." (Photo: Human Rights Campaign via Twitter)

Europe

‘Left’ joins with Euro-fascists to betray political prisoners in Russia

The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Russian authorities to release Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, and all the other "illegally detained Ukrainian citizens" in Russia and Russia-annexed Crimea. Sentsov has been on hunger strike in a Russian prison since May 14, demanding the release 64 Ukrainian citizens he considers political prisoners. Sentsov was arrested in Crimea in 2014, after Russia seized the Ukrainian region. The 76 MEPs who voted against the resolution are either of far-right formations such as the French National Front, Germany's Alternative für Deutschland, the Greek Golden Dawn, Italy's Northern League, the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, and Britain's UK Independence Party; or "leftist" parties such as the French Left Front, Germany's Die Linke, the Greek Syriza, Italy's The Other Europe, and Spain's Podemos. (Photo via Kyiv Post)

Europe

US anti-tank missiles to Ukraine: why now?

The US has approved the sale of $47 million worth of anti-tank guided missiles to Ukraine, for use against Russia's "volunteer" mechanized units in the breakaway Donbass region.  While the news was of course met with glee in Keiv, Russia's Foreign Ministry warned that Washington has "crossed a line." Is this to be read as a White House green light for Ukraine to re-escalate the war and launch a new offensive for the Donbass? Or is it just a propaganda move by Trump to shake the perception that he is "Putin's puppet"? (Map: CIA)

Europe

Ratko Mladic guilty in Bosnia genocide

Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladi? was sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, for crimes committed during the Bosnian conflict from 1992 to 1996. Mladi? was found guilty of two counts of genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity, including persecution, extermination, deportation and inhuman acts.

Europe

Anarchist historian arrested in Belarus police raid

Riot police raided a bookstore in the Belarusian city of Hrodno, interrupting a lecture by anarchist historian Pyotr Ryabov, who was visiting from Moscow, and arresting him on the pretext of breaking up an "unsanctioned mass gathering." Ryabov, who had been giving a presentation on "Libertarian Social Thought," was convicted on charges of "hooliganism" and sentenced to six days in jail. He spent the six days on hunger strike

Europe

Mass strike in Catalonia; Franco-nostalgia in Spain

Hundreds of thousands filled the streets of Barcelona as a general strike was called to protest "grave violation of rights and freedoms" by Spanish security forces during the vote on independence for Catalonia. Civil Guard troops mobilized to Catalonia are being cheered along the way by crowds of right-wing Spanish nationalists waving the national flag and chanting provocatively, "Viva Franco!"

Europe

Crimean Tatar leader sentenced to prison

Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov was convicted by Russian-appointed judges on spurious "separatism" charges, and sentenced to two years. Human Rights Watch called his sentencing "ruthless retaliation" for his opposition to Moscow's annexation of Crimea and suspension of the Tatars' autonomous government.

Europe

Bad news both sides of Russo-Ukrainian breach

A UN Human Rights Office report charges Russia with forced disappearances, torture and persecution of the Tatar minority in annexed Crimea. Ukraine meanwhile passes an education law that discriminates against minority languages such as Russian and Hungarian. 

Europe

Moscow stonewalls on fate of Holocaust hero

A Moscow district court rejected a lawsuit by relatives of Raoul Wallenberg, seeking to access uncensored documents concerning his death in Soviet captivity. Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II. Soviet forces detained Wallenberg in 1945, supposedly for espionage. He was reported to have died two years later in Moscow's notorious Lubyanka Prison.

Europe

Ukraine says Russia behind global cyber-attack

The Security Service of Ukraine stated that the hackers behind the recent global cyber-attack are the same Kremlin-backed outfit that conducted an attack on Ukraine's power grid in December.