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The European Parliament called Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko “an accomplice" in the war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine in a resolution adopted Wednesday.
“By enabling Russia’s unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine, the Lukashenko regime has become an accomplice in the crimes committed by Russia, which implies responsibility for the destruction and damage caused to Ukraine,” the resolution reads, adding that “the special international tribunal on the crime of aggression perpetrated by Russia against Ukraine must have jurisdiction to investigate not only Putin and the Russian political and military leadership but also the Belarusian leadership.”
The European Parliament urged European Union institutions and members “to enable the criminal prosecution of Belarusian officials who are complicit in the crime of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide committed against Ukraine.”
It called for the establishment of an International Criminal Court country office in Ukraine and “to find legal pathways for seizing assets of the Belarusian leadership and related Belarusian entities involved in the Russian war effort” in order to support the reconstruction of Ukraine.
The European Parliament also called on EU member states to “broaden and strengthen the scope of their sanctions” against Russia. It suggested applying the same sanctions against Belarus as it currently does against Russia.
The parliament also called on Russia and Belarus to be put on “the EU’s high-risk third-country list with regard to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.”
The resolution urged the International Olympic Committee and other international sports federations “not to allow athletes from Belarus and Russia to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games or any other international sports events.”
It also labeled Belarus a "satellite state of Russia" and condemned “the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons under Russian command on Belarusian territory,” which it said was made in violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and may trigger further nuclear redeployments in the region.
The Pentagon is establishing a new team in Ukraine to monitor US security assistance to Kyiv, as a growing number of Republican lawmakers are calling for more oversight into how the money is being used.
The Defense Department Inspector General said a senior US representative began work in Ukraine in late August, and additional personnel are expected to arrive by the end of September. The personnel, based at the US embassy in Kyiv, will monitor US aid, which has totaled more than $43.7 billion since the start of the Biden administration.
It marks the first time the inspector general will have personnel based in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, said spokesperson Megan Reed.
Some background: The establishment of the new team comes at a critical time for Ukraine aid. The Biden administration recently asked Congress for $24 billion more in assistance, including $13 billion in security assistance, as the president and other senior administration officials have vowed to continue US aid for “as long as it takes.”
But some increasingly skeptical Republicans have raised questions about how much bipartisan support there is for such substantial sums of aid. A growing number of Republicans have begun questioning the wisdom of spending billions of dollars in Ukraine and have called for greater oversight.
Republican calls for more oversight are not unanimous. GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that there was already “unprecedented insight into how nearly 30 types of Western weapons systems and vehicles are being used by Ukraine, often down to the serial number.”
The Pentagon has improved its ability to monitor transfers of weapons and equipment to Ukraine through the defense attache in Kyiv and the establishment of the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine, but the military struggled to effectively oversee the shipments when the war began.
A Defense Department inspector general report obtained by CNN warned that the ability of the US to monitor billions of dollars in aid flowing into Ukraine faced “challenges” because of the limited US presence. During the first six months of the war, the Office of Defense Cooperation-Kyiv “was unable to conduct required [end-use monitoring]” of military equipment provided to Ukraine.
The report, dated October 2022, underscored how difficult it was for the US to track the vast quantities of weapons, ammunition and equipment during the early months of the war. Criminals, volunteer fighters and arms traffickers in Ukraine attempted to steal some of the Western-provided weapons and equipment before it was recovered by Ukrainian intelligence, the report found.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met at a space center in Russia's Far East on Wednesday.
The pair spent around five hours together, according to Russian state news agency TASS. Putin described the talks as "highly productive,” involving a “candid exchange of views” on both regional matters and bilateral relations.
The leaders met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, as both countries face international isolation over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.
Putin was asked if he discussed military-technical cooperation with Kim. In his response, Putin acknowledged the certain restrictions in place, which he said Moscow fully complies with, but admitted there are areas open for discussion and consideration, suggesting the presence of potential prospects for cooperation.
Later, North Korea's state media KCNA reported that Kim invited Putin to visit Pyongyang at a "convenient time," and that the Russian leader happily accepted the invite.
Meanwhile, the United States said it “will not hesitate to impose sanctions” if the meeting results in weapons transfers between the two countries. The US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Moscow's engagement with North Korea "shows how desperate Russia is."
Here are other headlines you should know:
- Attack on Sevastopol: Ukrainian forces launched an extensive attack on a ship repair facility in the Crimean port of Sevastopol Wednesday, according to both the Russian defense ministry and Ukrainian accounts. Air defense forces shot down seven cruise missiles, and a patrol ship destroyed all the uncrewed boats, the Russian ministry said while acknowledging that “two ships under repair were damaged by enemy cruise missiles.”
- Evacuations: More than 2,000 people have left the frontline Kupiansk district as of Wednesday, after a mandatory evacuation was ordered for 56 settlements on August 9, according to Kharkiv regional authorities. About 12,000 people were still living in the community as of Sunday, as opposed to the 57,000 people who lived there before Russia’s war on Ukraine, an official said.
- Calls for tougher sanctions: A top Ukrainian official said that sanctions against Russia must be tougher and more sophisticated, after a new report that Moscow is evading international restrictions and increasing its missile production. The New York Times reported that “Russia subverted American export controls using its intelligence services and ministry of defense to run illicit networks of people who smuggle key components by exporting them to other countries from which they can be shipped to Russia more easily.”
Ukraine is claiming that North Korea is already supplying Russia with ammunition.
“We can say that cooperation continues between North Korea and Russia,” Andrii Yusov, representative of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, said in an interview with Ukrainian state media on Wednesday. He added that such intel between the countries is being intercepted and recorded.
Russian requests are mainly for projectiles for artillery and MLRS, Yusov said, referring to rocket launchers.
"This is an important factor that will be felt on the battlefield, unfortunately,” he said, adding that Ukraine is working on a proper reaction to such cooperation.
Yusof did not provide any evidence that North Korea is already supplying weapons to Russia nor has CNN verified any such supplies.
The comments come after United States officials warned that Russia and North Korea could make a potential arms deal that could see Pyongyang provide weapons for Moscow.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Vladimir Putin met on Wednesday in Russia's Far East.
Afterward, Putin was asked if he discussed military-technical cooperation with Kim.
The Russian leader acknowledged certain restrictions in place, which he said Moscow fully complies with, but admitted there are areas open for discussion and consideration.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited President Vladimir Putin to visit Pyongyang at a "convenient time," state media KCNA reported, adding that the Russian leader has happily accepted the invite.
Kim bid Putin farewell and has left for his “next destination,” KCNA said, without providing details of where he is going next.
The leaders met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East on Wednesday.
The meeting was held after US officials warned that Russia and North Korea are “actively advancing” in a potential arms deal that could see Pyongyang provide weapons for Moscow to use in its faltering Ukraine war in exchange for sanctioned ballistic missile technology.
Moscow is in need of fresh supplies of ammunition and shells after more than 18 months of war has left its military battered, while Pyongyang, which has faced years of international sanctions over its nuclear weapons program, is short of everything from hard cash and food to missile technology.
More than 2,000 people have left the Kupiansk district as of Wednesday, after a mandatory evacuation was ordered for 56 settlements on August 9, according to Kharkiv regional authorities.
Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the Kharkiv region military administration, said on Telegram that 2,339 people have evacuated so far, including 350 children. He said that another 1,438 evacuated on their own as well, including 164 children.
“The evacuation is ongoing," Syniehubov said. "People are reluctant to leave, explaining that this is their house, their land, their home. However, we are working with the national police to evacuate as many people as possible."
Syniehubov said 12,000 people were still living in the community as of Sunday, as opposed to the 57,000 people who lived there before Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Syniehubov added that the situation on the frontline in the Kupiansk sector remains “difficult.”
“The enemy is forming another ‘striking fist’ to intensify assault operations and try to break through our defenses," he said. "They carry out assault operations in waves and after suffering significant damage to their manpower and equipment from our military, they are forced to withdraw for renewal to form new assault forces.”
A video posted by Ukraine’s Offensive Guard on Wednesday appears to show an enemy position hit by an intense explosion in the distance. According to the caption, the Ukrainian border guard “used an automatic grenade launcher MK19 to hit the occupiers’ minefields.”
The Russian defense ministry said it destroyed three Ukrainian unmanned boats in the Black Sea on Wednesday.
The news comes after Ukraine launched an extensive missile attack on the Sevastopol shipyard in occupied Crimea in the early hours of Wednesday.
The ministry claimed air defense forces shot down seven cruise missiles, and that the patrol ship Vasily Bykov destroyed all the unmanned boats. But the ministry acknowledged that “two ships under repair were damaged by enemy cruise missiles.”
The vessels will be fully repaired, the ministry added.
The United States “will not hesitate to impose sanctions” if the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un results in weapons transfers between the two countries, the US State Department said.
“We have taken a number of actions already to sanction entities that have brokered arms sales between North Korea and Russia, and we won't hesitate to impose additional actions if appropriate,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Wednesday.
Ahead of the Putin-Kim summit, US officials warned that Russia and North Korea are “actively advancing” in a potential arms deal that could see Pyongyang provide weapons for Moscow to use in its faltering Ukraine war in exchange for sanctioned ballistic missile technology.
Miller said that the US has not raised the issue of Russia potentially providing nuclear technology to North Korea with China, but that he anticipated they would.
“Secretary Blinken raised North Korea's nuclear program and North Korea's ballistic missile program in his engagements with Chinese officials when we were in Beijing, and we've regularly raised that in our conversations with Chinese officials,” Miller said.
Miller also condemned North Korea’s overnight ballistic missile launches.