Vier vragen na de Oorlogszomer

De zomer van 2014 gaat de geschiedenisboeken in als de Oorlogszomer. Het neerhalen van vlucht MH17, de verdere escalatie van de oorlog in Oost-Oekraïne , de oorlog rond Gaza, de doorbraak van IS in Irak en dan ook nog de uitbraak van Ebola in West-Afrika. We leven in een tijd met grote onzekerheden. Veel van onze democratische kernwaarden, humanitaire principes en internationale afspraken staan onder druk en we worden gedwongen na te denken over manieren om met de nieuwe situatie om te gaan. Welke waarden bieden nog houvast en wat moeten we doen om ze te verdedigen? Vier vragen om over na te denken.

Thousands of Russians march against war

Sunday the 21st of September witnessed according to some the largest anti-Kremlin rally since the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine started in April of this year. Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities to protest against what they say is a covert Russian war in eastern Ukraine. The marches coincided with the United Nations’ (UN) annual International Peace Day.

EU and Ukraine adopt Association Agreement, with concession to Russia

Yesterday on September 16 the European Parliament (EP), as well as the Verkhovna Rada – the Ukrainian Parliament, - ratified the European Union (EU)-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA). Last year this issue triggered the outbreak of a political crisis in Ukraine that led to the overthrow of then President Viktor Yanukovych, Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, and a war with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine that has to date killed more than 2,600 people. As a concession to Moscow the AA’s trade rules will not enter into force on 1 November as originally planned, but will be delayed until 31 December 2015.

European sanctions against Russia enter into force

Today, on 12 September, a new wave of sanctions against Russia that the European Union (EU) agreed upon during a Council meeting on 8 September will enter into force. In light of the decisive role that Russia has played in intensifying the conflict in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian, Kyiv-wary separatists, Brussels finds it necessary to impose additional sanctions on Moscow.

Movie night: "Age of Delirium", the collapse of the Soviet Union

On 21 September Blinibioscoop and Foundation Max van der Stoel are organising a screening of documentary film "Age of Delirium," which focusses on the fall of the Soviet Union, followed by a panel discussion. The film screening will begin at 15:00, the panel at 17:00, to be followed by the Bliniscoop traditional pancakes. Entrance fee is 5 Euros, and includes pancakes. The working language will be English.

Tensions escalate over Ukraine-Russia conflict as Russia opens new front in Ukraine

Yesterday Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of sending troops into Ukrainian territory and opening a new southern front in the Ukrainian army’s fight with pro-Russian separatists, capturing the strategic coastal town of Novoazovsk. The reports have been confirmed by NATO and the US, and other Western leaders also seem to have little doubt at this point of Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine.

Early elections scheduled in Ukraine as Kiev condemns Russian “invasion”

One day after the country’s independence day parade on 24 August, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dissolved the Parliament and announced that early elections would be held on 26 October. The announcement is a strong signal on the eve of Poroshenko’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, and as Russian soldiers have been arrested on Ukrainian soil today. It raises concerns about a potential escalation of the conflict as the political and economic situation deteriorates in Ukraine.

Turkey feels no “unease” about Kurdish arming in Iraq despite independence claims

Western countries have increasingly pinned high hopes on the Peshmerga, Iraq’s Kurdish militia, to fight against the Islamic State (IS) and prevent it from taking control of more territory. In order to counter their lack of equipment, they have decided to ship Kurds modern weaponry. This decision could have great implications on the military balance of the Middle East, especially for their neighbouring country Turkey, which has been in an armed conflict for thirty years with various Kurdish insurgent groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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