Modi, Xi, Putin to meet at Brics summit on June 24
Russia advances in east Ukraine
China shrill after tensions rise in South Pacific
Annapolis, Maryland: President Joe Biden told Naval Academy graduates Friday that they will be “representatives and defenders of our democracy,” as free societies are under threat from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to China’s maritime expansion.
Delivering a commencement address to more than 1,000 newly commissioned ensigns and second lieutenants at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Biden said the Western response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutal” war in Ukraine shows the world is aligning not on geography, “but in terms of values.”
He called the invasion, “A direct assault on the fundamental tenets of rules-based international order,” adding, “that’s the world you’re graduating into.”
“The actions taken by Putin were an attempt, to use my phrase, to Finland-ize all of Europe, to make it all neutral,” Biden said. “Instead, he NATO-ized all of Europe.”
Biden told graduates that while they will learn to fly the most advanced planes, staff cutting-edge ships, and utilize novel technologies, “The most powerful tool that you’ll wield is our unmatched network of global alliances and the strength of our partnerships.”
The president told graduates that they will “defend the international rules of the road”, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region where they will be called on to “ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and beyond.”
“These longstanding maritime principles are the bedrock of a global economy and of global stability,” he said. “You’re going to help knit together our allies in Europe with our allies in the Indo-Pacific.”
Russia advances in east Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy spoke defiantly Friday in two speeches about his country’s ultimate victory over Russian forces in both the most pressing battle in eastern Ukraine and the war, generally.
“Ukraine is a country that has destroyed the myth about the extraordinary power of the Russian army – an army that supposedly, in a few days, could conquer anyone it wants,” he told Stanford University students by video. “Now Russia is trying to occupy the entire state but we feel strong enough to think about the future of Ukraine, which will be open to the world.”
Later, in his nightly video address, Zelenskyy reacted to the Russians’ capture of the eastern city of Lyman, the Donetsk region’s large railway hub north of two more key cities still under Ukrainian control, and its attempt to encircle and seize the city of Sievierodonetsk, one of the last areas under Ukrainian control in Luhansk.
The governor of the Luhansk region is denying Russian claims that their forces have surrounded the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk but said Ukrainian soldiers may have to retreat. Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram Friday that the Russians have seized a hotel and bus station. “The Russians will not be able to capture the Luhansk region in the coming days, as analysts predict. We will have enough forces and means to defend ourselves,” Haidai wrote.
Modi, Xi, Putin to meet at Brics summit
The Brics 2022 summit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping will take place on June 24, official sources said. While the meeting will take place virtually, it will still be followed closely as it will bring Xi, PM Narendra Modi, and Russian President Vladimir Putin together for the first time since Russia launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine.