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N.Korea fires two missiles in latest testing frenzy

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2022)

Nuclear-armed North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Thursday, South Korea’s military said, in the sixth round of missile tests this month, Reuters reported.

It is among the most missiles ever launched by North Korea in a month, analysts said, as it began 2022 with a display of a dizzying array of new and operational weapons.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it had detected the launch of what it presumed were two ballistic missiles at about 8 a.m. from near Hamhung, on North Korea’s east coast. They travelled for about 190 km to a maximum altitude of 20 km, JCS said.

The suspected missiles appeared to have landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters.

According to Reuters Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government was gathering details on the launches but any tests of ballistic missiles were “deeply regrettable” and violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The U.S. government condemned the missile tests, a Department of State spokesperson said in a written statement, calling the launches a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.

North Korea said this month it would bolster its defences against the United States and consider resuming “all temporally suspended activities”, an apparent reference to a self-imposed moratorium on tests of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

On Tuesday, North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military said, amid rising tension over its series of weapons tests, Reuters reported.

Earlier in the month, North Korea tested tactical guided missiles, two “hypersonic missiles” capable of high speed and manoeuvring after lift-off, and a railway-borne missile system.

“The (Kim Jong Un) regime is developing an impressive diversity of offensive weapons despite limited resources and serious economic challenges,” said Leif-Eric Easley, an international affairs professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

Certain tests aim to develop new capabilities, especially for evading missile defences, while other launches are intended to demonstrate the readiness and versatility of missile forces that North Korea has already deployed, he added.

“Some observers have suggested that the Kim regime’s frequent launches are a cry for attention, but Pyongyang is running hard in what it perceives as an arms race with Seoul,” Easley said.

In a speech to the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday, North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, accused the United States of staging hundreds of “joint war drills” while shipping high-tech offensive military equipment into South Korea and nuclear strategic weapons into the region, read the report.

“(This) is seriously threatening the security of our state,” Han said.

The series of missile tests has drawn condemnation from governments in the United States and Japan and sparked meetings of the United Nations Security Council, which has sanctioned North Korea for violating resolutions that ban ballistic missile tests, Reuters reported.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration sanctioned several North Korean and Russian individuals and entities this month on accusations they were helping North Korea’s weapons programmes, but China and Russia delayed a U.S. bid to impose U.N. sanctions on five North Koreans.

On Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Japan and Korea Mark Lambert said that Washington has “no reservations” about talking with North Korea and is willing to meet anywhere and talk about anything.

“We have to have a serious discussion about the denuclearisation of North Korea, and if North Korea is willing to do that, all sorts of promising things can happen,” he said during a webinar hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

North Korea has defended its missile tests as its sovereign right for self defence, and said the U.S. sanctions proved that even as Washington proposes talks, it maintains a “hostile” policy toward Pyongyang.

“The recent test-firing of new types of weapons was part of activities for carrying out a medium- and long-term plan for development of national science,” Han said in his speech on Tuesday. “And it does not pose any threat or damage to the security of neighbouring countries and the region.”

According to Reuters North Korea has not launched long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or tested nuclear weapons since 2017, but began testing a slew of shorter-range missiles after denuclearisation talks stalled following a failed summit with the United States in 2019.

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Chechin leader and Putin ally says ‘Poland next after Ukraine’

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(Last Updated On: May 28, 2022)

The Kremlin-backed leader of Russia’s southern province of Chechnya has posted a video in which he warns that Poland could be next after Ukraine.

Ramzan Kadyrov, who is famous for his bluster, said in the video he posted to his official Telegram page that Ukraine was “a done deal” and that “if an order is given after Ukraine, we’ll show you (Poland) what you’re made of in six seconds.”

Poland, which borders Ukraine, is a NATO member and has provided its neighbor with weapons and other aid since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. It has also welcomed in millions of Ukrainian refugees.

Kadyrov later urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to “finally come to his senses and accept the conditions offered by our president (Vladimir Putin).”

Kadyrov has repeatedly used social media to boast about Chechen fighters’ alleged performance against Ukrainian troops and to make other unconfirmed statements about the war in Ukraine.

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Ukraine needs to face reality and talk to Putin – Zelenskiy

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(Last Updated On: May 28, 2022)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday (May 27) said Ukraine was not eager to talk to Russia’s Vladimir Putin but that it has to face the reality that this will likely be necessary to end the war.
 
“There are things to discuss with the Russian leader. I’m not telling you that to me our people are eager to talk to him, but we have to face the realities of what we are living through,” Zelenskiy said in an address to an Indonesian think tank.
 
“What do we want from this meeting… We want our lives back… We want to reclaim the life of a sovereign country within its own territory,” he said, adding that Russia did not appear to be ready yet for serious peace talks.
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Imran Khan ends long march to ‘avoid bloodshed’

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(Last Updated On: May 28, 2022)
PTI Chairman and Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan on Friday dispelled reports that he had struck a deal in exchange for ending the party’s Azadi March, saying that he did so in order to avoid bloodshed.
 
Speaking at a press conference in Peshawar, he said he would take to the streets again if early elections were not announced. 
 
He regretted how police officials attacked the participants of the march, blaming the government for hand-picking officers to target the PTI.
 
“Our workers asked why we did not stage a sit-in. I am the man who staged a sit-in for 126 days. It was not difficult for me, but by the time I reached I became aware of the extent of the situation […] I knew that day that there would be bloodshed.”
 
Imran said the people were “ready” after seeing the “terrorism” carried out through the police. “Everyone was ready to fight, some of our people were so angered by what they saw,” he said, adding that officials were instructed to brutalise protesters.
 
“The anger at the time, if I had staged a sit-in that day I can guarantee that there would have been bloodshed,” he said, adding that there was a prevailing sense of hatred against police officials.
 
“But the police is also ours, it is not their fault,” the PTI chairman said, blaming the government for issuing the directives. If there was violence then it would only have caused chaos in the country, he said.
 
“Do not think it was our weakness and don’t think that a deal was made. I am hearing strange things that a deal was made with the establishment. I did not make a deal with anyone,” he said, adding that the only motive behind his actions was concern for the country.
 
He also made it clear that the PTI would not negotiate with or accept the “imported government”.
 
“I think of this as a jihad. I will stand up against this as long as I am alive,” he said, reiterating that he only cared about the future of the country.
 
He again stressed his six-day ultimatum to the government for the announcement of early elections. “If they do not clearly announce a date for the elections or for the dissolution of the assemblies, I will take to the streets again. Let me make it clear, this time we will be prepared.”
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