The World This Week

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The World This Week
The EU Council Summit, the Merkel-Macron proposal on Russia, and Moscow's response

  GP Team

The World This Week #125, Vol. 3, No. 26

Keerthana Nambiar, D. Suba Chandran, and Joeana Cera Matthews

Europe:  The EU Council summit discussions on migration, LGBTQ, and COVID-19 
What happened?
On 26 June, following the two-day meeting of the EU Council, President Charles Michel observed the following: "First, mobility. How is it possible to coordinate, to cooperate, especially when we face new variants. Second topic: international solidarity. We had the opportunity in the past to reaffirm our commitments to demonstrate our effective international solidarity... A quick word on the issue of migration. The debate was not very long on this subject in the room because the debate had been prepared by our teams, by the ambassadors who worked. We were able to quickly agree on operational conclusions...There was a discussion again about Russia. This was the opportunity, after a high-quality debate a month ago, to take a step forward and clarify the way in which we want to envisage the implementation of the five principles which, in our opinion, are the basis of the relationship with Russia."

What is the background?
First, the issue of migration. The European Union discussed migration and the measures taken in recent years to tone down the irregular flows of migrants. The EU and its member states agreed on 'mutually beneficial partnerships' and 'cooperation with countries of origin and transit' to prevent loss of human lives on the European borders. Since 2015, irregular arrivals have heightened. In 2018, the council codified the integrated political crisis response (IPCR) into a legal act. The IPCR supports decision making related to major crises and disasters that creates a surge in migration. The European Union leaders plan to aid Turkey with EUR three billion (USD 3.6 billion) over the next few years for assisting the Syrian refugees on its territory and to help in border controls.

Second, the tug of war with Russia.  The European leaders discussed its strained ties with Russia and expect a "more constructive engagement and political commitment" from the Russian leadership towards the council. The EU has placed economic sanctions on Russian financial, energy, arms sectors and individual sanctions on human rights abuses and usage of banned chemical weapons. The council adopted a strong stance after Baltic countries and Poland rejected the Franco-German plan to resume dialogue with Putin at a summit. "In my opinion, we as the European Union must also seek direct contact with Russia and the Russian president," stated Angela Merkel. The proposal follows Joe Biden's summit with Vladimir Putin in Geneva to repair the ties. Russia being the EU's biggest natural gas supplier, influences international conflicts and issues. The last EU-Russia summit was in January 2014, shortly before the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.  

Third, progress on COVID-19 vaccination. The council acknowledged the EU's improvement in handling the pandemic and the necessity to continue with the vaccination efforts. The leaders addressed the importance of the agreements on the EU digital COVID certificate and recommendations on travel within the EU and non-essential travel into the EU.

Fourth, EU leaders defend LGBT rights. The European Union leaders had a heated discussion over the new legislation in Hungary that bans content about LGBTQ issues to children. 
Fifth, the EU Next-generation economic recovery plan. The EU approved the Greek- recovery plan of EUR 30.5 billion which will 'supercharge investment, reform, and growth throughout the country." The investments are being aimed at green and digital transitions, health care sectors which will expectedly deeply transform the European economy. 

What does it mean?
The European Union stresses the need to integrate and intensify the cooperation in political, economic, and human rights domains. The motive is to increase the flexibility within the partners and also cornering countries like Poland and Hungary that hollows the democracy in Europe.
The focus on LGBTQ rights indicates that this was not just a regular council meeting failing to meet the expectations rather an honest effort for a true democratic recovery.

EU: The Merkel-Macron proposal on an EU-Russia summit, and its opposition
What happened?
On 25 June, the Conclusions adopted by the European Council meeting during 24-25 June, on Russia observed: "The European Council expects the Russian leadership to demonstrate a more constructive engagement and political commitment and stop actions against the EU and its Member States, as well as against third countries." It also asked "Russia to fully assume its responsibility in ensuring the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the key condition for any substantial change in the EU's stance." However, it also observed: "The European Council reiterates the European Union's openness to a selective engagement with Russia in areas of EU interest."

On 25 June 2021, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after the meeting with the rest of the European Union leaders, referring to a possible European summit with Russia said: "It was a very comprehensive discussion and not an easy one…There was no agreement today on an immediate leaders' meeting." 

What is the background?
First, the EU-Russia relations since the Minsk agreements in 2014. Ever since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, there have been tensions between the EU and Moscow. The Minsk agreements signed in 2015 on Ukraine has become one of the basis for the EU's Russia approach. Since 1997, the EU and Russia have been holding regular summits, but they came to an end in 2014. Ever since, the EU has repeatedly been emphasising on "five guiding principles" that include the following: "full implementation of the Minsk agreements; closer ties with Russia's former Soviet neighbours; strengthening EU resilience to Russian threats; selective engagement with Russia on certain issues such as counter-terrorism; and support for people-to-people contacts." Sanctions on Russia remained one of the primary EU strategies. However, the sanctions strategy of the EU have not yielded much results to what Europe wanted Russia to do. Instead, sanctions only reduced Europe's leverage.

Second, the idea of selective engagement with Russia. Irrespective of what the EU wants, there were selective engagements of European countries, for example, Germany with Russia over the gas pipelines. Despite objections from most of Europe, Germany has pushed its Nord Stream II plans with Russia. Merkel also had a meeting with Putin in 2020. Now, Germany, along with France, is floating the idea of engaging with Russia. According to President Macron, Europe needs dialogue to defend its interests and is necessary for the stability of the European continent. There seems to be an understanding to discuss with Russia on issues relating to climate, health, JCPOA, Syria and Libya. 

Third, the fallout of the recent US-Russia summit in Geneva. As a part of his Europe tour, US President Biden had an exclusive summit with Putin in Geneva. Though there were no major breakthroughs in the Geneva summit, it has established a process. Perhaps, France and Germany are looking at the larger picture vis-à-vis Russia.

Fourth, the opposition to Europe-Russia engagement, especially from the Baltic states. While Germany and France are floating the idea of an engagement, the Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are apprehensive, given the immediate geography with Russia and the long history.

What does it mean?
While the Baltic States are opposed to the idea of a direct dialogue with Russia, the idea of talking directly with Kremlin is finding roots in Europe. While there is likely to be an initial opposition, the debate is likely to expand and reach a common minimum programme within Europe.

Europe: Russia's responses 
What happened?
On 23 June, the Russian ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said: (EU should) get its act together and define what it really wants from its relations with Russia." 
On 25 June, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova commented: "On our part, we reiterate our readiness for the continuation of an equal dialogue with the European Union... contrary to the hopes some the EU capitals are cherishing, cannot be based on preliminary conditions. The more so, on threats of unilateral and illegal sanctions against our country, which will inevitably be followed by a proportionate response, and Brussels is well aware of that." Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: "In general, President Putin was and remains interested in improving working relations between Moscow and Brussels... The European position is fragmented, not always consistent, and sometimes unclear." 
What is the background?
First, the Russian response to the EU sanctions. Following the 2014 Ukraine invasion and Crimean annexation, the EU sanctioned Russia on its energy, financial, and arms sectors and imposed individual sanctions on those Russians accused of human rights abuses. The latest EU summit saw the possibility of further sanctions with EU diplomats saying that it could target Russian money laundering or powerful oligarchs suspected of corruption abroad. Most EU countries are concerned that the Kremlin does not take the bloc seriously, given its dramatic expulsion of EU diplomats in February. On the other hand, Moscow has repeatedly warned the EU not to meddle in its internal affairs. Russia believes that the bilateral relations have been severely undermined by the unilateral sanctions that affect the economic interests of both sides for the sake of promoting 'dubious' geopolitical schemes. The confrontational stereotypes that characterized the Cold War period continuing to linger in the minds of the EU members doesn't help Russia's case.  

Second, Putin's Europe strategy. Russia has clear goals and tactics regarding Europe – to undermine democracy, undermine the trans-Atlantic unity, and restore Russian primacy. The Kremlin aims to achieve this by establishing an energy reliance (the Nord Stream 1 and 2), engaging in strategic corruption, and vicious disinformation campaigns. During the EU summit, Germany with France's backing proposed a summit with Putin which was disagreed upon as it caused major division within the bloc. 

Third, the China factor in the Russian response. An Estonian member of the European Parliament stated: "We should not overlook the deepening relations of two authoritarian states – Russia and China – as this also influences Europe." This just goes on to prove how worried Europe is about the Chinese factor in Euro-Russian relations. Russia has always had an identity crisis of belonging, and considering the increasing camaraderie between Xi Jinping and Putin, the EU cannot but think the worst. Russia and China seem to have reached an accommodative situation wherein Moscow provides security while Beijing provides development, enabling both to stay out of each other's way. But it is not just the EU that is concerned over this budding relationship. The Biden-Putin summit also saw this as an ulterior motive – to divide and conquer. 
What does it mean?
Under no circumstances will Russia give up on its core interests and pushing them to the edge will further strain bilateral relations. The growing Sino-Russian bond will also provide a boost to Putin's confidence in defying the world order and attaining its strategic goals. 

Also, in the news …
By Sukanya Bali and Avishka Ashok

East and Southeast Asia This Week 
China: Bitcoin miners look for a new destination, as government bans crypto mining 
On 19 June, the government ordered a ban on cryptocurrency mining in Sichuan province, forcing the miners to start shifting their machinery overseas to the US, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia. Due to the ban, prices for the machinery have now dropped to 700-800 yuan as compared to 4,000 yuan in April and May. The operator of a cryptocurrency mining farm in Sichuan said: "Mining machines are selling like scrap metal." The authorities have also issued orders to root out crypto mining and trading in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Yunnan after the State Council vowed to clamp down on the industry. According to Reuters, Chinese authorities consider "cryptocurrencies disrupt economic order, and facilitate illegal asset transfers and money laundering." Due to such bans, Bitcoin prices have reached half as compared to the peak level in April.
China: Files complaint to WTO over Australian duties 
On 24 June, China complained to the World Trade Organization about Australia's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on three products. The Commerce Ministry spokesperson said: "(China) hopes that the Australian side will take concrete action to correct the wrong practices and avoid distortions to the trade of related products so that trade will return to a normal track as soon as possible." Canberra imposed tariffs on Beijing's wind towers, railway wheels and stainless steel. Earlier this week, Australia lodged a complaint against China's anti-dumping duties imposed over its wine exports. From 1995 to 2020, Canberra has initiated 85 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Beijing. 
Hong Kong: Apple Daily ceases operations 
On 24 June, Hong Kong's pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily ceased operations and printed its last edition. The company shut down soon after its top executives were arrested and its assets worth USD 2.3 million were seized by police last week. Five top editors and executives were arrested on charges of collusion with foreign countries to endanger national security. British Foreign Secretary said this forced shut down of Apple Daily "is a chilling demonstration of their campaign to silence all opposition voices."
North Korea: The US extends sanctions for another year
On 22 June, the US President Joe Biden, announced the extension of sanctions on North Korea for another year. He emphasized on North Korea's pursuit of nuclear and missile programs due to which "it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13466" in regard to the country. The sanctions since 2008 have been extended annually, while expanded through five executive orders of 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, and 2017. US special envoy to North Korea said: "We continue to hope that the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach and our offer to meet anywhere, anytime without precondition."
Japan: Expresses resentment over Russian military drill on its island
On 24 June, Japan expressed resentment over Russia's large-scale military drill on the islands claimed by Japan as its national territory. More than 10,000 soldiers and 500 military vehicles are part of the drill. Japan's Foreign Ministry said that the "military buildup on the Northern Territories goes against Japan's stance." On the other hand, Russia's Eastern Military District said the five-day exercise focuses on a scenario of hostility between Moscow and Tokyo. 
Myanmar: Russia assures its support in boosting military relations; Defends Rohingya genocide at ICJ 
On 23 June, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reassured Myanmar's junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing about Moscow's commitment in strengthening military ties with Naypyitaw. General Hlaing was in Russia to attend a security conference. According to the Russian RIA news agency, Shoigu said: "We are determined to continue our efforts to strengthen bilateral ties based on the mutual understanding, respect and trust that have been established between our countries."  On 24 June, the military regime organized a new team to present defence in the Rohingya genocide case at the International Court of Justice. Earlier the committee was led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The panel consists of eight members (close to the junta). 
South Asia This Week 
India: Agrees to hold 12th round of military commander talks with China
On 25 June, India and China agreed to hold the 12th round of military commander talks, to achieve a "complete disengagement" from "all the friction points" along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector. The two sides have been hosting alternate Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) and Corps Commander talks to restore the status quo. The Ministry of External Affairs said: "In this regard, the two sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through the diplomatic and military mechanisms to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points so as to ensure full restoration of peace and tranquility to enable progress in the bilateral relations." 
India: Two-day passage exercise with the US Navy Carrier Strike Group commences 
On 23 June, Indian Navy and Air Force began a two-day passage exercise with the US Navy Carrier Strike Group. The exercise aims to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in the maritime domain of the two countries. Indian Air Force said: "The exercise with the US CSG will focus on multiple areas, including enhancing aspects of interoperability, nuances of international integrated maritime search and rescue operations, and exchange of best practices in the maritime air power domain."
Sri Lanka: Joint naval exercise CARAT-21 begins with the US and Japan
On 24 June, the inaugural ceremony of the joint naval exercise, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise (CARAT-21) between Sri Lanka, the US, and Japan took place at Trincomalee. CARAT-21 will be held from 26th to 30 June. The exercise aims to enhance maritime engagement and interoperability, foster greater coordination, understanding of the operational environment, enhance mutual capability, and operate in line with the international norms and standards. The joint naval exercise will also strengthen joint training opportunities such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), Maritime Aviation, Replenishment at Sea (RAS), Surface TRACKEX, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and Search and Rescue (SAREX). 
Sri Lanka: Foreign Minister addresses Asia-Pacific Conference 
On 23 June, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister in a virtual Asia-Pacific High-Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation stressed the importance of the coordination among states and partners on COVID challenges. He also focused on the country's policy on sustainable development as a national priority and on the importance of connectivity for achieving regional prosperity. Xinhua reported the Chinese Foreign Minister saying: "China is willing to work hand in hand with all parties to continue building the Belt and Road with high quality, and building closer partnerships for health cooperation, connectivity, green development, and openness and inclusiveness to provide more opportunities for all parties." 
Pakistan: Imran Khan emphasizes on partnership with the US for peace in Afghanistan 
On 22 June, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an opinion article for the Washington Post, emphasized that Pakistan is ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan with the United States, but will not allow US military bases on its soil. He said: "We simply cannot afford this. We have already paid too heavy a price… If Pakistan were to agree to host US bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan, and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would be targeted for revenge by terrorists again." He stated: "if the United States, with the most powerful military machine in history, couldn't win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how would America do it from bases in our country?" Further, he reiterated: "We oppose any military takeover of Afghanistan, which will lead only to decades of civil war, as the Taliban cannot win over the whole of the country, and yet must be included in any government for it to succeed."
Pakistan: Continues to remain in FATF grey list
On 25 June, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced that Pakistan will remain on the 'grey list' till it addresses the remaining one point under the action plan. FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer said: "Pakistan has made significant progress and it has largely addressed 26 out of 27 items on the action plan it first committed to in June 2018." According to FATF, Pakistan needs to address concerns regarding the prosecution of leaders of the UN-designated terror groups. 
Afghanistan: President Ghani visits the US
On 26 June, President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of the High Council of National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah met with the US President Joe Biden and discussed the future relationship between the two countries. According to the Associated Press, Biden vowed to continue the US commitment in assisting Afghanistan and further emphasized the need to withdraw troops from the internal engagement. Biden said: "Afghans are going to have to decide their future." Throughout the meeting leaders stressed the need for Afghan unity, continued US support, and an end to "senseless violence" in the country.

Central Asia, Middle East and Africa This Week
Armenia: Prime Minister Pashinyan wins snap parliamentary elections
On 21 June, the Civil Contract party in Armenia won over 55.61 per cent of the votes in the snap elections which were called to lighten the political unease in the country. On the same day, over 75 per cent of the votes were counted resulting in Pashinyan's top rival acquiring just about 20 per cent of the total votes. Prime Minister Pashinyan said: "The people of Armenia have given our Civil Contract party a mandate to lead the country and personally me to lead the country as prime minister."

Tajikistan: Shanghai Cooperation Organization meet in Dushanbe
On 23 June, the National Security Advisors of member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization met in the capital city and pledged to collectively fight international terrorism, extremism and separatism. The summit focused on dealing with rising religious radicalism and the increasing threat of transnational organized crimes such as arms and drug trafficking. The members of the organization emphasized on reinforcing the relationship between the member countries with a view to strengthening regional security.
Israel: United Nations advocates suspension of Israeli settlements in Palestinian regions
On 24 June, the United Nations accused Israel of continuously violating international law by expanding settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem. The UN announced that the Israeli settlements were illegal and strongly advocated the new government to stop all expansionist activities in the Palestinian areas. The UN Mideast envoy said: "I again underscore, in no uncertain terms, that Israeli settlements constitute a flagrant violation of United Nations resolutions and international law. They are a major obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. The advancement of all settlement activity must cease immediately."
Iran: The US and France push for faster return to JCPOA
On 25 June, the US and France jointly issued a statement regarding the JCPOA and urged that the time to return to the 2015 nuclear deal was quickly nearing an end, given Iran's nuclear activities and its pace of progress. The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his French counterparts opined that unless Iran agrees to certain concessions, the Vienna talks faced a threat of becoming irrelevant. Blinken said: "There will come a point where it will be very hard to return back to the standards set by the JCPOA. We haven't reached that point but it's something that we're conscious of."
Iran: Authorities claim to prevent an attack on atomic energy agency building
On 23 June, the Iranian media informed its viewers that the country had successfully thwarted an attack on the atomic energy agency in Tehran. The media spokesperson said: "On Wednesday morning, a sabotage operation against one of the (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran) buildings was foiled. The attack did not cause any damage in financial or human terms. The saboteurs failed to carry out their plan." The attack took place two days after Iranian authorities announced the temporary suspension of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr.
Sudan: Foreign Minister urges UNSC involvement in GERD
On 23 June, the Foreign Minister of Sudan urged the United Nations Security Council to intervene in Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue and take a decision on the impacts of the dam which is speculated to affect millions of people. In a letter to the UNSC, he advocated for a deferment on the single-handed filling of the dam by Ethiopia. Sudan has raised multiple national and regional security related issues that may materialize if Ethiopia continues its plans on the dam.  
Libya: Foreign Minister informs about progress in Berlin conference
On 23 June, the Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush announced that the talks in Berlin had resulted in the removal of foreign fighters from Libya. The international powers successfully agreed to remove mercenaries and other foreign fighters from the country. Mangoush said: "Hopefully within the coming days mercenaries (on) both sides will be withdrawn." However, the Libyan government still awaits an official statement from the UN on concrete new measures. 
Europe and The Americas This Week
The EU: Financial Framework Partnership Agreement paves way for a new Space programme
On 22 June, the European Union announced a new space programme, marking Europe's renewed interest in the field of space and science. The new project has been allocated the largest budget of approximately EUR 14.88 billion. The new programme attempts to introduce Europe as a key player in the post-COVID recovery, climate change, digitization and security of national interests. The raise in budget also showcases Europe's increasing interests in space and science. The new programme aims to combine the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA). The EUSPA executive director said: "With the signature of the Financial Framework Partnership Agreement today we have confirmed the powerful scheme together with the EC and ESA and to keep the EU Space where it belongs: at the top."
Russia: Defence Minister announces departure of supersonic missiles to Syria for war games
On 25 June, at least two Russian jets carrying the Kinzhal hypersonic missile headed to Syria for the war games. The Russian Defence Minister said: "A pair of MiG-31K aircraft with the ability to use the latest hypersonic missiles from the Kinzhal complex flew from Russian airfields to the Russian airbase Khmeimim in Syria for exercises." The Russian drills will also consist of Il-38 and Tu-142MK anti-submarine aircraft and the Tu-22M3 supersonic bombers. President Vladimir Putin called the missiles "invincible" and deemed them capable of eluding enemy defenses.
France: Regional polls hint at growing discontent with the ruling elite
On 20 June, France conducted its first round of regional polls, the second round of which will be held on 27 June. The results of the first round revealed a record abstention rate of 66 per cent. Over 84 per cent of the population under 35 years abstained from voting in the elections. Although the rising abstention is not a new trend, the sharp increase in the total percentage of abstention has given the country a cause for concern. On 23 June, President Emmanuel Macron advised the Council of Ministers and said: "record abstention constitutes a democratic alert to which we must respond." The extensive rate of abstention points towards a general rejection of the ruling class in France by the working class. 
Russia: Defence Ministry accuses British Defender ship of violating Russian maritime border near Crimea
On 23 June, the Russian Defence Ministry issued a statement regarding the firing of warning shots by a patrol ship off the coast of Crimea. A jet also dropped bombs in the path of the British HMS Defender ship. Although the British government seems to discredit the Russian issuance of such warnings, a BBC correspondent on the ship claimed that close to 20 aircrafts passed over the ship while two Russian coastguards were about 100 meters away. The Russian embassy in the UK later tweeted: "HMS Defender turns HMS Provocateur and violates Russian border. Not exactly a 'routine' transit, is it?"
Cuba: United Nations votes to remove US sanctions; Victory of a local vaccine against COVID-19
On 23 June, 184 countries participated in an in-person meeting at the UN headquarters in New York where the members of the meeting voted to remove the US economic sanctions on Cuba. Only two countries, the US and Israel, voted against the resolution while Colombia, Ukraine and Brazil chose to abstain. However, the resolution had always received approval since 1992 but could not be enforced unless the US also agreed to lift the embargo. The Cuban Foreign Minister referred to the embargo and said: "The blockade is a massive, flagrant and unacceptable violation of the human rights of the Cuban people". Cuba also celebrated its local COVID-19 vaccine Abdala which showed an efficacy rate of 92.28 per cent in the final phase III trials. It is the first Latin American country to achieve such success. 
The US: Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison
On 25 June, Derek Chauvin, the primary accused in the George Floyd murder case, was sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison for second-degree murder. The judge increased the sentence by another decade as per the state's recommendation for a second-degree murder due to a series of implicating factors which were made relevant by the prosecutors. The judge explained the harsher sentence and said: "Part of the mission of the Minneapolis police department is to give citizens' voice and respect'. Here, Mr. Chauvin rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor."
The US: Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases report on UFO
On 25 June, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a Preliminary Assessment on Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP). The report, released as a requirement to the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2021, shed light on the progress made by the task force in examining and studying UAP. The report claimed that there was a lack of uniform data and limited the analysis on UAP. It also expounded that there was no explanation to the UAP and that some of them displayed unusually high tech characteristics. 
Canada: Numerous discoveries of children's mass graves belonging to indigenous communities
On 23 June, the Indigenous Cowessess community announced that excavations at the former Marieval boarding school led to "the horrific and shocking discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves. The number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada." The school was a former Catholic residential school that housed indigenous children in Western Canada between 1899 and 1997 after which it was replaced by a day school. On 25 June, yet another children's mass grave was found in Saskatchewan. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to hold the country responsible for the crimes committed against the indigenous communities in Canada.

About the Authors
Keerthana Nambiar and Joeana Cera Matthews are research interns with the global politics course in the School of Conflict and Security Studies at the National Institute of Advanced Studies. Sukanya Bali and Avishka Ashok are Research Associates at NIAS

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