- American veterans Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, who were captured by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, returned home to their families in Alabama on Friday.
- “We’re looking forward to spending time with family and we’ll be in touch with the media soon,” Drueke told The Associated Press after reaching the U.S. on Friday. “Happy to be home.”
- Diana Shaw, an aunt of Drueke, confirmed that the two veterans were among the 10 prisoners from Morocco, the U.S., the U.K., Sweden and Croatia. Saudi Arabia arranged the release of the prisoners held captive by the Donetsk People's Republic, the country said on Wednesday.
- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the release of Drueke and Huynh in a statement on Wednesday and thanked Ukraine for including “all prisoners of war, regardless of nationality, in its negotiations.”
- He also thanked Saudi Arabia for the country’s help in spearheading the “humanitarian initiative and facilitating the return of ten foreign nationals.”
- Drueke and Huynh were reported missing on June 9.
Two American veterans who were reported missing in June have returned home safely after being held captive for three months by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.
Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, traveled to Ukraine separately as volunteers to help fight against the invading Russian forces. The two went missing on June 9 and were held captive by Russian-backed separatist forces in the Donbas region.
PM Kishida vows Japan will never again wage war as China, S. Korea condemn visits to Yasukuni Shrine
- During a ceremony on Monday for the 77th anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to “never again repeat the horrors of war.”
- The anniversary is traditionally marked by visits to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates those who died in service of Japan, including 14 wartime leaders who were convicted as war criminals.
- Although Kishida did not visit the shrine, he reportedly sent an offering instead while three of his Cabinet members visited.
- The visits, which have sparked disputes, are viewed by China and South Korea as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.
- South Korean officials have expressed “deep disappointment” towards what they believe beautifies Japan’s past invasions, while Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wengbin urged Japan to “deeply reflect” on its history and to gain the trust of its Asian neighbors by acting responsibly.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed his country would never again wage war during a ceremony on the anniversary of Japan’s World War II defeat.
In Kishida’s first address since taking office in October, he promised Japan would “never again repeat the horrors of war” at a somber ceremony on Monday which marked the 77th anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender.
- North Korea recently offered to send 100,000 “volunteers” to Russia to help the Kremlin in its war against Ukraine, Russian journalist Igor Korotchenko alleged on Russian state media Russian Channel One.
- Korotchenko went on to praise North Korea’s “wealth of experience with counter-battery warfare,” adding, “If North Korea expresses a desire to meet its international duty to fight against Ukrainian fascism, we should let them.”
- North Korea currently has the fourth-highest number of active-duty military personnel in the world with nearly 1.3 million, compared to the United States (1,388,100), India (1,455,550) and China (2,185,000).
- North Korea also offered to send more than a thousand workers to Russia to help rebuild Ukraine post-war.
Russian state media said North Korea recently offered to send 100,000 “volunteers” to aid the Kremlin in its war against Ukraine.
Russian journalist Igor Korotchenko alleged on Russian Channel One last week that “100,000 North Korean volunteers are prepared to come and take part in the conflict” in Ukraine and aid Russia. The claim has yet to be verified.
- Thomas Andrews, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, revealed the Myanmar military junta’s attacks on children.
- In a June 14 report, Andrew detailed that the military attacks have displaced over 250,000 children, and more than 1,400 children have been detained. There are also 142 recorded cases of child torture.
- Andrew highlights Myanmar children as the most vulnerable to the junta’s brutality.
- If international action is not taken, Andrews warns that “Myanmar’s children will become a lost generation.”
Thomas Andrews, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, reported the Myanmar military junta’s “relentless attacks” on children.
Located in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is a country that borders Thailand, Bangladesh, India and China. While the majority of the population (54 million) identifies as Buddhist, there are multiple ethnic groups, including Rohingya Muslims.
- In a meeting between China and the U.S. on Friday, Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe warned that the country would go to war with Taiwan if the island declared independence.
- The two world superpowers met in Singapore for the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit alongside over 30 other defense ministers and officials from around the world.
- In a separate face-to-face meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Wei made it clear that China remained firm in its stance against Taiwanese independence.
- “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost,” the general said.
- The timing of the summit coincides with President Biden’s recent efforts to rally support in Asia and counteract China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
In a meeting between China and the U.S. on Friday, Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe warned that the country would go to war with Taiwan if the island declared independence.
The two world superpowers met in Singapore for the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit alongside over 30 other defense ministers and officials from around the world. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gave the event’s keynote speech.
‘Drivers took white people and animals over us’: Indian student recounts racism while fleeing Ukraine
- A student from India who left his family for Ukraine to attend university and find a better job says he experienced discrimination and robbery during the ongoing war.
- Mohammad Sajid, 23, arrived in Kyiv in February to study at the National University of Physical Education and Sport and find a part-time job to support his family in India.
- He and his friends encountered some challenges while trying to escape Ukraine because of the language barrier.
- Sajid claims that the taxi “drivers took white people and animals over us.”
- A local Good Samaritan helped Sajid escape to a refugee camp in Poland.
A student from India who left his family for Ukraine to attend university and find a better job says he experienced discrimination and robbery in the midst of an ongoing war.
Mohammad Sajid, 23, arrived in Kyiv in February to study at the National University of Physical Education and Sport and find a part-time job to be able to support his family in India. But they had no idea that a war would erupt in Ukraine a week later.
- Hu Xijin, the prominent former editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times, published a commentary on Saturday urging Chinese citizens to “prepare for a military struggle” in the near future.
- The commentary came after U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and six other U.S. officials visited Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, last Thursday.
- The visit was strongly denounced by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who said that China is “firmly opposed to any form of official exchange between the U.S. and Taiwan.”
- Earlier this month, Hu wrote an article for the Global Times stating that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan would be “the most serious provocation by Washington to China on the Taiwan question since the island's then regional leader Lee Teng-hui visited the US in 1996.”
- As to whether the U.S. would aid Taiwan with military support in the event of a Chinese invasion, Sen. Graham declared that “every option is on the table.”
- Tensions have continued to rise between China and Taiwan since Russia invaded Ukraine, which triggered heightened speculation about the possibility of China invading Taiwan.
The prominent former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a highly popular state-run Chinese media outlet, published a commentary on Saturday urging Chinese citizens to “prepare for a military struggle” in the near future.
The commentary, written by journalist Hu Xijin, came after U.S. senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and six other U.S. officials visited Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, last Thursday. The visit was strongly denounced by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who warned that China is “firmly opposed to any form of official exchange between the U.S. and Taiwan.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korea’s objection to the U.S. government’s alleged “hostility” has prevented the official end to the decades-long Korean war.
A formal end to war: During a press conference in Canberra, Australia, on Monday, Moon said that the two Koreas, along with China and the U.S., have agreed to declare peace at least “in principle,” reported The Guardian.
In welcoming the Lunar New Year, China released a video message for Taiwan depicting moments of daily life in the island before shifting to scenes of bombers and jet fighters from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The video, titled “My Fighting Eagles Fly Around Formosa” — a former name of Taiwan — was released on Weibo to a chorus of support from mainland citizens on Sunday.
More than a year after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared Mosul liberated from the Islamic State (ISIS), one San Francisco man set his sights on visiting the war-torn city.
The bodies of thousands of civilians and militants can still be found buried underneath the rubble of bombed-out buildings throughout Mosul, where Ding Liu, who calls himself “a normal traveler,” stayed for two days in November.
After over a hundred years, the three Balangiga church bells that American troops took home as war trophies have finally been returned to the Philippines.
United States Ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, led the handover ceremony for the “Bells of Balangiga” to the Philippine defense chief Delfin Lorenzana at an air force base in Manila on Tuesday, reports Agence France-Presse.
Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been ordered by the Supreme Court of South Korea to compensate 10 Koreans for forced labor during the colonial rule of Tokyo on the Korean Peninsula around 1910-1945 in a trial that lasted for 18 years.
On Thursday, South Korea’s top court ruled in two separate verdicts, which involved the laborers or their bereaved family members, that Mitsubishi must provide 80 million to 150 million won ($71,190-$133,510) in compensation to each of the plaintiffs.