Elections for 720 seats in the EU’s parliament in Brussels wrapped up on Sunday night, as voters from the 27-country bloc sent a clear message to European leaders that the political winds are blowing strongly to the right these days.

Big wins for far-right-wing political groups were recorded, especially in Austria, France, Germany, and Italy. The currently ruling party in Italy, the right-wing Fratelli d’Italia (“Brothers of Italy”), chalked up 26-30 percent of the Italian vote to take first place in EU elections, as did Spain’s center-right Partido Popular (“People’s Party”). In Austria, the far right FPÖ (“Freedom Party”) narrowly won first place in EU parliamentary elections, with 25.5 percent of the vote. In Germany, the center-right CDU/CSU won with some 30 percent.

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For the past five years, the parliament in Brussels has been controlled by a centrist coalition of the center-left Socialists and center-right European People’s Party, along with other smaller, liberal-leaning parties such as Renew Europe.  

With such a stunning right-wing victory in France (34 percent for Marine Le Pen’s RN party, which espouses anti-immigrant and other populist values) French President Emmanuel Macron announced Sunday that he is dissolving the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, and is calling for elections on June 30 and July 7.

Russian Troops Reportedly Regroup in Kharkiv Sector
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Russian Troops Reportedly Regroup in Kharkiv Sector

A Ukrainian officer said the situation in the Kharkiv sector remains difficult, though he added there have been no significant changes in frontline positions.

Macron stressed that the outcome of the EU election is not good for his Renaissance Party and its left-leaning coalition and that the rise of nationalists is dangerous for Europe.

By extension, that news is not great for Kyiv, as Macron’s coalition has been one of the strongest voices in Europe for the defense of Ukraine against Russian aggression.

Sky News: UAF hits target within Russia using a combat aircraft for the first time

Sky News reported on Sunday, quoting an anonymous military source, that a Ukrainian warplane for the first time had struck a target within Russia. An unspecified combat aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) launched munitions at a military command post near the Russian city of Belgorod, the source told the British news station.

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 “This is the first UAF air-delivered munition delivered against a target within Russia,” the source said.

It was not specified which kind of combat aircraft was used or what munitions were employed.

On Saturday, Ukrainian forces also struck a Russian landing ship in the Azov Sea, the source added, noting that the vessel had recently been moved there from the Black Sea. This reportedly was Russia’s fifth Ropucha-class landing ship to be “rendered unserviceable” by Ukrainian attacks.

“This successful strike shows the Russians they cannot operate with freedom either in the Black Sea or eastward,” the source noted.

The source explained that the Russian Navy has been using landing ships to carry front-line-bound ammunition and equipment to a storage facility in the occupied city of Mariupol.

White House says relaxed restrictions on US weapons used in Russia have slowed invasion

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday partially credited the lifted restrictions on the use of American-made missiles in Ukraine for what he called a “stalled” invasion of the Kharkiv region.

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In an interview on CBS News, Sullivan said that “Kharkiv is still under threat but Russians have not been able to make material progress on the ground in recent days in that area… The momentum of that operation in Kharkiv has stalled out,” he said.

When asked about a new policy reversal that now allows for some Ukrainian strikes using American missiles within Russia, specifically, just over the border with the Kharkiv region border, Sullivan responded, “It simply didn’t make sense not to allow the Ukrainians to fire across that border, to hit Russian guns and emplacements that were firing at the Ukrainians.”

Previously the administration of US President Joe Biden did not permit any Washington-provided weaponry to attack targets within Russia for fear of escalation with Moscow.

“From the president’s perspective, this [policy change] was common sense,” Sullivan said. 

Ukrainian forces conduct a drone strike against an airfield in North Ossetia

Just before the weekend, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) launched successful drone strikes on an airfield in the not-autonomous Russian republic of North Ossetia, damaging an unspecified number of Moscow’s air assets.

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(Unlike South Ossetia, its northern neighbor is still fully part and parcel of the Russian Federation.)

Plumes of smoke were reported to have billowed out of the Mozdok Airbase.

According to Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne on Saturday, sources in the Ukrainian special services stated that Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (HUR) conducted a drone strike against an airfield in North Ossetia on Friday night.

Geolocated footage published on Saturday shows a drone targeting the Mozdok Airbase followed by rising smoke. At the same time, the North Ossetia-Alania Republic’s governor Sergei Menyaylo claimed that Russian forces shot down three drones targeting a military airfield in Mozdok and that unspecified objects sustained minor damage and caught fire, ISW analysts reported.

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