South Korea summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the country’s new defense pact with North Korea on Friday, as border tensions continued to rise with vague threats and brief, seemingly accidental incursions by North Korean troops. Earlier Friday, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a vague threat of retaliation after South Korean activists flew balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border, and South Korea’s military said it had fired warning shots the previous day to repel North Korean soldiers who briefly crossed the rivals’ land border for the third time this month. That came two days after Moscow and Pyongyang reached a pact vowing mutual defense assistance if either is attacked, and a day after Seoul responded by saying it would consider providing arms to Ukraine to fight Russia’s invasion. South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong Kyun summoned Russian Ambassador Georgy Zinoviev to protest the deal between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un and called for Moscow to immediately halt its alleged military cooperation with Pyongyang. - AP

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An overnight Russian drone & rocket attack has caused major damage in western and central Ukraine. Energy facilities hit in Lviv and Zaporizhzhia. In Ivano Frankivsk an education facility hit, and several residential buildings were damaged. In all, air defense forces shot down 12 of 16 cruise missiles and all 13 drones. As a result, Polish and allied fighter aircraft were once again scrambled, the Operational Command of the Polish Armed Forces said. “Intense activity by Russian long-range aircraft has been observed this night, related to the launch of cruise missiles, Shahed drones and ballistic weapons on targets located in the western part of Ukrainian territory. This night was very tense for the entire Polish air defence system, as a Russian large-scale missile attack covered the entire territory of Ukraine, including regions bordering Poland," the statement said.

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We Aren't Helping Ukraine to Win
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We Aren't Helping Ukraine to Win

Rather than worry about what Russia will do, the White House should be concentrating on doing all that it can to guarantee Russia's defeat and Ukraine's victory, Gen. Ben Hodges says.

The West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine, Nigel Farage has said. The Reform UK leader said that the “ever-eastward expansion of Nato and the European Union” gave Vladimir Putin a reason to justify war. The comments in a BBC Panorama interview with Nick Robinson echo arguments made by Donald Trump, the former US president and friend of Mr Farage. Mr Farage was asked why he had “blamed the West” for Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. He said: “Right, I’ll tell you what you don’t know, I stood up in the European Parliament in 2014 and I said, and I quote, ‘there will be a war in Ukraine’. “Why did I say that? It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of Nato and the European Union was giving this man a reason to his Russian people to say, ‘they’re coming for us again’ and to go to war.” Pressed on whether his rhetoric was echoing that of the Russian president, Mr Farage said: “But, hang on a second, we provoked this war. It’s – you know, of course it’s his fault, he’s used what we’ve done as an excuse.” Asked if he was saying the West “provoked the invasion of Ukraine”, Mr Farage responded: “Yes.” He added: “By the way, I’m the only person in British politics that predicted what would happen, and of course everyone said I was a pariah for daring to suggest it. - The Telegraph

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Heavy-calibre projectiles landed within metres of the office and residences of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza on Friday afternoon. The strike damaged the structure of the ICRC office, which is surrounded by hundreds of displaced civilians living in tents, including many of our Palestinian staff. This incident caused a mass casualty influx at the nearby Red Cross Field Hospital, with the hospital receiving 22 killed and 45 injured, with reports of additional casualties. “Firing so dangerously close to humanitarian structures, of whose locations the parties to the conflict are aware and which are clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem, puts the lives of civilians and Red Cross staff at risk,” the ICRC said in a statement

The upcoming 2024 presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 27 will see a new set of rules enforced. CNN has announced that the candidates’ campaigns agreed to the new set of rules, which include mic muting. The debate will be hosted by CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, and the broadcast is set to last 90 minutes with two commercial breaks in between. Commercial breaks have not occurred under The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has overseen the debates for over three decades, but won't this year. For the first time since 1976, the presidential debate will not take place in front of a live audience. - VOA

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