US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday he expected European allies to keep up strong support for NATO despite a far-right victory in the first round of French elections, AFP reported, and as the pro-Ukraine parties around the Alliance member states are embattled.

As widely expected, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and her populist party crushed Emmanuel Macron’s center-left coalition in French elections by about 34 percent to 21 percent in the first go-round, making a bold statement about the French diminished appetite for immigration and support for Ukraine. Macron and his pro-Kyiv pact have a steep climb to overcome that margin in the next round.

Worse for Kyiv, similar right-wing groups have gained momentum in other EU member states. In the US, the anti-NATO and Ukraine-skeptical base of Republican candidate Donald Trump is gloating after a dismal presidential debate performance by pro-Kyiv US President Joe Biden last week.

Advertisement

“The alliance is moving to make sure that we have the right defenses across the alliance where they’re needed, where they matter,” Blinken said at the Brookings Institution in Washington, a non-partisan organization that is about as close as US think tanks come to centrist.

“This has been a clear trajectory for the last three and a half years. I don’t actually see that changing irrespective of the politics of the moment in Europe,” Blinken said. “We have very strong allies; very strong partners,” he said, pointing to Italy, led by its most right-wing leader since World War II, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. She, as AFP noted, “has bucked some of her political allies by supporting Ukraine.”

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024
Other Topics of Interest

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024

Latest from the British Defence Intelligence.

Meloni is the exception within the EU. The European Parliament, generally a reliable bellwether for political winds within the bloc, marked a notable shift to the more isolationist right in the 2024 elections, with France leading the populist charge.

Advertisement

Nonetheless, US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel called France “our oldest ally, with whom we have a long and proud history of democratic values.”

France’s National Rally has long held unpopular views about Paris’s relationship with Moscow. However, its leader Jordan Bardella, who could become the next prime minister, said in a recent debate that he would not let Russia “absorb an allied state like Ukraine,” AFP reported.

Kyiv journalist Dmitry Gordon charged in Moscow on counts of terrorism and insurrection

On Monday, a Moscow military court convicted a popular Ukrainian YouTube blogger and journalist in absentia for making public calls to kill President Vladimir Putin, reported Russian state media, TASS. The court claimed that one of his videos called for Russians to “eliminate Putin.”

The court sentenced Dmitry Gordon to 14 years in prison. A well-known name in Ukrainian social media circles, Gordon, 56, ranked seventh in an August 2023 poll of Ukrainians’ most viewed YouTubers. AFP recounted that he started as a newspaper journalist, and founded a Russian-language weekly newspaper called “Gordon’s Boulevard” and hosted a television show called “Gordon’s Guests”, also in Russian.

Advertisement

The counts against him included alleged calls for terrorist activity, publicly distributing false information about the Russian military and inciting hatred. 

In one of his broadcasts, Gordon called on US President Joe Biden to launch a nuclear strike on Russia, and in others he begged for a civil war in Russia.

Ironically, Gordon often appeared as a commentator on Russian television talk shows, saying on Olga Skabeyeva’s 60 Minutes show in 2019 that “I would call Putin one word: a criminal,” and at the same time he had critical words for Ukraine’s leadership under President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In 2022, Russia declared Gordon, who was born to a Jewish family in Kyiv, as a “foreign agent.”

“This is how they grow savage near the end, which will be soon and inevitable,” Gordon wrote on social media after the conviction.

Project Konstantin’s volunteer founder dies in battle in Ukraine, his organization reports

British volunteer Peter Fouché has died while fighting in Ukraine, AFP reported on Monday, citing social media accounts. Fouché founded a charity called Project Konstantin, which provided support to Ukrainian soldiers who died while fighting against the Russian invasion.

Advertisement

Fouché died last Thursday “on the battlefield” after getting badly injured “in combat against Russian forces,” a director and co-founder of Project Konstantin, said in a video message. His group helped evacuate 219 Ukrainian soldiers, the group’s website claimed.

Fouché set up the charity in 2022 as a team of independent volunteers providing essential supplies such as drones and food, and helping evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers. It also helped to deliver humanitarian aid to conflict zones near the frontline.

There are numerous such Western-based charities devoted to similar missions, but news of a founder dying on the frontlines is rare.

 “Pete’s unwavering dedication, endless compassion, and relentless commitment to Ukraine and her people have left an everlasting impact on the countless lives he touched,” a statement from the group on social media said.

Fouché had previously helped to build a field hospital in Kyiv before he founded Project Konstantin and later enlisted as a contracted soldier with the armed forces of Ukraine, according to the charity’s website.

 “Pete was more than a leader; he was a beacon of hope, a true hero, and a friend to all,” the charity said. “His wisdom, compassion, and faith in God inspired us every day.”

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter