Although winning no coverage in English-language media, labor actions are spreading across China in the current economic downturn in the People's Republic. On Jan. 22, workers hung banners outside the headquarters of the Guilin No. 3 Construction Company in Guangxi province to demand payment of outstanding wages owed to hundreds of employees. On the same day, migrant workers in Jinan, Shandong province, raised banners in the city's central business district demanding payment of backlogged wages by the China Railway Construction Corporation. By definition, such actions are not authorized by the state-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).
Some 100 fighters in armored vehicles crossed into Russia from Ukrainian territory May 22 and seized the town of Kozinka in Belgorod oblast. They were only driven out after Russian forces responded with fighter planes and artillery, and Moscow says its troops are still "mopping up saboteurs." Two groups claimed responsibility for the raid, both said to be made up of Russians who are fighting for Ukraine. One is the self-proclaimed Freedom of Russia Legion, which released a video message to coincide with the attack, calling on Russians to take up arms "to put an end to the Kremlin's dictatorship."
President Guillermo Lasso dissolved Ecuador's opposition-controlled National Assembly on May 17—just one day after his impeachment trial began. The impeachment proceedings are of course suspended, and Lasso is to rule by decree, subject to oversight only by the Constitutional Court, until new presidential and legislative elections are held. His office issued a communique asserting that Lasso acted under Article 148 of the Ecuadoran Constitution, which states: "The President of the Republic will be able to dissolve the National Assembly…if it repeatedly without justification obstructs implementation of the National Development Plan or because of a severe political crisis and domestic unrest." The so-called "muerte cruzada" (mutual death) provision, introduced in 2008, has never been used in Ecuador before.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia reacted with outrage after China's ambassador in Paris appeared to question the sovereignty not only of Ukraine, but all the former Soviet republics. Interviewed on French television April 21, Lu Shaye was asked whether Crimea (unilaterally annexed by Russia in 2014) was part of Ukraine under international law. He replied that Crimea was historically Russian and had been handed over to Ukraine; and then added: "Even these countries of the former Soviet Union do not have an effective status in international law, since there is no international agreement that would specify their status as sovereign countries." Fearing diplomatic censure, Beijing's Foreign Ministry backpedalled, releasing a statement saying: "China respects the sovereign status of former Soviet republics after the Soviet Union's dissolution." (The Guardian, NYT)
Russia has suspended the import of dairy products from Kyrgyzstan, ostensibly citing concerns about quality control. But the report on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty suggests that the move is retaliation after the Kyrgyz National Commission on State Language & Language Policy announced that the country is to begin a transition from Cyrillic to a Latin-based alphabet. Barring of dairy imports hs apparently been used several times over past years as a "blunt foreign policy instrument against former Soviet states whose actions Moscow dislikes," including Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The Washington Post reports April 24 that among the classified documents leaked to Discord chat platform by Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira are February findings from an unnamed US intelligence agency that Russia's paramilitary Wagner Group is seeking to recruit rebels to destabilize the government of Chad. One document states that Wagner is working to establish a training camp for hundreds of fighters across the border in the Central African Republic as part of an "evolving plot to topple the Chadian government."
As fighting continues in Sudan, derailing a transition to democratic rule that was slated for this month, commentators are noting Russian connections to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that sparked the crisis by apparently attempting a coup d'etat on April 15. The Kremlin's notorious mercenary force, the Wagner Group, is said to be engaged in illegal gold mining operations in Darfur and Kordofan regions in collaboration with the RSF. Operations at a mine owned by RSF warlord Mohammed Hamdan Dagolo AKA "Hemeti" in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state have sparked protests by locals over land-grabbing and pollution. The arrangement points to a Kremlin-backed design to make the RSF economically independent of the Sudanese state in preparation for an eventual seizure of power.
Ukraine is denying involvement in September's attack on the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to carry Russian natural gas to Germany (but had already been shut by Russia before the apparent sabotage). The denials follow a March 7 report in the New York Times, citing anonymous US intelligence officials to the effect that an unnamed "pro-Ukrainian group" was to blame. (BBC News) German prosecutors simultaneoulsy announced their investigators had found "traces" of explosive on a yacht that had sailed to the site of the attack from Rostok just beforehand, and had been rented from a Polish-based company that is "apparently owned by two Ukrainians." (Politico, The Guardian)