Reports say US spied on Merkel, other EU leaders; Macron demands clarification
French President Emmanuel Macron urged the U.S. to clarify media reports that American intelligence monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European politicians with the help of Denmark.
“If the information is correct, then that’s unacceptable between allies, and even less so between European allies,” Macron told reporters after a bilateral meeting with Merkel. “We expect complete openness and a clarification of the facts from our Danish and American partners.”
The aim isn’t just to find out what spying activities happened in the past, but also to determine “which practices are still going on today” in order to maintain trust between the U.S. and Europe, he said, adding that “there’s no room for suspicion between us.”
Merkel said she agreed with Macron’s position.
Denmark’s state broadcaster DR cited a classified report saying that the Danish Defense Intelligence Service allowed the U.S. National Security Agency to use the country’s internet cables for spying on Merkel and politicians in France, Sweden and Norway. Denmark is one of America’s closest allies in Europe.
The latest spying allegations come years after Wikileaks reported that the U.S. had bugged the phone of Merkel and other world leaders. Then-President Barack Obama promised that the U.S. wouldn’t spy again on Germany during his tenure.
A 21-year-old Russian soldier, Vadim Shishimarin, has pleaded guilty to killing an unarmed civilian as Ukraine has started its first war crimes trial since the beginning of Moscow's invasion. Ukrainian prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova previously said her office was readying war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offences that included bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting, news agency AP.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday proposed extra aid to Ukraine of up to nine billion euros ($9.5 billion) this year to help Kyiv cope with the ravages of war. In a broadcast statement, von der Leyen also said it was time to think about rebuilding Ukraine whenever the war ends, adding the EU has "a strategic interest in leading this reconstruction effort".
The Kremlin on Wednesday accused Kyiv authorities of not wanting to continue talks to end hostilities that started after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into pro-Western Ukraine. "Talks are indeed not moving forward and we note the complete lack of will of Ukrainian negotiators to continue this process," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
North Korea said Wednesday more than a million people have already recovered from suspected COVID-19 just a week after disclosing an outbreak it appears to be trying to manage in isolation as global experts express deep concern about the public health threat. The country's anti-virus headquarters announced 232,880 new cases of fever and another six deaths in state media Wednesday. It said at least 691,170 remain in quarantine.
Canada's House of Commons has voted to reappoint a special committee to examine the country's relationship with China, despite opposition from the ruling Liberal Party. The motion in this regard was moved by the opposition Conservative Party and received support from the other major groups - the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois. It will comprise 12-members, six each from the ruling party and opposition ranks.