'No Catalonia independence'
The Spanish prime minister has ruled out any independence referendum in Catalonia, saying the ruling party will never accept what he called a deviation. Speaking to parliament, Pedro Sanchez also said that the only option for independence supporters is to convince three-fifth of the lower house to modify the constitution. Moreover, he said Spain as a whole must ratify this change via a referendum. This would currently be impossible since most lawmakers are opposed to such a reform. This is while the government prepares to resume negotiations with pro-independence Catalans in September. Last week, Sanchez pardoned nine Catalan leaders who were jailed for their part in the region's failed push for independence in 2017. Catalonia's referendum provoked one of the worst political crises in the country since the 1970s.
Italy Afghan withdrawal
Italy has completed the pull-out of it troops from Afghanistan as part of an accelerated NATO withdrawal from the war-torn country. Defense minister Lorenzo Guerini confirmed that the Italian mission in Afghanistan has officially come to an end. Based on the ministry’s figures, some 50,000 troops were deployed to Afghanistan over the course of 20 years. Germany has already withdrawn its 1,100 troops from the country. US-led NATO mission agreed to pull 9,600 troops out of Afghanistan in April. That is after US President Joe Biden issued the call to end Washington’s longest war and pledged to fully withdraw American forces by September 11th. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed since the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Nearly two decades of the US military presence has failed to bring peace to Afghanistan.
Black Sea tensions
The Russian president says last week’s trespassing of a British warship on Russian territorial waters in the Black Sea was a clear and deliberate provocation to test Moscow’s military response. Speaking during a televised question and answer session, Vladimir Putin also accused the US of being behind the incident. He noted that, based on observations, a US spy jet was operating in sync with the UK destroyer to monitor Russia’s defensive capabilities. Asked if the confrontation could have provoked World War III, the Russian leader rejected such a possibility. Putin said the western powers know they could not emerge as winners of such war.