The news this summer has been driven by stories of air strikes and rocket launches as the conflict between Palestine and Israel and events in Ukraine have dominated headlines. In the midst of all of that, Charlie Flanagan was handed the brief for Foreign Affairs. He spoke to Sean this morning.
A large convoy of trucks carrying Russian aid is reported to be heading towards the border with Ukraine this morning. The trucks appeared to be on the road to Rostov, the Russian city near rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine but it is not clear if the convoy will be allowed cross into Ukraine. It’s estimated over 2,000 people have been killed since mid-april with many civilians caught up in the conflict between rebels and Ukrainian forces. Joining Keelin was Edward Lucas journalist and author of 'The New Cold War: Putin's Threat to Russia and the West'.
Wooden coffins bearing the remains of some of the passengers on flight MH17 are due to be flown from the city of Kharkiv in Ukraine to the Netherlands today. Dutch officials say that only 200 bodies have arrived in Kharkiv, not 282 as claimed by separatists in Ukraine. From Eindhoven airport the remains will go to a military facility in the city of Hilversum for identification, a process Dutch officials say could take months. The BBC’s Anna Holligan was on the line from Eindhoven.
The remains of some of the 298 victims of the Malaysian plane downed over Ukraine continue their journey from the crash site to the Netherlands. But there are still questions to be answered. Sean spoke to Paul McGeough, Chief Correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald, in Kharkiv and by journalist Yan can Benthan.
The US and other G7 states are planning further sanctions against Russia, accusing it of destabilising Ukraine. Many now fear further Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine, and perhaps Moldova, or the Baltic states. Meanwhile pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have freed a Swedish observer, captured as part of 8 OSCE monitors last week, but said they had no plans to release the seven others. Sean discussed the Russian government and its geopolitical intentions with Russian independent journalist Vladimir Pozner. Vladimir has worked for Channel 1 in Moscow and has worked as a commentator or Russia for various US networks.
Matt Frei is a familiar face to TV viewers as Europe Editor with Channel 4 News. He has spent the last 30 years covering news events in Europe, Asia and America and was Washington Correspondent for the BBC, during which time he covered George W. Bush’s presidency. He has reported on the fall of the Berlin wall, the Yugoslav war and Hurricane Katrina.