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Will there be water in Crimea?

Alex Ivanov. Moscow Correspondent

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Since the unification of Crimea with Russia in March 2014, problems with the water supply disturb the population of the Peninsula. Ukraine has stopped supplying fresh water from the Dnieper river through the North Crimean canal, writes Alex Ivanov, Moscow correspondent.

It is known that there has always been a shortage of water in Crimea, both due to the arid climate and low rainfall, and due to the natural lack of underground water.

Ukraine has blocked the canal, and Russia is desperately looking for new sources of water supply to the Peninsula. In the world and in Europe, do not pay attention to the fact that 2.340 million people living in Crimea are forced to lack of drinking water, as if it were the Sahara desert.

In relations between Moscow and Kiev, a new scandal broke out — this time around the idea of building water desalinators on the Crimean Peninsula. The Russian Foreign Ministry these days made it clear that the problem of water supply to Crimea will be solved regardless of the position of the Ukrainian authorities, who "do not care about people's lives".

The statement was a reaction to the promise “to prevent the implementation of the project in every possible way”, which was announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba. In Kiev, they are sure that the water resources of the Crimea for the needs of the local population are enough, and additional water supplies threaten to "militarize the region".

Speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin gave his comment on the situation: "Having previously stopped the access of fresh water through the canal, Ukrainian authorities deprive people of water in general. Is it necessary to hate people so much?" He has also reminded that earlier the leadership of Ukraine claimed that "the Crimean bridge will not be built, and there will be no tourists in Crimea".

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba recently stated that, "the illegal occupation authorities in Crimea are attracting a large international company to introduce water desalination technologies”. Kuleba said that “we will prevent from implementing this project”.

In this regard, Dmitry Kuleba noted that next year Kiev will create the "Crimean platform" — an international negotiating platform for the return of the Peninsula to Ukraine. He said that various states, international and human rights organizations and experts will join the work of the platform. "We will make such conditions for Russia in world politics that will squeeze it out of Crimea.”

Ukraine provided up to 85% of the needs of Crimea in fresh water through the North Crimean canal. In 2014, deliveries stopped. Since then, the issue of water supply has been partially solved at the expense of reservoirs, which over the past year due to lack of precipitation have become significantly shallower.

At the end of the year, the situation with precipitation in Crimea improved slightly, but the level of reservoirs supplying the largest cities of the Peninsula is still minimal. More than fifty towns and settlements of the Peninsula receive water according to schedules. But the region is determined to solve water supply problems without Ukraine.

Some days ago the Head of Crimea Sergey Aksenov announced that the construction of desalination plants can begin as early as January 1, 2021.

According to him, if precipitation is still not enough, "desalination is the only way out."

It is quite obvious that Russia will not tolerate Ukraine's aggressive attitude towards the population of Crimea and Kiev's desire to starve the population of the Peninsula, which the Ukrainian authorities are so eager to return to the power of Ukraine. Funny situation.

Russia is already making every effort to provide the population of Crimea with drinking water in sufficient quantities and to guarantee the needs of the Peninsula's agriculture.

It is surprising that the whole world looks at this situation indifferently. People have been deprived of almost everything: investment, visas, opportunities to travel abroad, and now drinking water, just to supposedly restore the rule of law to the detriment of people's immediate needs?

The opinions expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not reflect any opinion on the part of EU Reporter.

Belgium

Belgian artist's 'portable oasis' creates COVID-free bubble for one

Reuters

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When governments around Europe told people to create a "bubble" to limit their social contacts during the COVID-19 pandemic, this was probably not what they had in mind, write Bart Biesemans and Clement Rossignol.

Alain Verschueren, a Belgian artist and social worker, has been strolling through the capital Brussels wearing a "portable oasis" - a plexiglass mini-greenhouse which rests on his shoulders, cocooning him in a bubble of air purified by the aromatic plants inside.

Verschueren, 61, developed the idea 15 years ago, inspired by the lush oases in Tunisia where he had previously worked. In a city where face coverings are mandatory to curb the spread of COVID-19, his invention has gained a new lease of life.

"It was about creating a bubble in which I could lock myself in, to cut myself off a world that I found too dull, too noisy or smelly," Verschueren said, adding that he has asthma and finds breathing within his contraption more comfortable than wearing a facemask.

Belgian artist Alain Verschueren wears his "Portable Oasis" while performing in a street, saying he wanted to be in his bubble in the middle of the city, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brussels, Belgium April 16, 2021. Picture taken April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Belgian artist Alain Verschueren wears his "Portable Oasis" while performing in a street, saying he wanted to be in his bubble in the middle of the city, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brussels, Belgium April 16, 2021. Picture taken April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Belgian artist Alain Verschueren wears his "Portable Oasis" while performing in a street, saying he wanted to be in his bubble in the middle of the city, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brussels, Belgium 16 April. REUTERS/Yves Herman

"As time went by, I noticed that people were coming up to me and talking to me. This isolation became much more a way of connecting," he said.

Onlookers in Brussels appeared amused and confused by the man wandering between the shops - mostly closed due to COVID-19 restrictions - encased in a pod of thyme, rosemary and lavender plants.

"Is it a greenhouse? Is it for the bees? Is it for the plants? We don't know, but it's a good idea," Charlie Elkiess, a retired jeweller, told Reuters.

Verschueren said he hoped to encourage people to take better care of the environment, to reduce the need to protect ourselves from air and noise pollution.

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Indo-Pacific: Council adopts conclusions on EU strategy for co-operation

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The Council approved conclusions on an EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, setting out the EU’s intention to reinforce its strategic focus, presence and actions in this region of prime strategic importance for EU interests. The aim is to contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development, at a time of rising challenges and tensions in the region.

The renewed EU commitment to the Indo-Pacific, a region spanning from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island states, will have a long-term focus and will be based on upholding democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law.

Current dynamics in the Indo-Pacific have given rise to intense geopolitical competition adding to increasing tensions on trade and supply chains as well as in technological, political and security areas. Human rights are also being challenged. These developments increasingly threaten the stability and security of the region and beyond, directly impacting on the EU’s interests.

Consequently, the EU’s approach and engagement will look to foster a rules-based international order, a level playing field, as well as an open and fair environment for trade and investment, reciprocity, the strengthening of resilience, tackling climate change and supporting connectivity with the EU. Free and open maritime supply routes in full compliance with international law remain crucial. The EU will look to work together with its partners in the Indo-Pacific on these issues of common interest.  

The EU will continue to develop partnerships in the areas of security and defence, including to address maritime security, malicious cyber activities, disinformation, emerging technologies, terrorism, and organized crime.

The EU and its regional partners will also work together in order to mitigate the economic and human effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and work towards ensuring an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic recovery.

The Council tasked the High Representative and the Commission with putting forward a Joint Communication on co-operation in the Indo-Pacific by September 2021.

The conclusions were adopted by the Council by written procedure.

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Conference on the Future of Europe: Make your voice heard

EU Reporter Correspondent

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Share your views on the EU, organize events across Europe and discuss with others through the new digital platform on the Conference on the Future of Europe, EU affairs.

Launched on 19 April, the platform is the multilingual hub of the Conference on the Future of Europe that will allow people to get involved and suggest what changes need to take place in the EU. Europeans will also be able to see what others propose, comment on them and endorse ideas.

The EU institutions have committed to listening to what people say and to following up on the recommendations made. The Conference is expected to reach conclusions by the spring of 2022.

How do you take part?

Choose a topic that interests you. It could be anything from climate change to digital issues or EU democracy. If you don’t see a category with your topic, share your opinion in the Other Ideas category.

Once you are in a specific category, you can read the introduction and explore some useful links. On the Ideas tab, you can share your views and find the ideas of others. Join the discussion by leaving a comment, or vote for ideas you like so that more people can find them.

You can submit your comment in any of the EU's official 24 languages. All comments can be translated automatically in any of the other languages.

Under the Events tab, you can explore events organised online or near you, register for an event or prepare your own.

The platform fully respects users’ privacy and EU data protection rules.

What happens when you submit an opinion?

The submitted opinions and the debate they initiate will be the basis for discussions in citizens’ panels that will be organised across the EU at regional, national and European level. These panels will include people from different backgrounds so that they can be representative of the whole population of the EU.

The conclusions of the different panels will be then presented at a plenary session of the Conference, which will bring together citizens, representatives of EU institutions and national parliaments.

Join the discussion on social media about the Conference with the hashtag #TheFutureIsYours.

Conference on the Future of Europe 

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