The right won Sweden’s general election, while the Italian right have been accused of receiving money from Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, a summit was held in Samarkand attended by the Kremlin's bloody leader, the Pope approved military aid for Ukraine, and Olena Zelenska is set to visit the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Olena Zelenska will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II
Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will join world leaders for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, The Sun reports.
First Lady Olena Zelenska is among 500 heads of state and dignitaries invited to the service and a VIP reception hosted by King Charles III.
Global leaders are set to arrive in London this weekend and expected to pay their own respects to Queen Elizabeth with visits to Westminster Hall. Despot Vladimir Putin has not been invited.
"Olena Zelenska’s presence is yet another sign of the global support for Ukraine while Russia is isolated. Britain is one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies. Her presence at the funeral is a sign of that friendship and mutual respect," the newspaper’s source emphasized.
Among the 2,000 mourners at Westminster Abbey, there will be dozens of members of foreign royal families, including Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain and King Philip and Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
More than 30 world leaders are also set to attend including U.S. President Joe Biden, France’s Emmanuel Macron, China Vice President Wang Qishan, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
The right have won the national election in Sweden: who the Sweden Democrats are
At the general election that took place on September 11 in Sweden, the right-wing coalition, which, for the first time in history, includes the nationalist Sweden Democrats party, has secured victory. The country’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has already announced her resignation, accepting the defeat of the center-left bloc led by her Social Democratic Workers’ Party, which gets 173 seats in parliament, while the right-wing win 176 seats.
Formed in 1988 by right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis, the Sweden Democrats first managed to get in parliament in 2010, The Washington Post writes. After that, leaders began to exclude the most extreme members from the party.
Other parties and the media have kept their distance from the SD for years, but the Moderates, the largest of the center-right parties, eventually opted to establish ties, with the aim of unseating the Social Democrats.
Sweden Democrat voters tend to live in small towns and rural areas, and most are men, according to Ann-Cathrine Jungar, a professor at Sodertorn University who studies populist radical-right parties.
"These voters have lower trust in the media," Jungar said. "The SD use the populist rhetoric that there is a ‘left-liberal establishment,’ an elite that doesn’t understand the people."
Tough immigration policies
Whether the Sweden Democrats is now an "ordinary party" is up for debate, the newspaper notes: although the party has distanced itself from its neo-Nazi roots, its members want to end immigration from outside Europe and return Muslims to their countries of origin.
The Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson aims to make Sweden's immigration policies the European Union's toughest, making it possible to deny people asylum based on religious or LGBTQ grounds.
The party wants to slash economic benefits for immigrants and give more powers to police, including allowing searches without concrete suspicion of a crime.
The head of Sweden's Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, said he would build a government "for all of Sweden and all citizens":
"There is a big frustration in society, a fear of the violence, concern about the economy, the world is very uncertain and the political polarization has become far too big also in Sweden. Therefore my message is that I want to unite, not divide," he said, as cited by Reuters.
In Italy, the right have been accused of receiving Putin’s money
U.S. claims that Russia has given at least $300 million to political parties in more than two dozen countries sent a jolt through Italy's election campaign on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
The U.S. State Department on Tuesday released a summary of a recent U.S. intelligence review of Russian efforts to influence foreign politics, including support for far-right nationalist parties.
Although the report didn’t name any specific country, it revived the suspicions that some Italian parties have received funding from Vladimir Putin.
On September 25, Italy holds national elections, with a rightist alliance of parties, including the Brothers of Italy, League, and Forza Italia, expected to win a comfortable victory.
"Before the 25th of September, Italian voters have the right to know if any of the parties on the ballot papers have been financed by Putin," Enrico Letta, head of the center-left Democratic Party, wrote on Twitter.
The right-wing leaders denied they had received clandestine cash from the terrorist country.
Suggestions that Russia might be meddling in the election campaign have repeatedly been aired since the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi's unity government in July.
Draghi himself told parliament in July that Italy had to step up efforts to combat interference from Russia and other autocracies in Italy’s politics.
The Shanghai summit: China promises friendship to Russia
On Thursday, a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by Beijing and Moscow started in Samarkand, CNN reports.
Leaders from member states, including India, Pakistan, Iran, and four Central Asian countries, have convened in the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan. A number of talks have been held, including the first face-to-face meeting between Xi Jinping and Putin since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s bloody leader conceded that Chinese officials had "questions and concerns" over his protracted military campaign in Ukraine.
In recent months, China has offered Russia tacit support and boosted bilateral trade to a record high. But analysts question how far Xi will be prepared to go in continuing to back Putin.
"Ties between Moscow and Beijing have been asymmetric before Russia was a needier partner, but now this is an asymmetry on steroids where China has the commanding position, and definitely will be not shy to use it going forward," said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Nevertheless, China has publicly pledged to deepen ties with Russia. Xi Jingping said that China would "play a leading role in injecting stability and positive energy into a world of change and disorder."
The Pope approved weapons supply to Ukraine
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis initially appeared to uphold the Vatican’s longstanding policy of not taking sides, before eventually saying explicitly that Russia was the aggressor in the war, writes The New York Times.
On Thursday, September 15, Francis said that it is acceptable to provide weapons to Ukraine so that the country can defend itself. He admitted that self-defense in the face of aggression is "not only lawful but also an expression of love of country".
However, he also emphasized that communication channels with Russia should remain open even if, he said, dialogue with the aggressor "stinks," because "otherwise we close off the only reasonable door to peace".
Francis added that it would be immoral to supply weapons with the intention of provoking more war or selling weapons.