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Hungary rejects extradition of Russian suspect in 2017 Ukraine killing
Hungary has declined Ukraine's request to extradite a Russian man accused of involvement in the 2017 killing of Amina Okuyeva, a member of the volunteer Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion, RFE/RL reports. Ukrainian law enforcement arrested Igor Redkin and three others in 2020, suspecting their role in the fatal shooting of Okuyeva and the injury of her husband, Adam Osmayev, in Kyiv.
Former Ukrainian lawmaker Ihor Mosiychuk, Okuyeva's former adviser, revealed that Redkin had violated house arrest conditions and fled Ukraine during the initial days of Russia's full-scale invasion. Mosiychuk confirmed that Redkin is in Hungary.
The 2017 incident involved (allegedly Russian) assailants firing assault rifles at Okuyeva and Osmayev while they were traveling in a car on Kyiv's outskirts. Okuyeva lost her life in the attack. Osmayev currently serves as the commander of the Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion.
New EU taxes to be decided before the Hungarian Presidency
In a bid to secure substantial funding for the European Union's operations, the European Parliament (EP) is advocating for new EU-level taxes, with an anticipated annual revenue boost of €36 billion. The proposed taxes would target carbon emitters and multinational companies, with the aim of implementation coinciding with the commencement of the new EU budget cycle in 2028 - Politico reports.
While the technical decision-making timeline extends until 2027, the EP faces a pressing political deadline set for the summer of 2024. The urgency is heightened by the impending EU presidency handover to Hungary in the latter half of 2024, a nation known for its opposition to introducing new EU taxes. Hungary's share of EU funds has been frozen over rule of law concerns.
The current holders of the EU presidency, Belgium, have a pivotal role in the deliberations, having only three days left in their tenure. The EP is banking on the Belgians to contribute towards forging a consensus on the taxation issue. Encouragingly, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has expressed support for augmenting the EU's independent revenue streams, providing a glimpse of optimism for proponents of the tax proposal.
Orbán's former speechwriter to lead Sovereignty Protection Authority
Tamás Lánczi, a former deputy state secretary, is set to lead the new Office for 'Sovereignty Protection'. Lánczi's career aligns seamlessly with far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán's objectives for the newly established office, tasked with investigating "foreign influence", Telex wrote. Known for his outspoken stance against the Soros network and NGOs purportedly aiming to "destabilize the government", Lánczi's appointment ensures ideological alignment with the narrative propagated by the ruling party. The position comes with a 14k monthly salary.
The Sovereignty Protection Act, set to take effect on February 1, empowers the office to scrutinize processes indicative of "foreign interference" without the need for explicit justifications. Critics, including independent press and government-targeted NGOs, warned about the law's potential to silence dissenting voices and infringe on civil liberties.
The Office for Sovereignty Protection can produce reports but lacks the authority to investigate or penalize individuals directly. The significance of Lánczi's role is underscored by the authority to access data from the entities under investigation.