State of the Union: Russia attacked from inside & Meta hit with billion euro fine

A damaged armored military vehicle is seen after fighting in Russia's western Belgorod region on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
A damaged armored military vehicle is seen after fighting in Russia's western Belgorod region on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.   -  Copyright  AP/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service
By Stefan Grobe

Anti-Kremlin Russian fighters attacked Russia from within this week.

The war in Ukraine saw one of the most bizarre episodes this week.

In a brazen mission, groups of anti-Kremlin Russian fighters crossed the border from Ukraine to Russia near Belgorod – and back.

They struck targets and forced authorities to evacuate civilians.

Moscow claimed the intruders were Ukrainian militants who were mostly killed in a counterterrorism operation.

But one of the groups claiming responsibility for the attack denied having lost any men.

Instead, they said they would launch more guerilla attacks against Russian targets in the future - and go after Putin’s regime.

"We're fighting for freedom, we're fighting against injustice," Denis Nikitin, Russian Volunteer Corps commander said.

"So, we're fighting against torture. We're fighting against terrible acts of police brutality."

The conflicting versions of this murky story tell you a lot about disinformation and propaganda in this war.

And they raise questions about a possible escalation of the war beyond Ukraine’s borders.

ECB paints gloomy long-term outlook

Meanwhile, the European Union keeps digesting the economic fallout of the war, especially sky-high consumer prices.

Fighting inflation is the job of the European Central Bank which celebrated its 25th anniversary this week.

At a ceremony in Frankfurt, speakers stressed the extraordinary circumstances the ECB had to deal with recently - and the huge problems ahead.

“Faced with shifting geopolitics, digital transformations and the threat of a changing climate, there will be more challenges ahead, which the ECB will need to address," the bank's president, Christine Lagarde said.

One of the big issues of the “digital transformations” that Lagarde mentioned is the problem of data privacy.

Facebook fined

Five years ago, to the day, the EU established the General Data Protection Regulation to make sure that citizens’ data are better protected in their daily interactions with the digital economy.

Yet, this week, EU regulators hit Meta, the parent company of Facebook, with a record fine of €1.2 billion for violating existing rules for years.

Isabelle Roccia, Managing Director for Europe at the International Association of Privacy Professionals, told Euronews that the fine is a big moment.

"It's certainly big news and not just for consumers, but also for any organisation out there that relies on data transfers," she said this week.

"It's a significant decision for the fine itself, obviously, €1.2 billion, but it's also very significant because it really requires a change in behavior, a change in practice from Meta, first of all, but also for organisations out there that transfer data."

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