Vladimir Putin chafes at U.S., criticizes its response to Capitol siege

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday set a tough tone for his upcoming summit with President Joe Biden, accusing Washington of trying to contain Russia and citing its response to the Capitol siege as a manifestation of the West’s double standards.

Speaking at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Putin said arms control, global conflicts, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change are among the issues he and Biden would discuss during their June 16 summit.

“We need to find ways of looking for a settlement in our relations, which are at an extremely low level now,” Putin said.

“We don’t have any issues with the U.S.,” he said. “But it has an issue with us. It wants to contain our development and publicly talks about it. Economic restrictions and attempts to influence our country’s domestic politics, relying on forces they consider their allies inside Russia, stem from that.”

He voiced hope that the meeting will help ease tensions with Washington. Russia-U.S. ties have sunk to post-Cold War lows over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, accusations of Russian interference in elections in the U.S. and other Western nations, and cyberattacks that U.S. officials allege had Russian origins.

EU bans overflight of its territory by Belarus airlines

The European Union has slapped a ban on the overflight of the 27-nation bloc’s airspace and the use of its airports by Belarus airlines, in the wake of Minsk’s decision to divert a Ryanair passenger plane to arrest a dissident journalist last month.

EU headquarters said in a statement Friday that member countries will “be required to deny permission to land in, take off from or overfly their territories to any aircraft operated by Belarusian air carriers, including as a marketing carrier.”

Belarus’ international isolation has deepened since the May 23 incident, in which Belarusian flight controllers told the crew of a Ryanair jet of an alleged bomb threat. They also instructed them to land in Minsk, where journalist Raman Pratasevich was pulled off the plane by authorities.

‘Dead end’: German cardinal offers to quit over church abuse

A leading German cardinal and confidant of Pope Francis, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, offered to resign Friday over the Catholic Church’s “catastrophic” mishandling of clergy sexual abuse cases, declaring in an extraordinary gesture that the scandals had brought the church to “a dead end.”

The archdiocese of Munich and Freising, where Marx has served as archbishop since 2007, published his resignation letter to the pope online, in multiple languages, and the cardinal said Francis had given him permission to make it public.

“It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” the 67-year-old Marx wrote in the letter. But he also issued a challenge of sorts for his fellow bishops to use the opportunity of the scandal to save the church and reform it.

Biden tells graduates it’s ‘up to you’ to shape future

President Joe Biden says members of the graduating Class of 2021 are leaving school at an “inflection point” that gives them influence to shape the nation and the world around them like few others.

Biden’s brief video message to graduates was released Friday by the White House as the coronavirus pandemic has put a dent in commencement ceremonies.

“You’re going to see more change in the next 10 years than you saw and we saw in the last 50 years,” Biden said. “It’s going to be up to you to translate that unprecedented change into a greater measure of happiness and prosperity for not only you and our nation, but for the world around you.”