The Kremlin today said it would like ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine to be more “active and substantive”, as fighting between the forces of the two countries continued. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia did not intend to make public its detailed demands to Ukraine. US President Joe Biden said Monday that India was an exception among Washington’s allies with its “shaky” response to the Russian invasion Read More
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and discussed the “grave situation” as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “disastrous” actions. Johnson called on India to work with the UK to intensify efforts to promote peace and de-escalation in the region, and both leaders are said to have agreed that respect for international law was the only way forward, a Downing Street spokesperson said. The pair agreed that Ukraine’s integrity and territorial sovereignty must be respected. Russia needed to adhere to the UN Charter, the leaders said, and both agreed that respect for international law was the only way to ensure global peace and prosperity, the spokesperson said. Prime Minister Modi is said to have updated his UK counterpart on India’s support for the humanitarian situation in Ukraine during the call. The call comes in the wake of disappointment in the UK over India’s stand in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, abstaining from UN votes condemning Russia’s actions. PTI
Ukrainian deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk today said at least 1,00,000 civilians wanted to escape from Mariupol in southern Ukraine but could not because of a lack of safe corridors out of the besieged port city. She said shelling by Russian forces was also preventing rescue workers from accessing the site of a bombed theatre in Mariupol, where city officials say hundreds were believed to be sheltering underground when it was hit by an air strike last week. Russia has denied bombing the theatre or attacking civilians. REUTERS
The Kremlin today said it would like ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine to be more “active and substantive”, as fighting between the forces of the two countries continued. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia did not intend to make public its detailed demands to Ukraine.
A Russian court today found jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny guilty on embezzlement charges that could see his prison sentence significantly extended. The court also found him guilty on a less severe charge of contempt of court. AFP
The number of Ukrainians fleeing abroad is now 3,528,346, the United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday, with more than 2 million crossing the border into Poland.
China and Pakistan share concern about “spill-over effects of unilateral sanctions” on Russia over its war against Ukraine and called for a ceasefire and diplomatic resolution of the crisis, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday. Old allies China and Pakistan have refrained from condemning Russia over its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, unlike Western countries that have imposed unprecedented financial and corporate sanctions in response to what Russian President Vladimir Putin calls a “special military operation”.
Ukraine said on Tuesday its efforts to evacuate civilians from besieged towns and cities were focused on the city of Mariupol but did not announce any new agreement with Russia to allow safe passage for trapped residents. “We are focusing on evacuations from Mariupol,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said. She listed a number of places from where buses would try to evacuate civilians but Mariupol was not among them. She also made no mention of any new agreements with Russia on establishing “humanitarian corridors” to evacuate civilians.
The Lvivska Khvylya local radio station in west Ukraine changed its broadcast output dramatically the day Russia invaded the country. The first thing staff did was to ease off on the entertainment programming and ramp up coverage of the war for their tens of thousands of listeners. “We are an entertainment and music radio station but we’re doing a lot of news because citizens need a lot of information in these times,” Volodymyr Melnyk, a 28-year-old host on Lvivska Khvylya told AFP.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on European leaders on Monday to cease all trade with Russia in an effort to pressure Moscow to halt its nearly month-long military assault on his country. “Please do not sponsor the weapons of war of this country, of Russia. No euros for the occupiers. Close all of your ports to them. Don’t export them your goods. Deny energy resources. Push for Russia to leave Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a video address.
Ukraine’s military said on Tuesday residents should brace for more indiscriminate Russian shelling of critical infrastructure, as U.S. President Joe Biden issued one of his strongest warnings yet that Moscow is considering using chemical weapons. Russian troops have failed to capture any major Ukrainian city more than four weeks into their invasion, and increasingly are resorting to causing massive destruction to residential areas using air strikes, long-range missiles and artillery. The southern port of Mariupol has become a focal point of Russia’s assault and lies largely in ruins with bodies lying on the streets, but attacks were also reported to have intensified on the second city Kharkiv on Monday.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said it would not be possible to negotiate an end to the war in his country without a meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, media reported on Monday. “I believe that until such time as we have a meeting with the president of the Russian Federation…you cannot truly understand what they are prepared to do in order to stop the war and what they are prepared to do if we are not ready for this or that compromise,” Zelenskiy said in an interview cited by Interfax Ukraine. Russia’s assault on Ukraine has killed thousands and driven almost a quarter of its 44 million people from their homes. Germany predicts the refugee number could reach as high as 10 million in coming weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky renewed an offer of direct peace talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin late Monday, declaring the status of disputed territories could be up for debate and a possible referendum. Zelensky told local media that he was ready to meet Putin “in any format” to discuss ending the almost one-month-old war that has shattered several Ukrainian cities. Zelensky said even the status of Russian-occupied Crimea and Russian-backed statelets in Donbas was up for debate.
NATO should either say now that they are accepting us, or openly say they are not accepting us because they are afraid of Russia – which is true, Ukraine President Vladimir Zelensky said in an interview to Suspilne, a Ukrainian public broadcaster: The Kyiv Independent
(File pic) pic.twitter.com/EUuTRYgqJr
— ANI (@ANI) March 21, 2022
The Ukrainian army said it forced Russian troops out of Makariv, a strategically important Kyiv suburb, after a fierce battle. That prevents Russian forces from encircling the capital from the northwest, the Defence Ministry said.
An ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy has contaminated an area with a radius of more than 5 kilometers, officials said early Monday. Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy didn’t say what caused the leak. The Sumykhimprom plant is on the eastern outskirts of the city, which has a population of about 263,000 and has been regularly shelled by Russian troops in recent weeks. Authorities urged people in Sumy to breathe through gauze bandages soaked in citric acid.
Japan said Tuesday it “strongly protests” Russia’s decision to abandon talks on a World War II peace treaty because of Tokyo’s strong response to the invasion of Ukraine. “The latest situation occurred as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and Russia’s attempt to shift the issue to Japan-Russia relations is extremely unjustified and absolutely unacceptable,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in parliament.
Oil prices extended their rally Tuesday on supply worries as European leaders debated banning imports from Russia, though equities stood their ground despite a tepid Wall Street lead and the prospect of a sharper hike in US interest rates. Both main crude contracts started the week by soaring more than seven percent Monday as EU nations discussed following Washington and putting an embargo on Russian energy imports for its war in Ukraine.
A rapt and raucous audience, a group of chess fanatics watch a cut-throat game play out on a park bench. Rook takes knight, a flurry of moves, then the game is over in an instant. The loser surrenders a note of Ukrainian currency and the pieces are reset for another game on the battered board. In the western city of Lviv, Ukraine’s capital of chess, local players make a point of keeping up the local tradition of street games, despite the March chill and the war raging to the east.
Russia said Monday that a shopping mall in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, which was attacked and destroyed overnight killing at least eight people, was used to store rocket systems. Russia used “precision-guided weaponry” to destroy a store of “multiple-launch rocket systems” and ammunition in a shopping centre in Kyiv, defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told media.
A Russian court banned Facebook and Instagram as “extremist”, part of sweeping efforts by Moscow to crack down on social media during the conflict in Ukraine. The Russian authorities have accused US tech giant Meta — the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — of tolerating “Russophobia” since President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24. Facebook and Twitter have been inaccessible in Russia since early March and Instagram was blocked in the country a week ago.
This includes unprecedented sanctions aimed at crippling Russia’s currency, international trade and access to high-tech goods.
However, unlike fellow members of the Quad group — Australia, Japan and the United States — India continues to purchase Russian oil and has refused to join votes condemning Moscow at the United Nations.
Addressing a meeting of US business leaders in Washington, Biden said there had been “a united front throughout NATO and in the Pacific.”
“The Quad is, with the possible exception of India being somewhat shaky on some of this, but Japan has been extremely strong — so has Australia — in terms of dealing with Putin’s aggression.”
Biden said that Putin was “counting on being able to split NATO” and instead, “NATO has never been stronger, more united, in its entire history than it is today.”
Indian oil refiners have reportedly continued to purchase discounted Russian oil, even as the West seeks to isolate Moscow.
An Indian government official said last week that the world’s third-biggest consumer of crude relies on imports for almost 85 percent of its needs, with Russia supplying a “marginal” less than one percent of this.
But “the jump in oil prices after the Ukraine conflict has now added to our challenges… India has to keep focusing on competitive energy sources,” the official added.
New Delhi, which historically has had close ties with Moscow, called for an end to the violence in Ukraine but has stopped short of condemning Russia’s invasion, abstaining in three votes at the United Nations.
The Ukraine government accused Russian troops of kidnapping three Israelis in the southeastern town of Melitopol, which they have occupied.
“Today in Melitopol, the Russian occupiers kidnapped three Israeli citizens; Tatiana Kumok and her parents Vera et Mikhail Kumok”, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, in comments posted on Facebook.
Mikhail Kumok was described as a “publisher” and company owner. The Ukrainian authorities published no further details.