By: News Desk
Last Updated: March 17, 2022, 23:22 IST
The Kremlin on Thursday said Russia was putting colossal energy into talks on a possible peace deal with Ukraine that could swiftly stop the Russian military operation there. “Our delegation is putting in colossal effort and demonstrates more readiness towards them than the other side,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Agreeing such a document, the observance of all its parameters and their implementation could very quickly stop what is happening.”
Asked about a Financial Times report that Ukraine and Russia had made significant progress on a tentative peace plan, Peskov said: “It is not right – there are elements Read More
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European governments have approached the US government and defence contractors with a shopping list of arms including drones, missiles and missile defences as the Russian invasion of Ukraine drives renewed demand for US weaponry. Germany, which is nearing a deal for 35 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 jet fighters, has inquired about systems to defend against ballistic missiles, sources familiar with the situation said. Meanwhile, Poland urgently wants to purchase sophisticated Reaper drone systems from the United States, a Polish government official said. Requests are also coming in from other countries in eastern Europe, where allies are keen to acquire weaponry that Ukraine has successfully used against Russian forces, two people familiar with the demand said, including anti-aircraft Stinger missiles and anti-tank Javelin missiles.
According to a report by The New York Times, Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, will have to wait longer for a decision on emergency use authorisation by the World Health Organization. A WHO official said the organisation was forced to delay the assessment process for the vaccine because of difficulties created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as per the report.
Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has asked Turkey to be a guarantor of any future deal with Russia, along with the UN Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany, Ankara’s top diplomat said today. “Ukraine made an offer on the collective security agreement: P5 (the UN Security Council’s five permanent members), Turkey and Germany. The Russian Federation has no objection,” Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a visit to the Ukrainian city of Lviv. The five permanent UN Security Council members are China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States. AFP
Thousands more refugees crossed into Eastern Europe on Thursday, many hoping that ongoing peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv may end the war soon, though more people were expected to flee in the days ahead. As the war in Ukraine entered its fourth week, about 3.2 million have fled abroad, United Nations data showed on Thursday in what has become Europe’s fastest growing refugee crisis since World War Two. READ MORE
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has not altered his stance that his country’s borders must be recognised as the frontiers it had at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, an aide said today. The comments by political adviser Oleksiy Arestovych appeared designed to douse any talk of Zelenskyy allowing border changes to secure a deal with Russia to end its invasion of its neighbour. Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and Russia has recognised declarations of independence by the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbass area of eastern Ukraine, which rose up against Kyiv’s rule. Those two regions and Crimea were part of Ukraine when it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and continue to be recognised by the United Nations as part of Ukraine. Zelenskyy has said repeatedly that he will not compromise on his country’s “territorial integrity.” REUTERS
They’re pouring out vodka, boycotting Russian restaurants and even leaving threatening voicemail messages at Russian businesses. Angered by the deadly violence and the humanitarian crisis resulting from Russia’s war on Ukraine, some Americans are taking it out on Russian businesses and brands in the US or anything that sounds Russian. Business owners and experts say it is the most intense anti-Russian sentiment they have seen. They also call the behaviour irrational and misplaced, especially when so many owners are denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion and supporting Ukraine, not to mention the fact that some are not even Russian. AP
US President Joe Biden will hold a call tomorrow with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the White House said today, as the United States piles pressure on China not to provide support to Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. “The two leaders will discuss managing the competition between our two countries as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern,” as part of an ongoing effort to keep lines of communication open, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. The call comes after White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan held seven hours of talks in Rome with Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi on Monday, warning Beijing not to support Russian President Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Ukraine. Asked which side requested the call, an administration official said it was mutually agreed in Rome. US officials described those talks as “tough” and are still debating how to react if Xi gives Putin military or economic support. REUTERS
At least 21 people were killed and 25 injured on Thursday when Russian forces shelled a town in eastern Ukraine, local prosecutors said. Artillery fire early Thursday hit a school and a cultural centre in the town of Merefa outside the city of Kharkiv, regional prosecutors said in a post on Facebook. Of the wounded, 10 people are in serious condition. AFP
(Firemen work to extinguish a blaze at an educational institution hit by shelling at Merefa, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on Thursday. Image: Handout/State Emergency Service of Ukraine/AFP)
A Russian-European mission to land a rover on Mars has been suspended due to the sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and its “tragic consequences”, the European Space Agency said today. “We deeply deplore the human casualties and tragic consequences of the aggression towards Ukraine,” the agency said as it confirmed the suspension of the ExoMars mission. Moscow, meanwhile, called the decision by the ESA “bitter”. Russia’s space agency head said Moscow regretted the decision. AFP
VIDEO: Ukrainian rescuers search wreckage of #Kyiv building hit by air strike
Emergency services search for survivors on Thursday amid the wreckage of a building hit by a Russian air strike the previous day near Kyiv city centre (NO SOUND) pic.twitter.com/ssoyFE2Sgr
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 17, 2022
In an emotional video adrress to Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the country on Thursday to help destroy a new “Wall” Russia was erecting in Europe. He said Ukraine’s president was building a new Cold War wall across Europe “between freedom and bondage”, after his government accused Russia of bombing a theatre sheltering civilians and marked with the word “children”. AFP
Uzbekistan, a central Asian republic with close ties to Russia, called today for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict in Ukraine and said it would not recognise Moscow-backed separatist statelets. In the strongest anti-war statement to come from Russia’s former Soviet allies so far, Uzbek foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov told parliament that while Tashkent wanted to maintain good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv, it opposed the war. Uzbekistan’s economy relies heavily on exports to Russia as well as remittances from Uzbeks working in Russia. It became an observer in a Russia-led economic bloc in 2020, although it has stayed out of a similar post-Soviet military bloc. None of Russia’s other central Asian allies that were in the old Moscow-dominated Soviet Union has backed the invasion either, although they have been less straightforward in speaking against it. REUTERS
Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days and they continue to suffer heavy losses, the UK’s ministry of defence said today. In its latest defence intelligence update posted on social media, the ministry said while the Russian invasion had largely stalled, the Ukrainian resistance remained well-coordinated. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled on all fronts, the intelligence update reads. The vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remains in Ukrainian hands, it adds. It comes a day after an extraordinary meeting of defence ministers was called in Brussels by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) secretary general Jens Stoltenberg in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. PTI
In a press conference on Thursday, the ministry of external affairs said ‘Operation Ganga’ was not over and the Centre was still trying to get Indians out of the warzone if they were willing to return. Operation Ganga was started as a rescue operation to bring stranded Indian citizens, including students, after Russia launched its offensive against Ukraine.
Ukrainian authorities struggled to determine the fate of hundreds of civilians sheltering in a theatre smashed by a Russian airstrike in the besieged city of Mariupol as officials said Russian artillery Thursday destroyed more civilian buildings in another frontline city. AP
According to a report by Reuters, the Kremlin on Thursday said Russia was putting colossal energy into talks on a possible peace deal with Ukraine that could swiftly stop the Russian military operation there. “Our delegation is putting in colossal effort and demonstrates more readiness towards them than the other side,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Agreeing such a document, the observance of all its parameters and their implementation could very quickly stop what is happening.” Asked about a Financial Times report that Ukraine and Russia had made significant progress on a tentative peace plan, Peskov said: “It is not right – there are elements there that are right but on the whole it is incorrect.” The Kremlin, he said, would announce progress when there was progress to report.
In a briefing on the impact of the Ukraine war, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said the fallout from Ukraine war could cut global growth by over one percentage point in the first year after Russian invasion, reported news agency AFP. Meanwhile, the IfW economic institute also said the Ukraine war could alomost halve Germany’s 2022 growth to 2.1 per cent. According to a report by the Associated Press, Russia’s war in Ukraine will disrupt commerce and clog up supply chains, slashing economic growth and pushing prices sharply higher around the globe, in a warning by the OECD. The 38-country organisation said over the next year, the conflict would reduce gross domestic product the broadest measure of economic output by 1.08 per cent worldwide, by 1.4 per cent in the 19 European countries that share the euro currency and by 0.88 per cent in the United States.
According to news agency AFP, the Kremlin on Thursday rejected an order by the UN’s top court for Russia to suspend the military offensive in Ukraine, a day after judges in The Hague announced their ruling. “We cannot take this decision into account,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. He added that both parties — Russia and Ukraine — had to agree for the ruling to be implemented. “No consent can be obtained in this case,” Peskov said.
Russian forces dropped a powerful bomb on a theatre in the encircled Ukrainian port city of Mariupol where hundreds of civilians were sheltering on Wednesday, Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Thursday said. The ministry said many people were trapped in the theatre and accused Russia of committing a war crime. It said the number of casualties was not yet known. Reuters could not independently verify the information.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, US President Joe Biden lambasted the Russian leadership and called Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” for “inflicting appalling devastation and horror on Ukraine” as Moscow continued to shell Ukrainian cities.
“Putin is inflicting appalling devastation and horror on Ukraine — bombing apartment buildings and maternity wards. Yesterday, we saw reports that Russian forces were holding hundreds of doctors and patients hostage. These are atrocities. It is an outrage to the world. The world is united in our support for Ukraine — and in our determination to make Putin pay a very heavy price for attacking Ukraine,” Biden said.
“America is leading this effort — together with our allies and partners — providing enormous levels of security and humanitarian assistance,” he asserted, as he formally announced his administration was sending an additional USD 800 million in military assistance to Ukraine.
Russia denies targeting civilians. In Moscow, the defence ministry said its forces had not struck the building and instead accused the Azov Battalion, a far-right Ukrainian militia, of blowing it up, RIA news agency said.
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