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Archive for February 16, 2022

Newsline: Taliban delegation holds talks with EU, US diplomats in Doha

Representatives of the European Union and the United States have met Taliban members as the group seeks to unlock fundings to tackle Afghanistan’s dire humanitarian crisis. The Afghan delegation led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Wednesday held the second day of talks with diplomats from 16 European countries in the Qatari capital, Doha. “All participants pledged to make all possible efforts for the overall well-being of the Afghan people,” read a statement issued by the Taliban, adding that the international community is ready to take “effective steps in the field of humanitarian assistance”. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/16/taliban-meets-with-eu-us-in-bid-to-unlock-funds-for-afghanistan) The statements though did not provide any specific details about the steps to be taken by the international community.

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Newsline: Russian diplomats use sarcasm as weapon in Ukraine crisis

As the U.S. and other NATO members warn of the potential for a devastating war, Russia is not countering with bombs or olive branches — but with sarcasm. “Wars in Europe rarely start on a Wednesday.” That’s how a top Russian diplomat brushed off speculation in the West that Russia could invade neighboring Ukraine as soon as Wednesday, Feb. 16. As worries mushroomed that Wednesday could be the day President Vladimir Putin launches an invasion of Ukraine, Russian officials ridiculed them. In a Facebook post, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova asked the “mass media of disinformation” in the West “to reveal the schedule of our ‘invasions’ for the upcoming year. I’d like to plan my vacations.” (https://www.wsls.com/news/world/2022/02/16/how-russia-uses-sarcasm-as-weapon-in-ukraine-crisis/) Sarcasm is a tool that officials in Moscow have long used to belittle their rivals and to deflect attention from actions seen as threatening to the West or Russia’s neighbors. Laconic quips dovetail with the Kremlin’s domestic agenda by making Russia and its all-powerful president look more cool-headed and clever than countries in the panicky, democratic West.

Newsline: UK ambassador in Kiev Melinda Simmons issues ‘red’ warning to Britons to leave

The UK ambassador in Kiev has issued British nationals in Ukraine a “red” warning and told them to leave immediately. Ms Simmons said: “We have been reaching out to British nationals who have signed up for our alerts, and those that haven’t, to help them work out how to leave the country, which is now our advice since we changed our travel advice to red. “We’re still advising British nationals to leave the country as soon as they can.” (https://news.yahoo.com/uk-ambassador-kiev-melinda-simmons-100145220.html) Melinda Simmons said staff at the embassy in the Ukrainian capital were helping UK citizens flee the country as a Russian invasion looms. Ms Simmons has vowed to remain in Kiev with her core team of diplomats while British nationals scramble to get flights home.

Newsline: Russian diplomat tells West to see doctor for ‘paranoia’ over Ukraine

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday told western leaders they should see a doctor for their “paranoia” over fears that the 100,000 or so Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s borders might invade. “I think they need to have a good doctor, I recommend them to do it. Specialist on such paranoia cases,” said Dmitry Polyanskiy, denying that Russia intended to attack its neighbor, a former Soviet state. “Our troops are on our territory, (they) represent (a) threat to no one,” he told reporters. (https://news.yahoo.com/russian-diplomat-tells-west-see-210254814.html) The United States on Tuesday demanded that Moscow show proof of a “de-escalation” after Russia said some of its forces had been withdrawn from the border.

Newsline: Ukraine’s ambassador to UK clarifies NATO remarks

Ukraine’s ambassador to Britain clarified earlier remarks about possibly dropping a bid for NATO membership, saying that the former Soviet republic would not be reconsidering its attempt to join the military alliance. Asked whether or not Ukraine might reconsider its ambitions to join NATO, Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko told the BBC in English: “No this is not and I am quite happy that I have this chance to clarify my position.” (https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukrainian-ambassador-uk-clarifies-nato-remarks-2022-02-14/) Prystaiko said the earlier BBC report was the result of a misunderstanding. Asked again if Ukraine was shifting its bid to become a NATO member, he said: “No.”