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Archive for March 11, 2022

Newsline: Turkey moving Kyiv embassy to Chernivtsi

Turkey is moving its embassy in Kyiv to the city of Chernivtsi amid reports of a planned Russian assault on the Ukrainian capital, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanju Bilgic was quoted as saying by state media on Friday. (https://news.yahoo.com/turkey-moving-kyiv-embassy-chernivtsi-145349381.html) NATO member Turkey, which has a maritime border with Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea and has good ties with both, was among the last countries still operating its diplomatic missions in Ukraine. Ankara has been working to evacuate its citizens stranded by the fighting across Ukraine.

Newsline: EU top diplomat says Iran nuclear talks “paused” over Russia’s sanctions demands

Nuclear talks in Vienna between Iran and the world powers were officially “paused” on Friday, with no clear timetable for renewing them, according to the European Union’s top diplomat. Although a draft agreement is practically ready, Russia’s new demands that sanctions imposed over Ukraine won’t limit Moscow’s ability to conduct trade with Iran have dramatically complicated the situation. “A pause in Vienna talks is needed, due to external factors. A final text is essentially ready and on the table,” tweeted EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is the coordinator of the talks. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-nuclear-talks-paused-over-105549617.html) Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tweeted: “Pause in Vienna Talks could be a momentum for resolving any remaining issue and a final return.” “Successful conclusion of talks will be the main focus of all. No external factor will affect our joint will to go forward for a collective agreement.” Borrell said he will continue to be in touch with Iran, the U.S. and the world powers participating in the talks to overcome the current situation and close the agreement.

Newsline: Ukraine’s Top Diplomat Says Russian Talks Fruitless So Far

Ukraine’s top diplomat pushed back on the suggestion of “positive movement” in talks with Russia cited earlier by President Vladimir Putin, saying there’s been “zero progress.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ukraine-russia-directs-strikes-cities-081934526.html) About 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country, with a majority crossing over to Poland. Two cities in western Ukraine, far from the site of fighting to date, were hit by airstrikes overnight. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it destroyed airfields at Ivano-Frankivsk and Lutsk via long-distance strikes. The Associated Press reported that new satellite photos appear to show a massive Russian military convoy outside Kyiv has scattered into nearby towns and forests. The EU has proposed to double the size of its European Peace Facility, which provides weapons to Ukraine. It also disbursed 300 million euros in macro-financial aid, with more to come. The U.S. will ban imports of Russian caviar and vodka in its latest effort to pressure the Kremlin.

Newsline: Ukraine’s Ambassador Urges Israel to Step up Support and Sanction Russia

Ukraine’s ambassador urged Israel on Friday to step up its support for Ukraine by sanctioning Moscow, accepting more Ukrainian refugees and sending defence equipment. Israel has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sent humanitarian aid, but has maintained contacts with Moscow, with which it coordinates strikes in Syria and which has influence in international nuclear talks with Iran. In a briefing, Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk told reporters in Tel Aviv that Israel did not have “exclusivity” in the mediation process, adding: “Saying that ‘we are mediators, that’s why we have to be neutral to both parties’ – that’s not the name of the game.” “What we expect from Israel at the moment, the government, (is) to join the sanctions of their allies, including but not only the U.S. and European Union,” he said, speaking in English. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-03-11/ukraine-urges-israel-to-step-up-support-and-sanction-russia) Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 5 and has also spoken several times with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in an effort to mediate between the sides.

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Newsline: Twitter Deletes Tweets From Russian Embassies

Russian embassies around the world have spent the past day on Twitter and Instagram harassing a pregnant Ukrainian woman who appeared in photos published around the world after she was injured in an attack by the Russian military on Wednesday. The woman was in a maternity ward when it was shelled by Russian forces, something the Russian government denies. In fact, the Russian government has even started to spread conspiracy theories that the pregnant woman was part of a false flag attack. The Russian embassy in London tweeted photos of the aftermath with the word “FAKE” over it, claiming that the maternity hospital was “non-operational” and actually housed “neo-Nazi” soldiers from the Azov Battalion. Ukraine denies staging anything and said the attack on the hospital was an act of genocide. A second tweet by the Russian embassy on Thursday said that the pregnant victim was “played” by a beauty blogger. Believe it or not, beauty bloggers also get pregnant and need to go to maternity hospitals for care. The conspiracy theory tweets by the Russian embassy helped spur harassment of the woman on Instagram. (https://gizmodo.com/twitter-deletes-tweets-from-russian-propaganda-channels-1848638433) Both tweets by the Russian embassy in the UK have been deleted by Twitter for spreading misinformation.

Newsline: Diplomats say U.N. Security Council to convene on Friday at Russia’s request

The United Nations Security Council will convene on Friday at Russia’s request, diplomats said, to discuss Moscow’s claims, presented without evidence, of U.S. “biological activities” in Ukraine, a move Washington described as gaslighting. The meeting is expected to be in the morning. “Russian Mission asked for a meeting of #SecurityCouncil for 11 March to discuss the military biological activities of the US on the territory of #Ukraine,” Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations said in a tweet. (https://news.yahoo.com/u-n-security-council-convene-040721013.html) The United States on Wednesday denied renewed Russian accusations that Washington was operating biological warfare labs in Ukraine, calling the claims “laughable” and suggesting Moscow may be laying the groundwork to use a chemical or biological weapon.

Newsline: US ambassador to UN says Russia’s actions in Ukraine ‘constitute war crimes’

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Thursday that actions committed by Russia against the Ukrainian people constitute war crimes, marking the first time a senior US official has directly accused Moscow of war crimes since last month’s attack on Ukraine began. “They constitute war crimes; there are attacks on civilians that cannot be justified by any — in any way whatsoever,” she said in an interview with BBC “Newshour” on Thursday. (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/10/politics/thomas-greenfield-russia-war-crimes/index.html) Other Biden administration officials have not gone as far as to declare outright that Russia has committed war crimes — violations of international laws of armed conflict — and instead have pointed to “credible reports” that such crimes have been carried out and their support for investigations into Moscow’s actions. Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday referenced “atrocities” committed by the Russians and said that the UN should investigate the allegations of Russian war crimes.

Newsline: Ukraine envoy to Japan says Putin may be willing to use nuclear weapons

The Ukrainian ambassador to Japan, Sergiy Korsunsky, said on Friday it was possible Russian President Vladimir Putin would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine in the face of its determined resistance against the Russian invasion. “We will fight until the end, we are not going to live in a Russia-managed state.” Korsunsky told Reuters in an interview. “There is no reason to believe that he (Putin) can threaten us, as he thinks, to the state that we will overthrow our government and we will embrace Russia after what they have done to us. No way. Therefore he may use nuclear weapons.” Korsunsky said that Ukraine was relying on its allies to help avoid any kind of escalation. “We try to work with our partners, major nuclear powers who know how to monitor the situation on nuclear weapons, and which can help us not to allow this to happen,” he said. (https://www.investing.com/news/world-news/ukraine-envoy-to-japan-says-putin-may-be-willing-to-use-nuclear-weapons-2782750) Putin has not directly threatened to use nuclear arms. But while announcing the military operation in Ukraine last month, he said after referring to Russia’s powerful nuclear arsenal: “Whoever tries to hinder us… should know that Russia’s response will be immediate. And it will lead you to such consequences that you have never encountered in your history.” Late last month, Putin ordered his military command to put Russia’s deterrence forces – which include nuclear arms – on high alert, citing what he called aggressive statements by NATO leaders and Western economic sanctions against Moscow.