‘Russia will eventually attack NATO countries’ – Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again appealed to the US and Western powers to declare a ‘no-fly zone’ over his country, saying that Russia would eventually target NATO countries. He spoke after a Russian missile strike on a Ukrainian military base close to Polish border which killed 35 people and injured 135, and which, according to Ukrainian authorities, “also affected several foreigners”. On the umpteenth dramatic day for Ukraine, with dozens of raids in besieged cities and the killing at the gates of Kyiv of the American journalist Brent Renaud who was filming the evacuation of a group of refugees, Moscow has raised the bar yet again and taken targeting the military base of Yavoriv, a stone’s throw from the Polish border. The facility served as a crucial hub for co-operation between Ukraine and the Nato countries supporting it in its defence against Moscow’s grinding assault. Poland is also a transit route for western military aid to Ukraine, and the strikes followed Moscow’s threats to target these shipments.
If Putin used chemical weapons, NATO would intervene – Poland
Polish President Andrzej Duda has opined that Russia President Vladimir Putin could use chemical weapons, “especially right now when he is in a difficult situation”. Asked by the BBC about the possibility that this could lead to a NATO intervention, Duda replied: “Sure, we all hope he doesn’t dare. But … if he used weapons of mass destruction, this would be a complete game changer.”
‘Arms to Russia? Never heard of it’ – China
Beijing has denied a Financial Times and a Washington Times report that Russia had asked it for military equipment since its invasion of Ukraine, with its embassy In the US saying they were “very saddened by the situation”. Spokesman Liu Pengyu told the New York Post “that he had never heard” such a request, adding that “they sincerely hoped that the situation would ease and peace would return soon”. China’s priority, he said, was “to prevent the tense situation in Ukraine from getting out of control”. US National Security advisor Jake Sullivan will be in Rome today to meet with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi, the White House said earlier. Reuters points out that Russia and China have tightened cooperation as they have come under strong Western pressure over human rights and a raft of other issues. Beijing has not condemned Russia’s attack and does not call it an invasion, but has urged a negotiated solution.
596 civilians killed
Since Russia’s invasion more than two weeks ago, at least 596 civilians have been killed, according to the UN, although it believes the true toll is much higher. Millions more have fled their homes amid the largest land conflict in Europe since the Second World War. Many civilians have been caught in the barrage, and Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said on Sunday that at least 85 children had been killed.
‘In the name of God, stop this massacre’
Pope Francis made yet another heartfelt appeal during the Angelus during which he dedicated strong words against the war in Ukraine. “In the face of the barbarism of the killing of children, innocent people and defenseless civilians, there are no strategic reasons that hold, there is only to stop the unacceptable armed aggression before it reduces cities to cemeteries,” the Pope said. “God is only the God of peace, he is not the God of war and those who support violence profane His name. Now we pray in silence for those who suffer and for God to convert hearts to a firm will for peace.”
Ukraine-Russia peace talks could resume today
A fourth round of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, which Zelensky described as “complicated and difficult”, could come as soon as today. An advisor to Zelensky told the Russian publication ‘Kommersant’, Ukraine was working with Israel and Turkey to hammer out the topics of discussion and where the talks could be held.
Mariupol heading towards ‘worst-case scenario’ – Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross warned on Sunday that Mariupol was headed towards a “worst-case scenario” if Ukraine and Russia don’t reach a humanitarian agreement on the besieged eastern Ukrainian city. The agency said hundreds of thousands of people in the city were going without food, water and medicine and that the city’s streets were scattered with dead bodies. “The human suffering is simply immense,” it said. Zelensky has told Kyiv Independent they were able to evacuate about 125,000 people using the humanitarian corridors.
Evacuation train with kids hit by deadly shelling
A train evacuating refugees, including about 100 children, was struck by Russian shelling in Ukraine on Sunday, killing a conductor and injuring another person, the country’s national railroad and a report said. The company said the train came under attack near the Brusyn station in the Donetsk region as it headed north to the city of Lyman to pick up more fleeing residents. The railroad said it was working to send another train to pick up the stranded crew and passengers, which included about 100 children.
1 million people without gas and heating
About a million people are without gas and heating due to the Russian attacks, Ukraine’s gas supplier has told The Guardian, adding they were working to repair the damage caused by the bombing and restore supplies. The bombings damaged the infrastructure of Donetsk, Luhansk and Mykolaiv. Engineers were prevented from reaching a gas distribution centre in Bashtanka due to ongoing fighting. A centre in Prybuzke was closed due to damage to equipment.
Ukraine: Kyiv, another mayor kidnapped in Dniprorudne
Kyiv Independent reports another Ukrainian mayor was kidnapped by the Russian armed forces. Yevhen Matviiv. mayor of the occupied city of Dniprorudne, is the second mayor kidnapped, after that of Melitopol.
‘The Power of the Dog’, ‘Dune’ triumph at BAFTA Awards
Dark Western “The Power of the Dog” scooped the top two honours at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, winning best film and director for Jane Campion, while sci-fi epic “Dune” picked up the most prizes. New Zealand filmmaker Campion wrapped up a successful weekend for her comeback feature film, after winning the top honours at the Directors Guild of America awards in Beverly Hills the day before. “Dune”, a mammoth adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, had lead nominations with 11 nods, mainly in the creative and technical categories. It won five awards. “Belfast”, Kenneth Brannagh’s semi-autobiographical black and white comedy drama set at the onset of Northern Ireland’s three decades of conflict, won outstanding British film. Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake won two awards, including best supporting actress for Ariana DeBose. Fresh from his win at the Screen Actors Guild awards, Troy Katsur, who is deaf, won supporting actor for “CODA”, a coming-of-age story about the only hearing member of a deaf family. An absent Will Smith won the leading actor award for playing the father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams in “King Richard”, while Joanna Scanlan won leading actress for portraying a widow who discovers her late husband’s devastating secret in “After Love”.
Oscar-winning William Hurt dead at 71
William Hurt, the Oscar-winning actor, died Sunday of natural causes. He was 71. Hurt’s death, a week before his 72nd birthday, was confirmed by his son who shares his name, according to Deadline. In the early 1980s, Hurt secured breakout roles in the steamy crime drama Body Heat and The Big Chill. He soon landed his first Oscar nomination and win for his turn as Luis Molina in 1985’s Kiss of the Spider Woman. From 1986 to 1988, Hurt scored three consecutive Academy Award nominations: for Kiss of the Spider Woman, Broadcast News and Children of a Lesser God.