Biden warns Putin over using nuclear weapons in Ukraine
US President Joe Biden has warned Russian President Vladmir Putin about using nuclear or chemical weapons in the war in Ukraine. “Don’t do it, don’t do it. If you did, the face of war would change,” Biden said in an interview with ‘60 Minutes’, excerpts of which were released. The US president did not go into details of what the American response could be but only said: “It would be consequential”. If the Kremlin decides to use chemical or nuclear weapons it would become “even more pariah in the world”, he said.
‘Mass grave in Izium shows signs of torture’ – Ukraine
Bodies exhumed from a mass grave site near the easter Ukrainian town of Izium “showed signs of violent death”, a Ukrainian official said on Friday in what President Zelensky called ‘proof of war crimes by Russian forces’. Oleg Synegubov, head of Kharkiv regional administration, said on social media, “Among the bodies that were exhumed, 99 percent showed signs of violent death. There are several bodies with their hands tied behind their backs, and one person is buried with a rope around his neck.” He added: “Obviously, these people were tortured and executed.”
Modi admonishes Putin
The discovery of the Izium mass grave came as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi put pressure on President Putin to end Russia’s war in Ukraine. In a rare moment of confrontation for the Russian president, as the two met in Uzbekistan’s capital, Samarkand, on Friday, Modi said he had “spoken to you on the phone” about the need to end the war. “I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Modi told Putin. Hearing the remarks, Putin pursed his lips, glanced at the Indian prime minister then looked down at his notes.
Zelensky set to address UN General Assembly
UN member states voted Friday to make an exception to allow Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to address next week’s General Assembly by video, despite Russian opposition. Of the 193 member states, 101 voted in favour of allowing Zelensky to “present a pre-recorded statement” instead of in-person as usually required. Seven members voted against the proposal, including Russia, while 19states abstained. From Tuesday, some 150 heads of state and government are due to take to the podium to address the General Assembly.
Kremlin rejects swapping ammonia exports for POWs
President Zelensky said on Friday he would only support the idea of reopening Russian ammonia exports through Ukraine if Moscow handed Ukrainian prisoners of war back to Kyiv, an idea the Kremlin quickly rejected.. In an interview, Zelensky told Reuters he had proposed the arrangement to the United Nations, which has suggested resuming Russian ammonia across Ukraine to ease a global shortage of fertiliser. Ammonia is a key ingredient in the manufacture of nitrate fertiliser, which farmers including wheat producers need when they sow crops in autumn and spring, for good yields and protein content. A steep rise in European gas prices has triggered a global shortage of nitrogen fertiliser. The Russian fertiliser industry estimates that up to 70% of European ammonia plants have suspended or reduced production. The United Nations has proposed that ammonia gas owned by Russian fertiliser producer Uralchem be pumped by pipeline to the Ukrainian border, where it would be bought by the US-based commodities trader Trammo.
King Charles and siblings hold vigil by Queen’s coffin
King Charles III and his three siblings stood guard around their mother Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Friday in solemn vigil honouring Britain’s longest-serving monarch. The new king, Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward mounted the guard in silence around her flag-shrouded casket as members of the public, who had queued for hours, continued to file past. The “Vigil of the Princes”, with the royals all in ceremonial naval uniform, formed an emotionally-charged moment in London’s mediaeval Westminster Hall, where Queen Elizabeth’s coffin is lying in state ahead of Monday’s funeral. Her children stood with their heads bowed for 12 minutes as other members of the royal family, including Queen Consort Camilla, watched on and the public paid their own last respects.
Harry to wear uniform at wake
Meanwhile, the court has confirmed that Prince Charles had authorised that Prince Harry would be able to return to wearing the military high uniform tomorrow in a waking moment at the coffin of Queen Elizabeth, his grandmother, who will see him protagonist tomorrow night at Westminster Hall next to his older brother William. Harry was last seen in uniform in early 2020. And according to the media, he never willingly accepted that he could no longer wear it – as established while Elizabeth II was still alive – despite the fact that he had served at the front in the armed forces, in two different periods in Afghanistan.
Charles’s conciliatory gesture will manifest itself today, when his second son will participate with William (by now heir to the throne) in a vigil entrusted to eight grandchildren of the deceased sovereign: in addition to the two brothers, also Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall (children of the Princess Anna); Beatrice and Eugenie of York (daughters of Prince Andrew); and Lady Louise Windsor and James of Severn (sons of Prince Edward). The exception to the wearing of the uniform granted to the Duke of Sussex, comes after the one already granted (albeit without formal announcements) to Prince Andrew, Elizabeth’s third son and veteran of the Falklands war, after having been deprived in turn of the right to exhibit military rankings for a much more serious affair with the deceased American pedophile fixer Jeffrey Epstein, a partner of numerous VIPs on both the sides of the ocean, and his suspected involvement in sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl at the time.
Charles, Camilla cheered by Cardiff crowd
Large crowds cheered King Charles and chanted “God Save the King” in the Welsh capital Cardiff earlier on Friday, as the new monarch shook hands with well-wishers following a multi-faith service in Llandaff Cathedral, and at Cardiff Castle. It was the last of his visits to the United Kingdom’s four constituent nations following the death of Queen Elizabeth. Charles met in private with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, an avowed republican. In a speech at the Welsh Parliament, which alternated between English and Welsh, the king vowed to follow the “selfless example” of his mother.Before ascending to the throne on September 8, Charles, 73, had been the Prince of Wales since 1958, a title bestowed on the heir apparent. He made his eldest child William the new Prince of Wales on September 9.
Elizabeth’s death has triggered an outpouring of emotion, as tens of thousands from all backgrounds and many nations queueing for hours, often through the night, to pay their respects in Westminster Hall. The queue was paused for nearly an hour on Friday after a park at the end of the line along the River Thames reached capacity, the government said. Officials also warned of cold overnight temperatures and another pause if the line reached capacity. David Beckham, the former England football captain, queued from 2:00am to pay his last respects. Beckham, 47, wearing a dark suit and tie, stood with his hands behind his back, bowed his head towards the catafalque, then bit his lip before leaving Westminster Hall.
Iranian woman dies after morality police arrest
A young Iranian woman who fell into a coma after being arrested in Tehran by the notorious morality police died on Friday, state media and her family said, with activists urging those responsible for her “suspicious” death be brought to justice. Mahsa Amini, 22, was on a visit with her family to the Iranian capital when she was detained on Tuesday by the police unit responsible for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women, which includes the compulsory wearing of the headscarf in public. ‘1500tavsir’ TV channel, which monitors violations in Iran, said she had suffered a blow to the head.