US asks China to condemn ‘Russian aggression’ in Ukraine
On the sidelines of the Bali G20 meeting, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken asked his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to condemn Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine. “I said again that we are concerned about the alignment of the People’s Republic of China with Russia,” Blinken reported after the summit. “This is really the time we all have to stand up, as one G20 country after another has done, to condemn the aggression and demand, among other things, that Russia allow access to food stuck in Ukraine,” he added. On Ukraine, at the moment, Beijing continues to be silent, although it does not appear to have ever supplied Russia with weapons to support the invasion.
On Taiwan, Blinken speaks of “Beijing’s increasingly provocative rhetoric and activities”, referring among other things to the incursion of nine Chinese army aircraft into the island’s “aerial identification zone” in the past few hours. Beijing does not yield at all, and orders Washington not to hinder “peaceful reunification” with the island, which it considers an “inalienable” part of its territory.“Since the United States has promised to support Taiwan’s independence, it should stop emptying and distorting the policy of the One China”, Wang said in a statement. Beyond the usual skirmishes, both countries believe that the conversation had been constructive.
Lavrov leaves G20 meeting as there is talk of Ukraine
Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov walked out of the G20 meeting after declaring that “the Russian invasion of Ukraine is not the cause of a global food crisis and that the sanctions designed to isolate Russia amounted to a declaration of war”. He added, “If the West does not want talks to take place, but wants Ukraine to defeat Russia on the battlefield, as both views have been expressed, then, perhaps, there is nothing to talk about with the West.”
Four million people evacuated due to Nanmadol
Over four million people have been evacuated to the Japanese main land following the arrival of Typhoon Nanmadol. The alarm, at level 4 on a maximum alert scale of 5, concerns almost two million households in various locations in the Kyushu region, southwest of the archipelago, where torrential rains, violent storm surges and gusts of wind up to 250 kms per hour. The National Meteorological Agency expects 600mm of rain in the next 24 hours.
Pope’s envoy to Ukraine involved in a shooting
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, Pope Francis’ envoy to Ukraine, was involved in a shooting after boarding an aid bus with two bishops, according to ‘Vatican News’. During one of the stages, the group was hit by gunshots and the cardinal, together with the others, managed to get to safety. “For the first time in my life, I didn’t know where to escape,” the cardinal said from Zaporizhzhia, confirming that he was well. Cardinal Krajewski is the prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity and is on his fourth mission in Ukraine. After having loaded the minibus with aid, he went forward, he said, to where “no one enters beyond the soldiers because the shots are getting thicker”. Krajewski sent a message of reassurance on his condition after the attack on the convoy he led to bring aid to the front line: “We are alive”. The message was accompanied by the image of the flag of Ukraine, that of a flower, and a series of photographs of the cardinal distributing aid to local people. Krajweski is Francis’ “arm of charity”. He personally takes care of bringing aid and even risking his life.
Zelensky asks US for more powerful weapons
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is putting pressure on President Joe Biden to have the United States supply Kiev with a new and a more powerful weapon, namely a missile system with a range of 305.7 kilometres, capable of reaching Russia. ‘The New York Times’ notes that Zelensky has assured the Americans that he does not intend to hit Russian cities or civilian targets. Biden, however, is opposing the request. “We are trying to avoid the Third World War,” the American president repeatedto his collaborators. Kiev has also asked for new weapons from the EU to help people in the territories occupied by the Russians. “We urgently need them to free them and save their lives.”
‘Nuclear weapons? Read our doctrine’ – Kremlin
“Read the doctrine, it’s all written there,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when answering a question about the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons in the conflict in Ukraine. He was reacting to US President Joe Biden’s warning to President Putin, asking him “not to”. ‘Ria Novosti’ reports Peskov saying the Moscow doctrine provides, among other things, the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation that jeopardises “the existence” but also “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state”.
‘France to stop electricity in Italy’
‘La Repubblica’ reports Italy could be forced to do without French electricity for a couple of years, from which the country imports 5% of its annual needs. The influential daily refered to a communication issued by Edf, the French electricity giant, to the operators of the Italian network and to the Ministry of Ecological Transition. The problem had already been known for months, and the ministry technicians was working on all scenarios. The possible stop to import French energy could have “negative” consequences on the stability of the grid and on the supply mix, with the risk that more gas or coal might be needed to fill the deficit caused by the French, whose nuclear park – with 32 reactors out of 56 shutdowns – is in half service for maintenance work. Meanwhile, Paris and Berlin are joining forces on a ‘Franco-German energy solidarity’ campaign with Paris supplying gas to the Germans and Berlin giving electricity to the French, according to an agreement announced by the President Macron.
‘Elizabeth II, one woman in a world of men’ – Queent consort
Queen consort Camilla paid homage to Elizabeth II by defining her as a “lonely woman” who had to “carve out her role” in a world dominated by men and recalling the memory of “big blue eyes” and the “unforgettable” smile of the late British sovereign. “It must have been so hard for her to be a single woman. There were no prime ministers or female presidents. She was the only one, so I think she has carved out her own role,” she said in her first speech since the death of Elizabeth II. The speech will be broadcast in full tonight by the BBC, before a minute’s silence observed from all over the United Kingdom at 7 pm local time (8 pm in Malta).
Queen’s grandchildren mount vigil around coffin
Queen Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren mounted a vigil around her coffin on Saturday, their heads bowed in silence as a line of mourners streamed past the late monarch’s lying-in state. The two sons of King Charles III, attired in military uniforms, stood in silence at a 15-minute vigil in the vast Westminster Hall where the coffin has been lying since Wednesday, draped in the Royal Standard and with the bejewelled Imperial State Crown on top. Princes William and Harry were joined by their six cousins, including Princess Beatrice and Eugenie who earlier paid tribute to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. “You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through this world,” said the sisters, daughters of Prince Andrew. “You taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever. For now dear grannie, all we want to say is thank you.” Earlier Saturday, Charles and his heir, William, made a surprise visit to meet people standing in line to pay their respects to the late monarch. The ruler shook hands and chatted with the people, who queued all night. Charles stopped for a few minutes before getting back in his car and heading to Buckingham Palace, while the Prince of Wales continued to walk back the queue, shaking hands and exchanging jokes, as if to ensure that he did not forget anyone. “God save Prince Wills” was the common scream. He reciprocated by recommending to them to keep warm, apologising for the cold they had to suffer. The state funeral tomorrow, to be attended by nearly 100 presidents and heads of government including Malta’s President and Mrs George Vella.