Global Review – 1st March

60 km-long Russian convoy advances towards Kiev

A convoy of Russian military vehicles at the gates of the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Day 6 of invasion is now over 60 kilometers long, according to the latest satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies. The vast convoy of armoured vehicles, tanks, artillery and support vehicles was 25 kilometers from the centre of the city. The convoy extends from Antonov Air Base, north of Pribyrsk. Yesterday’s negotiations with Russia, on the border between Belarus and Ukraine, led to “heavier air strikes” against Kiev, Ukrainian parliamentarian Kira Rudik told CNN, adding: “We expect there will be a siege” of the capital.”

Meanwhile, Russian forces have arrived at the gates of Kherson, in the south of the country, according to the city mayor.

Russia bombs Kharkiv…   

Russian forces bombarded a residential area in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv with rockets on Monday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 31 others. A Russian ballistic missile attack destroyed three residential buildings in Kiev Oblast. President Volodymir Zelensky said there were no military targets in the areas under attack and called it “a war-crime”. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova described the situation in Kharkiv as “hellish”. The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor says he wants to investigate Russia for possible war crimes.

… and intensifies Kyiv assault

As talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials ended early Monday evening, CNN reporters in Kyiv heard several large detonations, followed by sirens going off across the city. Footage from Kyiv showed an explosion as sirens went off signaling an air raid. The images showed the night sky lit up in orange from fire and smoke, but it’s unclear where exactly the explosion occurred and whom it targeted. A Ukrainian military base is on fire near Kiev after an air attack launched last night by Russian forces.

400 mercenaries ready to kill Zelensky

London’s The Times says over 400 Russian mercenaries, close to the Kremlin, have been in Ukraine for five weeks and are tasked with killing Ukrainian President Zelensky. The mercenaries, of the Wagner group forces, would have arrived from Africa and are in Kiev with the sole mission of killing the Ukrainian head of state.

Americans should not fear nuclear war with Russia – Biden

President Biden said Monday that Americans should not fear Russia’s invasion of Ukraine developing into a global nuclear war despite Moscow putting its nuclear forces on high alert following harsh US sanctions. “Should Americans be worried about nuclear war?” a reporter asked the president following a Black History Month event at the White House. “No,” Biden replied.

Von der Leyen to Russia: ‘Withdraw troops immediately’

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has asked Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine immediately. In a tweet, she said, “We are closely coordinating the international response to the invasion of Ukraine with US President Joe Biden, the European Union, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and other leaders. We continue to stand by our side of Ukraine with immediate and effective support. We ask Russia to immediately withdraw its troops.”

Calls for immediate talks on Ukrainian EU membership

The presidents of eight central and eastern European nations have called on EU member states to immediately grant Ukraine an EU candidate country status and open membership talks according to an open letter published on Monday. “We, the Presidents of the EU member states: the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, the Slovak Republic, and the Republic of Slovenia strongly believe that Ukraine deserves receiving an immediate EU accession perspective,” the letter said.

Russia under fire at UN Asembly

Russia has been heavily criticised at an emergency special session of the UN General Assembly – the 11th held in the United Nations’ 77-year history – debating a resolution condemning Moscow’s “unprovoked armed aggression”. UN Secretary Generali Antonio Guterres said there were credible accounts of residential buildings and civilian infrstructure sustaining heavy damage. “If Ukraine does not survive, the United Nations will not survive. Have no illusions,” Ukraine’s UN ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said. The Russian envoy said his country had been subjected to “dirty lies”. A vote on the non-binding resolution is expected tomorrow.

US expels 12 Russian UN diplomats

The United States has ordered the expulsion of 12 diplomats from Russia’s Mission to the United Nations for engaging in “espionage activities” that are harmful to US national security. Russia’s ambassador in Washington described the expulsion as a “hostile move”. The diplomats must leave by March 7.

Putin lays out conditions for ending invasion

In a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin laid out conditions for ending his invasion of Ukraine, as Moscow’s forces shelled the country’s second city and Western nations prepared even more sanctions. Putin laid out his prerequisites for ending the war. “Putin stressed that a settlement is possible only if Russia’s legitimate security interests are unconditionally taken into account, including the recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, the demilitarisation and denasification of the Ukrainian state and ensuring its neutral status,” the Kremlin said.

Russia-Ukraine peace talks end with no resolution

The first round of high-stakes peace talks between Russia and Ukraine ended Monday with no clear resolution after the Ukrainian president’s office called for an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of Russian forces. Officials from both countries held the “difficult” face-to-face talks at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border as Moscow’s assault entered its fifth day. The head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, said the delegations had agreed to continue the discussions in the coming days. The talks ended as Zelensky officially signed an application for Ukraine to join the European Union.

FIFA and UEFA suspend Russia from all competitions

FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia’s national and club teams from all competitions until further notice due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the bodies said in a joint statement on Monday. “Football is in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace,” the statement read. That means Russia is expelled from this year’s World Cup. The men’s team had been due to play in qualifying play-offs in March for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, while its women’s side had qualified for the European Championship in England, to be held in July.

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