Global Review – 21st March

Kyiv rejects Russian demand for Mariupol surrender

The Ukranian government has rejected a Russia demand to surrender the beseiged southern city of Mariupol, hours before a deadline set my Moscow. Early this morning, Monday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk rejected the demand said that there can be “no question” of surrender. She told Ukrainska Pravda, “We have already informed the Russian side about this.” Russia offered to give safe passage to Ukranians if they gave up their weapons. Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s National Centre for Defense Management, was quoted by Ria Novosti as saying local officials would face a “military tribunal” if they did not agree to the surrender terms. The Russian Ministry of Defence had offered to open humanitarian corridors in exchange for a surrender of the city. The offer came as Ukraine’s president alleged that Russia committed war crimes in Mariupol, where heavy fighting has now reached the centre. Zelensky said in an address to the nation on Sunday that the country wants peace and that ongoing talks with Russia are “not simple or pleasant, but they are necessary”.

Israelis outraged as Zelensky compares Ukraine to Holocaust

Israeli legislators are up in arms and have taken issue with Ukrainian president’s conjuring of Nazi atrocities. Y-net says Zelensky’s address to the Israeli Knesset on Sunday raised the ire of some lawmakers, with some going as far as accusing him of trying to rewrite history and whitewash Ukrainians’ part in the extermination of Jews. A senior government official called the comparison “outrageous”. On the other hand, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid thanked Zelensky for speaking to the Israeli parliament, without mentioning the Ukrainian president’s Holocaust comments. “We will continue to help the Ukrainian people as much as we can, and we will never turn our backs on the plight of people who go through the horrors of war.” Zelensky appealed to Israel for help in pushing back the Russian assault on his country and questioned Israel’s reluctance to sell its Iron Dome missile defence system to Ukraine.

Biden-Draghi-Macron-Scholz-Johnson call today

US President Joe Biden will have a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the afternoon. The White House said in a note they would dicuss “a coordinated response to Russia’s unjustified attack on Ukraine”. Meanwhile, it was announced that Biden will visit Poland on Friday, after having attended the NATO summit and the European Council on Ukraine in Brussels. In Warsaw, Biden will have a bilateral meeting with Polish President Andrej Duda.

‘USA will not participate in Ukraine peacekeeping missions’

The American ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has ruled out the United States from participating in a possible peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. “The president has been very clear that we will not deploy American troops in Ukraine. We do not want the situation to degenerate into a war for the US. But we will support our NATO allies,” said the diplomat in response to the issue at CNN. “We have soldiers, as you know, in NATO countries, and the president has made it clear that if there is an attack on any of our allies under Article V, we will support and defend them.”

Sirens sound in different regions of Ukraine

Anti-aircraft alarm sirens sounded in various regions of Ukraine this morning, with local media citing the regions of Lviv, Khmelnytsky, Rivne, Volin, Ternopil and ️ Lubni. And sirens sound again late Sunday evening in Kiev, where loud explosions were heard, after the attack a few hours earlier that destroyed houses and a shopping centre causing at least one death, according to the of the mayor of the city. According to local police, the village of Zabuianna, in the Bucha district of the Kiev region, was hit by an air raid and the death toll is still unclear. Air strikes were also reported in Zhytomyr, where 13 buildings were damaged and some people were injured. In Kharkiv, authorities say they have lost contact with a humanitarian convoy currently under the control of Russian forces. In Chernihiv, according to local sources reported by Ukrainska Pravda, the artillery hit a tanker full of water and killed two people. A BBC correspondent described the present scenario in the city as “a nightmare” with Russia soldiers at the centre of what is left of the city. The Russian bombardment of Mariupol has led to some of the greatest destruction ever seen in the city. As the city continues to face shelling, thousands are hiding in shelters and the dead have had to be buried in mass graves.

Kyiv says ‘women raped and killed’

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna has reiterated accusations of genocide against Russia, but also accuses that Ukrainian women have been raped and killed by Russian soldiers. Speaking to Sky News Stefanishyna reported “horrific stories” involving women, “who were raped and murdered” by military personnel from Moscow. “Every single soldier who has committed this war crime will be held accountable,” she added, adding “Ukrainian women, we will remain united and prevail”.

‘End this repugnant war – Pope

The Pope has again asked all parties in the conflict to end what he called “this repungant war”. To applauise from the faithful gathered at St Peter;s Square for the Angelus, Francis said, “Unfortunately, the violent aggression against Ukraine does not stop, a senseless massacre where havoc and atrocities are repeated every day. There is no justification for this. I beg all the actors of the international community to really commit themselves to putting an end to this repugnant war.”

10 million flee Ukraine war

At least 10 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine due to the “devastating” war in the country, the UN refugee chief said on Sunday. UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said on Twitter, that at least 10 million people in Ukraine have fled their homes due to the “devastating” war in the country and are either internally displaced or have become refugees abroad”. Meanwhile, the UN’s human rights office said Sunday more than 900 civilians have been killed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and more than 1,450 have been injured.

Russian journalist says: ‘It’s Putin’s war’

The Moscow TV editor who staged a live on-set protest of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine said Sunday that the conflict is “Putin’s war, not [the] Russian people’s war.”  Journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who ran onto the set of Russia’s main state news broadcast last week with an anti-war sign, was charged with an “administrative offense’’ and fined about $280. But now she has appeared on ABC’s “This Week’’ to tell the world that Russians do not support the war. “What we showed on our programs was very different from what was going on in reality. The propaganda on our state channels was becoming more and more distorted. The Russian people are really against the war. It’s Putin’s war, not [the] Russian people’s war.” Ovsyannikova encouraged more Russians to speak up and voice their dissent.

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