Global Review – 2nd April

‘No wheat to Europe and the US’ – Moscow

After gas supplies, now Moscow is also threatening a grain war. We will only sell food and agricultural products to friendly countries,” Russian Security Council Vice President Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Telegram. The former president and prime minister wrote, “We will only provide food and crops to our friends (luckily we have many, and they are not in Europe and North America). We will not supply our agricultural products to our enemies, from whom we will not buy anything.” According to Coldiretti, last year Italy imported about 153 million kilos of wheat from Russia for the production of bread and pasta.

Russia has become the world’s leading exporter of wheat but Italy is worried about the difficulties in spring sowing of cereals in Ukraine which, Coldiretti observed, will be practically halved on an area of ​​seven million hectares compared to 15 million before the invasion of Russia, which is also blocking shipments from the Black Sea ports”. For the EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Paolo Gentiloni, the Russian threat to cut food supplies of wheat has no consequences for Europe’s food security, but it can adversely affect prices and the worst would be the countries most in difficulty, for example in Africa, where there are famines and food security problems.

Russia ambassador on gas supplies

Russia was “ready to carry out gas supplies according to the volumes previously agreed”. Speaking during last night’s episode of ‘Quarto Grado’ on Retequattro, Russian ambassador to Italy Sergey Razov ruled out that paying in roubles represented a violation of previous contracts. Meanwhile, Italian Ecological Minister Roberto Cingolani told Tg1 the state of alarm relating to the energy crisis reported in the media was groundless. “If gas supplies were interrupted today we would not have big problems for the next warm months; we should pay attention to the winter reserves but we are working on this well in advance. Italy, with the whole of Europe, is working very closely to diversify sources, to sign contracts with other countries in a very short time to replace the approximately 29 billion cubic metres of gas that we we import every year from Russia. This is a problem of energy independence but also of national energy security”, added Cingolani

Gentiloni: we will pay Russia for gas “in euros or dollars”

European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni, has spoken of the Soviet threat to stop gas supplies if Europe did not pay in roubles. He told Tg2 Post, “We have contracts that are 97% in euros or dollars: we respect the contracts and we will pay in euros or dollars. As the hours go by, I think we understand that the Putin’s threats and ultimata are not so final. Today, the price of gas recovered after the price rebound recorded yesterday.”

Russian soldiers rigging dead bodies with explosives – Zelensky

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian soldiers of booby-trapping abandoned houses and dead bodies. In a YouTube address posted on his office’s website early Saturday, Zelensky urged Ukrainians returning to their homes to be vigilant, warning that bombings may continue and accusing Russians of mining tripwire on houses, equipment, even corpses. In his message, Zelensky continued to plead with NATO countries to step in and help them fight Russia.

From Kyiv to Odessa: night of alarms and air raids

Sirens sound again for air strikes in Ukraine last night as President Zelensky warned Russian forces were massing in the Donbass, towards Kharkiv, and preparing for even more powerful attacks. The alarm went off around 3.40 local time (2.40am in Malta) in numerous locations, including the capital Kiev and important cities such as Odessa, Lviv, Dnipropetrosk and Kharkiv. Zelensky said the Russians were withdrawing from the north of Ukraine in a slow but evident way. “Anyone who returns to this area must be very careful. It is still impossible to return to normal life, we have to wait for our land to be reclaimed and as long as it is certain that there will be no new bombings.”

Ukraine denies it attack on Russian oil depot

Ukraine has formally denied Russian accusation it attacked an oil depot in the western city of Belgorod, some 40 km from the Ukrainian border, with two helicopters wounding two people. Both Security Council Secretary and the Foreign Minister denied it. If confirmed, it would be the first time Ukraine entered Russian airspace to attack. Missiles rained on Odessa after the Ukrainian raid in Belgorod for which Kyev also denied responsibility. Russian President Vladimir Putin has subsequently held a meeting with members of his Security Council and discussed “further measures to prevent threats in the field of internal security”.

Mariupol evacutions stopped…again!

The 37th day of the war in Ukraine was also marked by yet another disappointment for Mariupol: President Zelensky, in a video released online, said, “More than 3,700 people have been ‘saved’ from the siege of Mariupol”.  According to Ukrainian reports, a convoy of 42 buses, escorted by the Red Cross, took civilians to the city of Zaporizhzhia. The International Committee of the Red Cross in the evening postponed other attempts to evacuate the civilians from the besieged and now devastated city, where tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped.

EU seeks China commitment ‘to stop the war’

The EU-China summit ended with Brussels’ request for a commitment from Beijing to stop the war. Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has presenet four proposals to resolve the war: promoting peace talks, preventing a wider humanitarian crisis, building lasting peace in Europe and Eurasia, and preventing the spread of regional conflicts. The EU has asked Beijing not to interfere in sanctions against Russia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said this was a global war and the EU expected China to take its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council and exert its influence over Russia.

Will Smith leaves Oscar Academy

Actor Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of the Oscars after slapping Chris Rock on stage in last Sunday’s awards ceremony. This was announced by Smith himself in a statement published by Variety, adding that he will accept “any further consequences that the board considers appropriate”.

Football: Senegal-Netherlands to open World Cup in Qatar

It will be Senegal-Holland to open the 2022 football world championships in Qatar. The match will be played on November 21st at the Al-Thumama stadium. The calendar will continue on the same day with England-Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium and with Qatar-Ecuador at the Al-Bayt stadium in Al-Khor. Later in the day, the match between the United States and the team that will qualify between Wales and the winner of Scotland-Ukraine is scheduled. Traditionally the opening match of the World Cup sees the host team involved but in this case the program has been changed and FIFA has not provided an explanation of the reasons for the change. The groups’ composition is as follows: Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands; Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales/Scotland/Ukraine; Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland; Group D: France, UAE/Australia/Peru, Denmark, Tunisia; Group E: Spain, Costa Rica/New Zealand, Germany, Japan; Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia; Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon; and Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea. The final takes place on December 18.

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