China ‘opposed to moves that add fuel to the fire’
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that China is opposed to any move that “throws fuel on the fire” in Ukraine. The Associated Press reports Wang called for negotiations to resolve the crisis and for negotiations to create a balanced European security mechanism. Yi further told Blinken that the United States and Europe should pay attention to the negative impact on Russia’s security of NATO expansion to the east.
Johnson sets out six-point plan to defeat Putin
Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson has issued a six-point plan in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is urging other leaders to endorse it in efforts to ensure Russia fails in its apparent attempt to take over its democratic neighbour. Ahead of a series of meetings with international leaders, Johnson said: “Putin must fail and must be seen to fail in this act of aggression. It is not enough to express our support for the rules-based international order – we must defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by military force.”
Putin threatens war on countries creating no-fly zone
A no-fly-zone would spell war for any third party who tries to enforce one over Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has said. Speaking at a meeting with female pilots on Saturday, Putin said Russia would view “any move in this direction” as an intervention that “will pose a threat to our service members… and that very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are”.
Zelensky warns of risk to European security
In a video link with 300 American parliamentarians, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a warning about the risk to European security. The country has 15 nuclear power plants and the prolonged fighting “could cause a nuclear disaster with ramifications for the entire continent”, he said, adding that “this will become Europe’s problem” if the United States and NATO do not take further measures. Zelensky again asked for the imposition of the no-fly zone (already rejected by the Pentagon and NATO) and the ban on the import of Russian oil.
Kiev calls for tightening of sanctions
In a speech on TV, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has urged the exclusion of Sberbank from the Swift circuit, the closure of European ports to Russian ships, the blocking of Moscow’s access to cryptocurrencies and a stop to the purchase of Russian oil. Russian oil “smells like Ukrainian blood today,” he said, adding that “buying it means financing Russia’s war.” The head of Ukrainian diplomacy also re-launched the request to protect the airspace of his country “from indiscriminate and barbaric Russian bombings” and the supply of “fighter planes and standard air defenses, missiles and other weapons”.
Surprise mediation by Israeli Prime Minister
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet stepped into the role of mediator on Saturday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensified, holding a three-hour meeting at the Kremlin with Vladimir Putin before calling Ukraine’s president and flying to Berlin for a 90-minute meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Bennett’s sit-down with Putin was the first by a foreign leader since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last week, and came after Kyiv had asked Israel to launch a dialogue with Moscow. He is now returning to Israel. The Kremlin said “different aspects of the situation in Ukraine” were discussed. After the Putin talks, Bennett called Zelensky – who is Jewish, has family in Israel and has visited the country many times. The French presidency said Emmanuel Macron also spoke to Bennett before he left for Moscow on Saturday, as part of joint efforts to “obtain a ceasefire in Ukraine”. President Biden also had a phone call with Zelensky.
Truce over, Moscow resumes attacks
The humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, at least for the moment, have broken down, leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in the southern cities besieged by the Russians, starting with Mariupol. On the failure of the truce there was the foreseeable rebound of responsibility between Kiev and Moscow, but the only certain fact is that Vladimir Putin’s armed forces have resumed the offensive in a big way. Only one window has opened: the calling of the third round of negotiations for Monday. The tenth day of the war began with the announcement of a truce by the Russian Defense Ministry, to bring out 200,000 civilians from Mariupol and 15,000 from Volnovakha. In a short time, however, hopes for a significant evacuation were frozen.
Russians deny sabotage
The Russians have denied allegations of sabotaging the corridors. Foreign Minister Serghiei Lavrov said that “no one showed up”, while a spokesman for the defense ministry explained that “the population of these cities is being held hostage by nationalist formations as human shields”. And that the ceasefire was used by the enemies to “reorganise and compact”. With these premises, Moscow has announced “the resumption of the offensive”.
Civilians abandon Irpin during attack
Local authorities in the port city of Irpin, in the south-east, announced a postponement of operations for security reasons because the Russians “continued bombing”. The same situation of chaos was recorded in the town of Volnovakha, halfway between Mariupol and Donetsk. The hope is that today, Sunday, will be a good day to evacuate women, children and the elderly, explained the government of Kiev, which is also preparing evacuations from the capital, Sumy, Kharkiv and Kherson.
Offensive widens range
The offensive has widened its range, hitting other centres around Kiev, from Bila Tserkva to Bucha. And in the aftermath of the conquest of the Zaporizhzhia power plant, the Russians also targeted the second nuclear plant in the country. The advance across the country, however, has not made significant progress. Conversely, in the south, the Ukrainians announced that they had regained control of the port city of Mykolayv, an urban centre that would have allowed the Russians to get closer to Odessa and extend the strip of territory bathed by the Black Sea that runs from the Crimea to the Donbass.
French jets training on Bosnia
France will carry out training flights with fast jets over Bosnia starting Monday. The European Union peacekeeping force in Bosnia (Eufor) says it accepted the voluntary contribution of Paris “in the light of the deterioration of the security situation at international level and as a precautionary measure”. The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is currently conducting operational training in the Mediterranean Sea and, as of tomorrow, its Rafale aircraft will fly over the Western Balkans, including Bosnia and Herzegovina.
10,000 Russian soldiers dead – Zelensky
The Ukrainian President has released a new video in which he declared that “almost 10,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. It’s terrible, they are 18, 20 – almost children, soldiers who have not been explained that they were going to fight. Russia should give them another chance.” Then he adds: “Anyway the Russians will lose this war.”