Ukrainian secret services (Sbu) have killed a member of the Kiev negotiating team on charges of treason. According to sources quoted by ‘Ukrainska Pravda’, the man, Denis Kireev, was killed when he resisted arrest. The same source reveals there was “strong evidence” that he was leaking information to Russia. The news, which has not yet received official confirmation, was also released by the Ukrainian state agency UNIAN. Kireev had taken part in the first Ukrainian negotiating delegation in Gomel and was a highly experienced banker. The Ukrainian secret service allegedly collected numerous evidence of the betrayal against him, including several telephone conversations. From 2006 to 2008, Kireev worked at SCM Finance, where he held the position of Deputy General Manager. He then worked for the Austrian company group SLAV AG. From 2006 to 2012 he was also a member of the Supervisory Board of Ukreximbank and from 2010 to 2014, he held the position of First Deputy Chairman of the Board of Oschadbank.
Zelensky wants a war between NATO and Russia – Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of not wanting “to resolve the conflict with diplomacy”. Addressing a media conference, Lavrov said Zelensky “tries to provoke the conflict against Russia with the participation of NATO”, adding that “he has a militaristic frenzy”. Then he added that, “It seems that Ukraine is always inventing reasons to update the terms under which to hold negotiations with Russia. The head of Russian diplomacy insisted: “We await information from Ukraine on the date for the third round of negotiations.”
Mariupol: ‘Too many violations, we can’t evacuate’
The evacuation of civilians from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been postponed due to multiple violations of the truce announced by Russia. The evacuation that should have started this morning “was postponed for security reasons” because Russian forces “continue to bomb Mariupol and its surroundings”, the municipality wrote on ‘Telegram’. The Russian Defense Ministry had announced atruce to open humanitarian corridors, for the exit of civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha. However, Ukraine said the truce lasted only for some 30 minutes.
‘US began delivering weapons to Ukraine in December’
‘The Washington Post’ reports the United States began arming Ukraine as early as the beginning of December, supplying weapons and equipment useful for combat in urban areas. The influential newspaper quotes some confidential documents containing the list of deliveries made. In the past week, deliveries have increased, including Stinger missiles for the first time, it says. Meanwhile, ‘The New York Times’ writes that the US has delivered about 70% of the weapons envisaged in the $350-million package approved by President Biden to help Ukraine. The weapons arrived in Poland and Romania and were then sent, by land, to western Ukraine to be distributed throughout the territory. Joint Chief of Staff of the US military, Mark Milley, inspected the arms transfer operation during a surprise visit during which he met with troops and personnel from 22 countries working to unload the weapons and transfer them overland to the Ukrainian forces.
Chernobyl central personnel ‘trapped’ by the Russians
‘Kyiv Independent’ quotes Yury Fomichev, mayor of Slavutych, saying the personnel of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant have been “trapped for 10 days after its capture by Russian forces”. Slavutych is a city in northern Ukraine built for personnel evacuated from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the 1986 disaster. “We cannot replace people who have already been working their shift for 10 days,”Fomichev said, adding that they are divided into two groups, which replace each other, but they are mentally, physically and emotionally tired.
Italy ‘freezes’ Usmanov’s villa on the Costa Smeralda…
The Guardia di Finanza has ‘frozen’ a luxury villa owned by the Russian-Uzbek gas magnate Alisher Usmanov on the Costa Smeralda. The property, located in the gulf of Pevero, has a value of €17 million. Right on the sea in front of Pevero, one of the most famous locations on the Costa Smeralda, the maxi yacht Dilbar of the oligarch friend of Putin docks in the summer months – one of the largest in the world with its 156 metres, which in recent days was blocked in the port of Hamburg, Germany.Usmanov has been an honorary citizen of Arzachena since 2018, the municipality on which the lands of the Costa Smeralda fall.
… and Timchenko’s yacht
The Guardia di Finanza has also ‘frozen’ the maxi yacht ‘Lena’ in the port of Sanremo, a 52-metre-boat with an estimated value of $50 million, owned by the Russian energy and infrastructure magnate Gennady Timchenko, owner of the Volga Group and partner of Novatek. Timchenko has been friends with Putin even before the rise of the ‘tsar’ in the Kremlin.
EU to stop privileged relations with Russia at the WTO
EU member-states support the European Commission’s proposal to end privileged relations with Russia at the World Trade Organization (WTO). A spokeswoman for the European Commission said, “there is strong support to work with like-minded countries on a joint declaration and a willingness to take appropriate trade measures as an action.”
Aeroflot cancels all international flights from Tuesday
Aeroflot will cancel all international flights starting next Tuesday, March 8. The Russian national airline cites “new” circumstances that prevent the operation of international flights, underlining that all domestic routes remain unchanged as well as flights to neighbouring Belarus.