The mayor of Mariupol has said that the Russian forces were trying to block the Ukrainian city. Shortly before, during an interview with CNN, the deputy mayor of the city in southeastern Ukraine, Sergei Orlov said that Mariupol was “surrounded” by Russian forces. “Our Ukrainian army and the National Guard are courageous, they are fighting for Ukraine and Mariupol, but the situation is critical,” he said. “We ask for help and we expect military help. We are surrounded by the Russian army, which has more people. They are destroying our cities with all kinds of weapons, from artillery to airplanes.”
Moscow announces breaks to evacuate civilians
The Russian Defence Ministry, quoted by TASS, has announced “pauses” in the operations of the Russian army to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from Ukraine through “humanitarian corridors”. The ministry said it was “ready to create humanitarian corridors anywhere, at any time”.
Biden asks Congress for $10 billion in emergency funds
The Biden administration is asking Congress to approve approximately $10 billion in emergency funds for Ukraine – resources to be used to address the humanitarian crisis but also to strengthen the country’s defences against the invasion of Russia. Of the $10 billion, about $4.8 billion would go to the Pentagon and $5 billion to the State Department. The funds are part of the Biden administration’s request for $32.5 billion to deal with Ukraine on the one hand and the fight against Covid on the other.
Putin introduces Russian state censorship.
President Putin has officially introduced state censorship and in a few hours, at most days, there will be no more independent media in Russia. The complaint comes from Meduza, one of the very last independent media still publishing in the federation. In an editorial entitled “You can’t shut us up”, the site reveals that it still has very little time before the state censorship hits them as well, “as has happened in quick succession to many other media outlets closed by authority. The destruction of the independent media is one of the things that made this war possible,” they point out.
Stalemate over EU agreement on refugees
Agreement is on stand by at the Internal Affairs Council on the directive for temporary protection to be activated for the war in Ukraine. Indeed, the Visegrád group and Austria expressed reservations about granting temporary protection to refugees who are not Ukrainian citizens. The Visegrád Group is a cultural and political alliance of four countries of Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), all of which are members of the EU and of NATO, to advance co-operation in military, cultural, economic and energy matters with one another. “Apart from Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, many countries are concerned about this, including Austria: it makes no sense to include third-country nationals,” Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said on the sidelines of the summit.
Libyan ministers kidnapped
Libyan Foreign Minister Hafez Gaddur, a former Libyan ambassador to Italy, and Education Minister Salha Al Darawqui, have been allegedly kidnapped while they were going from Misurata to Tobruk, where the swearing-in ceremony of the new government of Fathi Bashaga is scheduled. Libyan media said the convoy of cars would have been at the centre of a fire conflict this morning around seven, while the Libyan airspace appears to be closed at the moment.
‘Taiwan will not suffer the fate of Ukraine’ – Pompeo
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared that Taiwan would not follow the same fate as Ukraine. Meeting President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei, he said that “if any of us were wrong or were content with the risk, I think we must now look at what is happening in Europe to see the need for profound and concerted leadership on the part of those who love freedom”. Pompeo, on a four-day visit to the island, received from iTsai the Order of the Brilliant Star with the Grand Cordon, one of the highest honors on the island, for his contribution to strengthening bilateral relations, provoking a harsh reaction of Beijing. ‘The People’s Daily’, the voice of the Communist Party of China, today called Pompeo “a notorious” anti-Chinese politician, “proud to lie and deceive others” when in office. China sanctioned the former US chief of diplomacy with 27 other officials from Donald Trump’s administration at the end of his post in January 2021 for repeated criticism and policies against the country and the Communist Party, and for the help offered to Taiwan which it considers an “unalignable” part of its territory to be reunified even with the use of force, if necessary.
Football: Čeferin, ‘Superlega? Free clubs, but then no Cups’
New tough attack by UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin against the European Super League, defined as a “senseless, non-football project” promoted by clubs that “live in a parallel universe”. “The clubs are free to create their own tournament, but do not expect to compete in UEFA’s. I’m tired of this non-football project”, the words of the number one of European football, who spoke at the ‘Business of Football Summit’, organised by the ‘Finacial Times’ in London, collecting rumours about a revival of the project which was then stopped. Čeferin also stated that one of the Superlega’s founding clubs had called him to apologise after the initiative failed following the vibrant protests of many European fans. “But now they try again. The first time they launched the project in the middle of the pandemic, now during the war. This qualifies them. While we work to save players, for them the fans are just consumers. Juventus president Andrea Agnelli will also speak. According to rumours leaked in recent days, he will present a new version of the Super League. Čeferin also reiterated his opposition to organising the World Cup every two years. “It is not a possibility even to be considered and I am happy that Fifa has also understood it”, he concluded. (ANSA)