Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov has warned that “the Third World War would be nuclear”. On the 7th day of the conflict in Ukraine, the Moscow armed forces intensified attacks on residential areas. In Kharkiv, the second largest city in the country, a housing complex was hit (after the attack on the regional administration headquarters). In Kiev, many neighbourhoods continue to be under fire, after the TV tower was hit, causing at least five victims, and the Holocaust memorial. Russians have said they had conquered Kherson.
‘No guarantee of no clashes with NATO’ – Moscow
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko has expressed concern “about the arms supply programmes” to Ukraine, underlining “the risks” of a clash between Russia and NATO members. “Everything in this situation is very dangerous, there are no guarantees that there will be no accidents with NATO,” he said.
Russian missiles target Kiev’s St Sophia Cathedral
“According to intelligence, Russian troops are preparing an air attack on the St Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, a UNESCO heritage site and a thousand-year-old symbol of the Ukrainian capital.” This is the alarm raised by the Ukrainian embassy to the Holy See, which comes from the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. The archbishop, Monsignor Sviatoslav Shevchuk, invites all Christians to pray for the spiritual sanctuary of the Slavic peoples and urges the aggressor to refrain from this horrible act of vandalism. “May St Sophia, Divine Wisdom make those who have decided to commit this crime come to their senses,” he prayed.
Kharkiv centre bombed again
Ukrainian and international media report that Russian missiles hit the centre of Kharkiv again this morning”. The state emergency service of Ukraine is quoted as saying the attacks damaged the municipal council building, the Palace of Labour and other buildings.
Oil, gas prices rise sharply
As the fighting in Ukraine continues, oil and gas prices have risen sharply. The price of oil has gone up to $113 dollars a barrel, a rise of more than 80%. Wholsesale gas prices have also spiked by more than 50% to near record levels. The rise follows concerns that supplies from Russia may be disrupted. On the London Stock Exchange the value of the major red groups was almost zero. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government confirms that the second round of talks will be held at the end of the day.
Russian companies in London almost zero in value
Some of the major Russian groups listed on the London Stock Exchange are now worth almost zero through depositary receipts, certificates representing the shares of foreign companies while the Moscow list is closed for the third consecutive session. Gazprom drops 97.2% to $0.021: the depositary receipt of the Russian energy giant was worth $5.58 on the London list last Friday, the last day the Moscow Stock Exchange was also open. Sberbank is no better, falling 94% today to $0.01 (Friday 25 February it was worth $4). Lukoil marks -97.6% to $0.25 dollars, Rosneft -68.5% to $0.85.
‘Up to 2,000 Russians dead’ – US media
The United States estimates that the Russian dead in the Ukrainian invasion are about 2,000. The New York Times’ report, while quoting some sources, says it is not possible to calculate exactly the number of victims of the conflict. According to some other Pentagon officials, the victims are about 1,500 among the Russians and 1,500 among the Ukrainians.
Russian oligarchs sack the staff of their villas in Sardinia
Russian billionaires who have their villas on the Costa Smeralda, in the VIP paradise of Sardinia, have started firing the workers who look after their luxury properties. The EU froze the business of Russian oligarchs across the border. And together with the layoffs there are also bursting cancellations to numerous local construction companies engaged in redevelopment and maintenance work on the real estate properties of the Russian tycoons. In Gallura, according to the Sardinia Tourism Observatory, over 40,000 Russians spend their holidays, for a total of 220 thousand presences. The risk is that like 2020, season 2022 would see a serious decline in employment.
Russian, Belarusian athletes to compete in Paralympics
Athletes from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete in the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, which start on Friday – but only as neutrals, competing under the paralympic flag. And they would not be included in the medal table. There would be no paralympic events in Russia or Belarus until further notice.