Putin’s new threats to Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on Saturday that Russia would view any country that tries to impose a no-fly zone on Ukraine as a joint fighter, a claim that Kiev has denied by NATO and that the sanctions imposed on his country mean “one” . declaration of war”.

Putin also warned of the possibility of Ukraine losing its “stateness” if the Ukrainian authorities do not change their policies.

“The current (Ukrainian, editor’s note) officials should understand that they are questioning the future of the Ukrainian state if they continue to do what they are doing. And if that happens, they will be fully responsible for it.“, said the master of the Kremlin.

“These sanctions are like a declaration of war”said Vladimir Putin. “But thank God we haven’t gotten there yet”added.

From Paris to London, from Rome to Zurich, tens of thousands of demonstrators once again took to the streets of major European cities on Saturday, saying “stop” to the war and protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thousands of people gathered in New York’s iconic Times Square to demand intervention in Ukraine.

Companies suspended their activities in Russia

Global debit card giants Visa and Mastercard announced on Saturday that they are suspending operations in Russia, preventing cards issued by Russian banks from working abroad and foreign cards in Russia.

South Korean Samsung Electronics has suspended shipments to Russia due to “geopolitical events”. Spanish clothing giant Inditex (the Zara brand) has announced that it will temporarily stop its activities in Russia, like the German sporting goods manufacturer Puma.

German public television channels ARD and ZDF and Italian RAI, as well as several Spanish media, Efe, El Pais and RTVE, announced after other international media that they are suspending their broadcast of the events from Moscow following the new law penalizing the spread. information intended to “discredit” military forces with up to 15 years in prison.

International flights of Russian company Aeroflot and its low-cost subsidiary Pobeda, which are facing international sanctions, will be suspended from 8 March.

Franco-Romanian visit to NATO soldiers

Alongside French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, the Romanian President, Prime Minister and Minister of the Armed Forces will visit NATO troops stationed in Romania, not far from the war-torn Ukraine border, on Sunday.

France and Belgium were urgently sent after Russia’s Ukrainian attack on the NATO base Mihail Kogalniceanu, where American soldiers were stationed near the port of Constanta.

Blinken in Moldova after Poland. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Moldova on Saturday to show US support for the country, which has been crushed by a wave of refugees from Ukraine and feared being threatened by Moscow.

Hours before his arrival, Blinken visited the Ukrainian border in Poland, an EU and NATO member state that received 700,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war. Blinken told Poles that Washington wants to mobilize $2.75 billion to help resolve this humanitarian crisis.

Third round of negotiations

David Arakhamia, a member of the Ukrainian delegation, announced on Saturday that the third round of talks between Ukraine and Russia will take place on Monday.

Beijing called for direct negotiations between Russia and Ukraine during a phone call between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his American counterpart, Antony Blinken, on Saturday, according to an official statement from China.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Twitter on Sunday that he had once again discussed “security issues”, “financial support for Ukraine” and “continuation of sanctions” on the phone with his US counterpart, Joe Biden.

Resumption of offensive in Mariupol and Kiev in line of sight

The Russian military announced on Saturday that it had resumed its “attack” at 3 PM on Saturday, after the evacuation of civilians from two besieged cities in southeastern Ukraine, including the strategic port of Mariupol, was delayed.

Due to the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to influence the nationalists or extend the ceasefire, offensive operations resumed from 6 pm Moscow time.“, said the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The evacuation was delayed due to Russia’s numerous violations of the ceasefire, according to the Mariupol city hall, while Moscow accused Ukrainian “nationalists” of using the ceasefire to prevent civilians from leaving and strengthen their teeth. The capture of this city of approximately 450,000 inhabitants, located on the Sea of ​​Azov, would allow for a merger between the Russian forces from the annexed Crimea, which had already taken the key ports of Berdiansk and Kherson, as well as the separatist troops and the Russians. in Donbass.

The mayor of this strategic port in the southeast of the country, which is besieged by Russian forces, said the situation was “very difficult” in Mariupol, which was subject to a “humanitarian blockade” and heavy bombing. “We have been living without electricity for five days, we have no heating and no mobile network”The mayor, Vadim Boïtchenko, said in an interview posted on YouTube Saturday evening.

Russian forces are approaching Kiev, meeting stubborn resistance and sometimes bombing apartment buildings, including in Cherniguiv, 150km north of the capital, where dozens of civilians have been killed in recent days.

The Ukrainian president announced on Saturday that Ukrainian forces have launched a counterattack around Kharkiv (northeast), Ukraine’s second city (of 1.4 million inhabitants), where the most intense bombardment has occurred since the start of the war. The Russian army continues to bombard the periphery of Kyiv, especially in the northwest and east.

(with AFP and Reuters)

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