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China ‘on the right side of history’ in Ukraine crisis

Despite mounting casualties, punitive international sanctions and surprisingly strong resistance from Ukraine, the United States sees no sign that Russia is “ready to stop” its offensive – now in its 25th day.

Ukrainian servicemen carry containers against the backdrop of a fire in a warehouse after a shelling on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. (AP)

Sunday, March 20, 2022

China’s position on the conflict in Ukraine is objective and fair: FM

China stands on the right side of history in the Ukraine crisis, as time will tell, and its stance is in line with most countries’ wishes, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

“China will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and opposes any unfounded accusation and suspicion against China,” Wang told reporters, according to a statement released by his ministry.

“China’s position is objective and fair, and in line with the wishes of most countries. Time will prove that China’s claims are on the right side of history.”

Zelensky says Mariupol siege involved war crimes

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the siege of the port city of Mariupol will go down in history for what he called war crimes committed by Russian troops.

“To do this in a peaceful city, which the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for centuries,” Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation.

Russian forces pushed deeper into the beleaguered and battered city, where heavy fighting shut down a major steel mill and local authorities pleaded for more Western aid.

Mariupol says Russia forcibly expelled thousands of its residents

The city council of Mariupol, Ukraine, said Russian forces forcibly removed several thousand people from the besieged city last week after Russia spoke of “refugees” arriving from the strategic port.

“Over the past week, several thousand residents of Mariupol have been deported to Russian territory,” the council said in a statement on its Telegram channel.

“The occupiers illegally took people from the Livoberezhniy neighborhood and the shelter to the sports club building, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) were hiding from the constant shelling.”

Australia bans alumina and bauxite exports to Russia

Australia announced new sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict, immediately banning all alumina and bauxite exports while promising more arms and humanitarian aid.

The export ban aims to impact aluminum production in Russia, which depends on Australia for 20% of its alumina.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was working with partners to “put maximum cost, maximum pressure on Putin’s regime to withdraw from Ukraine”.

One of Europe’s largest steelworks damaged in Mariupol, Ukraine

One of Europe’s largest steelworks, Azovstal, was badly damaged as Russian forces besieged the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, officials said.

“One of #Europe’s largest metallurgical plants destroyed. The economic losses for #Ukraine are huge. The environment is devastated,” Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko tweeted.

Vasylenko posted a video of explosions at an industrial site, with thick columns of gray and black smoke rising from buildings.

Ukraine suspends activities of some opposition parties

The Ukrainian President said that the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine stopped the activities of several political parties during the announced martial law in Ukraine.

“Ukraine has always sought a peaceful solution. Moreover, we are above all in favor of peace”, declared Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Suspensions include Opposition Platform – Lifetime; Shariy party; Nashi; Opposition Bloc, the left-wing opposition party; Union of Leftists; Derzhava; Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine; Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialists and Bloc Volodymyr Saldo, Zelenskyy said, according to Ukrainian news agency UNIAN.

Russian onslaught disrupts global economy ⁠— EBRD

The conflict in Ukraine has major economic consequences on energy, food, inflation and poverty, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

EBRD chief economist Beata Javorcik spoke to AFP news agency about the fallout from the Russian offensive against Ukraine, from where more than three million refugees have fled so far.

Global lenders are giving billions to Ukraine, including a 2 billion euro ($2.2 billion) ‘resilience package’ from the London-based EBRD, but there is currently no end in sight to the conflict.

The crisis has sent commodity prices skyrocketing on supply fears, fueling inflation that is already at its highest level in decades.

Conflict hits Russian and Ukrainian currencies

With their economies rocked by conflict, the Russian and Ukrainian authorities have deployed different tactics to defend their weakened currencies, with varying degrees of success.

The Russian rouble, which was trading around 80 to the dollar before Moscow sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, lost 40% of its value in the following days, crashing to an all-time high of 150 for a dollar.

It has since recovered much of it, trading at around 105 rubles to the dollar, apparently having taken advantage of talks between Moscow and Kyiv to end the dispute.

Ukraine holds its airspace – UK

The UK Ministry of Defense said the Ukrainian Air Force and Air Defense Forces “continue to effectively defend Ukrainian airspace”.

“Russia has failed to take control of the air and relies heavily on ranged weapons launched from the relative safety of Russian airspace to strike targets in Ukraine,” the official said. ministry on Twitter. “Gaining control of the air was one of Russia’s primary objectives for the early days of the conflict and their continued failure to do so has significantly blunted their operational progress.”

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian military official confirmed to a Ukrainian newspaper that Russian forces carried out a missile strike on Friday on a missile and ammunition warehouse in the settlement of Delyatyn, in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine. western Ukraine.

Russia says Ukraine plans to attack diplomatic missions

The Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that a surrendered Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officer said his country was planning attacks on Western diplomatic missions in Lviv to pressure NATO into intervening in the conflict. .

The attacks will be carried out by the ultra-radical far-right Azov Battalion, fighting on the Ukrainian side, according to the officer, spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a news conference in Moscow.

“During a special military operation, an employee of the main SBU directorate for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions voluntarily surrendered to the Russian military,” he said. zone’ over Ukraine and provide additional weapons.

A satellite image shows the demolished Mariupol Theater

A satellite image from Maxar Technologies, a private US company, showed damage to the Mariupol Drama Theater after an airstrike on Wednesday March 16.

The city council said Russian forces bombed a theater where civilians were sheltering. The number of victims was not known.

Russia denied carrying out an airstrike against the theatre. Reuters could not independently verify the information.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Saturday, March 19, 2022 shows the aftermath of the airstrike on the Mariupol Drama Theater in Ukraine and the area around it.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Saturday, March 19, 2022 shows the aftermath of the airstrike on the Mariupol Drama Theater in Ukraine and the area around it. (AP)

Ukrainian refugees request identity papers from Poland

Hoping to restore some normalcy after fleeing conflict in Ukraine, thousands of refugees lined up in the Polish capital of Warsaw to get ID cards that will allow them to get on with their lives – at least for the moment.

Refugees began lining up outside Warsaw’s National Stadium overnight to get the coveted PESEL ID cards that will allow them to work, live, go to school and get healthcare medical or social benefits for the next 18 months. Yet by mid-morning many were told to come back another day. The request was too high even though the Polish authorities had simplified the process.

“We are looking for a job now,” said Kateryna Lohvyn, 30, who was queuing with her mother, adding that it had taken her some time to recover from the shock of the Russian offensive.

US lawmakers visit Poland over Ukraine

A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers visiting Poland says the most urgent need in Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression is to equip and support the country in any way that will help it defend its independence. .

The seven-member delegation led by Representative Stephen Lynch, a Democrat from Massachusetts, visited reception centers for Ukrainian refugees in eastern Poland. They noted Poland’s openness to accepting refugees from Ukraine, including in private homes. More than 2 million people fleeing armed conflict have come to Poland since February 24, when Russian troops attacked Ukraine.

“We are here to reassure and support the Ukrainian people. We are here to thank the people of Poland for the incredible generosity they have shown to refugees,” said Lynch, chair of the national security subcommittee within the Oversight and Reform Committee.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies