May 24, 2022

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Ukrainian cities on fire from Russia, Kiev rejects any “ultimatum”

Kharkiv | Russia on Wednesday attacked a series of Ukrainian cities, including Kharkiv, with air forces and new bombs, and Kiev rejected any “final warning” ahead of new talks.

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On the seventh day of the invasion launched by Vladimir Putin, Russian air forces landed in the country’s second city, Kharkiv, the Ukrainian army announced at dawn, giving no idea of ​​their numbers.

According to the regional governor, after several bombings in the city center on Tuesday, strikes on Wednesday erupted around 50 km from the regional headquarters of the security and police forces and the university and city hall. Russian border. Emergency services said at least four people were killed and nine were injured.

Anton Zherashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, said: “There is no area in the Kharkiv region where artillery shells have not yet been fired.

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In the capital, Kiev, about 500 km west, fleeing residents have been preparing for an attack for several days, after a previous day’s strike on a television tower, relative peace prevailed on Wednesday, in which five people were killed.

“This tower is a symbol of our truth, free information, real news, our reality that they want to attack,” said Volodymyr Rudenko, a volunteer who became a lawyer.

The tower dominates the Bobby Yar Memorial Park district, where more than 33,000 Jews were massacred in 1941 during the Nazi occupation.

If no memorial to the victims of this massacre is touched, the first Jewish Ukrainian president, President Volodymyr Zhelensky, has accused Moscow of trying to “destroy” Ukraine and called on Jews not to remain silent.

“To destroy our history, to destroy our country, to destroy all of us,” he said Wednesday.

The mayor of the capital, former boxer Vitaly Klitschko, announced that he was fighting in the suburbs of the city and called on all residents to oppose: “Kiev is holding, will run”.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zhelensky.

AFP

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zhelensky.

Photos released by the US satellite film company Maxar overnight from Monday to Tuesday showed a long Russian convoy advancing towards the capital. A Pentagon official, however, cited problems with food and fuel supplies, saying its progress toward the capital was “at a standstill.”

Russia claims to have taken Gerson

In the south, the Russian army demanded complete control of the city of Kherson. Some time ago, its mayor Igor Kolikov, however, confirmed that the city was under Ukrainian control.

More than a hundred people were injured in a Russian fire on Tuesday in the eastern city of Mariupol, according to the town hall.

The control of this port is of paramount importance to the Russian military, in order to ensure regional continuity between its forces coming from the Crimea and the separatist forces in the northern Donbass. The two groups joined forces on Tuesday, according to Moscow.

In the wake of this general attack, a Kremlin spokesman announced that the Russian delegation would be waiting Wednesday evening at a location not specified by “Ukrainian negotiators”.

However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said no date had been agreed and accused Russia of providing “ultimatums.”

Early talks on Monday were without definitive results. Kiev demanded an immediate halt to the invasion, while Moscow appeared to be waiting for surrender.

In the immediate future, the Ukrainian military on Wednesday summoned the mothers of captured Russian soldiers in its territory, which is said to be run by dozens, to pick them up.

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Putin “isolated as never before”

The strikes on Kyiv and Karkiv have provoked great sentiment around the world, where anti-war demonstrations and signs of solidarity with Ukraine have intensified.

Vladimir Putin is now “very isolated from the rest of the world,” US President Joe Biden said overnight.

He said it was wrong for the Kremlin ” dictator ‘to think that’ the West and NATO would not respond ‘to the invasion. “We are united,” he said in his first State of the Union address in Washington.

But despite international pressure and unprecedented sanctions, Vladimir Putin seems determined to continue his offensive.

As part of the move, the EU on Wednesday confirmed that seven Russian banks, including VTB, the country’s second-largest bank, would be expelled from the Swift news agency, a key player in the International Monetary Fund.

However, the move also prompted the first Russian bank, Sberbank, and its European subsidiary, which went bankrupt on Wednesday, and Gasprom’s financial arm, Cosprombank.

Berlin also announced on Wednesday that 1.5 billion euros would be released to buy liquefied natural gas outside Russia.

U.S. tariff card issuers Visa, MasterCard and American Express have announced measures to prevent Russian banks from using their network, and Ford has distanced itself from Russia, from US giants ExxonMobil to Boeing to Apple via Boeing.

For Russian officials, this is a question of avoiding financial bleeding and panic: the ruble has lost a third of its value in foreign currency in just a few days. Russian planes can now land in only a few countries. Jobs, wages, and bank loans can be threatened.

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The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged on Wednesday that the Russian economy was “severely affected” but that it was “in a state of flux”.

Gas and oil burns

As a result, prices of oil, gas and raw materials, of which Russia is a major exporter, rose on Wednesday.

The WTI oil barrel reached a significant $ 111.5 for the first time since 2013, while the Dutch TTF, the European standard for natural gas, reached a historic high of 194,715 euros per megawatt hour (MWh).

Tito for wheat and corn, at record levels in Europe.

In addition to sanctions, Russia has been excluded from many sporting and cultural events, from the 2022 World Cup to the Davis Cup tennis, including the Cannes Film Festival.

Around the world, demonstrations and actions for solidarity with Ukraine are on the rise.

In Russia, adversary Alexeï Navalny called on his fellow citizens to protest every day from prison, calling Putin a “totally crazy little jar”.

Two popular independent media outlets, Echo Moscow Radio and Dodge Online Television, were shut down on Tuesday, raising fears that voices of dissent and alternative sources of information about the war in Ukraine could be disabled.

836,000 people fled

Nearly a week after the conflict, more and more Ukrainians are leaving.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Wednesday that more than 836,000 people had fled the country since the invasion began on February 24.

Most of them fled west, especially via Lviv, to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, all EU and NATO member states.

The AFP noted that thousands were arriving on the Moldovan border, especially from Odessa, a major port on the Black Sea.

The World Bank has announced $ 3 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine. At least 350 million may be released this week.

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