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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

UKRAINE-RUSSIA: Poland Delays Evacuation Of Trapped Nigerians, To Arrive Today

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Ukrainian negotiator yesterday said that a second round of talks with Russia is over but it didn’t deliver any results that Ukraine needed.

“The second round of negotiations is over. Unfortunately, the results Ukraine needs are not yet achieved. There is a solution only for the organization of humanitarian corridors,” senior Ukrainian official  Mykhailo Podolyak said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky also confirmed the news of agreement of the corridors and a possible ceasefire around them, describing the talks as “substantial progress”.

Meanwhile, both have agreed to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians in a second round of talks since Moscow invaded last week, a top Ukrainian official said.

Russian president Vladmir Putin said the Russian military has offered safe corridors to civilians to allow them to leave areas of fighting in Ukraine.

Speaking in a video call with members of his Security Council, Putin alleged Ukrainian nationalist groups are preventing civilians from leaving. The Russian leader said the groups were also using civilians as shields, taking up firing positions to provoke the Russian retaliatory fire. Putin’s claim couldn’t be independently verified.

Polish authority reschedules release of trapped Nigerians to today Airline

Meanwhile, the much-publicized return of trapped Nigerians from the Russian-Ukraine was due for yesterday, will now happen today, as the evacuation could not take place because the evacuation was rescheduled by the Polish authority.

One of the Airlines sent to evacuate the Nigerians said they could not board the returnees yesterday, the Polish authority yesterday rescheduled the release of Nigerians to today.

“Yes, they (stranded Nigerians) are not coming in today (yesterday) again. Their evacuation has been rescheduled for tomorrow, Friday,” the airline said.

Also explaining the delay, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, Bolaji Akinremi, disclosed that the flight was postponed to March 4, 2022, due to a delay in preparing passengers for the check-in process.

He said: “The reality is that the flight has been rescheduled to tomorrow the main reason is the delay in doing the checking because they have to gather them together from different hotel.

“By the time we will be ready after the checking in, the crew that have been waiting for us since 9a.m., have over shot the hour they should have waited because they have a duty hour which has been allocated to them and they had waited from 9a.m., till 2p.m., that means they have already waited five hours.

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“They are going to have nine hours flight that is already more than the standard, so, the authority of the airport said they won’t allow us to board. This is the reality, we have to calm down but arrangement had been made that we all stay together in the same hotel and that we will leave very early tomorrow 4a.m., we will be in the bus and then we can join the flight.”

Recall that the Federal Government had on Wednesday in a statement by Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said it would commence the evacuation of stranded Nigerians, who fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries, following the conflict between the country and Russia.

Putin says Russian operation in Ukraine going according to plan

The Russian president has said Russia’s military operations in Ukraine were going according to plan and praised its soldiers as heroes.

“I want to say that the special military operation is going strictly according to schedule, according to plan,” Putin said, opening a meeting with his security council.

“We are at war with neo-Nazis,” the Russian leader said, adding: “I will never give up on my conviction that Russians and Ukrainians are one people.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine unjustifiable — ILO

The International Labour Organization, ILO, yesterday condemned Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying “the unprovoked and unjustifiable attack by the Russian Federation against Ukraine conducted without regard to international law, and the continuing loss of life, and immense human suffering that it is inflicting on the people of Ukraine.”

ILO’s Director-General, Guy Ryder, in a statement in Geneva, Switzerland, joined the General Assembly of the United Nations in deploring in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demanding that it immediately cease its use of force and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

According to him, “This stands among the darkest chapters in the ILO’s century long history and a brutal repudiation of our organization’s mission to promote peace through social justice. Those responsible for the aggression know full well that among its first victims will be working people and that the devastation of jobs, enterprises and livelihoods will be massive and endure for many years.

Ukraine believes Belarus troops receive order to cross border

The Ukrainian military has said it believes Belarusian troops have received the order to cross the Ukrainian border. Ukraine has said Russia is using Belarusian territory for missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and Minsk allowed Russian troops to enter Ukrainian territory.

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Bosnians relive past war trauma of war

For those who survived the Bosnian war of 1992-1995, the war in Ukraine has brought back painful memories and renewed worries for the future.

If Ukraine falls, Baltic states ‘next’, Zelensky warns

Ukraine’s president has called on Western powers to deliver more military aid to his country, warning that Russia’s military will not stop at Ukraine’s borders if Moscow seizes full control of its neighbour.

“If you do not have the power to close the skies, then give me planes!” Zelensky said at a news conference, referring to refusals from Kyiv’s Western allies to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

“If we [Ukraine] are no more then, God forbid, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia will be next,” he added.

The term “no-fly zone” refers to an area of airspace in which it has been determined that certain aircraft are not permitted to fly. In a conflict setting, the measure is primarily used to prevent aerial attacks from taking place.

Emergency service says 22 killed in Chernihiv air raids

Ukraine’s emergency service says at least 22 people have been killed in Russian air raids on Ukraine’s northern Chernihiv region. The service said in a post on Twitter that rescue work was ongoing. It did not specify where the alleged attack took place.

Earlier the regional governor said at least nine people had been killed by an air raid on two schools and private houses. Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify either claim.

Dozens of OSCE states back mission to probe possible war crimes

Forty-five of the 57 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) member states are triggering a system to set up a mission of experts looking into possible war crimes by Russia in Ukraine, the United Kingdom has said.

“They are invoking the so-called ‘OSCE Moscow Mechanism’ to set up a mission of independent experts to … establish the facts and circumstances of possible cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including due to deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure,” the UK’s mission to the OSCE said.

Russia and Ukraine are both members of the body. People are seen carrying belongings out of a residential building destroyed by shelling. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a major humanitarian crisis.

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Second round of Ukraine-Russia talks under way

A second round of negotiations between delegations from Russia and Ukraine has begun.

The meeting is reportedly taking place in Brest, southwestern Belarus.

It comes after a first round of talks held at the Ukraine-Belarus border on Monday ended with no agreement except to keep talking.

Ukrainian negotiator Davyd Arakhamia said on Facebook that Kyiv plans to discuss setting up humanitarian corridors before moving on to other issues during the latest bout of discussions.

Volkswagen stops business with Russia as major firms respond to war

German car giant,  Volkswagen (VW) said it would stop its vehicle production in Russia “until further notice” and “immediately” halt exports to Russia in light of the attack on Ukraine.

VW operated its own car production sites in Kaluga, south-west of Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, further east.

The company yesterday, announced that production at both sites would be stopped for the time being. No cars from among the VW Group brands, including Audi, Porsche and Skoda would be exported to Russia, it said in a statement.

On Wednesday, luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz said it was halting business with Russia. Selling to or buying from Russian companies had become far harder in the days since the Kremlin launched its invasion due to sanctions imposed by the international community.

German car makers had  been particularly hard hit and the conflict had affected for example the provision of wiring harnesses from Ukraine that relayed  information and electric power around a vehicle.

Several car manufacturers had announced temporarily halts in production at some of their German sites in the past two days.

It is not only German car makers that have been affected by the conflict.

Toyota yesterday said it would suspend production at its St Petersburg plant from Friday due to supply chain disruptions, the plant manufactures RAV4 and Camry models, mainly for the Russian market.

The car maker said it had already stopped all activities in Ukraine as of February 24.

International sanctions prompted a number of key global companies to announce that they were winding down or reducing business with Russia.

These include among many others Boeing, Apple, ExxonMobil and shipping company Maersk. Music and podcast streamer Spotify said it was closing its offices in Russia but it would continue to make its services available in Russia “to allow for the global flow of information.”

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