March 30, 2023

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Ukraine: Ceasefire at Mariupol Steelworks to evict civilians

A three-day unilateral Russian ceasefire is set to take effect Thursday morning around Mariupol Steelworks, the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in this strategic port city, but fighting continues in other parts of Ukraine.

“Russian Armed Forces will open a humanitarian corridor from May 08, 18:00 (05:00 to 15:00 GMT) Moscow time on May 5, 6 and 7 to evacuate civilians from the site of the Azovstal metallurgical plant.” On Wednesday evening, May 4, 2022, the Ministry of Defense said in a press release.

“During this period, the Russian Armed Forces and sections of the Donetsk People’s Republic (unilaterally declared by pro-Russian separatists, editorial note) will unilaterally stop firing and hostilities,” he continued, assuring civilians of asylum. The factory will be allowed to move to Russia or areas under kyiv control.

Ukrainian civil servants in their daily update on Thursday evening at 04:00 GMT said, “Russian invaders are trying to block and destroy our units in the Azovstal area. With the support of the air force, the enemy continued to attack again to bring the factory under control.”

The capture of Mariupol would be a significant victory for the Russians, as it would allow them to consolidate their coastal regional gains in the Sea of ‚Äč‚ÄčAzov by annexing the Donbass region, partly controlled by their supporters, to Crimea, which annexed Moscow in 2014.

Hundreds of people – Ukrainian militants and civilians – lived in the underground galleries of World War II, operating under the aegis of the Azovstal base, which was heavily bombed by Russian forces after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky said in his daily video message on Wednesday that 344 people had been evacuated to the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhia, about 230 km from Mariupol and its environs.

“It simply came to our notice then. Women, children, ” he said.

The UN on Sunday called for the evacuation of 100 civilians trapped in Azovstal.

“There was a moment of despair and we thought everyone had forgotten us,” said Anna Zaitseva, one of the evictees, holding her six-month-old baby Svyadosla in her arms.

Volodymyr Zhelensky telephoned United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last Wednesday to help “rescue” the wounded in these dilapidated facilities.

A meeting of the Security Council dedicated to Ukraine is scheduled for Thursday evening in New York.

Black gold ban

For its part, the European Commission on Wednesday proposed a gradual EU embargo on oil imports from Russia.

If the EU member states unanimously give the green light, “we will gradually phase out Russia’s supply of crude oil and refined goods within six months,” said Ursula van der Leyen, chair of the commission. Strasbourg.

According to European officials, the Commission’s draft grants a temporary exemption to Hungary and Slovakia, which depend entirely on supplies through the “Druzhba” pipeline, which could continue to buy from Russia in 2023, although Budapest refused to accept. The plan has drawn the ire of the Ukrainian government.

“If a country opposes a ban on Russian oil, it’s one thing: this country is on the side of the Russians and it shares responsibility for everything Russia does in Ukraine,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro. Cooleba.

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Oil prices soared as a result of the embargo: the benchmark agreement for the price of a barrel of brandy from the North Sea, which expired in July, rose 4.92% to close at $ 110.14, the highest level for two. One and a half weeks. The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) barrel for June delivery was up 5.27% at $ 107.81.

Death Strikes

In terms of military action, Russian forces continued their offensive in the east on Wednesday, while hitting several targets in the west, from the Lviv to the Transcarpathia Mountains, not far from the Hungarian border. .

Two were killed and at least 11 were injured in what became known as the Cold War in the Russian Federation.

Others were killed and one child was injured around Kharkiv.

In the south, local authorities said there were explosions in Mykolayiv.

“Thanks to the successful operations of the Ukrainian guards, the enemy has lost control of many places near the Mikholev and Kersen regions,” Ukrainian civil servants said Thursday morning.

On the northern border with Ukraine, Moscow’s ally Belarus launched a “surprise” military maneuver to test its military’s reaction capabilities on Wednesday, its defense ministry said.

In the evening, Moscow announced that its military was simulating the launch of nuclear-armed missiles in the Russian Kaliningrad region, located between Poland and Lithuania, two EU member states. More than 100 soldiers participated in the exercise.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the war units “operate under conditions of radiation and chemical pollution.”

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Shortly after sending troops to Ukraine on February 24, Russia placed its nuclear forces on high alert.

New sentences

The European Union (EU) is proposing to exclude three additional Russian banks – including Sberbank – from the largest Russian financial institution, Swift, in its sixth embargo against Russia, which was tabled on Wednesday.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he would discuss “additional” sanctions against Moscow with other G7 nations this week.

The European Commission also recommends that the patriarch Grill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who has multiplied his sermons in support of military intervention in Ukraine.

From Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, Charles Michael, President of the European Council, announced that the Europeans planned to “significantly increase (their) support this year by providing additional military equipment to Moldova’s armed forces”.

The occupation of southern Ukraine will allow the Russians direct access to the region, following the comments of Russian General Rustam Minnekhov in late April, just days after the attacks on the pro-Russian Moldavian separatist region of Transnistria.