The situation on the ground, international reactions, sanctions: the point about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian official fears separation in Korean style
Russia may establish a Korean-style separation in Ukraine, a Ukrainian Defense Ministry official said Sunday. “After failing to take Kiev and overthrow the Ukrainian government, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is changing operational orientation”, focusing on “the south and east” of the country, assessed on Facebook Kyrylo Boudanov, head of military intelligence.
“There are reasons to believe that he could impose a dividing line between the occupied and unoccupied regions of our country, an attempt to create South and North Korea in Ukraine,” he added.
Macron is responding to Biden’s comments on Putin
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that he “would not use” the terms of US President Joe Biden, who called Vladimir Putin a “butcher” during a meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Poland. He believed that there should be no “escalation in word or deed” in the war in Ukraine.
He also indicated that he would speak with the Russian president on Monday or Tuesday to organize, he hopes, “as soon as possible” an evacuation operation from the city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine.
Biden calls Putin a ‘butcher’
US President Joe Biden called Vladimir Putin a “butcher” during a meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Poland on Saturday. The battle “between democracy and autocracy” will be long, but the United States is “on the side” of Ukraine, he said. The Russian people “are not our enemy”, he insisted, but he warned its leaders: “Do not even think of moving an inch into NATO territory”. “For the love of God, this man must not stay in power,” he said of Putin. The White House then clarified that Mr Biden did not call for a “regime change in Russia”, but referred to his actions abroad.
Slowing down the flow of refugees, demonstration in London
Nearly 3.8 million people have fled Ukraine, mainly to Poland, since the invasion of the Russian army on February 24, according to the UN. But the number of arrivals has dropped markedly since the start of the week. Thousands of people demonstrated in London on Saturday to support the Ukrainians, Labor Mayor of the British capital Sadiq Khan rated the government’s action against refugees too fearful.
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On the military front
The city of Lviv in western Ukraine and relatively spared from the fighting so far, suffered two Russian attacks on Saturday afternoon, leaving at least five wounded, according to the governor of the region. About 120 km northeast of Kyiv, according to the mayor, the city of Cherniguiv is surrounded by Russian forces. Ukrainian forces have announced that they have regained control of the town of Trostianets in the northeast. Around Donetsk and Lugansk, the two major cities in the Donbass, they claim “having inflicted significant losses on the Russian invaders”, report three planes shot down, eight tanks destroyed and about 170 soldiers killed on the Russian side.
For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported on a struggle for control of two villages near Donetsk. To the north, the Russian army has taken control of the town of Slavutitch, where the Chernobyl plant is located. South Ossetia, a self-proclaimed republic that seceded from Georgia, announced that it had sent troops to Ukraine to “help protect Russia”.
Zelensky is calling for more weapons
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky on Saturday night in his latest video called for the supply of more weapons. “We need more armaments. We must protect not only Ukraine, but also the other countries of Eastern Europe, under the threat of a Russian invasion. We have made this clear during our talks with our American counterparts in Poland,” he said. “What is NATO doing? Is it led by Russia? What are they waiting for?”, He criticized. The United States on Saturday assured Kiev that it had “no objection” to the transfer of Polish fighter jets to Ukraine.
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Auchan stays in Russia
Auchan Retail International CEO Yves Claude of France on Sunday defended the maintenance of the group’s activities in Russia because, according to him, “leaving would be conceivable from an economic point of view, but not from a human point of view”. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky questioned the Auchan group on Wednesday before the French parliament about its activity in Russia, where it employs 30,000 people and generates 10% of its global sales. “It’s easy to criticize us, but we are there, we stand up and we act for the civilian population,” Mr Claude assured in an interview with the press.
Concerns over the maintenance of Chernobyl
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reiterated its concern over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, taken by the Russian military on February 24, the first day of the invasion of Ukraine. The Russian army has now also taken control of the town of Slavoutitch, where the staff of the Chernobyl factory live, and “there has been no replacement of staff for almost a week”, ie. on March 20, on the spot, the press specifies the release of the IAEA. The agency is concerned about the possibility that employees who manage the day-to-day operations of the radioactive waste site may return home to rest.