Thursday Aug 18, 2022
Thursday Aug 18, 2022

Ukraine refugee exodus surpasses 3.5 million


Nepalnews
AP
2022 Mar 22, 16:13, Ukraine
Civilian volunteers attend a training camp of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces in Brovary, northeast of Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday

GENEVA — The UN refugee agency says more than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, passing another milestone in an exodus that has led to Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.

UNHCR reported Tuesday that 3.53 million people have left Ukraine, with Poland taking in the lion’s share — more than 2.1 million — followed by Romania with more than 540,000 and Moldova with more than 367,000.

Shortly after the invasion on Feb. 24, UNHCR predicted that some 4 million refugees might leave Ukraine, though it has been re-assessing that prediction. The outflows have been slowing in recent days after peaking at more than 200,000 each on two straight days in early March.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that nearly 6.5 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine, suggesting that some if not most of them might to flee abroad if the war continues.

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ANKARA, Turkey — A second superyacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich reportedly has docked in a resort in southwestern Turkey.

Turkey has not imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine last month, nor has it frozen assets belonging to top Russian businessmen linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The private DHA news agency said Tuesday the Bermuda-registered Eclipse docked in the resort of Marmaris.

A day earlier, Abramovich’s Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht My Solaris arrived in the nearby resort of Bodrum, triggering a protest by a group of Ukrainians who boarded a small motorboat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking.

NATO member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two.

LONDON — Britain’s defense ministry says Russian forces have not managed to take over the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol despite weeks of bombardment and days of street fighting.

In an update posted on social media, UK officials say that “despite heavy fighting, Ukrainian forces continue to repulse Russian attempts to occupy” the city.

It says Russian forces have made “limited progress” elsewhere in Ukraine in the last day, and remain “largely stalled in place.”

The Ukrainian military said Tuesday that Ukrainian forces were still defending Mariupol and destroyed a Russian patrol boat and electronic warfare complex. But the defense ministry said Russia, for now, controls the land corridor from Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014, and is blocking Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— Mariupol residents described fleeing through street-to-street gun battles

— U.S. President Joe Biden will thank Poland’s president for the country’s efforts to shelter Ukrainian refugees

— The U.N. is divided over mention Russia’s invasion in a resolution on the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine

— The extent of the horror is not yet known as Mariupol holds out against Russian demands for surrender.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

PARIS — France’s foreign ministry has announced that the country sent 55 metric tons (60 tons) of humanitarian aid to Ukraine via Poland, including computers, medical equipment, baby formula, and generators.

The 2.4 million euros ($2.6 million) in emergency aid was sent on an A330 cargo plane from Paris to Warsaw, the Polish capital, France said in a statement late Monday. It said that “in liaison with the Polish authorities, the material will be handed over to the Ukrainian authorities without delay.”

The medical equipment — which weighs some 10 metric tons (11 tons) — is said to include 10 oxygen generators designated for intensive care units in addition to 9 metric tons (10 tons) of medicines.

The aid includes 31 generators, six of which are high-capacity generators “aimed at strengthening the electrical safety of Ukrainian health facilities.”

Eight metric tons (9 tons) of computer and internet access material — such as smartphones, computers, routers and 60 kilometers (37 miles) of optical fiber — was also included in the package.

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TOKYO — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to virtually deliver his address to the Japanese parliament on Wednesday to rally international support for his country’s fight against Russian invasion.

Japan, unlike in the past, has been acting tough against Russia, in line with other Group of Seven countries, though Tokyo’s steps have triggered Moscow’s retaliation. A compromise could set a bad precedent in East Asia, where China is increasingly making assertive military actions.

Zelenskyy’s speech, expected to be about 10 minutes, will be shown in a meeting room at the lower house — the more powerful of Japan’s two-chamber parliament which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida belongs to. Zelenskyy has made virtual addresses to the U.S. Congress, as well as parliaments in Europe, Canada, and Israel.

Foreign dignitaries, including former US President George W. Bush and former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, have delivered their addresses in person during visits to Japan as state guests, but an online speech by a foreign leader is unprecedented.

On Monday, Russia announced a decision to discontinue peace treaty talks with Japan over the disputed Kuril islands and withdraw from joint economic projects there, citing Tokyo’s sanctions against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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TOKYO — Japan denounced Russia on Tuesday over its decision to discontinue peace treaty talks over the disputed Kuril islands and withdraw from joint economic projects in retaliation for Tokyo’s sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two countries never signed a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities because of their dispute over the Russian-held islands north of Hokkaido, which Moscow took at the end of the war.

“The latest situation has been all caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters Tuesday. He called Russia’s response “extremely unjustifiable and absolutely unacceptable.”

Japan has imposed a series of sanctions on Russia in recent weeks, including freezing some individual assets, banning exports of luxury goods and high-technology equipment to the country, and revoking Russia’s most favored nation trade status.

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KYIV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian army said it forced Russian troops out of Makariv, a strategically important Kyiv suburb, after a fierce battle. That prevents Russian forces from encircling the capital from the northwest, the Defense Ministry said.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday he was prepared to discuss a commitment from Ukraine not to seek NATO membership in exchange for a cease-fire, the withdrawal of Russian troops, and a guarantee of Ukraine’s security.

“It’s a compromise for everyone: for the West, which doesn’t know what to do with us with regard to NATO, for Ukraine, which wants security guarantees, and for Russia, which doesn’t want further NATO expansion,” Zelenskyy said late Monday in an interview with Ukrainian television channels.

He also repeated his call for direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Unless he meets with Putin, it is impossible to understand whether Russia even wants to stop the war, Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy said that Kyiv will be ready to discuss the status of Crimea and the eastern Donbas region held by Russian-backed separatists after a cease-fire and steps toward providing security guarantees.

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LVIV, Ukraine — Russian forces shelled along a humanitarian corridor on Monday, wounding four children who were among the civilians being evacuated, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address to the nation. He said the shelling took place in the Zaporizhzhia region, the initial destination of those fleeing Mariupol.

The Ukrainian government said that about 3,000 people from Mariupol were evacuated on Monday.

Zelenskyy said he spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate their positions before Western leaders meet on Thursday.

“Our position will be expressed and will be expressed strongly, believe me,” Zelenskyy said.

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