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The separatist leader voted to join Russia

A separatist leader in eastern Ukraine says his region wants to hold a vote to join Russia.

Leonid Pasechnik, leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, said on Sunday that he could hold a referendum “soon” to ask voters if they support the region’s transformation into Russia.

Russia has backed separatist rebels in Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk regions after a riot broke out there in 2014 shortly after Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Moscow recognized their independence on February 21 and then cited its call for military aid to launch an invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

In talks with Ukraine, Moscow called on it to recognize Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea and the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Pasechnik’s statement could portend a change in Russia’s position.

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KEY DEVELOPMENT OF THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

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– Zelensky: The West needs more courage to help Ukraine fight

– “My personal tragedy”: the Ukrainians are preparing for an attack on Odessa

– Ukrainians were well received in Hungary, but not an Afghan student

– The war shakes Europe’s path to energy independence, climate goals

Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

BERLIN – The President of Germany is hosting a “concert of solidarity” with Ukraine with musicians from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

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The Berlin Philharmonic played plays by Ukrainian, Russian and Polish composers at President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s Bellevue Palace in Berlin. Steinmeier – who addressed the event via video because he tested positive for coronavirus last week – described it on Sunday as a “signal for freedom and peace”.

Steinmeier said: “Let us be vigilant against widespread hostility and let us not succumb to the pseudo-historical nationalist delusion of Putin (Russian President Vladimir). Let’s not let Putin’s hatred turn into hatred between people … and our own society. “

However, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany tweeted that he had rejected the invitation. Andriy Melnik wrote that they perform “ONLY RUSSIAN (!) SOLOISTS”, “without Ukrainians”. He added: “Insult. I’m sorry, I’m staying away. “

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Jerusalem – Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the United States was not trying to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite strong condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Blinken spoke a day after President Joe Biden said of Putin during a speech in Warsaw: “For God’s sake, this man cannot stay in power.”

At a news conference in Jerusalem, Blinken said Biden said “Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else.”

He said the United States has repeatedly said that “we have no strategy for regime change in Russia or anywhere else on this issue.”

“In this case, as in any case, it depends on the people of the country in question. It depends on the Russian people, “Blinken said.

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BERLIN – The President of Germany is hosting a “concert of solidarity” with Ukraine with musicians from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

The Berlin Philharmonic played plays by Ukrainian, Russian and Polish composers at President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s Bellevue Palace in Berlin. Steinmeier described it on Sunday as a “signal for freedom and peace”.

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Steinmeier said: “Let us be vigilant against widespread hostility and let us not succumb to the pseudo-historical nationalist delusion of Putin (Russian President Vladimir). Let’s not let Putin’s hatred turn into hatred between people … and our own society. “

However, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany tweeted that he had rejected the invitation. Andriy Melnik wrote that they perform “ONLY RUSSIAN (!) SOLOISTS”, “without Ukrainians”. He added: “Insult. I’m sorry, I’m staying away. “

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Kyiv, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has again called on the West to provide Ukraine with fighter jets and anti-aircraft missiles.

Speaking in a video address early Sunday, Zelenski said that “our partners have it all and it’s just gathering dust. In fact, this is necessary not only for the freedom of Ukraine, but also for the freedom of Europe.

Zelenski warned that the Baltic states, Poland and Slovakia could ultimately face a Russian attack “only because they will keep in their hangars only 1% of all NATO military aircraft and 1% of all NATO tanks.” Just 1%! We don’t want more and we have been waiting for him for 31 days! ”

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He said “our partners need to step up their assistance to Ukraine.”

The president said that “Ukraine cannot shoot down Russian missiles with rifles and machine guns, which are the bulk of supplies. And we cannot unblock Mariupol without the necessary number of tanks, other armor and fighter jets. All defenders of Ukraine know about this.

He added that the United States and “all European politicians” know this.

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DOHA, Qatar – The head of the International Monetary Fund warns that global economic tensions caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine could spark civil unrest in the Middle East and beyond.

Speaking at a forum in Doha, Qatar on Sunday, Kristalina Georgieva said Russia’s invasion and consequent sanctions against Moscow have forced the world’s poorest to endure the worst of the crisis as they grapple with inflated food costs and -scarce jobs.

Georgieva hinted that the current situation sparked the 2011 riots, known as the Arab Spring, when soaring bread prices sparked anti-government protests in the Middle East.

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“When prices soar and poor people can’t feed their families, they will be on the streets,” she said. “One thing we know about the troubles of one place, they travel, they don’t stay there.”

Georgieva called for greater global co-operation to fill gaps in goods and energy supplies.

“Please work together,” she said. “Oil producers, gas producers and food producers today are able to help reduce this uncertainty.

She cited the importance of Ukraine as a leading exporter of wheat, urging a quick solution to the war.

“The faster the tanks come out, the faster the tractors will come in,” she said. “We need the harvest in Ukraine by July to contribute to the stability of food prices.

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NEW YORK – The Russian military has said it has struck Ukrainian military sites with long-range missiles.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement Sunday that air-to-air cruise missiles had struck a fuel depot and a defense plant in Lviv near the Polish border a day earlier.

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Konashenkov said another naval missile strike destroyed an air defense missile depot in Plesetsk, west of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

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ODESSA, Ukraine – The Black Sea port of Odessa is digging its beaches and rushing to defend its cultural heritage from a dangerous Mariupol-style fate in the face of growing concern that the strategic city could be next as Russia tries to strip Ukraine of its coastline.

The multicultural jewel, dear to Ukrainian hearts and even to Russians, would be an extremely strategic victory for Russia. It is the largest port in the country, which is crucial for the export of grain and other species, as well as the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy.

The bombing from the sea last weekend has further raised concerns that the city is in Russia’s sights.

Residents say Russian President Vladimir Putin would be mad to take Odessa with a brutal approach that has left other Ukrainian cities in ruins. Once a gilded powerhouse of the Russian Empire, Odessa includes one of the best opera houses in Europe and the famous Potemkin Stairs between the city and the sea, presented in the masterpiece of the 1925 silent film “Battleship Potemkin” by Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein.

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LONDON – The Russian military appears to be trying to encircle Ukrainian forces fighting in separatist regions in the east of the country, the British Ministry of Defense said.

Russian forces are advancing south of the Kharkiv region and north of Mariupol, the ministry said at an intelligence briefing released Sunday morning.

Battlefields in northern Ukraine remain “largely static,” with Ukrainian counterattacks hampering Russia’s efforts to reorganize its forces, the ministry said.

In an earlier briefing issued overnight, the ministry said Russia continues to strike at targets in Ukraine, including many in densely populated areas, the ministry said.

Russia is relying on anti-aircraft missiles fired from its own territory to reduce aircraft exposure to Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire, the ministry said. But it said limited stockpiles of these weapons would force Russia “to return to less sophisticated missiles or take more risks for its aircraft.”

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LVIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky angrily warned Moscow that it was sowing deep hatred for Russia among its people as constant artillery and aerial bombardment turned cities into ruins, killing civilians and forcing others to flee, leaving them searching for food and water. to survive.

“You are doing everything so that our people can leave the Russian language, because the Russian language will now be associated only with you, with your explosions and murders, your crimes,” Zelensky said in a passionate video message late Saturday.

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Kyiv, Ukraine – Ukraine’s nuclear supervisory authority says a nuclear research facility in Kharkov has again come under fire from Russia and the fighting makes it impossible to assess the damage.

The State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation said the experimental facility with a neutron source at the Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology was shelled on Saturday.

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Ukrainian authorities said earlier that Russian shelling had damaged buildings at the facility in Kharkov, but no radiation had been released. The newly built neutron source facility is designed for research and production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that the nuclear material in the facility is always subcritical and the inventory of radioactive material is very small, which reduces the risks of radiation releases.

Kharkov has been besieged by Russian forces since the beginning of the invasion and has been the target of repeated shelling of its residential buildings and critical infrastructure.

Ukraine’s nuclear facilities are threatened by Russian invasion.

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LVIV, Ukraine – The governor of the Lviv region said a man was detained on suspicion of espionage at the site of one of two rocket attacks that rocked the city on Saturday.

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Maxim Kozitsky said police found that the man had shot a rocket flying at the target and hitting it. Police also found in his phone photos of checkpoints in the region, which Kozitsky said were sent to two Russian phone numbers.

Rockets hit an oil depot and an unspecified industrial facility, injuring at least five people. A thick stream of smoke and rising flames could be seen on the outskirts of Lviv hours after the attacks.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

The separatist leader voted to join Russia

Source link The separatist leader voted to join Russia

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