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Ukraine Crisis

‘Campaign of terror’ – second phase of the war has started 

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As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine carries on, the Western city of Lviv has recorded its first civilian deaths, with at least seven killed during an early morning attack.

As emergency services arrive at the scene to sort through the rubble, officials fear the death toll will only continue to rise.

Lviv has been a hub of activity throughout the war, with many residents fleeing to Poland through the city.

Following the Russian strikes, the city’s mayor warns there are now “no safe and unsafe locations” in Ukraine, adding “everyone is unsafe”.

“The second phase of the war has started,” the chief of staff to Ukraine’s President Zelensky says

The remarks from Andriy Yermak echoed the warning given by Ukraine’s top security official that Russia had launched its new offensive in the east on Monday morning.

Addressing fellow Ukrainians, Yermak wrote on the Telegram messaging app: “Believe in our army, it is very strong.”

The attack on Lviv came as a shock to both Ukrainians and leaders around the world, given Russia had just announced it was planning to focus its attention on the east and capture the Donbas region.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price warns Russia’s attacks in Ukraine in recent days are a clear indication Moscow is coordinating “a campaign of terror”.

The European Union has also condemned the latest round of Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities, including Lviv.

In a statement, the EU foreign policy chief says “Ukraine is being struck by the most intensive missile attacks by the Russian Federation” in weeks.

The European Union is continuing to condemn the “indiscriminate and illegal shelling of civilians and civilian infrastructure by Russian forces”.

Meanwhile, in Mariupol, Ukrainian forces are continuing to hold up against continued Russian attacks, as Moscow attempts to take the port city.

Russia now says the besieged city will be closed for entry and exit from Monday, warning those remaining in the city will be “filtered out.”

Media

Body behind Eurovision “understands the disappointment” over next host city

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Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision contest in May, capturing the hearts of the world

After taking out the win, that would mean Ukraine would host the competition next year.

But the European Broadcasting Union announced last week it could not be held in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

The body behind Eurovision now says it “understands the disappointment” over its decision not to hold next year’s song contest in Ukraine.

The EBU said it was in talks with the BBC to host the contest in the UK.

That’s because British entrant Sam Ryder came second in this year’s contest with his single Spaceman.

The announcement was met with disappointment by Ukrainians but the E-B-U doubled down on its position, saying in a statement that it “fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement”.

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Business

Nike to fully exit Russia

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U.S. sportswear maker Nike is making a full exit from Russia, three months after suspending its operations there, the company said in an emailed statement Thursday

The sportswear giant had said back in March that it would suspend operations at all the stores it owns or operates there.

On Thursday (June 23) the firm said it would leave the country altogether.

In a statement, Nike said it would scale down over the coming months.

The move is largely symbolic for the company, which gets less than 1% of its revenue from Russia and Ukraine combined.

It says any stores that are still open there are run by independent partners.

In May, Russian media reported that Nike had not renewed agreements with Inventive Retail Group, its largest franchisee there.

Now the full exit lputs Nike in line with other major western brands such as McDonald’s and Google.

Foreign companies seeking to leave face the prospect of new laws being passed that will allow Moscow to seize assets and impose criminal penalties.

That has prompted some businesses to accelerate their departure plans.

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Ukraine Crisis

New candidates – Ukraine and Moldova one step closer to joining EU

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Ukraine and Moldova have officially been granted E-U candidate status, moving the nations one step closer to joining the union

At a European leaders meeting in Brussels, the decision comes nearly four months after Ukraine’s Zelensky launched his country’s bid to join the bloc, and deals a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But the Kremlin has been acting as though it’s no big deal, with Putin claiming he has “nothing against” the possible membership, saying it’s Ukraine’s “sovereign decision” to join or not.

Ukrainian President Zelensky has welcomed the move, calling it “a unique and historic moment” and says his country’s future is in the EU.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has declared it “a good day for Europe”.

While candidate status is the first official step toward E-U membership, it can take many years to join and there’s no guarantee the process will be successful.

The process can also go into reverse, if a future Ukrainian government fails to implement certain reforms on the rule of law and its economy.

But the Commission president has hope.

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