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Ukraine Crisis

Kyiv hit by shelling, EU leaders discuss ‘peace mission’

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Ukraine’s capital city was rocked by two powerful explosions before dawn on Tuesday (March 15) as three European prime ministers rode a train for Kyiv, the first visit by foreign leaders to the Ukrainian capital since Russia launched its invasion, and a striking symbol of Ukraine’s success so far in fending off Russia’s assault. Louisa Naks reports

Kyiv awoke to the sound of air raid sirens on Tuesday (March 15) as two powerful explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital before dawn, with the mayor announcing a 35-hour curfew to start Tuesday evening.

That as the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia made their way to the city by train to show support for the country on behalf of the EU – the first foreign leaders to visit Kyiv since Russia invaded last month.

Firefighters tried to douse the flames and rescue workers helped to evacuate residents trapped in a building that had been struck.

Emergency services said at least two people died after an apartment building was hit. It was not immediately clear if it was the same block.

This man says he was awoken by the sound of a blast.

“My belongings were ready to go. I planned how I’d go to bed – I placed a big armchair opposite my head, put some staff in it and a couple of barbell weight plates on top. So, in case there would be debris I would have an armchair with some metal objects on top behind my head. Perhaps that’s what saved me because all the windows were blown out and the debris flew right into my apartment but I was left practically unharmed, with just a few scratches.”

In another part of the city, Reuters witnesses saw residents clearing debris from their homes after shelling blew out windows, ruined balconies and left wreckage strewn across the ground.

Kyiv has been spared the worst of the fighting so far, but the Russian military is slowly closing in on the city and shelling has intensified.

Ukraine hopes to open nine corridors on Tuesday to evacuate civilians and deliver humanitarian aid to those trapped by Russian forces.

This includes to the besieged city of Mariupol, which has been under constant bombardment, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents sheltering without water or power for almost a week.

This drone footage said to be from Mariupol was released on Monday by AZOV – a former right wing paramilitary which is now part of Ukraine’s National Guard. The configuration of the buildings matches satellite photography.

Local authorities say anywhere between 2,300 and 20,000 civilians have been killed. Reuters cannot verify those figures.

Russia denies it is targeting civilians in what in what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. 

Ukraine and its Western allies call that a baseless pretext for a war of choice.

Further talks between Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are expected on Tuesday after discussions on Monday via video ended with no new progress announced.

Reuters

Crypto

Russian Police investigate a crypto mining facility

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Russian Police are investigating a crypto mining facility, which is suspected of defrauding clients

It’s understood the miners handed devices to those who were running a mining hotel.

They are also accused of stealing their expensive coin minting hardware, and stopping payments to their customers.

The scam allegedly took place from November to May, where the suspects worked with people who wanted to install their coin minting hardware in a mining hotel.

They were offered electricity prices that were below market value.

Electricity consumed by some of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies has dropped by nearly half.

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Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine and Moldova on the edge of EU membership

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

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 Russia’s President Putin claims he has “nothing against” the possible membership, saying it’s Ukraine’s “sovereign decision” to join or not.

But some analysts are doubting whether Russia’s comments are genuine.

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Ukraine Crisis

Russia targets Ukrainian capital of Kyiv during G7

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Russia has targeted the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, as leaders of the G7 meet in Germany

A missile strike left one dead, and six wounded after a residential apartment was hit. It’s the first such strikes on the capital in three weeks.

The city’s Deputy Mayor says four people were admitted to local hospitals, as authorities continue their search and rescue efforts.

It’s believed a 7-year-old girl is among those who are injured in the complex. Meanwhile, a missile funnel has been found in the backyard of a nearby kindergarten.

U-S President Joe Biden says the strikes are barbaric, but declined to comment on whether they were deliberately occurring because of the G7 meeting.

The Group of Seven leaders will ban imports of gold from Russia, the latest in a series of sweeping sanctions against the nation for its war in Ukraine.

Leaders will also discuss rising energy costs and inflation.

President Biden is also pledging 200 billion dollars as part of a global infrastructure package to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Meanwhile, Russia maintains the invasion is a special military operation.

The nation’s Defence Minister has paid a visit to Russian troops and giving medals to soldiers.

President Vladimir Putin says his nation will transfer nuclear-capable missile systems to Belarus in the coming months.

Belarus has been a close ally to Russia. The nation’s President travelled to St Petersburg for a series of meetings at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the G7 says there is one world leader who is missing from their high-stakes talks.

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