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Ukraine Crisis

Russia announces ceasefire in battered Ukrainian city

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The Russian Ministry of Defence has announced a temporary ceasefire, allowing trapped civilians to evacuate the region of Mariupol safely.

This is all according to new reports from the Kyiv Independent, who confirm the humanitarian corridor will begin at 10 am local time on March 31.

It will leave Mariupol running through the Russian-controlled port of Berdiansk.

The US Department of Defence says around 20% of Russia’s forces that had been moving against Kyiv are “repositioning”

With some heading towards Belarus, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby warns Russia will likely “refit these troops, resupply them, and employ them elsewhere in Ukraine”.

On Monday, diplomats from Russia and Ukraine met for the first round of peace talks in over two weeks, with Moscow pledging to decrease its military presence near the capital to “increase mutual trust”.

But Kyiv’s mayor says this is “simply not true”, adding sirens, rocket attacks and explosions near his city have continued at full force.

The Kremlin’s top spokesperson also told the media that there was nothing promising nor any breakthroughs reached at the diplomatic talks.

This follows Western leaders pleading for caution when it comes to any promises made by Russia.

Ukraine’s ministry of defence says Russia’s military has regrouped and is focused on “offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone”

While Russia has “intensified fire and assault operations” in the Donetsk region and “continues to strike air and missile strikes on settlements.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • The United Nations says four million people have now fled Ukraine since the start of the war.
  • There have been over 1,800 civilian deaths in Ukraine… including 98 children, since Russian forces first invaded on February 24.
  • US officials are pleading for caution when it comes to promises of Russian troop withdrawal, saying movement is likely just a “repositioning” of force.
  • Ukrainian President Zelensky is calling for tighter sanctions against Russia as the bloody war continues.

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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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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