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Ukraine Crisis

When will Mariupol fall to Russia?

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A top European official warns the besieged city of Mariupol could fall “within days”, as Russia begins its offensive in the Donbas region of Ukraine

War-torn Mariupol has been largely decimated by relentless Russian shelling, and there are reports Moscow wants to declare the region “liberated” by May 9.

May 9 is a significant date in the Russian calendar, marking the day the nation defeated Nazi Germany back in 1945.

Speaking to Reuters, the unnamed official says they “do expect a complete destruction of the city and many civilian casualties in Mariupol”.

It’s also feared the death toll could far surpass that which was seen in the city of Bucha, where Russian troops have been accused of killing hundreds of innocent civilians.

As Russia pushes to take control of the Donbas region, it seems clear Moscow is determined to secure a land corridor with Crimea, the area seized back in 2014.

As Russia’s renewed offensive in the east heats up, US President Joe Biden says his administration will send more artillery systems to Ukraine.

Since the beginning of Putin’s invasion, America has so-far provided $3.2 billion (£2.46bn) in security aid to the nation.

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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