UKRAINE WRAP | 'Atrocities' are committed daily in Ukraine, says Pope

20 March 2022 - 06:30 By TimesLIVE
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A border police officer gives toys to children who cross the border to Romania, after fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, on March 19 2022 in Siret, Romania.
A border police officer gives toys to children who cross the border to Romania, after fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, on March 19 2022 in Siret, Romania.
Image: Andreea Campeanu/Getty Images

March 20 2022 - 15:51

Pope says 'slaughters and atrocities' are committed daily in Ukraine

Pope Francis, continuing his implicit criticism of Russia, called the conflict in Ukraine an unjustified “senseless massacre” and urged leaders to stop “this repugnant war”.

“The violent aggression against Ukraine is unfortunately not slowing down,” he told about 30,000 people in St Peter's Square for his weekly Sunday address and blessing.

“It is a senseless massacre where every day slaughters and atrocities are being repeated,” Francis said in his latest strong condemnation of the war, which has so far avoided mentioning Russia by name.

March 20 2022 - 13:31

Russia allows some more financial market operations over next two weeks

Russia's central bank has allowed a limited number of additional financial market operations over the next two weeks, as it tentatively eases restrictions linked to the Ukraine conflict. 

Stocks and bonds last traded on the Moscow Exchange on February 25, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, after which the central bank curbed trading as Western sanctions threw markets into turmoil.

It allowed rouble trading to continue, with the currency slumping to record lows against the dollar and euro.

March 20 2022 - 13:06

Food security panics governments as Ukraine war blocks supplies

War between Russia and Ukraine, two of the grains powerhouses, has sparked panic about shortages, soaring prices and a potential squeeze on Russian fertiliser. That’s triggered export restrictions from Asia to the Americas, while the European Union signalled it’ll pivot its “whole approach” to agriculture policy to ensure food security.

The invasion of Ukraine, known as Europe’s breadbasket, jolted commodities markets, and countries responded by hoarding grains and cooking oil, or encouraging bigger harvests. The Group of Seven nations and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization are urging leaders to keep trade flows open, warning that protectionism can push prices higher and lead to empty shelves in countries dependent on imports. 

“Any stability that you get in the country that’s putting up the export ban is an instability exported to the rest of the world,” said Joseph Glauber, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington. “It has a cascading effect.”

March 20 2022 - 12:24

Patriot air defence units arrive in Slovakia - defence ministers

The first units deploying the Patriot air defence system have started arriving from NATO partner countries in Slovakia and the deployment will continue in the coming days, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad said on Facebook on Sunday.

The system will be operated by German and Dutch troops and will initially be deployed at the Sliac airport in central Slovakia to help reinforce defence of NATO's eastern flank.


March 20 2022 - 11:15

Germany calls for talks on transatlantic free trade deal - Handelsblatt

Germany's finance minister has called for fresh talks for a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, a newspaper reported on Sunday. Christian Lindner, the finance minister of Europe's largest economy, told Handelsblatt: "We should resume negotiations on a transatlantic free trade agreement. Especially now in the crisis, it is becoming clear how important free trade is with partners around the world who share our values."


March 20 2022 - 11:00

UK's Sunak says he will help where possible with cost of living

British finance minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday said he would help where possible with a cost-of-living squeeze but warned tough economic times would be exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis and sanctions on Russia.

"The actions and steps we're taking to sanction Russia are not cost-free for us here at home," Sunak told Sky News, ahead of a half-yearly budget update on Wednesday.

"I can't pretend that it's going to be easy, that government can solve every challenge, or that I can completely protect people against some of the difficult times ahead, but what I can say is where we can make a difference, of course we will." 


March 20 2022 - 09:00

Moldovan pigeons bring peace to Ukrainian refugees

Moldovan pigeon breeder Victor and his white pigeons are helping Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their homeland forget about the war for a little while.

March 20 2022 - 08:30

Zelenskiy figurines raise over $145,000 for Ukraine

A small suburban Chicago toy company has raised more than $145,000 for Ukraine by selling figurines of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

March 20 2022 - 08:15

'Dangerous escalation': Ex-CIA director on Russia's use of powerful weapon

Former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta responds to confirmations by US officials that Russia launched powerful hypersonic missiles against Ukraine last week, the first known use of such missiles in combat. Russia claimed it deployed hypersonic missiles to destroy an ammunition warehouse in western Ukraine. 

March 20 2022 - 08:00

Reform of the UN is a hopeless but necessary errand

The world has a democracy problem. The engine room of its security policy, the UN Security Council, represents only five countries permanently, to the exclusion of the rest of the world. These countries — China, France, Russia, the UK and the US — have a stranglehold on international security and together have been the single greatest obstacle to advances in the way of realising true international community.

Their permanent seats are the product of the end of World War 2, in which they were the victors, and reflect the late colonialism and imperialism of the 1940s. Being the only permanent members of the Security Council, each of them individually possesses veto power over any initiative tabled.

March 20 2022 - 07:30

The war in Ukraine will have more of an impact on Africa than you think

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has been raging for almost three weeks. The 77-year reign of peace in Europe was shattered in the early hours of February 24 when Russian troops moved into Ukrainian territory dropping bombs on targeted sites.

The war has claimed the lives of more than 600 civilians and condemned almost 3-million to seeking refuge in other countries. However, while the bombs are exploding in Ukraine, quite far from Africa’s shores, the ramifications of the war have a global reach, which Africa will not escape. It is as much an African problem as it is a global one.

March 20 2022 - 07:00

International law is a meaningless concept when it applies only to the US's enemies

Australian whistleblower David McBride just made the following statement on Twitter“I’ve been asked if I think the invasion of Ukraine is illegal. My answer is: If we don’t hold our own leaders to account, we can’t hold other leaders to account. If the law is not applied consistently, it is not the law. It is simply an excuse we use to target our enemies. We will pay a heavy price for our hubris of 2003 in the future. We didn’t just fail to punish Bush and Blair: we rewarded them. We re-elected them. We knighted them. If you want to see Putin in his true light imagine him landing a jet and then saying ‘Mission accomplished’.”

As far as I can tell this point is logically unassailable. International law is a meaningless concept when it applies only to people the US power alliance doesn't like. This point is driven home by the life of McBride himself, whose own government responded to his publicising suppressed information about war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan by charging him as a criminal

March 20 2022 - 06:40

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a more unpredictable world

Russia’s wrong war with Ukraine is remaking the post-Cold War world, making redundant many global institutions established to keep international peace and forcing countries to prioritise energy security and increase military spending.

Navigating this new, more complex, uncertain and unpredictable world — where the ideologies of the past, old institutions and old methods of analysis will become largely irrelevant — will demand fresh ideas, imagination and new ways of analysing.

The world has now changed into a multipolar one, moving away from the domination of the US-led global order which has held sway in the post-Cold War era; a world where power will become more evenly spread around the globe.

March 20 2022 - 06:20

Cyril’s finally taken a stand; he’s Putin Russia first

Now that President Cyril Ramaphoski has decided responsibility for the murder of women and children by Russian soldiers, as they invade Ukraine, actually lies with the West, he is like a man liberated. “I fear f*k*l,” he told Julius Malema on Thursday in what now passes for parliament.

The Russians have his back. “The war could have been avoided if Nato had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region,” said Ramaphonski, conveniently forgetting the Russian invasions of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Hungary in 1956, Latvia in 1940 and Finland, 1939, to name just a few in the past century alone.

March 20 2022 - 06:15

Anti-war Russians in limbo at U.S.-Mexico border

While U.S. officials have let dozens of Ukrainians enter the country through Mexico, Russians who are against the war in Ukraine and left their homeland over the invasion, remain stuck at the Mexican border.

March 20 2022 - 06:10

Our ANC leaders show their true colours in the brutal friends they cultivate

I was going to write about the daily struggles of ordinary people as they try to cope with the rising cost of living, soaring fuel prices and having to deal with an incompetent,  uncaring bureaucracy. But President Cyril Ramaphosa's bungling over the catastrophe in Ukraine keeps getting my goat.

It's reported that he was in parliament this week, pontificating on the matter. I'm not sure which parliament, for the National Assembly is no more. They allowed it to be burnt down. It's still hard to wrap one’s mind around the fact that parliament, symbol of our democracy, is gone, charred to cinders. But we should be grateful for small mercies. Unlike with the cataclysmic events in July last year, this time a scapegoat has been found and paraded.

March 20 2022 - 06:00

Russia ridicules idea that cosmonauts wore yellow in support of Ukraine

Russia's space agency Roscosmos dismissed Western media reports suggesting Russian cosmonauts joining the International Space Station had chosen to wear yellow suits with a blue trim in support of Ukraine.

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