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UKRAINE WRAP | Russia says it will open humanitarian corridor from Mariupol on April 1 - Tass

31 March 2022 - 05:55 By TimesLIVE
Ukrainians who recently arrived to Mexico fleeing the Russian invasion of their homeland wait for their turn to try to get into the U.S. near the San Ysidro Port of Entry of the US-Mexico border, in Tijuana, Mexico March 30, 2022.
Ukrainians who recently arrived to Mexico fleeing the Russian invasion of their homeland wait for their turn to try to get into the U.S. near the San Ysidro Port of Entry of the US-Mexico border, in Tijuana, Mexico March 30, 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

March 31 2022 - 21:00

Russia says it will open humanitarian corridor from Mariupol on April 1 - Tass

The Russian defence ministry said on Thursday it would open a humanitarian corridor from the besieged city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia on Friday, Tass news agency reported.

It quoted Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, the director of the Russian National Center for Defense Management, as saying Moscow was acting on a request that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had made to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

-Reuters

March 31 2022 - 16:03

'There is nothing sinister about my visit to Russia': David Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza’s decision to seek treatment from Russia last year was questioned again on Thursday during a National Assembly sitting.

Mabuza was answering questions related to power utility Eskom when NFP MP Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam said: “We are a very suspicious nation, your visit to Russia and our neutral stance on Russian/Ukraine conflict is making people very suspicious about these gas deals.”

March 31 2022 - 15:09

Russia's Jehovah's Witnesses caught up in 'extremist' law

In the early morning of February 15 2019, armed police and intelligence agents burst into Timofey Zhukov's home in Surgut, an oil town in western Siberia.

They knocked him to the floor and began searching his belongings, he said.

It was one of at least 20 raids across Surgut that day, Zhukov told Reuters. All those targeted were Jehovah's Witnesses, an organisation banned in Russia two years earlier after Russia's supreme court ruled it extremist. Russian authorities argued the organisation promotes its beliefs as superior to other faiths.

March 31 2022 - 13:36

Russian troops not withdrawing but regrouping in Ukraine, NATO says

Russian forces in Ukraine are not withdrawing but regrouping, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday, commenting on Moscow's announcements about a scaling down of military operations around Kyiv.

"According to our intelligence, Russian units are not withdrawing but repositioning. Russia is trying to regroup, resupply and reinforce its offensive in the Donbas region," Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

"At the same time, Russia maintains pressure on Kyiv and other cities. So we can expect additional offensive actions, bringing even more suffering."

Reuters 

March 31 2022 - 13:04

Putin said not right time for Ukraine ceasefire- Draghi

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi that conditions were not yet in place for a ceasefire in Ukraine, Draghi told a news conference on Thursday when asked about a telephone call with Putin the previous day.

Draghi also said that Putin told him that current gas contracts remained in force and that European firms will continue to pay in euros and dollars, rather than in roubles.

"What I understood, but I may be wrong, is that the conversion of the payment.... is an internal matter of the Russian Federation," Draghi said.

Asked about increased defence spending following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Draghi said Italy will reach the NATO goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence in 2028, adding that this was not in dispute among members of his coalition.

However, Draghi said that the government's upcoming economic forecasting document would not spell out a specific increase in defence spending.

Reuters 

March 31 2022 - 11:39

Ukraine sunflower oil price surge casts shadow over Ramadan meals

Cheap and tasty, fried potatoes have become a staple in Lebanese mother Mona Amsha's kitchen in recent years. But with sunflower oil prices soaring due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, she fears even fries will be out of reach this Ramadan. 

"In 2021, when the prices were already up, I was using the same oil to cook several dishes," said Amsha, who has three children and lives in a run-down suburb of the capital, Beirut. "Now, I can't even do that."

In Lebanon, where a deep economic crisis has caused food prices to rise 11 times since 2019, according to the World Food Programme  (WFP), the impact of spiralling wheat, cooking oil and fuel costs will be sorely felt during the Muslim holy month.

March 31 2022 - 09:30

Europe must stop buying Russian oil and gas, Lithuania's president says

 Europe must stop buying oil and gas from Russia and should apply new sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania's president Gitanas Nauseda said on Thursday.

"Europe must stop buying Russian gas and oil, because the Kremlin regime uses this money to finance destruction of Ukrainian cities and attacks on peaceful civilians," Nauseda told a joint news conference with the Danish prime minister.

"The fifth sanction package must deliver a maximum blow to the Kremlin regime," he said.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation" to disarm and "denazify" its neighbour. Kyiv and the West consider this a pretext for an unprovoked invasion. 

Reuters

March 31 2022 - 09:22

Russia to increase export quotas for nitrogen, complex fertilisers

Russia plans to increase its export quotas for nitrogen and complex fertilisers, its economy ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Russia is a major producer of potash, phosphate and nitrogen containing fertilisers - key crop and soil nutrients. It produces more than 50 million tonnes a year of them, 13% of the global total, and exports to Asia and Latin America.

In November, Moscow decided to limit exports of nitrogen fertilisers and complex nitrogen-containing fertilisers for Dec 1-May 31 to help curb any further increase in food prices amid higher gas prices.

The quotas will be raised by 231,000 tonnes for nitrogen fertilisers and by 466,000 tonnes for complex fertilisers, the ministry said in a statement.

The measure will help to increase exports of these products and at the same time secure sufficient amount of the crop nutrients for domestic farmers, it added.

Russia is one of the world's largest wheat exporters, it competes mainly with the European Union and Ukraine in this market. Its farmers are now sowing spring grains for the 2022 total crop amid favourable weather.

The previous export quota for nitrogen fertilisers was 5.9 million tonnes and the one for complex nitrogen-containing fertilisers was 5.35 million tonnes.

Reuters 

March 31 2022 - 09:10

Ukraine's Zelenskiy tells Australia more Russian sanctions needed

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Australia's parliament on Thursday that new and stronger sanctions against Russia were needed to increase the pressure on Moscow over its invasion of his country.

Australia has supplied defence equipment and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, as well as imposing a ban on exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia.

It has imposed a total of 476 sanctions on 443 individuals, including businessmen close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and 33 entities, including most of Russia's banking sector and all entities responsible for the country's sovereign debt.

Reuters 

March 31 2022 - 08:34

Convoy of buses trying to reach trapped civilians in Mariupol , Ukraine says

A convoy of Ukrainian buses set out for the southern port city of Mariupol on Thursday to try to reach trapped civilians, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

She said the International Committee of the Red Cross had confirmed that Russia had agreed to open a humanitarian corridor to the besieged city where tens of thousands of civilians remain after weeks of Russian bombardment.

Reuters 

March 31 2022 - 07:46

Russia concerned at Islamic State's plans to destabilise Central Asia

Russia is concerned about the plans of militant group Islamic State to destabilise central Asia and spread instability to the country as well, the RIA news agency said. 

March 31 2022 - 07:00

Mariupol evacuee describes hardships of survival under shelling

CNN's Hala Gorani speaks with Alina Beskrovna, a Ukrainian woman who survived weeks of shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol before managing to escape.

March 31 2022 - 06:20

Russia against US, NATO military presence near Afghanistan - TASS

Russia considers the presence of any United States or NATO military infrastructure in countries bordering Afghanistan unacceptable, the TASS news agency cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Thursday.

Reuters

March 31 2022 - 06:00

Russians abroad try to get Ukraine news to relatives 

Russian Americans are sending their relatives in Russia accounts of the war in Ukraine produced by Western and other media outlets that contrast with what Russian state media is reporting.

March 31 2022 - 05:55

Dow, S&P close lower after 4 days of gains as Russia bombs Ukraine

US stocks fell, ending a four-session winning streak for the Dow and S&P 500, as investors weighed developments in Ukraine, where Russian forces dropped bombs a day after Moscow said it was scaling down military operations.

March 31 2022 - 05:50

'I'm Maria from Mariupol': One woman describes harrowing story of Russian attack

CNN's Ivan Watson speaks with a woman whose family survived the bombing of a theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of the country.

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