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UKRAINE WRAP | Ukraine's president says Russia wants to dictate future world order

29 June 2022 - 06:10 By TimesLIVE
A Ukrainian national flag is placed over the graves of brothers, Denys Hrynchuk and Oleksandr Hrynchuk on June 27, 2022 in Bila Krynytsia, Ukraine. Oleksandr Hrynchuk, 33, was killed on June 21 in the Luhansk region. The Hrynchuk family had earlier lost their younger son, Denys, who was killed while serving in the army in the Donetsk region, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion.
A Ukrainian national flag is placed over the graves of brothers, Denys Hrynchuk and Oleksandr Hrynchuk on June 27, 2022 in Bila Krynytsia, Ukraine. Oleksandr Hrynchuk, 33, was killed on June 21 in the Luhansk region. The Hrynchuk family had earlier lost their younger son, Denys, who was killed while serving in the army in the Donetsk region, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion.
Image: Alexey Furman/Getty Images

June 29 2022 — 21:01

Russia will respond to Bulgaria's 'hostile' expulsion of diplomats

The Russian Embassy to Sofia said on Wednesday that Bulgaria's decision to expel 70 Russian diplomatic staff was a hostile action to which Moscow would respond accordingly.

In a statement on its Telegram channel, Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova said that declaring 34 diplomats and 36 staff personae non gratae together as a list was an "unprecedented hostile step."

"The government of the Russian Federation is reserving its right of reciprocal, possibly asymmetric response to such hostile actions," she said.

Bulgaria said on Tuesday that it had expelled the diplomatic staff over espionage concerns. 

-Reuters

June 29 2022 — 18:10

Chip exports to Russia have plunged by 90% since export restrictions -U.S. official

Global exports of semiconductors to Russia have plummeted by 90% since the United States and allies slapped export controls on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday.

Raimondo, speaking at an annual Commerce Department conference, also doubled down on threats to "shut down" China's top chipmaker SMIC if it is found to be supplying chips to Russia. 

-Reuters

June 29 2022 — 14:20

China's smartphone makers gain ground in Russian market, says M.Video

Chinese smartphones accounted for two-thirds of all new sales in Russia between April and June, the country's top electronics retailer said on Wednesday, the latest sign of how Moscow's invasion of Ukraine is impacting the country's consumer economy.

Several major smartphone makers, including Apple and Samsung, have paused new sales in Russia following Moscow's February 24 invasion of Ukraine, while financial sanctions and airspace bans have hit supply chains, pushing Russian retailers and consumers to look towards China to fill the gap.

“The total share of Chinese brands in the Russian market in terms of smartphone sales is steadily increasing — from 50% in the first quarter, to 60% in April to more than 70% in June,” Russian electronics retailer M.Video-Eldorado said on Wednesday.

Overall, Chinese smartphones accounted for more than 65% of devices sold across the second quarter, up from 50% in the same period of 2021. Mobile operator MTS reported a jump in sales of Chinese phones in May.

M.Video said the average price of a smartphone sold during the three-month period was down 4% on last year as Russian consumers shift to lower-ticket goods amid an earnings squeeze and economic downturn.

Apple and Samsung stopped new product sales in Russia after Moscow sent its army into Ukraine in late February, but retailers have been able to use up existing stocks.

The Kremlin has also moved to allow Russian companies to ship in some products, including smartphones, without the licence holder's permission in a so-called “parallel imports” scheme.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 14:00

Ukraine's president says Russia wants to dictate the future world order

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told NATO leaders on Wednesday his country needed more weapons and money to defend itself against Russia, warning that Moscow's ambitions did not stop at Ukraine."

This is not a war being waged by Russia against only Ukraine. This is a war for the right to dictate conditions in Europe - for what the future world order will be like," he said in a virtual address to a summit of the Western defence alliance in Madrid.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 13:45

Russia warns Norway over restricting supplies to settlements on Svalbard

Russia said on Wednesday that restrictions imposed by Norway were blocking the transport of goods to Russian-populated settlements on the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard and called on Oslo to resolve the issue as soon as possible or face consequences.

The ministry said that it summoned Norway's Chargé d'Affaires to protest the restrictions, which it said were blocking the transport of food and medical equipment.

Svalbard is part of Norway, although Russia has the right to exploit the archipelago's natural resources under a treaty signed in 1920 and maintains a diplomatic presence in the largely Russian- and Ukrainian-populated settlement of Barentsburg.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 13:23

Warsaw hails planned US military base in Poland as clear signal to Russia

Poland on Wednesday hailed U.S. President Joe Biden's commitment to establish the fifth Army's Headquarters in Poland as the realisation of a long-held dream that would send a clear signal of deterrence to Russia.

Biden told a NATO summit in Madrid earlier on Wednesday that the US will ramp up its forces and equipment across Europe and set up a new permanent army headquarters in Poland in response to potential new threats from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014, Poland has viewed an increase in NATO troops on the Western alliance's eastern flank as vital for central Europe's security in the face of increased Russian assertiveness and has long sought a permanent US military base on its soil.

“It is a success which comes from long and consistent negotiations on this matter and, at the same time, a very clear sign that the Americans intend to increase, not decrease, their presence in Poland,” Jakub Kumoch, the Polish president's foreign policy adviser, told Reuters when asked about Biden's announcement.

“Something that seemed impossible to many is becoming a fact today,” Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz wrote on Twitter.

“We have a PERMANENT US presence in Poland... It is also a clear signal to Moscow.”

Biden visited Poland in March and told US troops deployed there that they were “in the midst of a fight between democracies and oligarchs.

“Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling party, said in April that Warsaw would be open to having US nuclear weapons on its soil and would welcome a 50% increase in the number of US troops in Europe in comments criticised by the Kremlin.

Before tensions between Russia and the West flared over Ukraine, the US military had about 4,500 troops in Poland in both a NATO and a bilateral capacity, mostly stationed in the west of the country on a rotational basis.

Washington has since dispatched extra troops and equipment to Poland on a temporary basis and NATO said in June that the alliance currently has 11,600 troops from other countries deployed in Poland, a number which included forces from other NATO members such as Britain.

In 2018, Poland, which borders Ukraine and close Russian ally Belarus, proposed naming a military base in honour of then US president Donald Trump, in return for him establishing permanent presence there.

“Fort Trump” never materialised however.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 12:30

Public Power Corp. prepared for 'extreme' scenario of Russian gas halt- CEO

Greece's biggest power utility Public Power Corp. (PPC) has worked out a plan to secure power supplies under an "extreme" scenario of Russia halting gas flows to Europe, its top manager said on Wednesday.

PPC, which is 34% owned by the state, generates 50% of electricity in Greece and gas accounted for about 40% of its production mix last year.

"We are talking about extremes scenarios," PPC's Chief Executive Officer Georgios Stassis told shareholders, referring to the possibility of Russia halting gas supplies to Europe, which would prompt a spike in gas prices and force Europe to ration demand.

"PPC has made a good preparation for that scenario, either with alternative fuel for some of its plants and that's why our stock yards for our coal-fired plants are also full of coal."

He said PPC has been also very cautious with the amount of water it uses for its hydroelectric plants to make sure it has enough spare capacity.

Greece relied on Russian gas for 40% of its gas needs last year. Following the war in Ukraine which has spiked gas prices, it has ramped up purchases of liquefied gas from different countries and said it was ready to switch four gas-fired power plants to diesel in case Russian gas supplies were disrupted.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 11:48

Moscow-administered Kherson prepares referendum on joining Russia

The Moscow-imposed military-civilian administration in Ukraine's Kherson region said it had begun preparations for a referendum on joining Russia, an official in the administration told Reuters on Wednesday.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed administration, told Reuters that a date for the referendum had not yet been chosen, but that he expected the vote in “the coming half year”.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 10:47

Russia says it hit training base for “foreign mercenaries” near Ukraine's Mykolaiv

Russia's defence ministry said on Wednesday that its forces carried out strikes on a military training base for “foreign mercenaries” near the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the report.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 10:38

Indonesian president visits Ukraine on 'peace mission'

Indonesian President Joko Widodo started a visit on Ukraine on Wednesday that is intended to help rekindle peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and explore ways to free up exports of grain to global markets.

President Widodo, better known as Jokowi, and his wife arrived in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv by train, the Indonesian presidential website said.

Jokowi is the chair of the Group of 20 (G20) nations and one of six world leaders the United Nations appointed as “champions” of a Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG), formed to address the threat of an hunger and destitution posed by the war in Ukraine.

He has said he is committed to tackling rising food and energy prices, with the Ukraine conflict causing food and energy shortages that have stoked inflation in many countries.

Before the war, Ukraine had been one of Indonesia's biggest wheat suppliers.

Jokowi will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky before travelling to Russia for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Indonesian leader said he will urge Putin to agree to a ceasefire.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 09:35

NATO allies to send weapons to Kyiv for as long as necessary — Germany's Scholz

NATO allies will continue to supply Ukraine with weapons in its war against Russia for as long as necessary, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Madrid on Wednesday.

“It is good that the countries that are gathered here but many others, too, make their contributions so Ukraine can defend itself — by providing financial means, humanitarian aid but also by providing the weapons that Ukraine urgently needs,” Scholz told reporters as he arrived for the second day of a NATO summit.

“The message is: We will continue to do so — and to do this intensively — for as long as it is necessary to enable Ukraine to defend itself,” he added. 

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 09:08

Spain's Sanchez says Russia to be named main threat to NATO

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, the host of this week's NATO summit, told Cadena Ser radio on Wednesday that Russia will be identified as Nato's “main threat” in its new strategic concept, as opposed to a strategic partner previously.

Reuters 

June 29 2022 — 07:10

Dozens missing after strike on Ukraine mall, Russia presses attacks on east

Dozens of people were missing on Wednesday after a Russian missile strike on a shopping mall in central Ukraine two days ago that killed at least 18, while a regional governor said the situation was “very difficult” in Lysychansk in the east.

June 29 2022 — 06:00

Russia security forces detain mayor of Ukrainian city of Kherson -officials

Russia-installed officials in Ukraine's Kherson region said their security forces had detained Kherson city mayor Ihor Kolykhayev on Tuesday after he refused to follow Moscow's orders, while a Kherson local official said the mayor was abducted.

Kherson, a port city on the Black Sea, sits just northwest of the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula. It was occupied during the first week of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began in February, and a large part of the local population has left the region.

“I can confirm that Kolykhayev was detained by the commandant's (military police) office,” Ekaterina Gubareva, the Moscow-appointed deputy head of the Kherson region, said on the Telegram messaging app.

Halyna Lyashevska, an adviser to Kolykhayev, said the mayor was abducted after refusing to co-operate with Russian occupiers of the Ukrainian.

“This morning, the mayor of Kherson Ihor Kolykhayev came to one of the utility facilities where the remaining employees of the city council were working,” Lyashevska said on her Facebook page.”

As soon as he got out of the car, he was immediately detained by the armed national guards and, most likely, the FSB,” she said, referring to Russia's Federal Security Services.

Another Moscow-installed deputy in the region, Kirill Stremousov, told the Russian state RIA news agency earlier on Monday that Kolykhayev did “much damage” to Russia's “denazification process” in Ukraine.

“Finally, he was neutralised,” RIA cited Stremousov as saying.Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and “denazify” its neighbour.

Ukraine and its allies in the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports of Kolykhayev's abduction and there was no official confirmation from Ukrainian authorities.

Kolykhayev's case follows past abductions of Ukrainian officials in territory under Moscow's control, including Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol, who said he faced hours of “hard” interrogations when abducted in March.

Reuters 

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