President Zelensky meets US officials
Negotiations for a peace deal cannot resume until Russia demonstrates it is willing to move its troops and equipment back “to the position before 24 February” when Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, Mr Zelensky said in a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Earlier, Russia said it is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported, citing comments by foreign minister Andrei Rudenko on Wednesday.
It comes amid fears of global food shortages as Putin’s troops’ blockade Black Sea ports in Ukraine’s south.
Finland says Russian ban on gas export having ‘limited’ impact
Russia halted gas exports to neighboring Finland on Saturday, a highly symbolic move that came just days after the Nordic country announced it wanted to join Nato and marked a likely end to Finland’s nearly 50 years of importing natural gas from Russia.
But Finland has said it is coping just fine without it:
Nordic nations must meet Turkey’s ‘security concerns’ to join Nato
A senior Turkish official insisted after talks with Swedish and Finnish officials on Wednesday that Turkey would not agree to the two Nordic countries joining Nato unless specific steps are taken to address Ankara’s objections.
“We have made it very clear that if Turkey’s security concerns are not met with concrete steps in a certain timeframe the process will not progress,” Ibrahim Kalin told a news conference after the talks in Ankara that lasted about five hours.
Mr Kalin is the spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and a senior presidential aide.
Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join Nato last week, in a move representing one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of Russia’s war in Ukraine that could rewrite Europe’s security map.
Turkey has said it opposes the countries’ membership in the Western military alliance, citing grievances with Sweden’s — and a to a lesser extent Finland’s — perceived support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other entities that Turkey views as security threats.
Protesters speak out against Ukraine war on Cannes red carpet
Protesters speaking out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine have taken to the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in the third such incident this week.
A group which contained Ukrainian filmmakers behind the 2022 film Butterfly Vision held up a banner which read “Russians kill Ukrainians. Do you find it offensive or disturbing to talk about this genocide?”.
The participants also covered their faces with transparent squares with the crossed eye image which is used in social media when content is deemed sensitive or disturbing.
During a photocall for the film, producers Darya Bassel and Yelizaveta Smith wore t-shirts with an image of an explosion on the front with the same message as the banner on the back.
The film’s Ukrainian director Maksym Nakonechnyi also wore a t-shirt that reads “Free Tayra” in reference to Ukrainian medic Julia Paevska, known as Tayra, who has reportedly been taken captive by Russian forces.
Ukraine shares video of two destroyed Russian tanks
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has shared footage which it says shows two Russian tanks destroyed during fighting in the Luhansk region.
UK and Spain call on Nato to look at Russian threat from Africa
Russia’s expanding influence and activity in Africa pose a “worrying” threat to the security of Nato countries along with its invasion of Ukraine and must be addressed by the military alliance, the Spanish and British defence ministers said Wednesday.
At a joint news conference in Madrid, Spain’s Margarita Robles said the expansion of operations by the Russian state and Russian private security companies such as the Wagner Group in countries like Mali and Libya was “very clear” and accused them of fomenting organised crime and terrorism.
“Nato cannot remain indifferent in this situation,” she added.
International coalition dedicated to freeing mainland Ukraine need as Nato won’t act, says senior MP
An international coalition of countries dedicated to freeing Ukraine from Russian forces is needed, a senior Tory MP has said.
Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood told the Commons that a new coalition was needed as “Nato refuses to formally get involved”.
He said: “It is consensus-driven and it is clear some countries don’t want to lean forward.
“It is time, therefore, to form a coalition of like-minded nations working together to better co-ordinate military support for Ukraine, increasing the quality and quantity of equipment, assisting with supply chains and training, all united by a mission to see Ukraine push Russian forces entirely out of its mainland.”
Prince Charles calls Ukraine humanitarian crisis ‘nightmare situation’
The Prince of Wales has spoken out about the “nightmare situation” in Ukraine during a trip to Romania to meet refugees who have fled the war in their homeland.
Charles was joined by distant relative Margareta, head of the Romanian royal family, for the unannounced tour of a donation centre for refugees in the capital Bucharest.
More than a million Ukrainians have crossed the border into Romania since the Russian invasion in February and the nation has had to quickly adapt to deal with the needs of the displaced.
Speaking through an interpreter, the prince told a group of Ukrainian families: “We feel for Ukraine, a nightmare situation. Keep praying.”
Russia has used 60 per cent of its high-precision weapons stock, says Ukraine
UN to discuss Russian exports during Moscow visit
A senior United Nations official is due to visit Moscow in the coming days to “discuss the scheme by which we can export out fertilisers,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Wednesday.
Mr Nebenzia said that “formally fertilisers and grain are not under sanctions, but there are logistical, transport, insurance, bank transfer problems” created by Western sanctions imposed on Russia that “prevent us from exporting freely”.
“We are prepared to export fertilizers and grain from our ports to the world market,” he said, adding that when it came to Ukrainian grain exports - “I think that should be negotiated with the Ukrainians, not with Russians.”
Mr Nebenzia said Rebecca Grynspan – head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development and coordinator of the UN Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance – was due to discuss Russian exports during a visit to Moscow.
Russia risks default with vow to pay foreign debt in rubles
Russia says it will pay dollar-denominated foreign debt in rubles, a move that is likely to be seen by foreign investors as a default.
The US Treasury Department led by Janet Yellen allowed a license to expire Wednesday that permitted Russia to keep paying its debtholders through American banks. The license applied to American investors and international investors who have dollar-denominated debt or bonds.
The Russian finance ministry said it will pay in rubles and offer “the opportunity for subsequent conversion into the original currency.” The ministry didn’t give a timeframe for that to happen.
Russia has not defaulted on its international debts since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
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