Increasingly Confident Ukrainians Want No Concessions to Russia

Yulia isn’t convinced Ukraine should give up any part of its territory to Russia — even if by doing so it could end the war. The 25-year-old from Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv is now living in a shelter in the western Ukrainian town of Lviv, and her life is on hold while the conflict rages.     She fled Bucha as “there were bombardments and stuff like that. And a lot of times it was really scary.” Her mother went to Germany, but Yulia decided to remain in Ukraine “because it is my country.” She doesn’t want Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to offer any concessions to Russia, including territorial ones, even to stop the fighting. Many Ukrainians feel the war is going their way following Russian reversals northwest and …

Moldova Watches Ukraine with Special Concern

Moldova is watching the war in neighboring Ukraine with special concern. Like Ukraine, Moldova is not a member of NATO or the European Union, and it has a very large Russian-speaking population – factors that for some Moldovans have sown fears of becoming the next target of Russian ambitions. Jon Spier narrates this report from Ricardo Marquina in southern Moldova. …

Red Cross Warns of Burgeoning Health Crisis in Ukraine

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is warning of a burgeoning health crisis in Ukraine, which is likely to last longer than the conflict itself. Francesco Rocca, president of the Red Cross Federation, recently visited Ukraine and Romania to see conditions in the region since Russia’s military invaded Ukraine five weeks ago. He says no one in Ukraine is left unscathed by the ongoing conflict. He estimates 18 million people, or one-third of the population, will require humanitarian assistance. Additionally, he says about 6.5 million displaced people inside the country and more than 4 million refugees in neighboring countries will need international aid. He expresses particular concern about what he sees as an emerging health crisis. He says millions of people no longer have access to …

EU, Chinese Leaders Meet Amid Backdrop of Ukraine Conflict

Plans for a European Union-China summit were already laid before Russia invaded Ukraine last month — although Beijing’s formal announcement it would attend only came this week. On the agenda are issues like climate change, trade and what the EU describes as “universal values.” But the Ukraine conflict tops it. Eric Mamer, spokesman for the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, says: “We consider that the duty or all countries in the U.N. is to work to stop this conflict, to get Putin’s troops to withdraw and to respect the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine. This is a message which I think is addressed not just to China but to every country in the world that believes in the principles of the UN charter.” China casts itself as …

Putin Demands Western Countries Pay for Gas in Rubles

Foreign buyers of Russian gas could have to pay in rubles starting April 1, according to a decree signed Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Refusing to pay in the Russian currency will result in the suspension of contracts, Putin said. The decree targets the United States, the United Kingdom and European Union countries, which Putin calls “unfriendly.” “In order to purchase Russian natural gas, they must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments will be made for gas delivered starting from tomorrow,” Putin said in a television appearance. “If such payments are not made, we will consider this a default on the part of buyers, with all the ensuing consequences,” the Russia leader said. “Nobody sells us anything for free, and we are …

Ukrainian President Says Defense Is at a ‘Turning Point’

Ukraine’s president said his country’s defense against the Russian invasion was at a “turning point” and again pressed the United States for more help, hours after the Kremlin’s forces reneged on a pledge to scale back some of their operations. Russian bombardment of areas around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv and intensified attacks elsewhere in the country further undermined hopes for progress toward ending the bloody conflict that has devolved into a war of attrition. Civilians trapped in besieged cities have shouldered some of the worst suffering, though both sides said Thursday they would attempt another evacuation from the port city of Mariupol. Talks between Ukraine and Russia were set to resume Friday by video, according to the head of the Ukrainian delegation, David Arakhamia. A delegation of …

Georgia Denounces South Ossetia’s Planned Vote on Joining Russia

Georgia on Thursday denounced as “unacceptable” plans announced by pro-Moscow separatists in the breakaway South Ossetia region to hold a referendum on joining Russia. South Ossetia was in the center of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 after which the Kremlin recognized the territory — along with another separatist region, Abkhazia — as an independent state and stationed military bases there. On Wednesday, South Ossetian separatist leader Anatoly Bibilov said the statelet would hold a referendum on joining Russia shortly after the April 10 “presidential election” there. Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said Thursday “it is unacceptable to speak of any referendums while the territory is occupied by Russia.” “Such a referendum will have no legal force,” he told journalists. “The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Georgian …

UN Chief: 2 Billion People Live in Conflict Areas Today

The United Nations chief said Wednesday that one-quarter of humanity — 2 billion people — are living in conflict areas today and the world is facing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945, when World War II ended. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cited conflicts from Yemen, Syria, Myanmar and Sudan to Haiti, Africa’s Sahel, “and now the war in Ukraine — a catastrophe shaking the foundations of the international order, spilling across borders and causing skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices that spell disaster for developing countries.” He told the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission on Wednesday that last year 84 million people were forced to leave their homes because of conflict, violence and human rights violations. And that doesn’t include the Ukraine war which has already seen 4 million people flee …

Taiwan Studying Ukraine War Tactics, Discussing With US

Taiwan’s defense ministry has set up a working group to study the tactics of the war in Ukraine, including how the country has been able to hold out against Russia, and has been discussing this with the United States, its minister said Thursday. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has raised its alert level since the Russian invasion, wary of Beijing possibly making a similar move on the island, though it has reported no signs this is about to happen. The possible impact of the war on China’s military thinking on Taiwan, and how China could attack the island, has been widely debated in official circles in Taipei. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of parliament, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said they had had “contact” with foreign countries …

British Judges Quit Hong Kong Court Over Beijing-Imposed National Security Law

Two senior British judges resigned from Hong Kong’s highest court on Wednesday as part of a broader British rebuke of the territory’s claim that its courts are independent of political interference. In a prepared statement released by Lord Robert Reed and his colleague Lord Patrick Hodge, the judges cited the territory’s Beijing-imposed National Security Law (NSL) as central to their decision, which followed discussions with Dominic Raab, the U.K. lord chancellor and justice secretary. “I have concluded, in agreement with the government, that the judges of the Supreme Court cannot continue to sit in Hong Kong without appearing to endorse an administration which has departed from values of political freedom, and freedom of expression,” said the statement. “Lord Hodge and I have accordingly submitted our resignations as non-permanent judges of …

Russia’s Ruble Rebound Raises Questions of Sanctions’ Impact

The ruble is no longer rubble. The Russian ruble by Wednesday had bounced back from the fall it took after the U.S. and European allies moved to bury the Russian economy under thousands of new sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has resorted to extreme financial measures to blunt the West’s penalties and inflate his currency. While the West has imposed unprecedented levels of sanctions against the Russian economy, Russia’s Central Bank has jacked up interest rates to 20% and the Kremlin has imposed strict capital controls on those wishing to exchange their rubles for dollars or euros. It’s a monetary defense Putin may not be able to sustain as long-term sanctions weigh down the Russian economy. But the ruble’s recovery could be a sign that …

UN Rights Chief Tells Russia to Stop War in Ukraine Immediately

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights on Wednesday called Russia to immediately withdraw its troops from Ukraine and stop the war that she said had caused immeasurable suffering and grief for millions of people. In a dramatic rendering of conditions in Ukraine to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet described the living nightmare Ukrainians have endured for more than a month and said the war must end. She said at least 1,189 civilians had been killed and 1,900 injured. She said relentless bombing raids and the persistent use of explosive weapons by Russian military forces had caused massive destruction and damage to homes, infrastructure, hospitals and schools. She noted cities such as Mariupol had been nearly razed, while others had been mercilessly pummeled and no longer existed. Bachelet …

Turkish Drone Industry Banks on Ukrainian Battlefield Successes

Turkish-made drones have featured prominently in Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s invasion, taking out significant Russian targets in the first few weeks of the war. But the conflict, and any possibility of a Russian victory, have cast a shadow over the future of Turkey’s rapidly growing drone industry, which relies on Ukrainian engines. In one of many videos released by the Ukrainian military, a Turkish-made Bayraktar drone destroys a Russian tank to the cheers of the drone operators. But with the Bayraktar drone powered by Ukrainian engines, Samuel Bennet of the U.S.-based Center for Naval Analyses warns any Russian victory in Ukraine could set back Turkey’s rapidly growing drone industry. “Russia sees Bayraktar’s TV2s in particular as a highly competitive weapon and technology not just in the former Soviet space, but …

Ukrainians Struggle to Tell Russian Relatives About the War

Olga M. spent the first week of the Russian invasion hiding with her teenage son in a shelter in Kotsiubynske, a Kyiv suburb. As the shelling intensified in nearby Irpin, they fled, reaching Spain a week later. “My legs are bloodshot” from standing on the trains and in lines, said Olga, who asked that her last name be withheld to protect family members, including her husband, who stayed behind. Throughout her ordeal, she tried to talk about the war with her parents, who live in Ekaterinburg, Russia. “Why are you so upset?” she recalled her father asking her on the first day. “We will bomb your military bases. What difference does it make to you?” Olga said she stopped talking to him after that, but maintained relations with her mother, …