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    Russia-Ukraine highlights: Putin says Russia will solve its problems, calls sanctions illegitimate; Meeting between foreign ministers ends with no progress

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    Russia-Ukraine highlights: Putin says Russia will solve its problems, calls sanctions illegitimate; Meeting between foreign ministers ends with no progress

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    Russia-Ukraine war news highlights: Russia's invasion of Ukraine entered day 15th. Here are all the key developments of the day. Highlights: Putin says Russia will solve its problems, calls sanctions illegitimate Ukraine economic adviser says war damage tops $100 billion so far UK very concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons in Ukraine The mayor of Ukrainian capital Kyiv says some 2 million people have fled the city, about half its residents. Kamala Harris thanks Poland for helping 1 million Ukraine refugees UK says Chelsea can keep playing after Abramovich sanction, sale halted Meeting between Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers ends with no progress on ceasefire

    Russia-Ukraine highlights: Putin says Russia will solve its problems, calls sanctions illegitimate; Meeting between foreign ministers ends with no progress
    • That is all that we have for today on the updates from the Russia-Ukraine war. For all the breaking news and stories from around the globe please stay logged on to CNBCTV18.com. Thank you for joining us. Good night! 

    • Highlights: 

      Putin says Russia will solve its problems, calls sanctions illegitimate

      Ukraine economic adviser says war damage tops $100 billion so far

      UK very concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons in Ukraine

      The mayor of Ukrainian capital Kyiv says some 2 million people have fled the city, about half its residents.

      Kamala Harris thanks Poland for helping 1 million Ukraine refugees

      UK says Chelsea can keep playing after Abramovich sanction, sale halted
       
      Meeting between Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers ends with no progress on ceasefire
    • Germans have offered up 300,000 private homes to house refugees from Ukraine following Russia's invasion of the country, Germany's interior ministry said on Thursday.

      Germans have offered up 300,000 private homes to house refugees from Ukraine following Russia's invasion of the country, Germany's interior ministry said on Thursday.

      The ministry is cooperating with the non-profit gut.org AG and home rental company Airbnb Inc's non-profit arm Airbnb.org to assign refugees to housing offers, it said on Thursday.

      More than 2.3 million people have fled from Ukraine since the invasion, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Most are women and children, as able-bodied men have been ordered by the Kyiv government to stay home to fight.

      As of Wednesday, just over 80,000 Ukrainian refugees had been registered in Germany, with more arriving every day.

      Many of them arrive in Berlin by train or bus, which has prompted the German capital to set up temporary accommodation at its shuttered Tegel airport to house up to 3,000 people.

      From there, refugees would be distributed to longer-term homes, in Berlin or elsewhere in Germany.

    • Eastern Europe braced for a surge of refugees from shelled towns and cities in Ukraine on Thursday as fighting following Russia's invasion intensified and the United Nations said more than 2.3 million people had now fled the country.

    • Putin says Russia will solve its problems, calls sanctions illegitimate

      Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Western sanctions were illegitimate and Russia would calmly solve the problems arising from them.

      Addressing a government meeting, Putin also said Moscow - a major energy producer which supplies a third of Europe's gas - would continue to meet its contractual obligations.

      Speaking calmly, the Kremlin leader acknowledged that sanctions imposed since the start of what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine were being felt.

      "It is clear that at such moments people's demand for certain groups of goods always increases, but we have no doubt that we will solve all these problems while working in a calm fashion," he said.

      "Gradually, people will orient themselves, they will understand that there are simply no events that we cannot close off and solve."

      Speaking at the same meeting, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Russia had taken measures to limit the outflow of capital and that the country would service its external debts in roubles.

      "Over the last two weeks Western countries have in essence waged an economic and financial war against Russia," he said.

      He said the West had defaulted on its obligations to Russia by freezing its gold and foreign currency reserves. It was trying to halt foreign trade, he said.

      "In these conditions, the priority is for us to stabilise the situation in the financial system," Siluanov said.

    • The Bank for International Settlements, considered the central bank of central banks, has announced it is suspending the Bank of Russia, deepening Moscow's financial isolation following its invasion of Ukraine

    • BREAKING: Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia is continuing all energy exports, including through Ukraine, reports AFP

    • Sony suspends shipments to Russia over Ukraine war

      Sony’s PlayStation unit has decided to suspend all software and hardware shipments to Russia and the PlayStation Store will be also unavailable for Russian users, media reported.

      "We have suspended all software and hardware shipments, the launch of Gran Turismo 7, and operations of the PlayStation Store in Russia," it said in a statement.

      The company will also be donating $2 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children to support humanitarian aid in and around Ukraine.

    • Lithuania project fights Kremlin view of Ukraine conflict one phone call at a time

      A Lithuania-based project is urging Russian speakers worldwide to make random phone calls to people in Russia and speak openly about Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, an effort to offset the Kremlin's tightening grip on domestic media.

      The Kremlin calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation" to disarm its neighbour and dislodge leaders it calls neo-Nazis. Ukraine and its Western allies say this is a baseless pretext for an invasion of a country of 44 million people in which thousands have died, over two million made refugees and thousands have cowered in besieged cities under bombardment.

      In Lithuania this week, a network of IT, advertising and communications professionals said it launched the #CallRussia project with a database of 40 million numbers of Russian individuals and a guide on what to say during a conversation.

      "These conversations will be incredibly difficult, considering the propaganda and authoritarian information blackouts Russians are subjected to," the project website said.

      "But direct conversations are the only way to spread the truth and end this war."

      Russian independent news outlets and various foreign media were forced to halt operations in Russia last week after the State Duma (parliament) passed a law imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for anyone found to be intentionally spreading "fake" news.

      The Call Russia project said volunteers placed 32,000 calls to Russians on Tuesday and Wednesday from Lithuania, the United States, Germany, Britain, Poland and other countries.

      Tomas, a volunteer based in Vilnius who made around 50 calls in an evening, said that all but one Russian hung up on him or refused to speak at any length.

      As for the one who did speak at length, Tomas said, "he kept repeating the Russian propaganda to me, that Ukrainians are shooting civilians and bombing their own cities and Russians are saving them from the Nazis. It was weird for me."

      A large proportion of Russians, especially older people, get their news exclusively from state media and many independent media outlets have closed since the invasion began.

      In another attempt to make Western coverage of Russia's invasion available to Russians, three leading Nordic newspapers on Thursday began publishing selected news articles in Russian.

      "The tragedy in Ukraine should not be communicated to the Russian public through propaganda channels," the editors-in-chief of Finland's Helsingin Sanomat, Sweden's Dagens Nyheter and Denmark's Politiken said in a joint statement.

      Russia's Foreign Ministry says that the Western media offer a partial - and often anti-Russian - view of the world while failing to hold their own leaders to account for corruption or devastating foreign wars like Iraq.


    • Ukraine economic adviser says war damage tops $100 billion so far

      Ukraine's top government economic adviser Oleg Ustenko said on Thursday that invading Russian forces have so far destroyed at least $100 billion worth of infrastructure, buildings and other physical assets.

      Ustenko, the chief economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, told an online event hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics that the war has caused 50% of Ukrainian businesses to shut down completely, while the other half are operating at well below their capacity.

    • Amid heavy shelling, Ukraine's Mariupol city uses mass grave

      With bodies piling up in Russia's nine-day siege of Mariupol, the port city of 430,000 in southeastern Ukraine, local authorities are hurrying to bury the dead in a mass grave.

      City workers made quick signs of the cross gestures as they pushed bodies wrapped in carpets or bags into a deep trench some 25 meters (80 feet) long on the outskirts of the city.

      More than 70 bodies have been interred in the common grave since it was opened Tuesday.

      About half of those buried were killed in the intense shelling of the city, estimated an AP journalist who visited the burial ground. Others died at home from natural causes, but authorities were unable to arrange for the collection of the bodies or their burial.

      Mariupol has suffered at least 8 major airstrikes in the past 48 hours, with a children's hospital and the central fire department among those hit.

      City residents are staying in shelters as much as possible as temperatures dip to minus 9 degrees Cels

    • The crisis in Ukraine and Russia, one of the world's main sources of grain, fertilizers and energy, presents new challenges in securing food supplies on top of a prolonged pandemic, a U.N. official said Thursday.

      He told The Associated Press that an estimated 161 million more people are suffering from hunger than before the pandemic, totalling 821 million. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had a heavy impact on the availability and prices of food, "so unfortunately, we will need to be cautious, but we can see an important impact on food security globally.

      He said countries need to be careful in handling their food security. Bangladesh, for instance, imports almost half its wheat from Ukraine and Russia.

      While there have not yet been global disruptions to wheat supplies, prices have surged 55% since a week before the invasion.

      Russia and Ukraine combine for nearly a third of the world's wheat and barley exports. Ukraine also is a major supplier of corn and the global leader in sunflower oil, used in food processing. The war could reduce food supplies just when prices are at their highest levels since 2011.

      At a conference organized by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Bangladesh, officials also discussed how to deal with the impact of climate change, adopt new technologies and tackle diseases and pests that are affecting crops and livestock in Asia-Pacific, the world's most populous region.

      On Thursday, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted her country's achievement of self-sufficiency in several essential foods including rice and noted that agriculture remains the backbone of the economy of the South Asian nation of 160 million people. The delta nation is one of the worst victims of climate change with millions under threat of losing homes and land because of a rise in sea levels and salinity.

      Reversing many years of progress, hunger in Asia-Pacific is on the rise again, said FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu. Inequalities also are increasing, particularly between rural and urban populations, while too often women and youth are being left behind.

      "The pandemic has forced us to reconsider our priorities and approaches and has highlighted the importance of more sustainable and resilient societies, he said.

    • EU wrestles over how to help Ukraine, cut Russian energy import

      European Union leaders will grapple on Thursday with how to reduce their reliance on Russian energy and strengthen political and moral support for Ukraine in the face of Moscow's invasion but will rebuff Kyiv's appeal to be granted rapid membership.

      Gathering in the opulent Palace of Versailles near Paris, the 27 national leaders will also look at shoring up their defences and economies as sanctions on Moscow start to bite and more than two million Ukrainian refugees flee into the EU.

      Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, whose country has a border with Russia, said Ukraine should be granted EU candidacy status, while acknowledging this was only "the beginning of a long and difficult road".

      "It is important to show a clear, open door for EU membership for Ukraine, that the path is open for them to take," he told reporters.

      Other ex-communist countries such as Poland also strongly back Ukraine's EU bid but France, the Netherlands and others are more reluctant to suspend the regular lengthy accession process. It took Croatia, the newest member, 10 years to join.

      Ukraine already has agreements on free trade and on closer political and economic ties with the EU.

      A senior EU diplomat said the Union could consider integrating Ukraine into its student exchange programme and inviting it more regularly to ministerial meetings once the crisis is over.

      "This is our way of saying yes to them, to give them moral support, to show they are part of the European family," the diplomat said.

      'EUROPE'S 9/11'

      Russia's invasion, launched on Feb. 24, has shattered the European security order that emerged from the ashes of World War Two and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

      Moscow strongly opposes Ukraine's push to join the EU and NATO, viewing it as a threat to Russia's national security. It says its "special military operation" in Ukraine is aimed at changing its pro-Western government and "demilitarising" its smaller neighbour.

      Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said Europe was facing its Sept. 11 moment, a reference to the 2001 al Qaeda attacks on the United States that triggered a U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and years of a "war on terror".

      "This war in Ukraine is Europe's 9/11," he told the daily Le Soir.

      In a joint phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the EU summit, French and German leaders Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz demanded an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.

      The EU has slapped sanctions of unprecedented severity on Russia over the invasion, including cutting seven Russian banks from the SWIFT transaction system, targeting Moscow ally Belarus and blacklisting Russian state officials and billionaire oligarchs close to the Kremlin.

      "Russia's war of aggression constitutes a tectonic shift in European history," EU leaders are expected to say in a joint statement, sayin the invasion leads to "growing instability, strategic competition and security threats" for the continent.

      However, while the United States has already banned Russian oil imports, EU countries disagree on a deadline for jettisoning Russian fossil fuels.

      The EU still pays hundreds of millions of dollars every day to Russia, which provides more than 40% of its natural gas, more than a quarter of its oil imports and almost half of its coal. Austria, Germany, Hungary and Italy are particularly exposed.

      Both sanctions and EU enlargement require unanimity among the 27 member states.

    • Amid heavy shelling, Ukraine's Mariupol city uses mass grave

      With bodies piling up in Russia's nine-day siege of Mariupol, the port city of 430,000 in southeastern Ukraine, local authorities are hurrying to bury the dead in a mass grave.

      City workers made quick signs of the cross gestures as they pushed bodies wrapped in carpets or bags into a deep trench some 25 meters (80 feet) long on the outskirts of the city.

      More than 70 bodies have been interred in the common grave since it was opened Tuesday.

      About half of those buried were killed in the intense shelling of the city, estimated an AP journalist who visited the burial ground. Others died at home from natural causes, but authorities were unable to arrange for the collection of the bodies or their burial.

      Mariupol has suffered at least 8 major airstrikes in the past 48 hours, with a children's hospital and the central fire department among those hit.

      City residents are staying in shelters as much as possible as temperatures dip to minus 9 degrees Celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit).

    • UK very concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons in Ukraine - Truss

      Britain is very concerned about the possible use of chemical weapons by Russia in Ukraine, British foreign minister Liz Truss told CNN, warning that it would be a grave mistake for Russian President Vladimir Putin to use them.

      "We are very concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons," Truss said.

      "We have seen Russia use these weapons before in fields of conflict, but that would be a grave mistake on the part of Russia, adding to the grave mistakes already being made by Putin."

    • UK to streamline system to let in Ukrainian refugees after outcry

      Britain will next week streamline a system to allow Ukrainians to enter the country, its interior minister said on Thursday after an outcry over a requirement for people fleeing Russia's invasion to get biometric tests before being allowed in.

      The Conservative government has repeatedly said it is being "generous" to Ukrainians who want to come to Britain by offering two routes, but critics say ministers are prioritising bureaucracy over the welfare of those fleeing war.

      "From Tuesday, I can announce that Ukrainians with passports will no longer need to go to a Visa Application Centre to give their biometrics before they come to the UK," Home Secretary (interior minister) Priti Patel told parliament.

      "Instead, once their application has been considered and appropriate checks completed, they will receive direct notification that they are eligible for the scheme and can come to the UK," she said. The change in policy came on the advice of the security and intelligence services, Patel added.

      "In short, Ukrainians with passports will be able to get permission to come here fully online from wherever they are and will be able to get a biometrics once in Britain."

      While households across Europe have taken in Ukrainian families forced to flee their homes, Britain has demanded they secure a visa first, with some refugees in the French port city of Calais being told to go to Paris or Brussels to apply.

      The right-wing Daily Mail newspaper said the "shambolic" visa system required refugees to produce paperwork showing they had been living in Ukraine before Jan. 1, and to have birth or marriage certificates to show links to Ukrainians living in Britain.

      As a result, Britain has accepted far fewer Ukrainians than the likes of France and Germany, or Ukraine's nearest neighbours, which have waived the need for visas.

    •  The mayor of Ukrainian capital Kyiv says some 2 million people have fled the city, about half its residents.

    • Kamala Harris thanks Poland for helping 1 million Ukraine refugees

      US Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday praised the Polish people for their generosity for taking in more than 1 million refugees since Russia invaded Ukraine last month.

      Harris made the comments as she met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hours after the U.S. House passed a massive spending bill that includes $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine and its European allies. The legislation includes $6.8 billion to care for refugees and other economic aid to allies.

      I've been watching or reading about the work of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and so I bring you thanks from the American people, Harris said.

      Harris also met with Polish President Andrzej Duda, and the two were scheduled to hold an afternoon news conference. Later Thursday, the vice president was slated to meet with Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland since the Russian invasion began.

      The vice president is also scheduled to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while in Warsaw. The Canadian leader has been in Europe in recent days meeting with allies about Ukraine.

      Harris' whirlwind visit to Poland and Romania was billed by the White House as a chance for the vice president to consult with two of the leaders from eastern flank NATO nations about the growing humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

      Already, more than 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine with more than half coming to Poland and even more expected to arrive in the days ahead.

      But differences between Warsaw and Washington over a Polish plan to send Soviet-made fighter jets to a base in Germany for Ukraine's use have cast a shadow over Harris's visit to Poland. Just as Harris arrived in Warsaw late Wednesday evening, the Pentagon definitively rejected the idea.

      The proposal was publicly floated by Poland without first consulting the U.S. days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration was very, very actively looking at a proposal under which Ukraine's neighbour Poland would supply Kyiv with Soviet-era fighters and in turn receive American F-16s to make up for their loss. Polish government officials, however, insisted any transfer of planes must be done within the NATO framework.

      On Wednesday, the Pentagon shut the door on the prospect of NATO transferring jets to Ukraine, saying such a move with a U.S. and NATO connection would run a high risk of escalating the Russia-Ukraine war.

      Gen. Tod D. Wolters, the commander of U.S. European Command, said in a statement Thursday that the most effective way to support the Ukrainian military in their fight against Russia is to provide increased amounts of anti-tank weapons and air defence systems." That effort by the U.S. and allies is ongoing, Wolters added.

      Harris will travel on Friday to Bucharest, where she's to meet Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

    • Four-times F1 champion Vettel sports helmet in support of Ukraine

      Four-times Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel wore a special helmet to express solidarity with Ukraine following the country's invasion by Russia as he took to the track at the start of the final pre-season test in Bahrain on Thursday.

      The 34-year-old, who drives for Aston Martin, replaced his traditional German flag motif that runs down the right-hand side of his helmet in a band against a white background with a similar stripe combining the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag.

       He also had a dove carrying an olive branch, a peace sign, and lyrics to John Lennon's peace anthem 'Imagine' incorporated into the design .Formula One drivers made a joint anti-war statement on Wednesday.

    • Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine: Slovenian PM

      Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Thursday as he arrived at a meeting of the European People's Party in Paris.

      "Anyone one can see that it is against all conventions," he added, referring to recent Russian military actions in Ukraine.

      Russia has denied accusations made against it by Ukraine and others that it has committed war crimes. Ukrainian officials said Russian aircraft bombed a children's hospital in Mariupol on Wednesday, injuring pregnant women and burying patients in rubble despite a ceasefire deal for people to flee the city. The regional governor said 17 people were wounded.

    • "We should put an end to the bloodshed" Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

      Turkey's FM Cavusoglu spoke to the media after they tried to broker talks between Ukrainian and Russian Foreign Ministers in a bid to end the violence. The talks ended today without any resolution. 

    • 'They were shooting civilians': Ukraine refugees saw abuses

      As more than 2 million refugees from Ukraine begin to scatter throughout Europe and beyond, some are carrying valuable witness evidence to build a case for war crimes.

      More and more, the peope who are turning up at border crossings are survivors who have fled some of the cities hardest hit by Russian forces.

      "It was very eerie," said Ihor Diekov, one of the many people who crossed the Irpin river outside Kyiv on the slippery wooden planks of a makeshift bridge after Ukrainians blew up the concrete span to slow the Russian advance. He heard gunshots as he crossed and saw corpses along the road. The Russians promised to provide a (humanitarian) corridor which they did not comply with.

      "They were shooting civilians," he said. "Thats absolutely true. I witnessed it. People were scared." Such testimonies will increasingly reach the world in the coming days as more people flow along fragile humanitarian corridors.

      Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday said three such corridors were operating from bombarded areas. People left Sumy, in the northeast near the Russian border; suburbs of Kyiv; and Enerhodar, the southern town where Russian forces took over a large nuclear plant. In all, about 35,000 people got out, he said.

      More evacuations were announced for Thursday as desperate residents sought to leave cities where food, water, medicines and other essentials were running out. Nationwide, thousands of people are thought to have been killed across Ukraine, both civilians and soldiers, since Russian forces invaded two weeks ago. City officials in the blockaded port city of Mariupol have said 1,200 residents have been killed there, including three in the bombing of a childrens hospital.

      In Ukraines second largest city, Kharkiv, the prosecutors office has said 282 residents have been killed, including several children. The United Nations human rights office said on Wednesday that it had recorded the killings of 516 civilians in Ukraine in the two weeks since Russia invaded, including 37 children. Most have been caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, it said. It believes the real toll is considerably higher and noted that its numbers dont include some areas of intense hostilities, including Mariupol.

      Some of the latest refugees have seen those deaths first-hand. Their testimonies will be a critical part of efforts to hold Russia accountable for targeting civilians and civilian structures like hospitals and homes. The International Criminal Court prosecutor last week launched an investigation that could target senior officials believed responsible for war crimes, after dozens of the courts member states asked him to act. Evidence collection has begun.

      Those who manage to flee fear for those who can't. "I am afraid," said Anna Potapola, a mother of two who arrived in Poland from the city of Dnipro. "When we had to leave Ukraine my children asked me, Will we survive? I am very afraid and scared for the people left behind." 

      (Source: AP)

    • Russia denies firing on civilian targets accuse Ukraine of "information terrorism"

      When asked for comment on the bombing of a hospital in Mariupol, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov speaking to Reuters said, “Russian forces do not fire on civilian targets.”

      However he said the Kremlin will further investigate the incident. “We will definitely ask our military, because you and I don’t have clear information about what happened there,” Peskov said. “And the military are very likely to provide some information.”

      Meanwhile, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova called the bombing as fake news saying, “This is information terrorism."  

    • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's statement to the media: 

      Lavrov says the actual negotiations will take place in Belarus. He said they "mostly discussed the initiative of our Turkish friends regarding humanitarian issues."

      He repeated Russian claims that "civilians are being used as hostages" by what he described as "so-called territorial defence forces". They are being used "as human shields", he asserted. 

    As Russia's invasion enters it's 15th day, there have been reports emerging of a bombing on a maternity ward and a children's hospital in the southern city of Mariupol. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the attack on the facility a "war crime" while calling on the West to "put pressure" on Russia to negotiate and end the war.
    There have been talks scheduled in southern Turkey today for the Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers to meet face-to-face in what will be the first high-level contact between Kyiv and Moscow since Russia invaded its neighbour two weeks ago.

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