March 31, 2023

Vladimir Putin announced ‘partial mobilization’ of Russian forces

Volodymyr Zelenskyi has set Ukraine’s red line for an end to the country’s war talks with Russia, hours after Vladimir Putin ordered Moscow to mobilize its reserve forces.

In a remote address to the UN Security Council in New York, Mr Zelensky said a crime had been committed against his nation and that Kyiv wanted “just punishment” for Russia.

The President of Ukraine has mentioned five necessary conditions for peace. These include punishing Russian aggression, restoring Ukraine’s security, and guaranteeing territorial integrity and security.

Meanwhile, police arrested more than 1,300 people in protests across Russia in response to Mr Putin’s order for some 300,000 military reservists to be ready to serve in his country’s struggling campaign against its neighbour.

Mr Putin also accused the West of considering using nuclear weapons against Russia and warned that Moscow would “use all means at our disposal” if threatened by the US, UK or EU.

Britain says Russia’s collusion is a “clear admission” the Ukraine invasion is failing.


The Truss said Russian-backed forces had released five British prisoners

Five British nationals detained in Ukraine and held by Russian-backed forces are being returned to their families, Prime Minister Liz Truss has revealed (Jane Dalton writes)

“Very welcome news of the safe return of five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families,” he tweeted.

Aiden Aslin, a British fighter who was sentenced to death by a pro-Russian court, is among those freed, said his MP Robert Jenrick.

He tweeted: “Aiden’s return ends months of agonizing uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark who suffered daily from Aiden’s fraud trial but never lost hope. As they are reunited as a family, they can finally live in peace.”

Mr Aslin, 28, moved to Ukraine in 2018 and later joined the country’s armed forces.


Zelensky sets the red line for a peace treaty with Russia

Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine’s neutrality in the war with Russia was out of the question, as he laid out his red line for a negotiated end to the conflict.

In a recorded speech at the United Nations, Ukraine’s president said a crime had been committed against his nation and that Kyiv wanted “only punishment” for Russia.

He presented what he called five non-negotiable conditions for peace. These include punishing Russian aggression, restoring Ukraine’s security, and guaranteeing territorial integrity and security.

Zelensky addressed the United Nations on Wednesday



Britain deftly condemns Russian atrocities in meeting with Moscow’s top diplomat

Britain’s foreign secretary will condemn Moscow’s atrocities in Ukraine when he meets his Russian counterpart for the first time at a summit in New York tomorrow.

James Cleverley will face Sergey Lavrov on Thursday during a special meeting of the UN Security Council, where foreign ministers will discuss the war.

Mr Cleverley will commit to holding Russia accountable and working with allies to bring victims to justice.

He will also argue that Moscow is planning to fix the outcome of the referendum to become part of Russia by being held in Russian-controlled areas of eastern and southern Ukraine.

Later on Thursday, Mr Cleverly will attend a meeting focused on accountability for war crimes in Ukraine.

Cleverly met US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in New York



More than 1,300 arrested in anti-Russian protests

Security forces have detained more than 1,300 people in Russia, a rights group said, hours after Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first military draft since World War II.

The independent OVD-Info protest monitoring group said that according to data it collected from 38 Russian cities, more than 1,311 people had been detained by late evening – including at least 502 in Moscow and 524 in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second most populous city.

Unauthorized gatherings are illegal under Russia’s anti-protest laws. Irina Volk, a Russian Interior Ministry official, said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies that police had made little effort to stage small protests.

“In several regions, unauthorized activities were attempted that brought together very few participants,” Volk was quoted as saying.

“This was all off. And those who violated the law were arrested and taken to the police station for investigation and their responsibility was established.”

Below are some photos of a protest in St. Petersburg, we previously brought you photos from Moscow [see here]





Navalny says Putin’s mobilization order will result in ‘massive deaths’

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny accused President Vladimir Putin of trying to “stigmatize hundreds of thousands of people” in a “criminal war” after ordering a partial mobilization of Russian reserves (Emily Atkinson writes)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny made the comments in a video message recorded from prison, which he released through his lawyers. He warned Putin’s new military order would lead to a “massive tragedy”.

Mr Navalny, who is serving more than 10 years in prison, said: “This will lead to a huge tragedy, a huge amount of death … To maintain his personal power, Putin went to a neighboring country, killed people there. And now in this war a huge amount Sending Russian citizens.

“It’s clear that the criminal war is getting worse, deeper, and Putin is trying to involve as many people as possible in it. He wants to stain millions of people with this blood.”


From the frontline: Ukrainian soldiers in Donetsk

Below are some pictures of Ukrainian soldiers on their way to the frontline in Donetsk.

After losing ground in Luhansk to Ukraine’s counteroffensive last week, Russia continues to attack Donetsk, one of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas regions.

Military analysts say Russia is still aiming to fully capture Donetsk, which, like Luhansk, has been partially claimed by Russian-backed separatists for years.





One-way flights from Russia sold out after Putin ordered call-ups for thousands

Tickets for one-way flights from Russia sold out quickly after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of Moscow’s reserves in a major escalation of his war against Ukraine (Emily Atkinson writes)

The Russian leader addressed the nation on Wednesday morning and said 300,000 additional military personnel would be deployed to fight in Ukraine.

The announcement apparently raised fears among war veterans that they would not be allowed to leave the country unless they fled quickly.

Viewed Google Trends data Reuters Searches for Aviasales, Russia’s most popular website for buying flights, showed a spike.

Direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul, Turkey, and Yerevan, Armenia, both destinations that allow Russians to enter without a visa, were nearly sold out on Wednesday, according to data on the site.


Two US veterans are among the prisoners released by Russia

Two US military veterans who went missing while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in Russia have been released after nearly three months in captivity, relatives said.

Alex Druck, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, disappeared on June 9 in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border. The two traveled to Ukraine themselves and became friends because both are from Alabama.

The families announced their release in a joint statement from Drew’s aunt, Diana Shaw.

“They are safely in the custody of the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia and will return to the Kingdom after a medical check and debriefing,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia has announced that Russia has released 10 prisoners following a prisoner exchange deal brokered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Five of them have been identified as British nationals, while Saudi Arabia has said there are also US, Swedish, Croatian and Moroccan nationals.

(social media)


Biden and Truss meet to discuss Ukraine war

Joe Biden and Liz Truss are currently in New York for a United Nations meeting where they will discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the energy crisis it has fueled.

At a reception with reporters ahead of their private meeting, Mr Biden congratulated Ms Truss on becoming prime minister, adding: “I look forward to working closely with you. You are the world’s closest ally and we can do so much together.”

Mrs Truss told the president that the UK and the US were “stalwart allies” as she thanked him for his support following the Queen’s death.

Mr Biden said their “full agenda” for the meeting included defending Ukraine against an attack by Vladimir Putin, preventing China and Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. They will also discuss Northern Ireland.

Both leaders sat and remained silent, Mr. Biden with a straight face and Ms. Truss smiling. Details of their talks have not been released yet.

Earlier in the day, Ms Truss issued a joint statement with Ursula von der Leyen condemning Russia’s war following a meeting with the EU chief.

Truss and Biden at the United Nations building in New York



More than 800 Russians have been arrested in anti-mobilization protests

More than 800 Russians have been arrested in anti-war protests in 37 Russian cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Associated Press reported.

Protests were called today in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia would build up its military stockpile in part to bolster its forces in Ukraine after losing large swaths of territory in recent weeks.

Moscow’s prosecutor’s office warned that organizing or participating in protests could lead to up to 15 years in prison.

Riot police arrest protesters in Moscow


Hundreds of arrests were reported across Russia today


The protests were called in response to Putin’s announcement of mobilization


Associated Press reporters saw at least 12 arrests within an hour of protests in Moscow


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