Ukraine war: NATO’s refusal to set up a no-fly zone over Ukraine ‘a sign of weakness’

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A building burns after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 3, 2022

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It’s now the 10th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which was launched by President Vladimir Putin on February 24.

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The key points to know from Saturday

    Ukraine’s statehood is in jeopardy and sanctions on Russia akin to declaring war, says Putin.NATO’s failure to set up a no-fly zone over Ukraine is a “sign of weakness”, says Ukraine’s foreign minister.NATO says such a move would risk a wider war in Europe. Ukraine’s president makes a ‘desperate plea’ to US lawmakers for planes and drones.Russian forces advance on a third nuclear site. Radiation levels at Zaporizhzhya, Europe’s largest, are normal, says IAEA.The next round of talks between Russia and Ukraine will take place on Monday. On Saturday, Russia said it would allow the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha. But evacuations were postponed in Donetsk Oblast amid claims Russian troops had violated the ceasefire. Battles have continued northwest of Kyiv and heavy strikes have hit Kharkiv and Okhtyrka. Ukrainian forces were said to be still holding Chernihiv in the north.The UN Human Rights Office said that 351 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the beginning of the invasion.More than 1.3 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began 10 days ago. Facebook and Twitter are blocked in Russia. Other independent media have also been forced off-air

20:30Should NATO set up a no-fly zone over Ukraine?22:15

Russian soldier fires weapon at Kherson protest

This was the scene in Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine that is under Russian control. The verified footage shows locals protesting on Saturday. Loud bangs are heard as some jump small fencing and walk towards the city’s Svobody Square.

Further verified footage shows a Russian soldier firing his weapon in the air when confronted by a crowd at the same location.

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Ukraine’s statehood ‘in jeopardy’

Ukraine’s statehood is in jeopardy and sanctions on Russia are like “declaring war”, Vladimir Putin claimed on Saturday. Putin continued to pin the blame for all of it squarely on the Ukrainian leadership and slammed their resistance to the invasion.

“If they continue to do what they are doing, they are calling into question the future of Ukrainian statehood,” he said. “And if this happens, it will be entirely on their conscience.”

He also hit out at Western sanctions that have crippled Russia’s economy and sent the value of its currency tumbling.

“These sanctions that are being imposed, they are akin to declaring war,” he said during a televised meeting with flight attendants from Russian airline Aeroflot. “But thank God, we haven’t got there yet.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to representatives of the flight crew of Russian airlines as he visits to Aeroflot Aviation School outside Moscow, Russia, Saturday, March 5, 202221:02

Russian forces ‘advancing’ on third nuclear reactor

Russian forces have now seized two Ukrainian nuclear power plants and are advancing toward a third, Ukraine’s president said during a call with US senators Saturday.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the third plant currently under threat is the Yuzhnoukrainsk nuclear power plant, located 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Mykolaiv, one of several cities the Russians were trying to keep encircled Saturday.

One of the plants under the Russians’ control is the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe. The other is Chernobyl, which is not active but is still staffed and maintained. Previous Russian shelling sparked a fire at the Zaporizhzhia plant that was extinguished without a release of radiation.

Technical safety systems are intact and radiation levels are still normal at the Zaporizhzhia plant, according to the country’s nuclear regulator, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Saturday.

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Next round of Russia-Ukraine talks on Monday

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Lack of no-fly zone ‘a sign of weakness’

NATO’s failure to set up a no-fly zone over Ukraine is a sign of weakness, according to the country’s foreign minister.Dmytro Kuleba made the claim to his US counterpart Antony Blinken, who he met at the Ukraine-Poland border today. “It’s a sign of weakness,” he said. “It is the Ukrainian people who will pay the price of NATO’s reticence to react.”He also reiterated an earlier claim from Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that the country was in need of fighter jets and air defence systems.US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speak to the media after meeting at the Ukrainian-Polish border crossing in Korczowa, Poland, on Saturday20:01

Protests held in cities worldwide against the war

Residents of Kherson, the southern Ukrainian city currently under Russian control, took to the streets to demonstrate against the presence of the Russian troops.

Russian soldiers fired warning shots but the protest continued.

Several thousand people also gathered in Paris at the Place de la République, to show their support for Ukraine and to demonstrate their opposition to the Russian invasion.

Similar scenes were also observed in Lisbon, London, Zurich and Tokyo.

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19:33

Kyiv receives Starlink system

Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said the capital has received Starlink global satellite system devices.”Starlink will work to help ensure the city’s critical infrastructure and defense of the capital,” he added.

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UK response to Ukrainian refugee crisis shows ‘lack of humanity’: French Minister

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin criticised the UK’s response to the outpour of Ukrainian refugees as “totally inadequate” and said refugees being turned back in Calais showed a “lack of humanity”.In a letter to his British counterpart Priti Patel, Darmanin wrote that some 150 Ukrainians fleeing their country following Russia’s invasion have been invited in recent days by British representatives “to turn back” and “go to Paris or Brussels” to obtain their visas in consulates.
Gérald Darmanin went on to criticise this “totally inappropriate response” and a “lack of humanity” towards refugees in “distress”, “often women with young children, the elderly or disabled”.
In total, “more than 400 Ukrainian nationals” have arrived in Calais since the beginning of the war, according to the Interior Minister.
For several days, their situation has been a source of friction between London and Paris, whose relations are already strained by the issue of illegal migrant crossings.
The French government announced on Thursday that the UK would install “a sort of consulate” in Calais to issue visas directly to Ukrainians.
“It is becoming imperative that your consular representation, exceptionally and for the time of the crisis, be able to issue visas for family reunification directly in Calais,” said Gérald Darmanin.
“It would be incomprehensible if consular reinforcements were deployed for this purpose throughout Europe, and even in Ukraine, and if the same could not be done at the closest point to your border,” he said.
“Our coasts have been the scene of too many human tragedies”, he concluded, referring to the shipwreck that cost the lives of 27 migrants at the end of November, “let’s not add to that the loss of these Ukrainian families.
 

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