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Live blog: EU adopts new sanctions on Moscow after war anniversary

Saturday, February 25, 2023 

1338 GMT –– EU adopts fresh sanctions amid vow to ramp up pressure on Moscow

The European Union has vowed to increase pressure on Moscow “until Ukraine is liberated” as it adopted a tenth package of sanctions on Russia a day after the first anniversary of the attack of Ukraine.

“We now have the most far-reaching sanctions ever – depleting Russia’s war arsenal and biting deep into its economy,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter, adding the bloc was turning up the pressure on those trying to circumvent EU sanctions.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned the bloc would continue to pile more sanctions on Moscow.

“We will continue to increase pressure on Russia – and we will do it for as long as needed, until Ukraine is liberated from the brutal Russian aggression,” he said in a statement.

Borrell said the latest sanctions tackled the banking sector, Moscow’s access to technology that can be used for civilian and military purposes and advanced technologies.

The package adds electronic components used in Russian weapons systems retrieved on the battlefield, including drones, missiles, helicopters, as well as specific rare earth materials, electronic integrated circuits, and thermal cameras to the list of banned exports.

1324 GMT –– Polish group says Russia stopped oil pipeline deliveries

Polish energy group PKN Orlen has announced that it had stopped receiving Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline, which under its last contract accounted for 10 percent of Orlen’s needs.

“Deliveries through the Druzhba pipeline towards Poland were stopped by the Russian side,” the Polish company said in a statement.

Orlen said the move would not impact supply to Polish clients and that all oil deliveries would now come by sea. 

Until now, PKN Orlen had imported about 10 percent of its oil needs through the pipeline from Russia and the rest from other countries through maritime routes.

The move comes a day after the European Union agreed on a new round of sanctions over Russia-Ukraine war.

1241 GMT –– Belarus leader Lukashenko says he had long chat with Putin on war anniversary

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said that he held a long conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday, the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s military offensive of Ukraine.

“I’ll tell you a secret, last night he and I spoke for a long time on various topics,” a social media channel linked to Lukashenko’s press service quoted him as telling reporters, without giving details.

The Kremlin has yet to provide any statement about the conversation.

1152 GMT –– India calls for dialogue to end Russia-Ukraine war

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered to play a role in ending the Russia-Ukraine war, saying India has been insisting on resolving the dispute through dialogue and diplomacy since the conflict began.

Modi made these remarks during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz following delegation-level talks between the two countries.

“India has insisted on resolving this dispute through dialogue and diplomacy since the beginning of the war,” Modi said during a joint press conference broadcast live by local media.

“India is ready to contribute to any peace process,” he said.

1143 GMT ––  German leader seeks Indian support for Russia’s isolation

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said that Germany wants to get India to support, or at least not block, Western efforts to isolate Russia for waging a war against Ukraine.

Following his talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Scholz stressed that developing countries were being negatively impacted by energy and food shortages resulting from the war and hopes that India will help secure critical supplies to Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Modi maintained his cautious approach and said India wanted the conflict to be ended through dialogue and diplomacy. “India is ready to make its contribution to any peace initiative,” he added.

1224 GMT –– Algeria set to reopen embassy in Ukraine this week

Algeria will reopen its embassy in Ukraine this week after a one-year closure, according to the country’s president.

President Abdelmajid Tebboune told the state television that he has tasked Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra with overseeing the reopening of the embassy.

The North African nation closed its embassy in Kiev in March 2022.

Russia launched what it calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. It has so far resulted in the death of at least 8,006 civilians and 13,287 injuries, according to the latest UN figures.

0510 GMT –– No G20 consensus on Russia-Ukraine war

Delegates attending the G20 meeting in India said finance chiefs have been unable to reach a consensus on describing the war in Ukraine and are likely to end without a joint communique.

The United States and its allies in the G7 group of nations have been adamant in demands that the communique squarely condemn Russia for the attack on its neighbour, which has been opposed by the Russian and Chinese delegations, they said.

Russia, which is a member of the G20, refers to its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”.

Host India is also pressing the meeting to avoid using the word “war” in any communique, G20 officials have told Reuters news agency. India, which holds the current G20 presidency, has kept a largely neutral stance on the war, declining to blame Russia for the offensive, seeking a diplomatic solution and sharply boosting its purchases of Russian oil.

0000 GMT — Zelenskyy ‘doesn’t need F-16s now’

US President Joe Biden has said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy does not need F-16s now, ruling out sending the fighter jets for the moment, in an interview to ABC News.

“He doesn’t need F-16s now,” Biden said. 

“I am ruling it out for now.”

Biden also said it was not rational for China to be negotiating the outcome of the Ukraine war, when asked about Beijing’s peace plan for the conflict.

“Putin’s applauding it, so how could it be any good?” Biden said. 

“The idea that China is going to be negotiating the outcome of a war that’s a totally unjust war for Ukraine, is just not rational.”

China’s plan urges both sides to agree to a gradual de-escalation and warns against the use of nuclear weapons.

1900 GMT — Russia ‘doubles’ number of ships in Black Sea

Ukraine’s military has said Russia had doubled the number of ships on active duty in the Black Sea and predicted this could be a preparation for more missile strikes.

Russia’s navy has regularly launched missiles from its Black Sea Fleet as part of an effort by Moscow to target Ukrainian critical infrastructure and power generating facilities.

“In the Black Sea, the fleet of warships has doubled compared to this morning — it is now eight ships,” the military command in the southern region said in a Facebook update.

“Against a background of enemy aviation activity of a certain kind, this may indicate that a missile attack as well as drone strikes are in preparation,” it said.

For our live updates from Friday (February 24), click here

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