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Ukraine - Russia war: latest news live | Putin announces an agreement to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

2023-03-25T18:35:37.418Z


Russian troops stall in Bakhmut and go on the defensive, according to London | The head of the Wagner group says that 5,000 Russian ex-convicts have been pardoned after serving six months in his militia in Ukraine


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Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced an agreement with his Belarusian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko, to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine.

Putin has assured in statements to Russian public television that this agreement does not violate existing disarmament treaties and that it would not transfer control of these weapons to Minsk.

On the ground, British intelligence assures that "the assault [of Russian troops] on the city of Bakhmut has largely stalled", so the invaders have changed their focus and are now directing their attention to other towns in the area, where they barely aspire to stabilize the front.

According to the latest report from the British Ministry of Defense, after the winter offensive in the area, the Russian strategy now seems to be going on the defensive.

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The country

Putin agrees with Lukashenko to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced an agreement with his Belarusian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko, to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine and Poland. 

Putin has assured in statements to Russian public television that this agreement does not violate existing disarmament treaties and that it would not transfer control of these weapons to Minsk. 

On July 1, the construction of a storage facility to place the weapons in Belarus will have been completed, according to Putin.

"This is not unusual. The United States has been doing this for decades. It has long deployed its tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of its allied countries," the Russian president said.

"We agreed [with Belarus] that we will do the same, without violating our international obligations on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons."

So far, Russia has already stationed 10 aircraft in Belarus capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons and a number of Iskander missile systems that can be used to deliver such weapons.

(Agencies)


ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 19:16

The country

The UN nuclear agency will visit the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant next week

The head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, will visit the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant next week to assess the safety of the facilities, the agency has announced.

Russian troops took control of Europe's largest nuclear power plant shortly after the start of the war, although it is being operated by Ukrainian workers.

Since then, both sides have accused each other of several attacks that have reached different areas of the nuclear plant, putting its integrity at risk.

Grossi has said in a statement that the nuclear security dangers at the plant are "too obvious" and that he will visit the facility as an independent observer next week, the second time since the start of the war.

(Reuters)

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 18:41

The country

A Russian attack hits a humanitarian aid delivery point in Kherson, injuring two civilians, according to Ukraine

The head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, Oleksandr Prokudin, has communicated through his official Telegram channel that a Russian attack has hit a humanitarian aid delivery point in the city of Kherson, in southern Ukraine.

As a result of the attack, two civilians have been injured, according to the same source. 

“The Russian occupiers continue to shell the places where aid is provided to civilians.

Last night, the Russian army attacked an invincibility point at Kostiantynivka, in the Donetsk region.

Today, the target was a humanitarian aid delivery point in Kherson," Prokudin wrote, detailing that the injured are a 41-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man. Both have been hospitalized with shrapnel wounds.

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 18:03

The country

Wagner Group chief claims 5,000 Russian ex-convicts have been released after serving in his militia

The head and founder of the Wagner mercenary group, Russian businessman Yevgeni Prigozhin, stated this Saturday that 5,000 Russian ex-convicts have already been pardoned after serving six months with the private militia in Ukraine.

In recent days, it has been reported that many of the ex-convicts recruited by Wagner to fight in the Russian autumn offensive in the Ukraine were due to be discharged in these weeks, after completing their six-month contract with the militia.

After last summer, the Wagner group, which initially consisted mainly of veterans of the Russian armed forces, recruited tens of thousands of inmates, offering them pardons for their crimes after six months of service in Ukraine.

It is estimated that some 30,000 convicts were recruited.

Although it is true that many of them - it is estimated that close to half - have died in the war, many are about to return to Russia at this time.

"Up to now, more than 5,000 people have been released with pardon after completing their contracts with Wagner," Prigozhin wrote on his Telegram channel, in response to a question from a media outlet about the wave of dismissals.

In addition, given the concern about the return of these criminals, the businessman affirms that only 0.31% of those pardoned so far have committed a crime after their return.

He claims that this is a much lower rate (between one tenth and one twentieth) of the usual recidivism rate, although he does not mention where he gets the figure from.

Prigozhin, himself an ex-convict, is a businessman very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nicknamed Putin's chef for his catering company, which served the Kremlin, he has taken a major role in the war in Ukraine, first admitting to being the creator of the Wagner militia, which has also operated in other parts of the world, and then taking a major role in the offensive in eastern Ukraine.

Lately, however, his relations with the Kremlin have deteriorated.

After bragging about the advances of his men in the Donbas region of Ukraine, he came into conflict with the military leadership, which he accused of treason for not supplying him with enough ammunition.

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 13:42

The country

The historian meets the paratrooper

On January 2, the American historian posted on his Twitter account a photo of a Ukrainian soldier reading his book The Road

to Unfreedom

(

2018

) lying in a trench.

The photo, accompanied by the phrase in Ukrainian "the greatest honor for the author is the reader", went viral at the time.

This Saturday, the historian was able to meet with the soldier, a Ukrainian paratrooper named Oleksandr Shirsyn, with whom he was able to take a photo in Lviv, according to the outlet The New Voice of Ukraine

on his Twitter account

.

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 13:09

The country

Erdogan insists to Putin on the need to end the war in Ukraine as soon as possible

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thanked his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for his "positive attitude" towards the extension of the pact for the export of cereals through the Black Sea.

He has done so in a telephone conversation that they have had this Saturday and which the Turkish leader has reported.

In addition, in the conversation, according to Ankara, they have both expressed the importance of ending the war in Ukraine through negotiations as soon as possible.

Russia has not offered its version of the talk.

The Turkish government has not given more details of Erdogan's words about possible peace talks.

Turkey was already the scene of an attempt at peace talks at the beginning of the invasion, which failed.

Since then, he has tried to mediate between the two countries.

This week, so has China, whose president, Xi Jinping, has traveled to Moscow to discuss with Putin his peace proposal, viewed with suspicion by the West.

Regarding the cereal agreement, Erdogan has shown understanding that Russia has extended it for only 60 days, instead of the 120 established by the agreement.

"The Turkish leader positively appreciated Russia's approval to extend the agreement for 60 days," the Russian presidential statement said, noting that Erdogan understands the Russian attitude of seeking "full compliance" with the part of the agreement that refers to " lifting barriers to Russian agricultural products.

Russia complains that while Western economic sanctions do not affect its agricultural products and fertilizers, they do make it difficult to contract, insure and finance its shipments.

Erdogan announced a week ago the extension of the cereal export agreement, which expired on March 18, although without specifying deadlines.

Ukraine said the deal had been extended for 120 days, but Moscow was adamant about 60 days as a trial period to see if restrictions obstructing Russian exports would be lifted.

(Reuters / EL PAÍS)

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 13:57

Ukraine claims it has managed to "stabilize" the situation in Bakhmut

Ukraine stated that its troops are "managing to stabilize" the situation around Bakhmut, in the east of the country and the epicenter of the fighting with Russian forces.

In Bakhmut, which before the war had about 70,000 inhabitants, the longest battle since the start of the Russian invasion is taking place, in February 2022.

The situation at the front is "very tough in the Bakhmut direction," Ukrainian armed forces chief Valeri Zaluzhni said late Friday in a phone conversation with UK Defense Chief of Staff the Admiral Tony Radakin.

“Thanks to the enormous efforts of the defense forces, we are managing to stabilize the situation,” Zaluzhni said on Facebook.

In recent months, Russian forces have proclaimed advances and conquests around the city, which has become iconic due to persistent fighting.

According to the latest report from the British Ministry of Defense this Saturday, Russia's assault on Bakhmut "is stalled", due in large part to the "extreme attrition of Russian forces".

The head of the Ukrainian Land Army affirmed this week that his troops "will take advantage very soon" of the opportunity offered by Russian weakness to liberate the city, as they already did with others in last autumn's offensive.

(AFP)

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 12:33

The country

A Ukrainian soldier looks through his binoculars next to an anti-aircraft gun near Bakhmut on Friday.

/ VIOLETA SANTOS MOURA / REUTERS

What has happened in the last hours

On the 395th day since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, these are the top news at 12:00 this Saturday, March 25, 2023:


-

Russia stagnates in Bakhmut and goes on the defensive

.

Badly worn, "the [Russian troops'] assault on the city of Bakhmut has largely stalled," so the invaders have shifted their focus and are now turning their attention to other locations on the front, where they barely aspire to stabilize The front.

This is confirmed by the latest intelligence report from the British Ministry of Defence, which also states that, after the winter offensive in the area, the Russian strategy now seems to be going on the defensive.

According to the report, the stranding of the Russians at Bakhmut "is probably due, first of all, to the extreme wear and tear" of the troops, although they have also suffered "because of the tensions between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Wagner Group."

-

Kiev denounces that Russia blocks the return of Ukrainian minors and boasts of deportations

.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Irina Vereshchuk, has assured that Russia has "repeatedly" blocked the return of Ukrainian minors of the around 16,000 that Ukraine estimates have been deported to Russian territory since the start of the war.

“I am frankly shocked by the behavior of the Russian officials.

It turns out that for them it is not enough to commit a crime, but to brag shamelessly.

I think it's some kind of perversion to show your villainy to the whole world.

But all this will not go unpunished," Vereshchuk emphasized in a Telegram message.

-

The president of the Duma asks to prohibit the activity of the ICC in Russia

.

The president of the Duma, the Russian Chamber of Deputies, Viacheslav Volodin, has asked this Saturday to prohibit by law the activities in Russian territory of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in retaliation for the arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin , issued last Friday by the Court.

He has also called for legal changes to be able to charge "[criminal] liability for cooperating with and supporting the ICC", a court that Russia does not recognise.

-

Biden claims that China has “not yet” delivered weapons to Russia

.

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has assured this Friday during his official visit to Canada that China "yet" has not delivered weapons in a significant way to Russia for use in the invasion of Ukraine.

Washington has been expressing concern for months about the possibility of Beijing making up for Russian deficiencies in weapons production from its own factories, a concern that has been reinforced by Chinese leader Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow this week.

"They have not done it.

It does not mean that they are not going to do it, but they have not done it yet ”, he said.

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 12:04

The president of the Duma asks to ban the activity of the ICC in Russia

The president of the Duma, the Russian Chamber of Deputies, Viacheslav Volodin, has asked this Saturday to prohibit by law the activities in Russian territory of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in retaliation for the arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin , issued last Friday by the Court.

"It is necessary to introduce changes in the legislation that prohibit any activity of the TPI in the territory of our country and also to study the [criminal] responsibility for cooperating and supporting the TPI," he wrote on his Telegram account.

Volodin, who as soon as the arrest warrant was issued described it as an "aggression" against Russia, also advocated signing bilateral agreements with friendly countries that contemplate "the mutual waiver of cooperation with the court in The Hague."

In addition, he proposed that "the supreme commander", that is, Putin, "has the right to take any action for the defense of Russian citizens in the event that international structures make decisions that contradict the norms of the Constitution of Russia." ”.

Volodin discussed plans for legislation in the lower house of parliament on Friday during a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin.

In turn, he recalled that since the controversial 2020 referendum, the Russian Constitution includes a point that grants "priority" to national legislation over international ones.

"On Russian territory, the decisions of the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights and other puppet institutes that Washington uses for its own interests are not complied with," he explained.

He recalled that the United States, which, like Russia, does not recognize the jurisdiction of the CFI either, adopted a law that protects its military, so that none of them can be the subject of an arrest warrant from the CFI, and that they can even launch a military intervention should a US citizen sit before that court.

(EFE)

ON MAR 25, 2023 - 10:12

The country

Russia stagnates in Bakhmut and goes on the defensive

Badly worn, "the [Russian troops'] assault on the city of Bakhmut has largely stalled," so the invaders have shifted their focus and are now turning their attention to other locations on the front, where they barely aspire to stabilize The front.

This is confirmed by the latest intelligence report from the British Ministry of Defence, which also states that, after the winter offensive in the area, the Russian strategy now seems to be going on the defensive.

According to the report, the stranding of the Russians at Bakhmut "is probably due, first of all, to the extreme attrition" of the troops.

According to numerous sources, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers and mercenaries from the Wagner Group, as well as Ukrainian defenders, have been killed or wounded in the attempted encirclement of the city, which has not been completed.

In the opinion of British intelligence, "the situation for the Russians has probably also worsened due to tensions between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Wagner Group", which has gone so far as to accuse the Russian military leadership of treason for not supplying it with the ammunition it needed to complete the assault.

According to London, as a result of this impasse, "the operational focus has probably shifted towards Avdivka, [a town about 80 kilometers] south of Bakhmut, and the Kremina-Svatove sector, [about 200 kilometers] to the north, areas where Russia probably just aspires to stabilize the front."

In the opinion of British intelligence, all this "suggests a general return to a more defensive operational design after the incomplete results" of the general offensive carried out since January.

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 09:39

ENERGY

Spain turns to Latin America to cover Russia's gap in the oil market

Ignacio Fariza

The last shipment of Russian crude oil arrived on the Spanish coast almost a year ago: on April 15, 2022. It did so at the port of Cartagena, aboard the oil tanker 

Minerva Eleonora

, a ship of more than 240 meters in length and a Liberian flag.

Since then, not a single drop of oil has arrived from the Urals, subject to sanctions and made toxic by the war throughout the West.

Faced with this situation, Spanish importers —a refining power on a European scale, a net exporter of fuels— have had to activate other springs to bring in no less than a quantity of crude from other countries: about 150,000 barrels per day, around 13% of total consumption. Spanish.

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 09:06

kyiv denounces that Russia blocks the return of Ukrainian minors and boasts of deportations 

The Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Irina Vereshchuk, has assured that Russia has "repeatedly" blocked the return of Ukrainian minors of the around 16,000 that Ukraine estimates have been deported to Russian territory since the start of the war.

“I am frankly shocked by the behavior of the Russian officials.

It turns out that for them it is not enough to commit a crime, but to brag shamelessly.

I think it's some kind of perversion to show your villainy to the whole world.

But all this will not go unpunished," Vereshchuk emphasized in a Telegram message.

However, the Commissioner of the Ukrainian Parliament for Human Rights, Dimitro Lubinets, has stated that the Ukrainian authorities have received "signals" that the Russians may begin to systematically return the children, as reported by the Ukrinform agency.

For her part, the Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights of the Russian Federation, Maria Alekseievna Lvova-Belova, assured this Thursday that 56 Ukrainian children, interned in centers for minors in Crimea and Krasnodar, are prepared to return together with their families in Ukraine.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant last Friday for Lvova-Belova and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children.

(Europe Press)

According to the Russian official, it was not possible to immediately guarantee the return of the minors to their families because "the front line has changed significantly" throughout the course of the war, and the parents of these children have changed their location. in the last few months.

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 08:45

Russian war in Ukraine

Waiting for Leopard tanks on the Kharkiv front: "We don't have what it takes for the counteroffensive"

Luis Vega

A soldier raises his arm from the shoulder to stop the two-vehicle humanitarian convoy.

It does not require papers or any other type of control of passage.

He only asks for water to continue digging with his companions.

They are part of groups of uniformed men building new trenches and fortifying defense positions on tracks in the eastern Kharkov region that lead from the town of Kupiansk to towns like Dvorichna.

This enclave, to which volunteers go to evacuate civilians who live under constant bombardment, is on the front line of combat between the Ukrainian and Russian armies.

There, as well as on other fronts, kyiv awaits the new weapons promised by the allies, especially ammunition and tanks, such as the six German-made Leopards announced by Spain.

Poland, with four, and Norway, with eight, are the first countries that have already delivered them.

President Volodímir Zelenski himself, impatient, urged and implored the European Union to expedite the shipment of weapons at the summit of the leaders of the Twenty-seven that concluded this Friday in Brussels.

ACT.25 MAR 2023 - 08:26

The country

Biden says China has 'not yet' delivered weapons to Russia

US President Joe Biden assured this Friday during his official visit to Canada that China "has not yet" delivered weapons to Russia in a significant way for use in the invasion of Ukraine.

Washington has been expressing concern for months about the possibility of Beijing making up for Russian deficiencies in weapons production from its own factories, a concern that has been reinforced by Chinese leader Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow this week. 

Biden has tried to reduce tensions this Friday by stating that, although he does not take Russia or China "lightly", the situation remains unchanged.

"I have been hearing for three months that China is going to supply weapons to Russia in a significant way," he recalled at a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"They haven't. It doesn't mean they won't, but they haven't yet."

(Reuters/AFP)

ACT.24 MAR 2023 - 22:44

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Source: elparis

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