Welcome to Friday, where Russia seizes control of Europe’s largest nuclear plant after a potentially disastrous attack, Ukraine and Russia agree to set up humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians and the U.S. levels new sanctions on Russian oligarchs. Persian-language media Kayhan-London also reports on the unique prism through which Iran is seeing the Russia-Ukraine war.
[*Inuktitut - Inuit]
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• Fear and outrage after Russia attack sparks fire near Ukrainian nuclear plant: Russia has taken control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after reportedly shelling the area around it and sparking a fire. The attack has prompted international horror and condemnation. Nuclear authorities are still verifying any damage to the power station since an explosion could prove disastrous, recalling the Chernobyl accident in 1986. According to local authorities, no immediate rise in radiation was detected nor was any “essential” equipment affected. Russia has blamed Ukraine “saboteurs” for setting the fire.
• Russia and Ukraine agree to establish humanitarian corridors: While negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have made little progress on a possible ceasefire, both countries agreed to establish humanitarian corridors for civilian evacuations. Temporary ceasefires will be upheld for these locations and only for the duration of the evacuations.
• U.S. sanctions Russian oligarchs: The U.S. has imposed more sanctions on Russia, this time zoning in on oligarchs and their families. At least eight Russian elites will lose access to the American financial system, freezing their U.S.-based assets and property, and 19 oligarchs and their family members also face visa restrictions.
• Suicide bombing in Pakistan mosque kills at least 30: A bomb detonated by an attacker exploded inside a Shia mosque in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, killing more than 30 people and injuring dozens during Friday prayers.
• South Korea presidential election: Early voting for South Korea’s March 9 presidential election begins today with a record turnout and a tight race expected between the two main candidates, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and conservative Yoon Suk-yeol.
• Moldova officially asks to join EU: A week after Russia invaded Ukraine, Moldova has officially requested to join the EU. This announcement comes after Georgia, another former Soviet country, also asked to join. Ukraine still awaits membership.
• Soak this up … Moth species renamed: The Entomological Society of America renames the Lymantria dispar species to “spongy moth.” The moth’s previous name had been removed in July 2021 because it contained an offensive term, and left the moth nameless for eight months. The new name which refers to the moth’s spongy eggs, is effective immediately.
Peruvian daily El Comercio reports on the oil spill off the coast near Lima, caused by waves linked to Tonga’s eruption and tsunami. Authorities sealed three beaches near the capital and are demanding compensation to Spanish oil giant Repsol, which operates the refinery that leaked 6,000 barrels of oil, for what could be the worst ecological disaster to hit the country in recent history.
The helmet worn by American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart during her landmark journey as the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by airplane in 1928 has sold for $825,000, more than 10 times its estimate. Four years later, she would make history as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, though Earhart mysteriously disappeared during a subsequent flight in 1937.
Iran's take on Russia-Ukraine: Nuclear arms are our best defense
While cheering the Russian attack on Ukraine, Iranian state media have also drawn the "lesson" from this war that a state can only be strong if it has a nuclear arsenal, writes Persian-language media Kayhan-London.
🇮🇷🇷🇺 So Iran stands with Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, China and Nicaragua in not condemning Russia's attack on Ukraine. Instead, it is voicing support for the conflict's instigator, Russian President Vladimir Putin. One thing this war has done for Iran was to swiftly reveal elements in the political establishment who favor arming the country with nuclear weapons, which is against the regime's official line on non-proliferation. They mostly consist of regime zealots closer to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
☢️ Hardliners have blamed an "American plot" for the attack on Ukraine, then concluded that under such conditions, the Islamic Republic needs its ballistic missiles and a nuclear deterrent to defend itself. It must be the first time they have revealed what they concealed for years: the desire for Iran to have atomic bombs. Ukraine has brought them out of the closet and inspired them to make their analyses.
⚠️ The regime's media readily denounce the West's "hostility," but says nothing about Russia's naked aggression. Its propagandists previously tried to scare Iranians about Iran becoming "another Syria" and now warn it could become "another Ukraine." Yet they never warn of the threat of another Chernobyl disaster in quake-prone Iran. And they seem to forget — oblivious to the likes of Saddam or Gaddafi — that the fate of aggressors can also be wretched.
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How is this even possible? Didn't we fight the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe together in 1986?
— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted to the Russian attack overnight on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, saying it could have caused destruction equal to "six Chernobyls." He addressed the Russian people directly, reminding them of how they together confronted the Chernobyl nuclear disaster during Soviet times, and urging them to "take to the streets and tell your government that you want to live."
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lorraine Olaya and Laure Gautherin
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