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Ukraine Negotiations, Moscow Stock Market Shut, Fatal Australian Floods

A mother carries her child in Medyka, Poland, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger and Lorraine Olaya

👋 สวัสดี*

Welcome to Monday, where Ukrainian and Russian delegations meet for talks near the Belarus border, as the Ukrainian army continues to resist the Russian invasion. The EU has announced it would sell weapons to Ukraine in a historical first as Vladimir Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert. We also have the translation of a report in Kyiv-based news website Livy Bereg on how Ukraine’s outgunned forces have thus far managed to thwart Putin’s plans of rapid conquest.

[*Sawasdee - Thai]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Ukraine resists Russian onslaught as negotiations open at Belarus border: Ukrainian forces continue to slow advances of the Russian military in and around major cities around the country, including Kharviv in the northeast and the capital of Kyiv. On the fifth day since the Russian invasion, the civilian death toll has topped 350. Government delegations from both countries have begun to meet at a secret location near the Ukraine-Belarus border, as Kyiv’s demands for a ceasefire have so far gone unanswered.

• Europe’s strong response to Russia, Putin brandishes nuclear arsenal: The European Union will send weapons to Ukraine, a historical first, to aid its defense against Russia’s invasion. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also announced plans to ban Moscow’s state-owned outlets, such as Russia Today and Sputnik, from airing in the EU, as well as ban Russian aircrafts from entering the European airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday activated the country’s highest “deterrence” alert, which included nuclear weapons, citing threats from Europe and the world’s reaction to its invasion of Ukraine.

• Russia sanctions force Moscow to shut stock market, as world economy risks meltdown: A series of severe economic sanctions aimed at Russia, including removing the country from the SWIFT banking system, forced the Moscow stock market to stay shut Monday and risks setting off major global consequences.

• “Irreversible” climate change: The UN’s IPCC Climate Change 2022 Impacts Report, gathering work by 270 top scientists from 67 countries, gives a grim outlook on how climate change is affecting humans and nature. Among the key findings, the report states that human-caused climate change is wreaking “increasingly irreversible losses, in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal and open ocean marine ecosystems.”

• U.S. Capital riot prosecutions begin: Trials for rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last January are starting this week. More than 750 rioters have been charged with federal crimes. The outcome of the first trial of Guy Wesley Reffitt of Texas may set a precedent for the upcoming riot cases.

• Australia's record floods turn deadly: At least nine people have been killed in Queensland and New South Wales’ worst flash flooding in decades, forcing evacuations, school closures and loss of power. Nine people have been killed, and many others stranded.

• SAG awards: The Screen Actors Guild Awards kicked off statuette season last night, with the casts of Succession and Ted Lasso winning big on the TV side, while Will Smith and Jessica Chastain were celebrated for their movie performances.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Argentine daily La Nación reports on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to place the country’s nuclear forces on high alert, in a dramatic escalation of tensions with the West after his attack on Ukraine.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

5.24 billion tons

China, the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, recorded its highest increase in coal consumption in a decade, according to the country's National Bureau of Statistics, using 5.24 billion tons of coal last year — up 5.2% from 2020.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

How Ukrainian forces have thwarted Putin’s blitzkrieg plans

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began Thursday morning on multiple fronts was meant to quickly overrun the outnumbered defensive positions. Valentin Badrak, for Kyiv-based news website Livy Bereg, reports that it hasn’t turned out that way.

💥 In war, you can never say which day is going to be hardest. But it was the second day and second night that proved to the Russian invading forces that the blitzkrieg Vladimir Putin was counting on had not gone as planned. By the third day, Saturday, street fights with Russian Armed Forces and their sabotage and reconnaissance units played out in several districts of Kyiv. But the danger of conquest of the capital posed by the enemy was averted, as Ukraine's military forces bravely defended Kyiv. Russian invaders were shocked by the strong defense, the motivation of the army and the unprecedented unity of the Ukrainian nation.

📉 Of course, we should not exaggerate when it comes to a war like this, particularly when it involves a powerful military machine such as Russia. However, the first signs of problems in the Russian forces are beginning to show. And the introduction of reserves suggests that the Russian army may be beginning to lose motivation and confidence. Such fierce resistance was not anticipated by Moscow and problems for the Russians do not stop there. Some logistical issues are already beginning to appear: a shortage of ammunition, fuel and lubricants, and even food.

🇹🇷 Aside from the main battle occurring on Ukrainian soil, another blow to Russia came from the EU. Not only have European countries made a unilateral move to ban Russian flights from its airspace, but perhaps the most surprising decision came from Turkey, which banned Russian warships from entering the Black Sea. The move shows that even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once a keen friend and partner of Vladimir Putin, is turning his back on the decision made by his Russian counterpart.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

This is a threat that if Russia isn't treated as he wants, then everything will be destroyed.

— Nobel Peace Prize laureate and chief editor of Russian daily Novaya GazetaDmitry Muratov said, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the country’s military to put its deterrent forces, including its nuclear weapons, on “special alert.” For Muratov, Putin’s words “sound like a direct threat of nuclear war.”

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger and Lorraine Olaya


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