Up to 40 countries could boycott Olympics if Russian and Belarussian athletes allowed: Polish minister
Replicas of the Eiffel Tower with the logo of the 2024 Olympic Games for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games are displayed inside the official store entirely dedicated to the 2024 Olympic Games on November 15, 2022 in Paris, France.
Chesnot | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
As many as 40 countries could boycott the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris if the International Olympic Committee lets Russian and Belarusian athletes compete, Poland’s Sport Minister Kamil Bortniczuk said.
Debate over the topic began after the IOC said last week it was going to “explore a pathway” to allow Russian and Belarussian athletes to take part.
Bortniczuk believes he could bring together a group of 40 countries including the U.S., UK and Canada to halt the IOC’s plans for such a pathway.
“If we were to boycott the Games, the coalition we will be a part of will be broad enough to make holding the Games pointless,” the Polish minister said.
The IOC said that no plans for the inclusion of athletes from Russia or Belarus have been made yet, and has warned that boycotting the games is a breach of the Olympic Charter. The U.S., UK and Canada have not yet expressed a willingness to boycott the games.
— Natasha Turak
Germany will send older Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, but necessary refurbishments will take time
Germany announced it will send Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, just a week after agreeing to send 14 of its much more modern Leopard 2 tanks to the embattled country on the back of pressure from allies.
The Leopard 1 tanks were made in Germany after the end of World War II, but were phased out in 2003. According to local German reports, the tank’s manufacturer, Rheinmetall, has some 88 tanks in stock. But the deliveries may take several months at least, as they need to be fully refurbished and the right ammunition for them must be sourced, which may be a difficult feat.
Berlin did not specify how many of the Leopard 1 tanks would be going to Ukraine, nor did it outline a specific timeline.
— Natasha Turak
EU announces 25 million euro de-mining program for Ukraine
This picture shows unexploded munitions and other explosive devices as members of a demining team of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine clear mines off a field not far from the town of Brovary, northeast of Kyiv, on April 21, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Aleksey Filippov | AFP | Getty Images
The EU announced a 25 million euro ($27.3 million) demining effort in Ukraine, to help rid it of the many mines laid there since Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country nearly a year ago.
“Demining action is crucial to safe the lives of civilian population, to allow them return to a normal life, to prevent the random walk of the death in the forest,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote in a post on Twitter.
As much as 30% of Ukraine is estimated to be contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordinances. They have terrorized the civilian population, causing death and injury long after Russian soldiers have left the areas.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in a post on Telegram that the initiative was an “important component of our recovery, which will allow us to return normal life.”
— Natasha Turak
Zelenskyy urges EU allies to impose 10th sanctions package on Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged EU allies to deploy a 10th sanctions package against Russia
Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged EU allies to deploy a 10th sanctions package against Russia as top officials from the bloc meet in Kyiv for a summit between the EU and Ukraine.
He warned that Russia was adapting to sanctions, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that a new sanctions package would be ready by Feb. 24, the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
“We see today that the pace of sanctions in Europe has slowed down a little,” Zelenskyy told a joint press conference, speaking next to Von der Leyen. “The terrorist state increases the pace of adaptation to sanctions instead. It should be resolved. We believe that we can do it together.”
Von der Leyen said Thursday that “Russia is paying a heavy price, as our sanctions are eroding its economy, throwing it back by a generation… By 24 February, exactly one year since the invasion started, we aim to have the 10th package of sanctions in place.”
— Natasha Turak
Air raid sirens heard across Kyiv as EU-Ukraine summit begins
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (center) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (left) pose for a photo with Ukrainian and European Union flags after their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 2, 2023.
Ukrainian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Air raid sirens rang out across Kyiv and other parts of the country as EU leaders arrived for a summit in the capital with Ukrainian officials. It’s first such summit since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of the country nearly a year ago.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is hosting European Council President Charles Michel and EU President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss their partnership and Ukraine’s candidacy for EU membership.
Kyiv was granted candidacy status at a record speed in June of last year, but EU officials warn there is a fair way to go and a slew of important reforms to make — especially over corruption, which has long been endemic in Ukraine — before progress can be made in terms of membership to the bloc.
— Natasha Turak
Kyiv presses criminal charges against Wagner Group chief
A mural depicting the Wagner Group’s logo in Belgrade, Serbia.
Srdjan Stevanovic | Getty Images
Ukraine’s government is pressing criminal charges against Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner group, the Russian private mercenary firm whose fighters have been engaging in combat operations in Ukraine.
According to Ukrainian state news outlet Ukrinform, Prigozhin “was charged with encroaching on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine (Article 110 Part 3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and of waging an war of aggression against Ukraine (Article 437 Part 2).”
Prigozhin, formerly Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal chef and a longtime ally of the Russian leader, has been sanctioned by the U.S. and plays a key role in his country’s operations in Ukraine.
The U.S. estimates Wagner group has some 50,000 men deployed in Ukraine, many of whom are convicted criminals. The Biden administration designated the mercenary firm as a transnational criminal organization in late January with the aim of limiting its power around the world. Wagner has been active in battlefields in the Middle East and Africa as well.
— Natasha Turak
Ukraine hopes to join EU quickly may clash with bloc’s timeline, says former U.S. envoy to Russia
Ukraine wants to fast-track its membership application for the European Union, but that could clash with the bloc’s timeline, according to a former U.S. ambassador to Russia.
“With respect to fast track, the Ukrainians are very set on this. They think that these long timelines don’t apply to them because they’ve done so many of the reforms necessary before they got on the track,” Michael McFaul, now a director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, at Stanford University, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”
“I think Brussels has a somewhat different view and let’s wait to see what they come out with tomorrow, in terms of the update where Ukraine is,” he added.
His comments come ahead of the Ukraine and EU summit due to take place in Kyiv on Friday.
It will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other top EU officials, with hopes high in Kyiv that its application to join the EU will progress quickly.
— Sumathi Bala
Backlog of 27 ships with Ukrainian agricultural goods wait to depart for global destinations
Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are seen anchored off the Istanbul coastline on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images
The organization overseeing the export of Ukrainian crops said there is a backlog of 27 vessels loaded with agricultural goods that are waiting to depart for their global destinations.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations, eased Russia’s naval blockade and saw the reopening of three key Ukrainian ports.
Since the deal was signed, more than 690 ships carrying 19.2 million metric tons of grain and other food products have left Ukrainian waters.
Kyiv has previously blamed Moscow for holding up inspections and delaying vessel movements.
— Amanda Macias
Leave a Reply