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News > Ukraine

LIVE: Lavrov has Arrived in Turkey Ahead of Talks

  • A long exposure photograph shows vehicles passing an Exxon gas station in Washington, DC, USA, 09 March 2022.

    A long exposure photograph shows vehicles passing an Exxon gas station in Washington, DC, USA, 09 March 2022. | Photo: EFE

Published 9 March 2022

UAE to adjust oil production in line with OPEC+ deal - Lavrov has arrived in Turkey ahead of talks - Venezuelan President warns of the danger of nuclear war over Ukraine crisis - Psaki claims that the US is not engaged in the development of biological and chemical weapons

EU to support Ukraine's bid without offering fast membership

Participants at the European Union summit in Versailles will support Ukraine's membership in the EU bloc but are unlikely to offer it candidate country status, Reuters reported, citing European officials.

"The officials said EU leaders will offer words of strong support for Ukraine to make it clear that its future lies with the EU," the news outlet said.

At the same time, the sources told the agency, European leaders are unlikely to grant Ukraine candidate country status.

EU to drastically increase defense spending

The European Union will drastically increase defense spending and seek greater independence in the production of microprocessors, pharmaceuticals and food, Reuters reported, citing the draft summit declaration in Versailles.

"For decades Europe has relied on the United States as the main pillar of security, now the EU wants to dramatically increase defense spending and make Europe more independent in matters of microprocessor, pharmaceutical and food production," the draft states.

At the same time, EU leaders spoke out in the text for gradually giving up imports of oil, gas and coal from Russia.

"Faced with growing instability, strategic competition and security threats, we decided to take more responsibility for our security and to take further decisive steps to strengthen our European sovereignty, reduce our dependencies and develop a new model for growth and investments by 2030," the document highlights.

EU leaders will meet for an informal summit in Versailles (France) on Thursday, March 10 and Friday, March 11. 

UAE to adjust oil production in line with OPEC+ deal

The Minister of Energy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Suhail Al Mazroui said that the country will comply with the terms of the OPEC + agreement in the field of adjusting oil production.

"The UAE is committed to the OPEC+ agreement and the existing monthly production adjustment mechanism," he tweeted, adding that "the UAE believes in the value of OPEC to the oil market."

At a meeting held on February 2, the OPEC + countries decided that in March, as expected, they would increase oil production by 400,000 barrels per day.

Lavrov has arrived in Turkey ahead of talks

Russia's FM Sergei Lavrov arrived in the city of Antalya on Wednesday, according to a Reuters, ahead of planned talks Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.

Sony suspends Playstation Store, deliveries of consoles and games to Russia

The Japanese company Sony has decided to suspend the supply of its consoles, peripherals and games to Russia, as well as the operation of the Playstation Store. The company announced this on Thursday.

"Sony Interactive Entertainment joins the international community calling for peace in Ukraine," reads a message posted on the official Playstation Twitter page. It is emphasized that the company suspends all deliveries to the Russian Federation, the work of the official online store, as well as the release of the racing simulator Gran Turismo 7 for the Russian market.

Sony also said it would send $2 million through humanitarian channels to "support the victims of this tragedy."

Venezuelan President warns of the danger of nuclear war over Ukraine crisis

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday warned of the danger of a nuclear war in the face of the crisis in Ukraine.

"The danger is that it could be a nuclear world war, there is a real danger of a nuclear war in the world today, and Venezuela rings the bell, Venezuela denounces this, Venezuela makes the call to the awakening of the world conscience," Maduro said in an address broadcast by the state-run Venezolana de Televisión channel.

Maduro reiterated his concern for a possible war in Europe and an extension to other regions.

"The world war has started and it is economic, the world war in its first phase is economic with sanctions, blockade, uncertainty in the supply of oil, gasoline, iron, steel, wheat, fertilizers, raw materials, uncertainty in prices, in the food supply, in the use of the currency and the financial system," he said.

President Maduro also said that the conflict in Ukraine is the responsibility of those who breached the Minsk Agreements, and those who surrounded and targeted Russia with nuclear weapons.

"There is a war on the southern border of Russia because of those who breached the agreements of Europe, the West and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) with Russia, because of those who tried to surround Russia and target it with nuclear weapons, because of those who announced that Ukraine was going to have nuclear weapons targeting Russia, there is the result of the armed conflict," Maduro said in a speech broadcast by the state channel, Venezolana de Televisión.

On several occasions, the Venezuelan president expressed his support to Russia, and denounced that there is a campaign against it.

Maduro also denounced that there is a NATO military siege against Russia, and warned that the peace of the Eurasian nation is also the peace of the world.

In addition, he reiterated that the economic war that is being waged against Russia is also being waged against Venezuela.

Psaki claims that the US is not engaged in the development of biological and chemical weapons

We have also seen Chinese officials repeat these conspiracy theories," Psaki said. "The United States fully complies with its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and the biological weapons convention, does not develop these types of weapons and does not have them anywhere," she assured.

"We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a series of tweets.

Johnson promised to tighten sanctions against Russia in a conversation with Zelensky

The UK will increase sanctions pressure on Russia in order to inflict maximum economic damage on it. With such a promise in a conversation with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, the head of the British government Boris Johnson made.

"The Prime Minister has pledged to further strengthen these sanctions on Russia to bring about maximum economic impact. He also outlined the work the UK is doing to ensure that Ukraine has the weapons it needs to defend itself," the statement said. by the Prime Minister's Office following the results of the conversation between the leaders of the two countries.

Shutdown at Chernobyl plant will not critically affect site safety, says IAEA

The blackout at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine will not have a critical impact on basic safety functions at the site, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi assured.

In a statement, the IAEA chief expressed concern over reports that the plant was disconnected from external electricity sources since the external power supply is one of the essential elements of nuclear safety, he said.

"However, in the case of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (...), its disconnection from the (electrical) grid will not have a critical impact on the basic safety functions at the site where the radioactive waste management facilities are located," he said.

The Russian military has accused Ukrainian ultra-nationalists of cutting off the station from the grid. 

View of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant - Russian Ministry of Defense

US, UK reaction to reports on Biolabs in Ukraine is stunning - envoy

The head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, Konstantin Gavrilov, has described as stunning the reaction of the United States, the United Kingdom and Ukraine to reports about the US-run biological laboratories in Ukraine.

Gavrilov recalled that a meeting of the Forum for Security Cooperation was held to focus on the Russian special operation in Ukraine, nuclear and biological security, humanitarian issues and the illegal transfer of small arms to Ukraine.

The Russian delegation brought up the issue of US biological laboratories in Ukraine, he said.

"Do you know what’s amazing? It’s the reaction of US, UK and Ukrainian representatives after our speech," the head of the Russian delegation said on the Rossiya-24 news channel on Wednesday.

Gavrilov said that the representatives of the US and the UK said that the activity of biological labs does not violate international regulations, while the Ukrainian delegation did not acknowledge their existence. The head of the Russian delegation added that in more than 30 years he had never encountered anything like that in his diplomatic practice.

"Judging by our sessions, they (OSCE representatives - TASS) have done everything to evade the issue (of the US-run biological laboratories in Ukraine - TASS) in their speeches, emphasizing that Russia is conducting a war, aggression, twisting the facts and everything like that. Both in the media and here. Nothing new. But they are avoiding this topic in every possible way. We raised it proactively and generated a flurry of reactions," Gavrilov said.

"You know, some sort of confusion. And when you quote [US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria] Nuland as saying that they would do their best to prevent biological research material from falling into the hands of the Russian forces, they simply do not hear," he said.

On Tuesday, Nuland said that there are biological research facilities in Ukraine. Washington was doing its utmost to prevent "any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces."

Earlier, Igor Kirillov, who heads the Russian army’s radiation, chemical and biological protection force, reported that a network of over 30 biological labs was formed on Ukrainian soil on the orders of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the US Department of Defense. According to him, on February 24, they were all instructed by the Ukrainian Health Ministry to completely destroy biological agents located in the laboratories.

Pentagon considers Russian reports of bio laboratories in Ukraine ‘false, absurd’ - report

The Pentagon believes that the information presented by the Russian Defense Ministry regarding the presence of biological laboratories in Ukraine for development of a military biological program is "false and absurd," Reuters reported Wednesday.

During a briefing in Washington, a representative of the US Department of Defense claimed: "This absurd Russian misinformation is patently false."

Earlier, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov announced that, during the special military operation in Ukraine, Russian forces discovered facts of Kiev’s emergency cleanup of the military biological program, carried out in Ukraine with funding from the Department of Defense. According to the spokesman, employees of Ukrainian laboratories provided information on emergency disposal of particularly dangerous pathogens - plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases - carried out on February 24. Later, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland confirmed the presence of biological research facilities in Ukraine.

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