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Sun, 22 May 2022
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Putin’s War: Day 19

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♦ A senior employee of Russia’s state Channel One television has interrupted the channel’s main news programme with an extraordinary protest against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One, burst on to the set of the live broadcast of the nightly news on Monday evening, shouting: “Stop the war. No to war.” She also held a sign saying: “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here.” It was signed in English: “Russians against the war”. It was an act of stupendous bravery.

♦ The UK’s Ministry of Defence says Russia could be planning to use chemical or biological weapons. The MoD tweeted on Monday: “Russia could possibly be planning to use chemical or biological weapons in a ‘false-flag’ operation. Such an operation could take the form of a faked attack, a staged ‘discovery’ of agents or munitions or fabricated evidence of alleged Ukrainian planning to use such weapons.” This, they will argue, gives them the green light to deploy dirty weapons.

♦ China has signalled willingness to provide aid to Russia, a U.S. official said, as national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday. “We have communicated very clearly to Beijing that we won’t stand by,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Monday. “We will not allow any country to compensate Russia for its losses.”

♦ Police on Monday evicted squatters who had occupied a London mansion belonging to the family of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was placed on Britain’s sanctions list last week in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Wearing riot gear, officers entered the multi-million pound mansion in Belgrave Square, a home to numerous foreign embassies that is located in an upmarket area of the capital. 

Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for talks on sideline of  BRICS Summit, Brazil November 13, 2019. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS

♦ India may take up a Russian offer to buy crude oil and other commodities at a discount, two Indian officials said, in a sign that Delhi wants to keep its key trading partner on board despite Western attempts to isolate Moscow through sanctions. U.S. officials have said in recent weeks they would like India to distance itself from Russia as much as possible, while recognising its heavy reliance on Moscow for everything from arms and ammunitions to missiles and fighter jets. Read more.

♦ Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich arrived in Istanbul from Israel on Monday, shortly after he was seen in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. Abramovich was among seven Russian billionaires added to a British sanctions list last week to try to isolate President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. European Union diplomats have embraced a similar move.
♦ Ukraine is likely to secure approval for an emergency connection to the European energy grid in the next few days, Maxim Timchenko, the CEO of Ukraine’s largest private energy company DTEK, said. The long-planned link-up, which would increase the independence of Ukraine’s energy system from Russia, was originally scheduled to start in 2023.
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