Monday, February 28, 2022

Russia-Ukraine Negotiations Are Over, Says Source

The participants in the meeting are expected to give comments for the media on the results of the negotiations

GOMEL REGION /Belarus/, February 28. /TASS/. The Russian-Ukrainian negotiations are over and the meeting lasted five hours, a source taking part in the talks told TASS on Monday.

"They have been concluded," the source said.

The participants in the meeting are expected to give comments for the media on the results of the negotiations.

Presidential Aide Vladimir Medinsky is leading the Russian delegation. It also includes Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko, Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin and Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov is leading the Ukrainian delegation along with Advisor to the Ukrainian Presidential Office Mikhail Podolyak, Head of the faction "Servant of the People" David Arakhamiya, First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian delegation in the Contact Group on settling the situation in Donbass Andrey Kostin, Ukrainian legislator Rustem Umerov and Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolay Tochitsky.

Medinsky said earlier that the Russian delegation was willing to negotiate with the Ukrainian side for as long as it takes to clinch agreements. He also said that the meeting was postponed several times last night, its venue was re-arranged, and as a result, the original option was selected - the Gomel Region near the Ukrainian border.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Calls for Return to Dialogue for Political Settlement in Ukraine

"We call on all parties concerned to demonstrate calmness and restraint and to avoid further escalation," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin EPA-EFE/WU HONG

BEIJING, February 28. /TASS/. The Chinese government has urged the parties to the conflict in Ukraine to return to the path of negotiations and implement a political settlement on the Ukraine crisis, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing Monday.

"We call on all parties to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and a political settlement as soon as possible. We also suggest undertaking a comprehensive settlement of the Ukraine problem through negotiations and consultations," he said.

He also noted that China is monitoring the situation in Ukraine and took note of Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to put Russian deterrence forces on special alert.

"We call on all parties concerned to demonstrate calmness and restraint and to avoid further escalation," he stressed.

On February 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to the West’s aggressive rhetoric by ordering the Russian army's deterrence forces to switch to a special combat duty mode. He gave this order at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces, First Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov. The meeting took place against the backdrop of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. Moscow launched it in response to an appeal for help from the leaders of the Donbass republics.

Three NATO Countries to Transfer 70 Combat Airplanes to Ukraine - Statement

Bulgaria will transfer 16 MiG-29 fighters and 14 Su-25 attack planes, Poland - 28 MiG-29 planes, and Slovakia - 12 MiG-29 planes

KIEV, March 1. /TASS/. Bulgaria, Poland and Slovakia will transfer 70 combat aircraft to Ukraine that can be stationed on airfields in Poland, press service of the Ukrainian Navy said on its official page in Facebook.

"If necessary, they can be stationed on Polish airfields, from which Ukrainian pilots will perform combat missions," the press service said.

According to its data, Bulgaria will transfer 16 MiG-29 fighters and 14 Su-25 attack planes, Poland - 28 MiG-29 planes, and Slovakia - 12 MiG-29 planes.

Russian Diplomat Blames NATO’s Actions, West’s Silence on Donbass for Disaster in Europe

"Russia did not launch a war, it is ending it", Maria Zakharova stressed

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

MOSCOW, February 28./TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova expressed confidence on Monday that experiments of NATO and Western public’s staying mum on the situation in Donbass resulted in a humanitarian and political disaster in Europe.

"NATO’s experiments and the deafening silence of the Western public - these are the reasons behind the humanitarian and political disaster in Europe. An end was to be put to this, since the West refused to conduct any negotiations whatsoever and welcomed aggressive statements and direct threats of Kiev puppets towards Russia," the diplomat wrote on her Telegram channel.

Russia did not launch a war, it is ending it, Zakharova stressed. Throughout these years, the Russian side was urging the global community to stand against the consistent annihilation of the Donbass population. "These are millions of people, who were losing their loved ones every day, living in basements to flee the shelling," she added.

"Where were all these countries and their public during these eight years that the war continued, and how did they condemn the killing of at least 13,000 people throughout these years?" the diplomat asked.

None among those who are ‘yelling now’ in ‘civilized countries’ has ever rallied to support the population of Donetsk and Lugansk with the demand to stop bloodshed, she stressed. "The world was silent. Submissive silence of the global community and their disregard for the bloody catastrophe resulting from the anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine in 2014, staged with the direct participation of the US, the EU, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and other NATO countries, simply encouraged the Kiev regime to continue to destroy their own population," Zakharova stressed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the leaders of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation. The Russian head of state stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories. Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed through the use of precision weapons. Civilians are not threatened, the Russian military assured.

Explosion in a Vehicle Killed Three Policemen in Gondar

February 27, 2022


An explosion in a vehicle reportedly killed three policemen in Gondar. Seven others are wounded ; three of them are civilians. Those wounded are in Gondar city hospital.  

It happened on Friday in the afternoon at the fifth police Division in Azezo locality of the city.  

According to a report by DW Amharic, which cited Gondar City Communication Affairs office head, Daneil Wubet, the car which originated from Chilga region of Gondar was taken to the police station to be searched on grounds of suspicion. 

One of the civilians , who is a member of Azezo Sub-city administration, wounded during the explosion reportedly died in hospital on Saturday. 

A female police member who miraculously survived from the accident told DW Amharic that she saw two policemen die instantly right after the explosion.

She added that she was shocked by the explosion and was laying on the ground for minutes before she called for help, as reported by DW Amharic. 

Another eyewitness, unnamed, said that he saw a cameraman, who was filming the vehicle that came to the police station, fall down on the ground. 

It is unclear as to what exactly the explosion was and how it happened in the police station. DW Amharic said that the Gondar City Police Department head declined to explain the situation.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Africans Face Racial Discrimination in Ukraine

FILE - African residents in Ukraine wait at the platform inside Lviv railway station, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in Lviv, west Ukraine. As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians seek

By Rédaction Africa News with AFP

The Nigerian government has expressed disappointment at ongoing reports of maltreatment of some Nigerian nationals attempting to flee Ukraine.

In a statement on Monday, February 28, 2022, the government urged customs authorities in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to treat its citizens "with dignity" amid growing accusations of racism at the Ukrainian border.

Like hundreds of thousands of people, many Africans - mostly students - are trying to flee the Russian invasion of Ukraine by reaching neighbouring countries.

A total of 4,000 Nigerian citizens are still stranded in Ukraine.

"There have been unfortunate reports (that) Ukrainian police and security personnel are refusing to let Nigerians board buses and trains" to Poland, said Nigerian presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu.

A video that circulated on Social media over the weekend, showed some Nigerian students sharing their plight.

Mr Shehu said there were claims that Polish officials had refused Nigerian nationals entry to Poland.

"It is important that everyone is treated with dignity and without favour," he stressed.

Poland's ambassador to Nigeria, Joanna Tarnawska, rejected accusations of racism.

"Everyone receives equal treatment. I can assure you that, according to the information I have, some Nigerian nationals have already crossed the border to Poland," she told local media.

According to Ms Tarnawska, invalid identity documents are accepted for crossing the border and Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted. Nigerians have 15 days to leave the country afterwards, she added.

The Ukrainian embassy in Nigeria was not immediately available.

Since the start of the Russian offensive, about 400,000 Ukrainians have entered the European Union, according to an AFP count.

The situation does not apply to only Nigerians. There are reports that Scores of African migrants in Ukraine are being blocked from fleeing to safety.

Black people living in the region say they have been left to languish, with some taking to Twitter in recent days to share accounts of abandonment.

Many nations are trying to evacuate their nationals from Ukraine but that has come with a lot of challenges.

Over the weekend, a member of parliament in Ghana announced an alleged attack on some Ghanaian students who were being evacuated by the government.

-Arriving in Poland-

Reports of racial discrimination keep pouring on Social media as the Russia-Ukraine conflict enters its 5th day.

Whiles some governments have been successful in evacuating their citizens from Ukraine, others are yet to settle on a perfect plan to evacuate their citizens.

At least 256 Nigerians have been evacuated from Ukraine. However, for those who are yet to be evacuated, incidents of racial discrimination are not far from them.

Cynthia Osam, is a Ghanaian student who was studying in Kharkiv in the east of the country when the city was attacked. She is very helpless now. Recounting her ordeal, she said she had trekked for over 12 hours only before she arrived at the Medyka crossing with Poland.

To her, the sight of black people sleeping on the streets may her to lose hope.

“My Nigerian friend told me before I got here; armed guards had ordered us to wait as Ukrainians had to be let through first”

“Right in front of me, I saw a few buses, which were full of white people” Eventually, few Africans were granted access to cross.

Asya, a medical student from Somalia studying in Kyiv, had a similar story. When she finally reached Poland, she said she was told, "Accommodation at the hotel was only for Ukrainians".

She is now safe in Warsaw, where she is staying in a hotel. In stark contrast to her experience at the border, she has found people in the city to be incredibly kind and welcoming.

All of the African and Asian students she has been in touch with have been offered free accommodation. She said the reception had been irresistible.

The Polish border force says that everyone fleeing conflict in Ukraine was being welcomed into Poland regardless of nationality.

Nigeria's Foreign Minister Geofrey Onyeama said he had spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and had been assured that Ukrainian border guards had been given an order to allow all foreigners leaving Ukraine to pass without restrictions.

Nigeria's ministry of foreign affairs has now advised its citizens leaving Ukraine to head for Hungary or Romania, rather than trying to enter Poland.

So far, 256 Nigerians, mostly students in Ukraine have been successfully evacuated.

UNITAMS Postpones Press Conference Over Sudanese Crisis

February 27, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – The United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) announced the postponement of a press conference its head Volker Perthes was expected to hold on Sunday.

The postponement aims to “allow further coordination with regional partners on a common strategy and the design of next phase of a political process for Sudan,” said the Mission in a short tweet posed on Sunday.

In its invitation letter to the media on February 24, the Mission said Perthes would announce the results of the first stage of the consultations carried out with political forces, civil society groups.

Several sources say the press briefing was postponed because the report about the outcome of the consultations is still under drafting.

The report, which includes the point of convergences and divergences on how to settle the political crisis, shall serve as basis for talks between the Sudanese stakeholders.

The mission will not mediate the intra-Sudanese dialogue process but will only facilitate it.

The African Union with the IGAD are supposed to work on the next stage but already the military authorities seem unhappy with the executive secretary of the east African bloc.

Also, there are reports about disagreements between the African Union and the UN mission in Sudan over UNITAMS’s role during the second stage.


EU, Troika Urge Sudan to Condemn Russian Attack on Ukraine

February 27, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – European Union and Troika countries called on Sudan to condemn the Russian aggression on Ukraine and to voice its support for its territorial integrity.

Sudanese acting foreign minister on Sunday received European, Troika, Canada and Switzerland diplomats in Sudan who briefed him about their condemnation of the unprovoked Russian attack on Ukraine.

The EU Representative to Sudan Robert van den Dool said they called on Sudan to publically condemn “in clear terms” the Russian attack on Ukraine

“Particularly, we anticipate with great interest the Sudanese position in the UN General Assembly on the matter,” stressed van den Dool.

The meeting comes as the Deputy Head of the military-led Sovereign Council has been conducting a visit to Moscow for four days.

After his arrival in Moscow, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo “Hemetti” supported Putin’s decision to recognise separatist Ukrainian regions. But the foreign ministry quickly denied his statements adding that Hemetti’s “statements were taken out of context.

The EU envoys urged the Sudanese authorities to reaffirm “Ukraine’s territorial integrity” and to not “follow Russia’s illegal decision to recognise the proclaimed independence of the Donbas and Lugansk regions”.

In addition, they called on Sudan to join the international community’s demand from Russia to immediately end the ongoing aggression on Ukraine.

On Sunday the European Union took several steps in support of Ukraine.

The European Union’s chief executive said they support Ukraine becoming a member of the bloc, and described the aggressed nation as “one of us.”

The bloc announced additional tough financial and economic sanctions on Russia and decided to finance the purchase of weapons for Ukraine.

The Troika and EU countries have been seeking through the Friends of Sudan group to support the democratic transition in the East African country after the fall of the isolated former regime.

Since the coup that ended the transitional process, they were keen to send reassurances to the military component and avoid resorting to targeted sanctions against them.

The recent international developments might impact the EU-Troika’s position towards Sudan in the near future.


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Russia-Ukraine Talks to Begin on Monday Morning - Source

The reason is the Ukrainian delegation’s logistics, the source said

MINSK, February 27. /TASS/. Talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations will begin in the morning on Monday, a source told TASS on Sunday.

"It is not a postponement. The meeting will begin in the morning. The reason is the Ukrainian delegation’s logistics," the source said.

Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, who leads the Russian delegation to the talks, said earlier that an agreement had been reached with the Ukrainian side on Sunday to hold talks in Belarus’ Gomel region. The Russian delegation has already left Minsk and is heading for the talks’ venue, which, according to a TASS source, will not be disclosed.

Putin Orders "Special Service Regime" in Russia’s Deterrence Force

Russian President stressed that the Western countries were also taking unfriendly actions against Russia in the economic sphere

© Mikhail Metzel/POOL/TASS

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. In response to aggressive statements in the West Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued orders to introduce what he described as a "special service regime" in the Russian army’s deterrence force.

"Top officials in NATO’s leading countries have been making aggressive statements against our country. For this reason, I give orders to the defense minister and chief of the General Staff to introduce a special combat duty regime in the Russian army’s deference forces," Putin said at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov in the Kremlin on Sunday.

Putin stressed that the Western countries were also taking unfriendly actions against Russia in the economic sphere.

"I am referring to the illegitimate sanctions, which are very well-known to everybody," he added.

The meeting took place against a backdrop of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, which Moscow began in response to a request for assistance from the leaders of the Donbass republics.

Strategic deterrence forces

The strategic deterrence forces’ task is to deter aggression against Russia and its allies, and also to defeat an aggressor in a war by using various types of weapons, including nuclear ones. The deterrence forces incorporate the Strategic Offensive Force (SOF) and Strategic Defensive Force (SDF). The strategic nuclear potential constitutes the backbone of the SOF, armed with intercontinental missiles and aircraft, including high accuracy long-range weapons. The strategic nuclear potential includes the Strategic Missile Force. The SOF also includes the strategic conventional dual-purpose force - strategic and long-range bombers and also submarines, surface ships and naval missile-carrying naval aircraft carrying high-accuracy long-range weapons.

The SDF’s key components are combat-ready forces and means of the aerospace defense, such as the missile attack warning system, the system for monitoring outer space and the missile defense, space defense and air defense.

Hemetti, Senior Russian Official Agree to Strengthen Military Cooperation

Sudan's Deputy Head of the Sovereign Council Hemetti poses with Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin on February 26, 2022

February 26, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese Deputy Head of the Sovereign Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, aka Hemetti, agreed with the Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin to develop bilateral cooperation.

The Sudanese senior official continued on Saturday his meeting with the Russian officials in Moscow., unconcerned by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the international condemnation for the aggression.

“During my meeting with Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Moffin, I stressed the importance of redoubling joint efforts and coordination between the two countries in all areas for the benefit of the two peoples,” said Hemetti in a post on his Facebook page.

“We have a historic opportunity to seize and move forward for mutual benefit and our common aspirations,” he stressed.

The meeting was attended by the Sudanese ambassador and the military attaché in Moscow, as the visiting delegation did not include a senior military official.

Hemetti who arrived in Russia on Wednesday is supposed to meet with President Vladimir Putin before his return to Khartoum.

During his meeting with the Russian deputy prime minister and foreign minister, the two sides said they agreed to activate all the signed agreements between the two countries.

The two sides however did not refer to the suspended agreement on the naval base on the Red Sea.


Sudan Declines Invitation to IGAD’s Summit in Uganda

IGAD's Gebeyehu (L) discusses with Ethiopian and Somali leaders on the sidelines of the African Union summit on February 6, 2022

February 27, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan said it would not take part in a meeting of the IGAD leaders next March to discuss political instability in Sudan because the invitation was issued by the IGAD Executive Secretary.

Ali al-Sadiq, Sudanese Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs met with Osman Belail IGAD Representative to Sudan, on Sunday.

In a statement about the meeting, the foreign ministry underscored Sudan’s chairmanship of the IGAD bloc before saying that al-Saiq and Belail discussed the developments of the situation in the country.

The acting foreign minister informed the IGAD envoy of his government’s rejection of the invitation made by the IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu for a summit at the level of heads of state and government of the organization.

“This invitation does not concern Sudan which will not participate in this meeting,” said the minister. He further stressed that the IGAD summit should not be held without an invitation from Sudan.

Before visiting Sudan by the end of January, Gebeyehu was in Kampala to request President Yoweri Museveni to host a meeting in March to discuss “instability in Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia”.

The sub-regional east African bloc is working closely on issues of peace and conflict resolution with the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). The latter suspended Sudan’s membership in the regional organisation after the coup d’état of October 2022.

The PSC is the only African Union body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on the member states.

The Sudanese military leaders seem angered by the IGAD de facto suspension of Sudan’s chairmanship of the bloc after the coup.

The Sudanese official informed the IGAD envoy that his government has been undertaking contacts to convene an emergency meeting for the IGAD leaders in the near future.

In a meeting held on the margins of the African Union summit on February 6, the IGAD leaders agreed to hold a meeting of Heads of State and Government on Sudan after discussing a report made by the IGAD Executive Secretary about his visit to Sudan.


Sudanese Rally in Support of Youth-led Anti-coup Protests

Mothers and fathers demonstrate in support of anti-coup protests organised by youth groups o 26 Feb 2022 (ST)

February 26, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – Thousands of Sudanese including political leaders took to the streets on Saturday to support anti-coup protests spearheaded by the Resistance Committees and to express solidarity with the victims of the violent repression.

The protesters including the elderly and families of the martyrs of the revolution gathered in Al-Steen Street in a rally organised under the slogan “We are all with you” to voice their rejection of the military coup and support regular anti-coup protests organised by the youth groups across the country.

The demonstrators raised Sudanese flags and pictures of the victims of the popular protests since the outbreak of the revolution that toppled former President Omer al-Bashir and pictures of political detainees.

The crowd chanted slogans such as “Power for the people and the military to their barracks”, “the people are stronger and setback is impossible.” Also, they chanted slogans calling for justice for the martyrs and the release of detainees.

Several political leaders took part in the rally including leaders of the Forces for Freedom and Change  Babikir Faisal, Omer al-Diguair Abdel Qayoum al-Sharif. Were also present Aicha Musa former member of the Sovereign Council, Sarah Nugdalla of the National Umma Party,  Neimat Malik of the Communist Party, the leader in the Republican Party, Asmaa Mahmoud Mohamed Taha and the Political Secretary of the Sudanese Communist Party Mohamed Mukhtar al-Khatib.

The Sudanese security forces did disperse the protest.

Similar demonstrations under the slogan “We are all with you” took place in other states including Madani in Gezira state, Atbara in River Nile state, and El Obeid in North Kordofan.

The solidarity rally took place 24 hours before the signing of a political declaration by the Resistance Committees reflecting their political vision for a democratic national state in Sudan.

83 people were killed and hundreds were wounded as a result of the excessive use of violence against protesters by the security forces.


Sudan Denies Reports About Military Leadership Change

Abdel Fatah al-Burhan flanked with his deputy Mohamed Daglo Hemetti inpspect the army units.

February 25, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese military spokesman on Friday denied purported change at the army’s leadership, describing such reports as “rumours”.

Nabil Abdallah Sudan Armed Forces Spokesman said in a radio interview that the purpose of this rumour is to undermine confidence between the people and their armed forces.

He called for not paying attention to these reports because they come from “parties that do not care about the homeland or the citizen”.

Alaraby Aljadid, a UK based news outlet, reported on February 24 that al-Burhan has informed Egyptian officials about his fears from recent moves by his Deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo “Hemetti”, including his recent visit to the UAE.

The report further said that Hemetti’s recent foreign visits take place while “suspicious internal movements” are taking place involving the Rapid Support Forces and other armed groups that have strong ties with the Deputy Head of the Sovereign Council.

“Al-Burhan suspected that Hemetti is preparing a coup, with internal and external parties, to replace him by another figure from within the military institution,” stressed the report.

The SRF leader is seen as the UAE ally in Khartoum. Also, his companies are based in the Gulf country.

The coup against the civilian transitional government and the killing of demonstrators have made al-Burhan unpopular in the country.

However, the leader of the notorious militia is also unwanted in Sudan due to the role of his notorious militiamen in the war crimes against civilians during the counterinsurgency campaigns in Darfur waged by the former regime, and bloody crackdown of the pro-democracy protesters.


Masked Gunmen Raid Opposition HQ of Guinea-Bissau


Feb 27, 2022 06:29 PM   

A Cameroonian fan waves his national flag before the Africa Cup of Nations match between Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau in Ismailia, Egypt on Tuesday. Photo: VCG

Masked gunmen raided the headquarters of Guinea-Bissau's former ruling party on Saturday, two party members said, weeks after a failed coup attempt in the West African country.

The African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which led Guinea-Bissau to independence from Portugal in 1974, still contests the 2019 election of President Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

Sabado de Pina, a PAIGC member, said masked gunmen arrived at party headquarters in the capital Bissau on Saturday and "sowed panic by beating the security guards."

"Then they damaged the main door before breaking into our headquarters where they systematically searched," she told AFP.

De Pina suggested that the gunmen were members of the security services. Fatima Martins, another party member, gave a similar account.

However, the identity of the assailants is unclear. AFP was unable to reach the defense ministry for comment.

The raid comes after a failed coup attempt on February 1 in Guinea-Bissau, a notoriously unstable nation of around 2 million people.

That day, heavily armed men attacked government buildings in Bissau while the president was chairing a cabinet meeting. Eleven people were killed in the attack.

Embalo later said he had escaped the five-hour gun battle and described the attack as a plot to wipe out the government.

He has named a former head of the navy, as well as two other men, as being behind the coup attempt.

On Tuesday, ex-prime minister and PAIGC leader Domingos Simoes Pereira was also banned from leaving the country in connection with an investigation into an alleged 2021 putsch attempt.

Kenya's Ruling Party Joins Hands with Opposition


Feb 27, 2022 06:18 PM

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (2nd,R) speaks during the ninth summit of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) heads of state and government in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Dec. 10, 2019. (Xinhua/Chu Xinyan)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday said his party had joined an opposition coalition ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in August in a bid to clean up politics of "crooks."

The announcement came after Kenyatta's anointed successor William Ruto, who wants to contest the presidential election, was sacked from the ruling Jubilee party.

"I heard one person saying that there is nowhere in the world where a government unites with and supports the opposition," Kenyatta said, announcing that Jubilee was joining the Azimio la Umoja (Quest for Unity) coalition headed by veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga. 

"Kenya will be the example. We are mature enough to distinguish between politics and the needs of the people."

The East African powerhouse has traditionally been ruled by presidents from the dominant Kikuyu tribe like Kenyatta or the Kalenjin tribe like Ruto.

2022's contest is shaping up to be a two-horse race between Ruto and Raila, a mainstay of Kenyan politics from the Luo community. 

Ruto was initially anointed by Kenyatta as his successor but found himself marginalized after arch-foes Kenyatta and Odinga announced a truce in 2018.

"We are looking to create a movement that will deliver the country," Kenyatta said.

The Azimio la Umoja coalition is expected to pick its preferred presidential candidate in two weeks. 

But many observers say Odinga's nomination is a foregone conclusion.

"We are in this to restore the soul and secure the future of our people," Odinga said on Saturday. 


China Clarifies Neutral Stance as Russia, Ukraine Poised for Talks

By Yang Sheng and Xu Yelu

Feb 27, 2022 11:58 PM   

Ukrainian soldiers stand next to a burnt Ukrainian army vehicle on the west side of the capital Kyiv on February 26, 2022. Ukraine?and?Russia?are set to hold negotiations at the?Belarusian-Ukrainian border. Photo: AFP

Although the US and some other Western countries are trying to handle the current situation in Ukraine with waves of sanctions against Russia and questioning Beijing's neutral stance, China has once again clarified its neutrality and the reason to the EU, France, Germany and the UK as to why it opposes sanctions ahead of the UN Emergency Special Session on Sunday.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had phone conversations with UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, French Diplomatic Advisor to the President Emmanuel Bonne and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock from Friday to Saturday, according to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday. 

They had in-depth exchanges of views with a focus on the situation in Ukraine, while Wang expounded China's basic position on the Ukraine issue. Wang stressed that "China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts conducive to a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis. China welcomes the earliest possible direct dialogue and negotiation between Russia and Ukraine."

Ukraine's delegation is now heading to Gomel in Belarus for negotiations with Russia, Russian media Sputnik reported on Sunday. This announcement comes just minutes after the deadline previously set by the Russian delegation for the negotiations with Ukraine expired. According to a member of the Russian delegation, Leonid Slutsky, Russia will demonstrate quite a "hardline" approach at the upcoming talks with Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had a phone call on Sunday in which Putin gave assurances that Moscow remains open to talks with Kiev, but informed Bennett that Ukraine's leaders have shown "inconsistency" on the matter.

Chinese military experts said Russia has been restrained in using force to attack the Ukrainian army because most Russian forces are being deployed to prevent NATO intervention, but Russia does not want the conflict to last long, so it might change strategy depending on how the situation develops.

Putin ordered the military to put the nation's nuclear deterrence forces on high alert Sunday following "aggressive statements" from NATO, Sputnik reported.

The US doesn't want to see the conflict end quickly as it wants Russia to be mired in trouble as long as possible, so the talks won't be easy, and what happens in the battlefield will decide the result of the negotiations, experts said.

When the conflict broke out, most Western countries were shocked, and only showed support by "praying for Ukraine" and announced sanctions, but did not dare to provide weapons to Ukraine or send reinforcements. 

The situation has somehow changed over the weekend, as Ukrainian forces were not as weak as the West previously thought, and the conflict is likely to continue. Some Western countries have started supplying arms to Ukraine, because they have seen the possibility of further escalating and extending the conflict to leave Russia mired in the mud of Ukraine, said analysts.

This is actually bad for negotiations, as the longer the conflict continues, the more casualties there will be, and the West wants to maximize the losses for both Russia and Ukraine rather than minimize the damage, said Chinese experts. China's stance of neutrality is important because if there is one country that can one day effectively mediate the conflict, that country should be one with real neutrality and which respects Ukraine's sovereignty and also did not follow the West in sanctioning Russia and harming the livelihood of Russian people.

What's real neutrality?

Western voices should not be allowed to dominate the voice of the international community over the Ukraine situation, as Western powers, especially the US and NATO, have actually been the key forces in instigating the crisis and contradiction between Russia and Ukraine. In other words, the West is now deliberately taking sides, said analysts.  

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang said, "China maintains that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected and protected and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be earnestly observed. This position of China is consistent and clear-cut, and applies equally to the Ukraine issue."  

But he also said, "The legitimate security concerns of all countries should be respected. Given NATO's five consecutive rounds of eastward expansion, Russia's legitimate security demands ought to be taken seriously and properly addressed."

Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday that the US and NATO are actually part of the cause of this conflict in Ukraine, so if the world lets them dominate public opinion across the international community, it would be unfair and the problem will not be solved.

Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that Russia won't be intimidated by sanctions, and if sanctions were effective, then the conflict would have been prevented long ago.

The reason why China believes Russia does have "legitimate security concerns" is that "we have seen how NATO acted to pressure Russia and destroyed the former Yugoslavia in the past. If there hadn't been these concrete security pressures and NATO military deployments around Russian territory, Moscow would not have needed to carry out such risky military operations to respond to NATO's threat," Yang said.

Wang said to senior European diplomats that "Actions taken by the UN Security Council should help ease the situation and facilitate a diplomatic resolution rather than fuelling tensions and causing further escalation. In view of this, China has always disapproved of willfully invoking UN Charter Chapter VII, which authorizes the use of force and sanctions in UNSC resolutions."

Sanctioning or condemning Russia, just as the West has done, is actually much easier than staying neutral and responsible in order to contribute to conflict mediation while being questioned and pressured by the West, said a Beijing-based expert on international relations. He added that "China is a responsible major power with independent diplomacy and clear stance based on objective and fair judgment of the situation, rather than a country with no independent thought that just blindly follows the West on every issue."

The 2022 Winter Paralympics will be held in Beijing from March 4 to 13, and China could use it as a chance to play a bigger role for peace mediation and make the Olympics a platform to realize peace, said some Chinese experts. 

Sustainable security mechanism

"The Ukraine issue has evolved in a complex historical context. Ukraine should function as a bridge between the East and the West, not as a frontier in big power confrontation. China also supports the EU and Russia in entering into an equal-footed dialogue on European security issues and implementing the philosophy of indivisible security, so as to eventually form a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism," the Chinese foreign minister said.

Cui said that for Europe to establish a balanced, effective and sustainable security mechanism, the security concerns of all parties should be resolved in an equal way. "This is the precondition."

Europe needs to stop engaging in a collective security mechanism that excludes Russia, and even targets Russia. "If NATO cannot accept Russia, then obviously one of NATO's purposes is to target Russia, and then the problem of European security will never be solved," Cui said.

Europe should also try to avoid interference from external powers, especially the US, said the experts. Key EU members such as France and Germany always have divergences with the US not only on issues related to Russia, but also on the Iran nuclear deal, ties with China and Middle East affairs. Unfortunately, however, the US and US-led NATO dominate security issues in Europe, making it hard for the continent to reach mutual trust and respect with Russia in the past, which has caused today's tragedy, they noted. 

"If the Ukraine crisis is mainly handled by Europe, rather than by the US and NATO, maybe peaceful negotiation would already have been realized long before Russia lost patience and launched military operations. At least, it wouldn't be as bad as it is now," Cui said.

But unfortunately, the US and the US-led NATO are unlikely to let this happen, as they need Russia to play the enemy to keep trans-Atlantic ties solid, and unfortunately, the current conflict in Ukraine has boosted this trend, so it will be hard for Europe to completely act independently to build a new security mechanism with Russia in the future, Yang said.  

Global Times’ Online Petition Demands US Return Money to Afghans

By GT staff reporters

Feb 27, 2022 11:50 PM

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Link to petition here: GLOBAL TIMES invites you to sign the joint letter (

After the US released a plan to unfreeze money from Afghanistan's central bank but use it for the US' needs, the international community was outraged. 

In response, the Global Times launched an online petition on Wednesday demanding that the US return the life-saving money to Afghans unconditionally.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order unfreezing $7 billion in Afghan funds held in the US to distribute the money as the US sees fit. Half of the assets will be used to compensate victims of the September 11 attacks while the other half will be used to set up a trust fund "for the benefit of the Afghan people." The move has not only triggered strong indignation in Afghanistan, but also caused an uproar in the international community.

Some Western media even called such move as "adding insult to injury."

This is a savage behavior from the world's most powerful country, publicly robbing the assets of the world's most impoverished country, the Global Times' joint letter said.

The letter said that the US has no right to arbitrarily deal with other countries' overseas assets, whether by "freezing" the assets or carving them up, as such actions lack legal basis and are extremely unethical.

The right thing to do, according to Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, is for the US to hand back the money to Afghanistan after the new government is completely formed and recognized by international society. Instead, the US decided to dispose of Afghanistan people's money, which is "very American," said Li. 

Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies in Lanzhou University, told the Global Times that he believes the US should hand out the money to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan first. "Many victims of 9/11 would also feel embarrassed to take the money," said Zhu. 

Expressing their ire, a number of Afghans held protests on Monday, local media reported. 

Seven billion dollars means nothing to the US, which probably can be used to build three B-2 bombers. Yet for the people in Afghanistan, the money is urgently needed. It is live-saving. More than half of the Afghan population is facing starvation and millions of children have died from malnutrition and have no access to medical care. The country's education and social services are on the verge of collapse.

 "More than any other country, the US, as the culprit of such chaos in Afghanistan, shoulders primary responsibility to save Afghans. According to statistics, 30,000 civilians were killed during the Afghan war and approximately 11 million became refugees. Instead of offering a helping hand, the US is stealing money from Afghans. How brutal it is!"

We strongly condemn the US' robbery of Afghan assets. We hope you will join us and sign this joint letter to demand that the US unconditionally return what belongs to Afghans, and tackle the unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Afghans are suffering, and they need their money, the letter urged.

Speaking at a press conference last week, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that without the consent of the Afghan people, the US willfully disposes of assets that belong to the Afghan people, even keeping them as its own. 

This is no different from the conduct of bandits. This latest example has once again laid bare that the "rules-based order" the US claims to champion is not the kind of rules and order to defend the weak and uphold justice, but to maintain its own hegemony, Wang said.

As the culprit of the Afghan crisis, the US should not exacerbate the suffering of the Afghan people. It should unfreeze their assets, lift unilateral sanctions on Afghanistan as soon as possible, and assume its due responsibility to ease the humanitarian crisis in the country, according to Wang. 

GT Voice: China-US Trade Underlines Cooperation over Conflict

By Global Times

Feb 27, 2022 09:55 PM

China US Photo: GT

Monday is set to see the 50th anniversary of the issuance of the Shanghai Communiqué, the first joint communiqué issued by China and the US on February 28, 1972 that opened a new chapter for bilateral relations. Since that day, China-US relations have maintained overall stability despite twists and turns, which also enabled bilateral economic and trade cooperation to expand rapidly over the past 50 years.

Fifty years on, the bilateral economic and trade relationship is standing at a new crossroads and there has been much talk of the growing risk of a "decoupling" between China and the US. Against this backdrop, looking back at the development of China-US economic and trade cooperation may still have relevance in terms of understanding the current situation.

In 1972, the Shanghai Communiqué identified bilateral trade as "another area from which mutual benefit can be derived," and agreed that "economic relations based on equality and mutual benefit are in the interest of the people of the two countries." But it was not until 1979 that China and the US established diplomatic relations, with the most-favored-nation trade agreement signed between the two countries. During the decade from 1979 to 1989, China acquired dollar reserves desperately needed by its economy from its trade with the US, while the US diverted its excess dollars to a new reserve nation after the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, helping maintain the dollar's stability.

During the decade from 1990 to 2000, China and the US held a series of negotiations on a wide range of issues, such as trade relations, intellectual property rights protection, and accession to the WTO.

In December 2001, China became a member of the WTO, and started to enjoy the normal trade relations treatment in its trade with the US, a major boost to the China-US trade since then. While bilateral trade surged from $80.48 billion in 2001 to $583.7 billion in 2017, China's trade surplus with the US saw a sharp increase from $28.08 billion to $275.8 billion during the same period, which precipitated frequent trade frictions between the two countries.

The year 2018 saw the start of a trade war between China and the US. It was during a series of struggles and confrontations that the US came to realize that it is unrealistic to pursue a "decoupling" from China that is now playing an important role in the world economy.

The China-US economic relationship has developed on the basis of mutual benefit, and that cooperation is not one side begging the other. It is true that trade with the US is an important part of China's foreign trade, but the dependence of the US on China has also been on the rise, with China being a huge market for growing American goods and service exports. A large number of American companies, such as Apple, have raked in huge profits by developing in China. Also, made-in-China has kept US inflation low for decades, a fact that many have come to realize when the US is facing the challenge of rising inflation. Without made-in-China, there is no way to bring down US inflation.

As for the problems of China-US economic and trade relations, China is accelerating its opening-up pace to reduce its trade surplus with the US. However, addressing the China-US trade problems is not completely China's responsibility. If the US can relax its restrictions on technology exports to China, the trade imbalance problem may be solved properly.

If the US insists on regarding China as a strategic competitor and limiting Chinese companies' access to high-tech products, it will do as much damage to the US economy as it does to China's. And the huge cost of acting against an approach toward balanced trade  is actually unbearable for the US economy.

Fifty years ago, the most crucial component of the Shanghai Communiqué was that China and the US decided to work toward cooperation not confrontation. Fifty years on, despite the enormous challenges facing bilateral relations, the world struggling in a post-pandemic recovery still looks forward to the growth momentum created by China-US cooperation.

Western Media Hype Individual Comments to Stir up Anti-Chinese Sentiment in Ukraine

By Global Times

Feb 28, 2022 12:36 AM

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

In today's Ukraine, it is easy to stir up people's nerves against another country, if the Ukrainians are made to believe that some vulgar comments, if any, from individuals of the country represent the view of the entire country.

On China's internet domain, some people are talking about a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment emerging in Ukraine that may endanger the safety of Chinese nationals living in the country. The reason is that a handful of Chinese netizens - male ones, to be exact - said on China's social media platforms  they wanted to take home Ukrainian beauties who have lost their homes amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis. 

If one reads through China's social media, he would know that the mainstream Chinese people hold a generally friendly attitude toward Ukraine and they hope peace could be restored in the country as soon as possible. The Chinese government has adopted a reasonable and balanced approach to the Ukraine crisis, and this represents the attitude of the Chinese people as well. 

Western social media platforms such as Twitter are filled with disrespectful views toward Ukraine, and there are also insulting jokes against Ukraine women. How come that only the "anti-Chinese sentiment" was exacerbated? 

A Twitter user, who is suspected of coming from Taiwan but uses simplified Chinese characters instead of the traditional characters used on the island , maliciously tweeted unverified messages which seemed to be from the Chinese mainland that mocked Ukrainian women. Then SupChina, a US-based digital media company covering China, picked up the hook and labeled these messages as "the absolutely worst opinion one could make about the deadly situation." 

The tactic of fanning the "anti-Chinese" flame in Ukraine as well as in the West from self-claimed "independent" media outlet coordinates with the West's long-held interest in winning a war against China without firing a shot. To this end, the West and its media outlets are expanding potential areas of conflict from the purely military one to the political and social ones, mostly by manipulating public opinion. In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, the West aims to twist China's official stance and public opinion so it can impair China's interests and create a favorable opinion atmosphere for itself.

Public opinion warfare is always part of the warfare itself. Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told the Global Times that in the ongoing Ukraine crisis, the Western media have taken on the task of becoming the tool of Western countries' opinion warfare and closely coordinated the policy of Western countries to speak up for them. 

"The essence of the opinion warfare is to disturb the opponent's battlefield while safeguarding one's own," said Shen.

Some people believe the anti-Chinese sentiments of the Ukrainians are a result of a large majority of Chinese netizens' support for Russia as well as the jokes a handful of them made about Ukrainian girls. Such views miss the point. The main reason is that many Ukrainians hope China and the Chinese people would have adopted the same attitude toward the war as the US and the West did. As a result, any public opinion from China, when manipulated by Western forces, can easily ignite the nerves of the Ukrainian people.

As more and more Ukrainians realize that the US and the West can hardly be reliable partners, they would understand the position of China which promotes a political settlement for the issue rather than creating and shifting the crisis and trying to benefit from it. China believes that the Ukraine issue has a complicated history and that the legitimate security concerns of all parties should be respected.

Chinese netizens should be mindful of their comments during the Ukraine crisis, but what some said should not become an excuse by Western forces to fan anti-Chinese flame and seek geopolitical gains at the cost of safety and interests of the Chinese people abroad.

Alert! Abe's Remarks Are Unlocking Japan's Militarism: Global Times Editorial

By Global Times

Feb 28, 2022 02:11 AM

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo: IC

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday that Japan should consider a nuclear-weapons sharing agreement with the US in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine. He took some NATO member states as example, saying that NATO's nuclear sharing arrangement enables the US to keep its nuclear weapons in Europe under its custody. He claimed that "we should not put a taboo on discussions about the reality we face," in spite of Japan's participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the three principles of no producing, no possessing or not allowing nuclear arms on its territory. Despite the obscurity of his words, Abe's intention is clear: He wants to move toward the pursuit of nuclear weapons. 

Abe's remarks are not just a whim. Such intention has been stirring for quite a long time among right-wing Japanese politicians. Abe himself, for example, said in May 2002, when he was serving as deputy chief cabinet secretary, that it was "not necessarily unconstitutional" for Japan to use small tactical nuclear weapons to defend itself. In 2014, when he was the then Japanese prime minister, Japan was caught in a serious scandal over 640 kilograms of plutonium that it "failed to report. " Furthermore, Ichiro Ozawa, then leader of Japan's opposition Liberal Party, also claimed that Japan could make a large number of nuclear weapons "overnight" to curb China.

It is not only ironic, but also a huge real risk, that a group of people in the only country in the world that was bombed by atomic bombs would call for an invitation to the culprit to deploy nuclear weapons in their own territory. Japanese right-wing politicians are more fanatical about nuclear weapons than in any other country in the world, and today, they have evolved into a perverted psychology that borders on distortion. The shame of the defeated country and the desire for revenge, though always suppressed, have constantly lurked in their blood, eager to break free from the shackles. 

What's even more alarming is the fact that Japan has some manufacturing capability for nuclear weapons. Japan is a highly industrialized country with one of the world's top large-scale computer systems and the ability to simulate nuclear tests. As previously reported in Japanese media, Japan holds 47 tons of plutonium at home and abroad, which, in terms of quantity alone, could produce about 6,000 nuclear bombs. Moreover, Japan has considerable capabilities in nuclear carrier development, not only in developing the solid-fuel rockets that could be used to carry a warhead, but its F-15 and other warplanes can also carry nuclear bombs after modifications, which are all open secrets. When serving as US vice president, Joe Biden said in 2016 that "Japan has the capability to acquire nuclear weapons virtually overnight" and as a US nuclear expert once said, Japan was "little more than a screwdriver away from a nuclear weapon."

As soon as Japanese right-wing's madness is combined with its national capabilities, the consequences will be devastating. This would, to a large extent, mean a total change in the nature of Japan as a nation, a complete release of its military capabilities, and perhaps an escape of militarism from the cage that has trapped it for nearly 80 years. Then, the fear of nuclear terrorism would be emerging in East Asia. At that moment, the nuclear balance in Asia will be completely broken, and the geopolitical situation will face a major alteration. No Asia-Pacific country will be able to make itself better. 

This is a major loophole in the world's nuclear non-proliferation regime and it has not been fixed because of Washington's connivance and even complaisance. The US is aware of the right-wing movement in Japan but it sees the country as the most important lever to counterbalance China in East Asia. As a result, using Japan to contain China is gradually becoming a priority for Washington. This has allowed Japanese right-wing politicians to see an opening and make the best of it to loosen the strategic strings that have tied them up for nearly 80 years, with nuclear capability likely to be their ultimate goal. At that point, Japan's nuclear warheads could be aimed at East Asian countries like China, the US or any other country. 

Therefore, Abe's relevant statement must not be treated as "personal remarks" and let off easily. It should be something that everyone in the international community condemns and opposes whenever it comes to light. This is a major issue of right and wrong to maintain the international system and security pattern and it cannot be watered down in any way. 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Lavrov Tells Cavusoglu Moscow is Ready for Settlement of Ukraine Crisis - Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Minister briefs Turkish top diplomat on Russia’s operation in Donbass

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has briefed his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Russia’s special military operation in Donbass, the Russian Foreign Ministry said following a phone call between the two top diplomats on Saturday.

"While discussing the current situation around Ukraine and in the region on the whole, Sergey Lavrov provided his Turkish counterpart with detailed information on the special military operation that the Russian Armed Forces are conducting in Donbass together with the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics based on the decisions made by the Russian leadership," the statement reads.

"Russia highlighted its readiness to cooperate with all the constructive forces in order to find an early and sustainable solution to the Ukraine issue in the interests of peace and stability," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed, adding that the parties had also discussed bilateral relations and agreed to maintain contact.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territories and the goal was to demilitarize and denazify the country. Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later that the Russian Armed Forces were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. The ministry emphasized that the Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons and there was no threat to civilians.

Russia Capable of Taking Measures to Mitigate Damage from Sanctions - Kremlin

Dmitry Peskov stressed that Russia "has every possibility and potential to do that"

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Russia is capable of taking measures to mitigate the damage from sanctions, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday.

"Immediate measures are certainly being taken in order to mitigate the damage from sanctions and ensure the unhindered operation of all economic sectors and systems," he noted.

Peskov stressed that Russia "has every possibility and potential to do that." "It was created in advance for such situations," the Kremlin spokesman added.

"Analysis will be required to determine the retaliatory measures that would best serve our interests," he said.

Russian Troops Resume Advancing in Ukraine Due to Kiev’s Refusal to Negotiate - Kremlin

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. On Friday afternoon, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave orders to stop troop advancement in Ukraine due to expected talks with Kiev yet because the opposite side refused to negotiate, this afternoon, troop advancement was resumed, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Saturday.

"Yesterday afternoon, over the expected talks with the Ukrainian leadership, the supreme commander-in-chief and Russia’s president gave an order to suspend the advancement of the main forces of Russian troops," the Kremlin official said.

He explained that since "essentially, the Ukrainian side refused the talks, this afternoon, the advancement of the main Russian forces resumed in accordance with the plan of operation."

Putin’s press secretary specified that during the suspension of the advancement of the main forces, combat continued in some locations. "There were clashes with mobile groups of nationalists and Bandera followers who used light vehicles and trucks where they mounted strike weapons, using the principle of jihad mobiles, only there they are now called bander mobiles," the spokesman explained.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons.

Russia May Nationalize Property of US, EU Citizens in Response to Sanctions - Medvedev

He noted that Russia is being threatened with arrests of assets of Russian citizens and companies abroad - "just like that, without any sanctions," "in a carpet fashion," "out of spite"

© Yekaterina Shtukina/POOL/TASS

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev speculated that Russia may nationalize property of people registered in the US, the EU and other unfriendly jurisdictions amid new anti-Russian sanctions.

He noted that Russia is being threatened with arrests of assets of Russian citizens and companies abroad - "just like that, without any sanctions," "in a carpet fashion," "out of spite." According to the politician, "this must be responded to in a quite symmetric manner."

"With arrest of assets of foreigners and foreign companies in Russia based on country principle. And maybe, with nationalization of property of people registered in unfriendly jurisdictions. Like the EU, EU member states and a number of singing-along states of the Anglo-Saxon world that will take part in this," he said on his VK page Saturday.

"Thankfully, we have vast experience and we have a law on this issue. A harsh one," Medvedev added ironically. "So the most interesting stuff only begins…"

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.

When clarifying the developments unfolding, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.

A number of states, including Western one, announced harsh sanctions against Russia. The EU imposed financial and technological sectoral restrictions against 64 key Russian agencies, including the Presidential Administration, Russian Defense Ministry, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and other state structures, as well as companies of military industrial, energy, plane building and financial sectors of Russia. These states also blacklisted a number of Russian politicians, including President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other Russian citizens.


Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, representing the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is due to meet junta officials in the capital Bamako, including the leader Colonel Assimi Goita.

FILE: Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan. Picture: GCIS.

AFP | 

BAMAKO, Mali - An envoy from West Africa's regional bloc arrived in Mali on Thursday, an AFP journalist saw, for talks with the military junta over restoring civilian rule in the volatile country.

Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, representing the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is due to meet junta officials in the capital Bamako, including the leader Colonel Assimi Goita.

Mali, a conflict-ridden Sahel nation of 21 million, is governed by a junta that seized power in August 2020 -- and has so far resisted international pressure to swiftly restore civilian rule.

On Tuesday, Jonathan urged Mali to transition towards democracy as soon as possible, describing the country's government as an "aberration."

He made the comments a day after Mali's army-dominated legislature approved a bill allowing the junta to rule for up to five years.

Jonathan suggested on Tuesday that the timeframe was unacceptable. "We are going to negotiate further with them, and see that they must reduce it," he said.

A document from an ECOWAS technical committee, seen by AFP on Thursday, proposes that Mali stage an election within 12 or 16 months.

Mali's army ousted elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of protests fuelled by frustations over perceived government corruption and an ongoing jihadist conflict.

Much of the vast former French colony is plagued by a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in 2012 before spreading to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have died in the Sahel-wide conflict and around two million have been displaced, despite the presence of foreign troops.

France has thousands of troops deployed across the Sahel as part of its anti-jihadist Barkhane force -- the majority in Mali.

French President Emmanuel Macron this month announced a troop withdrawal from Mali after a breakdown in relations with the junta, however.


Still reeling from another cyclone earlier this month, Emnati hit Madagascar at the start of the week, packing winds of up to 140 kilometres per hour (90 miles per hour).

AFP | 

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - At least four people have died and tens of thousands been affected after Cyclone Emnati lashed the island nation of Madagascar, l officials said on Friday.

Still reeling from another cyclone earlier this month, Emnati hit Madagascar at the start of the week, packing winds of up to 140 kilometres per hour (90 miles per hour).

"There have been four deaths in Farafangana", a coastal town in the southeast, according to an initial toll by Madagascar's National Risk Management Office.

Nearly 72,200 people have been impacted by the cyclone, which also left roads and a bridge cut off.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Madagascar is prone to numerous storms and cyclones between November and April every year.

Another storm, Cyclone Batsirai, struck the island on February 5, affecting some 270,000 people and claiming 121 lives.

Tropical Storm Ana also struck in late January, killing about 100 people in Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Madagascar's southern region has also been ravaged by drought, leading to malnutrition and pockets of famine.

Algeria - France Relations 60 Years After Independence

RYAD KRAMDI/AFP or licensors

By Rédaction Africa News with AFP

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the end of the Algerian War, sociologist Samia Chabani, the president of the Association of Progressive Pied Noirs, Jacques Pradel, and the documentary filmmaker of Algerian origin, Fatima Sissani, recount the links between Marseille and Algerian history.

According to Samia Chabani, sociologist and president of the Ancrages association in Marseille;

"Out of 800,000 inhabitants in Marseille, nearly 200,000 to 300,000 are concerned, in one way or another, with Algeria and the history of the Algerian War, whether they are descendants of Algerian immigrants, or algerian born French, harkis, repatriates... So this constitutes, in the city and in the urban narrative, a considerable part of the history of Marseille. "

A public school can bear the name of a hero, but not that of an executioner many believe, Bugeaud during his time, instituted the scorched ground policies, aimed at making the local population give up any form of resistance completely.

"We are currently in front of the Bugeaud school, well, the ex-Bugeaud school, in the third district of Marseille. The name of this school, and of the eponymous street, has given rise to numerous protests to rename the school since it refers to Marshal Bugeaud, who participated in the conquest of Algeria, but who was known for his absolutely infamous practices. " further stressed Samia Chabani.

In the 60 years since Algeria won independence from France, it has gone through multiple crises with its former coloniser, often fuelled by domestic politics.

Yet the two sides had surprisingly good relations for the first four decades, and it was only in the 1990s that things started to fall apart, experts say.

"Generally, despite appearances and criticism, there has been a stable, very balanced relationship," said Luis Martinez, a Maghreb researcher at Sciences Po university in Paris.

That is despite the devastation caused by the eight-year war of independence that finally led to the signing of the Evian accords on March 18, 1962, ending the conflict.

French historians say half a million civilians and combatants died -- 400,000 of them Algerian -- while the Algerian authorities insist 1.5 million were killed.

Under French General Charles de Gaulle, whose administration signed the accords, and his successor Georges Pompidou, Paris had good relations with Algiers.

The same was true of the administration of Francois Mitterrand, even though he had been interior minister when Algeria's armed independence struggle began in 1954 and remained opposed to the country's independence.

"Mitterrand was surrounded by Socialist Party people, who were all pro-FLN," said historian Pierre Vermeren, referring to the National Liberation Front, which led the revolt and has dominated Algerian politics ever since.

"(Mitterrand) was able to take a back seat" and let others deal with Algeria, said Vermeren, a professor at the Sorbonne University.

France was allowed to continue its nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara until 1967, and de Gaulle managed to negotiate a secret deal with the new Algerian state to allow for chemical weapons tests until 1978.

But in 1992, Paris raised hackles by criticising Algiers for suspending elections, in which Islamist parties had won the first round.

Algeria withdrew its ambassador in response.

The polls' cancellation sparked another decade of devastating conflict in the North African country, until Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who rose to the presidency in 1999, offered an amnesty that paved the way for peace.

Despite being close to France, Bouteflika made use of anti-French discourse, primarily for domestic consumption, Vermeren said.

"To win back control of the ideological and political sphere after the civil war, (the Algerian leadership) 'forgot' that France had helped them fight the Islamists," he said.

"They went back to their traditional enemy."

- 'Good ties in secret' -

Under Bouteflika, Algerian leaders used ever-stronger language, accusing France of "genocide" during its more than 130-year occupation of Algeria.

Then, in 2019, a vast protest movement toppled the autocratic leader after two decades in power -- but the new regime has kept up the anti-French discourse.

Observers say however that cooperation behind closed doors has been surprisingly close.

In 2013, Algeria allowed French forces to use its airspace to reach Mali, where they were battling jihadists.

"French-Algerian relations are good when they're in secret. They're more hostile when they're in public," said Naoufel Brahimi El Mili, who has written a book on 60 years of "secret stories" between the two countries.

Visiting Algiers during his campaign in February 2017, Emmanuel Macron described colonisation as a "crime against humanity".

After his election, he made gestures aimed at healing past wounds on both sides of the Mediterranean.

But he refused to apologise for colonialism, a highly sensitive topic in France, which for decades saw Algeria as an integral part of French territory and where far-right discourse has been escalating.

Comments reported last October dampened hopes around reconciliation.

Macron accused Algeria's "political-military system" of rewriting history and fomenting "hatred towards France".

In remarks to descendants of independence fighters, reported by Le Monde, he also questioned whether Algeria had existed as a nation before the French invasion in the 1800s.

Once again, Algeria withdrew its ambassador.

ECOWAS Envoy Left Mali After Inconclusive Talks

By Rédaction Africa News with AFP

The ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) mission left Bamako on Friday 25 February after inconclusive talks with the military junta over restoring civilian rule.

During the course of the mission, mediator Goodluck Jonathan was unable to reach an agreement with the ruling junta on the duration of the new transition.

The visit came amid pressure on the ruling army, which seized power in 2020, to set a date for elections in Mali.

Last month, ECOWAS imposed sanctions on the country, including a trade embargo, over delayed elections.

Mali’s junta has so far resisted international pressure to swiftly restore civilian rule, backing away from an earlier commitment to hold a vote by the end of February 2022.

On Monday, the country’s army-dominated legislature also approved a bill allowing the junta to rule for up to five years.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Putin Tells Xi Russia Ready for High-level Talks with Kiev

"Russia is ready to negotiate with the Ukrainian side at a high level," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement

© Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

BEIJING, February 25. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping that Moscow is ready to hold high-level talks with Kiev, a statement published Friday on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry reads.

"Russia is ready to negotiate with the Ukrainian side at a high level," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons.

On Thursday morning, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, introduced martial law across the country.