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  1. #26
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    ^ Agreed, state seizure and all assets sold and funds banked for a Ukrainian rebuild. The UK has been at the forefront of allowing this scum to wash their money and it should be at the forefront of a solution. I am embarrassed to admit the UK's past complicity, as such our response should be reflective of this imo.

  2. #27
    Im bored AF Backspin's Avatar
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    An Associated Press poll has found that just 26 percent of Americans believe their country should be playing a major role in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

  3. #28
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Bomb strikes Turkish-owned ship in Black Sea; no injuries reported

    Turkish officials reported no injuries after a bomb struck a Turkish-owned ship in the Black Sea, The Wall Street Journal reported.


    Turkey's Directorate General of Maritime Affairs confirmed the bombing on Thursday, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.


    The latest attack highlighted concerns that Russia's invasion of Ukraine would disrupt vital shipping routes in the Black Sea, which carries most of the world's wheat and other agricultural products, according to the Journal.


    This comes as Turkey has shown support for Ukraine during the ordeal, even though Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a close relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.


    "Turkey supports Ukraine's struggle to preserve its territorial integrity," Erdoğan said in an address on Thursday, adding that he also condemns Russia's invasion of the country.


    Turkey has purchased weapons from Russia, but is also a member of NATO and has sold drones to Ukraine that were used in its conflict with Russian separatists, the Journal reported.


    This comes as Putin announced that Russia has launched a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday.


    In a televised address before the attack, Putin claimed the operation is aimed to protect eastern Ukraine from what he called a "regime."


    The Kremlin has been building its forces along the Ukrainian border for weeks, also conducting joint military operations in Belarus.


    The U.S. and its NATO allies have issued firm warnings to Russia to push back on their invasion attempt in the hope to lower tension in the region.


    According to Ukraine's ambassador to Turkey, Turkey is also debating whether to ban Russian ships from entering the Black Sea through two straits that Turkey controls, the Journal noted.

    Bomb strikes Turkish-owned ship in Black Sea; no injuries reported

  4. #29
    Chinese spy sabang's Avatar
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    Russia ‘ready to talk’ after militarily paralyzing Ukraine in hours

    As some local residents began fleeing Kiev early Thursday morning and rushing west while air raid sirens sounded in the Ukrainian capital, fears of war have grown palpably, catching global media attention and sending the world's markets tumbling, shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in the Donbas region.

    As world leaders reacted to the quickly escalating Ukraine-Russia crisis, China once again called on the relevant parties to remain restrained and prevent the situation from sliding out of control.

    The situation of the Ukraine-Russia crisis has been changing rapidly over the past 24 hours. Putin on Thursday authorized "a special military operation" in the Donbas region, and Ukraine confirmed that military targets across the country have come under attack, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

    The operation has been described by the Western media such as Reuters and CNN as a "full-scale invasion," and Reuters called it the biggest attack "by one state against another in Europe since World War II." Explosions have been heard in Ukrainian cities including Kiev and Kharkiv, some media reports said, and Russia also closed all flights to and from 12 airports in the south of Russia.

    In less than 24 hours, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law in the country and urged Ukrainians to stay home, and he also announced Ukraine had cut diplomatic ties with Russia. An aide of Zelensky also told reporters on Thursday that more than 40 Ukrainian soldiers and around 10 civilians died in the first hours of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the AFP reported.

    In numerous videos and photos shared by Chinese nationals living in Kiev with the Global Times on Thursday, a heavy traffic jam was seen in the early morning as many local residents fled the city. Some residents started to line up to buy necessities and withdraw money from banks. Chinese Embassy in Ukraine also issued a security alert to Chinese nationals in the morning, asking them to monitor how the situation is evolving, laying out specific issues they should pay attention to in preventing from getting into a dangerous situation.

    In response to the quickly evolving situation, the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine issued two security alerts to Chinese citizens and companies in the country within one day. The embassy said although their work and study had been affected, there were no "waves of panic."

    "Dark day for Europe" was how some Western media and politicians described the situation, and countries including the US, Germany, UK and Australia criticized the Russian government move. The US and its allies are poised to unveil further sweeping sanctions against Russia, with US President Joe Biden calling the military operation an "unprovoked and unjustified attack."

    However, in the eyes of Putin and most Russians, the latest move serves as a counterstrike against the Western squeezing of Russia's security room with extreme measures and a relatively large-scale showdown in wrestling with the US, a view that is also shared by the majority of Chinese.

    "Circumstances require us to take decisive and immediate action," Putin's order read. In an address to the public, the Russian president said he wanted to "demilitarize" and "de-Nazify" Ukraine, Russia Today said. Putin further said, "We have no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory."

    "Demilitarize" could be understood to be putting down arms and surrendering, which can also be understood as incapacitating the opponent and rendering them unable to form a threat in a broader sense, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday.

    "As a result, Russia will completely destroy the heavy weapons of Ukrainian troops, including warplanes, tanks and armored troops as well as defense forces, such as air defense missile forces and the navy," Song said.

    Russia announced it has destroyed Ukraine's airfields, air defenses and control systems just a few hours after it launched the military operations.

    "And as we take the measures announced by the president to ensure the security of the country and the Russian people, we will certainly always be ready for a dialogue that will return us to justice and the principles of the UN Charter," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said late on Thursday.

    Yury Tavrovsky, head of the "Russian Dream-Chinese Dream" analytics center of the Izborsk Club, told the Global Times that Russia's military operations in Ukraine are "completely legal."

    Both chambers of Russia's Duma (parliament) had earlier approved recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk as "independent states." The Upper Chamber (the Senate) later approved use of armed forces outside the national borders, Tavrovsky explained.

    The military operation was launched just one day after the US and Europe unveiled what is believed to be just the first round of sanctions against Russian individuals and institutions in response to Putin's signing of two decrees recognizing Lugansk and Donetskas independent and sovereign states.

    As global markets tumbled steeply over the Ukraine-Russia crisis, some raised questions as to why Russia took this step, how the situation will evolve and whether the US will engage in a direct war with Russia.

    Moscow's motivation

    In a phone call with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained the development of the Ukraine situation and Russia's position, saying that the US and NATO violated their commitments by expanding east, refused to implement the new Minsk Agreements, and violated UN Security Council Resolution 2202, forcing Russia to take necessary measures to safeguard its own rights and interests.

    Noting that China has always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, Wang said that China recognizes the complex and special historical context of the Ukraine issue and understands Russia's legitimate security concerns.

    China maintains that the Cold War mentality should be completely abandoned and a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism should be finally established through dialogue and negotiation, Wang said.

    "China believes there should be mutual cooperation and sustainable security, and the reasonable security concerns of all parties concerned should be respected and solved," Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said during a press conference on Thursday.

    China hopes all parties will not shut the door on peace, but continue negotiations and try to ease the situation as soon as possible, she said.

    Some Chinese observers said the US has continued its intensive containment of Russia, for example, by implementing more sanctions, finally forcing Russia to try to realize its security demands in this drastic way.

    Russian elites such as Putin and Deputy Chairman of Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev believe that the Ukraine issue has reached the point where it must be resolved.

    "I believe Russia's military operation is a reaction by Moscow to Western countries' exertion of pressure on Russia for a long time, showing that Moscow can't tolerate it anymore," Yang Jin, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

    "As to how the situation will evolve, I think we need to spend more time to observe it. First thing first, we need to focus on the attitude of the US, on whether Washington will launch a direct war against Russia," he said, noting that everything depends on how NATO and the US will react.

    If the entire military operation goes smoothly, Russia could reach its target of fully controlling Ukraine, and what worries NATO most is whether Russia will then carry out further operations again the three Baltic countries, namely Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

    The US and NATO are now observing how the situation evolves. The US and NATO have been training Ukraine troops since 2014, and it's time to see if they will confront Russian troops and for how long they will fight them. "As long as Russia does not engage in military conflicts with NATO members, there won't be direct confrontation between NATO and US [on one side] and Russia [on the other]," Li said.

    Russia ‘ready to talk’ after militarily paralyzing Ukraine in hours - Global Times

  5. #30
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    US: Credible reports staff at Chernobyl nuclear plant have been taken hostage

    The White House is expressing outrage at “credible reports” from Ukrainian officials that the staff at the shuttered Chernobyl nuclear plant have been taken hostage by Russian troops.


    Press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that “we condemn it and we request their release.”


    Psaki says the US has no assessment on the state of the plant where radioactivity is still leaking decades after the worst nuclear disaster in history. But she says hostage taking could hamper efforts to maintain the nuclear facility and is “incredibly alarming and greatly concerning.”

    Psaki spoke after Alyona Shevtsova, an adviser to the commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, wrote on Facebook that the staff at the Chernobyl plant had been “taken hostage” when Russian troops seized the facility.

    US: Credible reports staff at Chernobyl nuclear plant have been taken hostage | The Times of Israel

  6. #31
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    WATCH: Russians Take to Streets to Protest Ukraine Invasion, Hundreds Arrested in Police Crackdown

    As Russia continued its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, anti-war protesters in cities across Russia were being arrested by the hundreds by police.


    Reuters reported as of early evening that some 549 people had been arrested in 39 cities across Russia for protesting the invasion, according to the OVD-Info protest monitor.


    Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been known for detaining anti-government protesters in large numbers. CNN reported live from Moscow on Thursday as some of those arrests were happening.


    “There isn’t so much of a central protest here. These are some leaders here in this central area of Moscow,” CNN’s Nick Robertson reported live in Moscow. “While we’ve been here for the last 45 minutes another person is being dragged out of the subway there, being dragged by the police, being arrested, pressed up against the vehicle. We’ve seen dozens of people being arrested here over the last 45 minutes.”


    “The government says they’ve not authorized protests,” Robertson added. “They have warned people not to attend them. They say people can get arrested, that there will be legal repercussions, and the government even says if you GE a criminal record for criminal activity at one of these events, then that can affect you for the rest of your life.”


    CNN anchor Erin Burnett signed off with Robertson, offering words of praise for the protesters, “It is bold, it is brave what they are doing.”


    Scenes of Russian police cracking down on protests posted to social media here:

    Russia Arrests Hundreds of Anti-War Protesters

  7. #32
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    Yury Tavrovsky, head of the "Russian Dream-Chinese Dream" analytics center of the Izborsk Club, told the Global Times that Russia's military operations in Ukraine are "completely legal."
    How odd that a pro Russian organisation should make this statement, when the Putin action is clearly NOT legal in terms of the international condemnation of such actions!

    Its like saying our actions are legal, so we win, in an internet argument. Pathetic coming from the side that has built this into a war, which is not only illegal, but totally unjustified.

  8. #33
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Biden Authorizes Deployment of 7,000 U.S. Troops to Europe As Russia Continues Ukraine Attack

    President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will send a new battalion of American troops to Germany to bolster NATO in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


    Biden held a press conference at the White House on Thursday to announce new sanctions the U.S. will apply to Russia in response to their military campaign.

    “In addition to the economic penalties we’re imposing, we’re also taking steps to defend our NATO allies,” Biden said. “Our forces not, and will not, be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the east.”


    As he spoke of NATO’s unity and commitment to mutual defense, Biden said he took action earlier in the week to have American forces in Europe reinforce NATO’s eastern flank.


    “Now,” Biden continued, “I’m authorizing additional U.S. force capabilities to deploy to Germany as part of NATO’s response, including some the U.S.-based forces that the Department of Defense placed on standby weeks ago.”


    Following Biden’s remarks, multiple journalists reported that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered the deployment of 7,000 U.S. service-members.

    Joe Biden Authorizes Troop Deployment to Germany

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by pickel View Post
    Some better sanctions would be to seize all of the properties and yachts of sympathetic oligarchs and their families, cancel their residency visas, and put them in a taxi to the airport.

    That's also in process.

  10. #35
    Isle of discombobulation Joe 90's Avatar
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  11. #36
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    There's this channel by Suchomimus (recommended to me by the YT algorithm) which shows citizens' clips of what's happening in Ukraine. Here are Russian tanks in the city/ town of Sumy. It's in eastern Ukraine, near Kharkiv. Kharkiv is the 2nd largest city in Ukraine.



    Destroyed Ukrainian vehicles near Kherson.


  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    There's this channel by Suchomimus (recommended to me by the YT algorithm) which shows citizens' clips of what's happening in Ukraine. Here are Russian tanks in the city/ town of Sumy. It's in eastern Ukraine, near Kharkiv. Kharkiv is the 2nd largest city in Ukraine.



    Destroyed Ukrainian vehicles near Kherson.

    The first video shows armored personnel carriers. They are wheeled vehicles equipped with light guns. Tanks usually have tracks and big guns.
    The second vid shows what looks like light commercial vehicles and possibly tankers for fuel.
    Just sayin like.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switch View Post
    The first video shows armored personnel carriers. They are wheeled vehicles equipped with light guns. Tanks usually have tracks and big guns.
    The second vid shows what looks like light commercial vehicles and possibly tankers for fuel.
    Just sayin like.
    Yes, but if you're a person living in a peaceful city (peaceful until some hours ago) and then you see those armoured vehicles (foreign) travelling through your streets, providing a show of force, wouldn't you be scared? I know I would!

    *******

    I'm at my hometown now and have been discussing this invasion with my mom. She's been through the French & American occupations of Vietnam (south), and was there right before the fall of Saigon. My parents invested in farmland a year or 2 before the fall (because the South Vietnamese govt said that everything was OK and they were winning against the North). They had to leave it all behind and evacuate to PH with just a few hundred dollars on hand. (My mom's Viet, dad is Fil, for those who don't know).

    My mom said she hopes she doesn't see war agaij in her lifetime. She's had enough of it in her younger days. I hope China doesn't invade Taiwan (or PH) while she's still here.

  14. #39
    Thailand Expat HermantheGerman's Avatar
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    Funny how only our politicians did not see it coming

    “The Bundeswehr, the army that I am privileged to lead, is more or less bare. The options that we can offer the politicians to support the alliance are extremely limited,”
    “We all saw it coming and were not able to get through with our arguments, to draw the conclusions from the Crimean annexation and implement them. This does not feel good! I am pissed off!” Mais, a lieutenant-general, wrote.

    ‘I am pissed off!’ German army official bemoans ‘bare’ forces as Russia invades Ukraine – POLITICO

  15. #40
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    Some strong words on BBC Radio 4

    Ukrainian MP: I'm staring at my AK-47 right now

    We've heard an extraordinary interview just now on Radio 4's Today with Ukrainian MP Sviatoslav Yurash. When asked what his plan was if Ukraine's army fails to face off Russia's invasion, the MP responded that he was staring at his personal AK-47 rifle.

    "This is a full-scale invasion intending to destroy the Ukrainian state and take it over," Yurash says, adding that all Ukrainians who want to help fight will be given the chance to do so.

    "We are arming people who will be taking that fight to the Russians in every way. We are a nation of 40 million people and we are not going to just stand idly by as Russia does as it wants all across its borders. We will fight with everything we have and all the support the world can provide us."

  16. #41
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    What can be gained by taking Chernobyl? I find it frightening the Russians are traipsing around there.


    Ukraine says Chernobyl radiation levels 'exceeded,’ as Russia confirms its forces took control of the power plant

    The Ukrainian government on Friday warned that levels of radiation near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site had “exceeded” control levels, as the Russian military confirmed it had taken control of the area but insisted radiation levels remained “normal.”


    “The control levels of gamma radiation dose rate in the Exclusion zone were exceeded,” said the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, a government body, in a statement early Friday.


    Local experts “connect this with disturbance of the top layer of soil from movement of a large number of radio heavy military machinery through the Exclusion zone and increase of air pollution,” it added. However, it noted “the condition of Chernobyl nuclear facilities and other facilities is unchanged.”


    Earlier Friday the body said that although data “from the automated radiation monitoring system of the exclusion zone” indicated that the control levels of gamma radiation had risen, it was “currently impossible to establish the reasons for the change in the radiation background in the exclusion zone because of the occupation and military fight in this territory.”

    MORE MSN

  17. #42
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Russian FM Lavrov tells CNN "nobody is going to attack the people of Ukraine," despite continued strikes

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that “nobody is going to attack the people of Ukraine,” despite the continuation of strikes by Russian forces on Friday, telling CNN that there will be “no strikes on civilian infrastructure.”


    “I will stress: read what Putin said. No strikes on civilian infrastructure, no strikes on the personnel of the Ukrainian army, on their dormitories, or other places not connected to the military facilities. The statistics that we have confirm this,” Lavrov said.


    “Nobody is going to somehow degrade the Ukrainian Armed Forces. We are talking about preventing Neo-Nazis and those promoting genocide from ruling this country,” he continued.


    “The current regime in Kyiv is under two external control mechanisms. First, the West and the US. And second, neo-Nazis,” he said, repeating baseless claims that have been repeatedly rejected by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    Russia invades Ukraine: Live updates

  18. #43
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Russian Military Base Blown Up as Ukraine Fights Back

    krainian missiles appear to have hit a Russian military base in Millerovo, a Russian town 16 kilometers from the border of the two countries, according to unconfirmed social media posts.


    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday declared war on Ukraine, a move that has drawn scathing criticism from most military powers except for China.


    At least 137 Ukrainians have died, including civilians, and hundreds more have been injured as Russia continues its invasion. At least 800 Russian soldiers have also reportedly lost their lives.

    MSN

  19. #44
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    Zelensky suggests he and Putin negotiate

    The Ukrainian president has formally invited his Russian counterpart to engage in diplomatic talks over the current crisis

    Speaking on Friday, the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, extended an olive branch to Russian President Vladimir Putin, proposing negotiations, as fighting continues throughout the country and clashes get closer to the country’s capital, Kiev.

    “I want to again address the president of the Russian Federation. The fighting continues all over Ukraine. Let’s sit at the negotiation table to stop human fatalities,” Zelensky said, following a statement from his adviser, Mikhail Podolyak, who claimed Kiev “has always left and [still] leaves space for negotiations” despite a “full-scale invasion” by Russian troops.

    Earlier on Friday, Podolyak had stated that “if negotiations are possible, they must be held,” making clear that Zelensky and his government were willing to discuss the nation’s “neutrality status,” should Moscow demand it.

    Alongside the offer of talks with Russia, Zelensky took a swipe at fellow European countries, which he claimed had not shown themselves to be ready to fight with his nation or to “see Ukraine in NATO.”

    Following Zelensky’s offer, Chinese Central Television reported that, in a telephone call with China’s president, Xi Jinping, Putin had stated that his government was ready to negotiate at a high level with Ukraine. No details were immediately released as to what concessions or assurances the Russian leader might seek to secure from his Ukrainian counterpart.

    The statement comes as fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces continued overnight, after Putin ordered troops into Ukraine with the expressed aim of seeking to “demilitarize” Zelensky’s armed forces. The EU, the UK, the US, and NATO have all condemned Russia’s actions as an “unprovoked” attack, imposing sanctions on the country in retaliation.

    https://www.rt.com/russia/550607-zelensky-suggests-negotiations-to-putin/

  20. #45
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    ^^^UN "gravely concerned" about civilian casualties

    Russia launches Ukraine invasion-aa125c22-f8de-42e9-ba81-b9a207cfe8af-jpeg
    The UN is "gravely concerned" about the situation in Ukraine, and is receiving increasing reports of civilian casualties, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani said Friday.


    "Civilians are terrified of further escalation, with many attempting to flee their homes and others taking shelter where possible," Shamdasani said, adding that "the military action by the Russian Federation clearly violates international law. It puts at risk countless lives and it must be immediately halted."


    The High Commissioner, she said, has stressed that "states that fail to take all reasonable measures to settle their international disputes by peaceful means fall short of complying with their obligation to protect the right to life.”


    The UN Human Rights office said it is also "disturbed by the multiple arbitrary arrests of demonstrators in Russia who were protesting against war yesterday. We understand more than 1,800 protesters were arrested. It is unclear whether some have now been released," Shamdasani said.


    She added that detaining individuals for exercising their rights to freedom of expression or of peaceful assembly constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty and called for the protesters' immediate release.

    Russia invades Ukraine: Live updates
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Russia launches Ukraine invasion-aa125c22-f8de-42e9-ba81-b9a207cfe8af-jpeg  

  21. #46
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Operations centre set up in Lviv to coordinate evacuation of Thais from Ukraine

    The Thai embassy in Warsaw, Poland, has established an operations centre at a hotel in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, near the border with Poland, to serve as a temporary shelter for about 253 Thais who may be evacuated from their workplaces in Ukraine, according to an announcement by the embassy.


    The embassy in Warsaw said it has consulted Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it was agreed that the operations centre should be set up, adding that embassy officials have already been sent to Lviv to book rooms in one of the hotels there.


    The hotel is to be used as a temporary gathering point for Thai nationals, mostly employees of Thai massage parlours or spas in various cities in Ukraine. The Thais are then expected to be flown back to Thailand from Lviv or Warsaw.


    The embassy also said that it has been in contact with the Thais’ employers to ensure their safety and to arrange for food, travel documents and, if possible, transport, to take them out of the danger zones.


    The embassy said that the situation in Ukraine is very tense and volatile and some roads have been blocked, making travel over land by private and public transport very difficult. Car rental services in Ukraine and Poland are also reluctant to hire out their vehicles, it added.


    The embassy promised that it will do its best to find a bus to collect some of the Thais in the country and bring them to Lviv.


    Meanwhile, Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday issued a statement on the situation, saying “Thailand has been following developments in Ukraine and especially the escalation of tensions in Europe with deep concern. We support ongoing efforts to find a peaceful settlement to the situation through dialogue.”


    Operations centre set up in Lviv to coordinate evacuation of Thais from Ukraine | Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world

  22. #47
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    US intel predicted Russia’s invasion plans. Did it matter?

    WASHINGTON (AP) — For months, the White House made highly unusual releases of intelligence findings about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to attack Ukraine. Hoping to preempt an invasion, it released details of Russian troop buildups and warned repeatedly that a major assault was imminent.


    In the end, Putin attacked anyway.


    Critics of U.S. intelligence — including Russian officials who dismissed invasion allegations as fantasy — had been pointing to past failures like the false identification of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But Russia’s invasion so far has played out largely as the Biden administration said it would back i n December, with nearly 200,000 troops striking from several sides of Ukraine.

    Lawmakers from both political parties on Thursday said the accurate predictions were a credit to the often-criticized U.S. intelligence community.


    But whether the White House’s unprecedented public campaign delayed or limited Putin’s plans could be debated for years. And some say both Washington and Kyiv could have done more with the information the two governments had beforehand.

    Ukrainians are fighting a vastly more powerful Russian army all over their country, with deaths reported on both sides and explosions in several cities. There are fears Russia may try to depose Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, even as Putin claims — in the face of the U.S. intelligence — that Russia is only trying to protect residents of two separatist territories in eastern Ukraine.


    Announcing new sanctions on Thursday, President Joe Biden cited his administration’s moves to warn of what it knew of Putin’s intentions.


    “We shared declassified evidence about Russia’s plans and false pretext so that there could be no confusion or cover-up about what Putin’s doing,” he said. “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences.”


    Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted several results of the public campaign: weakening any potential move by Putin to create a “false-flag” operation to justify war, undercutting any potential coup in Kyiv that might have appeared to be led by Ukrainians, and unifying allies who quickly denounced Putin’s aggression this week and backed tough sanctions.


    “The intelligence community usually doesn’t like to share information; they want to hold it close,” Warner said in an interview. “What they’ve done is push the Russian timeline back. They’ve also, I think, allowed us to build this coalition that is virtually unprecedented.”

    Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the Biden administration’s declassifying of information was “incredibly important.”


    “This has both impacted the international community’s view of Putin and has slowed his actions,” Turner said. “The goal in releasing intelligence is to permit Ukraine to plan, and any delay in Putin’s actions helped Ukraine in the planning to defend itself.”


    But Turner said the White House should have provided more lethal weapons and air defense capability to Ukraine in advance. He also said that the White House was initially reluctant to provide some of its intelligence findings to Kyiv.


    One U.S. official familiar with the intelligence gathering, who was not authorized to comment publicly by name, said the White House shared intelligence with Ukraine about Russia even before the troop buildup began last year and accelerated its sharing throughout the crisis. The official added that the administration reduced constraints to allow findings to be shared with the Ukrainians and more broadly with allies.


    Still, Washington and Kyiv were often publicly and privately at odds about the nature of the Russian threat and what needed to be done.


    Zelenskyy for months tried to publicly downplay American warnings of an imminent major outbreak, noting that Ukraine remained locked in an eight-year war over the eastern Donbas region fighting Russian-backed separatists. Zelenskyy did not call up military reservists until Wednesday, when he also announced a 30-day state of emergency.


    “The one area that I wish we could have been more effective is convincing the Ukrainians themselves to further mobilize their troops, their reserves,” Warner said Thursday. “I’m not saying that would have stopped the Russian invasion. The Russian forces are so overwhelming. But it might have allowed a bit of a better fight.”


    A Ukrainian government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence said Kyiv was convinced about two weeks ago that Russia would invade. But the government publicly tamped down concerns about an invasion to limit damage to Ukraine’s economy and panic in the country, the official said. Any mass mobilization of Ukrainian forces could have given additional pretext to Putin, who repeatedly and falsely claimed Ukraine was planning to attack separatist-held parts of the Donbas.


    The official also noted that only on Wednesday did the U.S. sanction the company that built the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Zelenskyy and lawmakers from both parties had long pushed for the sanctions on the pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany and bypass Ukraine.


    “We wish it were a deterrence victory, not an intelligence victory,” the official said. “Unfortunately there was zero deterrence and now we have a humanitarian catastrophe.”


    US intel predicted Russia'''s invasion plans. Did it matter? | AP News

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    US Embassy in Kyiv again calls on Americans to leave immediately

    In a security alert posted overnight, the US Embassy in Kyiv again called on US citizens in Ukraine to “depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options,” and said those who remain “should exercise increased caution due to the potential for active combat, crime, and civil unrest.”


    “U.S. citizens remaining in Ukraine should carefully monitor government notices and local and international media outlets for information about changing security conditions and alerts to shelter in place,” the alert said.


    It called the security situation in Ukraine “highly volatile,” warning that “conditions may deteriorate without warning,” and noted that “on February 24, Russia’s forces attacked major Ukrainian cities, and the Ukrainian government closed its airspace to commercial flights due to Russia’s military actions.”


    “Know the location of your closest shelter or protected space. In the event of mortar and/or rocket fire, follow the instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately,” the alert said.
    There is no longer a diplomatic presence inside Ukraine. The small group of diplomats who had remained have been relocated from Lviv to Poland.

    Russia invades Ukraine: Live updates

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    Putin Ready to Send Negotiation Team for Ukraine Talks, Kremlin Says as Russian Troops Encircle Kyiv

    President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a delegation to Minsk for talks with Ukraine, the Kremlin said Friday as its military encircled Kyiv on the second day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


    The negotiations could put an end to Ukraine’s NATO ambitions after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was willing to discuss Ukraine’s “neutrality” — a demand of Putin's — in his latest attempt to appeal to the Russian leader to negotiate. The Kremlin said it took note of Zelenskiy’s offer.

    China’s foreign ministry also said that Putin told Chinese leader Xi Jinping by phone that “Russia is ready for high-level talks with Ukraine.”

    “Vladimir Putin is ready to send a Russian delegation to Minsk in response to Zelenskiy’s proposal,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.


    The delegation would comprise Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Presidential Administration officials, Interfax quoted him as saying.


    Peskov added that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close Russian ally, welcomed the opportunity to host the Russia-Ukraine talks.


    Minsk was previously the site of negotiations for an eastern Ukraine ceasefire in 2014 and 2015. Belarus is currently hosting thousands of Russian troops on its territory after joint military exercises ended on Feb. 20.


    The Kremlin spokesman reiterated Putin’s stated goal of invading Ukraine to “help” eastern Ukraine’s pro-Moscow breakaway republics “including through the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.”


    “This, in fact, is an integral component of [Ukraine’s] neutral status,” Peskov told reporters.


    Putin’s unfounded claim that Ukraine is under neo-Nazi rule is a key part of the Kremlin’s justification for the war.


    Putin recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics as independent and mounted the military campaign against Ukraine after they requested his military assistance this week.

    Putin Ready to Send Negotiation Team for Ukraine Talks, Kremlin Says as Russian Troops Encircle Kyiv - The Moscow Times

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