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Macron-Putin interview, Russian airspace almost closed…

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Macron speaks with Putin for 1h30

New diplomatic offensive by Emmanuel Macron who spoke for 1h30 with his Russian counterpart this Monday, February 28. During this exchange, the French President asked Vladimir Putin to stop the strikes against civilians and to secure the roads in Ukraine. According to the Élysée, the Russian president “confirmed its willingness to engage” on these points. During the interview with Putin, Macron also asked “respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of civilian populations as well as the delivery of aid, in accordance with the resolution brought by France to the UN Security Council”. The Russian president, for his part, urged Macron to recognize Crimea – illegally annexed in 2014 -, recalled his wish for a “denazification” of the Ukrainian government and the establishment of a “neutral status” from Kyiv.

Civilians killed in Kharkiv

While, this Monday morning, the UN reported 102 civilians killed, including 7 children, since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russian bombardments in the residential areas of Kharkiv have again claimed the lives of civilians since then. At least eleven people were killed by explosions in residential areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city on the border with Russia, the regional governor said, saying he feared additional victims.

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“The Russian enemy is bombing residential areas”regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov wrote on social media. “Because of these bombings, which are still ongoing, we cannot call on the rescue services”he added.

Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov cancels his visit to the UN

The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, canceled his visit planned for Tuesday to the UN in Geneva, because of “anti-Russian sanctions”announced on Twitter the Russian Permanent Representation in Geneva. “Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit to Geneva to participate in the Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament has been cancelled”says the tweet, invoking the overflight ban imposed by the European Union.

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Sergei Lavrov was to speak before the Human Rights Council, whose 49th session is very largely placed under the sign of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Russian airspace almost closed

One more step towards isolation. Russia just announced on Monday that it is restricting the flights of 36 airlines in response to the closure of the airspace of many states to Russian planes. “In response to European states banning flights of civil aircraft operated by Russian air carriers and/or registered in Russia, a restriction of flights by air carriers from 36 states has been introduced” Russian air transport agency Rosaviatsia said in a statement. Among the States concerned are all the countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada. According to the Russian air transport agency Rosaviatsia, a “special permit” must be issued by the Russian authorities to allow an exemption from this ban.

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The IOC in favor of excluding Russians from world sport

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended on Monday the banning of Russians and Belarusians from sports competitions. A symbolic but strong measure, it also withdrew “Olympic Order” to all senior Russian officials, starting with President Vladimir Putin. The IOC Executive Board “recommends to International Sports Federations and organizers of sports events not to invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and official representatives in international competitions”according to a press release on this decision of the executive committee of the sports body.

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