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Ukraine War: Ukrainian Army: Withdrawal from town near Avdiivka

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Ukraine War: Ukrainian Army: Withdrawal from town near Avdiivka

Crimea representative complains about human rights violations on the peninsula

06.00 a.m: The Ukrainian Crimean representative Tamila Tasheva has complained about increasing human rights violations there ten years after the start of the Russian annexation of the Black Sea peninsula. “As of February 24, the occupiers have illegally imprisoned 208 people, including 125 Crimean Tatars,” the Ukrainian president’s permanent representative in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea told the German Press Agency. She also criticized the “colonization” and “total Russification” of the region.

In February 2014, after the overthrow of Moscow-loyal Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Russia began sending “green people,” soldiers without national insignia. Only later did Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin admit that they were Russian soldiers. On March 18, Putin sealed the annexation.

Today, as a Russian appendage, Crimea is cut off from the outside world and depends economically on the occupying power, said Tasheva. Above all, this made life significantly more expensive for people. “We see growing resistance to the occupation,” said Tashewa.

The human rights situation has continued to deteriorate, especially for the Muslim Crimean Tatars, who once had their own parliament. They are being persecuted politically, there are house searches, and Crimean Tatar media are closed. Tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars also fled abroad in September 2022 as part of the controversial Russian forced mobilization for war.

“Around 70,000 Crimeans have left the peninsula, while, according to various estimates, 500,000 to 800,000 Russians have settled,” she said. According to official figures, Crimea has more than two million inhabitants. Such a massive increase is not documented by Russian statistics. They show an increase of a good 100,000 inhabitants compared to the Ukrainian statistics before the annexation.

Tasheva stressed that there can only be peace if Ukraine returns Crimea and all other territories occupied by Russia. “If we make concessions to the aggressor and ignore the violations of international law, then we only increase the threat and the danger,” she said. Accordingly, she does not believe that the nuclear power will implement its nuclear threats. “Russia will not use nuclear weapons because Putin understands that then there will be no turning back. Then the whole system that he created illegally in the occupied territories will be destroyed.”

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Zelenskyj arrived in Albania for a visit

Wednesday, February 28th, 1:33 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has arrived in Albania for a visit ahead of a security conference of the Western Balkan countries. Albania’s Foreign Minister Igli Hasani called the Ukrainian leader’s arrival in Tirana on Tuesday evening “a crucial moment for promoting bilateral relations and solidarity with Ukraine in its heroic fight against Russian aggression.” It is Zelensky’s first visit to the Balkan country since the Russian invasion began two years ago.

On Wednesday, Zelensky will attend a summit of heads of state and government from the Western Balkan countries. It should also be about support for Ukraine.

Paris: possible troop presence in Ukraine without entering war

5:17 p.m.: French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné has somewhat corrected President Emmanuel Macron’s statements about a possible deployment of ground troops to Ukraine. Séjourné said on Tuesday in the French National Assembly that new means of support must be considered that respond to very precise needs. He is thinking primarily of cyber defense, the production of weapons in Ukraine and mine clearance. “Some of these actions may require a presence on Ukrainian territory without reaching the belligerent threshold,” he said.

Séjourné emphasized: “In view of the Russian attacks and the destabilization of Europe they cause, support for Ukraine must increase.” The question of ammunition deliveries is urgent. You have to act in a coordinated manner in order to produce more and deliver new capabilities.

Macron did not rule out the use of ground troops on Monday evening after a meeting of more than 20 heads of state and government to support Ukraine in the fight against Russia. “There is no consensus today about officially sending ground troops,” Macron said. “But nothing can be ruled out in the dynamic. We will do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war.” Macron’s ideas were met with clear rejection in Germany, among others.

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Scholz contradicts Macron: No Western ground troops in Ukraine

12:29 p.m.: Chancellor Olaf Scholz contradicted French President Emmanuel Macron. There should be no Western ground troops in Ukraine in the future, the German head of government said on Tuesday during a visit to Freiburg. It also applies to the future that “there are no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil that are being sent there by European states or NATO states.”

In order to support Ukraine in its defensive fight against Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron had previously suggested that his country would deploy ground troops. Nothing can be ruled out to prevent a Russian victory in Ukraine, Macron said after concluding a Ukraine aid conference in Paris on Monday evening. At the meeting of over 20 heads of state and government there was no agreement on the deployment of ground troops, but nothing could be ruled out in the future course of the war.

“There is no consensus today about officially sending ground troops,” said Macron. “But nothing can be ruled out in the dynamic. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that Russia cannot win this war.” Many people who said “never, never” today are the same people who said two years ago, “never, never tanks, never, never airplanes, never, ever longer range missiles.” Today the discussion is about becoming faster and stronger in the delivery of tanks and missiles. “So anything is possible if it is helpful to achieve our goal,” the French president said.

Putin troops occupy two more villages – explosions in Zaporizhia and Poltava

9:28 a.m.: Ukraine reported new Russian missile and drone attacks on Tuesday night. Of a total of six rockets nationwide, only a third could be intercepted, as the Ukrainian Air Force announced. Of the 13 drones, however, 11 were able to be fended off. The Kharkiv, Sumy and Dnipropetrovsk regions were affected by the attacks. Explosions were reported in Zaporizhia and Poltava. Initially nothing was known about possible victims.

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Meanwhile, Ukrainian media, citing the well-known military Telegram channel “DeepState,” reported the alleged occupation of two more villages near Avdiivka by Russian troops. The information could not initially be independently verified. The Ukrainian army had to abandon the completely destroyed city of Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk region around a week and a half ago after heavy fighting. Afterwards, calls became louder to increase the currently stalled Western military aid for the country attacked by Russia.

Russia circumvents oil embargo with ghost ships

Tuesday, February 27th, 5:46 a.m.: Despite the West’s oil embargo, Moscow manages to circumvent the bans with so-called ghost ships. This means that Russia can continue to make money from the oil trade and serve its war chest, but the ailing, uninsured tankers also pose a danger to shipping and the environment. Ghost ships are freighters that neither come from G7 nor EU countries who are not insured for transport, says a report from the private Kyiv School of Economics (KSE). In the latest attempt to crack down on the practice of ghost ships, the United States just blacklisted 14 tankers owned by the Russian state-owned shipping company Sovcomflot.

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