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Day 381 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage - Is there a Bulgarian Connection?

, Станимир Петков (Клуб на инвалидите - Сливен)

Излъчване: Tuida News | World | преди 2 седмици | 108


Day 381 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

Zelensky announced sanctions against 120 individuals and 287 legal entities

Zelensky: We have nothing to do with the Nord Stream explosions

SPIEGEL: The yacht used to blow up Nord Stream was chartered with a forged Bulgarian passport

EU and US focus on sanctions against Russia's supporters in Ukraine

Canada bans aluminum imports from Russia

Authorities are confiscating the passports of Russian officials so that they do not travel abroad

Zelensky commissioned for Russia to be renamed Muscovyia

Zelensky announced sanctions against 120 individuals and 287 legal entities

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced sanctions against hundreds of individuals and legal entities, most of them linked to Russia. This is taking place against the background of the ongoing heavy fighting in Donbas and the restoration of the Ukrainian energy system after the massive missile attacks.

The decree of the Ukrainian president affects 120 individuals and 287 legal entities, mostly related to Russia, against whom restrictions are introduced. This means freezing assets, banning commercial operations and withdrawing capital and canceling licenses. The term of validity of the restrictions is 50 years.

Zelensky announced that after the massive Russian missile attacks, power supply has been restored to most residents in the Kharkiv region, in the city of Kharkiv many people are still without electricity, there is also a problem with communications in the city. The heat transmission network in the capital Kyiv is being restored.

The Ukrainian president also announced that he discussed with the military leadership the possibilities of strengthening the Ukrainian positions in Bakhmut, for which fierce fighting is taking place.

"The commander-in-chief and commanders reported on the situation on the front line, in general on the defense of the state. East, south and border, Bakhmut and our opportunities to strengthen there. On our responses to terrorist attacks. On defense of Kherson and the communities of Dnipropetrovsk, Chernihiv and Sumy Oblasts. On our ammunition and supply needs".

Russian forces have made multiple unsuccessful attempts to storm Bakhmut, said the Ukrainian military.

A defender of the city explained that if the Russians succeed in capturing Bakhmut, it will allow them to organize a massive offensive on a wide front using all types of troops - infantry, artillery and aviation, so every effort is being made to prevent this from happening.

"For two weeks now there has been no serious movement on the front lines despite the enemy's attempts to pin us down and surround Bakhmut. Through small local counterattacks we are pushing the Russian forces back. In this way we are preparing for a large-scale counterattack." Kyiv dismissed as ridiculous the claims that Ukraine was involved in the blowing up of the Nord Stream gas pipelines last September.

Zelensky: We have nothing to do with the Nord Stream explosions

President Volodymyr Zelensky denied that Ukraine was involved in the explosions of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines. He commented on the media information during a briefing with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Kyiv, reported Ukrainian media "НВ" reported.

"As for Nord Stream, we have nothing to do with it," emphasized Zelensky.

Earlier, the New York Times, citing American officials familiar with US intelligence, reported that a "pro-Ukrainian group" may be behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

The publication explicitly specified that there is no evidence that this formation acted at the behest or with the assistance of Kyiv.

"I think it is very dangerous that some independent media, for which I have always had great respect, take such steps. I think this is wrong. This is only for the benefit of the Russian Federation. Or there are still business groups that are interested not to impose powerful sanctions because their business suffers and these groups can be not only in Russia, unfortunately," the president said.

Zelensky also criticized some countries that help the Russian Federation circumvent sanctions to earn tens of billions of dollars while "showily" helping Ukraine.

SPIEGEL: The yacht used to blow up Nord Stream was chartered with a forged Bulgarian passport

The group, which is supposed to be involved in blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, used a forged Bulgarian passport when chartering the Andromeda yacht in Germany, Spiegel and BTA reported.

The German magazine refers to data from the investigation. In October, investigators discovered an 8-meter hole in Nord Stream. It later became clear that two of the pipelines were punctured in four places, each of which had two punctures. Only one of the Nord Stream 2 pipes is unaffected.

According to experts, this is possible only by blowing them up. Spiegel has already reported that the saboteurs chartered the 15-meter sailing yacht Andromeda to transport the explosives to the Nord Stream pipeline. It is specified that the vessel in question, which is of the "Bavaria Cruiser 50" type, was chartered through a charter company.

"For the time being, it remains unclear as of how many people did the group consist of, as not all of them gave their details (during the chartering). Apparently, at least one forged Bulgarian passport was also used," notes the German publication.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky denied the country had anything to do with the blast, after various outlets reported that a "pro-Ukraine group" had sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe.

The US and NATO described the case as "sabotage". Moscow blamed the West. Neither side presented evidence. A few months after the incident, Russia asked the UN to investigate the attacks.

EU and US focus on sanctions against Russia's supporters in Ukraine

The EU and the US intend to introduce even more restrictions against supporters of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden announced last night, quoted by DPA.

"Together, we are taking new steps to target third countries around the world to cut off support for Russia's war from every corner of the world where it is established," the two leaders said in a statement released after their talks in Washington.

Special attention will be paid to preventing the circumvention of sanctions by Russia, Von der Leyen said during a brief meeting with the media at the White House.

"We are working in sync to further limit Russia's revenues while ensuring uninterrupted energy supplies for emerging and developing countries," the statement added, without specifying specific measures.

Biden and von der Leyen also did not specifically mention China, DPA said. Both the US and the EU are considering imposing sanctions on Beijing if it is confirmed that the country supports Russia with arms supplies.

Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year. In response, the EU, the US and a number of other G20 countries, including Britain, imposed a series of sanctions against Moscow. China has so far not condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Canada bans aluminum imports from Russia

The Canadian government is banning aluminum and steel imports from Russia to reduce the Kremlin's ability to finance the war in Ukraine. The decree was signed on March 10, "Free Europe" informs.

"Ukraine can and should win this war," said Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. "We continue to do everything we can to limit the revenue that Putin needs to carry out his illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine."

The new rule prohibits the import into Canada of both finished products from the aluminum and steel industry, as well as semi-finished products. In particular, it concerns aluminum sheets, containers, rolled steel and pipes.

Canada, in coordination with Western allies, took action against Russia after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ottawa has imposed sanctions on more than 1,600 Russian individuals and companies and backed Kyiv with more than C$5 billion ($3.6 billion) in financial, military and other support for the Ukrainian government.

"Our goal is to make sure that Putin cannot pay for his war by selling aluminum and steel to Canada. We are doing all this in coordination with the US," the minister continued.

Last month, the United States announced 200 percent tariffs on Russian aluminum products. This decision took effect on Friday, March 10.

The share of Russian aluminum in world supplies is about 6%.

Authorities are confiscating the passports of Russian officials so that they do not travel abroad

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, many of the Russian officials and employees of state-owned companies have been obliged to surrender their international passports so that they cannot travel abroad. This was revealed by the investigative journalism team of radio "Freedom" and television "Настоящее время".

Officials hand over their passports "for safekeeping" - either to the FSB or to a special department at the workplace.

There are cases where civil servants have been "advised" to resign because they have not handed over their passports "for safekeeping".

Officials are often "recommended" not to travel abroad. Exceptions are allowed for countries such as Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

It turns out that formally there is no single rule or regulation to limit the travel of Russian civil servants abroad. Ministries, for example, sometimes apply an "individual approach": some employees are allowed to travel "for good reasons", others - even to go to the United Arab Emirates, but on the condition that they write a report on what they did there when they return in Russia.

Zelensky commissioned for Russia to be renamed Muscovyia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tasked Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal to "thoroughly work out" the possibility of Russia being renamed "Muscovyia" in the Ukrainian language. This was reported in Zelensky's response to the corresponding petition published on the president's website. Zelensky gave such an instruction as the petition collected the 25,000 signatures needed for its consideration.

Zelensky asked Shmyhal to examine to what extent the renaming was possible in a historical and cultural context and what international legal implications it might have. The petition also proposes that the words "Russian Federation" be replaced by "Moscow Federation", "Russia" with "Moscow".

In January 2022, the Kyiv City Council proposed that Russia be renamed "Muscovyia". The Kyiv council became the third Ukrainian local body that wanted to rename Russia. In December 2021, deputies of the Lviv Oblast Council, at a second attempt, voted a resolution calling on the Verkhovna Rada and the President to rename Russia "Muscovyia" in order to "restore historical justice". After them, the deputies of the Rivne Regional Council wanted to rename the Russian Federation, who on December 17, 2021 voted to accept the corresponding address to the president and parliament.


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