Ukraine, Briefly

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  • Heavy fighting continued in Ukraine’s Donbas area as Russian troops advanced on Severodonetsk, where local leaders have accused Russia of adopting “scorched-earth” tactics, Al Jazeera noted. Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a message of solidarity against Russian aggression to an assembly of global business elites at the World Economic Forum, urging world leaders to mobilize their financial strength to further punish Russia and support Ukraine’s struggle, the New York Times added.
  • Ukrainian officials claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin survived an assassination attempt two months ago, just after he announced Moscow’s “operations” in Ukraine, Sky News wrote. Ukraine’s Chief of Defense Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov said the Russian leader was attacked by representatives from the Caucasus region, located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, although he did not provide evidence for the allegation, which could not be independently confirmed.
  • In the first war crimes trial since the invasion, a Ukrainian court sentenced a Russian tank commander to life in prison for murdering a civilian, BBC reported. The court convicted Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin for the murder of Oleksandr Shelipov, 62, on Feb. 28 in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka. The defendant admitted that he shot Shelipov but said he was operating under orders from commanders and asked for forgiveness from the victim’s widow.
  • A veteran Russian diplomat at the United Nations Office in Geneva resigned and delivered a letter to international colleagues condemning the “aggressive war unleashed” by Putin in Ukraine, according to the Associated Press. The move marks an unprecedented public admission of disgruntlement about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at a time when Russian authorities are cracking down on critics, the newswire wrote.
  • Former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, who once danced with Putin at her wedding, has resigned from the board of Russian oil giant Rosneft, just days after former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder did, Agence France-Presse noted.

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