…Separatist leaders would listen to plea on British men given death sentence
…Pope Francis says Ukraine war ‘perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented’
RUSSIA has barred top United Kingdom-based journalists and defence figures as part of sanctions, in response to UK measures on Russian public figures.
The BBC’s Clive Myrie, Orla Guerin and Nick Beake, who have reported from Ukraine, and Director General Tim Davie are on the list of 29 media figures.
Sky TV, Times, Guardian, Channel Four and ITV journalists are also barred.
Russia has already banned hundreds of elected British MPs. The foreign ministry in Moscow announced that work on expanding the list would continue.
“The British journalists included on the list are involved in deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information about Russia and events in Ukraine and Donbas,” Russia’s foreign ministry said. “With their biased assessments, they also contribute to fuelling Russophobia in British society.”
In her most recent piece for the BBC, Orla Guerin reported from the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk, where she said the fabric of the city was being destroyed in a deliberate scorched earth policy. Clive Myrie reported live from Kyiv as Russian troops invaded Ukraine, attempting to capture the capital in the early days of the war.
Sky News chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay, who is also on the list, was wounded in a Russian ambush while reporting outside Kyiv at the same time.
Among the other high-profile journalists on the list are John Witherow, editor of The Times, Chris Evans of the Telegraph, Katharine Viner of the Guardian and Ted Verity of the Daily Mail.
Correspondents Shaun Walker and Luke Harding of the Guardian and Paul Adams of the BBC are on the list, along with presenters Sophy Ridge, Nick Robinson and Cathy Newman, columnists Con Coughlin and Gideon Rachman and Russia academic Mark Galeotti.
Separatist leaders would listen to plea on British men given death sentence
The Kremlin said yesterday it was “sure” that pro-Russian separatist leaders in the Donbas would be willing to listen to an appeal from Britain over the fate of two Britons sentenced to death for fighting for Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a conference call that London had not contacted Moscow about the issue.
As we mentioned earlier today, British men Shaun Pinner, 48, and Aiden Aslin, 28, were captured in Mariupol during the intense fight for control of the port city in April.
A court in the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine last week sentenced the pair and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun to death, saying they were guilty of “mercenary activities”.
Their families deny the trio, who were contracted by the Ukrainian armed forces, were mercenaries.
Since then, the government has said it will do “whatever is necessary” to secure their release.
Pope Francis says Ukraine war ‘perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented’
Pope Francis has told a group of European Jesuit news editors that the war in Ukraine was “perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented,” and he cautioned against oversimplifying the conflict.
In an interview published Tuesday in the Jesuit publication “La Civilta’ Cattolica,” the pope said that in Russia’s war on Ukraine, “there are no metaphysical good guys and bad guys, in an abstract sense.”
He said that months before the war, a head of state warned him that NATO was “barking at the gates of Russia,” and that Russia would not tolerate it, which could lead to war.
The leader, who Francis did not identify, “was able to read the signs of what was taking place,” the pontiff said.
In his conversation with the Jesuits, Francis condemned the “brutality and ferocity of the Russian troops” invading Ukraine and pummelling it with artillery. He called the use of mercenaries, in particular, “monstrous.”
But the pope cautioned that focusing solely on Russia’s violence could prevent people from understanding “the whole drama unfolding behind this war, which was perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented. And note the interest in testing and selling weapons.”
Francis made similar remarks in May, when he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that he had “no way of telling whether (Russian President Vladimir Putin’s) rage has been provoked, but I suspect it was maybe facilitated by the West’s attitude.”
In a separate address Tuesday marking the World Day of the Poor, Francis struck a different tone, saying the war in Ukraine was the “direct intervention of a ‘superpower’ aimed at imposing its own will in violation of the principle of the self-determination of peoples.”
He also implicitly blamed Putin during an April speech in the Maltese capital of Valletta, when he decried “the icy winds of war” in Europe and said, “some potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, is provoking and fomenting conflicts.
Young Ukrainian activist killed in fighting
Roman Ratushnyi, a prominent activist in Ukraine, has been killed in fighting.
He was a month away from his 25th birthday.
Ukraine’s defence ministry announced his death in a tweet, saying: “Heroes do not die! Glory to Ukraine!”
Gazprom announces fewer gas flows to Germany
Russia’s Gazprom has said it wants to limit gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to up to 100 million cubic metres (mcm) per day. The pipeline can normally transport 167 million cubic metres of gas.
In a statement on Telegram, the energy giant added this was “due to the delayed return of gas compressor units from repair” by the German Siemens Group and “technical engines’ malfunctions.”
Russian gas deliveries to Europe have dropped significantly since European sanctions against Moscow for its war of aggression against Ukraine came into force.
For Germany, Nord Stream 1 is the main supply pipeline with Russian gas. The German economy ministry said security of supply “currently continues to be guaranteed”.
“We are monitoring the situation and examining the facts,” a spokeswoman for the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection said.
….As first migrant deportation flight to Rwanda set to depart
BRITAIN’S first scheduled flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda was due to depart yesterday, the government, however, warned against last-minute legal challenges.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Sky News “we are expecting to send the flight later today. “I can’t say exactly how many people will be on the flight. But the really important thing is that we establish the principle.
“There will be people on this flight and if they are not on this flight, they will be on the next flight because we are determined to break the model of the appalling people traffickers.”
Britain has struck a 120-million-pound ($148 million) deal with Rwanda to send some migrants, who had arrived illegally by crossing the Channel in small boats from Europe, to live in the landlocked African country.
The government said the policy was needed to stem the flow of migrants risking their lives in Channel crossings and smash the people-smuggling networks.
However, the plan has horrified political opponents, who said it was inhumane.
The United Nations’ refugee chief called it “catastrophic”, the entire leadership of the Church of England denounced it as an “immoral policy that shames Britain”.
The courts have thrown out last-ditch bids by human rights groups and campaigners to halt the first flight, but London’s High Court was set to hear further cases before it departs on Tuesday evening.
Amid legal challenges, only a few people are now scheduled to leave on that first plane.