China criticized the United States on Monday over “illegal” sanctions imposed on Chinese companies involved with Russia and warned of retaliation if the sanctions are not lifted.
Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a press conference that the US actions have no basis in international law and there is no authorization from the UN Security Council. She said China’s position on Ukraine was objective and fair, and supports peace talks and a political solution.
“But the United States is fanning the flame and fueling the fighting with more weapons,” she said.
The Chinese company Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute imposed US sanctions for providing satellite images of Ukraine to the Wagner Group’s Russian mercenaries. Mao said that the United States is spreading disinformation that China will supply weapons to Russia – and is imposing sanctions on Chinese companies under this pretext.
“This is absolute hegemony, double standards and utter hypocrisy,” Mao said. “The Chinese side will continue to do what is necessary to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises. We will take resolute countermeasures in response to US sanctions.”
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A concert in Ukraine by the Slovenian avant-garde band Liebach was canceled after the group angered Ukrainians by implying that Kiev was at war for its Western masters. Ukrainians were apparently angered by Leibach’s statement describing the war as “a cynical proxy war for the geostrategic interests of world powers”.
The Ukrainian military reported that the occupation authorities installed by Moscow in the towns of Oleshki and Skadovsk in the Kherson region are preparing to “escape” to Russian-occupied Crimea, fearing a Ukrainian counterattack.
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The head of the United Nations said on Monday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had caused “the largest human rights abuses” in the world today.
“Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have caused many casualties and terrible suffering,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a speech to the UN-backed Human Rights Council in Geneva. He added that Russia had “unleashed death, destruction and displacement on a massive scale”. .
Russia has largely given up fighting in most of Ukraine, focusing instead on capturing four provinces that Moscow claims it annexed in September: Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhia. The war raged fiercely with heavy casualties on both sides but little action on the front lines. Ukraine says it will use battle tanks and other new weapons to launch its own offensive and retake all occupied territory.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Crimea is an integral part of Russia and will never be returned to Ukraine. Russia captured the peninsula in February 2014. In March 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on the reunification of Crimea with Russia.
The deputy head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Service, Vadym Skipetsky, said the planned offensive includes retaking Crimea and launching attacks on Russian territory. “The aim of our counter-offensive is to liberate all the occupied territories of Ukraine – including Crimea,” he told the German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost. We will not stop until we return to our country to the 1991 borders.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday marked the anniversary of Russia’s attack on Crimea. Zelensky vowed to take back Crimea and all Ukrainian territory that Russia has controlled since its invasion a year ago.
“9 years ago, Russian aggression began in Crimea. By returning Crimea, we will restore peace,” he said. on social media. “This is our land. Our people. Our history. We will bring back the Ukrainian flag to every corner of Ukraine.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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