Ukrainian President Zelensky said, he is ready to discuss Crimea and Donbass issues at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reports TASS.
Zelensky said he would be ready to discuss the issues of Crimea and the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics with Russia after the Ukrainian side receives security guarantees.
“This is a very difficult situation for everyone. For Crimea, Donbass, and for everyone. In order to find a way out, you have to take this first step, which I have mentioned: security guarantees, the end of the war,” he said in an interview with TV companies from European countries and from Ukraine.
According to Zelensky, he is ready to discuss these issues at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I am ready to raise these issues at the first meeting with the President of Russia, they are relevant, they are important for us,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people “who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.” The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
Serbia declines to join NATO
Serbia will not join NATO, because it cannot forget the children killed during the alliance’ aggression against it in 1999, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic told an election rally in Kikinda.
“I believe that Serbia must not join NATO. Serbia is a free country and a militarily neutral country. Serbia will be defending its land and its sky on its own. But let me tell you something: our duty is to forgive and our duty is not to forget. Not to forget 11-month-old Bojana Tosic, killed in Merdare, near Kursumlija, not to forget little Milica Rakic, killed in Batajnica, and not to forget little Sanja Milenkovic, killed in Varvarin. We have no right to forget this. We will get far more stronger than we were in those days, when the irresponsible, the arrogant and the presumptous were bombing us and waging a war of aggression against us and our country,” Vucic said.
NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999 lasted for 78 days. The alliance’s leadership argued that the main reason for the operation codenamed Allied Force was prevention of genocide of Kosovo’s Albanians. According to NATO’s sources its aircraft flew 38,000 sorties and carried out 10,000 bombing strikes.
The bombardments killed, according to different estimates, 3,500-4,000, and left about 10,000 others (two-thirds of them civilians) injured. The material damage totaled $100 billion. During the three months of bombardments NATO forces dropped on Serbia 15 tonnes of depleted uranium in bombs and shells. After that the country’s cancer rates surged to first place in Europe. In the first ten years following the bombardments about 30,000 developed cancer and an estimated 10,000-18,000 of them died.
Moscow terminates peace treaty talks with Tokyo
Moscow is terminating peace treaty talks with Tokyo in the light of Japan’s newly-introduced unilateral restrictions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“In the light of the outspokenly unfriendly nature of Japan’s unilateral restrictions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine the following measures are to be taken. In the current situation the Russian side has no intention of continuing peace treaty talks with Japan, for it is impossible to discuss the signing of a fundamental treaty in bilateral relations with a country that takes an outspokenly unfriendly stance and tries to cause harm to the interests of our country,” the Foreign Ministry said.
It stated that a decision had been made to terminate visa-free trips by Japanese citizens on the basis of agreements on visa-free exchanges between Russia’s South Kuril Islands and Japan of 1991 and the 1999 agreement on simple travel rules for those Japanese who would like to visit their former places of residence on the islands. Russia is quitting the dialogue with Japan on joint economic activity on the South Kuril Islands and blocks the prolongation of Japan’s status of a sectoral dialogue partner of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
“All responsibility for harm to bilateral relations and to the interests of Japan itself rests upon Tokyo, which has consciously made its choice in favor of an anti-Russian policy instead of developing mutually beneficial cooperation and neighborliness,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Japan’s sanctions against Russia
Japan earlier introduced several packages of sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine. A total of 300 product titles have been prohibited from export to Russia, including semiconductors, equipment for shipping and aviation safety, means of communication, military products, including weapons, software and oil refining equipment. Such restrictions apply to 49 companies and organizations in Russia, including Rosoboronexport, Rostech, the federal security service FSB and foreign intelligence service SVR.
Japan has frozen the assets of several banks: Otkrytie, Novikombank, Sovcombank, VTB, Rossiya Bank, Promsvyazbank and VEB.RF. Also, personal restrictions were imposed on the Russian leadership, including President Vladimir Putin and a number of Russian businessmen.