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Tuesday 15th March 2022

Europe


Russia and Ukraine held a fourth round of talks yesterday, but no new progress was announced. Talks will resume today.


Russia has said that it plans to attack Ukrainian arms factories in retaliation for Ukraine attacking the city of Donetsk. Ukraine denies attacking Donetsk.


According to the UN Human Rights Office, at least 636 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded last month, including 46 children. The office says the actual number is likely to be much higher.


The first civilians have been evacuated from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol after 10 days of failed attempts. Mariupol has been under siege by Russian forces for more than a week and cut off from the rest of Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of people are trapped without food, water or shelter. According two the city council, cars began to leave at 1 o’clock yesterday. 160 cars are reported to have left in the first two hours.


Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday. According to an Israeli official, they discussed ceasefire efforts and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.


There are fears that an American astronaut on the International Space Station may be left stranded by Russia. Mark Vande Hei is a NASA astronaut. He is due to return to earth on a Russian spacecraft on 30th March. After United States president Joe Biden imposed sanctions on Russia, the head of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, asked: “Do you want to destroy our co-operaton on the ISS?”. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, has offered to send a rocket to rescue Vande Hei if he is left stranded.


The United Kingdom’s “Homes for Ukraine” scheme launched yesterday. Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove said that around 1,500 registered on the website in the first hour.


“The scheme will allow Ukrainians with no family ties to the UK to be sponsored by individuals or organisations who can offer them a home. There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can benefit from this scheme.

“The scheme will be open to all Ukrainians nationals and residents. They will be able to live and work in the United Kingdom for up to three years. They will have full and unrestricted access to benefits, healthcare, employment and other support. Sponsors will have to provide accommodation for a minimum of 6 months, and in recognition of their generosity, the government will provide the monthly payment of £350 to sponsors for each family whom they look after.”


The European Union has agreed a fourth package of sanctions against Russia.


Rest of the world


Iran’s foreign ministry has said that the United States need to make a decision to protect Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord. Talks were delayed after Russia demanded that Russian trade with Iran would not be affected by sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.


France has lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions. Face masks are no longer needed in most public places and unvaccinated people can enter bars, restaurants and cinemas.


In Switzerland, final talks have begun on the United Nations biodiversity pact. The pact aims to reverse habitat loss for endangered species. This is the first time representatives from 164 countries have met in person for two years, due to Covid-19.


Peru’s congress has approved the start of the process of impeachment against President Pero Castillo. Castillo is accused of corruption. He will present his defence on 28th March.


And American Pete Davidson will fly to space next week, on board the New Shepard spacecraft owned by Jeff Bezos’s company Blue Origin.


That’s your world news in 7 minutes. You can find us on social media – we’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @send7podcast. I’m Juliet Martin, tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.

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