Wednesday 2nd March 2022

In Europe, the Russian army has continued to attack many parts of Ukraine, including rocket attacks on the cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv. Many residential buildings have been hit. Ukraine has said that 350 civilians have been killed by the Russian army. The United Nations has documented 136 civilian deaths, including children. Ukraine has said that 70 Ukrainian soldiers where killed in an artillery attack in Okhtyrka, between Kharkiv and Kyiv. In Kyiv the main television tower was hit by artillery, killing 5 people and disrupting television broadcasts. Amnesty International has said that the Russian army has used cluster bombs, which are especially likely to hurt civilians. There is now a Russian army convoy over 60 kilometres long which is heading towards Kyiv, and some analysts expect it to be the beginning of a siege - where Kyiv is cut off from the rest of Ukraine. The Russian defence ministry has told residents to leave Kyiv. In the southern city of Mariupol, the Mayor has said that the city is surrounded by Russian soldiers. In the Western cities of Lviv and Odessa, civilians are learning how to fire guns in preparation for the arrival of the Russian army.

A report in the Times newspaper says that the Wagner Group, a private Russian militia, is operating in Kyiv, attempting to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky and members of the government. The Times said that an informant had said that between 2000 and 4000 Wagner members arrived in Ukraine in January and that they would be paid bonuses for killing important Ukrainians. The Wagner group is owned by businessmen close to President Putin and has mostly been operating in Africa recently. Ukrainian forces have captured some members of Wagner.

Videos have shown captured Russian soldiers saying that they were told that they would be welcomed in Ukraine as liberators, and are struggling because of the resistance from civilians. There are also reports that Russian soldiers have said that they were given orders to target civilian buildings with rockets. Russia says that it is not targeting civilians.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians are returning to Ukraine to help to fight against the Russian army. At least hundreds of people of different nationalities have signed up for the new Ukrainian foreign legion, and are expecting to arrive in Ukraine soon. The United Kingdom Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has contradicted the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, by saying saying that Britons should not go to Ukraine to fight.

It is expected that at least 20 foreign citizens have been killed by Russian artillery. Khadija Tahir reports on an Indian man who was killed...

The Indian foreign ministry in Ukraine has confirmed that an Indian student was killed in the city of Kharkiv yesterday. According to Indian media, Naveen Shekharappa was studying medicine in Ukraine and was killed in an airstrike while standing in line for food.

Ukrainian president Zelensky spoke to the European parliament by video-link from a secret location in Kyiv. He told the EU to “prove you are with us” and he received standing applause. Zelensky also asked NATO to provide a no-fly zone in Ukraine, however NATO has said that this is not possible, as it would bring NATO into direct conflict with Russia. During a speech by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov at the United Nations, almost all foreign leaders protested by walking out. There will be more talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials today. Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president said that every day it becomes more clear that Putin will fail...

“Men, women, children are dying, once again, because a foreign leader, President Putin, decided that their country - Ukraine, has no right to exist. And we will never ever let that happen and never ever accept that. And if Putin was seeking to divide the European Union, to weaken NATO and to break the international community - he has achieved exactly the opposite... Long live Europe. And long live a free and independent Ukraine. Mez vama. Slava Ukraini (glory to Ukraine)”

Russian State Media does not call the invasion of Ukraine an “invasion” and does not use the word “war”. Russian state media is focussing on the fighting in the Donbass region, talks about ‘genocide’ against ethnic Russians, describes the Ukrainian government as ‘Neo-Nazi’, and it is not showing the scale of the war in Ukraine or the civilian resistance. Yesterday two independent media channels in Russia were banned. TV Rain and Moscow Echo Radio were both blocked after Putin’s government accused them of spreading false information about Russian military action in Ukraine.

More countries have announced humanitarian and military support for Ukraine. Canada will send anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. Australia is sending missiles to Ukraine. Turkey has banned warships from passing through Istanbul. Russia has been banned from all international football by UEFA and FIFA. Film companies Disney and Warner Brothers said that they will delay the release of films in Russian. The International Criminal Court has started an investigation into war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.

At the time of recording this podcast, 660,000 people have left Ukraine since Friday.

The Rest of the World.

In Australia there have been extreme floods on the East coast. Ten people are known to have died and tens of thousands of homes have been evacuated.

Burkina Faso’s military government has said that there won’t be elections in Burkina Faso for three years. Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, who took power in a coup in January, said that his government would lead 3 years of transition.

And the US company Airbnb has said that it will give free accommodation to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

And during the last few days this podcast has received more listeners from Russia than ever before. Thank you for joining us. Also a big thank you to Arnaldo in Spain for becoming our newest supporter. If you find this podcast valuable, please become a supporter at I’m Stephen Devincenzi. Tomorrow you will be with Juliet Martin. Have a great day.

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