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Ukraine war

The Ukrainian president says the ongoing conflict with Russia can only be resolved through diplomacy. In a televised speech, Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine did not start the conflict, but it has to finish it. While he suggested that Ukraine can be victorious against Russia on the battlefield, Zelensky said a breakthrough can only be reached at the negotiating table. He also repeated that Kiev’s precondition for continuing talks was that Russia should not kill Ukrainian troops who defended the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. The remarks came amid a deadlock in negotiations between the two sides. On Tuesday, Ukrainian negotiators said talks with Russia are on hold without substantial results. Moscow accuses Kiev of not wanting to continue talks to end hostilities.

Russia retaliation

Russia blacklists over 960 US citizens in an apparent response to Western sanctions. Leading Americans on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s list include President Joe Biden, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman. The individuals are banned from entry to Russia indefinitely. The ministry says the sanctions are necessary to counter the US attempts to impose a neo-colonial world order on the rest of the planet. Moscow has already blacklisted State Secretary Antony Blinken and Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin. Russia, however, says it remains open to honest dialog and that it draws a line between the American people and authorities inciting Russophobia.

Australia election

Australia’s opposition Labor party leader Anthony Albanese claims victory in national elections ending nearly a decade of conservative rule. Australia’s outgoing conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrisson has already conceded defeat. Morrison said even though vote counting is not complete, the opposition party looks likely to form a government. Early results show the Labor Party has won 72 house seats and needs 76 seats out of 151 to form a government. Albanese’s election campaign focused on climate change and spiking inflation coupled with the sluggish wage growth. Australia’s inflation has surged to its highest in over two decades, leaving many people concerned about rising living costs.

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