A roundup of local and foreign news.
UKRAINE - Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday said the Ukrainian government would send a delegation to meet with its Russian counterparts in a region on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, news agencies cite the Kiev Presidency as saying. Zelensky agreed to negotiations with Russia “without preconditions”. According to the Ukrainian army chief, Valery Zalujnyi, a missile launched on Kyiv from Belarus on Sunday was destroyed by the Ukrainian army. Meanwhile, Russia continues its attacks on Ukraine for the fourth consecutive day. The Ukrainian army says it still holds control of its positions but admits the situation around Kyiv is getting worse. Heavy fighting has also been reported in Kharkov, the second largest city, in the north of the country, and in Vasylkiv, a town 40-km away from Kyiv, where Russian bombardment hit an oil depot. In response to the statements of Western world leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military command to put nuclear-armed forces on high alert. The international community has imposed additional economic sanctions on Russia and increased military support to Ukraine. Leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Canada and the United States have decided to block the access of certain Russian banks to the SWIFT international payment system and vowed further action to come. The measure also includes restrictions on the Russian central bank's international reserves. President Zelensky hailed the setting up of an international coalition of countries that supports Ukraine in the conflict with Russia and called on the international community to suspend Russia’s veto right in the UN Security Council, saying that Moscow’s actions are close to genocide.
SUPPORT - Romania will support Ukraine with fuel, bullet-proof vests, helmets, ammunition, military equipment as well as food, water and medicines, worth a total of 3 million euros. The Bucharest Government has also offered to treat in Romanian hospitals the Ukrainians injured during confrontations with the Russian invaders. Additional measures have been taken by Bucharest to help the Ukrainian refugees who fled the war, who have been offered support, accommodation and medical assistance. Ukrainians who enter Romanian on foot are also offered. A platform that can be accessed on the Romanian Government’s website is now available to any person, volunteer or private entity willing to support Ukrainian refugees. The UN estimates that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may trigger a refugee crisis, with up to 5 million people likely to be displaced. On the other hand, a number of European states have announced they will send troops and military technique to Romania. Thus, more than 9,500 French military will be mobilized or in stand-by, of whom 500 will be deployed to Romania, the French Army has announced. Belgium will send 300 troops to Romania, as part of NATO’s efforts to consolidate its eastern flank. Also, Italy will send fighter jets and troops to Romania.
CORONAVIRUS - The number of new Covid-19 infections continues to drop in Romania. A little over 4,200 new cases were reported on Sunday, along with 59 related deaths. 7,000 people are treated in hospital. Some of the restrictions may be lifted in the country if the number of patients in ICUs drops below 900, said Health Minister Alexandru Rafila. The number of people who get vaccinated is also going down, with less than 3,100 people immunized with the first dose in 24 hours.
TRAFFIC - New provisions of the Romanian Traffic Code took effect on Sunday. The new laws provide for higher fines and are clearly defining aggressive driving. Drivers exceeding the 70 km/hour speed limit are going to have their driving license suspended for a period of 120 days and so will those infringing the rules at railway crossings. The new laws are also clearly defining the idea of aggressive driving, including the excessive use of horns or headlights, handbrake turns and other forms of road rage and aggressive driving. (EE)