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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Civilian death toll from Ukraine war at 406

GENEVA (AP) – The United Nations human rights office saID it has been able to confirm the deaths of 406 civilians in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

It said that another 801 injured civilians had been confirmed as of midnight on Sunday. The rights office uses strict methodology and only reports casualties it has confirmed.

It said it believes the real figures are considerably higher, “especially in government-controlled territory and especially in recent days”. Fighting has delayed its receipt of information and many reports still need to be corroborated.Ukrainian officials have presented far higher numbers.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and suggested that he hold direct talks with Ukrainian’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as it “may greatly assist the ongoing peace efforts”, his office said in a statement. This is the second time Modi has spoken to Putin after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Modi also called Zelenskyy, expressing “deep concern about the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis”. He thanked Ukrainian authorities for their help in evacuating more than 20,000 Indian citizens after Russia’s invasion and asked for the quick evacuation of Indians who remain stuck there. Hundreds of Indian students remain stranded in Sumy in northeast Ukraine. They have shared several videos asking for help.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is making clear that he stands by exempting Russian energy deliveries from an increasing raft of sanctions against Russia. Scholz said in a statement yesterday emphasising Germany’s support for tough measures against Russia that Europe has deliberately exempted energy deliveries. He added: “Europe’s supply with energy for heating, for mobility, power supply and for industry cannot at the moment be secured otherwise.” That, he said, is of “essential significance” for people’s daily lives.

The chancellor added that Germany has been working with its partners in the European Union and beyond for months to “develop alternatives to Russian energy”. But he said that that can’t be done overnight, “so it is a conscious decision on our part” to allow companies to continue their involvement with Russian energy supplies.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States (US) and its allies are having a “very active discussion” about banning the import of Russian oil and natural gas.

Poland, the country receiving the largest numbers of refugees from Russia’s war against Ukraine, yesterday approved legislation offering financial help to refugees and allowing them to stay legally in the country for 18 months. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described helping the Ukrainians as the most important challenge Poland has faced in decades, and he argued that the efforts “cannot be only spontaneous”.

Poland has accepted more than one million refugees since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, more than half of the 1.7 million to flee.

A woman covers herself with a blanket to keep warm after fleeing from the Ukraine. PHOTO: AP

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