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Russia suspended from human rights body, Biden calls ‘significant step’; EU imposes more sanctions

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Highlights of the Russia-Ukraine War:

US President Joe Biden on Thursday welcomed the UN General Assembly’s decision to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, describing it as a significant step by the international community. This is a significant step by the international community, further demonstrating how Putin’s war has made Russia an international pariah, Biden said hours after the United Nations General Assembly suspended the Russia of the CDH with 93 votes against 24 and 58 abstentions. India abstained from voting.

Here are today’s live updates from the Russian-Ukrainian war:

Russia Revokes Amnesty Registration, Human Rights Watch

The Russian Ministry of Justice announced in a statement on Friday that it had revoked the registration of 15 foreign organizations, including those of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Ruble on the mend, Russian bank cuts interest rates

Russia’s central bank said it was lowering a key interest rate and further cuts may be on the way. The decision indicates that the bank believes that strict capital controls and other tough measures are stabilizing the Russian currency and financial system despite intense pressure from Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

The bank announced on Friday that it had lowered its key rate from 20% to 17%, effective Monday. He raised the rate by 9.5% on February 28 – four days after the invasion – to support the falling ruble exchange rate. A currency crash would worsen already high inflation for Russian buyers by skyrocketing the cost of imported goods. The rate hike shows how the central bank has managed to stabilize key aspects of the economy with tight controls, artificially supporting the ruble to allow it to rebound to levels seen before the invasion of Ukraine even as the West is piling up more sanctions.

Deutsche Telekom and others to cut wholesale roaming charges for Ukrainian peers

Deutsche Telekom and a group of other major European telecom companies have agreed to cut wholesale roaming charges for Ukrainian peers for three months to help millions of Ukrainian refugees stay in touch with their families back home.

The move by companies also including Orange, Vodafone and 20 others is the industry’s latest move, with more than a dozen already allowing free calls to Ukraine and the abolition of retail roaming charges in recent weeks.

Wholesale roaming charges are paid by telecom operators to their peers in another EU country.

The association of virtual mobile network operators MVNO Europe and the three Ukrainian mobile operators have also joined the initiative.

AIG plans to cut insurance for Russia and Ukraine: Reuters

AIG, one of the world’s largest commercial insurers, is considering reducing coverage for Russia and Ukraine, to protect itself from the risk of large claims as sanctions escalate and the war drags on, said said an insurance broker and a source familiar with the matter. AIG is considering adding exclusion clauses to policies for businesses operating in the region through a range of policies, according to the two sources who declined to be identified. Other major insurers are also seeking to exclude Russia, Ukraine and even Belarus from a range of policies, the sources said, citing some insurers and policyholders.

Ukraine announces the death of 50 people in a rocket attack on a railway evacuation center

Ukraine said up to 50 people, including five children, were killed and many others injured and lost limbs in a rocket strike on a train station crowded with civilians fleeing the threat of a major Russian offensive in the east of the country. As regional authorities struggled to hurry civilians out of harm’s way, a group of European Union leaders meanwhile traveled to Kyiv to offer President Volodymyr Zelenskyy their support and assure him that there is will be a path to EU membership for Ukraine. Zelensky called the attack on the Kramatorsk station in the eastern part of the Donetsk region a deliberate attack on civilians.

Russia expels 45 Polish embassy and consulate staff in retaliation

Russia has declared 45 Polish embassy and consulate staff “persona non grata” in retaliation for Warsaw’s expulsion of 45 Russian diplomats from Poland, Moscow’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday. Poland said in March that the 45 Russian diplomats were suspected of working for Russian intelligence.

EU adopts new sanctions against Russia, including coal import ban

The European Union on Friday formally adopted its fifth package of sanctions against Russia, including import bans on coal, timber, chemicals and other products. The measures also prevent many Russian ships and trucks from entering the EU, further crippling trade, and will ban all transactions with four Russian banks, including VTB. The ban on coal imports will be fully effective from the second week of August. No new contracts can be signed from Friday, when the sanctions must be published in the official journal of the EU. Existing contracts will have to be terminated by the second week of August, which means Russia can continue to receive payments from the EU on coal exports until then.

Britain imposes sanctions on Putin’s daughters

Britain has added two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin to its sanctions list, following similar moves by the United States and the European Union. The government said on Friday it was imposing asset freezes and travel bans on Putin’s daughters, Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova, as well as Yekaterina Vinokurova, daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Britain says it has sanctioned more than 1,200 Russian individuals and companies since invading Ukraine on Feb. 24, including 76 oligarchs and 16 banks. It says Western nations have collectively frozen 275 billion pounds ($360 billion), or 60% of Russian foreign currency reserves.

Japan decides to expel Russian diplomats – Kyodo

Japan has decided to expel some Russian diplomats, the Kyodo news agency reported on Friday, citing several people linked to the case. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will hold a press conference at 6 p.m. local time (0900 GMT) during which he is expected to announce additional Japanese sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine continues efforts to evacuate trapped civilians

Ukraine said it aimed to establish up to 10 humanitarian corridors to evacuate trapped civilians on Friday, but civilians trying to flee besieged Mariupol will have to use private vehicles.

Moscow backs investigation into Bucha murders, Russian embassy says

Russia said on Thursday it strongly supports calls to bring those responsible for the Bucha murders to justice, alleging the crime was the result of a “false flag” operation by Ukraine.

The comments from the Russian Embassy in Delhi follow strong condemnation of the killings in the Ukrainian town of Bucha by India in the UN Security Council as well as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Parliament.

Images of mass graves and the bodies of civilians in the town of Bucha have sparked global outrage and condemnation, with many countries calling for a thorough investigation into the crime.

“Bucha’s heinous attack brings to life the nightmares of Nazi crimes during World War II. It has aroused revulsion and condemnation in Russia, India and around the world,” the Russian Embassy said in a statement.

Official: EU accepts new sanctions against Russia, including on coal

European Union countries have approved new punitive sanctions against Russia, including an EU embargo on coal imports following evidence of torture and killings from war zones outside kyiv.

The ban on coal imports will be the first EU sanction aimed at Russia’s lucrative energy industry over its war in Ukraine, an official said Thursday on condition of anonymity because the official announcement had not been made. not yet been made.

The European coal embargo is estimated at 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) per year. In the meantime, the EU has already started working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports.

Russia is militarily weakened, has become a geopolitical pariah: US Def Sec Austin

More than a month after its unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is now weakened and has become a geopolitical pariah, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Thursday.

Ukraine maintains its sovereignty and its ability to protect its country, to defend itself. He maintains his government. Russia is militarily weakened. And Russia, geopolitically, is a pariah. Countries will not volunteer to align themselves with Russia, Austin told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a congressional hearing.

If India has chosen a side, it is the peace side: Amb Tirumurti on the abstention at the UNGA on the suspension of Russia from the HRC

Abstaining in the UN General Assembly in a vote to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, India said on Thursday that while it has “chosen” a side , it is on the side of “peace and it is for the immediate end of violence”. “

The 193-member United Nations General Assembly voted to adopt a draft resolution proposed by the United States to suspend Russia from the world’s top human rights organization over allegations reports of Russian soldiers killing civilians as they retreated from towns near the Ukrainian capital, kyiv.

The project received 93 votes for, 24 against and 58 abstentions.

Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is suspended from the Human Rights Council. No permanent member of the UN Security Council has ever had their membership revoked from any organ of the world body.

Russia suspended from UN Human Rights Council, India abstains in UNGA vote

Russia has been suspended from the UN Human Rights Council after the 193-member General Assembly voted on Thursday to pass a US-proposed resolution that received 93 votes in favor and 58 abstentions, including India.

The resolution entitled “Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council” was adopted with 93 votes for, 24 against and 58 abstentions. Abstentions include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Africa South, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.

“India abstained on the resolution regarding the suspension of the Russian Federation from the Human Rights Council adopted in the General Assembly today. We do so for both substantive and procedure,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador, TS Tirumurti, said. the explanation of vote after the vote.

—With agency contributions