Did you miss the latest events on the war in Ukraine? 20 Minutes takes stock for you every evening at 7:30 p.m. Between the strong declarations, the advances on the front and the results of the battles, here are the main points of the day.
The fact of the day
Is this a surprise? Not really seeing the autocratic drift in Russia. Vladimir Putin has announced that he is a candidate for a fifth term in the presidential election on March 17. The head of state, whom a 2020 constitutional revision authorizes to be a candidate again in 2024 and 2030, can theoretically remain in the Kremlin until 2036, the year he turns 84. “At another time I had other thoughts concerning this question. But I understand that today there is no other choice. So I am going to run for the post of President of Russia,” declared the 71-year-old, modestly of course.
And for this election to be stress-free for the Kremlin strongman, none of his detractors should be able to turn out to vote, as the authorities have been crushing the opposition for years. This repression has also accelerated with the offensive in Ukraine. Almost all major opponents, such as anti-corruption activist Alexeï Navalny, have been thrown in prison or driven into exile.
Sentence of the day
Ukraine is known to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It’s a joke ! We cannot take the decision to begin an accession negotiation process. »
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, known for his pro-Russian positions, has made no secret of his opposition to negotiations for accession to the European Union with Ukraine, in a interview with the weekly Point published Friday. In addition, he warns the French about “what this accession would mean economically for France”. “Each year, you will have to pay more than 3.5 billion additional euros to the common budget of the Union,” he added. And to emphasize the importance of Ukraine’s agriculture. “If you let this agriculture enter the European agricultural system, it will destroy it the next day,” he assures.
The number of the day
14. This is the number of Russian cruise missiles shot down during the night from Thursday to Friday by the Ukrainian air force. Several missiles, however, escaped the anti-aircraft defense, hitting infrastructure in the Dnipropetrovsk region and leaving one dead and four injured, two of whom were serious, the regional governor said on Telegram. Prime Minister Denys Chmygal said for his part that one person had been killed in the Kharkiv region and three others injured. According to the head of kyiv’s military administration, Serguii Popko, it has been 79 days since Russia last launched cruise missiles against the Ukrainian capital.
The International Olympic Committee on Friday authorized Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate under a neutral banner in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Only eleven “neutral individual athletes” have so far qualified for the competition, eight Russians and three Belarusians, the IOC said in a press release, compared to around sixty Ukrainian athletes. The question is crucial since the fear of seeing a Ukrainian delegation absent or very weakened in Paris has long worried the Olympic body, and would have made the presence of Russian athletes even more politically delicate, even without an anthem or flag.
After having banned Russians and Belarusians from world sport at the end of February 2022, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the IOC therefore reasoned in two stages to organize their return, explaining on numerous occasions that athletes should not “ pay” for the actions of their government. Last March, the Olympic organization first recommended to the international federations to reinstate the Russians and Belarusians under a neutral banner in their competitions, while postponing “to an appropriate time” its decision on the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris as well as on the 2026 Olympic Games in Milan-Cortina.
The Olympic body took the time to evaluate the progress of the competitions, judged to be generally satisfactory, and to see the position of the Ukrainian government evolve, which first required its athletes to boycott any event involving Russians before soften its position this summer.
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