Daily: 02/03/2022

Video Game Company to Remove Russian Teams From Soccer, Hockey Games

Following a spate of real-world bans of Russian athletes from international competition over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, a popular video game company said Wednesday it would start removing Russian teams from some of its most popular products.

EA Sports, which makes popular soccer and hockey video games, said it has “initiated processes” to remove the Russian national team and Russian clubs from its products.

“In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports has initiated processes to remove the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from EA Sports FIFA products including: FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile and FIFA Online,” the company said in a statement. “We’re also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games.”

The company added that it stands “in solidarity” with the Ukrainian people and called for an end to the invasion.

According to the British newspaper The Mirror, there are three Russian club soccer teams in the FIFA 22 game, including CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow and Spartak Moscow. 

The Russian men’s national soccer team is also available for video game players to choose.

Following Russia’s invasion, many sports federations, including soccer, ice skating, tennis and others, banned or barred Russian athletes from competing using the national flag at competitions.

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Roman Abramovich Confirms He will Sell Chelsea

With the threat of financial sanctions looming, Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich confirmed Wednesday he is trying to sell the Premier League club he turned into an elite trophy-winning machine with his lavish investment.

The speed of Abramovich’s pending exit from Chelsea is striking as he was trying to instigate a plan this past weekend to relinquish some control in order to keep the club under his ownership.

But as Russia’s war on Ukraine entered a seventh day, pressure was growing on the British government to include him among the wealthy Russians to be targeted in sanctions.

“In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners,” Abramovich said in a statement.

Abramovich said he will not be asking to be repaid 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion) in loans he has granted the club during 19 years of injecting cash to elevate the team into one of the most successful in Europe. The Blues won the Club World Cup for the first time last month — in front of Abramovich in Abu Dhabi — after securing a second Champions League title last year.

“I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated,” he said. “The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.”

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ЄС розширив санкції проти Білорусі через її участь в агресії Росії проти України

Весь перелік підсанкційної продукції займає 120 сторінок

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Токмак Запорізької області оточений, але на контакт із російською армією не йде – влада

Голова Запорізької ОВА наголошує, що влада Токмака всіляко уникає зустрічі з російськими військовими і не погоджується на жодні вимоги

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Маріуполь під обстрілами: люди частково без електрики, інтернету та опалення

За даними міськради, в результаті масивних обстрілів значна частина Маріуполя залишається також і без води

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Russia Suggests Second Round of Ukraine Peace Talks as Troops Shell Cities

US President Biden says Russian leader Putin ‘Will Never Gain the Hearts and Souls of the Ukrainian People’ 

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Biden: Putin Miscalculated on Ukraine-the West is United

In his first State of the Union address, U.S. President Joe Biden touted his success in uniting much of the world against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. VOA’s Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports.

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На Луганському напрямку тривають важкі бої – штаб ООС

У штабі ООС кажуть: наразі воїни Об’єднаних сил міцно утримують свої позиції та завдають втрат агресору

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Грузія: опозиція протестувала в Тбілісі, вимагаючи відставки прем’єра й допомоги України

«Ми повинні перейти до конкретних і дієвих кроків, щоб допомогти Україні», заявила лідерка партії «Дроа»

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Навальний закликав до щоденних протестів проти вторгнення Росії в Україну

«Якщо для припинення війни ми повинні забити собою в’язниці та автозаки, ми заб’ємо собою в’язниці та автозаки»

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Російські війська змушені мобілізувати додатковий резерв – Данілов

«Тактична ініціатива поступово починає переходити до України», вважає секретар РНБО

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Управління СБУ на Львівщині заявляє про відсутність диверсійних груп у регіоні

Управління СБУ у Львівській області закликає громадян не вірити фейкам і спростовувати їх

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Biden Says Putin ‘Miscalculated’ on Ukraine

In his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, U.S. President Joe Biden touted his success in uniting much of the world against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden said Ukraine is on the front line of the global battle between democracies and autocracies, and that democracy will prevail.

With Putin ratcheting up attacks on major Ukrainian cities such as Kharkiv and Kyiv, Biden stood in the House chamber and told Americans the free world is united against Putin’s aggression.

“The free world is holding him accountable,” Biden said. “Along with 27 members of the European Union, including France, Germany, Italy, as well as countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, even Switzerland are inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine. Putin is now isolated from the world more than he has ever been.”

Biden said Putin badly miscalculated when he launched a full-scale invasion of his neighbor, meeting “a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined” instead of a world that would “roll over.”

“He thought he could divide us at home in this chamber and this nation. He thought he could divide us in Europe as well, but Putin was wrong. We are ready, we are united, and that’s what we did,” Biden said.

The U.S. leader listed some of the major actions the United States and other governments have taken in response to Russia’s invasion, including sanctions against the country’s financial system, a new U.S. Justice Department task force targeting Russian oligarchs, a ban on Russian flights within U.S. air space and direct support to Ukraine in the form of military, economic and humanitarian aid.

“In the battle between democracy and autocracies, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security,” Biden said. “This is a real test. It’s going to take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people.”

Among the topics not discussed in the address was the chaotic departure of U.S.-led NATO forces from Afghanistan last August. But in the Republican response to Biden’s speech, Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa blasted the president for what she called his failure there.

“The disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal did more than cost American lives; it betrayed our allies and emboldened our enemies,” Reynolds said.

Experts said in light of the current crisis, it makes sense that Biden devoted his foreign policy part of the speech to Ukraine, even though much there remains uncertain.

“So now it’s a moment where I think Biden thus far has proved a lot of his experience and value, but it all depends on how things play out in Ukraine,” Brian Katulis, vice president of policy at the Middle East Institute, told VOA.

Another expert told VOA the strong positive, bipartisan response Biden received on his Ukraine remarks will be noticed in Moscow.

“And foreign policy wise, that’s a very important signal,” said Michael Kimmage, professor of history at the Catholic University of America and fellow at the German Marshall Fund. “Putin will be looking for any kind of division or vulnerability in American politics. I think everybody in the room, not just Biden, but everybody in the room knew this is not the moment to send that signal.”

President Biden again made clear the United States will not send troops into Ukraine, but vowed that he and the other members of the NATO alliance will defend NATO territory.

“For that purpose, we have mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons, ship deployments to protect NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia,” Biden said. “As I have made crystal clear, the United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory that is NATO territory with the full force of our collective power. Every single inch.”

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Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 2

Full developments of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine   

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Нафтова компанія ExxonMobil припиняє інвестиції в Росію

Згідно з позицією компанії, вона «підтримує народ України, який намагається захистити свою свободу та самостійно обрати своє майбутнє як нації»

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Boeing зупинив обслуговування авіакомпаній із Росії

Раніше російські перевізники отримали від провідних світових виробників авіадвигунів, компонентів та запчастин для літаків сповіщення про припинення співпраці

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США закривають повітряний простір для російських літаків

«Я оголошую, що ми приєднуємося до наших союзників та закриваємо американський повітряний простір для всіх російських рейсів», – сказав президент США Джо Байден

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«Путін помилився» – Байден у зверненні State of the Union. Конгрес США влаштував овацію Україні

«Війна Путіна була навмисною і неспровокованою. Він відкинув зусилля в галузі дипломатії. Він думав, що Захід і НАТО не дадуть відповіді… Путін помилився», – наголосив президент США

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Apple, Ford, Other Big US Brands Join Corporations Shunning Russia 

Some of America’s best-known companies including Apple, Google, Ford, Harley-Davidson and Exxon Mobil rebuked and rejected Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, under steady pressure from investors and consumers decrying the violence. 

Late Tuesday, Apple said it had stopped sales of iPhones and other products in Russia, adding that it was making changes to its Maps app to protect civilians in Ukraine. 

Tech firms including Alphabet’s Google dropped Russian state publishers from their news, and Ford Motor, with three joint venture factories in Russia, told its Russian manufacturing partner it was suspending operations in the country. Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson suspended shipments of its bikes. 

Exxon wants out of Russia

Exxon Mobil Corp said it would discontinue operations in Russia and was taking steps to exit the Sakhalin-1 venture, following in the steps of British energy giants Shell and BP, Russia’s biggest foreign investor. 

Many corporations have been unusually clear in their condemnation of Russia. 

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence,” Apple said in a statement. 

The steady drum beat of companies taking a stance increased later in the day as rockets struck major cities in Ukraine. 

“Ford is deeply concerned about the invasion of Ukraine and the resultant threats to peace and stability. The situation has compelled us to reassess our operations in Russia,” Ford said, adding to several days of announcements by global car companies. 

“We deplore Russia’s military action that violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine and endangers its people,” said Exxon, adding it will not invest in new developments in Russia. 

Boeing suspends support program

Boeing suspended parts, maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines, a Politico reporter tweeted. The U.S. planemaker suspended major operations in Moscow and will also temporarily closed office in Kyiv, the tweet said. Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Restrictions from the West have hit the Russian economy hard, with the ruble falling as much as a third to a record low. Financial isolation is rising as shipping companies say they will not serve Russian ports. 

The U.S. government is expected to ban Russian flights from American airspace as soon as Wednesday, government and industry officials told Reuters. 

And a boom of investor interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors is making it more difficult for those companies that sit on the sidelines. 

Russian companies are in particular peril with such Western investors, since they often are not open to talks to change their behavior, said TJ Kistner, vice president at Segal Marco Advisors, a large U.S. pension consultant. 

Investors continue to leave

Western investors may respond by pulling out. 

“The only course of action for many is simply divestment,” Kistner said. 

Moscow has responded by temporarily curbing foreign investors from selling Russian assets. 

Big Tech companies also are continuing efforts to stop Russian forces from taking advantage of their products. 

Apple said it had blocked app downloads of some state-backed news services outside of Russia. 

Microsoft earlier said it would remove Russian state-owned media outlet RT’s mobile apps from its Windows App store and ban ads on Russian state-sponsored media. Google barred RT and other Russian channels from receiving money for ads on websites, apps and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook. 

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Russian Artists, Arts Groups No Longer Welcome at Many Venues

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has ignited responses from arts and cultural institutions around the world, which are canceling performances by Russian artists, many of whom are supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The Cannes Film Festival, an invitation-only event that previews top-quality films from more than 80 countries, announced that no Russian delegations will be welcome this year, following the continued conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The festival is set to begin in May. 

“Unless the war of assault ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people, it has been decided that we will not welcome official Russian delegations nor accept the presence of anyone linked to the Russian government,” festival organizers said in a statement released Tuesday. 

The festival may allow individual Russian filmmakers but has not stated whether their films will be permitted to compete. 

The European Broadcasting Union, producers of Eurovision, declared that Russia will no longer be allowed to enter acts for the popular Eurovision Song Contest. The decision came after recent recommendations by the contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, which underscored the values of the broadcasting union.   

Broadcasters from Iceland, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands had requested that Russia be barred from the contest.  

Valery Gergiev, chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and a Putin ally, was dismissed after refusing to condemn the Russian president’s actions in Ukraine.  

The internationally renowned conductor has had many of his concerts canceled and has been dropped by his management company. 

The Edinburgh International Festival, where Gergiev served as an honorary president, requested his resignation, saying, “Edinburgh is twinned with the city of Kyiv, and this action is being taken in sympathy with, and support of, its citizens.”  

Some artists oppose the global trend of cultural sanctions against Russia. 

French artist Ségolène Haehnsen Kan maintains a solo exhibition of her paintings in Moscow at the Surface Lab Art Gallery.  

“Art shouldn’t be prevented by war,” she told Artnet News. “It’s important for Ukrainian artists to know that artists in Russia support them.” 

 

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