US decides to seize $350 million plane from oligarch
US authorities on Monday decided to seize a $350 million Boeing plane believed to be one of the world’s most expensive private jets from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.
A federal magistrate has signed a warrant authorizing the seizure of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that authorities say was worth less than $100 million before a lavish customization. The warrant also authorized the seizure of a $60 million Gulfstream jet.
An FBI agent wrote in an affidavit that the planes are subject to seizure because they were moved between March 4 and March 15 without obtaining licenses, in violation of sanctions imposed on Russia. According to the affidavit, Abramovich controlled the Gulfstream through a series of front companies. The plane has been in Moscow since March 15.
The Boeing is believed to be in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after a March 4 return flight from Dubai to Moscow, according to the affidavit.
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►Mass burials and lack of access to clean water have led to a “critical” risk of cholera in Russian-occupied Mariupol, Deputy Health Minister Ihor Kuzin said.
►Russia’s ambassador to Rome has been summoned to the Italian Foreign Ministry after Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov derided his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio’s peace plan. The plan calls for phased ceasefires and humanitarian corridors; Lavrov also hinted that Di Maio was looking to promote himself to win votes.
►The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned American media to a meeting to warn that their accreditations and visas could be withdrawn if the United States does not reverse measures limiting Russian journalists in America.
Zelenskyy: “The fatigue is increasing” in the West
Some Western politicians and the media are pushing Ukraine to end the war with an outcome that is not good for Ukraine, but its nation will not be swayed, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday.
“I have no negotiations on any plan,” he said of the peace talks. “These negotiations are currently at zero.”
Still, Zelenskyy said he believes Ukraine should work “with all European countries, world powers” to end the conflict on positive terms. But he remained defiant as Russian troops blew up bridges and shelled apartments in Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, the last two major towns in Lugansk province still held by Ukraine. If captured, the Russian would take control of the contested area.
“The fatigue is growing, people want a result for themselves,” he said in a speech to his compatriots. “You and I need a result for us.”
Zelenskyy visits the front lines in the Donbass
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the front lines in the hotly contested Donbass on Sunday, taking a close look at his military operation, awarding medals for his heroic efforts and leading a moment of silence in honor of fallen troops .
“I want to thank you for your great work, for your service, for protecting all of us, our state,” Zelenskyy said at a rally. “I’m grateful to everyone. I want to wish you and your families good health. Take care.”
Zelenskyy’s tour included Luhansk, where Governor Serhiy Haidai said on Monday heavy fighting continued in the crucial city of Sievierodonetsk.
“Our defenders managed to mount a counter-offensive and liberate almost half of the city, but the situation has got even worse now,” Haidai said. “Our guys are defending the positions in the industrial zone on the outskirts of the city.”
Russian Foreign Minister can’t travel to Serbia after neighbors close airspace
Serbia and Russia confirmed on Monday that a planned visit by the Russian foreign minister will not take place after Serbia’s neighbors – Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro – refused to allow Sergei Lavrov’s plane to cross their airspace en route to Serbia. While formally applying for European Union membership, Serbia maintained friendly ties with Russia and refused Western sanctions against Moscow.
“The unthinkable happened,” Lavrov said. “What happened is essentially a deprivation of the right of a sovereign state to conduct foreign policy.
US general marks D-Day with strong words for Ukraine
Army General Mark Milley, marking the 78th anniversary of D-Day at the American Cemetery in France overlooking Omaha Beach, said Ukrainians are experiencing the same horrors French citizens experienced during World War II. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said large nations cannot use their superior military power to invade smaller ones without consequences.
“The fight in Ukraine is about honoring those World War II veterans,” he said. “This is about upholding the so-called global rules-based international order that was established by the dead who are buried here in this cemetery.”
UK joins US in supplying multiple launch rocket systems to Ukraine
The UK will supply Ukraine with multiple rocket launcher systems capable of hitting targets 50 miles away with “extreme precision” towards Ukraine, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has announced. Ukrainian troops will be trained to use the system in Britain. This decision was closely coordinated with the US decision to provide a variant of the system.
The move follows Ukrainian forces’ requests for longer-range precision weapons to defend against Russian heavy artillery, which has been used to devastating effect in the eastern Donbass region.
“As Russia’s tactics change, our support for Ukraine must also change,” Wallace said in a statement. “These high-performance multiple launch rocket systems will better protect our Ukrainian friends against the brutal use of long-range artillery, which (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to raze cities .”
In the battle for the crucial city of Donbass, “the Russians are constantly attacking”
A Ukrainian commander leading efforts to wrest the crucial city of Sievierodonetsk from the Russian military said fierce street battles were underway and the city was being battered. Petro Kuzyk told Radio Svoboda that his forces must constantly maneuver to avoid being crushed. Each side gains and loses territory several times a day, he said.
“The enemy to some extent outweighs cannon artillery, the amount of tanks, perhaps, personnel, and actively uses this advantage,” he said. “They are constantly attacking, bombarding, destroying houses and our fortifications.”
Graduates perform a farewell waltz in front of the school ruins
Graduate students waltzed past the ruins of their high school in Kharkiv, reviving a tradition put on hold by the war. In Ukrainian schools, the graduating class traditionally dances a waltz in front of the whole school as students hear the bell ringing for the last time, reports Pravda Ukraine.
Olena Mosolova, a geography teacher whose daughter also graduated this year, said the last waltz was an opportunity to at least somehow recreate the atmosphere of the “last bell” for students .
“We had come up with a different ‘last bell’ for our kids, but that’s what it is, and we want to throw a party for the kids,” she said.
The school was the scene of heavy fighting in February between Russian forces and the Ukrainian army. Pravda reported that at one point 30 Russian soldiers occupied the school until they were driven out by Ukrainian forces.
Russia: We’ll take more of Ukraine if the West provides long-range missiles
Russia has concentrated its military power on the eastern region of Donbass in Ukraine. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told an online news conference on Monday that Russia would drive deeper into Ukraine so that longer-range missiles supplied by the West could not reach its cities. Ukraine sought these missiles because Russia severely damaged several cities by firing long-range missiles at a distance that Ukrainian weapons cannot reach.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin has already commented on the situation that will emerge with the arrival of new armaments,” Lavrov said. “I can only add that the longer the range of armaments you provide, the further we will get from our territory.”
Ukrainian official rejects Macron
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, pushed back on Sunday against French President Emmanuel Macron’s warning against humiliating Russia despite its “historic” mistake to invade Ukraine. “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day the fighting stops, we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means,” Macron said, according to French media. “I am convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power.”
On Sunday on Twitter, Podolyak said: “As someone asks not to humiliate, the Kremlin resorts to new insidious attacks. Today’s missile strikes in Kyiv have only one goal: to kill as many people as possible.”
He then called for more weapons to fight Russia, as well as additional sanctions.
Contribute: The Associated Press