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Idea of Europe’s direct military involvement in Ukraine frightening — Vatican

VATICAN CITY, February 28. /TASS/. Europe’s direct military involvement in Ukraine is a “frightening scenario” because it will lead to the very escalation Europeans have been trying to avoid since the beginning of the conflict, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said. “It’s a scenario that I wouldn’t call apocalyptic, because perhaps that’s an exaggerated word at this moment, but certainly it’s fearsome,” the Vatican News portal quoted him as saying. According to the cardinal, “it would bring about the escalation that we have always tried to avoid from the beginning.” In his opinion, French President Emmanuel Macron voiced such a scenario because the conflict is still underway with “no prospect of a solution on the horizon, be it military or negotiated.” “It would be ideal to really find a way to get the two sides to start talking and dialoguing. I believe that if we talk, a solution will be found,” the cardinal concluded. Macron said on February 26 that some 20 Western countries taking part in a recent Paris meeting on further assistance for Kiev had discussed the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine. According to Macron, no consensus was reached on the issue but such a possibility cannot be ruled out in the future. Meanwhile, officials from most of the countries that took part in the meeting have stated that they have no plans to send troops to Ukraine, in particular because they oppose the idea of direct involvement in military operations against Russia.

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Bitcoin up to over $58,000 first since November 25, 2021

MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. The price of Bitcoin rose by 3.84% during the trading session on Wednesday to $58,215, exceeding $58,000 for the first time since November 25, 2021, according to Coindesk data as of 10:55 a.m. Moscow time (7:55 a.m. GMT). As of 11:04 a.m. Moscow time (8:04 a.m. GMT), the price of Bitcoin extended gains slightly to 4.29% standing at $58,618. The price of Bitcoin has increased by more than $7,000 since February 26. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency invented in 2008 by an unknown person or a group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without intermediaries.

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Potential troop deployment to Ukraine threatens EU with capital outflow — source

BRUSSELS, February 28. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement on the possibility of sending troops from European NATO member states to Ukraine may lead to an increased outflow of capital from Europe, primarily to the US, a source in financial circles of Brussels told TASS. “This is a signal about the increased risk of long-term investments in the European economy, and it will contribute to further capital outflow from Europe. First of all to the US,” the source said. “Today, geopolitical risks are closely scrutinized by investors, especially when making long-term decisions related to investments in industry. Statements about the possible direct involvement of the military of EU states in the war in Ukraine send a serious signal about the threat of escalation and spillover of hostilities beyond the borders of this country. This very possibility, voiced by the head of state, becomes a serious risk that must be taken into account,” he emphasized. US support The source recalled that the process of capital outflow from EU countries “has accelerated in the last two years.” This is mainly due to the “unfavorable economic situation in Europe,” rising energy prices, slower economic growth, lower domestic consumption, higher taxes in many countries of the community. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that the uncertainty associated with the EU’s significant involvement in the conflict in Ukraine is already having a systemic negative impact on Europe’s investment attractiveness,” he said. “In turn, the US is actively supporting the process of capital outflow from Europe, especially the relocation of industrial production, by creating favorable conditions for it. For example, the law to reduce inflation, adopted in the summer of 2022, works in this direction,” the source explained. Macron’s statement After a conference on Ukraine in Paris on February 26, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he did not rule out that land forces from Western countries could be sent to the zone of special military operation. He also said that Western counties were “determined to do everything it takes to prevent Russia” from gaining the upper hand in the conflict. Commenting on Macron’s remarks, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that if Western troops were sent to Ukraine, a direct military conflict between NATO and Russia would be inevitable. He added that the NATO members should be aware of this and “ask themselves whether this is in their interests and, above all, in the interests of the citizens of their countries.”.

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Ukrainians who ordered to down Il-76 plane being identified — Russia’s top investigator

MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee is identifying all Ukrainian commanders who gave the order to shoot down the Il-76 plane carrying Ukrainian prisoners of war for exchange, the agency’s head, Alexander Bastrykin, told TASS in an interview. “Investigation to identify individuals from among the Ukrainian military involved in this terrorist attack is ongoing,” he said. Bastrykin said that investigators and experts had already identified the type of weapons used to attack the plane. “They are MIM-104A anti-aircraft guided missiles of the US Patriot surface-to-air missile system,” the top investigator said. He recalled that the missiles were launched from the village of Liptsy in Ukraine’s Kharkov Region. “Several hundred fragments of the victims’ bodies were found at the crash site. The results of DNA tests allowed to make an unequivocal conclusion about the affiliation of the seized body fragments to the crew members, military police officers and 65 Ukrainian servicemen who died in the crash of the plane,” the agency’s head added. On January 24, the Ukrainian armed forces shot down a Russian Il-76 military transport plane over the territory of the Belgorod Region with 74 people on board, including 65 Ukrainian servicemen, all of whom were killed. The Russian Defense Ministry called the incident a terrorist attack, stressing that Kiev knew about the transport of prisoners for exchange and attacked the plane to accuse Moscow of eliminating the Ukrainian servicemen. The Investigative Committee is conducting a criminal investigation into the terrorist act.

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Yars road-mobile ICBMs conduct march to Moscow Region to prepare for Victory Day Parade

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. A column of Yars road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) systems has conducted a march from the Ivanovo Region to a training ground near Moscow to prepare for the May 9 Victory Day Parade, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday. “As part of preparations for the military parade on Red Square, a mechanized column of Yars road-mobile missile launchers has conducted a march from their permanent deployment site in the Ivanovo Region to Alabino in the Moscow Region,” the ministry said in a statement. The mechanized column conducted its 400 km march across the Ivanovo, Vladimir and Moscow Regions, federal highway M7 and the Moscow Automobile Ring Road, it said. During the preparations for the military parade on Moscow’s Red Square, the missile formation in the Ivanovo Region carried out training and qualification tests with the crews of the Strategic Missile Force’s parade team, the ministry reported. “After reviewing the tests involving special training and the driving of Yars road-mobile missile launchers in a column at an autodrome, the commission of the Strategic Missile Force’s military command and the Vladimir missile formation made a decision to admit the personnel to their participation in the preparations for the parade,” it said. The personnel and military equipment from the Teikovo missile formation in the Ivanovo Region has been participating in military parades on Moscow’s Red Square since 2008. The RS-24 Yars is a Russian strategic missile system comprising a mobile or silo-based solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile with MIRVed (multiple independently targetable vehicle) warheads. The Yars is a modification of the Topol-M missile system. Russia started deploying Yars ICBM systems in 2009 when the Yars launcher was accepted for experimental combat duty in the Strategic Missile Force.

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Restaurant showcasing South African wines to open in Russia — ambassador

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. A large restaurant featuring a wide selection of South African wines will be opened in Russia, South Africa’s ambassador to Russia Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka said in an interview with TASS. Regarding fruits and wines, “we are doing very well in those” in the Russian market, Maqetuka noted. “There’s going to be a 900 square meter restaurant that is going to be launched, [to be] opened in Yekaterinburg. And we have positioned ourselves that in that restaurant, South African wines will definitely be there,” the ambassador said. South Africa plans to increase the share of its products in the Russian market, he added.

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Number of people injured in Monday’s drone attack on Belgorod Region rises to 4 — governor

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. The number of those injured in a Ukrainian drone attack on the village of Pochayevo in Russia’s borderline Belgorod Region on Monday has risen to four, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on his Telegram channel. Earlier reports said three people had been wounded. “I’d like to update you on the condition of our residents who sustained major wounds in the Graivoron District yesterday. Unfortunately, their number has increased to four, as another injured resident has been hospitalized in serious condition,” Gladkov said.

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Bitcoin tops $56,000 for first time since December 2, 2021

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. The price of Bitcoin rose by as much as 9.68% in today’s session to $56,467 as of 5:23 a.m. Moscow time (2:23 a.m. GMT – TASS), according to data from CoinDesk. As of 5:33 a.m. Moscow time (2:33 a.m. GMT – TASS), the cryptocurrency reduced growth to 9.12% to trade at $56,142. The token last traded above $56,000 on December 2, 2021. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency invented in 2008 by an unknown person or possibly a group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a decentralized digital currency on its own blockchain.

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Maduro blames United States for causing military conflict in Ukraine

CARACAS, February 27. /TASS/. The United States has turned Ukraine into a threat to Russia and Washington is to blame for the military conflict in the former Soviet republic, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told a show on Venezolana de Television on Monday. “The United States has set up CIA (Central Intelligence Agency – TASS) bases and took Ukraine under control in order to attack Russia,” the Venezuelan leader maintained. According to him, “Ukraine has been turned into a threat to Russia, and this explains the conflict we are facing today.” The United States “refuses to admit that it is responsible for this conflict,” Maduro argued as he expressed his hope that the crisis would be resolved.

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Kiev intends to invite up to 160 countries for Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Kiev plans to formally invite at least 160 countries to send representatives to a conference on settling the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, to be hosted by Switzerland, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andrey Yermak, said on Monday. “Invitations will be extended to at least 160 countries,” Yermak said on air in a broadcast of Ukrainian TV channel Rada. “We intend to invite [to attend the conference] all countries that are of principal importance to us.” The official clarified that the countries of principle importance to Kiev are those that display respect for Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. “We are open for discussions on all other matters, but regarding the principal issues it is important for us that these countries share our stance,” Yermak added. After a meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on January 15, Swiss President Viola Amherd said that the Ukrainian leader had asked her to organize a high-level peace conference. The initiative received a positive response among Swiss authorities in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, which may be the venue for the mooted conference. Swiss Foreign Minister Ignacio Cassis said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 14 that Russia should be included in the list of participants of the peace discussions on Ukraine in Switzerland. Switzerland, which is a member of neither NATO nor the European Union, supports the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions and has been put on Russia’s list of unfriendly countries. Addressing the G20 summit in November, 2022, Zelensky said that Kiev had a “plan to achieve peace” consisting of ten points. Among them are nuclear, food and energy security, and an “all-for-all” exchange of “detainees,” as well as the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The plan, however, completely ignores Moscow’s stance regarding the conflict. Meanwhile, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Zelensky’s statements about a peaceful settlement were out of touch with reality. Moscow sees no progress in the settlement process around Ukraine and that is why it is continuing its special military operation.

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