Zelenskyy on Poland: “We are introducing joint customs control with Poland. This will significantly speed up border procedures.”
It’s Day 88 of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. I need to keep this going because it affects us since we keep sending our money and weapons to Ukraine.
I doubt it will end soon because Kyiv (rightfully) won’t give Russia any land.
Kherson, Controlled by Russians, Makes Ruble Its Currency
Let’s see how this works out:
Authorities in the Moscow-controlled Ukrainian region of Kherson have announced the introduction of the ruble as an official currency alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia.
The region’s capital Kherson was the first major city to fall to Russian forces in the war.
“Today a decree will be issued that formalises the introduction in the Kherson region of dual currency,” the pro-Moscow head of the regional administration, Vladimir Saldo.
“This means all traders have the right to – and later will be obliged to – display prices in two currencies, in hryvnias and Russian rubles,” he said.
“The Russian ruble exchange rate will be twice that of the hryvnia, two Russian rubles for one hryvnia.”
He added that in the next few days a Russian bank would open a branch in Kherson and offer accounts to businesses, which could show Ukrainian documents.
Russian Soldier Sentenced to Life
The soldier confessed to killing the elderly man:
Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old Russian soldier, had pleaded guilty to killing Oleksandr Shelipov, 62, in the northeastern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka on February 28 after being ordered to shoot.
A Ukrainian court sentenced him to life in prison on Monday morning.
Judge Serhiy Agafonov said Shishimarin, carrying out a “criminal order” by a soldier of higher rank, had fired several shots at the victim’s head from an automatic weapon.
Shishimarin, wearing a blue and grey hooded sweatshirt, watched proceedings silently from a reinforced glass box in the courtroom and showed no emotion as the verdict was read out.
The trial is significant for Ukraine, which has accused Russia of atrocities and brutality against civilians during the invasion and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes. Russia has denied targeting civilians.
Russian Diplomat Quits and Defects
He worked at the UN base in Geneva:
A Russian diplomat at the country’s permanent mission at the United Nations in Geneva said on Monday he was leaving his post because of his disagreement with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a rare political resignation over the war.
Boris Bondarev, a who identified himself on LinkedIn as a counsellor at Russia’s permanent mission to the UN who worked on arms control, told Reuters: “I went to the mission like any other Monday morning and I forwarded my resignation letter and I walked out.”
“I started to imagine this a few years ago but the scale of this disaster drove me to do it,” he said.
He said he had raised his concerns about the invasion with senior embassy staff several times. “I was told to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid ramifications,” he said.
Poland and Ukraine Join Forces
Polish President Andrzej Duda visited Ukraine this weekend. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the countries will join forces.
Poland knows a thing or two about Russian aggression:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a “historic” joint customs control with Poland on Sunday, stressing “unity of Ukrainians and Poles is a constant that no one will break.”
“A solution has been reached that is revolutionizing the order on our border,” Zelensky said during his nightly video address. “We are introducing joint customs control with Poland. This will significantly speed up border procedures. It will remove most of the corruption risks. But it is also the beginning of our integration into the common customs space of the European Union. That is a truly historic process.”
Zelensky comments came on the heels of Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visit to Kyiv earlier in the day. Duda also emphasized the unity between the two countries as he became the first foreign leader since the Russian invasion to address Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada.
Zelensky described Ukrainian-Polish relations as “finally on a completely clean, sincere basis, without any quarrels and old conflict heritage. This is an achievement—the historic achievement of our people. And I want the brotherhood between Ukrainians and Poles to be preserved forever. As I talked about it today in front of the deputies, our unity of Ukrainians and Poles is a constant that no one will break.”
Zelensky also said he signed a decree introducing a new award “to thank those cities of partner countries that have helped the most. And Rzeszow became the first such city. The savior city. It is fair to say.”
The Ukrainian leader went on to announce the preparation of a bill that will mirror the law passed in Poland about Ukrainian citizens who sought refuge in Poland and who “have been legally given the same opportunities as Poles.”
Go Away, Russia
Russia wants Ukrainian land for a ceasefire. Not that grabbing the land would make them stop.
Russia already has Crimea. It wants the pro-Russia separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Ukrainian officials said no way:
Russian-backed separatists already controlled swathes of territory in Luhansk and the neighboring Donetsk province before the Feb. 24 invasion, but Moscow wants to seize the last remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Donbas.
“The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address. The Russian army was trying to attack the cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces were holding off their advance, he said.
Earlier, Zelenskiy told local television that while the fighting would be bloody, the end would come only through diplomacy and that the Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory would be temporary.
Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak ruled out agreeing to a ceasefire and said Kyiv would not accept any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory. He said making concessions would backfire on Ukraine because Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting.
“The war will not stop (after concessions). It will just be put on pause for some time,” Podolyak, Ukraine’s lead negotiator, told Reuters in an interview in the heavily guarded presidential office.
“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”
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