Russia-Ukraine (March 8): Ukraine Claims 2nd Russian General Killed

By Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
March 7, 2022 Updated: March 8, 2022

The latest on the RussiaUkraine crisis, March 7. Click here for updates from March 6.

Ukraine Claims 2nd Russian General Killed

A Russian general was killed in the fighting around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which Russian forces have been trying to seize since the invasion began, the Ukrainian military intelligence agency said.

It identified him as Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, 45, and said he had fought with Russian forces in Syria and Chechnya and had taken part in the seizure of Crimea in 2014.

It was not possible to confirm the death independently. Russia has not commented.

Another Russian general was killed earlier in the fighting. A local officers’ organization in Russia confirmed the death in Ukraine of Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, the commanding general of the Russian 7th Airborne Division.

Sukhovetsky also took part in Russia’s military campaign in Syria.

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Putin Says Russia Will Not Use Conscript Soldiers in Ukraine

Russia will not use any conscript soldiers in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

“I emphasize that conscript soldiers are not participating in hostilities and will not participate in them. And there will be no additional call-up of reservists,” Putin said in a televised message to mark International Women’s Day.

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US Sends Additional Troops, Tankers to Europe

The United States ordered the deployment of 500 additional troops to Europe to augment the forces already there, a U.S. defense official said March 7.

“These additional personnel are being positioned to respond, obviously, to the current security environment caused by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and, certainly, to help reinforce and bolster deterrence and defense capabilities of the NATO alliance,” John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, told reporters in Washington.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the deployment after speaking with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and U.S. European Command head Gen. Tod Wolters, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters on a call on the condition of anonymity.

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Bulgaria May Seek Exception to Any EU Sanctions on Russian Gas and Oil

Bulgaria supports sanctions on Russia as a means to halting its invasion of Ukraine, but will likely seek an exception on banning Russian natural gas and oil imports if such a proposal is put forward, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Monday.

“Bulgaria would support all kinds of measures, because we are really against the war, but these two (oil and gas), maybe we would ask for an exception… We do not have current alternatives right now, we are too dependent,” Petkov said in an interview with Reuters.

“We are fully supporting the Ukrainian people, we supported the first package of sanctions, we are even open-minded for other sanctions as well, just these two sanctions, it would be very hard for us to take as an economy and as a country,” he said.

EU and NATO member Bulgaria is almost completely dependent on gas supplies from Russia’s Gazprom, while its only oil refinery, owned by Russia’s LUKOIL, provides over 60 percent of the fuel used in the country.

Germany, the biggest buyer of Russian crude oil, has rejected plans to ban energy imports, a stance Petkov supported.

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Macron: Negotiated End to War Weeks Away

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he does not expect a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine for weeks.

He said that he has told the Russian leader that a cease-fire must come before any real dialogue, but that President Vladimir Putin has refused, making their regular talks “difficult.”

“I don’t think that in the days and weeks to come there will be a true negotiated solution,” Macron said at a forum in Poissy, a southwest suburb of Paris, while campaigning for the first time to renew his mandate in April presidential elections.

He said that Putin is making a “historic fault” with his war pitted against Ukrainian “brothers.” Macron stressed the need to respect the people of all countries … “and ensure that no nation, no people be humiliated.”

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German Chancellor Rejects Calls to Ban Russian Oil

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz rejected calls to ban Russian oil and gas, saying energy imports from Russia are “essential” for Germany.

“At the moment, Europe’s supply of energy for heat generation, mobility, power supply, and industry cannot be secured in any other way. It is therefore of essential importance for the provision of public services and the daily lives of our citizens,” he said in a statement.

“That is why it is a conscious decision on our part to continue the activities of business enterprises in the area of energy supply with Russia,” he added.

Europe has intentionally avoided sanctioning energy supplies from Russia, he said.

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Russia and Ukraine Hold Third Round of Talks

Russian and Ukrainian delegations assembled for a third round of talks in Belarus on Monday.

A Ukrainian negotiator at talks with Russia said some progress had been made on agreeing on logistics for the evacuation of civilians, but on a broader scale the talks remained inconclusive.

In a video statement posted to social media, negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said the two sides will continue talks on a ceasefire.

Russian negotiators said they did not have positive developments to report following talks with Ukraine and warned not to expect the next round to bring a final result.

The talks “are not easy. It is too early to talk about something positive,” negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said following the talks. “Hopefully next time we can take a bigger step forward.”

Russia expects another round of talks with Ukraine to take place in the very near future, Russian negotiator Leonid Slutsky told Russian state television. The date could be determined on Tuesday, he said.

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Poland Will Not Send Its Fighter Jets to Ukraine: Official

Polish government officials on Monday said that Poland has not, and will not, send its fighter jets to Ukraine to support Ukraine’s defense against Russia.

A deputy foreign minister, Marcin Przydacz, said in an interview on Radio Zet that: “We will not open our airports and Polish planes will not fight over Ukraine … Polish planes will not fight over Ukraine.”

Another government spokesman, Piotr Mueller, said that the move to provide planes was still being discussed within NATO, but added that “at this stage it doesn’t look like such a decision will be made,” according to a translation of his statement, reported by Polish media.

The comments come after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to the United States to help Kyiv get more warplanes to fight Russia’s invasion and retain control of its airspace.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was looking at a proposal under which Poland would supply Kyiv with Soviet-era fighters and in turn receive American F-16s to make up for their loss.

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Kremlin Says Russian Military Action Will Stop ‘in a Moment’ if Ukraine Meets Conditions

Russia is demanding that Ukraine cease military action, change its constitution to enshrine neutrality, acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory, and recognize the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent territories, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Peskov told Reuters that Russia had told Ukraine it was ready to halt its military action “in a moment” if Kyiv met its conditions.

It was the most explicit Russian statement so far of the terms it wants to impose on Ukraine to halt what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, now in its 12th day.

Peskov said Ukraine was aware of the conditions. “And they were told that all this can be stopped in a moment.”

On the issue of neutrality, he said: “They should make amendments to the constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc. This is possible only by making changes to the constitution.”

The Kremlin spokesman insisted Russia was not seeking to make any further territorial claims on Ukraine.

“We really are finishing the demilitarisation of Ukraine. We will finish it. But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot,” he said.

“They should make amendments to their constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc. We have also spoken about how they should recognize that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognise that Donetsk and Lugansk are independent states. And that’s it. It will stop in a moment,” Peskov told Reuters.

The outlining of Russia’s demands came as delegations from Russia and Ukraine prepared to meet on Monday for a third round of talks aimed at ending Russia’s war against Ukraine, an invasion launched on Feb. 24 that has caused the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II and provoked outrage across the world.

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Russia Says It Will Open Humanitarian Corridors to Ukrainian Cities on Monday

Russia’s military will hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities on Monday, the Defence Ministry said, after fighting halted weekend evacuation efforts and civilian casualties from Russia’s invasion mounted.

The corridors will be opened at 10 a.m. Moscow time (0700 GMT) from the capital Kyiv as well as the cities of Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Sumy and are being set up at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron, the ministry said.

According to maps published by the RIA news agency, the corridor from Kyiv will lead to Russian ally Belarus, and civilians from Kharkiv will only have a corridor leading to Russia. Corridors from Mariupol and Sumy will lead both to other Ukrainian cities and to Russia.

Those who want to leave Kyiv will also be able to be airlifted to Russia, the ministry said, adding it would use drones to monitor the evacuation.

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Ukraine Rejects Corridors to Belarus, Russia

A senior Ukrainian official on Monday rejected a Russian proposal to evacuate civilians from besieged Ukraine to Russia and Belarus.

“This is an unacceptable option for opening humanitarian corridors,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said at a briefing.

According to the Russian proposal, the only options for civilians fleeing Kyiv and its suburbs would be to go to Gomel in neighboring Belarus. Civilians in Kharkiv and Sumy in eastern Ukraine would have to flee to the Russian city of Belgorod.

Belarus is a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian government is proposing eight humanitarian corridors, including from the southern port of Mariupol, that would allow civilians to travel to the western regions of Ukraine, where there is no Russian shelling.

“We demand that the Russian Federation stop manipulating and abusing the trust of the leaders of France, China, Turkey and India,” Vereshchuk said.

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Zelensky Appeals to the West to Strengthen Sanctions

As Russian forces increased their shelling of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to the West to strengthen sanctions.

In a video statement Sunday evening, Zelensky heaped criticism on Western leaders for not responding to the Russian Defense Ministry’s announcement that it would strike Ukraine’s military-industrial complex, while telling employees of these defense plants not to go to work.

“I didn’t hear even a single world leader react to this,” Zelensky said. “The audacity of the aggressor is a clear signal to the West that the sanctions imposed on Russia are not sufficient.”

Zelensky called for organizing a “tribunal” to bring to justice those who order and carry out such crimes.

“Think about the sense of impunity of the occupiers that they can announce such planned atrocities,” he said.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced Sunday that its forces intend to strike Ukraine’s military-industrial complex with what it said were precision weapons.

“We urge all personnel of Ukrainian defense industry plants … to leave the territory of their enterprises,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement carried by the state news agency Tass.

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Big Accounting Firms Are Pulling Out of Russia

Two of the so-called Big Four accounting firms are pulling out of Russia over its war in Ukraine.

KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers both said Sunday they would end their relationships with their Russia-based member firms. KPMG said it was also pulling out of Belarus.

KPMG International said in a statement it would be “incredibly difficult” to have its Russia and Belarus firms leave the network. KPMG has more than 4,500 employees in the two countries.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said it has 3,700 employees at its PwC Russia firm and is working on an “orderly transition” for the business.

The two other Big Four companies—Deloitte and Ernst & Young—didn’t immediately return requests for comment Sunday.

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US Gasoline Prices Soar to Highest Since 2008 on Russia Conflict: AAA

U.S. gasoline prices at the pump jumped 11 percent over the past week to the highest since late July 2008 as global sanctions cripple Russia’s ability to export crude oil after its invasion of Ukraine, automobile club AAA said on Sunday.

AAA said average U.S. regular-grade gasoline prices hit $4.009 per gallon on Sunday, up 11 percent from $3.604 a week ago and up 45 percent from $2.760 a year ago.

The automobile club, which has data going back to 2000, said U.S. retail gasoline prices hit a record $4.114 a gallon on July 17, 2008, which was around the same time U.S. crude futures soared to a record $147.27 a barrel.

The most expensive gas in the country is in California at $5.288 a gallon, followed by Hawaii ($4.695), Nevada ($4.526), and Oregon ($4.466), according to AAA.

Gasoline price provider GasBuddy said the average price of U.S. gasoline spiked nearly 41 cents per gallon, topping $4 for the first time in almost 14 years, and stands just 10 cents below the all-time record of $4.103 per gallon.

GasBuddy said that weekly increase was the second largest ever, following a jump of 49 cents per gallon during the week of Sept. 3, 2005, after Hurricane Katrina tore through the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“Increasing oil prices continue to play a leading role in pushing prices higher,” AAA said in a release, noting “pump prices will likely continue to rise as crude prices continue to climb.”

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US Congress to ‘Explore’ Russian Oil Ban, Enact $10 Billion in Aid for Ukraine This Week: Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said the chamber is “exploring” legislation to ban import of Russian oil and that Congress intends to enact this week $10 billion in aid for Ukraine in response to Russia’s military invasion of its neighbor.

“The House is currently exploring strong legislation that will further isolate Russia from the global economy,” Pelosi said in a letter.

“Our bill would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the United States, repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and take the first step to deny Russia access to the World Trade Organization.”

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

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Oil Prices Jump as Conflict in Ukraine Deepens

The price of oil jumped more than $10 a barrel Monday as the conflict in Ukraine deepened amid mounting calls for harsher sanctions against Russia.

Brent crude oil briefly surged over $10 to nearly $130 a barrel early Monday. Benchmark U.S. crude was up nearly $9 at more than $124 a barrel.

The surge followed a warning from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ukrainian statehood was imperiled as Russian forces battered strategic locations.

A temporary cease-fire in two Ukrainian cities failed—and both sides blamed each other.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House was exploring legislation to further isolate Russia from the global economy, including banning the import of its oil and energy products into the United States.

Jack Phillips, Allen Zhong, Zachary Stieber, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.