Ukraine war: In a telephonic conversation with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, US defence secretary Lloyd Austin also laid stress on the importance of maintaining lines of communication.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, calling for an immediate ceasefire in war-hit Ukraine, news agency Reuters reported. Besides ceasefire, Austin is said to have stressed on the importance of maintaining lines of communication.
This is first time Austin spoke to the Russian defence minister since February 18, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement. The telephonic conversation comes hours after he spoke to British defence secretary Ben Wallace and discussed next steps to help Ukraine which has been fighting the Russian forces for the 79th straight day.
“We will continue to work with unity and resolve to provide Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked invasion,” Reuters quoted Wallace in the statement, issued on Friday after a meeting with Lloyd Austin on Wednesday.
“We discussed the next steps to provide defensive support for Ukraine, as well as AUKUS (a defence pact between Australia, the United States and Britain), the future of NATO, and other aspects of our shared security,” he added.
The Ukrainian forces have claimed that Russia suffered heavy losses after a pontoon bridge it was using to try to cross a river in the east was destroyed. The Ukraine’s airborne command has released images of what it claims was the damaged Russian bridge over the Siversky Donets river and several Russian military vehicles which were either damaged or destroyed.
“Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine,” the British defence ministry said in its daily intelligence update.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates died on Friday at the age of 73. The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has announced 40 days of mourning. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed suffered a stroke in 2014 and had surgery. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan’s name is most familiar for its connection to the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral on Friday in Jerusalem for an Al Jazeera journalist who witnesses say was shot dead by Israeli forces earlier this week while covering a military raid in the occupied West Bank. Authorities may have been concerned that a procession on foot could lead to violent demonstrations. Qatar-based Al Jazeera had earlier said that its managing director, Ahmad Alyafei, would travel to Jerusalem to attend the funeral.
Millions of Beijing residents stayed home on Friday stepping out only for Covid-19 tests even as a top official in locked down Shanghai said the city aims to gradually ease traffic restrictions and open shops after reaching zero-Covid transmission at the community level in the next few days. Residents rushed to supermarkets on Thursday to stock up on groceries as rumours spread that stay-at-home orders would soon be announced Thursday evening.
UAE President and ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away on Friday, local media reports quoting the Ministry of Presidential Affairs said. His the president of the UAE, Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan served as the President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi since November 3, 2004. Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa was the second President of the UAE and the 16th Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He was the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed.
Elon Musk on Friday said his deal with microblogging platform Twitter was temporarily on hold. He said it was pending details supporting calculation that spam and fake accounts indeed represented less than five per cent of users. Last month, the Tesla CEO had clinched a deal to buy Twitter Inc for $44 billion cash in a transaction.