Moscow Announced Readiness for Negotiations with Kiev

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Russia continues its military invasion of Ukraine launched on the night of February 24 at Vladimir Putin’s command. Putin called this war a “special military operation in the Donbas”. DW follows the events of Friday, February 25. On the night of February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of the war against Ukraine, calling it a “special military operation in the Donbass” aimed at protecting people who “have been subjected to genocide by the Kyiv regime during eight years.” Putin’s claims of genocide were previously denied by both the European Union and the UN. Western politicians accused the Russian president of lying. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Russia. The US and UK authorities have imposed new sanctions against Russia. DW is following the developments on Friday, February 25 (Moscow time). ++18.00++ German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has addressed the Russian President Vladimir Putin with an urgent appeal to immediately stop the attack on Ukraine. “Stop the madness of this war. Now!”  Steinmeier said on Friday in Berlin. Putin “unleashed an aggressive war against Ukraine under false pretexts,” the head of the German state said. It’s terrible what the people living there have to go through now. Steinmeier stressed that no one wants to make the Russian people their enemies. “But this injustice cannot remain without a clear response,” he said. Steinmeier called on German citizens to show solidarity with Ukraine. According to him, it is good that people take to the streets and squares all over Germany to protest against Russia’s attack on Ukraine. “The Russian president should not believe for a single second that the people in Germany and in Europe are simply going to accept this brutal violence,” Steinmeier added. Germany “will do everything possible to deter and dissuade Putin from violence against our alliance partners,” Steinmeier said adding, “It will require a lot from us, Germans.” ++17.45++ Pope Francis visits Russian embassy Pope Francis has taken an unusual step in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Friday, he personally went to the Russian Embassy in the Vatican, the press service of the Holy See reports. The pontiff informed the Russian ambassador of his concern over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is the first time when the head of the Roman Catholic Church personally visited the embassy of a state during the armed conflict provoked by this very state. Usually, ambassadors come to the Pope on a call from the Vatican State Secretariat. According to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, Francis spent about 30 minutes at the embassy. However, the he did not comment on the report that the 85-year-old pontiff, who even before the invasion of Russian troops in Ukraine sought to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict, offered the Vatican’s mediation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. ++17.30++ Formula 1 cancels Russian Grand Prix The Formula One racing organization has called off its planned Russian Grand Prix, set to take place in Sochi in September. “We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation,” F1 said in a statement Friday. “Formula 1, [governing body] the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances,” the statement said. ++16.30++ Moscow, in response to Vladimir Zelensky’s proposal to hold talks, announced their readiness to send a Russian delegation at the level of representatives of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the presidential administration to Minsk for talks with the Ukrainian delegation. In turn, Minsk will be ready to create all conditions for the negotiation process of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, as well as the security of delegations, Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko assured in a phone conversation with Vladimir Putin on Friday. The message was published by the press secretary of the head of the Russian state Dmitry Peskov. Deutsche Telekom customers can call to and from Ukraine for free ++16.10++ German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom, the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world, announced on Friday that, in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, it provides its private and business customers with the opportunity to make calls and send SMS messages to and from Ukraine on a free basis. This service is provided until March 31, 2022. ++15.33++ Russian President Vladimir Putin, in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, said that the Russian side is interested in high-level talks with the Ukrainian side. This was reported by the Chinese media company CCTV. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow would be ready for negotiations with Kyiv only after the Armed Forces of Ukraine lay down their arms. ++15.26++ German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier accused Vladimir Putin of violating international law and “destroying the Minsk Agreements.” According to the head of the German state, this means that the only basis for negotiations on a peaceful solution to the conflict has disappeared. “This is definitely not a path to dialogue, but a search for confrontation,” Steinmeier said. The actions of the President of the Russian Federation should meet a joint and decisive response from Western partners, he said. Due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Steinmeier prematurely ends his official visit to Senegal and returns to Berlin. ++14.45++ President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky proposed to hold talks with Vladimir Putin to prevent the death of people. He stated this in a video message published on Facebook by the office of the Ukrainian leader. “I want to address the President of the Russian Federation once again. There are battles going on all over Ukraine. Let’s sit down at the negotiating table to stop the loss of life,” Zelensky said in Russian. ++14.45++ The head of the German Ministry of Health diagnosed Putin with a personality disorder German Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has diagnosed Russian President Vladimir Putin with a personality disorder. Unacceptable “narcissistic needs for recognition are manifested in the actions of the Kremlin leader,” the professional doctor said. In fact, the world has “more important things to do than engage in Putin’s fantasies of greatness,” Lauterbach stressed. Doctors usually define narcissism as a personality disorder characterized by an extreme need for attention and recognition, which is often accompanied by egotism and arrogant behavior. ++15.00++ Around noon, residents of the Obolon residential complex were asked not to leave their homes because of the threat of fighting on the streets, a DW correspondent from the capital of Ukraine reports. Air raid sirens sound hourly. The sounds of explosions are heard. Sounds of gunfire are heard from the government town. However, a few passers-by on the central streets do not pay any attention to this. Recipes for making “Molotov cocktails” are published in social networks. Ukrainians are being urged to use them against enemy military equipment. At the recruiting centers of territorial defense, even before the announcement of the general mobilization of men of military age, queues of those wishing to get weapons and fight against the Russian invaders lined up. However, weapons are issued only to those who signed a contract and stayed in the center while waiting to leave for the place of deployment. It is impossible to take the machines home. DW