News from Ukraine today: Superyacht seized by German authorities

What is happening in Ukraine today and how are the countries of the world reacting? Read live updates on Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

BERLIN — German authorities say they seized a huge superyacht in Hamburg after determining it belonged to the sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

The Federal Criminal Police Office said on Wednesday that after “extensive investigations” and despite “a cover-up abroad”, it was able to determine that the owner was Gulbakhor Ismailova, Usmanov’s sister.

The superyacht Dilbar is flagged for the Cayman Islands and registered with a holding company in Malta, two banking havens where the global ultra-rich often store their wealth. It was launched in 2016 at a reported cost of over US$648 million.

The German police office said German authorities were working in Brussels to ensure European Union sanctions applied to the owner. It indicates that the yacht can no longer be sold, rented or loaded.

The United States and the EU last month announced economic sanctions against Usmanov, a metals magnate, for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.

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PRAGUE — Three Czech lawmakers from the upper house of parliament, the Senate, are traveling to kyiv with their Polish counterparts. Led by President Milos Vystrcil, they were invited by Ruslan Stefanchuk, speaker of the unicameral Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada.

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UNITED NATIONS – A UN task force warns in a new report that Russia’s war on Ukraine threatens to devastate the economies of many developing countries which now face even higher food and energy costs and under increasingly difficult financial conditions.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched the report on Wednesday, noting that the war is “fuelling” a food, fuel and financial crisis in the poorest countries already struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. , climate change and lack of access to adequate funding for their economic recovery.

Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-general of the UN trade and development agency which coordinated the task force, said 107 countries were “severely exposed” to at least one dimension of the food, fuel and food crisis. and that 69 countries were seriously exposed to all three. and face “very difficult financial conditions with no budgetary room for maneuver and no external financing to soften the blow”.

The report urges countries to ensure a steady flow of food and energy through open markets, and it calls on international financial institutions to do all they can to provide more liquidity immediately.

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ODESSA, Ukraine – In Ukraine’s Odessa region, Governor Maksym Marchenko said forces hit the Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva with two missiles and caused “serious damage.”

Moskva is the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the ship was damaged on Wednesday, but not that it was hit by Ukraine.

The ministry indicates that ammunition on board exploded following a fire whose causes “were being established”, and that the entire crew of the Moskva was evacuated. The cruiser usually has around 500 people on board.

Odessa is the largest port in Ukraine.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was “sincerely grateful” to the United States for the new $800 million in military aid.

In his daily late-night address to the nation, Zelenskyy also said he was grateful for Wednesday’s visit from the presidents of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

He said these leaders “helped us from day one, those who did not hesitate to arm us, those who did not doubt the advisability of imposing sanctions”.

In his phone conversation with US President Joe Biden, Zelenskyy said he discussed the new arms shipment, even tougher sanctions against Russia and efforts to bring Russian soldiers who have committed war crimes to justice. in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy also said work was continuing to clear tens of thousands of unexploded shells, mines and tripwires left in northern Ukraine by the retreating Russians.

He urged people returning home to those cities to be suspicious of any unfamiliar objects and report them to the police.

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