While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 6

People cross a destroyed bridge as they try to leave the city of Irpin, in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, on March 5, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

Putin likens Western sanctions to war; assault traps civilians

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Western sanctions were akin to war as his forces pressed their assault on Ukraine on Saturday for a 10th day and the IMF warned the conflict would have a “severe impact” on the global economy.

Moscow and Kyiv traded blame over failed plans for a brief ceasefire to enable civilians to evacuate two cities besieged by Russian forces. Russia’s invasion has already driven nearly 1.5 million refugees westward into the European Union.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky made a “desperate plea” for eastern Europe to provide Russian-made aircraft to his country during a video call with US senators on Saturday, said the chamber’s majority leader, Chuck Schumer.

Nato, which Ukraine wants to join, has resisted Zelensky’s appeals to impose a no-fly zone over his country, saying this would escalate the conflict outside Ukraine. But there is strong bipartisan support in the US Congress for providing US$10 billion (S$13 billion) in emergency military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.


Ukrainians run for their lives from Russian bombs

Exploding shells blew apart roadsides Saturday and Russian warplanes bombed stretches of the horizon as thousands of Ukrainians scrambled to escape Kyiv's war-shattered outskirts by any means possible.

The roads on Kyiv's western edge bear witness to a human tragedy whose scale grows ever greater as Russia's assault on the Ukrainian capital becomes more determined and indiscriminate.

The Russian forces' initial assault on Kyiv - launched with missile strikes and an airborne assault on an airbase - stalled at the end of last week.


Russia protests to US envoy over senator's call to 'take out' Putin

Russia's Foreign Ministry protested to the US ambassador in Moscow on Saturday over remarks by US Senator Lindsey Graham advocating that President Vladimir Putin be assassinated.

It said in a statement that failure to unambiguously condemn the remarks and take concrete measures "will have a further devastating effect on Russian-American relations", already in tatters following Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

US Ambassador John Sullivan was summoned to the ministry to be told that Graham's comment would be treated as a serious crime in Russia.


N. Korea says it conducted second 'important' spy satellite test

North Korea said it conducted "another important" test for reconnaissance satellite systems, state news agency KCNA reported on Sunday, a day after regional military authorities reported the launch of a ballistic missile from the country for the second time in a week.

The launch drew condemnation from governments in the United States, South Korea, and Japan, which fear the North is preparing to conduct a major weapons test in coming months.

They see the North's satellite launches as thinly veiled tests of ballistic missile technology banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions.


Football: Liverpool's Mane secures jittery win over West Ham

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane's first-half goal eked out a 1-0 victory over West Ham United and narrowed the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City but Juergen Klopp's side could count themselves lucky to earn maximum points on Saturday.

Mane's close-range strike after 27 minutes proved enough for second-placed Liverpool to get within three points of City, but West Ham will rue squandering several gilt-edged chances.

Liverpool were far from their dominant selves as they claimed a seventh successive league win but were let off as West Ham's Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio all failed to capitalise on their opportunities.


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