Russia has unleashed new offensive into east Ukraine, says Zelensky

A view of a block of apartments buildings damaged by shelling in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)
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A view of a block of apartments buildings damaged by shelling in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)
Smoke rises above Azovstal steelworks, in Mariupol, Ukraine, in this still image obtained from a recent drone video posted on social media. (REUTERS)
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Smoke rises above Azovstal steelworks, in Mariupol, Ukraine, in this still image obtained from a recent drone video posted on social media. (REUTERS)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with a European Union delegation headed by Matti Maasikas in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 18, 2022. (AP)
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with a European Union delegation headed by Matti Maasikas in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 18, 2022. (AP)
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Updated 19 April 2022

Russia has unleashed new offensive into east Ukraine, says Zelensky

Russia has unleashed new offensive into east Ukraine, says Zelensky
  • Russia’s Donbas offensive advances with fall of Kreminna after three days of fighting
  • A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on its new offensive in eastern Ukraine, says Zelensky

NOVODRUZHESK, Ukraine: Russia has launched a major offensive into eastern Ukraine, Ukrainianian leaders said, opening a new phase of its invasion after being thwarted in efforts to capture the capital.

In recent weeks, Moscow’s military campaign has refocused on the eastern region of Donbas, which pro-Kremlin separatists have partly controlled since 2014.

“We can now confirm that Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, which they have been preparing for a long time,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram late Monday.

“No matter how many Russian soldiers are brought here, we will fight. We will defend ourselves.”

Ahead of the widely anticipated advance, Ukrainian authorities had urged people in Donbas to flee west to escape.

“The second phase of the war has started,” Kyiv’s presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said.

Control of Donbas would allow Moscow to create a southern corridor to the occupied Crimean peninsula.

In the south of the region, Russia continued its push to capture the besieged port city of Mariupol, where the last remaining Ukrainian forces have taken a final stand.

But despite the desperate situation in the city, a senior US Defense Department official said Mariupol “is still contested.”

Russia has also added 11 battalion tactical groups — consisting of, among other things, artillery, helicopters, and logistical support — to its forces in east Ukraine, the official added, bringing the total to 76 in the country.

Monday also saw the first shipments of a new US military aid package arrive at Ukraine’s borders to be handed over in its fight against the Russian invasion.

The United States on April 13 unveiled an $800-million tranche of equipment for Ukraine, including helicopters, howitzers and armored personnel carriers.

Moscow’s forces on Monday pounded targets across the country, killing at least seven people in the far western city of Lviv.

Lviv has largely been spared bombardment since Russia invaded on February 24, and the city and its surroundings had become a haven for those seeking safety from the war zone.

But “today we understood clearly that we don’t have any safe places in Ukraine. It’s very dangerous,” a bank employee who gave her name as Natalia told AFP after the strikes.

Russia’s defense ministry said Monday it had hit 16 military targets across Ukraine.

Among the sites struck was a depot near Lviv that Moscow said held weapons recently delivered to Ukraine from the United States and Europe.

Shortly before Zelensky’s address, the regional governor of the Lugansk region Sergiy Gaiday also announced the beginning of Russia’s much-anticipated attack.

“It’s hell. The offensive has begun, the one we’ve been talking about for weeks. There’s constant fighting in Rubizhne and Popasna, fighting in other peaceful cities,” he said on Facebook.

Russian shelling killed at least eight civilians in eastern Ukraine, according to local authorities.

Gaiday said four people died as they tried to flee the city of Kreminna in Lugansk as Russian troops moved in.




A crater and a destroyed home are pictured in the village of Yatskivka, eastern Ukraine on April 16, 2022. (AFP)

“The Russian army has already entered there, with a huge amount of military hardware... Our defenders have retreated to new positions,” Gaiday said in a statement on social media.

But Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich said Russian forces had not conquered the city.

Ukrainian officials on Monday halted the evacuation of civilians from frontline towns and cities in the east for a second day, accusing Russian forces of having blocked and shelled escape routes.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk urged Moscow to open humanitarian corridors from Mariupol to Berdyansk and from the Azovstal metallurgical industrial zone — a holdout for Ukrainian fighters.

“Your refusal to open these humanitarian corridors will, in the future, be grounds for prosecuting all those involved in war crimes,” she said on Telegram.

The Mariupol city council said Monday there are over 1,000 civilians trapped in shelters under the Azovstal steel plant, where Ukrainian forces are waging a desperate last stand against the Russians.

“(They are) mostly women with children and the elderly,” they said on Telegram.

President Vladimir Putin has said he launched the military operation on February 24 to save Russian speakers in Ukraine from a “genocide” carried out by a “neo-Nazi” regime.

He recognized the independence of two self-proclaimed separatist republics in Donetsk and Lugansk shortly before the invasion began.

On Monday, Putin lauded the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade — which is accused of committing atrocities near Kyiv — bestowing battle honors on them for “heroism and valour, tenacity and courage.”

Ukraine has alleged the brigade is guilty of war crimes while occupying the suburb of Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv, where residents were shot dead, some with their hands bound.

The European Union condemned Russia’s “indiscriminate” bombing of Ukrainian civilians following the strikes on Lviv.

Its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell pointed to “particularly heavy attacks” in eastern and southern Ukraine and an offensive against second city Kharkiv, where officials said Russian shelling killed three people.

“Attacks on Lviv and other cities in western Ukraine show that no part of the country is spared from the Kremlin’s senseless onslaught,” Borrell added.

Seeking to strengthen ties and accelerate admission to the 27-nation bloc, Zelensky said that Ukraine hoped to receive EU candidate country status within weeks.

On Monday, he handed the EU’s envoy to Kyiv a two-volume response to a membership questionnaire brought by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in March.

 


Deloitte CEO Mutasem Dajani highlights emerging technology assisting Kingdom’s sustainability efforts

Deloitte CEO Mutasem Dajani highlights emerging technology assisting Kingdom’s sustainability efforts
Updated 12 min 35 sec ago

Deloitte CEO Mutasem Dajani highlights emerging technology assisting Kingdom’s sustainability efforts

Deloitte CEO Mutasem Dajani highlights emerging technology assisting Kingdom’s sustainability efforts
  • Collaboration with giga-projects in Saudi Arabia
  • GreenLight is firm’s decarbonization initiative

RIYADH: Deloitte is participating for the first time as a designated innovation and emerging technology partner at LEAP 2023, and has highlighted an initiative that is assisting the Kingdom’s firms and projects with their sustainability efforts.

The second edition of the event, being held from Feb. 6-9, hosts more than 700 leaders in technology and investment from 50 countries.

During the event, Deloitte’s CEO Mutasem Dajani, told Arab News that one of the tools on display at their booth is “GreenLight, which enables organizations to figure out decarbonization, regardless of where they are on the sustainability spectrum.”

“We are working with the leading project owners and developers in terms of the transformation that’s going on across the giga-projects in the Kingdom. And we’re really proud of that work that we’re doing,” he added.

“We feel it’s not only transforming the society and the communities, but also people’s individual career prospects through the work experiences that we offer.”

Visitors can also learn about drone- and robot-hacking.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with MOZN, a technology company that has created AI solutions for fighting financial crime and bolstering the financial services industry in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, said Dajani.

MOZN announced earlier that it is participating as a Bronze Sponsor in the conference. They are showcasing their myriad AI-powered offerings, including financial intelligence products and solutions to address compliance, natural-language understanding and risk challenges for organizations in various industries.

In a comment earlier, Dr. Mohammed Alhussein, founder and CEO of MOZN, said: “We are thrilled to return to LEAP 2023 and demonstrate our innovative AI-powered products and solutions to a global audience of disruptive tech professionals.”

Dajani said he was proud of the “leap of faith that the Kingdom has taken in terms of positioning itself around technology in … the new digital economy in the Middle East and Africa.”

Deloitte has hired over 3,000 professionals across the region in 18 months to respond to growing market demand.

Some of Deloitte’s speakers during LEAP include Dr. Amira Khattab, a partner for cyber and strategic risk, Saudamini Dubey, lead partner for digital transformation, and Costi Perricos, the firm’s global AI leader.


Climate ambitions should not be met at the expense of energy security: KAPSARC president

Climate ambitions should not be met at the expense of energy security: KAPSARC president
Updated 19 min 43 sec ago

Climate ambitions should not be met at the expense of energy security: KAPSARC president

Climate ambitions should not be met at the expense of energy security: KAPSARC president

RIYADH: The world should embrace a balanced approach where climate ambitions are met without compromising on energy security and affordability, a top official from the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center has said.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the 44th conference of the International Association for Energy Economics, Fahad Alajlan, president of KAPSARC, said that Saudi Arabia is leading this balanced approach through programs like Saudi Green Initiative, clean energy investments, and decarbonization efforts. 

He also called for involving all stakeholders to find a solution to effectively fight climate change. 

According to Alajlan, climate change conferences like the UN’s COP should include oil and gas companies in their discussions as more than 50 percent of emissions are coming from the energy sector. 

The KAPSARC president said that Saudi Arabia is leapfrogging others in the carbon capture technology which will play a crucial role in the ongoing energy transition efforts. 

“In the past, oil and gas companies have been excluded from discussions. If we look at emissions today, more than 50 percent come from the energy sector, so it is very important that we involve oil and gas companies in this discussion, to become part of the solution rather than demonizing and excluding them,” said Alajlan. 

He added: “The COP 28 presidency in the UAE will be an inclusive COP. It will be a COP that brings everybody to be part of the solution. So, it is very important to get this inclusive approach.” 

Alajlan noted that carbon capture is not the only solution to reduce emissions, but it is a part of the solution which will ensure a sustainable future.

Carbon capture initiatives should be sufficiently complemented with renewables, hydrogen, and green efforts to get better sustainable results, he argued.

“It (carbon capture) is not the only solution; it is part of the solution. If we look today, there are about 50 commercial carbon capture projects globally. Saudi Arabia has one of the biggest with a capacity of 500,000 tons, but the ambition goes much bigger,” he said. 

Fahad Alajlan addressing the IAEE conference (Screenshot)

Saudi Arabian Oil Co.’s carbon capture and storage hub in the Kingdom is eyeing to have a storage capacity of up to 9 million tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2027, and 45 million tons by 2035, he further noted. 

According to Alajlan, the ongoing IAEE conference in Saudi Arabia is crucial, as it came at a time when the entire world is witnessing a new energy landscape post the invasion of Ukraine, which highlighted the vulnerabilities surrounding energy security. 

“There are many pathways to achieve climate ambition and energy transition. These pathways should ensure energy security, energy affordability, and climate change. The discussion here (IAEE conference) has focused on Saudi Arabia as an example of many pathways that exist. Saudi Arabia has pursued renewable energy, clean energy investment, and hydrogen,” he added.  

Alajlan also said that the issue of energy affordability is posing problems to energy transition even in the MENA region, and it should be seriously addressed. 

“We have a few countries that are struggling to meet their energy needs. The cost of energy has risen exceedingly in 2022. So, we need to make sure that this is being addressed. We cannot have winners and losers in this energy transition,” he added. 

According to Alajlan, energy financing is very much necessary for a smooth transition, as developed nations have agreed to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in developing economies for clean energy initiatives.  

“There are a lot of roles to be played by government and private sectors, but also global development institutions and multi-development institutions like the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and credit agencies, that would lend and finance these energy projects and make sure that energy is not only accessible but also affordable,” added Alajlan. 

He further noted that the $100 billion committed by developed economies for developing economies to catalyze energy transition is not sufficient, as it requires $3 trillion to $8 trillion annually. 

Talking about the importance of green financing in the energy sector, Alajlan said that the world should think about how green finance can be pushed into technologies like carbon capture, hydrogen, and ultimately energy transition. 

“We know the world is growing, energy demand is growing, and the issue of emissions is critical. So, we need to lower our emissions while growing the energy supply. We need more financing, whether that is in oil and gas, renewables and hydrogen,” he added. 

Alajlan asserted that the general public too should be aware of the necessity of energy transition so that they can also contribute their part to these efforts.


Closing bell: TASI continues to decline, closes flat at 10,589 

Closing bell: TASI continues to decline, closes flat at 10,589 
Updated 4 min 38 sec ago

Closing bell: TASI continues to decline, closes flat at 10,589 

Closing bell: TASI continues to decline, closes flat at 10,589 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index on Monday lost 2.87 points — or 0.03 percent — to close at 10,588.58. 

While MSCI Tadawul 30 Index dropped 0.10 percent to 1,452.66, the parallel market Nomu slipped 0.76 percent to 18,761.95. 

TASI’s total trading turnover of the benchmark index on Monday was SR4.46 billion ($1.19 billion), with 101 stocks of the listed 224 advancing and 109 retreating. 

On Feb. 6, Saudi Reinsurance Co. was the topmost gainer, rising 5.73 percent to SR16.98.  

The other top gainers were Basic Chemical Industries Co., Riyadh Cables Group Co., Saudi Industrial Investment Group and Elm Co. 

The worst-performing stock of the day was Salama Cooperative Insurance Co., which dropped 3.81 percent to SR16.16. 

Other stocks that poorly performed were Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Co., Riyad Bank, Alinma Bank and The Mediterranean and Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Co. 

Among sectoral indices, 11 of the 21 listed on the stock exchange declined, while the rest advanced. 

The Software and Services Index was a clear winner, with the industry catapulting 2.98 percent to 38,040.86 and driving all five constituents in the green. 

On the other hand, the Food and Beverages Index fell 1.23 percent to 4,772.11. Five of the 10 constituents in the sector advanced and the rest declined. 

On the announcements front, Tihama Advertising and Public Relations Co. on Monday informed the stock exchange issued its prospectus for capital increase through an SR350 million rights issue. 

The company plans to offer 35 million shares, at SR10 per share, to raise the capital by 700 percent. 

Tihama aims to finance expansion plans and future investments, support working capital and pay off financial liabilities. The company’s share price rose 2.38 percent to SR94.8. 

Abdullah Saad Mohammed Abo Moati for Bookstores Co. announced that financial statements for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2022, might miss the disclosure deadline due to a cyberattack on its servers on Dec. 8, 2022. 

Abo Moati said the cyberattack resulted in the loss of financial data from Nov. 4 to Dec. 7, 2022. However, it restored data through hardcopy backups. 

The company also assigned an accredited cybersecurity company to examine the systems and network to ensure operations ran smoothly and normally. Its share price fell 2.46 percent to SR27.75. 

Meanwhile, Leejam Sports Co. signed on Feb. 5 a memorandum of understanding with UAE-based healthcare provider Burjeel Holding Co. to start a partnership in physiotherapy and sports healthcare services in Saudi Arabia. 

Both companies plan to establish a new company in a 50-50 partnership, the sports company said in a statement to Tadawul. 

The partnership aims to establish and operate a network of physiotherapy, rehabilitation and sports healthcare clinics within and outside Leejam centers in the Kingdom. 

The statement said it would also include the provision of physiotherapy and related wellness services, with a particular focus on sports medicine and advanced rehabilitation therapies. Leejam Sports’ share price closed flat at SR86.4. 


Japan to send rescue teams to Turkiye following big quake

Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey February 6, 2023. (Reuters)
Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey February 6, 2023. (Reuters)
Updated 36 min 51 sec ago

Japan to send rescue teams to Turkiye following big quake

Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey February 6, 2023. (Reuters)
  • The rescue team advance party was scheduled to leave for the site on Monday evening

TOKYO: The Japanese government on Monday decided to dispatch the Japan Disaster Relief Team/ Rescue Team to conduct search-and-rescue operations for missing persons in response to a request from the Turkish government following the devastating earthquakes there.

The rescue team advance party was scheduled to leave for the site on Monday evening.

Based on the request of the Turkish government, and in consideration of the humanitarian perspective and friendly relations with Turkiye, Japan decided to provide emergency humanitarian assistance.

At around 4:17 a.m. local time on Monday, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 occurred in the southeastern part of Turkiye. Other large quakes followed soon after.

Turkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency has said that the earthquakes in the south of the country have killed 912 people and injured about 5,385 so far. The figures are expected to rise significantly.

The Japanese statement didn’t mention Syria and who was also hit hard and suffered considerable damage by this earthquake.


Team of the week for Roshn Saudi League round 15

Team of the week for Roshn Saudi League round 15
Roshn Saudi League players of the week by statistical website Sofascore. supplied
Updated 06 February 2023

Team of the week for Roshn Saudi League round 15

Team of the week for Roshn Saudi League round 15
  • Goalkeeper Martin Campana of Al-Batin was the only star of his category

Riyadh: Alejandro Kaku has been voted the Roshn Saudi League player of the week by statistical website Sofascore after an incredible performance in round 15 of the season.

The 28-year-old Paraguayan Al-Taawoun player ranked 9.5 following his assist for the only goal against Al-Batin, securing his team’s victory. He created four big chances and touched the ball 89 times in the match.

Goalkeeper Martin Campana of Al-Batin was the only star of his category.

As for defenders, Santos from Al-Shabab, Saad Natiq from Abha, and Hassan Kadesh from Al-Taawoun were among the top players.

Midfielder Sultan Mandash of Al-Fayha, Abha’s Saad Buguir, Alfa Semedo from Al-Tai, and Carlos Junior from Al-Shabab ranked top of their categories.

Forward Santi Mina from Al-Shabab, Robin Quaison from Al-Ittifaq, as well as player of the week Kaku were the best in their categories.