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Posted by Ukrap on

Предстоятель УПЦ (МП) пропонує провести «ходу», щоб вивести з Маріуполя цивільних і поранених військових

Онуфрій пропонує влаштувати ходу від міста Оріхів Запорізької області до заводу «Азовсталь» у Маріуполі. Це понад 160 км

Posted by Ukrap on

Зеленський на сесії Світового банку: Україна потребує до 7 млрд дол фінансової підтримки щомісяця

Для відновлення після цієї війни Україна буде потребувати ще сотень мільярдів доларів, каже президент

Posted by Ukrap on

Макрон закликав Росію дати змогу цивільним покинути Маріуполь

У Маріуполі ситуація лише погіршується, констатує французький президент

Posted by Worldkrap on

Biden Announces $800 Million in New Military Aid for Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden authorized another $800 million in U.S. military assistance to Ukraine on Thursday, declaring it was necessary to help Kyiv’s forces repel Russian fighters in the critical battles unfolding in the eastern region of the country.

“This package includes heavy artillery weapons, dozens of howitzers and 144,000 rounds of ammunition,” Biden said in a short White House speech. He said the new arms shipment was particularly aimed at helping Ukraine’s forces fight in the Donbas region, which is flatter, more open terrain than where earlier fighting had occurred to the west.

Biden said the new assistance, on top of another $800 million package announced last week, “almost” exhausts congressional authorization for U.S. military aid to Ukraine. But the president said he would soon ask Congress for even more money for Ukraine’s forces.

Biden said the United States and its Western allies remain united in their resolve to assist Ukraine in fighting back against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eight-week invasion.

“The most important thing is holding the world together” against Russia, Biden said. “So far, so good.”

Biden vowed that Putin “will never succeed in occupying all of Ukraine. Putin has failed to achieve his grand ambitions on the battlefield. Kyiv still stands,” the president said.

New refugee aid

In other war-related actions, Biden said he was sending $500 million to Ukraine in new economic aid, streamlining a humanitarian refugee effort to allow Ukrainians escaping the ravages of war in their homeland to move more quickly to the U.S. if they want and banning all Russian ships from docking at U.S. ports.

Earlier Thursday, Putin ordered his forces not to storm a steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol where the last remaining Ukrainian forces have been holed up in the port on the north coast of the Sea of Azov. 

In a televised meeting, Putin told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Russian forces should blockade the plant “so that a fly cannot not pass through,” and that going forward with a plan to storm the site would unnecessarily risk Russian troops. 

Shoigu told Putin that there were 2,000 Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal plant, but that the rest of Mariupol, a key port city, had been “liberated.” 

Biden claimed, “There is no evidence Mariupol has fallen,” but weeks of Russian bombing has all but flattened much of the city.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk demanded Russia allow for the evacuation of civilians and wounded soldiers from the plant through a humanitarian corridor.

“There are about 1,000 civilians and 500 wounded soldiers there. They all need to be pulled out of Azovstal today,” Vereshchuk said in an online post Thursday.

Vereshchuk also said four buses were able to evacuate civilians from Mariupol on Wednesday.

More than 100,000 Ukrainians are believed to be trapped in Mariupol, where 400,000 people lived before Russia invaded the country on February 24.

“The conditions there are truly horrific,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday at a diplomatic conference in Panama. He underscored that attempted humanitarian corridors to allow Mariupol residents to escape “have fallen apart very quickly.” 

The fight over Mariupol is part of a broader Russian offensive in the strategically important Donbas region, where Moscow has been boosting its military presence.

“Moscow’s current objective is to broaden its control in the east and south. Ideally, they would like to grab Kharkiv and Odesa,” John Herbst, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told VOA. “But those are tall orders. They may have to settle for Mariupol.”

On March 25, following losses in northern Ukraine, Moscow announced a major shift in strategy and removed forces from the north, including the suburbs of the capital, Kyiv, to consolidate military gains in the Donbas and establish a land bridge to the Crimea Peninsula, which it seized in 2014. 

Analysts say if Russian forces gain complete control of the Donbas, their diplomats will hold a stronger hand in peace negotiations and be in a better position to demand autonomy for the region.

“But even if (Putin) makes large gains in the east and south and accepts a settlement that gives him control of his new conquests, that does not mean that he will be satisfied,” Herbst said.   

U.S. Defense Department analysts say the battle for the Donbas region, where fighting has been ongoing since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, could last for months more. 

The United States slapped new sanctions Wednesday on dozens more individuals and entities accused of evading ongoing financial penalties imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

“The Department of Treasury sanctions Transkapitalbank — a key Russian commercial bank that has offered services to banks globally to evade international sanctions, and more than 40 individuals and entities that are part of a Russian sanctions-evasion network led by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. 

Psaki said Washington also has imposed sanctions on companies in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry and applied visa restrictions on more than 600 individuals in response to human rights abuses by Russia and Belarus.

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UK Lawmakers OK Probe Into PM Boris Johnson’s Alleged Lies

British lawmakers on Thursday ordered a parliamentary investigation into Prime Minister Boris Johnson for allegedly lying about whether he broke coronavirus restrictions by attending illegal gatherings during the pandemic.

The move, approved by cries of “aye” and without a formal vote in the House of Commons, means Parliament’s Committee of Privileges will investigate whether Johnson knowingly misled Parliament — historically a resigning offense if proven.

The probe piles more pressure on a Conservative prime minister whose grip on power has been shaken by claims he flouted the pandemic rules he imposed on the country, then repeatedly failed to own up to it.

The move was instigated by the opposition Labour Party and passed after the government abandoned efforts to get Conservative lawmakers to block it. Johnson’s Conservatives have a substantial majority in Parliament, but many lawmakers were uneasy with the prime minister’s behavior.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the move sought to uphold “the simple principle that honesty, integrity and telling the truth matter in our politics.”

“It is a British principle … guiding members from every political party in this House,” Starmer said. “But it is a principle under attack.”

Johnson was not present for the decision on a scandal that has rocked his leadership of the country and the Conservative Party. He was more than 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) away in India, insisting he wanted to “get on with the job” of leading the country.

Johnson was fined 50 pounds ($66) by police last week for attending his own birthday party in his office in June 2020, when people in Britain were barred from meeting up with friends and family, or even visiting dying relatives. Johnson is the first British prime minister ever found to have broken the law while in office.

He has apologized, but denied he knowingly broke the rules. Johnson’s shifting defense — initially saying there were no illegal gatherings, then claiming it “did not occur to me” that the birthday event was a party — has drawn derision and outrage from opponents, who have called for him to quit.

“The truth is simple and it’s this – he lied to avoid getting caught, and once he got caught, he lied again,” Scottish National Party lawmaker Ian Blackford said in the House of Commons.

Usually lawmakers are forbidden from accusing one another of lying, but Blackford was not reprimanded by the Speaker.

A growing number of Conservatives are uncomfortable about defending a leader who broke rules he imposed on the country. A few have called openly for Johnson to go, and the number is growing. Others are waiting to see whether public anger translates into Conservative losses at local elections on May 5.

“It is utterly depressing to be asked to defend the indefensible,” said Conservative legislator William Wragg. “Each time part of us withers.”

Lawmaker Steve Baker, until now a prominent supporter, said that Johnson “should be long gone” for violating the “letter and spirit” of the rules.”

“I’ll certainly vote for this motion,” he said. “But really, the prime minister should just know the gig’s up.”

The Committee of Privileges probe will not start until twin police and civil-service investigations into “partygate” have concluded.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating 16 events, including “bring your own booze” office parties and “wine time Fridays” in Johnson’s 10 Downing St. office and other government buildings. Police are probing a dozen of the events and so far have handed out at least 50 fines, including ones to Johnson, his wife Carrie and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak. Johnson could still face more police fines.

Johnson and his allies argue that it would be reckless for the country to change leaders now amid the war in Ukraine and a cost-of-living squeeze sparked by soaring prices for energy and food.

As he flew to India for a two-day visit focused on boosting economic ties, Johnson again denied knowingly misleading Parliament and insisted he would lead the Conservatives into the next national election, due by 2024.

“I have absolutely nothing, frankly, to hide,” Johnson told Sky News during his visit to the western Indian state of Gujarat. “I want to get on with the job that I was elected to do.”

Posted by Worldkrap on

Trauma and Shattered Dreams: How War Impacts Ukraine’s Children

Explosions, death, displacement, and fear. The Russian invasion of Ukraine will have long-term consequences for Ukrainians and especially for the many children that have been uprooted from their when their families had to flee the fighting. VOA’s Celia Mendoza has more from a refugee center in Poland.

Posted by Worldkrap on

US to Streamline Admittance of Ukrainian Refugees

More Ukrainian refugees will be allowed to come to the United States under a new plan announced by the Biden administration Thursday.

So far, many Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia and trying to come to the U.S. have tried via the border with Mexico, but the new plan will make that route more difficult while streamlining applications.

Some 3,300 Ukrainians have sought refuge via the southern border in March, the Reuters news agency reported.

The U.S. is expecting up to about 100,000 refugees, with 15,000 already in the country since the war started February 24.

“We are proud to deliver on President [Joe] Biden’s commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression to the United States,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement announcing the effort.

“The Ukrainian people continue to suffer immense tragedy and loss as a result of Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on their country,” he added, referencing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. says more Ukrainian refugees want to remain close to Ukraine because they hope to return one day.

To qualify under the new “Uniting for Ukraine” program, which starts next week, applicants must have been in Ukraine as of February 11, have a family sponsor, be vaccinated and pass a background check. 

If allowed to enter, refugees will be allowed to stay for up to two years. They will not be on a path toward citizenship.

Some 5 million Ukrainians have fled their country since the war started. 

 

Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press and Reuters. 

 

Posted by Ukrap on

Данія надасть Україні близько 90 мільйонів доларів військової допомоги – Фредеріксен

Прем’єр-міністерка також запропонувала допомогу Данії у відбудові звільнених від російських військ територій України

Posted by Ukrap on

Битва за Донбас: українські бійці на передовій східного фронту (фотогалерея)

ЗСУ облаштовують нові оборонні позиції на Донбасі, де розгортається нова хвиля широкомасштабного вторгнення Росії в Україну.

Posted by Ukrap on

Зеленський: Росія останнім часом блокує гуманітарні коридори з Маріуполя

Posted by Worldkrap on

US Preparing New Military Aid for Ukraine   

U.S. President Joe Biden is due to speak Thursday about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including U.S. aid for Kyiv as his administration prepares another round of security assistance that is expected to total about $800 million.

The United States announced a similarly sized package last week, and the new aid is expected to include more artillery and tens of thousands more artillery rounds, which will likely be critical to the fighting in the eastern Donbas region.

Earlier in the week, Biden confirmed to reporters that he will send more artillery to Ukraine.

“Out of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority Congress granted for this fiscal year, we have used over $2.4 billion to provide Ukraine the military equipment and capabilities they need to defend themselves,” a senior administration official told VOA. “We are continuing to look at additional security assistance we can provide to Ukraine, and there are additional authorities we can draw on if needed.”

The $3.5 billion is part of the $13.6 billion Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act Congress approved in March.

President confers with military leaders

As Russia launched new attacks Wednesday on the embattled Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Biden convened his military leadership to get the latest assessment of the Russian invasion.

“I want to hear from all of you and your assessments on what you’re seeing in the field and across our forces,” Biden said to top military brass at the White House before his meeting. “The strategic environment is evolving rapidly in the world, but that means our plans and force posture have to be equally dynamic.”

Biden met with combatant commanders, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, and approximately two dozen other military leaders and national security advisers.

Earlier Wednesday, the U.S. slapped new sanctions on dozens more individuals and entities accused of evading ongoing financial penalties imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

“The Department of Treasury sanctions Transkapitalbank — a key Russian commercial bank that has offered services to banks globally to evade international sanctions, and more than 40 individuals and entities that are part of a Russian sanctions-evasion network led by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Psaki said Washington also has imposed sanctions on companies in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry and applied visa restrictions on more than 600 individuals in response to human rights abuses by Russia and Belarus.

Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, told VOA that in addition to military assistance and economic sanctions, Washington must start thinking about plausible end states of the conflict.

“And then, think of what we can do to encourage the parties, working with other outside actors, even the Chinese perhaps, to try to get to some kind of a place we can all live with, compared to the alternative of this turning into a multi-month or even multi-year conflict,” O’Hanlon said. “But for the short term, we’re just trying to help the Ukrainians not lose.”

Battle for Mariupol

More than 100,000 Ukrainians are believed to be trapped in Mariupol, where 400,000 people lived before Russia invaded the country on February 24.

“The conditions there are truly horrific,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday at a diplomatic conference in Panama. He underscored that attempted humanitarian corridors to allow Mariupol residents to escape “have fallen apart very quickly.”

The fight over Mariupol is part of a broader Russian offensive in the strategically important Donbas region, where Moscow has been boosting its military presence.

“Moscow’s current objective is to broaden its control in the East and South. Ideally, they would like to grab Kharkiv and Odesa,” John E. Herbst, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told VOA. “But those are tall orders. They may have to settle for Mariupol.”

On March 25, following losses in northern Ukraine, Moscow announced a major shift in strategy and removed forces from the north, including the suburbs of the capital, Kyiv, to consolidate military gains in the Donbas and establish a land bridge to Crimea.

Analysts say if Russian forces gain complete control of the Donbas, their diplomats will hold a stronger hand in peace negotiations and be in a better position to demand autonomy for the region.

“But even if he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] makes large gains in the East and South and accepts a settlement that gives him control of his new conquests, that does not mean that he will be satisfied,” Herbst said.

U.S. Defense Department analysts say the battle for the Donbas region, where fighting has been ongoing since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, could last for months more.

VOA’s Anita Powell and Steve Redisch contributed to this report. Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

Posted by Worldkrap on

Putin Tells Military Not to Storm Last Holdouts in Mariupol   

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered his forces not to storm a steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol where the last remaining Ukrainian forces have been holed up.  

Putin told Sergei Shoigu, his defense minister, in a televised meeting that Russian forces should blockade the plant “so that a fly cannot not pass through,” and that going forward with a plan to storm the site would unnecessarily risk Russian troops.  

Shoigu told Putin that there were 2,000 Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal plant, but that the rest of Mariupol, a key port city, had been “liberated.”  

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk demanded Russia allow for the evacuation of civilians and wounded soldiers from the plant through a humanitarian corridor. 

“There are about 1,000 civilians and 500 wounded soldiers there. They all need to be pulled out of Azovstal today,” Vereshchuk said in an online post Thursday. 

Vereshchuk also said four buses were able to evacuate civilians from Mariupol on Wednesday.   

More than 100,000 Ukrainians are believed to be trapped in Mariupol, where 400,000 people lived before Russia invaded the country on February 24.        

      

“The conditions there are truly horrific,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday at a diplomatic conference in Panama. He underscored that attempted humanitarian corridors to allow Mariupol residents to escape “have fallen apart very quickly.”      

      

The fight over Mariupol is part of a broader Russian offensive in the strategically important Donbas region, where Moscow has been boosting its military presence.        

    

“Moscow’s current objective is to broaden its control in the East and South. Ideally, they would like to grab Kharkiv and Odesa,” John E. Herbst, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told VOA. “But those are tall orders. They may have to settle for Mariupol.”    

    

On March 25, following losses in northern Ukraine, Moscow announced a major shift in strategy and removed forces from the north, including the suburbs of the capital, Kyiv, to consolidate military gains in the Donbas and establish a land bridge to Crimea.      

    

Analysts say if Russian forces gain complete control of the Donbas, their diplomats will hold a stronger hand in peace negotiations and be in a better position to demand autonomy for the region.     

    

“But even if he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] makes large gains in the East and South and accepts a settlement that gives him control of his new conquests, that does not mean that he will be satisfied,” Herbst said.    

    

U.S. Defense Department analysts say the battle for the Donbas region, where fighting has been ongoing since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, could last for months more.      

U.S. President Joe Biden is due to speak Thursday about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including U.S. aid for Kyiv as his administration prepares another round of security assistance that is expected to total about $800 million.   

The United States announced a similarly sized package last week, and the new aid is expected to include more artillery and tens of thousands more artillery rounds, which will likely be critical to the fighting in the eastern Donbas region.   

      

Earlier in the week, Biden confirmed to reporters that he will send more artillery to Ukraine.     

      

“Out of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority Congress granted for this fiscal year, we have used over $2.4 billion to provide Ukraine the military equipment and capabilities they need to defend themselves,” a senior administration official told VOA. “We are continuing to look at additional security assistance we can provide to Ukraine, and there are additional authorities we can draw on if needed.”      

      

The $3.5 billion is part of the $13.6 billion Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act Congress approved in March.      

      

The United States slapped new sanctions Wednesday on dozens more individuals and entities accused of evading ongoing financial penalties imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.     

      

“The Department of Treasury sanctions Transkapitalbank — a key Russian commercial bank that has offered services to banks globally to evade international sanctions, and more than 40 individuals and entities that are part of a Russian sanctions-evasion network led by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.      

      

Psaki said Washington also has imposed sanctions on companies in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry and applied visa restrictions on more than 600 individuals in response to human rights abuses by Russia and Belarus.     

      

Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, told VOA that in addition to military assistance and economic sanctions, Washington must start thinking about plausible end states of the conflict.     

      

“And then, think of what we can do to encourage the parties, working with other outside actors, even the Chinese perhaps, to try to get to some kind of a place we can all live with, compared to the alternative of this turning into a multimonth or even multiyear conflict,” O’Hanlon said. “But for the short term, we’re just trying to help the Ukrainians not lose.”         

    

VOA’s Anita Powell and Steve Redisch contributed to this report.  Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters. 

Posted by Ukrap on

Двоє людей загинули, 8 поранені через обстріли Донеччини минулої доби – МВС

«Руйнувань зазнали щонайменше 23 цивільні об’єкти – житлові будинки, школа, фабрика, комунікації»

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Не тільки «русскій воєнний корабль»: «Укрпошта» анонсувала ще одну марку

Від 20 квітня знамениту марку з російським крейсером більше не продають у відділеннях «Укрпошти»

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Голови урядів Іспанії та Данії прибули до Києва для зустрічі з Зеленським

«Щойно приїхав до Києва. Україна має підтримку, солідарність і відданість Іспанії» – Педро Санчес

Posted by Worldkrap on

French Rivals Macron, Le Pen Debate in Final Days Before Election

French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Thursday prepared for a final rush of campaigning before France’s presidential election after an acrimonious debate where they clashed over relations with Russia and the Islamic headscarf.

France faces a stark choice in Sunday’s second-round run-off between the centrist Macron and the anti-immigration Le Pen, who will seek to become the country’s first far-right head of state in an outcome that would send shockwaves around Europe.

There are just two days of campaigning left as Saturday is a day of calm with no campaigning allowed.

On Thursday, Macron was due to meet voters in the north of Paris and Le Pen to hold a rally in the northern city of Arras.

Wednesday’s bruising three-hour live televised debate saw Macron repeatedly seeking to land punches on Le Pen over her record, while she sought to keep the focus on the government’s performance.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine overshadowing the campaign, Macron angrily zeroed in on a loan Le Pen’s party had taken from a Czech-Russian bank ahead of her 2017 election campaign.

“You are dependent on the Russian government, and you are dependent on Mr. (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” Macron said. “When you speak to Russia you are speaking to your banker.”

Macron also referred to Le Pen’s past recognition of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. “Why did you do this?” he asked.

Le Pen replied that she was “an absolutely and totally free woman,” arguing that her party had only taken that loan as it could not find financing in France where banks refused to lend to her.

Macron adopted a variety of poses to express skepticism at her arguments, raising his eyebrows, leaning his chin on his fists and lamenting in apparent bewilderment “Madame Le Pen… Madame Le Pen!”

 ‘Civil war’ 

The most explosive clash came when Le Pen confirmed she was sticking to her controversial policy of banning the wearing of the Islamic headscarf by women in public, describing it as a “uniform imposed by Islamists.”

Macron responded: “You are going to cause a civil war if you do that. I say this sincerely.”

She also vowed to put an end to “anarchic and massive” immigration into France, claiming it was worsening crime, which she said was becoming “unbearable” for people all over the country.

The priority for Le Pen was to avoid a repeat of the 2017 run-off debate where Macron managed to make her look flustered and sometimes not on top of her brief.

She sought to put heat on the president, mocking how the “Mozart of finance” had left a “bad” economic legacy that included an extra 600 billion euros ($650 billion) in national debt.

“It’s not Gerard Majax (on TV) this evening,” retorted Macron, referring to a well-known French television conjurer. “You never explain how you will finance your projects and you are not honest with people.”

Turning to Europe, Le Pen insisted she wanted to stay in the European Union but reform the bloc into an “alliance of nations.”

“Your policy is to leave Europe,” Macron responded, describing the election as a “referendum for or against the EU.”

There were also intense exchanges on daily concerns such as the rising cost of living, which Le Pen has made a major feature of her campaign.

Both candidates have their eyes on voters who backed third-placed hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round. He has refused to urge his supporters to vote for Macron in order to keep Le Pen out of the Elysee Palace.

Le Pen said she had seen people “suffering” over the first five years of Macron’s rule and that “another choice is possible.”

Macron replied that “we must and should improve people’s daily lives through major projects for the school and health systems.”

Tighter race

Macron is favored to win the run-off, with most polls showing an advantage of more than 10 percent, which would make him the first French president to win a second term since Jacques Chirac in 2002.

But analysts and allies of the president have warned the result is far from a foregone conclusion, with polls indicating that more than 10 percent of French people who intend to cast their ballots have yet to decide who to vote for.

Supporters of both camps celebrated the performances of their candidates, with Macron brandishing his trademark self-confidence and Le Pen avoiding the pitfalls of 2017.

But the challenger did not at any moment cause Macron discomfort, while the president adopted a much more aggressive approach.

“Macron on the attack, Le Pen on the defensive,” headlined the Le Parisien daily in its Thursday edition. The left-leading Liberation said Le Pen was “vague on numerous subjects” and Macron “arrogant.”

A snap opinion poll by Elabe for BFM TV said 59 percent of viewers found Macron the most convincing and that 39 percent plumped for Le Pen.

“Such a waste,” tweeted Melenchon. “The country deserved better.

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Elon Musk’s Tesla Races Ahead of Rising Costs With Price Hikes

Tesla, Inc. results surged past Wall Street expectations Wednesday, as higher prices helped insulate the electric vehicle maker from supply chain chaos and rising costs.

The results also should trigger $23 billion in new payouts to CEO Elon Musk, already the world’s richest man.

Tesla has been an outlier since the pandemic outbreak, posting record deliveries and earnings for several quarters when rivals wrestling with global supply chain snarls rolled out production halts.

Shares of Tesla rose 5% after the close of regular trading. On an investor conference call, Musk said Tesla has a reasonable shot at achieving 60% vehicle delivery growth this year and remains confident of seeing 50% annual delivery growth for several years.

Tesla raised its prices in China, the United States and other countries, after Musk said in March the U.S. electric carmaker was facing significant inflationary pressure in raw materials and logistics amid the crisis in Ukraine.

“Our own factories have been running below capacity for several quarters as supply chain became the main limiting factor, which is likely to continue through the rest of 2022,” Tesla said in a statement.

The price increases are designed to cover higher costs for the next six to 12 months, which protects Tesla on orders for cars that it may not deliver for a year.

“Price increases are nicely exceeding cost inflation,” said Craig Irwin at Roth Capital.

“Chinese production issues seem well managed, and we expect Austin and Berlin to make up the slack from Shanghai’s 19-day outage,” he said referring to Tesla’s two new factories in Texas and Germany which have started deliveries in recent months.

The results let Musk meet a hat trick of performance goals worth a combined $23 billion in new compensation. He receives no salary, and his pay package requires Tesla’s market capitalization and financial growth to hit a series of escalating targets.

The world’s most valuable automaker said revenue was $18.8 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, versus estimates of $17.8 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. This is up 81% from a year earlier.

Revenue from sales of its regulatory credits to other automakers jumped 31% to $679 million in the first quarter from a year earlier, helping boost revenue and profits.

Its earnings per share was $3.22, beatings analysts’ estimates of $2.26.

Tesla’s pre-tax profit (EBITDA) per vehicle delivered rose by more than 60% to $16,203 in the latest quarter compared with a year earlier.

Tesla said it has lost about a month of build volume out of its Shanghai factory due to COVID-related shutdowns. It said production is resuming at limited levels, which will affect total build and delivery volume in the second quarter.

Musk expected Tesla’s total production in the current quarter to be similar to that of the first quarter.

Lithium is software

Musk said lithium is responsible for cost increases and “a limiting factor” to EV growth.

He encouraged companies to get into the lithium business, which he said would generate high margins thanks to high prices.

“The lithium margins right now are practically software margins … Do you like minting money? Well, the lithium business is for you.”

He also said Tesla will have “some exciting announcements in the months to come” regarding securing raw materials for batteries.

Musk said its own 4680 battery cells would become a risk to production next year if it does not solve volume production by early 2023. “But we’re highly confident of doing so.” He also said as a risk mitigation, it will also use its existing, 2170 batteries for vehicles being made in Texas.

Musk said Tesla expects to mass produce a robotaxi with no steering wheel or pedal by 2024.

During the call, Musk did not mention Twitter, which he offered to buy last week for $43 billion. Investors are concerned that he may sell some Tesla stocks or borrow against additional Tesla shares to finance his bid.

Investors also worry about Musk being distracted by his Twitter bid at a time when Tesla is ramping up production at new factories in Berlin and Texas.

“Factory ramps take time, and Gigafactory Austin and Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg will be no different,” Tesla said in a statement.

The new factories will be key to meeting demand and reducing reliance on its China factory, its biggest one, which is recovering from a plant shutdown.

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Turkey’s Top Diplomat to Visit Israel on May 24 Amid Efforts to Mend Fences

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he will visit Israel on May 24 amid increasing efforts between the regional rivals to mend ties, four years after they expelled ambassadors.

Turkey and Israel have in recent weeks been working to mend their long-strained ties, and energy has emerged as a potential area of cooperation.

President Tayyip Erdogan said last month he was “very, very hopeful” for energy cooperation with Israel, and he hoped to discuss the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

On Tuesday, Erdogan said he told his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog that he was “very upset” by Palestinians injured or killed in the West Bank and Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The two countries expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs over the Palestinian conflict, Turkish support of the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza, and other issues.

Speaking to broadcaster CNN Turk, Cavusoglu said he will travel to Israel and Palestine with Energy Minister Fatih Donmez on May 24 and would discuss the appointment of ambassadors with his Israeli counterpart during the visit.

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Biden Convenes Top Military Leaders to Discuss Ukraine

As Russia launched new attacks Wednesday on the embattled Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, President Joe Biden convened his military leadership to get the latest assessment of the Russian invasion.

“I want to hear from all of you and your assessments on what you’re seeing in the field and across our forces,” Biden said to his top military brass at the White House before his meeting. “The strategic environment is evolving rapidly in the world, but that means our plans and force posture have to be equally dynamic.”

Biden met with combatant commanders, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and approximately two dozen other military leaders and national security advisers.

Earlier Wednesday, the U.S. slapped fresh sanctions on dozens more individuals and entities accused of evading ongoing financial penalties imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

“The Department of Treasury sanctions Transkapitalbank — a key Russian commercial bank that has offered services to banks globally to evade international sanctions, and more than 40 individuals and entities that are part of a Russian sanctions-evasion network led by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Psaki said Washington also has imposed sanctions on companies in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry and applied visa restrictions on more than 600 individuals in response to human rights abuses by Russia and Belarus.

A day earlier, reports emerged that Biden’s administration was preparing another large military aid package for Ukraine. The size would be similar to the $800 million package announced just last week and is expected to include more artillery and tens of thousands more artillery rounds, which will likely be critical to the fighting in the eastern Donbas region.

Earlier in the week, Biden confirmed to reporters that he will send more artillery to Ukraine.

“Out of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority Congress granted for this fiscal year, we have used over $2.4 billion to provide Ukraine the military equipment and capabilities they need to defend themselves,” a senior administration official told VOA. “We are continuing to look at additional security assistance we can provide to Ukraine, and there are additional authorities we can draw on if needed.”

The $3.5 billion is part of the $13.6 billion Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act that Congress approved in March.

Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, told VOA that in addition to military assistance and economic sanctions, Washington must start thinking about plausible end states of the conflict.

“And then, think of what we can do to encourage the parties, working with other outside actors, even the Chinese perhaps, to try to get to some kind of a place we can all live with, compared to the alternative of this turning into a multimonth or even multiyear conflict,” O’Hanlon said. “But for the short term, we’re just trying to help the Ukrainians not lose.”

Battle for Mariupol

More than 100,000 Ukrainians are believed to be trapped in Mariupol, where 400,000 people lived before Russia invaded the country Feb. 24.

“The conditions there are truly horrific,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday at a diplomatic conference in Panama. He underscored that attempted humanitarian corridors to allow Mariupol residents to escape “have fallen apart very quickly.”

The fight over Mariupol is part of a broader Russian offensive in the strategically important Donbas region, where Moscow has been boosting its military presence.

“Moscow’s current objective is to broaden its control in the East and South. Ideally, they would like to grab Kharkiv and Odesa,” John E. Herbst, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told VOA. “But those are tall orders. They may have to settle for Mariupol.”

On March 25, following losses in northern Ukraine, Moscow announced a major shift in strategy and removed forces from the north, including the suburbs of the capital, Kyiv, to consolidate military gains in the Donbas and establish a land bridge to Crimea.

Analysts say if Russian forces gain complete control of the Donbas, their diplomats will hold a stronger hand in peace negotiations and be in a better position to demand autonomy for the region.

“But even if he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] makes large gains in the East and South and accepts a settlement that gives him control of his new conquests, that does not mean that he will be satisfied,” Herbst said.

U.S. Defense Department analysts say the battle for the Donbas region, where fighting has been ongoing since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, could last for months more.

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Макрон і Ле Пен провели дебати перед другим туром виборів у Франції

Макрон розкритикував Ле Пен за її зв’язки з Росією, вказав на кредит, взятий її партією у 2014 році в російсько-чеському банку