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BREAKING NEWS: 1600 HRS Breaking: Russia is beginning to withdraw some forces from around the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, in what the US assesses is a “major” strategy shift, two senior US officials state. US is already observing movements underway of Russian Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) 1/

DEPUTY RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTER ANNOUCES PLAN TO drastically” reduce military activity in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv.

Teams had been meeting in Istanbul to try and agree a ceasefire, and an end to the conflict in Ukraine.

Roman Abramovich was present for the talks, but not officially part of the negotiating teams.

Meanwhile, Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky told Russian state television that he hoped a statement would be released in several hours.

Kyiv’s delegation has revealed some of what was covered in Istanbul this morning.

Ukraine’s negotiators say a “security guarantee system” was discussed, which would include measures like having no foreign military bases on its territory.

Countries such as Turkey, Poland and Canada are seen as being the guarantors in that process.

Negotiators added a referendum would likely be held over any Russian terms, and that Ukraine would want full peace agreements in place.

Ukraine would agree to neutral status if its proposals are agreed, they added.

Russia simply described the talks as “constructive” and that the outcome would be reported to Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu earlier repeated comments that suggested Moscow may be preparing for a climb down from its initial stated aims in the invasion – and, potentially, seeking to justify a peace settlement while attempting to avoid perceptions of a humiliating defeat in the conflict.

The Russian Defence Ministry announced after the meeting that it plans to “drastically” reduce military activity in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv, for the benefit of peace talks. ” Bearing in mind the principles discussed today during today’s meeting, in order to increase mutual trust and create the necessary conditions to carry out the negotiations and reach the joint objective of signing an agreement, the decision was taken to drastically reduce the activity military in Kyiv and Chernihiv”, said Alexander Fomin, Russian deputy defence minister, according to the Ria news agency.

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Donations to Ukraine refugees in Caldas da Rainha area


Attn: those living in Caldas da Rainha area.

In order to help offer support to Ukrainian refugees here in the Caldas and surrounding areas, please feel free to leave any donations of food clothing and household items at the following ,

Paviilion Arneirnesse

Rua Eng Manuel da Maia.

In Caldas da Rainha.


Accommodating refugees – important notice

Under no circumstances should refugees be housed without the knowledge of the relevant municipality as this could affect the rights for health and social care services for the refugees.

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Lisbon, March 22, 2022 (Lusa) – Around 1,000 parishes were identified this year as priorities for cleaning forests, as part of measures to combat rural fires, according to an order published today in Diário da República.

The order adds that there are 1,001 priority parishes for the purpose of monitoring fuel management this year, one less than in 2021.

In a statement, the Ministry of Internal Administration states that “the identification of these priority parishes allows an efficient use of the human and technical resources of the entities involved in the inspection of compliance with the rules for cleaning the land, in a territorial dimension that exceeds six million hectares”.

“The timely treatment of the accumulation and continuities of vegetation within the scope of the secondary network of fuel management strips is one of the main measures that contribute to the protection of people, animals and property against rural fires”, says the order signed by the secretary of health. State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar, and by the Secretary of State for Nature Conservation, Forests and Territorial Planning, João Paulo Catarino.

However, the document indicates that the definition of these priorities “does not exempt inspection agents from complying with all the provisions set out in the legislation for the management of rural dwellings, and does not limit their scope of inspection to the aforementioned areas and deadlines”.

According to the order, the inspection of fuel management in the 1,001 priority parishes is carried out between 1st and 31st May on land adjacent to buildings in rural areas (within a range of 50 meters) and population centers, as well as campsites, industrial parks, logistics platforms and sanitary landfills in forest areas (within a range of 100 meters).


There priority parishes in the Algarve for inspections are: Aljezur. Bordeira. Ameixial. Salir, Alferce. Marmelete, Monchique, São Brás de Alportel, Cachopo, Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo, Vila do Bispo e Raposeira, Monte Gordo and Vila Real de Santo António.

The order with full list of parishes can be downloaded here:

Details on Land cleaning here:…/land…/

COMMENTThis does not mean that those properties not included in these parishes will not be inspected. If properties are overgrown these still need to be cleaned and are liable for inspection.

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The report of overnight developments up to 0800 hrs today, plus 24 hrs up to 1800 hrs yesterday, summarized under various headings, can be downloaded here:…/

Early this morning sirens were activated in Cherkasy, Dnipro, Lviv, Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Odesa, Vinnytsia, Kirovohrad, and Khmelnytskyi Oblasts, as well as in the cities of Kyiv, Izyum, Kremenchuk, Bila Tserkva, Nikopol, Mykolaiv, Kyiv, Izmail, Odesa, Poltava, and the Kryve Ozero area. (KI). CNN reports that according to their team on the ground, loud explosions were heard in Kyiv’s suburbs.

Bombardment of the capital city continued overnight, with plumes of smoke seen rising above a large residential building in western Kyiv this morning. Shrapnel from an artillery shell hit the 12-story building, obliterating the top floor and igniting a fire. Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said two people were injured and work is ongoing to search for any victims.

Russian troops seize hospital and take 500 hostage in southern port city of Mariupol (BBC);

According to a senior US Defence official, Russian forces have fired more than 950 missiles since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.


The United States “continues to assess the limited or no progress of Russian ground forces towards achieving their objectives,” the same official said, noting that invading troops have not advanced further into Kiev and estimating that they are still around 15 to 30 kms away from the capital.

Two people have been injured, according to Odesa authorities. Satellite images showed 14 ships of the Russian fleet sailing towards the city of Odesa on March 15, among them a 120-meter landing ship Pyotr Morgunov of Russia’s northern fleet. (See map)

As of the morning of March 16, the Armed Forces of Ukraine delivered a devastating blow to groups of invading Russian forces in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and launched a counter-attack in some areas. “The state, situation and nature of the actions of defence forces have not changed significantly over the past 24 hours. The Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to deliver a devastating blow to groups of occupiers’ troops in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and launched a counter-attack in some areas,” the statement reads. (Ukrinform)

US – The US Senate has condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. The conviction was passed unanimously. It was a rare show of unity in the US Congress, which is heavily divided between Republicans and Democrats. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the US Congress this Wednesday.

PEACE TALKS – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said peace talks with Russia were beginning to sound “more realistic” but that more time was needed to ensure the outcome of the negotiations were in Kyiv’s interests. Zelenskyy’s comments early on Wednesday came as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine neared the three-week mark and Russian forces continued their bombardment of Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv, and the southern port city of Mariupol. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskyy and member of the Ukrainian delegation, has described the negotiations as “very difficult and viscous”. The two sides are expected to speak again on Wednesday. (Aljazeera)

REFUGEES TO PORTUGAL – Portugal has already granted more than 10,000 requests for temporary protection to people coming from Ukraine as a result of the war situation, according to an updated balance sheet to Lusa by a source from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).

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“There is, at the moment, no reason to foresee the possibility of food shortages”, clarifies the Portugal’s Ministry of Agriculture following news that report the possibility of food shortages and the increase in food prices.

The note states that “in terms of food prices, there is an upward trend across the European Union, due to the high costs of raw materials, fertilizers and energy. This trend could be exacerbated by the current military conflict between Russia and Ukraine”.

The Ministry of Agriculture is, together with the other governmental areas, “carrying out permanent monitoring and follow-up regarding the national food supply. In this regard, it met, on 28 February, with the Monitoring and Assessment Group for the Conditions of Supply of Goods in the Agri-food and Retail Sectors as a result of Market Dynamics, and no risk of disruption in supply was reported. A new meeting with this Group is scheduled for the 21st of March”.

This monitoring is also carried out through the Planning, Policies and General Administration Office, with a meeting of the Consultative Committee for the Cereals Sector with the Portuguese farmers’ confederations scheduled for the 18th of March, and a meeting of the Minister of Agriculture with the confederations, for next Monday, the 14th.

Portugal mainly imports cereals for animal feed from Ukraine, with other alternative origins for these raw materials (South America and North America), with which operators already have contact. In addition, operations and contacts with new suppliers are also underway, as is the case with South Africa”. “Cereals intended for human consumption, such as bread-making wheat, have France as their main import source, and this circuit is stable and consolidated”.…


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Expedition team locates wreckage of explorer’s ship which sank in Weddell Sea in 1915, it has been reported today.

Ernest Shackleton’s lost ice ship, Endurance, has been discovered in the waters of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea. Endurance was crushed and sunk by pack ice in 1915, during Shackleton’s failed attempt to cross the Antarctic continent, and remained lost to the depths for more than a century.

Now, the wreck has been found, filmed and surveyed by members of the Endurance22 expedition, which set out in search of the shipwreck in February 2022. After weeks of surveying the seabed, the shipwreck was located in early March 2022, 100 years after Shackleton died in 1922.

In footage captured by the Endurance22 team using submersible vehicles, Endurance can be seen in exquisite detail, with coils of rope draped across the deck, the ship’s wheel stood upright and the brass ‘Endurance’ lettering emblazoned upon the stern, still shimmering after a century underwater.

Mensun Bound, Endurance22’s Director of Exploration, said of the discovery, “we are overwhelmed by our good fortune in having located and captured images of Endurance. This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact and in a brilliant state of preservation.”

Endurance had not been seen since it was crushed by ice and sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915, and last month the Endurance22 Expedition set off from Cape Town, South Africa, a month after the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s death on a mission to locate it.

Endurance was found at a depth of 3,008 metres and approximately four miles south of the position originally recorded by the ship’s captain, Frank Worsley, the trust said.



      Helping Ukraine in this time of crisis


How to make safe and effective donations

The public, as always in times of crisis, has responded generously to help those in dire need in Ukraine itself or who have escaped to neighbouring countries. It’s important that this money goes to those who need it most, those whose lives have been uprooted by fighting.

The devastating situation in Ukraine has captured the hearts of people leading to an outpouring of public generosity in response to fundraising campaigns. But people should think carefully before donating goods or money, so that their donations reach the people who need it most.



Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been in the countries in conflict for decades and warn that the uncoordinated collection of goods in kind may be held up at the borders with Ukraine, as trucks arrive daily with products from all over the world. To avoid waste – as delivery on the ground requires the reception and management of goods, which is becoming complicated – you can guarantee aid through making financial donations instead, using official organizations.

Portuguese Red Cross

On the organization’s official page there is an explanation of the appeal launched by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICVC) and the means are available for you to make the donation.

Donations can be made by bank transfer, through NIB PT50 0010 0000 3631 9110 0017 4. You can also donate money through MB Way, selecting the option “Ser Solidário” or sent to the number 918 391 794, which belongs to the Emergency of the Portuguese Red Cross.

UNICEF Portugal

In order to help children in Ukraine, UNICEF ​​Portugal created a campaign on its official page with “packs” of help already defined, but you can also select the option “another amount” and donate an amount of your choice. For example, with 15 euros you are guaranteeing food for a full day for seven children. Details and donations here

You can also donate through the Facebook and Instagram of this United Nations NGO.

There are also numerous organizations you can turn to for financial donations, such as Save the Children, Doctors without Borders or Global Giving.

Always look for credible, recognized entities with proven evidence on the ground.


UNHCR urgently need your help to continue providing life-saving protection to families forced to flee their homes.

UNHCR has stepped up our operations and capacity in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. We remain firmly committed to support all affected populations in Ukraine and countries in the region.

With teams across Ukraine and in neighbouring countries hosting refugees from Ukraine, UNHCR is providing protection and humanitarian assistance, including emergency shelters, repairs for homes damaged by shelling, emergency cash assistance, and protection such as psychological support.

Just $13 can provide a plastic tarpaulin to a family in Ukraine, to help them protect their damaged home or shelter from the elements.

How to donate and how the money is spent here


We encourage people making donations to do so with reputable organisations and people you trust and know, to ensure that your money gets to its intended cause safely. Check how the donation will be used and how it will reach those most in need.



From north to south of the country, the wave of solidarity for the Ukrainian people has been overwhelming. Even so, as we have already warned, donations must be made in an organized manner. The most important thing is to ensure the safe transport of the donated goods and their reception at the destination.

A tip to ensure effective support is to know how municipalities are organizing collections. The Association of Ukrainians in Portugal is already in contact with many municipal councils, as they have access to structures and resources, and are helping to coordinate spontaneous manifestations of generosity.

If you decide to donate food, opt for products with a long shelf life to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Dairy products may not be the best options to donate, as there is a high probability that they will spoil on the trip if they are not properly packaged. Consult with the organisations who are responsible for the logistics involved and what is actually required.



The huge delivery of goods, in the most varied cities of the country, also needs volunteers to divide, organize and pack the different products to be sent to the border countries with Ukraine or to the interior of the country. Once again, the recommendation is that you look for a way to help, with your time and contacts organisations such as Association of Ukrainians in Portugal to see how best you can assist.



As the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal has stated that medicines in Ukraine are indeed urgent, to treat the many victims that, unfortunately, are multiplying day by day. Still, drug donation cannot be done lightly. The Ministry of Health recommends that official entities be contacted for the delivery of medicines and medical devices, “not only to respond to the needs listed by the receiving country, but also to ensure adequate packaging, without jeopardizing the quality and safety of the articles”.



In addition to cash or goods in kind, there are other ways to help.

We Help Ukraine

The platform created by a Portuguese man with the aim of going global – it has already been praised by the President of the Republic – offers different types of support, such as accommodation, transport, documentation or psychological support. Sign up and find out what you can do here .

High Commissioner for Migration (Portugal for Ukraine)

All people interested in helping can also use the e-mail, created by the public body that centralizes the process of welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees in Portugal.  The e-mail serves, for example, to collect offers of employment and volunteering or availability of reception for refugees arriving in Portugal. The platform is entitled PortugalforUkraine and provides information on those who need help as well as wanting to help. Details here


In the Algarve

Associação dos Ucranianos no Algarve.

This association supports Ukrainian’s in the Algarve through donations and collection of goods for example. Their Facebook page is updated regularly concerning their actives and what is needed including drop of points for goods etc. More details here.


Real estate consultants

The country’s real estate consultants have teamed up to put together housing for Ukrainian families. In one week, the team secured 1750 beds from North to South and has 40 volunteers moderate the offers that arrive. If you have a house that you can make available, contact the team through the Facebook group “Real estate consultants for Ukraine”.

The Order of Notaries and the Order of Lawyers are also helping and have the information available on their respective websites.

In order to be able to welcome Ukrainian families, it is also necessary to understand them. If you are a translator or fluent in Portuguese and Ukrainian, it can be a precious help in the near future. Psychological support will also be essential.




Portugal: Civil society mobilises to carry aid to Ukraine

Lisbon, March 3, 2022 (Lusa) – From Portugal to Eastern Europe, civil society has mobilising to take humanitarian aid to Ukraine and the borders, with improvised locations filling up daily with boxes and bags waiting to travel.

The Benfica parish council set up an operations centre to collect goods at the Baldaya Palace in Lisbon, which began on Monday and, having exceeded expectations, will continue until Saturday.

In the library, the books shelves have been hidden behind hundreds of bags and boxes of donations, which were organised on Wednesday and stored in a warehouse, which is still being built.

These goods are waiting to be transported by two trucks that are leaving tonight for Ukraine, a country facing armed conflict for a week after the Russian invasion.

“We have collected more than 60 tonnes, and we have delivered 20 tonnes”, the president of the parish council, Ricardo Marques, told Lusa on Thursday, saying that, since Monday, that room of the palace is filled daily with food, medicines, toys and, above all, clothes.

At the entrance, Filomena Gaspar carries two large bags of clothes. It was all she could bring herself, and for this reason, she was pleased when the president himself told her that they would be collecting goods until Saturday.

“I think all solidarity is good because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and we may need it”, she said.

Shortly before, Deolinda Ribeiro had also arrived with goods to donate. She had been there on Wednesday and would be back again, she told Lusa, stressing that she wanted to help as much as possible.

“The reaction and the contribution have been overwhelming”, noted Ricardo Marques, anticipating that in addition to the two truckloads that have already been delivered to the churches of Arroios and Nossa Senhora do Amparo and then went on to Poland, those that leave later today for a military base in southern Ukraine and the one that, on Tuesday, will make the journey between Benfica and Romania, a sixth will be needed to ensure that all the goods are sent.

Before leaving, Filomena and Deolinda still met Oksana, a Ukrainian living in Portugal, and her nephew Andriy, who arrived on Saturday from Ukraine.

At the end of the week, she will receive more relatives who managed to flee the country, and the help she received in recent days was such that she wanted to share with her compatriots who are still in Ukraine or at the borders.

“In a situation like this, no one can be indifferent. And even we, who have this difficulty… On Saturday, we are going to be nine people at home, it’s going to be a bit difficult, but we want to give everything we can because they have nothing there,” he said.

The family was prepared to leave the country, and as soon as the conflict reached the city of Lviv, where they live, some took what they could – little more than their clothes, according to Oksana – and left for the border with Poland. Many stayed behind to fight or because they didn’t want to abandon their children and husbands.

“We had a lot of luck that other people didn’t have,” she stressed emotionally, mentioning that the support shown by the Portuguese has moved her. “You have a huge heart, and I can’t describe it. I have no words to thank each and every one of you,” she added.

On the other side, donations were received by volunteers like João Santos, one of hundreds.

“I’ve been here since the first day”, he told Lusa, reporting that the work was intensifying every day, especially on Wednesday, when all the efforts were concentrated to prepare the trucks of today: “We had a very intensive day, with a very big delivery, we had lots of volunteers working, and we managed to have a lot of material organised here to make the delivery”.

Similar initiatives are multiplying up and down the country – from companies, parishes, municipalities, civic movements, and associations.

In Lisbon, another of the various collection points is at Farmácia Miranda, which, after speaking to a Ukrainian citizen living in Portugal who could transport the goods, decided to join in the aid to Ukraine.

There, the adhesion also exceeded the expectations of the clinical director and the small room where the donated goods are kept and from where they leave daily to a warehouse in Loures was already very busy by mid-morning.

“People are showing a lot of unity and compassion for those who, at this moment, need it most”, explained Mariana Noronha, adding that they’ve managed to deliver a lot of things – including clothes and food, but also medicines and first aid material.

“We’ve had immense generosity from the medical profession”, she added, mentioning that they’ve already received several doctors who have offered to write prescriptions for drugs that can only be made available in this way.

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Here is a round-up of the main news today from various sources: The SITREP can be read in full here in summary format, divided for ease of reading into the following headings: Military operations; Casualties; Peace talks; Russian prisoners; Prime Minister Ukraine; Humanitarian Aid; Communications; Air industry; Cyber security; Portugal; UN Security Council; Financial; Sport, US President; Overseas:…/


On the two main fronts in the east and north, Russia so far has little to show for its advance, with Ukraine’s two biggest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv, holding out in the face of increasingly intense bombardment. (NDTV)

Ukraine’s south-eastern port of Mariupol was under constant shelling from Russia and unable to evacuate the injured while Kherson, on the Black Sea to the west, was completely surrounded by invading forces. A statement from the Mariupol City Council says the city is still under the control of Ukraine. However, they say civilians are being targeted by Russian shelling. (Reuters)

The Ukrainian military says Russian paratroopers have landed in Kharkiv, with the BBC reporting there were immediate clashes as the troops attacked a hospital.

Moscow claims control of the area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and the city of Kherson, but Ukrainian forces guarantee that this port on the Black Sea has not yet fallen into the hands of the invaders. (SIC)

Ukraine said it destroyed two Russian planes in an airborne battle over the capital. Kyiv’s mayor said Russia is gathering forces “closer and closer” to the Ukrainian capital after a long convoy of military vehicles stalled around 20 miles northwest of the city in the early hours of Wednesday. (SkyNews)


The Russian military on Wednesday announced the destruction of 1,502 Ukrainian military installations since the start of the “special operation” in Ukraine, without mentioning casualties on its side, with Ukraine saying that 5,840 Russian soldiers have already been killed in the first days of the conflict.

Ukraine has sharply raised the number of civilians killed in the Russian invasion to over 2,000.

Up to 15,000 people are currently hiding from bombs in the Kyiv metro stations. The figure was provided by Viktor Brahinsky, head of the Ukrainian capital’s metro, and says stations can accommodate up to 100,000 people. At the stations there is water, toilets, food and medicines available.


Russia said it had sent delegates for a second round of peace talks in Belarus. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia must stop bombing if it wanted to negotiate.


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Feature – Russian Invasion of Ukraine – A perspective


By David Thomas, President Safe Communities Portugal

Good morning – Having served in the police for over 30 years and subsequently worked in INTERPOL, I, like many others in policing and the military took an oath of office to protect my country, life and property. Indeed when I formed Safe Communities Portugal some 10 years ago it was mainly because the threat to life and property was threatened in the Algarve through armed overseas gangs targeting isolated residences torturing those concerned to extract details of their bank accounts.

Upon establishing Safe Communities, the association adopted that ethos to do all we could to help the security forces protect citizens of whatever nationality.

Having worked in policing and security for this period; having undertaken projects in Russia and meeting with police and security officials there; having been in the same room as Vladimir Putin (about 5 metres away) in St Petersburg and having listened to him trying to convince top security officials and ministers; that, quote “Russia would be a world leader in fighting corruption”, you can perhaps understand why the current situation concerns me a great deal – particularly where we may be heading.

Putin is an imperialist and wants to make Russia great again – probably whatever the cost. He has an ability to say something, but do the opposite. His demeanour when he spoke about raising Russia’s deterrence forces to a “special regime of combat duty”, was similar to when he spoke about corruption years ago – in simple terms not a person to cross swords with.

The response to this barbaric invasion by Russia, on the orders of President Putin, has resulted in more than 100,000 displaced people and more than one million refugees in Poland, Hungary, Moldova and Romania, including Portuguese citizens. According to the UNHCR (at the time of writing), it has resulted in 227 civilian deaths, including 15 children, and another 525 wounded, including 28 minors, in Ukraine since the beginning of the armed conflict. It has also resulted in massive damage to infrastructure, public buildings, universities and civilian residences in various towns and cities throughout the country. It has had a devastating impact on the population.

Inevitably in a war situation there will be civilian casualties as a result of residences being located close to military installations, for example, but in this case there is overwhelming evidence of Russian military strikes against residences and public buildings – an example being Freedom Square in Kharkiv a cosmopolitan city with 20 universities which was hit by a cruise missile with over 20 dead. An adviser to the President of Ukraine said on Tuesday that Russia’s attacks on residential areas were deliberate and aimed at creating panic. “The veil has fallen. Russia is actively attacking several cities, launching missiles and attacks on residential areas and administrative infrastructure. Russia’s objective is clear: to unleash panic, inflict civilian casualties and destroy infrastructure”, Mykhailo Podolyak said. 

As the Ukrainian President said: Be of little doubt “Ukraine is fighting for its survival” and needs all the support possible – time is running out.

There is some evidence of the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas and more worrying reports that according to the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States of America Oksana Markarova, that one of the worst weapons of war ‘vacuum bombs’ have been used by the Kremlin during the air strikes. The bomb in question, also known as ‘the father of all bombs’ or ‘thermobaric bomb’, was banned by the Geneva Conventions because of its devastating capacity. The longer the war lasts the likelihood is that Putting will resort to the greater use of such lethal weapons.

I therefore welcome the initiative of an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan QC announcing yesterday announcing yesterday that an investigation has commenced into possible war crimes or crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Karim Khan said that although Ukraine was not a member of the ICC, it had awarded jurisdiction to the court. He said that there were grounds to open an investigation based on a previous preliminary investigation on Crimea and the Donbas published last year, and on current events in Ukraine.

This will take time, but the most immediate concern is to restore peace in Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian forces. Clearly from all accounts the invasion is not going to plan, and with considerable resistance by the Ukrainians on the streets defending their country, Russian forces are suffering a higher number of casualties than was likely expected by Vladimir Putin. A possible consequence of this could be the greater use of missile strikes used in an in-discriminatory way causing additional civilian casualties.

Time is of the essence therefore in avoiding the fall of Ukraine to Russian forces, without resulting in a military escalation by Russia that could have European or even global consequences. What happens if Ukraine falls into Putin’s hands?

Putin’s next steps are anyone’s guess, but could possibly be a blockade of Kyiv, remaining in place until Ukraine surrenders on terms demanded by Putin. His aim as recorded yesterday in a call with the French President Emmanuel Macron, was to “de-Nazify Ukraine” which was taken as meaning as seizing control of the whole country, “with worst to come”. Certainly the increase in the intensity of bombardments and increasing areas affected appears to bear this out.

Putin, however, has clearly underestimated the resolve of the global community, which is united and mobilised in its support of Ukraine, through unprecedented sanctions levied against any country, ironically in this case, one that has membership of the UN Security Council. If anyone needs any evidence of this then listen to the speech of European Parliament President Roberta Metsola at the special European Council meeting – a truly empowering speech. She said afterwards “What has to emerge tonight is that the European Union and its member states will continue to act in unison, that we have the political will and the strategic capacity to stand up to the threat posed by Russia and that we will not leave Ukraine alone. That we show solidarity with Ukraine”.

“Doubt, fear and instability are part of Putin’s arsenal. Our shields must be our fundamental principles, our determination and our solidarity with Ukraine and among member states. The fact is that this was not our making. We did not provoke. We did not start a new war on our continent”.

The effect on the Ukrainian population has been devastating. Apart from the casualties, families have been torn apart, women, children and the elderly that cannot escape, living in bunkers underground and many psychologically traumatised.

Apart from the tragedy in Ukraine, all countries are affected by this invasion including Portugal, for example through receiving refugees from Ukraine; our commitment to NATO, and through closures of airspace with Russia. But the effect on the Russian people is far greater. The Kremlin is cracking down on any form of opposition to the invasion with many already being detained. Russia is suffering as well in this senseless war; its people are suffering economically as well as through non-participation in international sports and many other forms of international collaboration. The invasion of Ukraine has already left Russia isolated internationally and will pose a reputational problem for several decades and generations to Russia.

Russia, and in particular Putin, has become a pariah and this will have long term global security, as well as economic, political and social, consequences regardless of the outcome of the Ukraine invasion. We are at a changing point in history!

This article appears in the Portugal News on Thursday 4th February, for which I thank the Editor.