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News Trending War

“We share your pain,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has told a group of mothers of Russian soldiers who have been fighting – and some of whom have been killed – in Ukraine.

“Nothing can replace the loss of a son”, he said in his opening remarks, before the footage on state TV was cut.

Reports that the mothers were carefully picked for the conference have gone unremarked by the Kremlin. The backlash against Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has been mounting.

Mothers of serving soldiers are openly complaining about the fact that their boys are being sent into fight with inadequate equipment and training, particularly as winter approaches.

Following a number of significant military defeats in recent months, some have also claimed that the Russian military is using civilians who were forcibly mobilised as “cannon fodder.”

In a rare acknowledgment, the Kremlin acknowledged that its efforts to mobilise army reservists had been flawed in September.

The most senior US general, Mark Milley, estimated earlier this month that since the war started on February 24, around 100,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or injured. Mr. Putin was pictured seated at a huge table with a group of 17 mothers at the meeting on Friday at his state estate outside of Moscow. Some of them donned mourning accessories like dark headscarves.

The president stated, “I want you to know that I personally, and all the leadership of the country, we share your anguish.

He continued, warning them not to trust “fakes” and “falsehoods” about the raging battle depicted on TV or the internet, saying, “We’ll be doing everything so you won’t be feeling forgotten.”

Soon after Mr Putin launched the full-scale invasion, Russian authorities brought in tough censorship laws against the media, criminalising “dissemination of false information” about its armed forces.

Media outlets face fines or even closure for calling it a war – the Kremlin describes the invasion as a “special military operation”.

That means balanced news can be difficult to get in Russia, leading some people to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass the biased state-run media coverage.

On Friday, President Putin also said he had wanted to meet the mothers to hear from them first-hand about the situation on the ground.

And he revealed that from time to time he was speaking directly to Russian soldiers on the battlefield, describing them as “heroes”.

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Peter Kazimir, the chairman of Slovakia’s central bank, is currently charged with bribery a second time. Charges related to the alleged bribe, which dates back to when he was a finance minister, had previously been withdrawn by the prosecution.

He has denounced the accusation and said he did nothing wrong. Mr. Kazimir is a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank and served as the Slovak finance minister from 2012 to 2019 in the Smer party’s center-left administration.

The National Bank of Slovakia released a statement from him in which he declared, “The accusation that I should have bribed a senior [tax] official is an absolute lie.” “I have not broken any laws.”

The charge was dismissed and the matter was given to prosecutors for examination by the special prosecutor’s office in June. The National Criminal Agency’s decision to reinstate the charges, according to the central bank governor’s attorney, disregarded the prosecutors’ judgement.

Slovakia has long been plagued by corruption. When the centre left took office in 2012, they took the place of a party beset by financial scandals. However, people later voted them out in favour of a new administration that prioritised fighting corruption.

Numerous public officials have now been charged with corruption. Frantisek Imrecze, a former chief of the tax administration who is facing multiple charges and is cooperating with the police, is one of them.

Mr Kazimir was initially charged last year with corruption. According to Slovak media, he was alleged to have acted as an intermediary in giving Mr Imrecze a bribe of nearly €50,000 (£43,000).

However, the case was apparently withdrawn since it relied completely on Mr. Imrecze’s  testimony. In response to a tracking device being discovered under his car, Mr. Imrecze has now requested police protection. According to Slovak media, he feared for his life.

As part of its so-called Mytnik operation into suspicions of corruption in the acquisition of significant IT systems for the financial administration, the National Criminal Agency has charged several people, among them Mr. Imrecze.

Following the discovery of an alleged scam involving discounted textile imports coming into the EU from China by the EU’s anti-fraud office, Olaf, Mr. Imrecze resigned from his position as head of Slovakia’s financial administration in 2018. According to estimates, the losses cost the EU millions of euros in unpaid customs duties and sales taxes.

2018 saw the murder of a young investigative journalist who exposed dishonest businessmen.

After Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova were killed, riots broke out, leading to the resignation of both the police head and Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico.

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According to rescue officials, a newborn baby has been killed in a Russian missile attack on a maternity centre in southern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia area. A doctor and the baby’s mother, who was the only woman in the building at the time, were extricated from the wreckage.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, charged that Russia had brought “horror and bloodshed” to his nation. An important nuclear reactor is located in the Zaporizhzhia region, which has been the target of numerous Russian strikes.

The hospital’s maternity wing was hit by Russian missiles overnight, according to Ukrainian emergency services, in the town of Vilnyansk, which is still under Ukrainian control. Although Ukraine controls the territory, the entire Zaporizhzhia region has been annexed by Russia as a result of phoney referendums held in September.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kupiansk, a town in the Kharkiv region that was retaken by Ukrainian forces in September, was the target of bombardment that resulted in the deaths of two civilians, according to Ukrainian officials.

President Zelensky accused Russia of trying to “accomplish with violence and murder what it was unable to do for nine months” on the battlefield in remarks made following both attacks.

Throughout the nine-month conflict, Russia has attacked a number of hospitals, including one in Mariupol that resulted in the deaths of three people, including a toddler, in March. At the time, Russia claimed that the strike had been faked.

The World Health Organization has documented 703 attacks on health infrastructure since Russia’s invasion began on 24 February – it defines an attack as involving violence as well as threatened violence against hospitals, ambulances and medical supplies.

Russian commanders were probably use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) built in Iran, the UK Ministry of Defence claimed on Wednesday, to “prioritise medical facilities as targets of opportunity and hit them with guided missiles if found.”

Russia has taken control of several areas of the larger Zaporizhzhia region, including the nuclear power facility, which was seized by Russian forces weeks after the invasion started. Zaporizhzhia and other Ukrainian territory were acquired by Russia in September, although they were repelled on the battlefield in the south, particularly in the Kherson region. Across the Dnipro River, the two armies are facing one another.

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“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” said noted Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho in his monumental work “The Alchemist”. Now, it would not be an exaggeration to say that this is what exactly happened in the life of a young boy in North Kerala. More than two decades ago, a Class V student in Mayyil in the hinterlands of Kannur fell in love with wheels. He dreamt big of taking the fast lane to embark on an adventurous journey and conquer greater heights and use the fast lane.

Inspired by APJ Abdul Kalam who exhorted the youth to dream big and pursue it, that little boy took his dream seriously and the universe came together to turn the wheels of fortune in his favor within a short span of time. Two decades later, he is the proud owner of a fleet of high-end cars and is at the helm of a formidable business empire spread across the Gulf countries and Kerala. In a tete-a-tete with Unique Times, Amjad Sithara, who was that boy who dreamt big, opens up on his fascinating entrepreneurial journey and the Midas touch that helped him strike gold in all enterprises he undertook in the wink of an eye.

Young, suave, dashing and ambitious, Amjad has all the qualities of an ace entrepreneur and is second to none of his kind when it comes to clocking one milestone after the other in his business journey. His BCC Group International is a name to reckon with in the Gulf business landscape with a formidable presence in Manpower Service, Construction, Interior Designing and its execution, Transportation, Super Markets, IT, Restaurants, Developer and Real Estate Investment to name a few.

Nurturing a Dream
Born into a middle-class Muslim family, Amjad is the fifth of seven siblings. From childhood, he keenly observed how his elder brothers started small enterprises and successfully enlarged them gradually. Along with that spark to achieve something big in a similar vein, the young boy grew up with an undying passion for wheels. “While I was in Class V, my craze was towards motorcycles,” said Amjad with a smile as he went down memory lane.

He continued narrating how his love for wheels gained enough power to fuel his ambitions to achieve greater things in life. “During my school days, I wanted to become a businessman like my brothers. As far as school was concerned, I had two options before me after Class V-either choose a school that was just a short bus ride away or opt for the Government Higher Secondary School Chattuvappara which was quite distant,” he told Unique Times from his Dubai office via teleconferencing.

His craze for two-wheelers made him opt for the latter in spite of the distance. The reason? His elder brother who ran a footwear, fancy and home appliance shop right opposite that school offered to take him along in the morning and bring him back in the evening after the shop was closed. He also said that if young Amjad assisted him before and after school hours, in return he would teach him how to ride a motorcycle. For Amjad, his brother’s words sounded like manna from above. In return for the ride and the riding lessons, the little boy assisted his brother in more ways than one in the shop. He served as a salesman and also as a cashier, juggling both roles with elan.

“Working in that store during free time every day gave me a lot of experience and knowledge about business,” said the young business magnate, adding that the experience and the acumen gained those years later came in handy when he took the first steps into business. “That was the beginning of the moulding of the businessman within me and I believe it was the right decision guided by the craze for vehicles. I would say that insatiable passion for wheels later forged the resolute businessman in me and helped me take bold and wise decisions later in life,” he quipped with confidence.

Eyeing New Horizons
Even as years passed, his passion for wheels grew alongside the thirst to chart a career abroad and achieve greater heights. After completing his higher secondary education, Amjad did not think twice when he got an offer to shift to the UAE where two of his elder brothers were already working. In 2008, he flew to the Emirates without an inkling of what the Goddess of Fortune had in store for him. With the help of one of his siblings, the teenager landed a job as a PRO in a construction firm. “I handled the documentation of that firm and I was supported by my brother,” he remarked, adding that after a year, he was transferred to the procurement section.

A keen observer with a laser-sharp mind, Amjad used his stint in the procurement division to study the labor supply market inside out. His keen analysis of this segment triggered the entrepreneur in him. Sensing an opportunity in this market, he shared his idea with his brother. Very soon, his brother started a manpower firm in Sharjah. With his skill sets, business acumen and experience gained in his young days, Amjad was able to play a decisive role in expanding his brother’s company within no time.
When he flew to the Emirates, the young man had a dream of getting enough savings to buy an Innova and settle down in his hometown and take care of his brother’s shop. But fate had other plans for this promising lad.

Birth of an Empire

In the annals of Amjad’s entrepreneurial journey, the year 2012 is etched in gold as that was when he went ahead to launch his own firm-BCC. While still working with his brother, the future owner of a conglomerate laid the foundations of BCC in a small 500-sq-ft office space and just one employee. And the rest is history.

Overcoming odds, Amjad’s steely resolve coupled with his hawk-eyed analysis of the market made him achieve one accolade after another. Today, his establishment is a force to reckon with in the UAE with offices in five Emirates and a presence across the country. It counts 7,000 employees spread across various verticals.

Now how did this amazing metamorphosis take place in such a short span of time? With a smile, Amjad began narrating how the seedling he planted became a sapling and then grew into a mighty tree with branches.

During its inception, BCC mainly focused on manpower for a while. Given the farsighted visionary Amjad is, he was in no mood to remain stuck in just a single sector. His childhood experiences provided the impetus to take the plunge and explore new sectors while keenly observing the pulse of the market.

Striking New Roots

From manpower, Amjad took the plunge into the allied transportation sector. “The reason why I made this move was that I was hiring almost 50 vehicles to transport workers. I thought why not have my own fleet of vehicles and make profits out of it?” he recollected with an impish smile. When profits started coming in, Amjad did not rest on his laurels like many others of his ilk.

“I was supplying the construction MEP division. That gave me the spark to venture into the construction field. We were the ones supporting big builders and contractors. That was how I took the next step of building contracting after roping in experienced employees,” he quipped with gusto.

By a quirk of fate, tremors in the market affected many contractors and developers who were the clients of Amjad. When they faced an acute cash crunch, they approached him with a proposal. They told him to take their land, construct the villas and apartments and then sell it. The visionary grabbed the opportunity in no time and there has been no looking back. “Buying land, constructing properties and then selling them became our modus operandi,” he said. Almost all his realty projects are in the Emirates.

Amjad is full of praise for the nation that mentored and nourished him. “The authorities in the Emirates are really supportive. Compared with other nations, the UAE provides great flexibility. It is possible to acquire a licence and get a visa stamped in one day. It is very fast here. Can you imagine something similar back home?” he said with a laugh.

Today, Amjad’s business empire has a presence in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and India apart from all of the Emirates. While BCC Group International is engaged in manpower and construction in Saudi Arabia, in Qatar Amjad has invested in a supermarket.

On an Expansion Spree

While manpower, construction and real estate remain the core areas of focus, Amjad has set new benchmarks for diversification. Almost five years ago, he acquired an IT firm in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates. Today, under his diligent supervision, Telenet Security Solution has more than 100 employees in both white and blue-collar categories.

Even though the Gulf nations are most conducive as far as growth is concerned for Amjad’s BCC Group International, he has not forgotten his roots. After striking gold abroad he decided to invest in his home state too. That was how he launched a transportation firm named Sithara Tours and Travels in 2014 in his hometown of Mayyil. From transportation, the ace entrepreneur slowly forayed into real estate in highly competitive Kerala. “Now, I have announced four projects. One of them is a four-star hotel in Thalassery. It is an ongoing project. The next project is in Kannur near the beach. In the future we will expand to Kochi and other districts,” says Amjad, who embodies ingenuity to the core. Without an iota of doubt, one can say that in the next five years, Sithara will be a name to reckon with in the business landscape of the state.

Replying to a question as to why he has suffixed Sithara after his first name, Amjad said, “I run the businesses in Kerala under this brand name. Gradually it became part of my name. In 2019, when I constructed a house in Kannur, Sithara became part of my address.

When asked where he sees his firm in the next five years, Amjad said he would strive to make sure that BCC is one of the top 10 developers in the UAE and take it to other shores in the Gulf region. With a smile of confidence, he said that he was sure of replicating success in other countries even as the winds of recession started to blow.

“There will be a recession soon. The UAE has been experiencing economic recession once in 10 years. I started my enterprise at a time when the nation was reeling from the effects of a recession and so I really do not worry about it. I am confident of tiding over it. We are bracing for the next recession and are cautious about more investments,” said Amjad, who bagged his BBA from the UAE.

Source of Inspiration

All successful entrepreneurs point to someone as their source of inspiration. This young stalwart is no different either. When asked who was his font of inspiration, in the blink of an eye he said it was his beloved father. “He used to say, ‘you can study as much as you want and then go and achieve what you wish for in life’. He is my role model. Yes, he is with me in the UAE,” he said with a beaming visage. Amjad also credits his siblings who are in business with inspiring him to walk with confidence in his entrepreneurial journey.

The Balancing Act

Often, one can see that many business tycoons, in their quest for profits and mergers and acquisitions, tend to lose quality time with their families. But in this particular aspect, Amjad stands head and shoulders above others of his ilk. He minces no words when he says that family comes first as far as he is concerned. This businessman stands out for being able to spend quality time with his wife, Marjana and daughter Ayra Malika Amjad no matter what. “Straight after office, I rush home to be with my wife and daughter,” he quipped.

Now how is that possible for the skipper of such a big team that is spread across the GCC and Kerala? Amjad has the answer for that. “I am able to do so because it is teamwork. I consider all my employees as my family members,” he said, adding that the team effort makes all operations run smoothly with clockwork precision. Unlike many bosses, he takes the initiative to mentor his staff and give them promotions and perks based on their performance and potential. Amjad is one of the very few corporate honchos who do not hire skilled personnel from the outside to fill key positions in his business empire spread across several verticals. He grooms his workforce in such a way that when there is a vacancy in a key position, he selects one of his own employees who is skilled, talented and has the right years of experience.

By doing so, he gives out the message that each person in the workforce is valuable and is a part of the BCC family. “This supports my business. So things work out smoothly and I don’t need to bother too much when I have the right people in the right place. This spares me enough time to think of moving into other sectors,” he said with a smile of confidence. No wonder, the attrition rate is minimal in his firm. When asked about his workforce, Amjad said they are mostly from different Indian states although there are employees from five other countries.

A Man with a Heart of Gold

As they say, charity begins at home. Perhaps, it could be the magnanimity of his parents and elderly siblings that made Amjad a philanthropist too. While clocking milestones and enhancing annual turnover, he never forgot people who are struggling. His BCC Group International leaves no stone unturned while engaging in CSR activities. “We have decided to set apart a certain percentage of our profits for charitable deeds,” said Amjad, who is a devout Muslim and finds to pray as many times as possible.

BCC Group International was noticed for its magnanimity during the outbreak of COVID-19. During the onslaught of the pandemic, the group lost some of its employees. But Amjad was kind enough to step and support their families and take care of the education of their wards.

“We sent their widows the salaries that their husbands received at the time of their untimely demise and we are still continuing it. The deceased employees’ parents will receive the money until their demise and we support the education of the children of late employees until they turn 18,” said the philanthropist-entrepreneur.

BCC did not stop by just supporting the families of deceased staff members. During the pandemic outbreak, it was appreciated for providing accommodation facilities to those who lost their jobs. Amjad, who is into transportation, was also kind enough to arrange transportation for job hunters as they scouted Emirati cities in search of fresh jobs. “We provided all the support for those unemployed people. Even today, we extend this same support to job hunters who arrive in the UAE seeking a new beginning,” he quipped with a smile of satisfaction. In Kerala, Amjad constructs homes for the poor and provides education support. Last September, he celebrated the first birthday of his daughter Ayra Malika by constructing a Rs 24-lakh house for a poor family in Mayyil panchayath. The CSR activities will expand as the brand grows, he added.

Dream Home, Dream Vehicles

As the fifth of seven siblings, Amjad grew up watching the discomfort of growing up in a modest three-bedroom house. From an early age, he resolved to build a dream home that can accommodate all comfortably. “That wish was there from my younger days and it brought me here. That wish came true in 2019 when I built a 20,000 sq ft house with seven bedrooms. I was adamant to build a house before getting married and I was able to realize it. Why such a big house? To accommodate all members of the family comfortably whenever they visit,” he explained.

High-end two-wheelers, cars and SUVs were always Amjad’s craze. Interestingly, he engaged in a rent-a-car service when he was in Class VIII and he got a chance to use almost all cars, both ordinary and premium models at that time. This fanned the embers of his love for hot wheels. Along with his dream house, he is the proud owner of 12 premium vehicles in the UAE and Kerala and they include the regal Rolls-Royce. The BCC Group International also owns more than 500 vehicles.

In Love with the Reel Life

In spite of his busy schedule, this young go-getter finds time for movies and music. An avid movie buff, he makes sure that he does not miss any good movie that hits the screens. Amjad is also fortunate enough to have ties with Bollywood and Mollywood celebrities such as Suniel Shetty, Sanjay Dutt and Mammootty apart from a host of producers. He is also very much fascinated by rap music and melodies.

Dreaming Big

Like Santiago, the protagonist of Coelho’s “The Alchemist”, Amjad too wishes to travel around the world in search of a ‘treasure’ more precious than gold and diamonds-knowledge. “It is by traveling that you gain more knowledge. So far I have visited eight countries, and my dream is to visit all nations in the next ten years,” he said with confidence. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page,” he added.

His parting note for wannabe entrepreneurs was: hitch your wagon to the stars… “Dream big, have a big ambition and strive to achieve it. The rest will fall into place,” he said with a prophetic touch in his voice.

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Two individuals have been detained by Estonian police on suspicion of orchestrating a $575 million (£485 million) cryptocurrency fraud that claimed thousands of victims.

Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin, two Estonians, are wanted by the US for extradition after Estonian police and the FBI jointly investigated the case.

The two 37-year-olds are accused of convincing individuals to invest in HashFlare, a bitcoin mining service, and Polybius, a phoney online bank.

There is a US indictment on file.

According to a statement from the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the two are charged with conspiring to commit money laundering and wire fraud, each of which carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

According to the announcement, the defendants have appeared in court in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and are being detained pending extradition to the US.  Their reps did not immediately respond with any comments.

The two allegedly misled victims by giving them the opportunity to invest in HashFlare’s bitcoin mining operations, according to the DoJ, which provides specifics of the alleged plan. Computing power is extensively used during the crypto mining process, which employs computers to create virtual currency for financial gain.

From 2015 to 2019, HashFlare contracts are estimated to have been bought by customers worldwide for more than $500 million. But it’s claimed that the operation exaggerated its powers.

Authorities in the nation also issued a warning, stating that technology had “broadened the possibility of fraud.”

After the failure of FTX, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, the lawsuit arises amid increased trepidation in the cryptocurrency sector.

According to a court document, the company filed for bankruptcy in the US last week and owes its 50 top creditors over $3.1 billion (£2.6 billion).

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An upbeat activity has taken the place of visceral relief in the week after Russia withdrew from the southern city of Kherson.

Crowds of people form long lines around the city’s central square while an acoustic band plays Western covers.

Residents can obtain a hot beverage or first aid in tents. Like bees surrounding honey, a large crowd gathers near cell phone masts.

Kostiantyn tells me that “we’re peaceful now” as he stands in line to donate food while carrying his daughter on his shoulders. “No power or water is okay.”

In March, a few days after its forces invaded Ukraine, Russia seized control of the port city. Although it was the first provincial capital Russia had managed to take since February, its armed forces were compelled to leave last week.

Olena, who admitted to adjusting to the Russian occupation, was also delighted to chat. She claims that the Ukrainian forces “calm us down.”

“Now we can identify who and where is shelling. We are finally free if it is the Ukrainians who make us pleased.” We appreciate your efforts in aiding humanity. They are clearly urgently required after Russia’s eight-month blockade of Kherson.

For the estimated 75,000 residents who opted to remain in Kherson, however, much more is required for this city to recover its footing. But it is gradually reestablishing contact with Ukraine. Now, trucks rather than tanks enter the city on deteriorated roads. Additionally, train service has been restored between Kyiv and Kherson. Lorries instead of tanks now move into the city along damaged roads. Train services between Kyiv and Kherson have also resumed.

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Since Saturday night, more than a dozen significant explosions have been noted close to a sizable nuclear power facility in south Ukraine that is under Russian occupation.  Rafael Grossi, the chief of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, issued an urgent plea for an end to the violence at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, Zaporizhzhia.

“Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately,” he said. “You’re playing with fire!” On the front lines of the conflict, the factory is located beside the River Dnipro.

The military of Russia said that Ukrainian soldiers on the other side of the river had shelled the territory it controlled. The Ukrainians, who have previously indicated that Russian soldiers shell the area itself despite having their own troops there, have not yet responded.

Before the latest explosions this weekend, which persisted until Sunday morning, the area surrounding the facility, including the nearby Russian-occupied town of Enerhodar, had been subject to constant attack for months.

From their windows, observers from Mr. Grossi’s company, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), saw some of the explosions.

The IAEA team reported damage to various buildings, systems, and equipment at the site, but none that was “essential for nuclear safety and security” at this time, according to information provided by officials at the plant under Russian administration. There were no casualty reports.

“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing,” Mr Grossi said. “Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable.”

He called once again for the two warring sides to agree and implement a nuclear safety and security zone around the plant as soon as possible.

“I’m not giving up until this zone has become a reality,” he said. “As the ongoing apparent shelling demonstrates, it is needed more than ever.”According to a Rosenergoatom official reported by Russian state media, 15 rounds were fired at the plant’s facilities, landing close to a building that stores recently used nuclear fuel and a facility for storing dry nuclear waste, but no radioactive emissions were found.

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In his first trip to Kyiv as prime minister, Rishi Sunak met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and committed £50 million in defence assistance.

According to No. 10, the meeting was organised to demonstrate “continuing UK support” for Ukraine.

Following the meeting, Mr. Zelensky posted on Telegram, “We discussed the most significant topics, both for our countries and for world security.”

He continued, “We are stronger, and we will get the desired outcomes.

Mr. Sunak, who assumed his position last month, described his visit to Kyiv as “very humbling” and promised that the UK would continue to support Ukrainians in their struggle.

During the meeting with Mr Zelensky, he said the UK would provide a major new package of air defence to help protect Ukrainian civilians and the country’s national infrastructure from Russian strikes.

As a result of frequent Russian aircraft raids on Kyiv and other parts of the country, Ukraine has recently asked for assistance from Western countries.

125 anti-aircraft guns, technologies to combat lethal drones supplied by Iran, several radars, and anti-drone electronic warfare capacity are included in the £50 million defence aid package.

It follows the announcement of more than 1,000 additional anti-air missiles made earlier this month by UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

Earlier that week, only days after being ordered to evacuate its forces from Kherson, Russia launched one of its heaviest missile barrages against Ukraine.

Strikes occurred all over the nation, from Chernihiv in the north to Lviv in the west, including in Kyiv.

That attack coincided with the G20 summit in Bali where, in a virtual speech, Mr Zelensky said he was “convinced now is the time when the Russian destructive war must and can be stopped”.

By sending skilled army physicians and engineers to the area to provide specialised support, Mr. Sunak indicated that the UK will also boost the training offer to the Ukrainian armed forces.

The British prime minister visited Kyiv and paid his respects at a war memorial and a memorial for those who perished in the Holodomor famine. He then spoke with first responders at a fire station. Mr. Sunak also observed drones of Iranian manufacture that had recently been used to target and bomb civilians in Ukraine.

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According to his brother, US R&B artist B. Smyth passed away at the age of 28 from respiratory failure. According to a video older brother Denzil put on Instagram, the musician had pulmonary fibrosis.

He remarked, “My brother lost his battle with his lung illness earlier this morning. Before signing with Motown Records and recording music with 2Chainz and Future, B. Smyth started his career by uploading covers to YouTube. He continued by saying that his brother had “never thought” of having to deliver such bad news.

Breathing becomes more challenging as a result of the scarring of the lungs caused by pulmonary fibrosis. It is uncommon in those under 50, but there is no known reason. The Florida-born musician, Brandon Smith, first achieved popularity by uploading covers of songs by Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean.

He signed a record deal with Motown in 2012, and a year later his debut single, Leggo featuring 2Chainz, was made available. He also collaborated with Future on his 2013 hit Win Win, and released songs with Young Thug and Rick Ross.

His best-known singles also included Twerkoholic, released in 2014, which has been streamed 20 million times on YouTube and 13 million times on Spotify. The follow-up, Twerkoholic Part 2, came out last month while he was in hospital.

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Three men were convicted guilty of murder by a Dutch court for shooting down a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014, which resulted in the deaths of 298 people. The court determined that a Russian-made missile fired by an armed group controlled by Russia and supplied by Russia brought down flight MH17.

The three men—two Russians and one Ukrainian—were convicted in absentia and given life sentences. A third Russian was found not guilty. Prior to accusations of atrocities occurring there becoming a reality practically every day, the missile attack was one of the most infamous war crimes in Ukraine.

Many surviving family members of the victims believe that the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent geopolitical upheaval could have been avoided eight years ago if the world had responded differently and taken a firmer position against Russia.

The only one of the four defendants who had a lawyer at the trial was Oleg Pulatov. Despite finding that he was aware of the missile, the judges declared him not guilty. 80 children and 15 crew members were among the 298 passengers that boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Over Ukraine, the aircraft was flying at 33,000 feet. It was early in Russia’s attempts to annex areas of the nation. This was a relatively low-intensity conflict area at the time, although recent air combat had increased fighting. A number of military aircraft had been shot down in the months before.

In retaliation, Ukraine shut down the airspace up to 32,000 feet below ground level. However, flights continued to span the nation. One thousand feet above this constrained airspace, the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was travelling.

It lost communication with air traffic control around 13:20 GMT. 196 of the 298 passengers, who were travelling from 17 different nations, were from the Netherlands, 43 from Malaysia, 38 from Australia, and 10 from the United Kingdom. They had packed for their ideal vacations, a symposium on AIDS, family gatherings, and more. All future plans vanished in a split second.

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