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Ukraine live briefing: G-20 underway with Ukraine at fore; Zelensky says no compromise with Putin

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(L-R) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden attend a session as part of the G20 Leaders’ Summit at the Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

The Group of 20 economic summit began Saturday, with the war in Ukraine set to take center stage. Host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that world leaders had reached a consensus declaration that urges states to refrain from using force “to seek territorial acquisition,” but acknowledged “there were different views and assessments of the situation,” and avoided openly condemning Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin is not present, while U.S. officials unsuccessfully lobbied for Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to be invited. During the summit President Biden is expected to further address the economic consequences of the war and its impact on global food security.

In Ukraine, Zelensky said there is no possibility of compromising with Putin to end the war, in an interview with CNN. The Ukrainian leader said he is willing to talk to “the people who are ready to compromise,” but that Putin was not one of them. “When you want to have a compromise or a dialogue with somebody, you cannot do it with a liar,” Zelensky said.

Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.

Zelensky pointed to the death of Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the former head of the Wagner mercenary group, as proof of Putin’s untrustworthiness. Prigozhin, who led a brief mutiny against the Kremlin in June, put down his arms after reaching a deal with Putin that allowed him to live in exile in Belarus. He died in a plane crash last month — its cause remains unclear. However, a senior Ukrainian intelligence official told local media that no one should rush to conclusions. “Let’s wait. It’s not so simple,” Vadym Skibitsky said. “This is Russia, it is difficult to understand.”

Putin vowed Russia would “continue to systematically build up bilateral communications in all directions” with North Korea. The Kremlin published a letter from Putin to his counterpart Kim Jong Un on Saturday to mark the founding 75 years ago of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Kim plans to visit Putin later this month, probably in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, to discuss possible weapons deals to bolster Russia’s fighting force in Ukraine, The Post previously reported.

Zelensky adviser Mykhailo Podolyak criticized SpaceX owner Elon Musk for cutting off Starlink satellite internet services to Ukrainian submarine drones last year. The drones were launching an attack on a Russian fleet based in Crimea. Musk has defended his decision, saying he did not want SpaceX to be “explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

In Ukraine, some 851 educational facilities “have been damaged or destroyed due to the war,” the United Nations human rights office in the country said Saturday. “During war, schools should be a sanctuary for children,” the group said. “Yet in Ukraine, far too often they have come under shelling and attacks by missiles, loitering munitions and airstrikes in the wake of Russia’s large-scale attack.” It added that schools in Kherson, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv regions had been particularly damaged.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi arrived in Kyiv on Saturday, where he will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, the Japanese foreign ministry said. Hayashi is expected to reaffirm Tokyo’s support for Kyiv in the war against Russia while several Japanese company executives will accompany him to discuss Ukraine’s reconstruction, it added.

The CIA has published a video aimed at recruiting disaffected Russian officials. The video, titled “Why I made contact with the CIA: For myself,” shows a Russian government official walking through what appears to be the snowy streets of a Russian city before entering a secured facility, and appears aimed to entice new recruits.

Cuba has arrested 17 people for allegedly recruiting Cubans to fight for Russia in Ukraine, the Associated Press reported. A Cuban prosecutor told local media that the suspects could face sentences of up to 30 years or life in prison, or even the death penalty. “Cuba is not part of the war in Ukraine,” Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said in a news release, according to the AP.

Ukrainian troops rely on Starlink services for virtually any task requiring digital communication, The Washington Post reported. From communicating with loved ones back home to directing drones against enemy positions, Ukrainian troops are heavily dependent on the 42,000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine.

A Russian missile strike hit Zelensky’s hometown of Kryvyi Rih. The Friday attack left at least one person dead and more than 70 injured, Ukrainian officials said. The strike destroyed a police administration building.

Ukraine froze the assets of Ihor Kolomoisky, a tycoon facing graft allegations who is already under indictment and sanctions in the United States over accusations of bank fraud. Ukraine’s anti-graft office said it had frozen shares in more than 300 companies under his control, along with real estate and vehicles, amounting to a value of more than $80 million.

War in Ukraine halted adoptions. Now some orphans are stuck in limbo: After Ukrainian officials paused international adoptions until the war’s end, about 200 American families seeking to adopt children from the war-torn country find themselves stuck, David L. Stern reports. Ukraine says adoptions will resume three months after the end of martial law.

Pavlo Shulha, the Ukrainian head of Kidsave, a U.S.-based international charity helping place orphans with families, said the children’s distress is being compounded “since the main trauma is abandonment.” By delaying their adoptions, authorities are “repeating this trauma,” he added.

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