Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that Russian troops were massing in the breakaway Transnistria enclave in Moldova and mobilising for a possible attack that would open another front in the war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that it believed that troops based in the Russian-occupied, self-declared republic, which borders south-western Ukraine and is near the third-largest city of Odesa, were preparing to carry out “provocations” along the border.
“We have noted the redeployment of Russian troops and divisions of the so-called Transnistrian-Moldovan republic to demonstrate readiness for an attack and, possibly, military actions against Ukraine,” the military said in a regular update on its operations published early on Saturday. Ukrainian and Russian claims about military actions cannot be independently verified.
The remarks were made at the end of a week in which Russia pulled back forces from around the capital Kyiv after failing to breach Ukrainian defences. Ukrainian officials said Russia was refocusing its offensive on the Donbas region, where it supported a separatist uprising in two breakaway “republics” in 2014, the second city Kharkiv, and other areas in the country’s east.
“In the east of our country, the situation is becoming very difficult,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech published overnight on Friday. “They are preparing for new, powerful strikes. We are preparing for an even more active defence.”
Russia confirmed this week that it was reducing military activity near Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv to focus its efforts on taking control of the Donbas.
On Friday officials in the Russian city of Belgorod, near the border, blamed Ukraine for an explosion at a fuel depot that caused a fire. Kyiv neither confirmed nor denied the strike on Russian territory.
Britain’s military intelligence said that the attack would “add additional short-term strain to Russia’s already stretched logistics chains”, and that supplies to forces encircling Kharkiv might also be affected.
Amid military gains in recent days, Ukraine has adopted a tougher rhetorical stance towards Russia after inconclusive peace talks held in Turkey where Moscow has been pressing Kyiv for territorial concessions and a commitment to neutrality.
Zelensky said in a Fox News interview that Ukraine would not give up any of its territory to Russia because its people would “not accept any outcome” other than victory.
“We do not trade our territory,” the Ukrainian president said through an interpreter. “The question of territorial integrity and sovereignty is out of discussion.”
Zelensky also raised the prospect of Ukraine joining Nato, appearing to air the prospect of membership, which would go against Moscow’s central condition for a peace agreement.
“It’s hard for us to talk about Nato because Nato doesn’t want to admit us,” Zelensky said. “I think it’s a mistake because if we join Nato, we make Nato much stronger,” he said, adding that Ukraine was “not a weak state”.
“We are not proposing to make us stronger at the expense of Nato . . . We are not an addition, we are the locomotive, Zelensky said. “I think we are one of the important components of the European continent.”
The statements contradict what Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s negotiator, said following the talks. Medinsky claimed that Ukraine had agreed to Russia’s principal demands of not joining Nato and on refusing to host military bases.
Zelensky, who has repeatedly criticised Nato for doing too little to help Ukraine, said he had invited the US to be part of a future peace agreement in his recent conversation with President Joe Biden. Washington, he said, “is considering the proposition”.
Boeing to slash about 2,000 white-collar jobs in finance and HR, report says
Boeing expects to slash about 2,000 white-collar jobs this year in finance and human resources through a combination of attrition and layoffs, the planemaker confirmed to Seattle Times newspaper on Monday.
Last month, the Virginia-based company announced it would hire 10,000 workers in 2023, but some support positions would be cut.
Back then Boeing acknowledged it will “lower staffing within some support functions” – a move meant to enable it to better align resources to support current products and technology development.
“Over time, some of our corporate functions have grown quite large. And with that growth tends to come bureaucracy or disparate systems that are inefficient,” the newspaper quoted Mike Friedman, a senior director of communications at Boeing as saying. “So we’re streamlining.”
Boeing did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Last year, Boeing said it plans to cut about 150 finance jobs in the United States to simplify its corporate structure and focus more resources into manufacturing and product development.
Trump appeals sanctions for ‘frivolous’ suit against Hillary Clinton
presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton attend campaign rallies in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, October 10, 2016 and Manchester, New Hampshire U.S., October 24, 2016 in a combination of file photos.
Mike Segar | Carlos Barria | Reuters
Former President Donald Trump and one of his lawyers said Monday they are appealing nearly $1 million in sanctions imposed on them for what a federal judge called their “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and more than two dozen other defendants.
The court filing about the appeal came days after a lawyer for Trump and his attorney Alina Habba told the judge in the case they were willing to put up a bond of $1,031,788 to cover the costs of the sanctions while the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit considered the matter.
In imposing those sanctions Jan. 19, Judge John Middlebrooks said in an order, “We are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose.”
Trump’s suit, which sought $70 million in damages, accused Clinton, former FBI officials, the Democratic National Committee and others of conspiring to create a “false narrative” that Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign against Clinton were colluding with Russia to try to win the election that year.
Middlebrooks in September dismissed the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and barred Trump from refiling the complaint.
He later ordered Trump and Habba to pay more than $937,000 in sanctions.
Middlebrooks in his sanctions order called Trump “a mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process,” and a “prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries.”
A day after Middlebrooks issued that order, Trump voluntarily dropped another lawsuit he had pending before the same judge against New York Attorney General Letitia James. That suit was related to James’ pending $250 million fraud lawsuit against Trump and his company in Manhattan state court.
Jared Roberts, the lawyer for Trump and Habba, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC about the appeal.
Nissan to buy up to 15% stake in Renault EV unit under reshaped alliance
Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images
Nissan and Renault on Monday unveiled details of their redesigned alliance, with the Japanese car maker committing to buy a stake of up to 15% in Renault’s electric vehicles unit Ampere.
The alliance junior partner Mitsubishi Motors will also consider investing in Ampere, which Renault aims to list, the companies said in a statement.
“Nissan’s intention is to invest up to 15% in Ampere, Renault Group’s EV & Software entity in Europe, with the aim to become a strategic investor,” the statement said ahead of a presentation in London.
The companies had already announced that under the deal to revive their long-standing alliance the French carmaker would reduce its stake in its Japanese partner to 15% from around 43% now.
Renault will transfer 28.4% of Nissan shares into a French trust, making the two more equal partners in the alliance.
Sources close to the matter said the agreement aimed to make the alliance freer and more balanced for the next 15 years.
The partnership will produce synergies from joint projects in Europe, India and Latin America, and the companies will work together in Renault’s flagship EV business, electronics and solid-state batteries.
Renault will have flexibility to sell the Nissan shares held in the trust but “it has no obligation to sell the shares within a specific pre-determined period of time,” the statement on Monday said.
When it does sell, “Nissan would benefit from a right of first offer, to its or the benefit of a designated third party.”
The two companies last month announced a sweeping remake of their 24-year-old automaking alliance, which was thrown into disarray by the ouster of its architect and former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, amid financial scandal.
That announcement came after nearly four months of intense talks complicated by concerns about the sharing of intellectual property as Renault sought tie-ups with companies outside their alliance.
Renault’s board approved the deal on Sunday night, according to a source. Nissan’s board also approved it early on Monday, the source said.
Investors and analysts will be looking for more clarity on how the trust in which Renault will place the bulk of its Nissan stake will operate.
“There is absolutely no word about what’s going to happen to those shares in the trust,” said CLSA analyst Christopher Richter. “It seems they’re all avoiding the issue of Nissan buying them back which I think would be the best thing for all parties involved.”
Richter said Renault’s brand is not seen as being a strong brand, so it may be tough for the French carmaker to raise money for Ampere.
“I wonder once this thing goes into the market how much money you would really raise, he said. “That’s why I think they’re going to push Nissan to pay too much.”
The unequal relationship between the two carmakers had long been a source of friction among Nissan executives.
While Renault bailed out Nissan two decades ago, it is the smaller automaker by sales.
CLSA’s Richter said that the revamped alliance could enable Nissan and Renault to work together on R&D, shared costs and a few shared products “with a little bit less rancor and acrimony between them,” but added that Honda and General Motors <GM.N> have built a partnership that includes jointly developing lower-cost EVs together without any need for a capital relationship.
“One almost wonders what’s the point of them having any stake in either one, any stake at all,” Richter said.
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