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Ukraine urges int'l talks over Russia's decision on Donetsk, Luhansk******
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany, on February 19, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said early on Tuesday that Kiev has been urging the international community to hold emergency talks over Russia's decision on the status of Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine has been calling for an emergency summit of the Normandy Format, a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, and a special meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to address the issue, Zelensky said in a video address to the nation published on Facebook.
"The latest actions of the Russian Federation are a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state. Russia is solely responsible for the consequences of such decisions," Zelensky said.
That Moscow recognized Luhansk and Donetsk regions as independent entities reflected "Russia's unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk agreements and ignoring the decisions of the Normandy Four," Zelensky said.
Emphasizing that Kiev is committed to a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis, Zelensky said, "we will not give anything to anyone, and we are sure of that."
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed two decrees recognizing "the Lugansk People's Republic" and "the Donetsk People's Republic" as independent and sovereign states.
At a ceremony held in the Kremlin, Putin also inked the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Russia and the LPR and the DPR respectively with the heads of the two "republics," a Kremlin statement said.
"I consider it necessary to make a long overdue decision – to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the DPR and the LPR," Putin said in a televised address to the nation.
"Russia has done everything to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine" by fighting for the implementation of 2015 Minsk agreements, but all the efforts ended up in vain, he told the public.
According to Putin, nearly everyday there is Ukrainian shelling of settlements in Donbass and "there is no end in sight."
The crisis of European security occurred due to the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has led to the loss of mutual trust with Russia, Putin stressed.
He called it just "a matter of time" for NATO to accept Ukraine as a member state and then build facilities on its territory so that the level of military threats to Russia will rise dramatically.
As Moscow asked the United States and NATO for security guarantees, the Western countries precisely ignored Russia's fundamental concerns and nothing has changed in their position, Putin noted.
The Normandy Format, established in 2014, is a diplomatic group of senior representatives from Ukraine, Germany, Russia and France formed to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The Minsk agreements, reached in September 2014 and February 2015, outline the steps needed to end the conflict between the Ukrainian government troops and local armed groups in Donbass.
Chilean midfielder Valdes joins Mexico's America******
MEXICO CITY, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Mexican giants America have announced the signing of Chilean midfielder Diego Valdes from Liga MX rivals Santos Laguna.。
The 27-year-old is the first addition to America's squad since their elimination from the Liga MX Apertura tournament in November.。
He is expected to be available for the start of the Liga MX Clausura competition in the first week of January.。
"Diego Valdes will reinforce America's squad for the 2022 Clausura. Welcome Diego," the club said in a tweet on Wednesday. Details of the contract were not disclosed.。
Valdes made 101 appearances for Santos Laguna and scored 21 goals after joining the club from Morelia in 2018.。
He has been capped 19 times for Chile's national team in a professional career that began at Santiago club Audax Italiano in 2014. Enditem。
China greenlights 2 sci******
BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's securities regulator has approved the initial public offerings (IPOs) of two companies on the science and technology innovation board.
Actions Technology Co., Ltd. and Qingdao Yunlu Advanced Materials Technology Co., Ltd. will be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange's sci-tech innovation board, commonly known as the STAR market, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
The companies and their underwriters will confirm the dates of the IPO and publish prospectuses following discussions with the stock exchange.
The STAR market, inaugurated in June 2019 and designed to support companies in the high-tech and strategic emerging sectors, has eased its listing criteria but adopted higher requirements for information disclosure. Enditem
Brackets announced for Sydney 2022 ATP tennis tournament******
SYDNEY, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The ATP Cup announced on Tuesday the group brackets for the upcoming tournament that will take place in Sydney, Australia from January 1 to 9, 2022.。
The ATP Cup will feature 16 country teams, five players each team, in four groups. They will fight over a prize pool of more than 14 million Australian dollars (about 9.87 million U.S. dollars), an increase from the 10 million Australian dollars (about 7.05 million U.S. dollars) that was up for grabs in 2021.。
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was confirmed to be among the competitors for the top seeding country, Serbia, despite previously refusing to disclose his vaccination status after the Australian Open announced all players must be vaccinated.。
Under current laws, the New South Wales (NSW) government would need to give Djokovic an exemption to enter Sydney and he would be required to complete 14 days of quarantine.。
"Top seed Serbia, headlined by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, will lead Group A, which will also feature Norway, Chile and Spain," read the ATP announcement.。
He will compete against the defending champion and world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, playing for Russia in Group B which includes Italy, Austria and home nation Australia.。
Group C will include Germany, Canada, Britain and the United States. Greece, Poland, Argentina and Georgia will compete in Group D.。
Other top contenders include Alexander Zverev playing for team Germany, Stefanos Tsitsipas playing for Greece, and Andrey Rublev playing for Russia.。
For the home team world No. 34 Alex de Minaur and No. 49 James Duckworth will compete for Australia.。
ATP Chief Tour Officer Ross Hutchins said the 2022 line-up "speaks for itself" and Sydney would make an ideal place to kick off the 2022 tennis season.。
"We're delighted that fans will be able to see so many of the world's best representing their countries in the opening week of the season and we look forward to a fantastic event," said Hutchins.。
The third annual 2022 ATP Cup will span nine days in two Sydney tennis venues - the Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena both in Sydney Olympic Park. Enditem。