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Eyes on Ukraine

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Ukrainian and Russian delegations are arriving in Istanbul for another round of in-person talks — putting NATO member Turkey, which has ties to both Kyiv and Moscow, in the spotlight as an intermediary in the deadly conflict grinding into its second month. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed his desire for a cease-fire in a phone call Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, state media reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to offer a diplomatic opening Sunday, saying that Kyiv could declare its “neutrality” and effectively renounce its ambitions to join NATO in a potential peace deal with Moscow, but stressed that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are “beyond doubt” and any deal must be voted on by a national referendum held without Russian troops in Ukraine. Zelensky made these remarks during an interview with a Russian outlet, which the Kremlin’s Internet censor then banned Russian media outlets from publishing. -The Washington post

-UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appeals for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine.Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper suspends activities amid Moscow’s intensifying crackdown on critical reporting of the war.

-Moscow has dismissed the possibility of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the time being.

-Ukraine says it is pausing civilian evacuations via humanitarian corridors, citing the threat of Russian “provocations”. -Aljazeera

Just nine unscripted words put an already jittery world on edge again.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s suggestion in Poland on Saturday that Vladimir Putin’s onslaught on Ukraine should disqualify him from power triggered an international political storm.

Back in Washington Sunday evening, Biden told reporters that he was not calling for regime change in Russia — echoing a message spelled out multiple times by his subordinates even before he had returned to the U.S. -CTV

The Swiss timepieces were seized from a shop by security service agents on Tuesday for allegedly violating customs rules, Swiss media report.

It happened just days after Switzerland abandoned its traditional neutrality to join Western countries in imposing sanctions against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

There is no Swiss confirmation.

However, the government has said Switzerland’s new luxury export ban has been causing “uncertainties” for some businesses.

Watches from Audemars Piguet can cost more than £700,000 ($921,000) a piece. The company has not responded to a BBC request for comment. -BBC

LVIV, Ukraine — The governor of the Lviv region says a man was detained on suspicion of espionage at the site of one of the two rocket attacks that rattled the city on Saturday.

Maksym Kozytskyy said police found the man had recorded a rocket flying toward the target and striking it. Police also found on his telephone photos of checkpoints in the region, which Kozytskyy said had been sent to two Russian telephone numbers.

Rockets hit an oil storage facility and an unspecified industrial facility, wounding at least five people. A thick plume of smoke and towering flames could be seen on Lviv’s outskirts hours after the attacks. -Associated Press

TAIPEI — Apple plans to make about 20% fewer iPhone SEs next quarter than originally planned, in one of the first signs that the Ukraine war and looming inflation have started to dent consumer electronics demand, sources briefed on the matter told Nikkei Asia.

Apple launched the iPhone SE as its first 5G-capable budget phone less than three weeks ago but is now telling multiple suppliers that it aims to lower production orders by about 2 million to 3 million units for the quarter, citing weaker-than-expected demand, four people told Nikkei Asia. The U.S. tech giant also reduced orders for its AirPods earphones by more than 10 million units for all of 2022, as the company predicted lukewarm demand and wanted to reduce the level of inventories.

The company shipped about 76.8 million units of AirPods in 2021, Counterpoint Research data showed, but people with knowledge of the situation said overall shipments for 2022 could likely see a decline. -AsiaNikkei

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