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“Significant progress” made in Russia-Ukraine peace talks: Lavrov

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(Last Updated On: March 31, 2022)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said that “significant progress” has been made in the latest round of face-to-face peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul, Turkey.

“We regard the results of the talks that took place in Istanbul yesterday as a positive step forward. This is not the final result yet. But the Ukrainian negotiators have reaffirmed that Ukraine remains a non-nuclear state, stays neutral, and stays out of the NATO. I consider it as a significant progress,” Lavrov said in Tunxi, east China’s Anhui Province.

He made the remarks when he briefed the media on the sidelines of the third meeting of the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries.

Russian and Ukrainian delegations held “constructive” negotiations in Turkey on Tuesday, raising the curtain on concrete efforts of both sides to put forward a solution to the current conflict.

During the fifth round of talks, or the fourth face-to-face meeting, which lasted for about three hours in Istanbul, the two sides finally clinched some progress in exploring possible ways out of the tensions. Local media reported that consultations will continue via video link.

Earlier in the day, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Lavrov.

“We had very smooth discussion today. During the talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, we comprehensively reviewed the bilateral relations in accordance with the guidelines that were agreed upon by our leaders and which are aimed at the comprehensive development of bilateral ties and strengthening our foreign policy coordination. I am very satisfied with the talks,” Lavrov told a China Global Television Network (CGTN) reporter.

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Six Pakistan Army officers killed in Balochistan helicopter crash

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

Six Pakistan Army officials, including two majors, have been killed in a helicopter crash in Balochistan.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday the helicopter crashed during a mission near Khost in Harnai, Balochistan.

“All six personnel on board, including two pilots, have embraced shahadat,” the military’s media affairs wing said.

The ISPR has released details about the cause of the crash which comes just over a month after a similar incident occurred in Balochistan.

On August 1, a Pakistan Army helicopter with six people on board, including Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, lost contact with the air traffic control in Balochistan’s Lasbela district.

A day later, the wreckage of the helicopter was found near Musa Goth. All personnel on board had been killed.

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North Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of US VP Harris visit

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(Last Updated On: September 25, 2022)

North Korea fired a ballistic missile towards the sea off its east coast on Sunday, ahead of planned military drills by South Korean and U.S. forces involving an aircraft carrier and a visit to the region by US Vice President Kamala Harris, Reuters reported.

South Korea’s military said it was a single, short-range ballistic missile fired from near the Taechon area of North Pyongyan Province just before 7 a.m. local time and flew about 600 km (373 miles) at an altitude of 60 km and a speed of Mach 5.

“North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile is an act of grave provocation that threatens the peace and security of the Korean peninsula and international community,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

According to Reuters after the launch, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Kim Seung-kyum and the US Forces Korea Commander Paul LaCamera discussed the situation and reaffirmed their readiness to respond to any threat or provocation from North Korea, it added.

South Korea’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss response measures and condemned the launch as an apparent violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolutions and an unjustifiable act of provocation.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who arrived in Seoul late on Saturday from a trip to Britain, the United States and Canada, was briefed on the launch, the presidential office said.

Japan’s Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan estimated the missile reached maximum altitude at 50 km and may have flown on an irregular trajectory. Hamada said it fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone and there were no reports of problems with shipping or air traffic.

Many of the short-range missiles tested by North Korea in recent years have been designed to evade missile defences by manoeuvring during flight and flying on a lower, “depressed” trajectory, experts have said.

“If you include launches of cruise missiles this is the nineteenth launch, which is an unprecedented pace,” Hamada said.

“North Korea’s action represents a threat to the peace and security of our country, the region and the international community and to do this as the Ukraine invasion unfolds is unforgivable,” he said, adding that Japan had delivered a protest through North Korea’s embassy in Beijing.

The US Indo-pacific Command said it was aware of the launch and consulting closely with allies, in a statement released after the launch, while reaffirming US commitment to the defence of South Korea and Japan, read the report.

“While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilising impact of the DPRK’s unlawful Weapons of Mass Destruction and ballistic missile programs.”

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US aircraft carrier arrives in South Korea as warning to North Korea

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(Last Updated On: September 23, 2022)

A US aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea on Friday for the first time in about four years, due to join South Korean ships in a military show of force aimed at sending North Korea a message, Reuters quoting officials said.

USS Ronald Reagan and ships from its accompanying strike force docked at a naval base in the southern port city of Busan.

According to Reuters its arrival marks the most significant deployment yet under a new push to have more US nuclear-capable “strategic assets” operate in the area to deter North Korea.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has pushed for more joint exercises and other displays of military power as a warning to North Korea, which earlier this year conducted a record number of missile tests after talks failed to persuade it to end its nuclear weapons and missile development.

Observers say Pyongyang also appears to be preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017, read the report.

North Korea has denounced previous US military deployments and joint drills as rehearsals for war and proof of hostile policies by Washington and Seoul.

The visit is the first to South Korea by an American aircraft carrier since 2018. That year, the allies scaled back many of their joint military activities amid diplomatic efforts to engage with North Korea, but those talks have since stalled and Pyongyang this month unveiled an updated law codifying its right to conduct first-use nuclear strikes if necessary to protect itself.

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