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Russia Says It’ll Expand Trade With Asia To Minimize Economic Effect Of Sanctions

Russia’s ministry for the economy said it is working on measures to minimise the impact of the sanctions imposed by western countries following the invasion of Ukraine.

The ministry said this will include plans to expand trade and economic ties with Asia, Reuters reports.

Virgin Atlantic has announced it will avoid Russian airspace, meaning flights between Britain, India and Pakistan will take between 15 and 60 minutes longer.

A spokesperson said:

We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers by slightly longer flight times.

The safety and security of our customers and people always comes first and we’re monitoring the situation in Ukraine and Russia extremely carefully following the escalation of conflict, continuing to operate in full compliance with relevant safety regulators, authorities and governments.”

Thousands of people fleeing war in Ukraine are pouring into Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia as Russian missiles pound the capital Kyiv, with many waiting for hours at congested border crossings in freezing temperatures.

Reuters reports:

A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion, it was mostly women and children crossing, after Ukraine restricted passage for men between 18 and 60 years old.

Local media in Poland said some had waited 16-18 hours to cross into Medyka in southern Poland in freezing temperatures.

Border authorities said 29,000 people had entered Poland from Ukraine on Thursday, though it was unclear how many were war refugees and not foreigners going home.

Poland’s deputy interior minister Pawe* Szefernaker said Ukrainian bus drivers were unable to drive across the border as conscription-age men were being held back in Ukraine.

Micha* Mielniczuk, a spokesman for the southern Polish region of Podkarpackie said temporary accommodation was being offered to people arriving.

“The vast majority continue on to other places throughout Poland after receiving a warm meal,” he told the PAP news agency.

On the border with northern Romania, women were crying as they bid goodbye to male loved ones, setting off to cross into Sighetu Marmatiei, a Reuters witness said.

Long queues had formed as cars waited to board a ferry over the Danube river into Isaccea, a town between Moldova and the Black Sea, local media in Romania showed.

Slovak authorities urged people to donate blood and set up hospitals with 5,380 beds assigned for the army or NATO use.

Across central Europe, on NATO’s eastern flank, volunteers were putting up messages on social media to organise housing and transport for people arriving from the borders. Activists were setting up food and hot drink distribution points and vets were offering to take care of pets.

Bulgaria started issuing passports to its citizens in Kyiv who needed travel documents and had sent four buses to the Ukrainian capital to evacuate people.

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