22:55 President not keen on Rahul's anti-graft ordinances:
CNN-IBN reports: President Pranab Mukherjee has reportedly expressed reservations over the government's plan to push through Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's pet anti-corruption Bills via ordinance route.
The President is believed to have expressed his reservations on the proposals when Law Minister Kapil Sibal met him on Saturday.
In the run to the Lok Sabha elections, the Bills assume huge significance in order to change Congress's image and to portray Rahul as an anti-corruption crusader.
The Cabinet is likely to meet on Sunday evening and sources said that a decision on the ordinances would be finalised then.
On Friday, the Congress Core Group was divided on the ordinance route to pass the legislations.
21:46 Russian parliament approves military intervention in Ukraine:
The Federation Council of the Russian parliament unanimously approved plans submitted by President Vladimir Putin on March 1 for using Russia's military in Ukraine.
Putin said the plans would ensure the security of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, and Russian military bases in Crimea.
21:46 IM's Darbhanga module was set up at a perfume shop:
A perfume shop of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal in Karnataka became the hub in 2001 for establishment of the Darbhanga module which plotted a string of terror attacks in the country, the NIA has said.
According to NIA, IM's Darbhanga module came into existence after some key IM members, including Yasin and Fasih Mahmood, developed close links in 2001 at the perfume and naturopathy medicines shop in Bhatkal in Udupi district.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in its charge sheet filed before a Delhi court against Yasin and three others, has said that around December 2001, Yasin had opened the shop 'Almohtasham' near Noor Masjid.
"The perfume shop was very popular amongst the students of Anjuman Engineering College. The shop used to be frequented by students like Fasih Mahmood, Tarique Anjum...
"...The visitors included a blend of locals and boys from Darbhanga who would discuss 'jihad' along with local and national/global issues together, fostering a very close relationship which in future would be the basis of Darbhanga module of IM," NIA has said in its 277-page charge sheet.
21:45 Mamata on why she's driving Bharat Nirman:
Hitting out at the Centre for giving large advertisements on its achievements, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today claimed that it was the West Bengal government which was carrying out development though lacking funds.
"Who did it? West Bengal? Isn't it?," Banerjee asked.
Giving the example of polio, she said that the last polio case was detected in the state 3 to 4 years ago after which her state government eradicated it.
"There is no case now from here and that is why India got the polio-free certificate. The credit must go to West Bengal," Banerjee said at the state secretariat, Nabanna launching a slew of development programmes.
"It has shown how to carry forward development work without money. We have created models like fair price medicine shops and diagnostic centres," she said dwelling on the Centre taking away Rs 70,000 crore in interest on loans taken by the previous Left Front government.
21:42 Wendy Doniger is now under attack for 2013 book:
Another book on Hinduism by American indologist Wendy Doniger has come under attack from the same Delhi-based group which had compelled the publishers of an earlier work by her to withdraw the title.
Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti has demanded that the Aleph Book Company stop sales and pulp all remaining copies of Doniger's book On Hinduism, published in 2013.
Dina Nath Batra, who had led the charge against Doniger's previous book, said that the contents of On Hinduism were, like the previous work, "malicious and offending".
"She has used derogatory terms for Hindu deities, which hurts the sentiments of devotees," Batra charged.
The book is part of a conspiracy hatched by "pseudo secularists" to tarnish the image of Hindu culture and India, he alleged
21:18 MiG designer Rostislav Belyakov dies aged 94:
The maker of MiG fighter jets says that its chief designer Rostislav Belyakov has died. He was 94.
The company said in a statement that Belyakov died yesterday in Moscow following an unspecified illness.
Belyakov became the MiG chief designer in 1969, succeeding the firm's founder, Artyom Mikoyan, and led the development of a family of MiG fighters, including MiG-23, MiG-25, Mig-29 and their versions, which have been the backbone of Soviet and then Russian air force.
Belyakov joined the MiG company as a young engineer in 1941 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a deputy chief designer in 1957.
He was showered with state awards and honours, but his name was unknown to the public until the Soviet collapse.
21:17 Circus raided in Goa; 14 minors rescued; owner held for rape:
At least 18 persons including 14 minors were rescued during a a raid at a circus in Margao town and the circus owner along with his aide was arrested for raping a 14-year-old girl, police said today.
Besides the 40-year-old owner of the circus, Abdul Khan from Assam, the joint team of Goa women's police station and district police also arrested three other persons on various charges.
"Six minor girls, eight minor boys and four adults who were employed by the circus owner when they were minors, have been rescued during the raid conducted this morning. Local forest department and labour department were also roped in," Deputy Inspector General of Police O P Mishra told reporters.
Khan and his 25-year-old accomplice Virendra Chandra Mandal have been arrested for raping a 14-year-old girl, who was trafficked when she was a year old.
Three others-- Vijay Nikumb, Ram Prasad and Rohan Singh-- have been charged under various sections dealing with child labour, human trafficking, bonded labour, among others. Besides the rape charge, Khan and Mandal have also been booked under all these other charges.
21:17 US court permits Sikh group to summon Manmohan:
A US court has granted a Sikh group's plea to serve summons on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in India under an international convention for alleged rights abuses during his tenure.
A federal court in Washington DC had issued summons to Dr Singh in 2013 during his visit to Washington. Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) filed a motion in the court, requesting extension of time to serve the summons to Singh in India.
In support of its motion, SFJ submitted a copy of a letter which stated it has retained Process Forwarding International (PFI), a Washington-based firm, to serve the summons in India according to the Hague Service Convention.
In response to SFJ's plea, Judge James E Boasberg said in an order issued on February 28: "Plaintiffs shall by April 14, 2014, either file proof of service or file a status report updating the court on their progress in effecting service."
PFI said in a declaration that the complete file had been sent to India to serve the summons.
Under the Hague Service Convention, a central authority has been established by the Indian government for receiving and serving summons from foreign courts.
18:42 RAW staffer commits suicide after killing his wife, children:
A Research and Analysis Wing staff member allegedly committed suicide after killing his wife and two children in Delhi on Saturday.
The 52-year-old staff member, attached to technical wing, was found hanging from the fan in his house. The wife (43), son (17) and daughter (12) were probably hammered to death.
The door was bolted from inside.
The police say prima facie it appears that he had a tiff with his in-laws and wife and that could be a reason for the action.
The agency is likely to do internal investigations also.
17:53 Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman dies:
Former Bharatiya Janata Party president Bangaru Laxman died on Saturday in Hyderabad after a prolonged illness. He was admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad.
Laxman had to step down as the president of the BJP after a sting operation by Tehelka and was convicted by a court in 2012. He was out on bail and was being treated for health problems in Hyderabad.
The Dalit leader was stung by the Tehelka in a defence deal in 2000-2001. He was seen taking Rs 1 lakh bribe in a video released by the Tehelka.
He was the national president of BJP and before that a minister of state for Railways in the NDA government.
17:20 One more arrested in Odisha minister attack case:
One more person was arrested today in connection with the attack on Odisha's Tourism Minister Maheshwar Mohanty, taking the total number of persons arrested in the case so far to five.
"Five persons have been arrested from Puttaparthi in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh," Puri SP Anup Kumar Sahu told reporters today, adding that two guns, 10 live rounds of cartridge and two vehicles were also recovered from them.
Four suspects were arrested on Thursday night from a lodge in Anantnag district.
17:08 Party-goers in Bangalore have a reason to celebrate!:
There is some much-awaited good news for party-goers in Bangalore!
The government has decided to extend the night deadline for restaurants, bars and pubs beyond the notoriously early 11 pm.
Bars and pubs will remain open till 1 am on Friday and Saturday.
17:02 Cabinet may discuss Rahul's pet project on Sunday:
The Bharatiya Janata Party has challenged the Congress to have an open debate on the economic contours of Modi's economic vision; a day after the BJP's prime ministerial candidate put forth his views for the revival of the country's sagging economy.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar took a dig at the Congress for being "silent" after Modi came out with his economic agenda and took pot shots at the Congress, saying it seems a snake has stunned them.
"The BJP challenges Congress for an open debate on the ideas presented by Narendra Modi about the contours for the revival of the Indian economy," said Javadekar.
16:57 Cabinet may discuss Rahul's pet project on Sunday:
The Union Cabinet is likely to convene a special meeting on Sunday to reportedly debate and discuss the way forward on key anti-graft legislations.
According to television channel reports, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will preside over the meeting.
Television reports said the Cabinet is seriously considering applying the ordinance route to ensure activation of these Bills, aimed at controlling and countering corruption across the nation.
16:55 Environmentalist Chandy Prasad Bhatt selected for Gandhi peace prize:
Noted Gandhian and environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt has been selected for the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2013.
According to an official release, the jury for the prize under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took the decision.
Bhatt was one of the pioneers of the Chipko movement for which he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1982. He was also a recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 2005.
16:53 Sri Lankan family finds mass grave in garden:
A Sri Lankan family has found the remains of at least nine bodies buried in the garden of their home in the former stronghold of the vanquished LTTE in the north, police said today.
Senior Superintendent of Police Ajith Rohana said the remains had been found in the garden of the house at Puthukudyiruppu in Mullaithivu district, which served as the LTTE's military capital.
"Skulls of at least nine people were found on Thursday evening during the clearing work of the garden. The parts have been taken away by the Judicial Medical Officer of Jaffna hospital for further investigations," Rohana said.
16:01 President approves division of AP, creation of Telangana:
President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday gave his assent to Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2014.
President's rule has been imposed in Andhra Pradesh, the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Saturday.
The decision of the Centre to impose President's rule comes in the wake of the resignation of Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy over the decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.
15:30 Manipulation of opinion polls: EC seeks action:
Acting on a complaint by the Congress on the alleged manipulation of opinion polls by some organisations, the Election Commission has asked the Centre to take "appropriate action" in the matter.
In a communication to the ministries of corporate affairs and information and broadcasting, the EC has said the matter involves allegations of conspiracy to prepare false reports/polls for publishing misleading information on consideration of illegal payment of money in return.
"Therefore, it is requested that this complaint may be looked into urgently for appropriate action at your end," Kajaya Kumar, the principal secretary of Election Commission of India, wrote to the secretaries of the two ministries.
15:29 Facebook post sparks communal tension in Nainital :
Communal tension broke out in Nainital district's Ramnagar town after pictures hurtful to the religious sentiments of a particular community were uploaded on a social networking site, a senior police official said.
Pictures with objectionable content were uploaded by a youth on Facebook, triggering tension late last night in Ramnagar, as the members of one community gathered outside the Kotwali and hurled stones at the police station, Additional DG Ram Singh Meena told PTI.
Light clashes between members of two separate communities were also reported in the Ramnagar-Shivlalpur areas, he said.
14:36 General V K Singh joins 'nationalist party' BJP:
Former Indian Army chief General V K Singh on Saturday formally joined the BJP.
General Singh marched from India Gate in the morning to the BJP headquarters in the city.
Meanwhile, our correspondent from Delhi reports that starlet Rakhi Sawant may soon join the saffron party.
14:20 Union ministers may lose deposits in Lok Sabha polls: A correspondent from Delhi reports:
At least 10 to 15 Union ministers will lose so badly in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls that they might have to forfeit their deposits.
Some of them may choose not to contest.
Two or three may even head to Tihar Jail like their former colleague A Raja, joked an Union minister.
When Railway Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge sought permission to declare a railway project in Kolar, Karnataka, he was told by Finance Minister P Chidamabarm that the government did not have the requisite fiscal reserve.
Finally Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to step in to approve the request.
14:12 Union Cabinet meeting on Sunday:
A meeting of the Union Cabinet on Sunday is likely to consider bringing in ordinances on anti-corruption, a pet project of Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi, and some other populist measures.
14:11 Ramvilas Paswan seeks L K Advani's blessings :
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan today met BJP patriarch L K Advani, days after he announced his party's tie-up with the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls.
Paswan, who had left the NDA in 2002 over the Gujarat riots, came back to the BJP-led alliance on Thursday.
Under the seat sharing agreement between the two parties, LJP would contest seven of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
The new tie-up came as a jolt to the Congress's plans to have a "secular" alliance with his party and the RJD.
14:09 UN holds urgent meeting on Ukraine, calls for dialogue:
The United Nations Security Council has held an "urgent" meeting to discuss the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, asking all political actors in the strife-torn country to exercise maximum restraint and resolve issues through inclusive dialogue.
"The Security Council reviewed with concern the recent developments in Ukraine," Raimonda Murmokaite, Permanent Representative of Lithuania, which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation body for February, said.
Speaking to reporters after the UNSC consultations, Murmokaite said the Council had been briefed by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
13:55 JK governor draws up a top secret report:
Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has submitted a top secret report on the constitutional powers of governors and how it is being ignored by Union ministers.
If the media gets its hands on the report, it would cause quite a commotion, along the lines of the one caused by Vohra's earlier report on the criminal nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and the underworld, when the governor was the Union home secretary.
13:52 Security beefed up at BJP's HQ in Delhi:
Delhi police have enhanced security at 11 Ashok Road -- the national headquarters of the BJP in Delhi -- as the office is frequently being visited by high-profile leaders like L K Advani and Narendra Modi.
Delhi police have also received some special inputs from central security agencies. A special team will soon be posted permanently to monitor people, security and VVIP movements inside the BJP's office.
13:50 Ramvilas Paswan, Chirag meet L K Advani: A correspondent from Delhi reports:
Ram Vilas Paswan, accompanied by his son Chirag, a box of sweets and garlands, drove to BJP patriarch LK Advani's residence to seek his blessings over the brand new alliance between the saffron party and his LJP.
Meanwhile, Chirag Paswan may be appointed as one of the five main spokespersons of the BJP-led NDA.
Chirag, known for his impeccable accent and quick retorts, will participate in both English and Hindi TV debates during the poll campaign.
13:46 Jaitley to contest from Jaipur, Sushma from Telangana?: A correspondent from Delhi reports:
While senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley may contest the Lok Sabha polls for the first time from Jaipur in Rajasthan, Dr Subramanian Swamy may contest from New Delhi while veteran leader Sushma Swaraj is keen to contest from Telangana.
The BJP Parliamentary Party is expected to take a final call early next week.
13:43 Cabinet meeting or condolence meeting?:
A correspondent reports from Delhi:
No smile. No happiness. No jokes among the Union ministers
The last meeting of the Union cabinet, held on Friday, was like a "condolence meeting", according to a senior Union Minister.
During the Cabinet meeting, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth was scheduled to make a special mention, but he was asked to do so on Saturday instead.
Meanwhile, the Union government has scotched speculations about raising the retirement age of government officials from 60 to 62.
13:31 Voters to Rahul: 'If India is rich, why are we still so poor?':
Another autorickshaw puller asked Gandhi, "I want to know why, when I hear so much about India being such a major power, a great economy, a prosperous country, why am I still so poor. Is it because my government is not with me?"
Yet another member of the audience recited a poem he had written for the Congress leader.
Gandhi also heard in length about how the system of issuing ration cards -- aimed to benefit the most impoverished sections of society -- was deeply corrupt.
"Go see the houses where the officials, who issue ration cards, live in. They live in luxury, they have 3-4 cars. Isn't all that money meant to help the poor," he was told.
13:22 'Garib' are pushed around everywhere, Rahul told by voters:
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is holding an interaction with rickshaw pullers, which is being broadcast live on TV news channels, as part of the party's poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh.
Gandhi has fielded a number of questions and grievances from the rickshaw pullers about the corrupt officials who issue rations cards, the high 'rent' paid by them to the vehicle's owners and not making enough money to support their families.
"We don't earn enough to feed our families, to educate our children. I am ill but I can't afford healthcare," one of them said to Gandhi.
Another member of the audience told him that he earned only Rs 100 per day, which was not enough to provide even daal chawal for his family.
He added, "Hum garib toh har jagah dhakka khaate hain (poor people are pushed around everywhere).
11:26 'Indo-US relationship busy coping with challenges of normalcy' :
The Indo-US relationship is busy coping with the challenges of normalcy as there is no great problem in bilateral ties to solve, Indian Ambassador S Jaishankar has said.
"The reality is that the Indo-US relationship is busy coping with the challenges of normalcy. Sadly, we have no great problem in our ties to solve, nor a crisis to defuse.There is no big idea either in the works with a transformational potential," Jaishankar said.
"So, in an era where the news cycle becomes a barometer of ties, this has led to the relationship dropping off the radar, and being left to political operatives, instant market analysts and social media," he said in his address to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in Chicago.
11:08 Arun Jaitley may contest Lok Sabha polls from Jaipur:
Arun Jaitley, currently the BJP's Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, may contest the Lok Sabha election from Jaipur.
The senior BJP leader has never contested a Lok Sabha election.
Read more about Arun Jaitley's rise to power within the saffron party here
10:23 Obama warns Russia of 'costs' in Ukraine:
US President Barack Obama has expressed deep concern over reported Russian military activity inside Ukraine and warned that "there will be costs" for any intervention.
He did not say what those costs might be.
"We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine," Obama said.
10:19 General V K Singh to sue Union home minister:
Former army chief General V K Singh seems to have a penchant for staying in the news.
The controversial General has now decided to sue Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for defamation.
General Singh has alleged that Shinde did nothing to dispel reports about an alleged troops movement towards Delhi in 2012, and took no action against those responsible for the damaging accusations.
Shinde's silence proved his complicity with those responsible for the report, the General has claimed.
10:16 Arvind Kejriwal embarks on UP 'yatra':
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday kicked off his three-day yatra
of Uttar Pradesh.
The 500-km road show, which started in Delhi, will end in Kanpur.
During his yatra, Kejriwal warned voters that irrespective of whether the Congress came to power or the BJP after the Lok Sabha polls, corruption will continue.
Incidentally, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi also launched the party's poll campaign in India's largest state on Friday.
10:12 General V K Singh to join the BJP:
Former army chief General V K Singh will formally join the BJP today.
General Singh had earlier courted controversy when he has shared the dais with BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at an event shortly after stepping down from his post.
He has also been taking potshots at the ruling UPA and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, going on record to criticise the latter's inaction on crucial matters.
10:08 Why didn't you step down, Mr Antony?:
Defence Minister A K Antony, not Admiral DK Joshi, should have resigned from his post over the recent mishap on INS Sindhuratna,
in which two naval officers were killed.
The 26-year-old submarine was not dismantled despite being two years past its sell-by date, a file about getting new batteries for it has been gathering dust for over two years at the ministry of defence and the MoD, in spite of being desperately in the need for one, has been reluctant to commission a new submarine.
So, who is responsible for the mishap, Mr Antony?
03:22 Ukraine urges Putin to stop 'provocations':
Ukraine's fugitive president resurfaced in Russia Friday to deliver a defiant condemnation of a "bandit coup," while Russian armored vehicles rumbled across Crimea and men described as Russian troops deployed at airports and a coast guardbase '" ominous signs of the Kremlin's iron hand in Ukraine's confrontation.
The sudden arrival of men in military uniform patrolling key strategic facilities prompted Ukraine to accuse Russia of a "military invasion and occupation" '" a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis.
03:20 Venezuela seeks opposition figure's arrest; protest death toll rises:
The Venezuelan government was seeking to arrest a top associate of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on Friday as the official death toll from more than two weeks of violence in the country rose to 17.
Protests continued to rage in parts of Venezuela, despite a days-long holiday declared by President Nicolas Maduro beginning Thursday in hopes of dampening the demonstrations and violence. Many businesses sent employees home through at least Tuesday.
01:58 Chinese media outlet uses racial slur at US envoy:
A major Chinese government news service used a racist slur to describe the departing American ambassador in a mean-spirited editorial today that drew widespread public condemnation in China.
The article which called Gary Locke a "rotten banana," a guide dog for the blind, and a plague reflected Chinese nationalists' acute loathing toward the first Chinese-American to have been Washington's top envoy to Beijing.
01:57 Gunmen kill Egypt policeman as 1 killed in protest:
Gunmen killed a police officer Friday in northern Egypt who worked as a guard for a judge hearing a case against the country's ousted president as his supporters held scattered demonstrations that saw one person killed, authorities said.
The police officer had been riding a motorcycle in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura when gunmen on another motorbike opened fire on him, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on its official Facebook page.
01:56 17 dead in Venezuela protests:
More than two weeks of anti-government protests in Venezuela have left 17 people dead, the country's attorney general said Friday.
"Up to now we have 17 fatalities and 261 injured. Today we're summoning 59 people (to court) because there is still a group of Venezuelans who insist on destabilizing the country," Luisa Ortega told reporters at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the popular revolt known as the "Caracazo."
01:02 UN Security Council agrees to meet on Ukraine:
The UN Security Council will hold private consultations to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the council had scheduled a meeting today afternoon.
The announcement came hours after Ukraine said Russian troops have taken up positions around a coast guard base and two airports in its Crimean peninsula, and sought help from the council to help protect it from its powerful neighbour.
00:43 China busts major web-based baby-trafficking rings, rescues 382 infants:
Chinese police have rescued 382 abducted babies and arrested 1094 suspects in a national operation that busted four major internet-based baby trafficking rings, the Public Security Ministry said Friday.
The operation came after police in Beijing and the eastern province of Jiangsu last year found four websites selling babies under the cover of adoption, the ministry said, adding that internet technologies have assisted baby traffickers by providing more secretive covers for their businesses.
00:18 JK Assembly passes resolution to check female foeticide:
Jammu and Kashmir Assembly today unanimously adopted a resolution to check the female foeticide in the state. PDP members Zulfkar Ali and Nizam-ud-Din Bhat moved their amendment to the Private Members' resolution.
Several members supported the resolution and said spirit of the resolution was concerning the entire society, irrespective of caste, creed and colour. They supported the resolution in one voice and urged for its passing.
00:12 Toll from Venezuela unrest hits 17: attorney general:
The death toll from more than three weeks of political unrest in Venezuela has risen to 17, Attorney General Luisa Ortega said today.
She told reporters that another 261 people have been injured in the violence that has accompanied large protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The previous death toll was 14. Ortega said that among the latest victims was a youth who was shot to death in the restive central state of Carabobo while dismantling a barricade.
00:09 HC orders immediate ban of Tamil website:
Madras High Court today ordered immediate ban of Tamil website 'Savukku' for being vituperative and tarnishing the reputation of several judges, IAS and IPS officers, advocates and others.
"This court notes that the reputation and status of not less than half a dozen judges, very many advocates, IAS and IPS officers stand attacked and damaged at the hands of this vituperative site," observed Justice C T Selvam, passing interim orders on a criminal original petition filed by advocate and television newsreader Mahalakshmi.
00:07 Ukraine crisis: 'Russians' occupy Crimea airports:
Ukraine has accused Russia of carrying out an armed invasion by sending naval forces to occupy Sevastopol airport in the Crimea region.
Russia's Black Sea Fleet denies its servicemen are blocking the airport.Another Crimean airport, Simferopol, has also been occupied by armed men, thought to be pro-Russia militia.
Relations between the two countries have been strained since Viktor Yanukovych was ousted as Ukrainian president last week.