It could. But past experience underscores the importance of Pakistan and Barrick Gold being transparent on the terms of the deal they struck.
At its inception in 2007, Gwadar Port was expected to be a success. Its strategic location at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz — an important waterway that opens into the ocean and through which over one-sixth of global oil production and one-third of the world’s liquefied natural gas (LPG) passes — was expected to attract international shipping, and commerce and industry to the port.
However, these expectations have not materialized. While 15-17 million barrels of oil pass through the waters just off the Gwadar coast each day, the port itself has remained silent with very little activity.
There are several reasons for the lack of activity at Gwadar Port. Foremost among these is the political instability and the armed insurgency in Balochistan Province over the last two decades. But also, the current low capacity of cranes, docks, berths, storage and other infrastructure and facilities at the port is a major hindrance in making the port a successful “gateway” to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
However, through expansion of port facilities, construction of the free zone and the East Expressway in Gwadar, both Pakistan and China have been seeking to attract trade and deals with foreign companies. One such deal that is in sight is that with the Canadian Barrick Gold Corporation, one of the world’s largest gold mining companies.
Barrick plans to mine gold in Balochistan from an areas which is around 1,000 kilometers from Karachi Port and 650 kilometers from Gwadar Port. At present Chinese companies, which are extracting minerals from northwest Balochistan, are trucking them all the way to the already busy Karachi Port.
As the Barrick team and the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) discussed in their recent meeting, using Gwadar Port would reduce the distance, time and cost of transportation. Half of the distance between the gold reserves and Gwadar port is reachable through the M8 motorway. A new motorway will need to be constructed for the rest of the route.
Barrick’s interest in investing billions of dollars in the gold mining project and Gwadar Port, and in using the latter to ship out the minerals appears to be an opportunity for Gwadar to tap into its long-anticipated economic potential.
But past experiences with international investors and mineral mining in Balochistan evoke much skepticism. This skepticism is not without basis.
Barrick plans to work on the Reko Diq Gold mines in Balochistan’s Chaghi district, which borders Iran and Afghanistan (Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998 were carried out in Chaghi).
The Pakistan government, the Balochistan provincial government, and the Barrick Gold Corporation have reached a preliminary agreement under which the corporation will invest $7 billion in the mining project and own 50 percent of the shares, while the balance 50 percent will be shared equally between the federal and Balochistan governments.
The Reqo Dik area reportedly contains the world’s fifth largest gold deposits, in addition to several other minerals. Its mineral wealth and the high profits it promises have prompted international companies to take the risk of investing here despite the fragile political situation and multiple security threats they face here.
Their interest began as early as 1961 after the Geological Survey of Pakistan and the U.S. Geological Survey identified the region as being rich in minerals. More extensive studies in 1971 and 1974 confirmed the findings of previous surveys.
The two main areas that these surveys identified in Chaghi district were Saindak and Reko Dik. A Chinese company signed an agreement with Pakistan and began mining in Saindak in 2002. As for Reqo Dik, the Balochistan Development Authority and an Australian mining company BHP Minerals signed a deal in 1993 under which the Chaghi Hills Exploration Joint Venture was set up to explore the Reqo Dik area for minerals.
When BHP’s feasibility study confirmed Reqo Dik as one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, it claimed 75 percent of the share in overall discoveries for the next 56 years. However, the company did not begin mining for several years.
Then in 2000, deal to Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), a joint venture of Antofagasta of Chile and the Barrick Gold Corporation. Both these to take complete charge of the project in 2006. Meanwhile, in 2010, media investigations publicized the terms of the deal, which angered Baloch nationalist activists and politicians as the terms were seen to allow “outsiders” to exploit and benefit from Balochistan’s natural resources even as the people of the province struggled with extreme poverty.
Under pressure from the nationalists, the Balochistan government refused to convert the exploration permit to a mining license, thus ending the deal with TCC. In 2011, the TCC took the case to the Supreme Court of Pakistan which ruled in favor of the Balochistan government. TCC did not give up and took the case the same year to the World Bank under the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. In 2016, TCC won the case and Pakistan was liable to pay billions in damages for breach of agreement and refusal of a mining license to TCC.
To avoid paying the penalties, Pakistan engaged in out-of-court negotiations with TCC for several years. Finally, in early 2022, it announced a settlement on the case but through a new deal under which Antofagasta stepped back from reinvesting in or restarting any project relating to Reqo Dik. However, Barrick Gold Corporation is once again in the game.
As of now, Barrick plans to invest not only in mineral extraction but also in the Gwadar Port for shipping purposes and social sector development of the Gwadar area and larger Balochistan. The mining work is expected to start in 2027-28. Early investments are expected to create thousands of jobs in the region, especially in Chaghi and Gwadar. But whether local people will benefit remains to be seen.
Several studies, including a recent one by scholars at the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) in the U.S. Naval War College, emphasize that mining and exporting Balochistan’s mineral resources are a huge commercial opportunity for the region. These studies point out that a large number of shipments and quantities of exports especially of high-value resources can bring unprecedented profits to Pakistan and make Gwadar Port one of the key ports in the region.
But, the fact that Barrick took Pakistan to court earlier in cases that ran for over a decade and could have cost Islamabad billions of dollars does not bode well. It is a fact that Pakistan allowed Barrick back only to escape paying huge penalties.
Gwadar could indeed emerge as an important port. But first, Pakistani and Chinese authorities and now Barrick Corporation need to improve the port’s access to water, power and other basic facilities. Importantly, Barrick, the federal and provincial government and the Gwadar Port Authority should make the details of the deal public so that people are aware of what is happening to their resources and the port, and where they fit in the big picture.
I am an experienced financial analyst & writer who is well known for his ability to foretell market trends as well.
Business community makes suggestions to avoid double taxation
PESHAWAR: The business community members on Friday made a number of suggestions to avoid double taxation.
They put forward the proposals in the presence of the government officials at the “Private Dialogue on Legal Issues of Peshawar business community”, arranged by the Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA).
The session was hosted by the CGPA in collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority as part of the series of Public-Private Dialogues initiated by the CGPA.
It was aimed at getting input on the issues encompassing taxes, local rules and policy administration faced by the business community of Peshawar with the interaction between the business community and officials from the relevant government departments.
One of the core components of the dialogue was to discuss the possible solutions that could be put forth as policy recommendations for the government.
This was the 8th dialogue organized by the CGPA. These sessions will conclude with the formation of recommended policy consequently assisting the KP government in developing a business ecosystem in Peshawar.
I am an experienced financial analyst & writer who is well known for his ability to foretell market trends as well.
UK to pay half of business winter energy bills
London: Britain on Wednesday launched a six-month plan starting in October to pay about half of energy bills for businesses, as Prime Minister Liz Truss seeks to stop companies going under as a result of rocketing prices.
The news precedes a mini-budget Friday when finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to unveil tax cuts to help a nation struggling with decades-high inflation.
Wholesale electricity and gas prices for businesses — except the energy sector — as well as charities, hospitals and schools will be capped at half the expected cost on the open market, the government said in a statement.
The announcement comes after Truss launched plans for a two-year household energy price freeze which also starts next month.
“We have stepped in to stop businesses collapsing, protect jobs and limit inflation,” Kwarteng said Wednesday.
The chancellor of the exchequer will Friday set out the overall cost of both energy freeze schemes.
His budget will seek to boost economic growth amid forecasts that Britain will this year sink into recession on sky-high energy bills fuelled by the invasion of Ukraine by major oil and gas producer Russia.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed Wednesday´s announcement.
“The package will ease worries about otherwise viable businesses shutting-up shop,” said Matthew Fell, chief policy director at the lobby group.
The CBI meanwhile urged a long-term energy solution to increase Britain´s supplies while ramping up efficiency measures to lower demand.
Truss took office on September 6, two days before the death of Queen Elizabeth II, after winning an election of Conservative party members on a tax-cutting platform.
She is committed to scrapping planned tax hikes on both company profits and salaries that predecessor Boris Johnson signed off upon.
Media reports suggest that the government will also scrap an EU limit on bankers´ bonuses following Brexit.
On the London stock market, homebuilders saw their shares rebound on speculation that Truss could cut tax levied on purchases of residential properties.
The tax-cutting plans like those proposed by Truss have come in for criticism from US President Joe Biden, who spoke out against the policy of “trickle-down economics” favoured by the Democrat´s Republican opponents.
The approach hinges on hopes that policies which immediately boost the wealthy will trickle down the economy to reach the less well-off.
“I am sick and tired of trickle-down economics. It has never worked,” Biden had tweeted on Tuesday.
Speaking ahead of Biden´s tweet, Truss addressed this point.
“I don´t accept this argument that cutting taxes is somehow unfair,” she told Sky News earlier this week.
“What we know is people on higher incomes generally pay more tax.
“So when you reduce taxes, there is often a disproportionate benefit because those people are paying more taxes in the first place,” she added.
The two leaders meet Wednesday at the UN in New York.
A day later, the Bank of England is expected to once more ramp up its main interest rate in a bid to dampen sky-high inflation.
Economists warn that the UK´s cost-of-living measures will ravage public finances already reeling from pandemic expenditure.
Analysts from British bank Barclays estimate the cost of the government´s total spending could hit Â£235 billion ($267 billion).
While official data Wednesday showed British public borrowing improved in August, it is expected to surge as the government funds the planned tax cuts.
Public sector net borrowing, the state´s preferred measure of the deficit, hit Â£11.8 billion last month, the Office for National Statistics said.
I am an experienced financial analyst & writer who is well known for his ability to foretell market trends as well.
Five Essential Attributes of an Effective Business Strategist
The position of the business strategist in today’s commercial organizations is essential. A good strategy is one of the reasons why some companies execute better. Nevertheless, the characteristics necessary to be effective in that capacity are sometimes unclear or misinterpreted. The business strategist is responsible for taking the ideas and visions developed by corporate executives and transforming them into prepared strategies that can be carried out in order to achieve the desired results. To put it another way, a business strategist finds the many available options, assesses each one, and then suggests the most effective way for the company to achieve its long-term objectives.
What are the essential qualities of a successful strategist? The following five qualities of character are the foundations upon which success is built:
- Optimistic.It is more feasible for a person to lean into a stressful scenario (instead of shrinking away from it) if that person believes in good results and feels the individuals with whom he or she works have the talents to effectively implement the strategy. The enthusiastic individual expects the greatest possible result with self-assurance and a pleasant attitude. When companies are going through challenging times, having a company analyst who is an optimistic role model may inspire the workforce responsible for putting the action plans into action.
- Realistic.A professional business strategist can take all the rose-colored spectacles and see things as they really are. Instead of hoping and praying for a different conclusion, the individual may realistically describe what will happen next.
- Anticipatory.The capacity to predict future events is essential to a successful strategy. Analyzing what has been accomplished in the past in order to forecast what the most reasonable aims should be for the future. Because it is like a strategist to be responsible for preparing for the future, it is advantageous for that individual to have a high skill level in predicting what might be expected.
- Ethical.Being ethical is the most apparent quality necessary to have as a part of developing a good character. To ensure that the company’s culture will accept the conceptual strategy and follow the strategists’ lead, one of the most important things that strategists can do is model conduct that is seen as having high moral standards, including honesty, integrity, and acceptance of what is considered to be acceptable moral behavior. No culture can properly execute any strategy if the culture does not trust in the leadership that established the plan. All business strategists need to carry the gravitas that comes with acting ethically.
- Good communicator.Do people truly understand what is anticipated from the strategy developed by the strategist? Confusion will ensue without a clear communication style, whether via written word, electronic medium, or spoken presentations. Until the strategic strategy is clarified, employees will either incorrectly understand the instructions, pursue their own creative agendas to perform the work, or completely reject the demands. Poor communication slows down and minimizes the work that can be accomplished, which may cost firms both time and money to rectify. Establish clear and reasonable expectations from the outset by ensuring that everyone is aware of the function that will be assigned to them.
One of the most important aspects of strategic leadership is the ability to see possibilities that are not apparent to competitors, devise practical strategies to achieve the results that are sought, and make certain that the individuals responsible for putting the plan into action buy into what you are demanding and understand precisely how they are to carry out the tasks that are required. The role of the business strategist is essential in elevating average companies to the level of industry leaders.
Odyssey has been the lead content writer and content marketer. He has vast experience in the field of writing. His SEO strategies help businesses to gain maximum traffic and success.
Nissanka, Mendis, Shanaka, Theekshana – the heroes of Sri Lanka’s memorable Asia Cup campaign
King Charles III proclaimed Canadian head of state at Rideau Hall ceremony
King Charles III has been proclaimed Canada’s head of state at a ceremony held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Saturday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the order-in-council and the proclamation for the accession in the presence of Governor General Mary Simon.
After Trudeau signed the documents, the Chief Herald of Canada Samy Khalid read out the proclamation on the accession of King Charles III.
READ MORE: As King Charles III begins his reign, what legacy will he bring to the British throne?
The event was marked with 21 gun salutes, which lasted a little over three minutes.
Trudeau said in a statement that while Canada continues to mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, the government also looks to the future with the proclamation of the accession of King Charles III as Sovereign of Canada.
Trudeau added that Canada has “enjoyed a long history and a close friendship” with King Charles III, who has visited our country many times over the years.
“We have no doubt that his deeply felt commitment to education, the environment, and the empowerment of young people will provide a strong foundation from which he will continue to work toward the betterment of the Commonwealth and its people,” said Trudeau. “On behalf of the Government of Canada, we affirm our loyalty to Canada’s new King, His Majesty King Charles III, and offer him our full support.”
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, Dominic LeBlanc, also gave a speech reflecting on Queen Elizabeth II’s death at the ceremony.
“As Queen of Canada for 70 years, Her Majesty accompanies Canadians through some of the most defining moments in our country’s history,” said LeBlanc. “Through her reassuring presence, and graceful demeanor, she was an immense source of inspiration and pride for countless Canadians.”
LeBlanc also mentioned that he was touched by King Charles III’s interest in Canada when he visited Rideau Hall 25 years ago.
“We have every confidence that His Majesty will be very much present and involved in the life of our country as was his mother,” said LeBlanc.
In a message from the governor general released shortly after the ceremony, Simon wrote that Canadians’ collective grief is “a reflection of the deep and abiding affection” they had for Queen Elizabeth II and “the very real connection she had with Canada.”
“His Majesty The King ascends at an important time in history for Canada and the Commonwealth,” it reads. “We face many complex challenges, many of which cannot be resolved without global co-operation and dedicated leadership.”
“The Crown has come to reflect our ever-changing country and society, representing and fostering our relationships with each other, with Indigenous peoples and with the international community,” Simon stated.
She added that Canada looks forward to have conversations with King Charles III and the Queen Consort about “reconciliation, diversity and our global well-being.”
The federal government will also roll out a series of events to commemorate the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.
The date of Canada’s national commemoration ceremony for Queen Elizabeth II is yet to be decided.
The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will take place at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, according to the Royal Family’s website.
King Charles III wishes for a period of Royal Mourning to be observed from now until seven days after The Queen’s Funeral, the website states.
In pictures: Queen Elizabeth II in North America
Over a period spanning more than 70 years, Queen Elizabeth met more than a dozen US presidents and 12 Canadian prime ministers.
The only American president elected during her reign that the Queen did not meet was Lyndon Johnson. The rest, from Harry Truman to current President Joe Biden, all met Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
The Queen visited Canada – where she was head of state – more than two dozen times taking in every province and territory.
Then-Princess Elizabeth met her first US President in 1951, when Truman greeted her and Prince Phillip at Washington National Airport at the start of a two-day visit to the city.
The president referred to the pair as “a wonderful young couple that so completely captured the hearts of all of us”.
“You will leave many happy memories among the people who have greeted you here,” he said. “We want you to come back again.”
UK royals latest updates: King Charles III proclaimed new monarch
- King Charles III has been proclaimed as Britain’s new monarch in a ceremony followed by gun salutes and the reading of proclamations in London and across the four corners of the United Kingdom.
- locations.The proclamation was read publicly in the other capital cities of the UK – Edinburgh in Scotland, Belfast in Northern Ireland, and Cardiff in Wales – and at other
Monarchy represents nation’s identity, says historian
Jonathan Spangler, a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, has praised the evolvement of the monarchy.
“Over the centuries, the monarchy has been evolving and changing from the people who wield power into a more ceremonial, symbolic dynasty who represent the identity of the people,” he said.
“This is a transfer of power of a nation’s spiritual identity, and therefore the nation should see it [televised].”
‘The crown never dies’: Royal historian
Ed Owens, a royal historian, said the “highly choreographed pageantry” of Saturday’s ceremony is a direct message to the British public that the monarchy is very much entrenched in the fabric of Britain’s history.
“There’s a clear emphasis on pomp, pageantry – a vision of British history unfolding before our eyes,” Owens said from London.
“The point here is that the crown never dies,” he continued. “As soon as the mortal monarch dies, the crown then passes directly to the successor.
“The professionalisation of the kind of royal spectacle that is unfolding in central London today really took place in the late 19th, early 20th century. And that is because the monarchy sought to make itself the centre of British history, and the kind of orchestration of these kinds of events that we’re witnessing today are about presenting to the masses, especially to television viewers, what is it that British history means.
Putin offers his ‘sincerest congratulations’ to Charles III
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated King Charles III on his accession to the throne.
“I wish Your Majesty success, good health, and all the best,” Putin said in a statement, tweeted by his country’s embassy in London.
Continuity of tradition is reassuring, says former diplomat
William Patey, the former British ambassador to Afghanistan, has praised the ascension ceremony.
“I never really had any doubt that it would be done according to military precision and that it would all run smoothly,” Patey told Al Jazeera.
“What strikes me is the continuity, which is reassuring. I am a historian as well as a former diplomat and these traditions go back a thousand years – and none of us have seen them. It’s very interesting times.”
King Charles declares late queen’s funeral a public holiday
King Charles III has approved an order that the day of the late queen’s funeral will be a public holiday.
Lord President of the Council Penny Mordaunt said: “Drafts of two proclamations. One – appointing the day of Her late Majesty’s state funeral as a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Two – appointing the day of Her late Majesty’s state funeral as a bank holiday in Scotland. And of two orders in council, directing the Lord Chancellor to affix the great seal to the proclamations,” she said.
King Charles answered: “Approved.”
‘Hip, hip, hurrah’: King Charles’s proclamation read from palace balcony
A crowd cheered on as David White, the Garter King of Arms, read out the official proclamation of Charles as Britain’s new king from a balcony above London’s St James’s Palace.
“Three cheers for His Majesty the King,” the senior herald in England shouted from the balcony, prompting a response of “hip, hip, hurrah” from soldiers below.
Accession ceremony a constitutional step in introducing new monarch
The ceremony at St James’s Palace, a royal residence in London, is attended by the Accession Council, made up of senior politicians and officials who advise the monarch. They met without Charles, officially confirming his title, King Charles III. The king will then join them to make a series of oaths and declarations.
Queen Consort Camilla ‘has no expectations of love’ from UK
Queen Consort Camilla has not ‘expectations’ of love or adoration from the Royal Family because she reportedly considers herself a ‘stable influence’ for King Charles III.
This insight has been shared by former secretary of state David Mellor, in a candid interview with GB News.
He was quoted telling the outlet, “Because I’ve always had a soft corner for her and she’s always been on occasions that we meet, very kind and she’s cultured as he is.”
“And she loves music and all the rest of it, but you know because she’s a very decent person and she had no expectations of being loved.”
“And there was no sense of flouncing around like a Hollywood actress, we’re not going to mention any names, of course, she has won the affection of British people, well done her.”
“She’s very relaxed, very informal and I think this is going to be the making or the breaking of her because it was either going to be a totally destructive experience or it was going to be a new dimension.”
“And I think it’s not any good for her, the way that she is received, as a kind and decent woman but also I think he has needed a lot of picking up and polishing.”
When asked about Camilla’s impact on Prince Charles, Mr Mellor claimed, “One has the impression that it has been good for him too, to have a stable influence by his side.”
She is the love of Charles’s life, his confidante since they were young and his wife of 17 years. And now, she is his Queen Consort.
The public has got used to seeing Camilla by her husband’s side at key national and international events and celebrations, but as she has admitted, it has been far from easy.
Few women have been as publicly vilified as Camilla Parker Bowles. She was “the other woman” in the marriage break-up of the century, endlessly compared to Diana, Princess of Wales.
In choosing Charles, she upended her life. For years she was hounded by the press, her character and appearance relentlessly attacked. But she weathered the storm and gradually cemented her position as the most senior female member of the Royal Family.
There are more than 4.7 million banknotes in the UK with the queen’s face on them. They will all be replaced
London (CNN Business)Billions of banknotes and coins around the world featuring the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II are set to be replaced following her death.
No changes yet
Kharkiv offensive: Russian forces retreat as Ukraine takes key towns
Russian forces have withdrawn from key eastern towns, as a rapid Ukrainian counter-attack makes further gains.
Ukrainian officials said troops entered Kupiansk, a vital eastern supply hub for Russian forces, on Saturday.
Special forces posted photos on social media which they said showed their officers in the town.
Separately, Russia’s defence ministry told state media that its troops have retreated from the nearby town of Izyum to allow them “to regroup”.
The ministry also confirmed the withdrawal of troops from a third key town, Balaklyia, in order to “bolster efforts” on the Donetsk front.
“A three-day operation was carried out on the drawdown and organised transfer of the Izyum-Balakliya group of troops to the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the statement said.
“In order to prevent damage to the Russian troops, a powerful fire defeat was inflicted on the enemy.”
The Ukrainian advances – if held – would be the most significant since Russia withdrew from areas around Kyiv in April.
They would be used as a sign that Ukraine’s army can take back Russian-occupied territory, while the country continues to ask for military support from the West.
For Russia, they would mark a humiliating setback, as its forces invaded captured the area in the first week of the war.
- Ukraine retakes 1,000 square kilometres – Zelensky
Earlier, UK defence officials said Ukraine had advanced 50km (31 miles) into previously Russian-held territory.
“Russian forces were likely taken by surprise,” the UK Ministry of Defence said. “The sector was only lightly held and Ukrainian units have captured or surrounded several towns.”
Ukraine launched its counter-offensive in the east earlier this week, while international attention was focused on an anticipated advance near the southern city of Kherson.
Analysts believe Russia redirected some of its most seasoned troops to defend the city.
But as well as gaining ground in the east, Ukraine is also making gains in the south, an official said.
Nataliya Gumenyuk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian army’s southern command, said they had advanced “between two and several dozens of kilometres” along that front.
But Russian forces fighting on the southern front are said to have dug into defensive positions, and Ukraine’s troops have faced heavy resistance since the offensive began.
Ukrainian officials shared a picture on social media that appeared to show Ukrainian troops holding up the country’s flag in front of Kupiansk city hall, with the Russian flag at their feet.
“We are moving forward,” General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, wrote in a Facebook update on Friday afternoon. “We clearly know what we are fighting for and we will definitely win.”
Speaking from Kyiv during his nightly address, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces are “gradually taking control of new settlements” and “returning the Ukrainian flag and protection for all our people”.
Earlier on Saturday, the Russian-appointed head of Kharkiv region, Vitaly Ganchev, said his troops had started to evacuate civilians in Kupiansk and Izyum.
Speaking in Brussels on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the attack was “demonstrably making real progress”.
“I think we can say that Ukraine is proceeding in a very deliberate way with a strong plan and critically enabled by the resources that many of us are providing,” Mr Blinken said.
- Ukraine suggests UN peacekeepers for nuclear plant
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Mr Zelensky also said during his address that national police units were returning to liberated settlements and urged civilians to report suspected Russian war crimes to them.
His call followed a report from the UN’s monitoring team in Ukraine which said they had “documented a range of violations against prisoners of war” by Moscow’s forces.
The report also accused Ukrainian troops of “cases of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war”.
Despite optimism in the east, Mr Zelensky observed in his address that “fierce battles” have continued in the Donbas.
Elsewhere, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrived in Kyiv on Saturday in a surprise visit, which she said was to demonstrate Berlin’s commitment to Ukraine’s defence.
“I have travelled to Kyiv today to show that they can continue to rely on us,” Ms Baerbock said.
And on Friday, Mr Zelensky awarded the Order of Merit, Ukraine’s highest honour, to Haluk Bayraktar – the head of Turkish drone manufacturer Bayraktar.
The company’s TB2 combat drone, which can carry four missiles, has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.
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