Putin slams West’s ‘empire of lies’

Russia’s president has criticized the West as the country faces a new massive wave of sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the West an “empire of lies,” responding to a new wave of sanctions that hit the country over its special military operation in neighboring Ukraine.

Speaking to top government officials on Monday, he said: “I invited you to discuss economic and financial issues … bearing in mind the sanctions that the so-called Western community — an empire of lies, as I called it in my address — is trying to implement against our country.”

The “empire of lies” term was coined by Russia’s president last Thursday, when he announced the launch of the offensive in Ukraine. Since the US is a “system-forming power,” the whole collective West has become such an “empire,” he said then.

“By the way, American politicians, political scientists, and journalists themselves write and say that, in recent years, an actual ‘empire of lies’ has been created inside the United States. It’s hard to disagree with that, as it’s true,” Putin stated.

All [the US] satellites not only dutifully agree, sing along to its music, but also copy its behavior, and enthusiastically accept the rules they are offered. Therefore, with good reason, we can confidently say that the entire so-called Western bloc, formed by the United States in its own image and likeness, all of it is an ‘empire of lies.’

Russia’s operation in Ukraine has become the only option left to prevent further bloodshed in the country and stop Kiev from trying to launch an all-out assault on the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the country’s east, the Kremlin has explained. Ahead of the offensive, Moscow formally recognized the People’s Republics there as independent states.

READ MORE: London takes back 'Putin regime change' claim

Kiev, however, claimed the attack was “unprovoked,” insisting it has had zero plans to retake the breakaway regions by force. Donetsk and Lugansk split from Ukraine back in 2014 following the Maidan coup, which ousted the democratically-elected government of the country. While active, large-scale combat ended with the 2014-15 Minsk agreements, the roadmap out of the crisis the deal had provided was never implemented, with the republics enduring years of low-intensity warfare that left thousands of people dead.


Bulgarian defense minister fired over Ukraine comments

Sofia’s military chief has been sacked for calling Russia’s conflict in Ukraine a ‘military intervention’ rather than a ‘war’

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov has fired defense chief Stefan Yanev over his word choices in describing the Russia-Ukraine conflict, calling the situation a “military intervention” or an “operation” rather than a “war.”

“My defense minister cannot use the word operation instead of the word war,” Petkov told reporters on Monday. “You cannot call it an operation when thousands of soldiers from the one and the other side are already killed.”

The prime minister added that “the Bulgarian interest is not in bending our heads down.” Rather, “When we see something we do not agree with, something so obvious, we cannot keep quiet.”

All four parties in Bulgaria’s ruling coalition agreed to call for Yanev’s resignation, Petkov noted. A new defense minister – reportedly Todor Tagarev, who held the position in 2013 – will be appointed in an extraordinary session of Parliament that will be held on Tuesday.

The firing came in reaction to a Facebook post by Yanev. Commenting on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the defense minister warned against using the word “war.” He said there was no need for Bulgaria to side with Russia, the US, or European allies in the conflict, adding, “Our suffering motherland does not deserve to be sacrificed in the game of the great powers.”

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File photo: US Army Lt. Col. Steven Templeton of the 4th Infantry Division, fires a machine gun at Novo Selo Training Range, Bulgaria, December 14, 2018.
Bulgaria insists it’s a loyal NATO ally, but won’t send troops to Ukraine

Petkov chided him for the post, saying, “No minister can attempt to do foreign policymaking on his own, especially on Facebook.” Yanev argued that he was being targeted for removal so the government could install a defense minister who will be more willing to serve foreign interests, in some cases at the expense of Bulgaria’s security.

Bulgaria was for long a close ally of Russia and was a Soviet satellite as a member of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. However, the country joined NATO in 2004 and became part of the European Union in 2007. Petkov has said that standing in solidarity with Western allies is the best way to ensure Bulgaria’s security.

Moscow last week closed its airspace to flights from Bulgaria, after the Balkan country blocked Russian air carriers from its territory in response to the attack on Ukraine.


Ex-SAS soldier testifies to atrocities committed in Afghanistan

Soldier kicked unarmed Afghan man off cliff before ordering him shot - witness

An Australian special forces soldier has testified to atrocities committed by his comrade as part of an unfolding defamation lawsuit against several Australian media outlets. Ben Roberts-Smith allegedly kicked an unarmed, handcuffed man off a cliff before ordering his subordinates to finish him off, a former colleague listed in court records as “Person 4” revealed in court on Monday.

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FILE PHOTO. Australian Army personnel carry the coffin of Trooper David Pearce from the Cathedral of Saint Stephen in Brisbane, 17 October 2007. © AFP / Eddie SAFARIK.
‘We were fighting & in danger. To now say that’s a war crime makes me really angry’ – is Aussie SAS killer a hero or a villain?

I saw the individual’s face strike a large rock and sustain a serious injury. It knocked out a number of his teeth including his front teeth,” the unnamed SAS fighter told a federal court after describing how Roberts-Smith allegedly kicked the unarmed man off a cliff. He ultimately ordered his underlings to drag the “severely injured” man under a tree and shoot him dead, the man testified.

The grisly execution allegedly took place in the village of Darwan on September 11, 2012 following a failed attempt to hunt down a “rogue Afghan soldier” named Hekmatullah who had supposedly killed three Australians. As the SAS came up empty-handed, they found the alleged victim, a visiting farmer named Ali Jan, and arrested him. Roberts-Smith and another servicemember manhandled him down a cliff, where he fell and hit a “large rock,” sustaining “serious facial injury,” according to Person 4.

Person 4 heard shooting and turned around to see the Afghan farmer had been killed; Roberts-Smith then allegedly asked the witness for his camera in order to photograph the dead man with a type of radio used by Afghan insurgents to communicate - a radio Person 4 claimed the farmer had not been carrying “to [his] knowledge” but had come from another man killed by Roberts-Smith previously.

The narrative emerged as Roberts-Smith has sued multiple Australian media outlets, including the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Canberra Times. The former soldier accused the media of defaming him with wrongful accusations of war crimes and other acts of wrongdoing - from bullying and domestic violence to murder.

READ MORE: US Afghanistan watchdog predicted air force’s collapse months in advance

Roberts-Smith has denied all charges. “There was no cliff…there was no kick,” he told the court last July, insisting the dead man had been an enemy “spotter” killed for legitimate reasons. Person 4, who has been challenged regarding his refusal to testify about another incident in which he was seen “standing over a dead Afghan prisoner” after another witness heard shots fired, will be cross-examined on Tuesday. 

An ongoing investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, based on the Brereton report, which found enough “credible information” to implicate 25 Australian Defense Force members in the illegal killing of 39 Afghan individuals, has been delayed following the collapse of the Afghan government. While the Taliban could be reasonably expected to cooperate with such an inquiry, the reluctance of other countries to recognize the Islamic militant group as a legitimate governing body is expected to hinder the proceedings. 


RT responds to Ofcom investigations

London going after anyone outside its “echo chamber,” says RT’s deputy editor-in-chief

The British media regulator’s investigations of RT’s news programs are part of political pressure on any outlet that exists outside the “echo chamber” of approved narratives, RT's deputy editor in chief and head of communications, Anna Belkina, said on Monday. 

Though Ofcom is nominally independent, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson last Wednesday accused RT of “peddling” material that is “doing a lot of damage to the truth” and called for Ofcom to investigate the channel.

“We are not surprised by the announcement of Ofcom investigations, nor can we possibly divorce this action from the immense political pressure that had been placed on what is supposed to be an entirely independent regulator by the politicians both within and outside of the UK,” said Belkina.

“What we have witnessed over the last few days, be it comments from the President of the EU Commission or from the UK PM Boris Johnson, is that none of them had pointed to a single example, a single grain of evidence that what RT has reported over these days, and continues to report, is not true. Instead, what they have said is that the honest information that RT brings to its audience is simply not allowed in their supposedly free media environment. When it comes to the Russian voice, or just a different perspective from theirs, it is not allowed to exist in their space.

“This collective Western establishment seems to be terrified of a mere presence of any outside voice for the fear of losing their historically captive audience, if that audience encounters a different perspective. Yet what they fail to realise is that it is their own echo chamber that seeds the public mistrust that they have so long lamented. They will reap what they sow.”


Russian football chiefs respond to UEFA & FIFA suspension

The Russian Football Union (RFU) has reacted after UEFA and FIFA banned all Russian teams from their competitions

The Russian Football Union (RFU) says it reserves the right challenge the decision by governing bodies FIFA and UEFA to suspend Russian teams from all their competitions due to the ongoing military campaign in Ukraine.

In a joint statement on Monday, FIFA and UEFA announced that no Russian teams at club or international level would take part in their tournaments “until further notice.”

The RFU has decried the step as “discriminatory” and says it will harm “millions of Russian and foreign fans.”

“The Russian Football Union categorically disagrees with the decision of FIFA and UEFA to suspend all Russian teams from participating in international matches for an indefinite period,” read a statement on the RFU website.

“We believe that this decision is contrary to the norms and principles of international competition, as well as the spirit of sports.

“It has an obvious discriminatory character and harms a huge number of sportspeople, coaches, employees of clubs and national teams, and most importantly, millions of Russian and foreign fans, whose interests international sports organizations must protect first of all.

“Such actions divide the international sports community, which has always adhered to the principles of equality, mutual respect and independence from politics.

“We reserve the right to challenge the decision of FIFA and UEFA in accordance with international sports law,” it added.

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© Mike Kireev / NurPhoto via Getty Images
FIFA and UEFA suspend all Russian teams

Among other things, the decision from UEFA and FIFA means that the Russian men’s national team is set to miss out on the chance to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Russia had been due to play Poland in a semifinal playoff in Moscow on March 24, before meeting either Sweden or the Czech Republic in the Russian capital later that month.

However, all three nations had refused to play Russia in light of the military operation launched by Moscow in Ukraine.

FIFA had initially said Russia must play home matches at a neutral venue without fans, and without the country’s flag or anthem.

Monday’s decision has gone much further by banning Russian teams altogether, and follows recommendations earlier in the day from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for Russian and Belarusian athletes not to be allowed to compete in international competitions across all sports.   

READ MORE: Olympic officials recommend total ban on Russia and Belarus


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No plans to occupy Ukraine, Russia tells UN

Moscow seeks to “demilitarize and denazify” Kiev, ambassador tells the UN General Assembly

Russia seeks to save lives in the Donbass and punish those responsible for eight years of genocide and atrocities, Moscow’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzia told the General Assembly during a session called to denounce the invasion of Ukraine.

“Occupation of Ukraine is not part of our plans. The purpose of this special operation is to protect people, who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for the past eight years. This is why it’s necessary to demilitarize and de-nazify Ukraine,” Nebenzia said.

As one example of “ghastly crimes” committed by the government in Kiev, the Russian envoy cited the murder of people protesting the US-backed coup in Kiev, when 40 people were burned alive in a building in Odessa. Moscow is seeking to bring to justice anyone who committed such atrocities, “including Russian citizens,” Nebenzia said.

Russia is defending itself from a “regime” which “aspires to gain access to nuclear weapons,” the UN envoy added, noting the statement of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to that effect at the Munich Security Conference on February 18. 

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The facade of 10 Downing Street is lit up with the colors of Ukraine's flag, in London, Britain on February 24, 2022.
London takes back 'Putin regime change' claim

Rather than violating the underlying principles of the UN, as critics have accused Russia of doing, Nebenzia argued the military operation is actually ensuring the key principle is upheld – to prevent another world war.

NATO’s placement of military assets in Ukraine would have forced Russia to take measures that would have put Moscow and the alliance “on the brink of conflict,” he said.

Ukraine and its Western backers have accused Russia of unprovoked aggression and dismissed accusations of genocide and atrocities in the two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

“Everyone knows that Russia and Russia alone started this invasion,” said Kiev’s ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya. 

The UN General Assembly is meeting at the request of the US, which last week submitted a joint resolution with Albania to condemn Russia at the UN Security Council, where it was vetoed by Moscow.


Putin stripped of honorary taekwondo black belt

The World Taekwondo Federation had presented the item to Putin in 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been stripped of his honorary taekwondo black belt by the World Taekwondo Federation.

Putin was awarded the prestigious item by the federation's chief, Choue Chung-won, and was also made a grandmaster of the martial art during a November 2013 visit to South Korea, where taekwondo originated. 

The World Taekwondo Federation announced the decision in a statement and said that it strongly condemned Russia's military operation in Ukraine, which it said goes "against the World Taekwondo vision of 'Peace is More Precious than Triumph' and the World Taekwondo values of respect and tolerance".

"In this regard, World Taekwondo has decided to withdraw the honorary 9th dan black belt conferred to Mr. Vladimir Putin in November 2013," it continued.

"In solidarity with the International Olympic Committee, no Russian or Belarusian national flags or anthems will be displayed or played at World Taekwondo events," the statement added, while announcing that neither itself nor the European Taekwondo Union will organize or recognize taekwondo events in the two countries moving forward. 

"World Taekwondo’s thoughts are with the people of Ukraine," the federation concluded, saying that it hoped for a "peaceful and immediate end" to the conflict.

The World Taekwondo Federation's decision to strip Putin of the honorary black belt is a second personal sporting snub for the leader in recent days.

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Vladimir Putin (third from right) watches judo in Tokyo in 2016 © Toru Yamanaka – Pool / Getty Images
Judo chiefs make Putin decision

On Sunday, The International Judo Federation (IJF) suspended Putin from his role as its Honorary President and Ambassador, a position which he had held since 2008.

A black belt in that sport too, Putin was a regional champion in his hometown St. Petersburg as a youth, the IJF website says, and also made an instructional DVD named 'Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin' in addition to a book on the discipline distributed to millions of schoolchildren.

The IJF has also canceled this year's Grand Slam scheduled for Kazan in May, but Putin has not yet responded to these measures or those from the World Taekwondo Federation.

Elsewhere on Monday, global and European football bodies FIFA and UEFA banned all Russian teams from international competitions, while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has similarly made calls for all athletes from Russia and Belarus to be prevented from participating at international events.


Airbnb to house Ukrainian refugees

Rental platform will offer short-term housing to up to 100,000 people leaving Ukraine

Airbnb announced on Monday that it will offer “free, short-term housing” for refugees fleeing conflict in Ukraine. The platform's efforts will focus on Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Romania, and could extend to providing longer-term accommodation.

Airbnb announced the move in a blog post, stating that it would be funded by Airbnb itself, donors to the company’s refugee fund, and hosts offering their properties up for free through Airbnb.org, a nonprofit founded by the short-stay firm.

The move is not unprecedented for Airbnb, which has provided accommodation for Afghan, Syrian, and Venezuelan refugees over the past five years, to people affected by natural disasters, and to healthcare workers during the initial weeks and months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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FILE PHOTO. A road in Kiev. ©Mohammad Javad Abjoushak / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Russian military offers 'safe passage' for evacuation from Kiev

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi claimed on Monday that some 500,000 refugees have left Ukraine since Russia launched a military offensive last week. Most of those fleeing have been women and children, on account of Ukrainian authorities ordering military-aged men to stay and fight.

Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova have taken most of the refugees, Grandi said. Reports also suggest that some have crossed into Belarus, where the government is supporting Russia’s Ukrainian operation.

Ukrainian and Russian officials met in Gomel, Belarus on Monday for tentative peace talks. Following negotiations, delegations from each side returned to their capitals, with Kremlin negotiator Vladimir Medinsky saying they had agreed to a second round of discussions later this week.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, fighting continues. Russian forces have engaged Ukrainian troops and militias in the cities of Kharkov and Mariupol, as well as on the outskirts of Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the aim of the operation is to neutralize and “de-Nazify” Ukraine, while Moscow’s foreign policy has for decades aimed to block Ukraine’s accession to the NATO alliance.


US views on mask mandates are shifting

Support for compulsory face coverings declines as Americans become less fearful of catching Covid-19, poll shows

As their fears of catching Covid-19 fade, Americans are becoming less inclined to think that their fellow citizens should be forced to wear masks in public places, a new poll has revealed.

About 50% of Americans favor requiring face coverings in public, down from 55% last August, according to a poll conducted by the Associated Press and the University of Chicago’s NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The latest result marks a strong shift from the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, when about 75% of respondents agreed with compulsory mask-wearing.

However, even in the February AP/NORC survey, 77% of Democrats still favored mask mandates, and 16% were neutral. Just 7% said they opposed forcing people to wear face coverings, compared with 53% of Republicans.

Most US states have ended their mask mandates. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last Friday said Covid-19 risks are high enough in only about 28% of the country to make face coverings necessary.

Read more

CDC withholds Covid-19 data that could be ‘misinterpreted’ – media

The shift in attitudes about mask rules appears to correlate with a similar slide in virus fears. Just 24% of Americans are now “extremely” or “very” worried about themselves or a family member being infected with Covid-19, down from 36% when the Omicron variant was spreading rapidly in December and January, according to the poll, which was released on Monday.

Covid-19 anxiety is at the lowest level in eight months. Just 13% of unvaccinated Americans have strong concerns about contracting the virus, while 28% of people who’ve been inoculated said they are extremely or very worried.

Concerns over infectious diseases in general also have waned. The poll showed that 48% of Americans are extremely or very worried about disease outbreaks threatening the US, down from 65% last August. Disease concerns are near the same level seen just before the Covid-19 pandemic.


FIFA and UEFA suspend all Russian teams

The ruling means that Russia's men's team is set to be denied the chance to qualify for the 2022 World Cup

Football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA have banned all Russian teams from their competitions until further notice, as the two organizations issued a joint statement on Monday.

"FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice," read a statement.

"These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters.

"Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people."

In a separate statement, UEFA announced that it had ended its partnership with Russian energy company Gazprom "with immediate effect." 

FIFA had earlier been in advanced talks regarding Russian teams after Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic refused to play against Russia in an upcoming men's World Cup qualifying semi-final and potential final in Moscow on March 24 and March 29.

On Sunday, the world football governing body had determined that Russian teams must play at neutral venues amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine, and that Russian national teams would have to perform under a 'Football Union of Russia' banner without fans and the use of their flag or national anthem.

However, with Monday's decision, FIFA and UEFA have gone beyond those measures and have now excluded Russia and its club teams entirely from all their tournaments until further notice, which seems certain to bar the men's team from contention for qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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© Joosep Martinson / UEFA via Getty Images
Russian Football Union reacts to pleas for FIFA to cancel matches

The ban also means that, as things stand, the Russian women's national team would be ruled out of competing at Euro 2022.

Unlike the men's team, who had a tough road ahead in having to first beat Poland and then either Sweden or the Czech Republic to reach the FIFA World Cup, Russia's women have already qualified for the UEFA Euro showpiece in England, which they were due to kick off by facing Switzerland in a Group C clash on July 9.

Last week, UEFA announced that it was moving the 2022 men's Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris. 


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London takes back 'Putin regime change' claim

Downing Street clarified that the official 'misspoke' when he said bringing down “the Putin regime” is a goal of the sanctions

Toppling Russia's President Vladimir Putin is the goal of the new wave of international sanctions introduced in response to Moscow's offensive in Ukraine, a spokesman for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Monday. Downing Street later clarified that the spokesperson had “misspoken”.

"The measures we are introducing, that large parts of the world are introducing, are to bring down the Putin regime," the unnamed official said.

The restrictions, centered around Russia's financial sector, are aimed to "inflict financial pain on Putin", the spokesman went on. The sanctions are also meant to "stymie the Russian war machine as it attempts to subjugate a democratic European country," he added, referring to the Ukraine conflict.

Further enquiry on the "regime" change remark, however, prompted the spokesman to somewhat quickly backtrack, insisting that London has not actually been actively seeking to do so.

Read more

FILE PHOTO: Priti Patel speaks at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, England, October 5, 2021 © AP / Jon Super
UK to lead efforts to kick Russia out of Interpol

"We are not seeking anything in terms of regime change, what we are talking about here clearly is how we stop Russia seeking to subjugate a democratic country," the spokesman said, warning "that businesses should think very carefully if they are still continuing to do anything that props up the Putin regime." Downing Street then later said the PM’s spokesman “misspoke” when he claimed that the sanctions aimed “to bring down the Putin regime.”

The new wave of Western restrictions, that included personal sanctions against Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and against President Putin, come amid Moscow's special military operation in neighboring Ukraine launched last week. The operation’s stated goal is to protect the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk from an allegedly imminent all-out offensive by the Kiev forces, Moscow has claimed. Days before the launch of the operation, Russia formally recognized the republics as independent states.

Ukraine, however, branded the attack "unprovoked”, insisting it has had no plans to attack the republics. Donetsk and Lugansk broke away from Kiev back in 2014, following the Maidan coup that ousted the democratically elected government of the country.


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German club expect UEFA clash with Russian rivals to be scrapped

RB Leipzig claimed that UEFA is close to canceling its Europa League games against Spartak Moscow

UEFA is close to kicking Spartak Moscow out of the Europa League, according to upcoming opponent RB Leipzig.

The German club are set to face Spartak at home in the last 16 first leg on March 10, and then at a neutral venue for the return leg a week later following a UEFA ruling that saw all Russian teams ordered to play out of their homeland amid a military operation in Ukraine.

Through CEO Oliver Mintzlaff, Leipzig revealed that they continue "to be in close contact with the associations" and has "complete confidence in UEFA and their decision."

"We assume that the games will be canceled," Mintzlaff added.

Discussions are said to revolve around whether the Germans, who reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2020, will get an automatic bye through to the Europa League quarter-finals or will have to face another reinstated outfit that has already been knocked out.  

Such decisions would effectively expel Spartak from the competition after the Russians topped Group C which also contained Napoli, Leicester City, and Legia Warsaw. 

Second-placed Napoli lost 5-3 on aggregate to FC Barcelona in a play-off following a heavy 4-2 loss in Naples last week, and could be a possible candidate to face Leipzig.

Bild in Germany have also reported that UEFA, who moved the Champions League final on May 28 from St. Petersburg to Paris as part of their ruling on Friday, are ready to throw Spartak out of the tournament.

But this is something that Leipzig coach Domenico Tedesco will perhaps not agree with. Tedesco managed Spartak Moscow before leaving his position last year.  

"We are waiting for more information. It's clear that I would have liked a different framework for these games," Tedesco said after his team beat Bochum 1-0 away at the weekend. 

"The current situation is bad...war is absolutely no solution in any situation.

"History shows that it always hits the wrong people, first and foremost the athletes and the fans," Tedesco added. 

Before this earlier last week, Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen stressed that "UEFA is the decision-maker" and that the power is out of the player's hands.

"If UEFA decides nothing other than that we should play on neutral ground, then that's the way it is. We can't do anything there, then we have to play the game," said the Dane.

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FIFA have ruled on Russia © Philipp Schmidli / Getty Images
FIFA makes ruling on Russia football matches

Elsewhere, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic have refused to play against Russia in a World Cup qualifying semi-final and potential final in Moscow on March 24 and March 29.

FIFA has thus far resisted an outright ban on Russia, but ordered it to play on neutral turf, without fans and under a 'Football Union of Russia' banner while their flag and national anthem cannot be used.

Spartak's Europa League fate is expected to be known later on Monday by some, but Russian media outlet Match TV has insisted that a source has told them UEFA's stance has not changed yet and no official decisions have been made or announced to either the Russian club or Leipzig.

Match TV say that UEFA's Executive Committee is on standby, with UEFA awaiting the holding of meetings where decisions can be made to reassess the legal frameworks and facts of the situation as it develops.


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