While it started to get wider reporting last night, last Friday the leader of the majority party in Poland’s government called for an international force to be created and deployed to Ukraine for humanitarian purposes.
KYIV, March 15 (Reuters) – An international peacekeeping mission should be sent to Ukraine and be given the means to defend itself, the leader of Poland’s ruling party said on Tuesday after meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski made his remarks after he and the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia arrived in Kyiv in a show of high-level backing for Zelenskiy, who briefed them on the war with Russia.
“I think that it is necessary to have a peace mission – NATO, possibly some wider international structure – but a mission that will be able to defend itself, which will operate on Ukrainian territory,” Kaczynski told a news conference.
“It will be a mission that will strive for peace, to give humanitarian aid, but at the same time it will also be protected by appropriate forces, armed forces,” said Kaczynski, who is seen as the main decision-maker in Poland.
Onet learned the general assumptions of the proposal to create a peace mission in Ukraine, which Poland is to formally submit at the Thursday summit in Brussels, along with a detailed package of solutions.
A special international contingent on the territory of Ukraine would consist of soldiers from at least several countries, including NATO countries, the operation of which must be approved by the authorities in Kiev.
The document, on which the Ministry of National Defense is secretly working in close consultation with the leadership of the Law and Justice party, is still not completed, and its assumptions and proposals in various variants are to be consulted both with the President’s Chancellery and the National Security Bureau.
Our sources directly admit that there is a serious discrepancy between the government and the Presidential Palace regarding the proposal to create a peace mission in Ukraine: President Duda is not willing to accept the project until the Americans give the “green light”.
Therefore, even before the extraordinary summit of the alliance in Brussels on Thursday, the Polish proposal is to be sent to the White House, whose decisions will de facto depend on its further fate.
This position of the American administration was repeated last night by the spokeswoman of the White House, Jen Psaki, who assured that the United States was ready to discuss the Polish proposal for a peace mission in Ukraine, but – as she clearly indicated – the Americans would not send their own troops. – The president made it very clear that we would not send US troops to fight the Russian troops and that it was not in our interest. But we will continue to discuss a number of ideas, including this one, said Psaki, in response to a question about Poland’s idea of sending a peace mission to Ukraine. As she added, “there is a series of discussions behind the scenes,” she said, however, that the US position on sending its troops to Ukraine was unlikely to change.
Earlier, the Polish proposal for a peacekeeping mission was also rejected by NATO. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admittedly assured that the allied countries were ready to provide all necessary support to Ukraine, but also stated that the allies also agreed that NATO should not move its forces either to Ukraine’s land territory or to its airspace . – We have a responsibility not to escalate this conflict, this war beyond Ukraine – stressed the head of NATO.
Much more at the link, especially if you speak Polish!
March 23 (Reuters) – Russia on Wednesday condemned what it called a “reckless” Polish proposal to send international peacekeepers into Ukraine and warned that it could lead to a direct clash between Russian and NATO forces.
Poland said last Friday it would formally submit a proposal for a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine at the next NATO summit.
Asked about the initiative, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It would be a very reckless and extremely dangerous decision.”
He told reporters on a conference call that any possible contact between Russian and NATO forces “could have clear consequences that would be hard to repair”.
When Kaczynski first made his remarks, several people tweeted out variants of “you and whose Army?” Which tells me you know nothing of Poland’s military without specifically telling me you know nothing of Poland’s military. One of the greatest things about my assignment at USAWC was being the frontline supervisor for a number of officers from allied and partnered states as their faculty advisor, being their research supervisor as their strategy research project advisor, doing both, as well as just being (one of) their professors in their core course seminars and/or electives. My teaching duties also included doing guest lesson blocks in the Regional Studies electives. I have had the privilege of supervising senior colonels from several former Soviet states that are now both EU and NATO members. This includes a Polish colonel my second year at USAWC. I have no doubt that in a fight between the Russian Army and the Polish Army that the Polish Army would get the better of that encounter. And that was before the hot mess we’ve seen the Russian Army revealed as over the past several weeks. If the Poles are ready to assume more risk and they think they have willing partners from other EU states to do it with them, I would not bet against them.
Estonia is calling for Nato to abandon its “tripwire” posture in eastern Europe and build up a permanent force in the region capable of stopping a Russian offensive.
Ahead of Thursday’s Nato summit, Jonatan Vseviov, the permanent secretary of the Estonian foreign ministry, said that Europe and the North Atlantic alliance could never return to the world it knew before the 24 February Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We will be in a totally new security environment. There will be a new Ukraine. There will be a new Russia. There will be a new Europe. There is no going back to February 23,” Vseviov told the Guardian in an interview in Washington.
More than 20,000 Nato troops, the overwhelming majority of them US forces, have been deployed to the Baltic states, Poland and the rest of eastern Europe in the aftermath of the invasion.
There had previously been only a few thousand alliance forces in the region, intended to serve as a tripwire which would be overrun in the event of a Russian attack. The presence of US and western European soldiers among them, however, was intended to leave Moscow in no doubt that those countries would send in large reinforcements.
Vseviov, a former Estonian ambassador to Washington, argued that the Kremlin had miscalculated so badly in Ukraine – over its own military strength, Ukrainian capability and determination, and western resolve – that it could no longer be taken for granted Moscow would get the message, and believe Nato reinforcements would come to the rescue.
“The tripwire-based approach is dependent upon an assumption that the one that is being deterred understands the link between the tripwire and reinforcing forces,” he said.
“Knowing this and understanding that we need to now build Nato’s defense and deterrence, and European security in general, for the long haul,” Vseviov said, “we need to move from a tripwire-based deterrence towards a forward defence-based deterrence, or a deterrence by denial, if you will.”
He said the amount of troops and equipment needed would depend on military planners and on different situations in different countries. The force did not have to be big enough to stop Russia making any territorial gains, but sufficient to put up stiff resistance.
“We need to be less reliant on reinforcements, and we need to have more of the defensive forces in the frontline states on day one,” Vseviov said. “I think there will be wide political consensus in Nato on the need to move that way, and the exact details are being worked out.”
The US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, confirmed that long-term changes in Nato’s posture in Europe would be discussed this week.
Much more at the link!
More after the jump.
NV is publishing an open letter to the foreign media covering Russian invasion of Ukraine from Ukrainian media organizations, reporters, photographers, media managers and communication professionals
On February 24 2022, Russia began an unprovoked full scale invasion of Ukraine, a massive escalation of their eight-year war in Donbas in east Ukraine. Russia’s war is conducted along four axes, attacking all major Ukrainian cities with missiles, air strikes and in most instances, ground forces. Untold numbers of civilians and servicemen have been killed. In just over three weeks, more than three million Ukrainians have become refugees in Europe. Four members of the media community have been killed by Russian forces: Oleksandra Kuvshynova, Brent Renaud, Evgen Sakun and Pierre Zakrzewski.
Russian forces kidnap Ukrainian journalists in order to silence them, thus a Ukrainian journalist Viktoriya Roschina and Oleh Baturin spent 6 and 8 days in captivity after disappearing. Ukrainian photojournalist Maks Levin disappeared on March 13th while reporting from the frontline near Kyiv. A publisher from Melitopol Mikhail Kumok and three journalists – Yevgeniya Boryan, Yuliya Olkhovska and Lyubov Chaika – has been also detained for 1 day and have been pressured to collaborate with Russian occupational regime in their city.
Simultaneously Russia has been attacking our core values of truthful, fact-driven and honest reporting through continuous disinformation campaigns. Many people are not aware of the scale and depth of these campaigns, and their full impact is yet to be felt.
The effectiveness of these disinformation narratives did not happen overnight. They took time to seep into public discourse, capitalizing on misrepresentations or misunderstandings over language, history and politics, and exacerbating existing divisions in society until they began to stifle civil discussion.
This is why, as individual journalists and organizations from the Ukrainian media community who have battled with Russian information warfare since 2014, we would like to highlight the following points regarding the language used to describe this war. Some of them might not be obvious but are vitally important to us and a truthful representation of this war. We ask media organizations to share this with their newsrooms and audiences:
1. One common error is to use terms like “crisis”, “conflict” or “military operation”, or call it “Ukrainian” i.e. “Ukraine Crisis” or “Ukraine conflict”. This is a full scale invasion of, and war against, Ukraine. We ask you to correctly indicate Russia’s role in the war with the wording “Russia’s war in Ukraine” and/or “Russian invasion of Ukraine”, especially in captions, headlines, leads and hashtags.
2. At the same time, we ask not to overuse the phrase “Putin’s war”. Even though there is a temptation to believe that this war started only because of the Russian president, several polls from diverse polling organizations (Savanta ComRes, VCIOM, the research project “Do Russians Want War?”) have reported that the silent majority of Russians – roughly 60 percent – support the war. During the first week of the war, public support for Putin in Russia grew from 60 to 71 percent. Russian soldiers on the ground are firing missiles and bombs, and deliberately killing civilians. Many of them do not have access to the facts and to independent media, but this does not take responsibility away from them.
3. Many refer to the 2014 pseudo-referendums in the Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts as explanations for Russian military aggression. This is misleading. The territories of Crimea, and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, were annexed and occupied by Russian forces in 2014. Crimea was annexed by Russia in an unequivocal violation of international law. The war in Donbas was exclusively orchestrated and supported by the Russian State. The pseudo-referendums and proxy republics are not recognised by the international community. Experts (Orysia Lutsevych, Andrew Wilson, and Nikolay Mitrokhin to name a few) emphasize that neither the creation of the puppet “republics” in Donetsk and Luhansk nor the conventional war would have happened without Russian involvement. The current escalation demonstrates Russia’s desire to control the whole of Ukraine, and these “republics” are used as a platform for full-scale invasion and a tool for propaganda and disinformation.
4. Additionally the quasi “republics” in Donbas are not another armed side of the conflict. They operate as part of the Russian army and mercenaries fighting in Ukraine. Using terms like “separatist-held areas” is therefore incorrect. Please consider using “Russian proxies”.
5. Another common error we observe is to report Ukrainian and Russian positions as “two equal perspectives”. Russian positions are based on lies, propaganda and denial of the existence of Ukraine as a nation and state. Russian propaganda is not just “strategic communication” or another point of view, it is using disinformation to justify killing thousands of civilians and continuing a completely unprovoked war.
The narrative that characterizes the war as a proxy one between Russia and the West denies Ukrainian agency – something that the Ukrainian people’s resistance to invasion clearly demonstrates. NATO is an alliance based on the right of sovereign nations to collective defense, enshrined in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. By focusing on ‘expansion’, the media are perpetuating the Kremlin’s justification for war and ignoring the democratic voice of the Ukrainian people who wish to live in peace, free from Russian aggression.
6. Finally, we implore you to include, engage and hear Ukrainian experts. The majority of international experts specialize in Russia or Eastern Europe. We ask to include Ukrainian experts, or those who have lived and worked in Ukraine in the journalism you publish about the war.
Information warfare and disinformation academics and experts warn that Russian tactics, perpetuated by its supporters here in the West and abroad, have one objective: to divide, deceive, sow doubt and create enough distrust of information that people do not know what to believe, and question even the most well-evidenced facts. They will play on the truths we tell ourselves and promises which go unkept. They will attack sentiments shared by, and within, ethnic, gender, linguistic and socio-economic groups. Disinformation aims to oversimplify existing issues and turn victims into perpetrators. We see this already with Russians supporting this war believing they are fighting NATO and “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine. We have seen it in the past with disinformation targeting the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe and the truth behind the downing of flight MH-17 in 2014.
A bit more at the link!
Related to the open letter is this important thread from Ukrainian reporter Iryna Matviyishyn:
Foreigners preaching pacifism to Ukrainians is something special now. I even read an article referring to Tolstoy, and how non-violent resistance could be an alternative in Ukraine's fight against Russia. It could be a joke but it's a deadly narrative.
— Iryna Matviyishyn (@IMatviyishyn) March 23, 2022
These ‘pacifist’ comments appear under almost every article about Ukraine. Most often from people who have no clue about Ukraine’s bitter history under Russian oppression and terror. I have bad news for those who believe that the war can stop itself
With Russia as a neighbor, Ukraine has only two options as a nation: either to win the war, no matter what, and exist, or to lose and face extermination. Centuries of history (up to what we are seeing now) prove that. Choosing to live, you can’t win the war just waving the flag
Russia attacked Ukraine as a revenge on a democratic, free, innovative society that has never seen itself part of the ‘great russia’, and had only be held there by force. Ukraine would gladly live as a pacifist country if it were somewhere between civilized states but it’s not
The whole debate about not sending defensive weapons to Ukraine for the sake of peace is prolonging the genocide of Ukrainian people. How do you peacefully resist when Russian tank shoots at your car with children when you’re trying to evacuate?
How do you oppose the bombardment from the sky with peaceful resistance? How can pregnant women in hospitals oppose Russian aggression when they are a target? It is not about peaceful resistance, you either survive, or die. Defensive weapons is the only way to help them survive.
Finally, calls ‘to stop the war’ without naming Russia, putin as an aggressor are not only useless, they are playing into the Kremlin’s hand. If you don’t call the perpetrator out, expect more violence, more deaths, not peace.
She’s absolutely correct. I get that a lot of people, including a lot of people that are well known, well regarded, and often highly credentialed names in commenting on foreign policy, global events, and/or US policy making regarding have been constantly banging the drum about not doing anything that could escalate into a nuclear exchange or a nuclear war, including constantly parsing Ukrainian statements for indications they’re trying to provide ways for Putin to save face so that the war can be ended quickly. Being concerned about unintentional escalation to a nuclear exchange or nuclear war makes sense, even for those of us who think the ambiguity in Russia’s military doctrine is a Psychological Warfare bluf to prevent us from doing anything to quickly, effectively, and once and for all stop Putin’s aggression in Ukraine and around the world. Constantly coming up with interpretations of events in Ukraine or Russia, statements by Ukrainian leaders like President Zelenskyy, and/or suggesting that the Ukrainians should be negotiating a way out of this by giving Putin something to save face is naive. It also diminishes the threat that Putin presents to Ukraine, eastern Europe, the trans-Caucasus, and to parts of the Middle East and Africa. This is a war, not a trade negotiation. The Ukrainians need to fight it until they’ve inflicted so much pain on the Russians that the Russians either abandon the fight or seek terms from the Ukrainians. And we need to ensure that the Ukrainians are provided with what they need to do so. Especially if we’re not willing to fight alongside them for all the reasons that have been repeatedly stated. Anything else allows Putin to win, nurse his wounds, regroup, rebuild, and eventually do the same thing again and again.
I saw this meme last week and saved it because it pretty much sums up perfectly the way Putin has been operating since at least 2008. I haven’t been able to find who posted it again, so no attribution, but not through lack of trying.
Putin’s not a genius, he’s just watched over and over and over again how the US, its allies, and its partners will let him get away with whatever he’s doing. As a result, he keeps doing the same thing over and over and over again. He will continue to do so until he is stopped and that includes finally getting negative consequences rather than rewards for his aggression.
Between Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s statements about the use of nuclear weapons, the much more frequent and unprompted threats of Russia using chemical, biological, radiological, and/or nuclear (CBRN) weapons in Ukraine by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokeswoman, Medvedev’s rant at the beginning of the week about Russia also invading Poland, Moldova, and other post Soviet states in Europe to reclaim and redeem then, and Russia state backed TV doing the same, the Russians are telling us how they understand the world. They are telling us what they intend to do to and with the post Soviet states in Europe. They are telling us, as well as showing us multiple times a day in Ukraine, that despite signing on to the various Geneva Conventions governing the conduct of war, that they will not observe them because they don’t think they have to and they don’t think anyone can do anything about it.
Anyone trying to wish cast off ramps for the Ukrainians that just ignores the need for a successful battlefield termination in order to set the conditions to secure the peace post conflict is demonstrating that no matter how well educated, credentialed, and/or regarded they are, they do not understand what is going on in Ukraine. Nor do they understand Putin and how he operates.
EU countries should keep in mind that Ukraine is letting its blood for them. Ukraine has called Russia’s bluff and exposed the Russian army to be rubbish. For each tank, airplane, artillery piece etc that Ukraine destroy there is one less for Europe to worry about.
Ukraine’s efforts, doggedness, ingenuity and sacrifice is saving Europe a lot of money and nervs. Ukraine will take Russia down and Russia will become less of a threat to Europe. To not even be willing to impose harder sanctions against Russia is very disrespectful.
A free, independent, and economically and militarily strong Ukraine is the best insurance for peace in Europe at this stage. Ukraine has already shown it can keep Russia at bay.
What Ostlund says applies to EU countries also applies to all those recommending to Ukraine what it should be doing to make peace and/or wish casting how they think that should happen.
I’ve been trying to avoid posting images of the destruction in Ukraine but this obliteration of Mariupol by the Russian troops needs to be out there. 90% of the city is gone. Duda said it looks like Warsaw in 1944 and it does. pic.twitter.com/G1tRZzhMF0
— Bakhti Nishanov (@b_nishanov) March 23, 2022
All that damage was done in three weeks!
Here’s a thread describing the human reality in Mariupol, what the video above can’t show you. It is grim reading.
#Mariupol. THREAD. From my sources on the ground, most parts of the city are under #RussianInvaders control except the western part. Residents who remain there try to not leave their shelters, as the Russians open fire on moving targets. The bomb shelters are full.
— katerina sergatskova (@KSergatskova) March 23, 2022
- It is almost impossible to evacuate from #Mariupol. People need cars, but most vehicles have been destroyed or stolen; there is no fuel. Some people just walk somewhere on foot just to get out. The trip can last for hours under constant fire.
- The fate of 1300 people who are under the rubble of the Drama Theater is still unknown. My sources say that no one can sort out the rubble, there is no capacity. Those 130-140 people who were able to get out after the bombardment were in the upper room of the shelter.
- Most likely, the rest of the people under the #Mariupol Drama theatre are slowly dying there or have already died. As I write this, I feel rage and powerlessness at the same time. Russia is destroying everything, we are defending ourselves from an absolute monster.
- #Russia specifically targets civilians, women, and children to create a propaganda image for its zombie citizens. They kill thousands of people for a TV picture. Just think about it.
People leaving Mariupol by foot — under artillery fire — because there aren’t enough cars and petrol. pic.twitter.com/g8VRquBtre
— Oliver Carroll (@olliecarroll) March 23, 2022
Here’s the BBC’s reporting on the aftermath of the bombing of the Mariupol Drama House. It is also grim reading.
As the port city of Mariupol was being razed to rubble by Russian bombs, hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, went to hide in a theatre near the waterfront, a grand Soviet-era building. Last Wednesday, a bomb hit and – within seconds – the building had been split in two and left in ruins. We still do not know how many died, but the BBC has spoken to survivors who described for the first time what happened when the bomb fell.
All morning, Russian planes had been circling the skies above the city.
Mariia Rodionova, a 27-year-old teacher, had been living in the theatre for 10 days, having fled her ninth-floor apartment with her two dogs. They camped next to the stage in an auditorium near the back of the building.
That morning she had got some fish scraps from an outdoor field kitchen to feed her dogs, but then realised they had not drunk any water. So at about 10:00, she tied her dogs to her luggage and made her way towards the main entrance where a queue was forming for hot water.
And then the bomb fell.
There was the sound of a clap, thunderous and loud. Then the sound of broken glass. A man came from behind and pushed her to a wall, protecting her with his own body. The blast was so loud that she felt intense pain in one of her ears, so intense she thought her eardrum must have split. She only realised it had not because she could hear the screams of people. The screams were everywhere.
The force of the blast threw another man against a window. He fell on the ground, his face covered with broken glass. A woman, who also had a wound on her head, tried to help him. Mariia, who had been volunteering at the Ukrainian Red Cross in Mariupol, gathered her senses enough to shout over, telling her to stop.
“I said ‘Wait, don’t touch him. I’ll bring my first aid kit and I’ll help you both’,” she recalled. But her kit was inside the theatre, and that part of the building had collapsed.
“There was only rubble,” she said. It was impossible for her to get in.
“For two hours, I couldn’t do anything,” she said. “I just stayed there. I was in shock.”
Vladyslav, a 27-year-old locksmith who does not want to use his full name, had also wandered into the building that morning. He had some friends there and went to look for them. He was near the main entrance when the explosion hit. He ran with others into a basement and, 10 minutes later, heard the building was on fire and emerged to a scene of chaos.
“Terrible things were happening,” he said.
He saw plenty of people bleeding. Some had open fracture wounds. “One mother was trying to find her kids under the rubble. A five-year-old kid was screaming: ‘I don’t want to die’. It was heartbreaking.”
It is likely to have been just one bomb that fell on the theatre that morning, bringing all that destruction with it, analysis by McKenzie Intelligence Services for the BBC has concluded.
“Due to the missile appearing to accurately hit the centre of the building, we believe it is a laser-guided bomb, likely the KAB-500L or similar variant, launched from an aircraft,” the London-based group said.
Much, much more at the link!
Kharkiv is under constant shelling. People stay in shelters not only because they are afraid of explosions, but also because they simply have nowhere else to go. 500-600 people live in one shelter. Hundreds of volunteers are driving through the city under attack. pic.twitter.com/XWhmywV315
— Hromadske Int. (@Hromadske) March 23, 2022
The Russians are mining Ukraine’s farms and fields, which will cause long term, lingering damage to Ukraine’s ability to get its agricultural sector back on line. It will also lead to widespread food shortages and famine in the global south that rely on Ukrainian wheat or products made from it. Which, perhaps, might be a good reason for the states in the global south to get the anti-American and anti-Western sticks out of their butts and stop the fence straddling. I realize they have a lot of reasons, hundreds of years in some cases, to be pissed at the Europeans and the US, but this war in Ukraine is going to be existential for them when their citizens can’t be fed.
Trying to go around Mykolaiv, Russia would still face significant challenges. If north, Troops spread thin and Ukrainian forces will be on both sides. If south, Ukrainian artillery + geographical challenges and limitations. Either way it won’t be a breeze. https://t.co/6cak0pSnQi
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) March 23, 2022
This is another attempt by the Russians to achieve two objectives in southern and eastern Ukraine. The first is to establish the land bridge that will connect the Ukrainian territory Russia has seized since 2014 in Ukraine and deny Ukraine access to its ports on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The second is to find a way to encircle the Ukrainian Army in the south and east, known as the Joint Forces Command.
Here’s the British Ministry of Defense’s update and assessment for 23 March 2022:
It is unclear if the Ukrainian armed forces north and west of Kyiv are yet in a position to fully encircle and then reduce the Russian army they are fighting or if they will simply keep picking them apart.
Illla Ponamorenko is The Kyiv Post‘s defense reporter and is on the ground in Kyiv:
I don’t think that we should expect to see Russian forces in Hostomel-Irpin-Bucha effectively locked in a death trap in the nearest time.
Ukrainian military will most likely continue breaking their supply lines and exhausting them in mobile defense along roads.
— Illia Ponomarenko ?? (@IAPonomarenko) March 23, 2022
I don’t think this large enemy group is exhausted enough for that. And I don’t think Ukrainian forces have enough control north and south of Bucha, including the Zhytomyr highway — at least, not yet. We’ll see what happens next.
IMHO it’s too early for Ukrainian forces to completely switch from mobile defense and mount a big time attack in this area — the command still wants to save and as much power as possible. Russian air power in the region is not 100% suppressed yet.
Everything written above is nothing but my speculation as a witness, of course.
Russian occupying forces set up military base at Melitopol Air Base, fire missiles to other cities. Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov said on Facebook on March 23 that the city’s residents are essentially serving as living shields for the Russian military.
Some good news: the Christian nationalist, neo-NAZI former Washington state legislator who was determined by his colleagues to have taken part in domestic terrorism against the United States, has had his efforts to traffic a bunch of Ukrainian children through Poland back to the United States with the help of a Polish evangelical neo-fascist minister stopped by the Polish authorities. I think he is going to find that the Polish authorities, as well as ultimately their Ukrainian counterparts, are not going to treat him as lightly as US Federal, Washington state, and Spokane municipal law enforcement has.
We’ll finish with your daily bayraktar!
Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 in Ukraine… pic.twitter.com/hEMwsBfIhv
— Middle East Times ???????? (@middleeasttime) March 22, 2022