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报道员 雷晓妍 訾小斌 华商报新闻记者 宁军。
Ukraine urges int'l talks over Russia's decision on Donetsk, Luhansk******
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany, on February 19, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said early on Tuesday that Kiev has been urging the international community to hold emergency talks over Russia's decision on the status of Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine has been calling for an emergency summit of the Normandy Format, a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, and a special meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to address the issue, Zelensky said in a video address to the nation published on Facebook.
"The latest actions of the Russian Federation are a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state. Russia is solely responsible for the consequences of such decisions," Zelensky said.
That Moscow recognized Luhansk and Donetsk regions as independent entities reflected "Russia's unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk agreements and ignoring the decisions of the Normandy Four," Zelensky said.
Emphasizing that Kiev is committed to a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis, Zelensky said, "we will not give anything to anyone, and we are sure of that."
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed two decrees recognizing "the Lugansk People's Republic" and "the Donetsk People's Republic" as independent and sovereign states.
At a ceremony held in the Kremlin, Putin also inked the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Russia and the LPR and the DPR respectively with the heads of the two "republics," a Kremlin statement said.
"I consider it necessary to make a long overdue decision – to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the DPR and the LPR," Putin said in a televised address to the nation.
"Russia has done everything to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine" by fighting for the implementation of 2015 Minsk agreements, but all the efforts ended up in vain, he told the public.
According to Putin, nearly everyday there is Ukrainian shelling of settlements in Donbass and "there is no end in sight."
The crisis of European security occurred due to the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has led to the loss of mutual trust with Russia, Putin stressed.
He called it just "a matter of time" for NATO to accept Ukraine as a member state and then build facilities on its territory so that the level of military threats to Russia will rise dramatically.
As Moscow asked the United States and NATO for security guarantees, the Western countries precisely ignored Russia's fundamental concerns and nothing has changed in their position, Putin noted.
The Normandy Format, established in 2014, is a diplomatic group of senior representatives from Ukraine, Germany, Russia and France formed to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The Minsk agreements, reached in September 2014 and February 2015, outline the steps needed to end the conflict between the Ukrainian government troops and local armed groups in Donbass.
Renowned US wildlife park launches first Chinese New Year celebration******
San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Saturday kicked off its first Chinese New Year celebration in its 50-year-long history.
During the two-day celebration of the Year of the Tiger, a Chinese zodiac animal, guests can discover such activities as Chinese New Year good fortunes, Asian-inspired food, engaging experiences with wildlife care specialists and adorable animals in the park.
Guests are also invited to tie red ribbons written with their wishes to the trees in the park's Tiger Trail and will receive red envelopes and small gifts from the Consulate General of China in Los Angeles, including souvenirs of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games.
Located in the city of Escondido in the US state of California, the 1,800-acre wildlife park, home to more than 3,600 animals representing over 300 species, welcomes more than 1 million guests each year. A Chinese New Year celebration is also being held in its sister park, the San Diego Zoo.
Sending his greetings to those celebrating the arrival of the Chinese New Year, Paul Baribault, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, operator of the parks, said during the launching ceremony that the wishing trees will be planted in Tiger Trail and "marked with a commemorative plaque honoring this day and our long-term friendship with our Chinese conservation partners."
"May these trees tell a story of our collective power to create positive change, forge lasting friendships, and recognize the beauty in the diversity of our world," he said.
Baribault praised the joint efforts by the alliance and its Chinese partners in contributing to breeding and protecting giant pandas.
In 1996, a female panda named Bai Yun, meaning white cloud in Chinese, arrived at the San Diego Zoo and soon gained in popularity. In 2019, she and her sixth cub Xiao Liwu, meaning a small gift in Chinese, returned to China.
Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles Zhang Ping, who also attended the launching ceremony, thanked the alliance for holding the Chinese New Year celebration, saying it enables the public to feel the strength and vitality of the real tigers in close range, and better understand the symbolic meaning that the Year of the Tiger carries.
"As the Beijing Winter Olympics motto goes, 'Together for a Shared Future,' we hope our two peoples will come together and work together to build a better future for the world," he added.