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Russian Nobel winner Dmitry Muratov sells medal for refugees

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Moscow, Mar 22: Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov says he wants to auction off his 2021 Nobel Peace Prize medal to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees. Muratov called Tuesday in the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, which he edits, for people to "share with refugees, the wounded and children who need urgent treatment what is dear to you and has a value for others". Muratov is asking auction houses about the possibility of organising a sale. Muratov said last year he was giving away his share of the Nobel prize money to causes including independent media, a Moscow hospice, and care for children with spinal problems.

Russian Nobel winner Dmitry Muratov sells medal for refugees

He said he wouldn't keep any himself. ___ London: Two Russian pranksters are claiming credit for tricking Britain's defence secretary into a hoax call with a man purporting to be Ukraine's prime minister. A video of the prank circulated on YouTube on Tuesday. It appeared after the UK accused Russian President Vladimir Putin's government of backing efforts to secure sensitive or embarrassing information through hoax calls. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace last week had a video call with someone he thought was Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. Instead, he was speaking to "Vovan and Lexus", a pair of hoaxers who had previously targeted Britain's Prince Harry. The video shows Wallace speaking from Poland to a caller who says Ukraine wants to advance its "nuclear programme" to protect itself from Moscow, something Russian state media has baselessly claimed in the past.

The Ministry of Defence said the video had been "doctored". Wallace said last week that he ended the call after it strayed into sensitive subjects over a non-secure line. ___ Madrid: Authorities in Gibraltar have detained a superyacht linked to a Russian tycoon who is the target of British sanctions over Russia's war against Ukraine. Gibraltar is a tiny British overseas territory on the southernmost tip of the European mainland, bordering Spain. According to Gibraltar's public broadcaster, GBC, the yacht is called Axioma and is believed to be owned by Dmitrievich Pumpyansky. He is chairman of the board of directors of PJSC, a main steel pipe supplier for Russia's oil and gas industry.

Pumpyansky was also included earlier this month in a European Union list of Russian sanctioned individuals. The Gibraltar government said late Monday it would not have normally granted the vessel permission to enter its waters given its "ultimate beneficial ownership," but that port authorities allowed it in after "it was confirmed to be the subject of an arrest action by a leading international bank in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar." The statement didn't specify the legal claims from creditors. Yachts owned or linked to super-rich Russian oligarchs have been among the first assets seized or frozen by Western governments as part of their response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Authorities in Italy, France and Spain have impounded several luxury vessels in the crackdown. ___ Ankara: A second superyacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich reportedly has docked in a resort in southwestern Turkey. Turkey has not imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine last month, nor has it frozen assets belonging to top Russian businessmen linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The private DHA news agency said Tuesday the Bermuda-registered Eclipse docked in the resort of Marmaris.

A day earlier, Abramovich's Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht My Solaris arrived in the nearby resort of Bodrum, triggering a protest by a group of Ukrainians who boarded a small motorboat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking. NATO member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow's invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two. ___ London: Britain's defence ministry says Russian forces have not managed to take over the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol despite weeks of bombardment and days of street fighting. In an update posted on social media, UK officials say that "despite heavy fighting, Ukrainian forces continue to repulse Russian attempts to occupy" the city.

It says Russian forces have made "limited progress" elsewhere in Ukraine in the last day, and remain "largely stalled in place". The Ukrainian military said Tuesday that Ukrainian forces were still defending Mariupol and destroyed a Russian patrol boat and electronic warfare complex. But the defense ministry said Russia for now controls the land corridor from Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014, and is blocking Ukraine's access to the Sea of Azov. (AP) SCY

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