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Live updates: A brave Ukrainian paramedic is remembered

The most recent developments in the Russia/Ukraine war

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Live updates: A brave Ukrainian paramedic is remembered

KYIV, Ukraine -- On Saturday, a Ukrainian paramedic was killed while trying to rescue injured people from Kyiv. She was buried in Kyiv's capital.

Valentyna was also known as "Romashka" in her native Ukraine. This means "Daisy." One friend described Valentyna as a "daredevil" who never hesitated to "get under bullets."

Nataliia Voronkova stated that she was always "running to most dangerous places" in order to save the injured.

Pushych was a highly-paid worker in a logistics and transport company. In 2016, Pushych joined the army to become a paramedic as a response to the separatist conflict that was taking place in eastern Ukraine.

Many women, some in camouflage jackets and others in camouflage, wept as Pushych's body was placed in a casket during a funeral service. Pushych's portrait was displayed on a nearby wall.

Pushych was buried in the cemetery with red roses. The flag of Ukraine was placed on the soil after she was buried.

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KYIV, Ukraine -- Many men are lining up to join the Ukrainian Army in Kyiv.

Ukraine's government issued an order prohibiting men aged 18-60 from leaving the country in order to preserve their eligibility for military conscription.

Some, like Volodymyr Oneysko, volunteered to fight.

"We know why are we here. We know why our country is being protected. He spoke out to Sky News in Britain, saying that our men are fighting the Russian military forces. "We know exactly what we are doing, and that's why it will win," he said.

Others, such as Mark Ayres, a British Army veteran, went to Ukraine to assist.

Ayres stated that the Ukrainian people are inspiring and have "galvanized everyone."

"I've got no illusions. Ayres stated that she has no romantic notions of war or like "I'm going be some hero" or making a difference, but that it is what she does.

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BEIJING -- The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated to U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken, that China opposed any move that "adds fuel to the flames” in Ukraine.

Blinken said that the world is looking to see which countries stand for freedom and sovereignty.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, they spoke by telephone on Saturday.

Wang demanded negotiations to end the crisis and talks to create a balanced European security system. Wang believes that the U.S. should be aware of the negative effects NATO's eastward expansion has on Russia's security.

According to the U.S. State Department, Blinken stated that the world is reacting in unison to Russian aggression and that Moscow will be paying a heavy price.

China has reacted to the U.S., Europe, and other sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. China claims that all nations must respect their sovereignty and territorial integrity. However, sanctions can create new problems and hinder the process of political settlement.

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Joe Biden called Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, to discuss ongoing efforts by Russia to impose economic sanctions and to accelerate U.S. military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

According to the White House, the two discussed talks between Russia & Ukraine in the 30-minute call that took place early Sunday morning in Ukraine. However, the White House did not provide any additional information.

Zelenskyy stated on Twitter that the two presidents had discussed security, financial support to Ukraine, and continuation of Russian sanctions.

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LVIV, Ukraine -- Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, thanked SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk, for allowing Ukraine to access his satellite-internet system Starlink.

Zelenskyy tweeted, "I'm thankful to him for supporting Ukraine through words and deeds." "Next week, we will receive another batch Starlink systems to destroy cities." Zelenskyy joked that they had discussed potential space projects and would discuss them "after the war."

Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv Mayor, showed off Saturday a shipment with Starlink systems that arrived in the capital. Starlink, he said, would be a security tool that will help protect the city's critical infrastructure and defense.

After being bombarded by Russian troops, many large cities in Ukraine were left without access to the internet or phones.

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CHERNIHIV (Ukraine) -- Russia dropped powerful bombs in residential areas of Chernihiv on Saturday, a regional official stated.

Vyacheslav Chaus shared a photo of an unexploded FAB-500 (a Soviet-designed 500-kilogram (1.100-pound) air-dropped weapon).

"Usually, this weapon is used to attack military-industrial facilities or fortified structures," stated Chaus, the head of the Chernihiv region. "But in Chernihiv it is against residential areas."

Russian forces have been heavily attacking Chernihiv in northern Kyiv. The city has a population of around 290,000. Officials claim that 17 people were killed by the shelling.

Ukrainian officials released a video Saturday showing people cheering as a Russian military aircraft fell from the sky.

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NEW YORK -- Visa and Mastercard have announced Saturday that they will suspend their Russian operations.

Mastercard announced that Russian banks' cards will no longer be supported and that any card issued in Russia will not work at ATMs or stores. This is the latest blow to Ukraine's financial system.

Mastercard stated that it reached its decision after consulting with partners, customers and governments.

Visa stated that it is working with Russian clients and partners to stop all Visa transactions in the coming days.

These suspensions follow up to earlier, more limited actions to block financial institutions' access to the networks that provide the payment system with arteries. The U.S. government has already imposed financial sanctions and heavy sanctions on the Russian people.

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LVIV (Ukraine) -- Russian forces have increased shelling in Mariupol's port city, using airplanes as well, according to the mayor Saturday night.

Vadym Boychenko stated that the city was under siege. "Aerial bombs have been dropped on residential areas, and there is a constant shelling of residential blocks."

Boychenko stated that thousands of children, elderly and women were under fire when they arrived at the airport in the morning to seek a safe passage route. Russia had promised to end the bombardment of Mariupol (a port city of 430,000) and Volnovakha (a city in east), but they violated the ceasefire.

Russia has made important advances in the South, clearly trying to block Ukraine's access the sea. Capturing Mariupol could allow Russia to create a land corridor to Crimea. It annexed Crimea in 2014.

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KYIV, Ukraine -- Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's Foreign Minister, echoed Saturday the assertion of President Putin that Russia has lost more troops than 10,000.

Kuleba also stated in a video message that the Ukrainian government released, that Russians had lost hundreds of armored vehicles and dozens of aircraft.

This claim cannot be independently verified. The Russian military does not provide regular updates about their casualties. Military officials announced a death count of 498 on Wednesday.

Kuleba stated that Russian soldiers continue to suffer terrible losses on the ground and she couldn't understand why wives, daughters, and mothers of these Russian soldiers have to bear this pain. Kuleba also said that President Putin is sending more and more of his beloved ones to Ukraine.

Kuleba said, "Ukraine's bleeding is not the fault of Ukraine. Ukraine stands with its feet on the ground."

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NEW YORK -- U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated that the United Nations is committed in scaling up humanitarian operations to assist both those who remain in Ukraine and the over 1 million refugees.

Stephane Dujarric, U.N. spokesperson, said Guterres made the promise to Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister.

Dujarric stated that they also discussed conditions for safe evacuation of civilians from combat zones, including foreigners.

According to the U.N.-affiliated Organization for Migration (Geneva), 1.45 million people fled Ukraine after Russia invaded Ukraine ten days ago. According to the U.N., the number of refugees could rise to 4 million to make it the worst crisis of this century.

Monday's meeting of the U.N. Security Council will focus on the increasing humanitarian needs since Russia invaded Ukraine.

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NEW YORK -- On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in Times Square in New York City to show solidarity for Ukraine.

During the afternoon demonstration, many people waved Ukrainian flags and draped them around their shoulders.

Others displayed signs condemning Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, or calling for an end to all flights over Ukraine.

According to federal data, New York has the highest number of Ukrainian-Americans living in the United States, with around 140,000.

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PHOENIX -- A ammunition company based in Arizona is offering 1,000,000 bullets for Ukraine's military to counter Russia's invasion of Europe.

AMMO Inc. CEO Fred Wagenhals stated that it was his response on Friday to the appeal of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for international assistance.

According to Phoenix TV station KSAZ-TV, there was no indication that the U.S. government would approve the export of the ammunition. It has a retail value of approximately $700,000.

Scottsdale is the company's headquarters.

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MARIUPOL (Ukraine) -- Saturday saw wounded Ukrainian soldiers treated at a hospital in Mariupol's besieged port. A cease-fire was not in place and doctors relied on light from windows and cellphones.

Dr. Evgeniy stated that the hospital was without heat or power. To protect themselves, patients were placed in rows along corridors. Some were also placed on the floors.

Dubrov stated that there were some supply issues and not enough analgesics. "We have worked for more than a week, without any breaks."

Svyatoslav Borodin, a soldier, stated that a blast had blurred his vision and that he was afraid he may have lost his legs. Another soldier applied a tourniquet.

He said, "Scary." "Very scary."

Near Kyiv, there was a crowd of people walking and wheelbarrowing over the wreckage of a bridge that had been destroyed to cross a river.

Ukrainian soldiers assisted them in lugging pets, babies, purses, and small bags filled with very few possessions. The elderly and the weak were often carried on blankets and carts along the path.

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SIRET, Romania -- On Saturday, Klaus Iohannis, Romania's President, visited Siret and stated that no Ukrainian will be denied entry into his country.

He promised food, clothing and transportation, as well as assistance with documents.

Iohannis stated that "It's a situation no Ukrainian or Romanian wants, but we are determined to deal it here in Romania as it should be."

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KYIV, Ukraine -- Monday will be the next round in talks between Ukraine and Russia, a Ukrainian official Davyd Arakhamia announced Saturday.

Arakhamia heads the parliamentary faction of President Volodymyr Zilenskyy's Servant of the People and is a member of the delegation from Ukraine to the talks.

Monday's third round of negotiations will take place as both sides attempt to reach a cease-fire agreement and create safe passage corridors for civilians.

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LVIV (Ukraine) -- Russian forces have now seized 2 nuclear power plants in Ukraine and are moving toward a 3rd, Ukraine's president stated during a phone call with U.S. senators.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the third nuclear power plant under threat at the moment is the Yuzhnoukrainsk, which is located 120 km (75 miles) north Mykolaiv. This was one of many cities the Russians tried to keep in their orbit Saturday.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located in Enerhodar's southeast city of Enerhodar is one of the plants that the Russians have taken control of. It is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Chernobyl is the other, although it is no longer active, but it is still staffed. An earlier Russian bombardment set off a fire at Zaporizhzhia's plant, but it was put out without any radiation.

According to Saturday's statement by the International Atomic Energy Agency, technical safety systems remain intact, and radiation levels at Zaporizhzhia are still normal, according the country’s nuclear regulator.

Ukraine has four nuclear power plants, with a total 15 reactors.

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WASHINGTON -- Ukraine President Volodymyr Zeleskyy asked the U.S. to sanction Russia's oil-and-gas sector and to suspend credit card access. He also supported a plan to ban Russian oil imports into the U.S., which has been receiving support in Congress.

Senator Lindsey Graham (a Republican from South Carolina) said that Zelenskyy stressed during a private conversation Saturday with U.S lawmakers that the energy sector must be sanctioned.

Graham stated in a video that "anything that could harm the Russian economy will benefit the Ukrainian people" and made it more difficult for Russian President Vladimir Putin to win the war.

According to two anonymous people, Joe Manchin, a Democratic Senator from West Virginia, asked Zelenskyy about his idea to ban Russian oil from the U.S.

Zelenskyy stated that he is 100% in favor of banning Russian oil from the U.S. Senators agreed and said it would be very beneficial, the people added.

According to an anonymous source, Zelensky also requested that they suspend Russian access to Visa credit cards and Mastercard credit cards.

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This report was contributed by Mary Clare Jalonick, Michael Balsamo, and Lisa Mascaro from the Associated Press.

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JERUSALEM -- The Israeli prime minister met for several hours with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Saturday.

The office of Naftali Bennett, Israeli Prime Minister, confirmed that Bennett had met at the Kremlin. This was just days after Bennett had spoken by phone with both Russian leaders and Ukrainian leaders.

Bennett's office stated that he left early Saturday morning to fly to Moscow with Zeev Elkin (a Russian-speaking Cabinet minister who was born in Ukraine). Both Bennett and Elkin are Jewish, so they don't usually travel on Sabbath.

Israel is one of few countries with good working relationships with both sides. It has provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and also maintained close ties to Moscow to ensure that warplanes from Russia and Israel do not clash in Syria.

According to an Israeli official speaking under anonymity, the meeting ended after three hours. According to an Israeli official, the meeting was coordinated with France, Germany, and the U.S. and Bennett is "in ongoing dialogue with Ukraine".

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This report was contributed by Ilan Ben Zion, an Associated Press journalist from Jerusalem.

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CAIRO -- Egypt claims it has transferred to Europe approximately 4,000 Ukrainian tourists that were left behind in their homeland after Russia invaded.

According to Nader Saad, a government spokesperson, the tourists were flown by state-run airliners on free flights. More flights are planned in the next few days. He didn't elaborate.

Saad stated that after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the closing of Ukrainian airspace, Egypt allowed Ukrainian tourists to extend their stay in hotels and resorts for no cost.

According to the Ukrainian Embassy in Cairo, there are approximately 20,000 Ukrainian tourists in Egypt. Egypt is a popular tourist destination for Russian and eastern European tourists.

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has granted an exemption to the ban on airspace to a Russian airliner in order to allow Russian diplomats to be returned to Russia from expulsion.

The Ilyushin Il-62 is traveling from St. Petersburg, Washington Dulles International Airport to the U.S. Capitol. Officials from the U.S. confirmed that the aircraft was exempted from the restrictions on airspace in response to Russia's invasion in Ukraine. This was in order to recover the Russian diplomats.

Twelve Russians were expelled by the United States at their mission to United Nations, accusing them of being intelligence agents.

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Zeke Miller, an Associated Press reporter from Wilmington, Delaware contributed to this report.

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LONDON -- Shell's foreign minister criticized Ukraine for buying Russian oil. He also criticised the energy giant for continuing business with Vladimir Putin's regime, even though the company had announced that it would be ending its investments in Russia.

Dmytro Kuleba claimed that he was told by Shell that it had "discreetly purchased" the oil on Friday. In light of Russia's invasion in Ukraine, he appealed for the public to press Shell and other international companies to stop such purchases.

Shell stated earlier this week that it was shocked by the deaths in Ukraine and would terminate its joint ventures and agreements with Gazprom, a huge Russian oil and gas company.

Shell said Saturday that it had stopped "most activities related to Russian oil," but it continues to purchase products from Russia to meet its chemical and refinery needs. Shell stated that these purchases are essential to ensure customers have fuel supply.

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WASHINGTON -- On Saturday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, made a desperate plea to U.S. senators to send more planes to the country to fight the Russian invasion.

Zelenskyy requested the information on a conference call that was joined by more 300 people, including senators and some House lawmakers.

Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is a Democrat from New York. He stated in a statement, that Zelenskyy made a desperate plea for Eastern European countries "to provide Russian-made aircraft to Ukraine."

Schumer stated, "I will do everything I can to assist the administration in facilitating their transfer."

According to another participant on the call, Schumer said to Zelenskyy that the U.S. legislators are inspired by him as well as the strength and courage displayed by the Ukrainian people.

A $10 billion package of humanitarian and military aid is also being developed by the U.S. Congress. Schumer informed Zelenskyy that Congress hopes to quickly send it to Ukraine, according to the person.

According to a Senate aide, Zelenskyy stated to senators that he needed drones and planes more than any other security tools.

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This report was contributed by Lisa Mascaro, Washington Associated Press reporter.

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WASHINGTON -- A previous travel advisory by the U.S. State Department was updated and now recommends that U.S. citizens flee Russia.

This notice provides this information: "If your desire is to leave Russia, you should make arrangements for yourself as soon as you can." You should plan to remain in Russia if you are planning to do so. The U.S. Embassy is limited in its ability to assist U.S citizens and conditions including transportation options may change abruptly.

Already, the department has warned Americans not to travel into Russia. The warning mentions the "unprovoked, unjustified attack by Russian forces in Ukraine" as well as "the potential harassment of U.S. citizens through Russian government security officers."

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TIRANA, Albania -- Edi Rama, Albania's Prime Minister, said that he called Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President on Saturday to show his support.

Albania joined the European Union to impose severe sanctions against Russia's top officials.

The country also collects and sends assistance to Ukrainian refugees.

Olta Xhacka (Albanian Foreign Minister) vehemently rebuffed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertions that Albanian mercenaries were operating in Ukraine. She called it "a lie Moscow keeps repeating shamelessly!"

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KYIV, Ukraine -- Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President, stated that Ukrainian forces held key cities in central and southeastern Ukraine Saturday while Russians tried to keep the Russians out of Kharkiv.

Zelenskyy stated that "we're inflicting loss on the occupants they couldn't see in their worst nightmare." Zelenskyy claimed that 10,000 Russian troops had been killed during the 10 days of war. This claim could not be independently verified. The Russian military does not provide regular updates about their casualties. They did not reveal a death toll for nearly 500 people until Wednesday.

Zelenskyy stated, "This is terrible." "Guys 18-20 years old... Soldiers who were not even told what they were fighting for."

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WARSAW (Poland) -- A head of Ukraine's Supreme Court demanded that Russia's top court be expelled from the Central and Eastern Europe's chief judges' bodies because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Vsevolod Kniaziev, Ukraine's top court President, stated that the Supreme Court of Russia should not be included in the Conference of Chief Justices of Central & Eastern Europe because it "represents a country which brought terror, death, and crimes against humanity to Ukraine."

Malgorzata Mannowska, president of the Supreme Court of Poland, received Kniaziev’s appeal on Saturday. She is located near Ukraine.

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NEW YORK -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there is no reason to impose martial law in Russia at the moment.

After days of speculation, Putin's comments on Saturday indicated that martial law might soon be introduced.

Putin stated that martial law was imposed in a country in the event of aggression from outside, and in certain areas of hostilities. We don't have this situation and I do not believe we will.

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ROME -- Italian state broadcaster Rai suspends reporting by its correspondents from Russia.

Rai's Saturday measure is effective following similar moves by other foreign media. Rai stated that the measure was necessary to "safeguard its journalists in the area as well as the maximum freedom information about the country."

Russia passed Friday a law that could lead to up to 15 year imprisonment for spreading false information about its armed force.

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NEW YORK -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would consider any third party declaration of a no fly zone over Ukraine to be "participation" in the armed conflict.

Putin spoke at Saturday's meeting with female pilots and stated that Russia would consider "any move to this direction" an interference that "will pose threat to our service members."

"That very moment, we will regard them as participants in the military conflict and it would not matter who they are," said the Russian president.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, has asked NATO to establish a no fly zone over his country. He warned that "all the people who will die in this day forward will also be because you."

NATO stated that a no fly zone would prevent any unauthorized aircraft from flying above Ukraine. This could lead to widespread war between Europe and Russia.

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BERLIN -- U.N. Human Rights Office has confirmed that 351 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

According to the Geneva-based office, 707 more civilians were hurt between Friday night and Friday morning.

The rights office follows a strict methodology and reports only confirmed casualties. It said Saturday it believes the real figures are considerably higher, "especially in government-controlled territory and especially in recent days," as the receipt of information from some places where there was intense fighting was delayed and many reports were still undergoing corroboration.

Ukrainian officials presented much higher numbers.

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NEW YORK -- Aeroflot Russia's flagship airline has announced it will stop all international flights to Belarus from March 8th.

Russia's largest state-owned airline has taken this decision after Rosaviatsiya (Russia's aviation agency) recommended that all Russian airlines operating foreign-leased aircrafts be halted from flying passengers and cargo abroad.

It pointed out the high likelihood of foreign-leased aircraft being impounded under Western sanctions, which ban leasing to Russia.

Rosaviatsiya doesn't recommend Russian airlines that use Russian aircraft or foreign aircraft that aren’t at risk of impounded. Aeroflot stated Saturday that it had taken the decision to stop operating its flights because of "circumstances that hamper their operation."

Pobeda, a low-cost Russian airline, announced Saturday that it would also suspend all international flights beginning March 8.

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BERLIN -- German public broadcasters ARD/ZDF have announced that they will suspend reporting from their Moscow studios following Russia's passing of a law that could see them serving up to 15 years in prison for spreading false information about its armed forces.

President Vladimir Putin signed the measure into law on Friday. It has already caused some foreign media such as Bloomberg and BBC to report that they are suspending operations in Russia.

ZDF and ARD stated in a joint statement that they are currently evaluating the implications of the new legislation, and have suspended reporting from the Moscow studios.

This law was passed amid a wider crackdown on Russian media outlets and social media.


 

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