Austrian president to meet Putin in Russia amid warnings of new offensive against Ukraine | Ukraine

The Austrian president is due to meet with Vladimir Putin on Monday, the first direct meeting between the Russian president and an EU leader, amid warnings of a new offensive and shelling in the east since he ordered an invasion of Ukraine.

Karl Nehmmer called the meeting in Moscow and called for a full inquiry into humanitarian corridors, ceasefire and war crimes, saying that Austria had a “clear position on the Russian war of aggression.”

The UK Defense Ministry warned Monday morning that Russian forces could use phosphorous weapons in Mariupol. It cited Russian soldiers’ previous use of weapons in Donetsk.

On the ground, Russian forces attacked targets in eastern Ukraine on Sunday with missiles and artillery, and Ramzan Kadyrov, the powerful leader of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, said he would attack not only the besieged southern port of Mariupol, but also Kiev. And other Ukrainian cities. “Luhansk and Donetsk – we will completely liberate first … then capture Kiev and all other cities,” Kadyrov said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.

The United States has warned that appointing a new general to Russia’s military campaign could lead to a new round of “crimes and brutality” against civilians. Alexander Dvornikov, 60, was promoted to commander of Russian troops in Syria in 2015-16.

Jake Sullivan, a national security adviser in Washington, D.C., said: “This particular general has a resume in other theaters – in Syria – that includes atrocities against civilians, and we can expect the same in Ukraine.”

On the same day that Ukrainian Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to supply Ukraine with 120 armored vehicles and anti-ship missile systems – Nehemiah met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky in Kiev on Saturday. Washington has also promised to provide Ukraine with “the weapons it needs” to defend itself against a new Russian offensive.

Russia has failed to capture any major cities, but says Ukraine is mobilizing its forces in the east for a major offensive and urging people to leave.

Authorities say Russian forces fired rockets into Ukraine’s Luhansk and Dnipropetrovsk regions on Sunday. Valentin Resnishenko, governor of the Central Dnipropetrovsk region, said the missiles completely destroyed the airport in the city of Dinibro.

Russia’s Defense Ministry says high-precision missiles have destroyed the headquarters of the Ukrainian Dnipro Battalion in the city of Svonetsky. Reuters could not immediately confirm the news.

Among other developments:

  • The death toll from a missile attack on Friday at a train station in the town of Gramadorsk in the Donetsk region has risen to 57, while 109 people were injured, Ukrainian officials said Sunday. The station was packed with people trying to get out of the place. Russia has denied any involvement in the attack, saying it was only used by the Ukrainian military.

  • Joe Biden is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, and the US president is expected to press India not to increase Russian crude imports. Biden had previously accused India of being the only “somewhat trembling” country in the group of quartets comprising Japan and Australia. No sanctions have been imposed on Russia so far.

  • The World Bank predicts that Ukraine’s GDP will shrink by about 45% this year due to the impact of the Russian invasion and the “deeper humanitarian crisis”. It said Russia would also fall into recession and that many countries around Ukraine would face severe hardships

  • Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshchuk said on Sunday that 2,824 people had been evacuated through humanitarian corridors, including 213 from Mariupol, which had been under siege for weeks.

Since the Russian invasion, Zelenskiy has called for greater security assistance to Western powers and for punishing Moscow with tougher sanctions, including sanctions on Russian energy exports.

In an interview aired for 60 minutes on CBS, Zelenskiy said he had confidence in his own armed forces, but “unfortunately I have no hope that we will get everything we need from the United States.”

“They must provide arms to Ukraine as if to protect themselves and their own people,” Zhelensky added. “They need to understand this. If they do not speed up, it will be very difficult for us to cope with this pressure.

Sullivan told ABC News: “We are going to get the weapons Ukraine needs to prevent the Russians from capturing more cities and towns.”

Zelenskiy previously spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Olaf Scholes on Twitter about additional sanctions and additional security and financial assistance, and welcomed Germany’s very positive stance on Ukraine.

The European Union on Friday banned the import of Russian coal, among other things, but has not yet touched on oil and gas imports from Russia.

Rising civilian casualties have provoked widespread international condemnation and new sanctions.

A grave with at least two civilian bodies has been found in the village of Pusova near Kiev, said Taras Ditich, head of the Dmitryvka community that includes the village, the latest discovery since Russian forces withdrew from areas north of the capital.

Moscow has repeatedly refused to target civilians, calling it a “special measure” to militarize and “reduce” its southern neighbors. Ukraine and the West have rejected this as an unfounded excuse for war.

Russia’s invasion has left a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people homeless, turned cities into ruins and killed or injured thousands.

Some cities in eastern Ukraine have been hit by heavy shelling, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded.

With Reuters

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