President Biden and other Western leaders on Wednesday pledged additional military assistance to Ukraine, while Russia vehemently rejected the president’s wartime actions as “genocidal.”
After an hour-long call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky, Biden announced that his administration would allow Ukraine an additional $ 800 million in weapons, ammunition and other security assistance.
Biden – in the seventh week after the end of the war – said the new military assistance would “include many of the effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities in line with the broader offensive that Russia expects to launch in eastern Ukraine.”
“The sustainable weapons provided to Ukraine by the United States and its allies and allies are important in sustaining its fight against the Russian invasion,” Biden said. “It simply came to our notice then [Russian President Vladimir] Putin was defeated in his initial war to seize and control Ukraine. We can not relax now.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the latest package would include new capabilities the United States has not yet sent to Ukraine, including 18 howitzers, 40,000 grenades and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear warheads and defense equipment. Earlier on Wednesday, European Council officials announced that they had agreed to provide an additional $ 544 million in support to Ukrainian forces.
The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, opened fire following Biden’s first statement earlier this week that Russia was committing genocide in Ukraine. Peskov told reporters that “this opinion is unacceptable from a US president who has committed well-known crimes in recent times.”
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Finland and Sweden have moved to join the US – led North Atlantic Treaty Organization, against which Putin has been warning for years.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has said the Nordic country, which shares a border with Russia, will decide on joining NATO “within weeks”.
“Everything changed when Russia invaded Ukraine,” Marin told a news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson in Stockholm.
“I think the mood of the people in Finland and Sweden has changed [were] Russia’s actions are very dramatic, “said Marin.
On Wednesday, Russian artillery was expected to hit Ukrainian cities and towns, launching a full-scale offensive in the eastern industrial hub of the country known as Donbass. Satellite imagery of the American company Maxar Technologies shows the development of Russian troops and heavy equipment with the potential to attack at least three locations.
Western military officials and analysts have predicted a brutal new phase of war at the start of the offensive, but question whether Moscow’s military command can move away from previous strategic setbacks.
The presidents of Poland and the three Baltic states arrived in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Wednesday to hold talks with Selensky, in a bid to show continued support for Ukraine from leading NATO countries.
Ukrainian officials took the visiting presidents to see first-hand Borodianka, one of the worst-hit cities in the Kyiv region, where Russian shells and bombs destroyed several high-rise apartment buildings and other structures. Authorities say dozens of people have been killed but have not provided a definitive death toll.
In Moscow, a defense ministry spokesman said 1,026 members of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Regiment, including more than 160 officers, had voluntarily laid down their arms as a result of “successful attacks” by Russian troops and military allies in Mariupol. It is not clear from the announcement when the alleged surrender occurred.
Earlier in the week, the battalion said in a Facebook post that it had run out of ammunition and had met a “mountain” of wounded. The Russian Defense Ministry said 151 Ukrainian soldiers had been treated on the spot or admitted to hospital.
Ukrainian military officials did not immediately comment on the Russian claim, only saying that fighting for the city had continued.
Moscow has justified the war with widespread false propaganda, including many previous Russian claims that the Kremlin insisted several weeks before the war that it had no plans to invade Russia, and that Ukraine was controlled by the Nazis.
However, this episode will be one of the biggest single captures of the war by Ukrainian troops.
Mariupol in the Sea of Azov is considered a strategic gift because it provides control of a land corridor between Russian-controlled territory and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia captured in 2014. The pre-war population was over 400,000. It has been plagued by daily Russian bombings since the early days following the February 24 invasion, and its mayor is estimated to have killed 20,000 people.
Ahead of Russia’s claim on Mariupol, Ramzan Kadyrov, a pro – Moscow leader of the Russian Chechnya Republic who has joined the invading forces, went to the Telegram to urge the remaining Ukrainian forces to “put an end to this meaningless protest.” Mikhail Bodoliak, Zhelensky’s adviser, said on Twitter that the guards were fighting “every meter of the city.”
Another presidential aide, Oleksiy Arestovych, said online that elements of the Ukrainian battalion in question were able to join other Ukrainian forces in a dangerous maneuver. He did not comment on the allegations.
Russian state television showed the surrendered Ukrainian navy marching on the road.
A month-long Russian occupation of several Kiev suburbs and satellite cities left a trail of deadly destruction and destruction, which provoked an international outcry. Russia denies its troops atrocities against civilians, but international investigators are gathering evidence of potential war crimes, including executions and rapes.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a statement on Wednesday that Russia had shown “clear form” of violating international humanitarian law. Meanwhile, Kareem Khan, a lawyer at the International Criminal Court, visited the devastated Kiev suburb of Pucha and described the country as a “crime scene” in an interview with reporters.
The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday that nearly 6,000 war crimes complaints had been registered, and Zelensky, in his nightly video address, expressed outrage the day before Putin’s claim that the alleged atrocities in Pucha were fake.
“There are not as many ‘stage specialists’ in the world as there are assassins in the Russian military,” Zelensky said, describing Russia’s accountability as “inevitable”.
In the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, Ukrainian authorities have been urging for days to evacuate in anticipation of widespread fighting. Departure, however, involves deadly dangers; Last week, 60 people were killed in a Russian missile attack on a train station in the town of Gramadorsk.
It is becoming more and more difficult to find a way out of the war zone. On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshchuk said humanitarian corridors could not be opened that day because Russian forces were violating local ceasefires and blocking buses sent to evacuate civilians.
And despite growing fears of a Russian push to seize the east, the country’s fourth-largest city, Dnieper, has no outward sign of concern, but a way out for those fleeing the Donbass. Shops and restaurants were open, the roads were full of cars and there were traffic jams at major intersections.
However, a train from the west to the city was mostly empty, and some traveled to the region where wars were expected to take place. Another train, pulling a pair of tanks, moved along the tracks and headed somewhere towards the east front row.
Bulos from Dinibro, Lee from Los Angeles and King from Warsaw reported. Times employee writers Patrick J. in Kiev. McDonald’s, Carolyn Cole in Dinibro and Anumita Kaur in Washington contributed to the report.