Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia’s audacious invasion of Ukraine is proceeding as planned and that peace talks have reached a “dead end”.
Putin, speaking at a joint news conference with ally Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, accused Ukraine of violating agreements reached during talks in Istanbul. He once again rejected Ukraine’s staging of images of bodies scattered in Bucha and other cities and said Russia’s full focus is on supporting separatists in the eastern Donbass region.
“The war will continue until the full completion and completion of the tasks set,” Putin said. He said Russia was forced to invade Ukraine to protect ethnic Russians in the separatist regions of the Donbass region.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podolik took issue with Putin’s claims on Twitter: “Russia claims their goal is to ‘protect the people in Donbass’.” Right now mobile crematoriums are burning bodies of people in Mariupol, the second largest city in the region. Those who survived are starving. From whom are you protecting them? from life?”
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The British Defense Ministry says Russia will intensify attacks on eastern Ukraine in the next 2-3 weeks. Retired British General Sir Richard Barones estimated that the Russians lost about 25% of the forces brought into Ukraine. “He’s been beaten up, and he’ll only have a few weeks to get better,” Barons said.
Germany’s president says he wanted to visit Ukraine but “apparently didn’t want to in Kyiv.” The German newspaper Bild quoted an unnamed Ukrainian diplomat as saying that President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is not welcome because of his close ties with Russia in the past.
Ukrainian officials said a planned cyber attack by Russian military hackers on the power grid has been thwarted.
The WTO revised its 2022 trade forecast to 3% growth from 4.7%, saying the war and continued COVID-19 lockdowns are weighing on world trade.
US calls reports of chemical weapons use ‘deeply concerning’
Global concerns that Russia would resort to chemical weapons in Ukraine were growing after a spokesman for a separatist group suggested to Russian TV viewers on Tuesday that separatists use chemicals against Ukrainian soldiers hiding in a huge steel factory in Mariupol. can “make them smoke” there.”
Eduard Basurin, who said 80% of the port city had been “liberated” by Russian-backed separatists, was later quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that those forces “did not use any chemical weapons in Mariupol”. ” The remarks came after a Ukrainian unit defending Mariupol claimed without evidence that a drone had dropped a poisonous substance on its position.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said officials were working “immediately” to investigate what he called “a drastic escalation” of the war. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby called the reports of chemical weapons use “deeply concerning” but could not confirm whether they were accurate.
A Pentagon official said efforts to determine whether chemical weapons were used have been hampered by access to the area and difficulty speaking with medical personnel or survivors. The official said there was no evidence of a large amount of chemicals or of widespread injuries from the chemicals. However, the Russians have a history of using chemical weapons, and have concealed attacks from more serious chemicals by adding riot-control agents such as tear gas, the official said.
Russian convoy moves towards strategic city of Ukraine
A huge Russian re-supply convoy in eastern Ukraine, which could be crucial to the invasion effort, is making slow progress toward the strategic city of Izium, a senior defense official said on Tuesday. According to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe intelligence assessments, the convoy is about 35 miles north of Izium, where Ukrainian forces are engaged in heavy fighting with Russian forces. The Russian military lives about 12 miles south of the city.
The official said the focus of the Russian offensive, which began on February 24, has shifted to eastern and southern Ukraine. Air strikes have been carried out in the same areas. The official said Russia has lost about 20% of the combat force deployed by President Vladimir Putin for the attack.
US supports NATO’s ‘open door’ principle with regard to Ukraine
State Department Press Secretary Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday that the US supports NATO’s “open doors” doctrine regarding Ukraine’s application to join the coalition, although insists on NATO’s independence from US influence. .
“The United States – nor any other country, nor any other ally – does not speak on behalf of NATO,” Price said. “It will be a decision for the coalition when it comes to the aspirations of any interested country. What I can say and what we support is the principle of the NATO open door.”
Price reiterated that it is up to NATO members to decide what the coalition’s roster looks like. He also said that by invading Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin had “achieved everything he was trying to stop” as Ukraine’s interest in joining NATO has only grown.
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Congress woman urges return of US diplomats to Ukraine
Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., on Tuesday called on the State Department to return diplomats to Ukraine. In mid-February, the US closed its embassy in Kyiv as a Russian offensive appeared imminent.
Ukraine-born Spartz said in a letter to Foreign Minister Antony Blinken that a US presence in Lviv, western Ukraine, is needed for better coordination with the country’s people and government. He said the EU returned its diplomatic corps to Kyiv over the weekend.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the US was not prepared to follow suit. He told CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that the US is “working on when we will be in a position to reestablish our diplomatic presence in Kyiv.”
— Katie Waddington
Austrian chancellor finds ‘no optimistic impression’ from Putin meeting
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehmer held “direct, open and difficult” talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and said the outlook for ending the war was bleak. Nehamer emphasized that Monday’s visit was not a “friendly visit”, adding that he had raised the issue of war crimes with Putin and insisted that according to Austrian media “those who are responsible should be held accountable”. Will go.”
Nehamer said he had “no optimistic implications” and urged civilians to flee Russia from the offensive, which is expected to launch in eastern Ukraine. He said, ‘This battle will be fought with full force.
Obama: Putin has ‘always been ruthless’ but aggression is ‘reckless’
Former President Barack Obama talks about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in an interview with NBC News “Today”, answers questions about his handling of Russian relations while in office and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state of mind. Obama said the war in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 are reminders of “not taking our own democracy lightly,” adding that the Biden administration is “doing what it needs to do.”
“Putin has always been cruel to his people as well as others,” Obama said. “What we’ve seen with the invasion of Ukraine is reckless in a way that you might not have guessed eight, 10 years ago, but you know, the threat was always there.”
Obama’s full interview with TODAY will air Wednesday.
Mariupol Mayor: Death toll could reach 20,000; Russia hides genocide
More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in the besieged city of Mariupol since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the mayor said, as Western nations warned that a convoy was moving east of Ukraine for a suspected Russian attack. Was. The city is crucial to Russia’s effort to annex Crimea to the Donbass region, where Moscow-backed separatists have established de facto republics, even Russia recognized just days before the start of the war. .
Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko said Russian forces had blocked weeks of humanitarian convoy attempts in the city to hide the massacre. Boychenko also said that the death toll in Mariupol alone could exceed 20,000.
Boychenko also gave fresh details of Ukrainian officials’ allegations that Russian forces brought mobile cremation equipment to Mariupol to dispose of corpses.
European countries take steps to reduce dependence on Russian energy
Italy will soon start importing more natural gas from Algeria into a Mediterranean pipeline, Europe’s latest attempt to distance itself from Russia as Moscow faces war crimes charges. Italy’s largest supplier of natural gas is Russia, representing 40% of its imports. Neighboring Germany gets a third of its oil and gas and more than half of its coal from Russia.
Italian Premier Mario Draghi told reporters that the agreements to intensify bilateral energy cooperation and export more gas to Italy are “an important response to the strategic goal” of quickly turning to Russian energy.
Europe’s reliance on Russian oil, natural gas and coal had led to energy restrictions amid fears of recession across the continent, but reports of Russian war crimes against Ukrainian citizens have caused some countries to reconsider. Lithuania became the first European country to completely dissociate itself from Russian gas imports in early April.
Last week, both the US and the EU increased penalties on Russia: the US Senate voted unanimously in favor of banning oil imports from Russia and ending normal trade relations with the country, while EU countries voted against Russia. but agreed to new sanctions, including a ban on its coal imports.
Contribution: The Associated Press