Biden says Russia is committing ‘genocide’; Putin says peace talks at ‘dead end’: Live Ukraine updates

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia’s audacious invasion of Ukraine was proceeding as planned and that peace talks had reached a “dead end.”

Putin, speaking at a joint news conference with ally Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, accused Ukraine of violating the agreement reached during talks in Istanbul. He again dismissed photos of Ukraine spreading dead bodies in Bukha and other cities, and said Russia’s entire focus was on supporting separatists in the East Donbas region.

Putin said the war will “continue until it is fully completed and fulfills the established tasks”. He said Russia was forced to invade Ukraine to protect ethnic Russians on separatist territory in the Donbas region, where Russia is expected to launch a major offensive in the coming days and weeks.

During a layover in Iowa late Tuesday, President Joe Biden said Russia’s actions during its invasion of Ukraine amounted to “genocide.”

Mikhailo Podoljak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, challenged Putin’s claim on Twitter: “Russia claims their goal is ‘protecting the people of Donbass’. Now, mobile crematoriums are being #Mariupol, the second largest city in the region, burns people’s bodies. Survivors are starving. What are you ‘protecting’ them? From life threatening?”

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►The British Ministry of Defence said that Russia may intensify its attacks on eastern Ukraine in the next 2-3 weeks. Retired British general Sir Richard Barrons estimated that the Russians may have lost about 25 percent of the troops they brought to Ukraine. “They took a hit, and they only had a few weeks to get better,” Barrons said.

►The German president says he wants to visit Ukraine, but “obviously Kyiv doesn’t”. German newspaper Bild quoted an unidentified Ukrainian diplomat as saying President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was unpopular because of his past close ties to Russia.

► Ukrainian authorities say a planned cyberattack on the power grid by Russian military hackers has been thwarted.

► The World Trade Organization cut its 2022 trade growth forecast to 3% from 4.7%, saying war and ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns are weighing on world trade.

Biden calls Russia’s actions ‘genocide’

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden described Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide.”

“None of your household budget, your ability to fill up your gas tank, should depend on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,” Biden said in a speech in Menlo, Iowa. price.

Last week, the president called for a war crimes trial of Russian President Vladimir Putin and announced more sanctions on Russia after reports of atrocities in Ukraine, but did not characterize them as “genocide.”

“No, I think it’s a war crime,” Biden told reporters on April 4 when asked if he thought Russia committed genocide.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously said that Russia’s attack on Ukraine constituted genocide.

Rebecca Morin

US says reports of chemical weapons use ‘deeply worrying’

On Tuesday, a spokesman for a separatist group suggested to Russian television viewers that separatists could use chemical weapons against Ukrainian soldiers hiding in a giant steel factory in Mariupol “to get them out of there.”

Eduard Basurin said 80 percent of the port city had been “liberated” by Russian-backed separatists, and the forces were later quoted by Interfax as saying they “did not be in Mariupol.” use of any chemical weapon”. The comments came amid claims by Ukrainian forces defending Mariupol that they did not provide drones to drop toxic materials on their positions.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said officials were working “urgently” to investigate what she called the “relentless escalation” of the war. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby called reports of the use of chemical weapons “deeply concerning” but could not confirm whether they were accurate.

A Pentagon official said it was difficult to determine whether chemical weapons were used because of the difficulty of accessing the area and talking to medical personnel or survivors. The official said there was no evidence of widespread damage from the large quantities of chemicals or chemicals. However, the official said the Russians have a history of using chemical weapons to cover up more serious chemical attacks by adding them to riot control agents such as tear gas.

Russian convoy heads to Ukrainian strategic city

A large Russian supply convoy in eastern Ukraine that could be critical to the invasion continues to advance slowly towards the strategic town of Yzum, a senior defense official said on Tuesday. The convoy was located about 35 miles north of Izyum, where Ukrainian forces are engaged in heavy firefights with Russian forces, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Russian troops are still about 12 miles south of the town.

The official said the focus of the Russian invasion, which began on February 24, has shifted to eastern and southern Ukraine. Air strikes were concentrated in these areas. The official said the Russians had lost nearly 20 percent of the combat power President Vladimir Putin had deployed for the attack.

US supports NATO’s ‘open door’ principle for Ukraine

U.S. State Department press secretary Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday that the United States supports NATO’s “open door” principle on Ukraine’s application to join NATO, but emphasized the influence of NATO’s independence from the United States.

“The United States — nor any other country, nor any other ally — does not speak on behalf of NATO,” Price said. “When it comes to the aspirations of any aspiring nation, that will be the decision of the alliance. All I can say and what we support is NATO’s principle of open doors.”

Price reiterated that it is up to NATO members to decide what the alliance’s roster looks like. He also said that by invading Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin “made everything he tried to prevent” in vain, as Ukraine’s interest in joining NATO only increased.

– Ella Lee

Congresswoman urges U.S. diplomats to return to Ukraine

Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican from Indiana, called on the State Department on Tuesday to repatriate diplomats to Ukraine. The United States closed its embassy in Kyiv in mid-February as a Russian invasion appeared imminent.

Ukrainian-born Spaatz said in a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that a U.S. presence in Lviv in western Ukraine is needed to better coordinate with the country’s people and government. She noted that the European Union returned its diplomatic mission to Kyiv over the weekend.

National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said Sunday that the United States is not ready to follow suit. He told CBS News “Face the Nation” that the United States “is working hard to allow us to build our diplomatic presence in Kyiv.”

– Katie Waddington

Austrian chancellor gets ‘not optimistic impression’ from Putin meeting

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehamer held “direct, open and hard-line” talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and said prospects for ending the war remained bleak. Nehamer stressed that Monday’s visit was not a “friendly visit”, adding that he raised the issue of war crimes with Putin and stressed that “all those responsible will be held accountable,” according to Austrian media.

Nehamer said he had “no optimistic impression” and urged civilians to flee an expected Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine. “This fight is going to be a tough fight,” he said.

Obama: Putin ‘always ruthless’, invasion ‘reckless’

Former President Barack Obama spoke out on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in an interview with NBC News’ TODAY, answering questions about his handling of Russian relations during his tenure and the mindset of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama said the war in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was a reminder “not to take our own democracy for granted,” adding that the Biden administration was “doing what it needs to do.”

“Putin has always been ruthless towards his own people and others,” Obama said. “What we saw with the invasion of Ukraine was recklessness that you might not have expected eight or ten years ago, but you know the danger has always been there. “

Obama’s full interview on “Today” will air Wednesday.

Mayor of Mariupol: Death toll could reach 20,000; Russia hides massacre

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in the besieged city of Mariupol since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, as Western nations warned a convoy was moving in response to a Russian attack in eastern Ukraine, the mayor said. Suspicious attack. The city is central to Russia’s efforts to link Crimea to the Donbas region, where Moscow-backed separatists have established a de facto republic that even Russia recognized only days before the war broke out these republics.

Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko said Russian troops had blocked humanitarian convoys trying to enter the city for weeks, in part to cover up the massacre. Bojchenko also said the death toll in Mariupol alone could exceed 20,000.

Boychenko also provided new details on allegations by Ukrainian officials that Russian troops brought mobile cremation equipment to Mariupol to process bodies.

European countries take steps to ease dependence on Russian energy

Italy will soon begin importing more gas from Algeria via a Mediterranean pipeline, the latest European attempt to distance itself from Russia as Moscow faces war crimes charges. Italy’s largest natural gas supplier is Russia, which accounts for 40% of its imports. Neighboring Germany gets a third of its oil and gas and more than half of its coal from Russia.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters that the agreement to strengthen bilateral energy cooperation and export more natural gas to Italy “is an important response to the strategic goal of rapidly replacing Russian energy sources”.

Europe’s reliance on Russian oil, gas and coal has made energy sanctions impossible to resolve amid fears that the entire continent could slip into recession, but reports of Russian war crimes against Ukrainian civilians have caused some countries to reconsider. In early April, Lithuania became the first European country to completely cut off Russian gas imports.

Both the U.S. and the EU escalated their penalties against Russia last week: The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to ban oil imports from Russia and end normal trade relations with the country, while EU nations agreed to impose new sanctions on Russia, including a ban import its coal.

Contributed by: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ukraine live update: Biden says Russia is committing ‘genocide’

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