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Biden calls Putin a ‘war criminal’ after signing off on $800 million in new military aid: Live Ukraine updates

Written by on March 16, 2022

President Joe Biden introduced Wednesday that an extra $800 million in navy assist shall be despatched to Ukraine, simply hours after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s handle to the U.S. Congress, a speech Biden referred to as “convincing.”

Biden stated the U.S. is including to its help, which now totals $1 billion simply this week, to assist “fend off Russia’s assault.”

“America is main this effort, along with our allies and companions, offering monumental ranges of safety and humanitarian help that we’re including to at present, and we’ll do extra within the days and weeks forward,” he stated, including the combat is “about the appropriate of individuals to find out their very own future, about ensuring Ukraine by no means shall be a victory for Putin, it doesn’t matter what advances he makes on the battlefield.”

Biden, talking for simply over seven minutes early Wednesday afternoon, stated the warfare in Ukraine is “a battle that pits the appetites of an autocrat towards humankind’s need to be free.”

On a day when he referred to as Russian President Vladimir Putin a “warfare legal” for the primary time publicly, Biden additionally careworn the U.S. is not going to become involved militarily, however added that it’ll assist Ukraine for so long as it takes.

“We will keep the course,” he stated, whereas warning, “This may very well be an extended and tough battle.”

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Earlier Wednesday, Zelenskyy gave an impassioned handle to an overwhelmingly supportive Congress, pleading for extra navy assist, a “no-fly” zone over his nation and even harder sanctions on Russia. Zelenskyy’s presentation included a gripping video exhibiting graphic photographs of the brutal human and property injury inflicted by the Russians because the invading forces continued their relentless attack.

In his virtual address — three weeks into his nation’s fierce battle to repel invading Russian troops — Zelenskyy drew parallels to horrific moments in American historical past to clarify his nation’s plight and referred to as on the U.S. to ramp up its assist to Ukraine.

“Proper now, the future of our nation is being determined, the future of our folks,” stated Zelenskyy, who drew a standing ovation from Congress initially of his speech from Kyiv. “Whether or not Ukrainians shall be free, whether or not they are going to have the ability to protect their democracy.” 

Newest developments:

►Ukrainian navy forces have hit the airport in Kherson, which Russian troops had seized early within the warfare, the Common Employees stated late Wednesday. It stated the Russians had been attempting to take away any surviving navy tools.

►Ivan Fedorov, the 33-year-old mayor of the southeastern metropolis of Melitopol (pop. 150,000), was free of Russian captivity, Ukrainian officers stated.

►The 2015 Ukrainian satirical comedy sequence “Servant of the Individuals,” which Zelenskyy starred in, is obtainable on Netflix. Zelenskyy performs a trainer who unexpectedly turns into president after a video of him complaining about corruption goes viral.

►The Worldwide Chess Federation suspended the nationwide groups of Russia and Belarus from participation in official tournaments “till additional discover.” Chess is extraordinarily standard in Russia.

►Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a legislation permitting international planes to be seized and used domestically, Russia’s Tass News Agency reported. Most international airways have paused service to Russia because of the warfare and sanctions.

►A minimum of 103 youngsters have died and greater than 100 others have been injured, stated Ukrainian Prosecutor Common Iryna Venediktova.

FULL COVERAGE:Latest updates, analysis, commentary on Ukraine

Biden calls Putin ‘a warfare legal’ for the primary time

For the primary time in public, President Joe Biden on Wednesday referred to as Russian President Vladimir Putin “a warfare legal” for his continued assault on Ukraine, which has killed a whole lot of civilians.

“I believe he’s a warfare legal,” Biden stated in response to a query from a reporter after delivering remarks on the White Home on the reauthorization of the Violence In opposition to Ladies Act.

Earlier within the afternoon, Biden approved an extra $800 million in navy assist for Ukraine. He vowed that the American folks shall be “steadfast in our assist of the folks of Ukraine within the face of Putin’s immoral, unethical assaults on civilian populations.”

“We’re united in our abhorrence of Putin’s wicked onslaught,” he stated.

White Home press secretary Jen Psaki stated the president was “talking from his coronary heart and talking from what you’ve seen on tv, which is barbaric actions by a brutal dictator via his invasion of a international nation.”

The State Division has stated it’s reviewing Russia’s actions for potential warfare crimes, a authorized course of Psaki stated is ongoing.

— Joey Garrison

Missile strike destroys theater that served as shelter in besieged Mariupol

The destiny of a whole lot of Ukrainians hung within the air Wednesday because the Mariupol theater the place they had been sheltering was destroyed by Russian forces, Ukrainian authorities stated. 

There was no fast phrase on deaths or accidents in what the Mariupol metropolis council stated was an airstrike on the theater. The phrase “youngsters” in Russian was written in massive white letters in entrance of and behind the theater, as shown by an image taken Monday by the Maxar house know-how firm, in what gave the impression to be an try and dissuade the Russians from concentrating on the theater.

Mariupol, a southern port metropolis of 430,000, has been the location of a few of the fiercest assaults for the reason that invasion started Feb. 24. Native officers say missile strikes and shelling have killed greater than 2,300 folks, and a siege that has lasted greater than two weeks has left folks struggling for meals, water, warmth and medication.

Native authorities stated Russian forces took a whole lot of individuals hostage at a Mariupol hospital and had been utilizing them as human shields.

In central Kyiv, a 12-story house constructing burst into flames after being hit by shrapnel. And within the northern metropolis of Chernihiv, 10 folks had been killed whereas standing in line for bread, the Ukrainian Common Prosecutor’s Workplace stated.

Presidential adviser warns Russia to not deploy chemical or organic weapons in Ukraine

President Joe Biden’s nationwide safety adviser, Jake Sullivan, warned a Russian counterpart towards the usage of chemical and organic weapons in Ukraine, the White Home stated Wednesday.

Sullivan “warned Common (Nikolay) Patrushev concerning the penalties and implications of any attainable Russian choice to make use of chemical or organic weapons in Ukraine,” stated a White Home readout of a cellphone name with Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Safety Council.

Biden didn’t point out Russian threats of chemical and organic weapons throughout his remarks on U.S. help to Ukraine on Wednesday.

Within the name, Sullivan repeated “the US’ agency and clear opposition to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” the readout stated.

It added: “Mr. Sullivan clearly laid out the US’ dedication to proceed imposing prices on Russia, to assist the protection of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to strengthen NATO’s japanese flank, in continued full coordination with our Allies and companions.”

— David Jackson

Russia ponders the best way to replenish; Odesa now in its sights

Russian commanders are deliberating the best way to substitute troops, tools and plane they’ve misplaced of their invasion of Ukraine, a senior Protection Division official stated Wednesday.

The losses mount every day resulting from spirited resistance from Ukrainian forces, stated the official, who mentioned intelligence assessments on situation of anonymity. Nonetheless, the Russians nonetheless have the vast majority of the fight forces they deployed for the invasion.

The Russian advance on Ukraine’s main cities, together with Kyiv, stays largely stalled. Within the south, Russian naval vessels have begun shelling cities across the port metropolis of Odesa, presumably upfront of an assault by floor forces, the official stated.

Meantime, the US and its allies proceed to ship weapons to Ukraine each day, the official stated. The most recent cargo of warfare materiel, introduced Wednesday by President Joe Biden, contains 100 drones. The official indicated the drones shall be armed, saying they are going to “ship a punch.”

U.S. Protection officers are working with different European international locations to offer Ukraine with air protection programs. Amongst these programs are S-300 surface-to-air missiles launchers, in response to a congressional supply.

— Tom Vanden Brook

Biden: We’re offering as much as $1 billion in new navy help

President Joe Biden on Wednesday emphasised the power of the brand new navy help, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons geared toward serving to Ukraine in its combat towards the Russian invasion.

Biden stated the $800 million package deal, mixed with a earlier appropriation, provides as much as $1 billion “simply this week.” In whole, the administration has dedicated $2 billion in safety help to Ukraine since Biden took workplace.

The brand new package deal contains:

  • 800 Stinger anti-aircraft programs
  • 2,000 Javelin, 1,000 mild anti-armor weapons, and 6,000 AT-Four anti-armor programs
  • 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Techniques
  • 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine weapons and 400 shotguns
  • Over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds
  • 25,000 units of physique armor
  • 25,000 helmets

“Extra shall be coming,” Biden stated.

— David Jackson

Biden: Humanitarian assist will proceed to circulation

President Joe Biden on Wednesday spelled out the $300 million in humanitarian help – “tens of 1000’s of tons of meals, water, medication and different fundamental provides” – that the U.S. has offered each to Ukraine and the neighboring international locations which have harbored their refugees. He stated that assist, which is separate from the $800 million introduced Wednesday in safety help, wouldn’t cease.

“We will proceed to mobilize humanitarian aid to assist folks inside Ukraine and people who have been pressured to flee Ukraine,” he stated. “Our specialists on the bottom in Poland and Moldova and different neighboring international locations are there to make real-time assessments of a quickly evolving disaster to get urgently wanted humanitarian provides to the folks in want after they want it.”

“And we are going to assist Ukraine’s economic system with direct monetary help as nicely,” Biden stated, although he didn’t offered specifics.

— Ledyard King

Putin: The West ‘underestimates’ Russia, laments losses on battlefield

In a speech aired on Russian TV, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated Russia’s so-called “particular operation” in Ukraine goes in response to plan, once more declining to name it an invasion.

“The West thinks we are going to step again,” Putin stated, in response to a translation from Meduza, a Latvia-based media outlet. “The West doesn’t perceive Russia.”

Putin repeated a variety of false claims concerning the invasion, together with the conspiracy principle that Ukraine was growing “weapons of mass destruction” like nuclear and bioweapons. There isn’t any proof, although Russia watchers observe the argument could also be a reference to Putin’s continued anger over the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Putin stated that in enacting sanctions, the West is attempting to “cancel” Russia and that measures concentrating on Russia’s Central Financial institution confirmed that international forex reserves might be “stolen.”

Signaling a fair better crackdown on Russian civil liberties at dwelling, Putin referred to as for a purge of “traitors” by “patriots,” arguing that “such a pure and needed self-purification of the society will solely strengthen our nation.”

— Matthew Brown

McConnell: US not doing sufficient, says it’s ‘miserable’ to check Biden to Zelenskyy

After listening to Zelenskyy’s speech, Senate GOP Chief Mitch McConnell stated President Joe Biden must “step up his sport.”

“Weren’t doing sufficient, rapidly sufficient to assist the Ukrainians. And I believe evaluating Zelenskyy (to Biden) is miserable. President Biden must step up his sport – proper now – earlier than it’s too late.”

The Kentucky Republican stated he agrees with the president on one level: the U.S. shouldn’t be making a no-fly zone over Ukraine resulting from issues that it may probably escalate a direct confrontation with Russia.

— Ledyard King

Lindsey Graham’s decision would strain Biden on jets for Ukraine

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is planning to carry a decision to the Senate ground Wednesday afternoon that will put strain on the Biden administration to reverse course and settle for Poland’s proposal to offer as much as 28 Soviet-built MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S. to provide to Ukraine.

Zelenskyy has requested the U.S. for extra air energy and Graham believes there’s sufficient bipartisan assist to cross the nonbinding decision calling for the administration to ship the planes and alter the trajectory of the warfare.

“Management of the skies is the lacking hyperlink,” Graham instructed reporters on Capitol Hill shortly after listening to Zelenskyy’s handle to Congressional lawmakers. “It’s the largest benefit the Russians have.”

— Ledyard King

NATO chief: Efforts geared toward stopping warfare between allies, Russia

NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg stated his alliance’s principal objective with the invasion of Ukraine is to maintain it from escalating into “full-fledged warfare between NATO and Russia.”

Stoltenberg instructed CNN that he understands Zelenskyy’s desperation and pleas for assist, noting that NATO has offered “vital assist” to Ukraine.

“NATO’s core accountability, principal accountability is to guard 1 billion folks dwelling 30 NATO allied international locations,” he stated, including that the alliance has “applied the largest reinforcements on collective protection for the reason that finish of the Chilly Conflict” to stop Russian assaults from spilling over Ukraine’s borders.

Stoltenberg declined to provide specifics on what navy assist is being despatched to Ukraine past describing “superior programs additionally to guard them within the air, air protection programs, drones and different means to additionally take care of assaults which are confronted inside the airspace.” He stated he welcomed President Joe Biden’s announcement on elevated navy assist from the U.S.

— Katie Wadington

Russian assault continues as Zelenskyy pleads US for extra assist

As Zelenskyy spoke to Congress, Kyiv residents huddled in houses and shelters amid a citywide curfew whereas Russian troops shelled neighborhoods, houses and companies.

In central Kyiv, shrapnel from an artillery shell slammed right into a 12-story house constructing, obliterating the highest ground and igniting a hearth, in response to a press release and pictures launched by the Kyiv emergency company. The neighboring constructing was additionally broken. The company reported two victims, with out elaborating. 

Russian forces even have intensified preventing in Kyiv suburbs, notably across the city of Bucha within the northwest and a freeway main west, stated Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv area.

To the south, Russian forces additionally continued pounding beleaguered Mariupol, a seaport metropolis of 430,000 that has confronted three weeks of siege, leaving folks struggling for necessities together with meals, water and warmth. It has additionally has pressured the digging of mass graves.

Keep in mind Pearl Harbor’: Zelenskyy invokes US tragedies as he pleads with Biden, Congress for help

Zelenskyy speech attracts rave evaluations from Congress

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, stated Zelenskyy’s handle to Congress differed from his previous remarks in that it was “not a extra determined ask, however a extra resolved ask.” 

“Zelenskyy was very agency, very clear in what he wanted,” Murkowski stated. “And if his phrases weren’t sufficient, in case you didn’t have a look at that video and really feel that there’s an obligation for not solely the US, however for international locations of the world to return collectively in assist for Ukraine, you had your eyes closed.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, stated the U.S. must do extra, particularly talked about MIG-29’s, anti-aircraft and anti-missile programs and armed drones.

“There’s a robust message that got here out of that video,” Portman stated. “For all that we’ve accomplished, it’s not sufficient to guard harmless lives.”

“We have to do extra and particularly we have to present them the armaments they want at a minimal to have the ability to defend themselves,” he added. 

Sen. Murphy questions public US debate over navy assist 

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Overseas Relations committee, stated he doesn’t suppose it’s smart for Congress and the Biden administration to broadcast disagreements over one of the best navy assist for Ukraine. 

“I am open to growing our stage of navy dedication to Ukraine, I simply do not suppose it’s smart coverage for all of these debates to play out in public in the US Congress,” Murphy stated.

“It is a little bit of an odd method to prosecute a warfare to have every day, open, public debates about precisely which weapons and precisely which planes we’re sending,” Murphy stated. “Russia just isn’t doing that, Russia just isn’t having a public debate about what number of planes they ship in Ukraine and precisely what weapons programs they ship in.”

Dylan Wells

Europe’s human rights group expels Russia

The Council of Europe’s ministers has determined to exclude Russia as a member following its invasion of Ukraine. The council, centered on human rights and democracy, was based after World Conflict II and Russia joined in 1996, following the Soviet Union’s collapse. 

A day after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the group started to evaluate Russia’s membership. On Tuesday, Russia knowledgeable the council it might be withdrawing and the ministers formally expelled Russia on Wednesday.

“As leaders of the Council of Europe we expressed on a number of events our agency condemnation of the Russian Federation’s aggression towards Ukraine,” the council stated in a press release. “This unjustified and unprovoked aggression led to the choice of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Meeting to provoke the process of expulsion.”

Katie Wadington

Ukraine terrain provides to Russian navy struggles

Russia’s invading troops are fighting Ukrainian terrain, forcing them to stay on roads the place Ukrainian forces have slowed their progress, in response to British Protection Ministry evaluation. The Russians have been reluctant to drive off-road in Ukraine, and Ukrainians have additional stalled their advance by blowing up bridges, British protection attache Mick Smeath stated in a press release Wednesday morning.

Russian warplanes have failed to regulate Ukrainian airspace, in response to the British and U.S. navy, additional limiting the invaders’ potential to guard its floor forces.

“The techniques of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have adeptly exploited Russia’s lack of maneuver, irritating the Russian advance and inflicting heavy losses on the invading forces,” Smeath stated within the assertion.

Tom Vanden Brook

Zelenskyy calls for brand new alliance, U24

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to as for the creation of a “United for Peace” alliance of “accountable international locations which have the power and consciousness to cease battle instantly.”

“We have to create new instruments to reply rapidly and cease the warfare the total scale Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he stated. 

Dubbing it “U-24,” Zelenskyy referenced 24 nations which are actively working with Ukraine to discover a peaceable decision to the disaster.

– Matthew Brown

Zelenskyy asks US corporations to drag out of Russia

Saying Russia is “flooded with our blood,” Zelenskyy referred to as on U.S. corporations to desert their operations in Russia.

As he made his handle to a joint session of Congress, the Ukrainian president requested for extra U.S. sanctions towards the Kremlin and to determine a no-fly zone in Ukraine. 

“We suggest that the US sanctions all politicians within the Russian federation who stay of their places of work and don’t minimize ties with those that are liable for the aggression towards Ukraine,” Zelenskyy stated.

– Rick Rouan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, greets Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova as they arrive to hear Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speak to the U.S. Congress by video at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

Blinken: Russia, Ukraine peace deal have to be ‘irreversible’ 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken careworn {that a} diplomatic resolution ending Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine would require “irreversible” strikes on Moscow’s half ought to international backlash to the battle finish.

“We are going to wish to make certain, (the Ukrainians) will wish to make certain, that something that’s accomplished is in impact irreversible. That this may’t occur once more,” Blinken stated throughout an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

Blinken left the door open to lifting crippling Western sanctions on Russia’s economic system ought to the invasion finish whereas cautioning that the strikes are already making international enterprise and finance hesitant of investing in Russia in the long run.

“If the warfare ends, Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty are restored then lots of the instruments that we’re utilizing to get to that consequence — in fact, that’s the aim of them, they’re not designed to be everlasting,” Blinken stated.

Blinken declined to say whether or not the U.S. is in lively communication with the Kremlin over Putin’s invasion however stated “there are at all times methods of speaking” ought to it’s needed.

— Matthew Brown

Mother who fled Ukraine now worries about life in US: ‘I do not know what to do’

Final week, single mother Olga Kovalchuk was hunkered down in a Ukraine basement together with her youngsters in a basement whereas bombs and missiles rained over Cherkasy, a metropolis of 278,000 on the Dnieper River.

This week, they are in a foreign land – San Diego – the place Kovalchuk has no place to dwell, no relations, no job. However her children are protected.

Like greater than three million different Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, the 37-year-old says she is concurrently wanting again and forward. In Ukraine, a profession as an interpreter allowed Kovalchuk to work principally from dwelling, taking care of the kids. Now, the children might want to discover colleges, be taught English, adapt to a brand new tradition.

“I used to be very offended. I didn’t wish to go away. I’m a patriot,” she says, including that she needed to go “to save lots of the lives of our youngsters. Nonetheless, generally I really feel disgrace as a result of I left.” Read more here.

Dennis Wagner

Worldwide college students trapped at Ukraine college lastly get dwelling

Worldwide college students who had been learning at Ukraine’s Sumy State College have lastly returned to their dwelling international locations after being trapped in the school’s six hostels for two weeks with little meals and water because the warfare raged. 

The college students — from India, Nigeria, Turkey and South Africa, amongst different international locations — ultimately discovered their manner dwelling over the course of final week and weekend after many days of journey by bus, practice and airplane all through Ukraine and throughout borders.

College students had turned to social media to plead for assist, utilizing the hashtag “SaveSumyStudents.” However with restricted entry to electrical energy, calling consideration to their plight was additionally tough.

“We by no means had a plan, and each technique of communication was misplaced, I could not talk with my mother and father,” stated Samuel Olaniyan, a fourth-year scholar who returned to Nigeria just a few days in the past. “It was very, very scary.” Read more here.

Christine Fernando and Cady Stanton

Contributing: The Related Press