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Biden calls India an exception among allies, while Ukraine’s President rules out surrender.

By wasmulhaq 
Updated Date

US President Joe Biden stated on Monday that India is an exception among Washington’s allies with its “shaky” response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Biden lauded the US-led alliance, including NATO, the European Union and key Asian partners, for their united front against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine crisis in a nutshell

This includes exceptional sanctions aimed at crippling Russia’s currency, global business and access to high-tech goods.

Addressing a meeting of US business leaders in Washington, Biden said there had been “a united front throughout NATO and in the Pacific.”

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“The Quad is, with the possible exception of India, somewhat shaky on some of this, but Japan has been extremely strong-so has Australia-in terms of dealing with Putin’s aggression.”

Biden said that Putin was “counting on being able to split NATO” and that, instead, “NATO has never been stronger, more united, in its entire history than it is today.”

Russian forces kidnap 4 journos

Russian forces kidnapped four Ukrainian media men. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine said in a news release that Russian armed forces on Monday abducted four Ukrainian journalists from their homes in Melitopol, a city in southeastern Ukraine. As per the New York Times report, the journalists and some of their family members were driven from the city—which is under Russian military occupation—to an unknown direction before being released a few hours later.

The UN General Assembly will begin on Wednesday.

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The Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly regarding the Ukraine Crisis is expected to begin on Wednesday after 22 member states, including France, the UK, and the US, wrote to the President of the 193-member UN body, Abdulla Shahid, to convene the meeting.

Ukraine blames Russia for relocating children.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Monday accused Russia of forcibly relocating thousands of children from the eastern Donbas region to Russia. Oleg Nikolenko, the ministry’s spokesman, said in a statement that as many as 2,389 children were taken from their parents on a single day on March 19.

Israel’s PM, Naftali Bennett, said that while there have been advances in ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine, “very large” gaps remain between the two sides. Bennett, who has acted as an intermediary between the two warring countries in recent weeks, said that Israel “will continue” (together with other friends in the world) to try and bridge the gap and bring an end to the war.

Russia may use chemical and biological weapons.

US President Joe Biden said Monday that it’s “clear” Russia is considering the use of chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine and warned of a “severe” Western response if it chose to do so. “His back is against the wall,” said Biden of Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting that Russia has recently accused the United States of holding chemical and biological weapons in Europe.

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Zelensky is ready to discuss

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday he was prepared to discuss a commitment from Ukraine not to seek NATO membership in exchange for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops and a guarantee of Ukraine’s security. He also repeated his call for direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said his country would be “destroyed” before it surrenders its cities to invading Russian forces, as he doubled down on a call for direct talks with Vladimir Putin as the key to ending the war.

As Russia defended overnight strikes that reduced a Kyiv shopping mall to rubble, killing eight, US President Joe Biden held a call with European leaders to address the increasingly “brutal tactics” employed by Moscow—undeterred by unprecedented Western sanctions.

Not ready to hand over the capital

But despite a soaring civilian toll, the Ukrainian president made clear his countrymen would not “hand over” the capital, the eastern city of Kharkiv, or the heavily bombarded and beleaguered Mariupol.

“Ukraine cannot fulfil Russian ultimatums,” he said. “We should be destroyed first.”

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A senior US defence official said that nearly a month after Russia started its full-scale attack on February 24, Moscow has ramped up its air and sea operations, flying 300 sorties in the past 24 hours, in a “desperate” bid to turn the tide against the Ukrainian struggle.

A curfew has been imposed in Kyiv.

A new 35-hour curfew was imposed beginning Monday after Russian strikes, most likely missiles, destroyed the “Retroville” shopping complex, where AFP reporters saw six bodies covered in black sheets on the ground.

“It’s the biggest bomb to have hit the city until now,” said 30-year-old Dima Stepanienko, who found himself flung to “the foot of his bed” by the explosion.

An Orthodox priest walking through the wreckage whispered prayers while cursing “Russian terrorists”. Russia claimed the mall was being used to store rocket systems and ammunition.

But Putin’s troops have been increasingly accused of deliberately targeting civilians, including in Mariupol, the scene of an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

Lack of basic amenities

Almost 350,000 people are trapped without water and electricity in the southern port, which has been persistently beaten by Russia in what European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described as a “massive war crime.”

The United Nations has recorded 925 civilian deaths, including 75 children, since the invasion began.

But fatalities are almost certainly higher, with Mariupol officials saying the death toll in that city alone has surpassed 2,000 amid indiscriminate shelling.

Mariupol is a key target in Putin’s war—providing a land bridge between Russian forces in Crimea to the southwest and Russian-controlled territory to the north and east.

Several rounds of talks

Ukraine and Russia have held numerous rounds of discussions through videoconferencing to end the ongoing war, but most of the talks have turned futile, and Zelensky repeated that direct talks with his Russian counterpart “in any format” were now needed.

Without this meeting, “it is impossible to fully understand what they are ready for in order to stop the war,” he argued.

Biden is planning a trip to Europe.

Away from the frontlines, Biden and allies, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, issued a new crisis call at the start of a critical week for the Western response to Russia’s invasion, during which Biden will travel to Europe for talks with G7, EU, and NATO leaders.

The White House said the leaders discussed their “serious concerns about Russia’s brutal tactics in Ukraine, including its attacks on civilians.”

In the latest metaphorical shot fired between Washington and Moscow, Russia’s foreign ministry said Biden’s comments branding Putin a “war criminal” had put relations “on the verge of rupture.”

For his part, Biden warned of intelligence pointing to a growing Russian cyber threat and urged US businesses to immediately “harden” their cyber defenses. Separately, foreign ministers of the European Union gathered to impose fresh sanctions against Russia.

Casualties are mounting in Ukraine.

Casualties are mounting in the Ukraine war. Humanitarian conditions have continued to deteriorate. Around 10 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, with roughly one-third going abroad, the UN refugee agency said.

The effects of war could be seen beyond the region. The fear of famine may occur in several parts of the world because Russia and Ukraine are both major agricultural exporters.

 

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