President Joe Biden said Wednesday the U.S. is sending more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones to Ukraine to assist in its defense against Russia.
The president's comments came as he formally announced his administration was sending an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, making a total of $2 billion in such aid sent to Kyiv since Biden took office more than a year ago. About $1 billion in aid has been sent in just the last week.
“We’re going to give Ukraine the arms to fight and defend themselves through all the difficult days ahead," Biden said.
Biden spoke hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a video address to members of U.S. Congress in which he made an impassioned plea for the U.S. and West to provide more help to save his young democracy than world leaders have so far pledged to provide.
Amid intensifying the Russian attack on Ukraine, US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced an additional security funding worth $800 million for Ukraine, bringing the total to $1 billion in just a week.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has categorically ruled out any role for the military organization in setting up and policing a no-fly zone over Ukraine to protect against Russian airstrikes.
Stoltenberg says “NATO should not deploy forces on the ground or in the air space over Ukraine because we have a responsibility to ensure that this conflict, this war, doesn’t escalate beyond Ukraine.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly appealed for NATO to set up a no-fly zone given Russia’s air superiority, as civilian casualties mount three weeks into the war.
Speaking Wednesday after chairing a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Stoltenberg conceded that “we see human suffering in Ukraine, but this can become even worse if NATO (takes) actions that actually turned this into a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia.”
He says the decision not to send air or ground forces into Ukraine is “the united position from NATO allies.” Earlier Wednesday, Estonia urged its 29 NATO partners to consider setting up a no-fly zone.
Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion continued to arrive at the Romanian border town of Siret on Wednesday.
Emergency services personnel and volunteers are working around the clock to assist them, while a nearby sports hall has been turned into a refugee centre.
Mihaita Musteata, a social worker and volunteer at the centre, said Wednesday many of those arriving have been twice displaced.
"We've had some people who've lost their home a second time. They first lost their home in Donbas, then moved to Kyiv, and now they lost that home too," Musteata explained.
Alexandra Stoleriu, a 19-year-old volunteer said the children at their center do not really understand what has happened in their country.
"We are here to support them," Stoleriu said.
More than 3 million Ukrainians fled their country since the invasion began on February 24.
An estimated 1.8 million have crossed into Poland, while others first arrived at the borders of Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova.
Extraordinary sanctions imposed against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis will weaken financial intermediation and trade and will surely lead to the recession, International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials said in a blog published on Tuesday.
"The toll is already immense in Ukraine. Unprecedented sanctions on Russia will impair financial intermediation and trade, inevitably causing a deep recession there," the article, written by Alfred Kammer, Jihad Azour, Abebe Aemro Selassie, Ilan Goldfajn and Changyong Rhee, said. "The ruble's depreciation is fueling inflation, further diminishing living standards for the population."
The authors went on to say that energy is the "main spillover channel for Europe" due to Russia being a vital source of natural gas imports.
"Wider supply-chain disruptions may also be consequential," the blog said. "These effects will fuel inflation and slow the recovery from the pandemic."
Moreover, Eastern Europe will see increasing financing costs and a refugee influx, the authors added.
"European governments also may confront fiscal pressures from additional spending on energy security and defence budgets," the article said. "While foreign exposures to plunging Russian assets are modest by global standards, pressures on emerging markets may grow should investors seek safer havens. Similarly, most European banks have modest and manageable direct exposures to Russia."
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Sunday that the fund believes that the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions against Russia will not lead to a worldwide crisis. Russia, however, is expected to experience a deep recession, she added, due to sanction pressure. She also said the IMF does not consider a default in Russia as an impossible scenario, given its funds to pay the state debt are frozen.
On Sunday, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that Moscow remained committed to its obligations on the state debt and will continue to pay it in rubles until the West unfreezes its gold and foreign currency reserves.
On February 24, Russia undertook a special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine in response to requests from the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics to defend themselves from intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops. The Russian Defense Ministry has said the special operation is solely targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure. In response, the United States, European Union and their allies have imposed comprehensive sanctions on Russia.
The United Nations’ top court on Wednesday ordered Russia to stop hostilities in Ukraine granting measures requested by Kyiv, although many remain sceptical that Russia would comply.
Ukraine had two weeks ago asked the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, to intervene, arguing Russia violated the 1948 Genocide Convention by falsely accusing Ukraine of committing genocide and using that as a pretext for the ongoing invasion.
The court’s president, U.S. judge Joan E. Donoghue, demanded that “the Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the special military operations it commenced on Feb. 24.”
If there was a ceasefire many military experts say it'd benefit the Russians, to give them time to re-arm and re-group: Former US NSA John Bolton tells Republic.
Former US NSA John Bolton speaks to Arnab; says "most observers had rated Russia's chances of winning pretty high, pretty early. That's clearly not happened".
White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan spoke and Gen. Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, spoke by phone on Wednesday, the highest level engagement between the U.S. and Russia since the invasion nearly three weeks ago.
Sullivan warned Patrushev “about the consequences and implications of any possible Russian decision to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine,” according to national security council spokesperson Emily Horne. The White House last week accused China of spreading Russian disinformation that could be a pretext for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces to attack Ukraine with chemical or biological weapons.
Patrushev spoke of “the need to stop Washington’s support for neo-Nazis and terrorists in Ukraine and to facilitate the transfer of foreign mercenaries to the conflict zone, as well as to refuse to continue supplying weapons to the Kyiv regime,” council spokesman Yevgeny Anoshin said.
The call marked the highest-level conversation between the two sides since the invasion began.
Lower-level interactions between two sides have been ongoing, with the embassies in Moscow and Washington passing messages, much as they do with their missions at the United Nations. Those exchanges have been largely confined to informing the other side of diplomatic expulsions.
World number one Daniil Medvedev and his fellow Russian tennis players, have been cleared to play at this years French Open.
Organisers of the second Grand Slam of the year made the announcement on Wednesday and said Medvedev and his countrymen can compete as neutral athletes because of the war started by their country in neighbouring Ukraine.
Wimbledon organisers are having conversations with the British government about whether Russians should be allowed to compete at the tournament this year if they don’t distance themselves from President Vladimir Putin because of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The French Open is due to start in Paris on Sunday 22nd May.
International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday said it is aware of human tragedy in Ukraine and regretted the non-appearance of Rusia. "Use of force raises a serious issue of international law."
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke today with General Nikolay Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, to reiterate the United States’ firm and clear opposition to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine: White House
While Russia claims that it killed 180 'foreign mercenaries' in Ukraine, a former Korean Navy UDT SEAL Rhee Keun, who has joined Ukraine's army as a volunteer, is reportedly alive in Ukraine and currently undergoing the military operation.
According to the Munhwa Il-bo on the 14th, Rhee's close aside said in the interview that he recently contacted Rhee. He said,
"Rhee is currently carrying out the operation well, and I'm in regular contact with him to check his safety in Ukraine." He added, "It is difficult to disclose the operation in detail for security reasons."
He also said that Rhee is not included in 180 foreign soldiers that Russia claims it killed. He said, "I heard that there are more Korean volunteers who have joined the Ukrainian army, including reserve officers and non-commissioned officers. Most of them entered Ukraine through the Poland route."
Another community user also claimed that Rhee's death is not true because Rhee recently read his SNS message.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for an end to the “bloodshed and tears” from the conflict in Ukraine during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart.
Speaking after a meeting with Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, Cavusoglu also called for an immediate cease-fire for the besieged city of Mariupol to allow the evacuation of stranded civilians, including Turkish citizens.
“This state of events must come to an end, the bloodshed and tears must be stopped now,” Cavusoglu said. “There can be no winners in war and no losers in peace.”
Cavusoglu is visiting Moscow as Turkey — a NATO member — has maintained close ties to both Ukraine and Russia, positioning itself as a mediator between the two sides. He is scheduled to travel to Ukraine on Thursday.
Dozens of Turkish nationals and others have been sheltering inside a mosque in Mariupol, seeking refuge from the Russian attack on the encircled port.
Cavusoglu said Turkey has so far evacuated more than 15,000 of its citizens from Ukraine.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said as per the feedback received from the industry, exports of certain products such as pharmaceuticals, telecom instruments, tea, coffee, and marine goods from India are likely to be affected due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The Council of Europe on Wednesday expelled Russia from the continent’s foremost human rights body in an unprecedented move over Moscow's invasion and war in Ukraine.
The 47-nation organization’s committee of ministers said in statement that “the Russian Federation ceases to be a member of the Council of Europe as from today, after 26 years of membership.”
Early in the week, the group’s parliamentary assembly already initiated the process of expulsion and unanimously backed that Russia would be kicked out.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted Wednesday that it would have left the body regardless. In an interview with Russian broadcaster RBK, he accused NATO and EU countries of “abusing their majority in the council, eventually transforming it into a tool for anti-Russian policy.” Ukraine is also a member of the Council of Europe.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba immediately welcomed the decision, tweeting that there was “no place for Russia in European bodies as it wages a barbaric war of aggression against Ukraine and commits multiple war crimes."
It was unclear what the extent of support was for the expulsion since the Committee of Ministers arrived at a “consensus” behind closed doors, making it impossible to have a full breakdown of votes.
In the latest video message, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia has no interest to attack Ukraine. He accused Kyiv of ignoring implementations of the Minsk Agreements.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy again reiterated his demand for Western countries to implement a no-flight zone over Ukraine’s airspace in the fight against Russia’s military.
“Is this a lot to ask for? To create a no-fly zone over Ukraine to save people,” he asked members of Congress.
Ukraine is grateful to the US for their overwhelming support: President Zelenskyy addresses a joint session of US Congress.
Just remember Pearl harbour, September 11 when innocent people were attacked; Ukraine is experiencing the same, says Ukraine President Zelenskyy in his address to US Congress.
Russia has attacked not just us and our cities but it went against our values and our right to live freely in our own country, just like you have yours: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses US Congress
Ukraine President Zelenskyy addresses US Congress virtually as the Russia-Ukraine war continues unabated for the 21st consecutive day.
Japan’s prime minister says his country will revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status over its invasion of Ukraine, as Tokyo steps up sanctions against Moscow in line with other Group of Seven countries.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Wednesday that Japan is also barring the export of luxury products to Russia and is to stop importing selected Russian goods.
He said Japan will also step up efforts to prevent Russia from obtaining loans from global financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund.
The measures are the latest Japan has taken against Moscow in recent weeks. Japan has also frozen the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and top officials and billionaires close to him and banned exports of high technology goods that could be used for military purposes.
Japan will also step up humanitarian support for the Ukrainians, including shipping medical supplies and other relief goods, while taking in those who flee the country, Kishida said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underlined the importance of relations between Russia and Turkey on Wednesday.
He was speaking at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow.
Lavrov admitted that the positions of Russia and Turkey on Ukraine did not coincide, but that Russia "greatly appreciates and respects the position that Turkey takes".
He also expressed his appreciation of Turkey complying with the obligations under the Montreux Convention.
Ukraine's president was preparing to make a direct appeal for more help in a rare speech by a foreign leader to the US Congress, even as Russia continued its bombardment of the Ukrainian capital Wednesday.
World chess bodyFIDE has suspended Russia and Belarus from all its tournaments until further notice due to the invasion of Ukraine. Two countries were suspended from participation in the 44th Chess Olympiad in India later this year
Earlier, the International Olympic Committee had recommended all the sports federations exclude Russia and Belarus
NATO defence ministers met in Brussels Wednesday morning to discuss the war in Ukraine.
The alliance is weighing options for bolstering its eastern flank near Ukraine and Russia for the next five to 10 years.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia's "brutal invasion" is set to "have long-lasting consequences for our security."
In talks at NATO headquarters Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his counterparts will consider what kind of longer-term defences to set up in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and how to help Black Sea region allies like Bulgaria and Romania.
The aim is to deter Russisan President Vladimir Putin from ordering a Russian invasion of any of the 30 allies.
Putin has demanded that NATO withdraw its forces from the east. The opposite is happening.
According to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry, over 13,800 Russian troops were killed by the Ukrainian forces and 1375 armoured vehicles were destroyed. Ukraine also destroyed 108 helicopters and 84 aircraft.
Information on Russian invasion— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) March 16, 2022
Losses of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, March 16 pic.twitter.com/tIbJ4VlrWD
Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree on a nationwide minute of silence "Every morning at 9 o'clock in the whole territory of our state we will remember the Ukrainians who gave their lives, all those who fought, all military, civilians and children."