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The West is increasing spending on Russia as the war enters its second month

Kyiv – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky called on people around the world to gather in public on Thursday to show their support for the warring country, while US President Joe Biden and other world leaders met for talks focused on Russia’s pressure to put an end to the invasion, which is entering its second month.

“Come to your squares, to your streets. Become visible and heard, “Zelensky said in English during an emotional video address late Wednesday, which was recorded in the dark near the presidential offices in Kyiv. “Say that people matter. Freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters. “

International efforts to make Russia pay for its aggression and tackle Europe’s biggest security crisis since World War II have shifted its focus to Brussels. The Belgian capital has become a wave of diplomatic activity as Biden and other leaders gather for a one-day series of talks on the aftermath of the war, including the possibility of more sanctions against Russia, how to deal with rising energy prices and growing Ukrainian refugee needs. and the strengthening of defense in Eastern European countries are concerned about Russian aggression.

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Opening an emergency summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was “determined to continue to impose costs on Russia to end this brutal war”.

Russia launched its invasion on February 24, but instead of quickly overthrowing Ukraine’s government, its forces are mired in a heavy military campaign and its economy is operating under punitive international sanctions.

“It’s been a month,” Zelensky told the Swedish parliament on Thursday, the latest of many to whom the Ukrainian leader is asking for help. “We have not seen any devastation of this magnitude since World War II.

After a month of fighting, Western analysts say Ukrainian forces need to stock up on weapons that have helped them slow down and repel Russian progress. Both sides said Thursday they had struck more. Ukraine’s navy says it has sunk a ship that was used to supply the Russian campaign with armored vehicles. Russia claims to have taken the city of Izyum in eastern Ukraine after heavy fighting.

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But in many areas, Ukrainian forces appear to have fought Russian troops to a stalemate, a result that seemed unlikely when Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed his invasion.

Determined to force Putin to change course and, under strong pressure from Zelensky, to do more, Western nations said Ukraine was on track to receive more aid.

European Union countries have signed another 500m euros ($ 550m) in military aid. And Biden was expected to discuss new sanctions against Russia, along with more military aid to Ukraine, with NATO members. He will also hold talks with the leaders of the G7 industrialized nations and the European Council in a series of meetings on Thursday.

Signaling that sanctions have not brought it to its knees, Russia reopened its stock market on Thursday, but allowed only limited trading. Restrictions on the reduced number of shares, including energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft, were aimed at preventing a repeat of the massive sale, which took place on February 24. Foreigners were forbidden to sell, and traders were forbidden to sell short sales, or betting prices would fall. The MOEX benchmark rose 8% in the first minutes of trading.

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In Ukraine, Russian troops are bombing targets from afar, responding to tactics used to turn cities into ruins in Syria and Chechnya.

“Just look at what the Russian army has done to our country,” Zelensky said in an address to Swedish lawmakers. “A month of bombing similar to what we saw in Syria.”

It is still unclear exactly how many troops Russia has lost in pursuit of Putin’s goals. Russia has not updated since March 2, when it acknowledged nearly 500 soldiers killed and nearly 1,600 wounded. However, NATO estimates that between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed – the latest figure in what Russia is losing in a decade of fighting in Afghanistan.

Ukraine also claims to have killed six Russian generals. Russia recognizes only one thing.

Ukraine released little information about its own military losses, and the West did not comment. Zelensky said nearly two weeks ago that about 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed.

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After Russia failed to overthrow Ukraine’s government in a flash in the first month, some fear the Kremlin could resort to other, more destructive weapons in its arsenal.

In a sinister sign that Moscow could consider using nuclear weapons, senior Russian official Dmitry Rogozin said the country’s nuclear forces would help deter the West from interfering in Ukraine.

“The Russian Federation is able to physically destroy any aggressor or any group of aggressors within minutes at any distance,” said Rogozin, who heads the state aerospace corporation Roscosmos and oversees missile construction facilities. He said in a televised statement that Moscow’s nuclear stockpiles included tactical nuclear weapons designed for use on battlefields, along with much more powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles with a nuclear tip.

U.S. officials have long warned that Russia’s military doctrine provides for an “escalation-de-escalation” option to use nuclear weapons on the battlefield to force the enemy to retreat in a situation where Russian forces face imminent defeat. Moscow has denied any such plans.

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Rogozin, known for his jealousy, did not say what Western action would be seen as interference, but his comments almost certainly reflected Kremlin thinking.

For civilians, misery is relentless.

To the south, the besieged port city of Mariupol has suffered the worst devastation since the war, enduring weeks of bombing and now street-to-street battles. However, Ukrainian forces prevented it from falling, thwarting Moscow’s apparent proposal to provide a full land bridge from Russia to Crimea seized from Ukraine in 2014.

In their latest update more than a week ago, authorities in Mariupol said at least 2,300 people had died, but the actual number was probably much higher. Air strikes last week destroyed a theater and art school where civilians were sheltered.

Zelenski said 100,000 civilians remained in the city, which had a population of 430,000 before the war. Efforts to obtain desperately needed food and other supplies of trapped people often fail.

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In the besieged northern city of Chernihiv, Russian forces bombed and destroyed a bridge used to deliver aid and evacuate civilians, said regional governor Vyacheslav Chaus.

Kateryna Mitkevich, 39, who arrived in Poland after fleeing Chernihiv, wiped away her tears, saying the city was without gas, electricity and running water, and entire neighborhoods were destroyed.

“I don’t understand why we have such a curse,” she said.

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Anna reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Associated Press writers Robert Burns in Washington, DC, Juras Karmanau of Lviv, and other PA journalists around the world contributed to the report.

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Follow the coverage of the war by the AP at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

The West is increasing spending on Russia as the war enters its second month

Source link The West is increasing spending on Russia as the war enters its second month

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