Biden steps up warnings Putin could use chemical weapons in Ukraine

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Joe Biden stated Vladimir Putin’s “again is towards the wall” in Ukraine as he stepped up warnings the Russian president could resort to more and more determined conflict ways, together with extra indiscriminate bombing and use of chemical weapons.

The US president’s warning got here as Russia neared the tip of its first month of combating in Ukraine with none main inhabitants centres below management, its offensive on Kyiv largely stalled, and the devastated port city of Mariupol nonetheless holding out towards a relentless siege.

Biden stated Ukraine was “wreaking havoc” towards Russian forces and delivered his strongest warning but that Russia was establishing “false flags” to justify the usage of unconventional weapons in Ukraine.

“They’re additionally suggesting that Ukraine has organic and chemical weapons in Ukraine. That’s a transparent signal [Putin is] contemplating utilizing each of these,” he stated.

Warning that Putin was turning to unconventional types of warfare, Biden additionally urged America’s enterprise leaders to prepare for cyber attacks. “The magnitude of Russian cyber capability is pretty consequential, and it’s coming,” he stated.

Biden is getting ready to journey to Europe this week for a sequence of summits with allies, which can talk about additional measures to help Ukraine and squeeze Russia’s financial system with sanctions.

With talks persevering with with Moscow to finish the conflict, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that any potential “historic” agreements must be put to a referendum, underlining the challenges to discovering any lasting settlement.

Negotiators are exploring types of “neutrality” for Ukraine, which may embody delicate steps to surrender its constitutionally enshrined Nato ambitions in return for various safety ensures. Any deal would additionally want to handle Moscow’s requires Ukraine to recognise Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the independence of two separatist-held territories within the jap Donbas area.

“I defined to all negotiating teams: while you speak about all these adjustments — they usually could possibly be historic — we are going to ultimately come to a referendum,” Zelensky stated in an interview on Monday evening with a consortium of European media shops. “Our individuals must say and provides a solution to sure codecs of compromises.”

Ukraine’s navy on Tuesday stated Russia had launched extra air sorties over the previous day, whereas US officers famous elevated naval exercise across the Black Sea port of Odesa, which has been nearly unscathed up to now within the invasion.

The Pentagon estimates Russia has launched greater than 1,100 missiles because the invasion started, devastating massive swaths of Ukraine’s city infrastructure. Assaults on Monday included the concerted shelling of a shopping center on the outskirts of Kyiv.

However on most fronts Russia’s forces have made no important territorial advances, with a UK intelligence replace suggesting Putin’s navy “endured one more day of restricted progress with most forces largely stalled in place”.

Ukraine’s navy claimed Russia’s stockpiles of meals and ammunition had been operating so low in locations they might final for “not more than three days”. The declare couldn’t be independently verified.

With communications down, little updated data has emerged from Mariupol, a strategically necessary port on the Sea of Azov that has been below siege for a number of weeks. Greater than 200,000 civilians are reduce off from water, electrical energy and heating and struggling to seek out meals. Ukraine rejected a Russian ultimatum to give up town on Monday and Ukrainian officers stated evacuations of civilians continued early on Tuesday.

The Pentagon stated Russia’s reliance on harmful long-range firepower, artillery and missile strikes mirrored frustration at how its land marketing campaign had stalled. “They’re on the lookout for an opportunity to achieve some momentum, not even regain momentum as a result of they by no means actually had it,” a senior US defence official stated.

“That’s what’s so irritating for them. Once you take a look at the map, you possibly can depend actually on one hand the variety of inhabitants centres that we assess are in Russian management proper now.”

Zelensky additionally reiterated his requires a gathering with Putin, saying with out such a gathering it will be “unattainable to totally perceive what they’re prepared for as a way to cease the conflict”.

Moscow has performed down progress in talks, mediated by Turkey and Israel, in current days, blaming Ukrainian calls for. Senior western diplomats in Ukraine briefed on the talks stated there was “a complete lack of belief” between events. Russian officers have stated any assembly between Zelensky and Putin would solely be referred to as as soon as particular proposals are able to be mentioned.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Zelensky, advised BBC Ukraine early on Tuesday that “any elementary selections might be made solely on the assembly of the presidents”.

“When the working teams within the negotiation course of work out some preliminary paperwork and hand them over to the presidents, they are going to assess whether or not this can be a ‘street map’ that may be mentioned in individual. Then this assembly can occur,” he stated.

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