Volodymyr Zelenskiy urges direct talks with Russian president amid US fears Moscow could order chemical weapons attacks
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged direct talks with Vladimir Putin, saying: “Without this meeting it is impossible to fully understand what they are ready for in order to stop the war.” He also said his country will never bow to ultimatums from Russia and cities directly under attack, including the capital, Kyiv, and Mariupol and Kharkiv would not accept Russian occupation.
Russian accusations that Kyiv has biological and chemical weapons are false and illustrate that Vladimir Putin is considering using them himself, US President Joe Biden said. “[Putin’s] back is against the wall and now he’s talking about new false flags,” he said. The Pentagon has accused Russian forces of committing war crimes in Ukraine, saying there is “clear evidence” of such, and the spokesman of the US Defence Department said it would help gather evidence of them.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, has heralded new plans to develop an “EU Rapid Deployment Capacity” that could allow the bloc to “swiftly deploy up to 5,000 troops” for different types of crises. He insisted a “European army” will not be created.
Russia has threatened to cut ties with the US after Joe Biden called Vladimir Putin a war criminal, claiming his comments “put Russian-American relations on the verge of a breach”.
Almost 10,000 Russian soldiers may have already been killed in the war in Ukraine since Russia invaded almost four weeks ago, and more than 16,000 wounded, according to reports of previously-undisclosed figures from the defence ministry in Moscow revealed in a pro-Kremlin tabloid newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda. The paper later released a statement claiming it had been hacked.
British prime minister Boris Johnson is “desperate” to go to Ukraine and has a “real emotional connection” with the Ukrainian people, the Tory party chair has claimed. It was reported at the weekend that Johnson wanted to go to Kyiv but on Monday No 10 sources indicated this was unlikely to happen.
Some of Chernobyl’s exhausted workers have been permitted to leave the site. They have been on duty for the last three weeks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fuelling concerns about the site’s safety.
The UK defence attaché has said Russia’s claims that it fired “hypersonic” missiles in western Ukraine is probably an effort to detract from the lack of progress in its ground campaign.
A 96-year-old man who survived a string of Nazi concentration camps including Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen was killed by an explosion during the Russian assault on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, a spokesperson for the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial foundation confirmed.