Ukraine – Bombed theater calls Biden Putin a “war criminal”

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Ukraine on Thursday accused Russia of bombing a theater where “more than a thousand” civilians had taken refuge, while President Joe Biden called his Russian ally a “war criminal.”

The evacuees of Mariupol arrive in the suburbs of Saporigia on March 16, 2022.

The evacuees of Mariupol arrive in the suburbs of Saporigia on March 16, 2022.

AFP

“In Mariupol, the Russian air force deliberately bombed a theater in the city center. The building was demolished, ”said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky on Wednesday evening. “The death toll is still unknown”, referring to “hundreds” of victims. “The world must finally acknowledge that Russia has become a terrorist state,” he said.

Mariupolin Town Hall said its Telegram account had “over a thousand” people in the theater overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. Ukrainian authorities have released a photo showing a three-story building on fire and exploding.

For Mayor Mariupol Vadym Boichenko, the attack was a “terrible tragedy.” “People were hiding there. Some fortunately survived but unfortunately not all of them were fortunate, ”he lamented in a video. “The only word to describe what happened today is genocide, the genocide of our nation, our Ukrainian people,” he continued.

On Monday, Maxar Technologies, an American space technology company that specializes in satellite imagery, released a photo of the theater that it claimed to have taken. In this photo, seen by AFP, the word “children” is written on the floor, in large white letters and in Russian, on the front and back of the building.

AFP

“The invaders destroyed the theater where more than a thousand people had taken refuge. We will never forgive that, “said Town Hall, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau.

Moscow refuses

The Russian Defense Ministry has denied bombing the city by its troops and said the building was destroyed by Ukrainian nationalist Azov Battalion.

Moscow has already blamed the military for the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol last week, which has caused an international outcry.

The Russian embassy in Washington said in a telegram that this was a false propaganda.

Massive military aid to Ukraine

In Washington, D.C., US President Joe Biden responded to a reporter by saying, “He’s a war criminal. The Kremlin responded with “unacceptable and unforgivable” comments.

Not long ago, Joe Biden pledged that his country would provide an additional $ 800 million in military aid to kyiv, an “unprecedented” $ 1 billion envelope a week to support its military. “We are assisting Ukraine to obtain additional and long-range anti-aircraft defense systems,” he said at the request of the Ukrainian head of state, who recently addressed the US Congress. More will be provided.

Deadly bombings

Deadly attacks by the Russian military continued throughout Ukraine. Ten people lined up to buy bread in Chernivtsi, 150 km north of Q, were killed when soldiers opened fire on them “in advance,” the prosecutor’s office said. The city, like Kharkiv (northeast), the country’s second-largest city, has suffered a number of airstrikes since the war began on February 24, killing at least 500 people.

Zaporozhye was targeted for the first time. Its station was hit by at least one missile on Wednesday.

The blast was heard again at dawn on Wednesday, where dense columns of black smoke awoke. After several missiles hit apartment buildings on Monday and Tuesday, the capital evacuated more than half of its 3.5 million people and is under curfew from 8:00 pm on Tuesday (7:00 pm in Switzerland) and 7:00 am on Thursday. .

According to the Ukrainian parliament, 103 children have been killed and about 100 injured in the country since the Russian invasion, citing figures collected by the public prosecutor’s office. More than three million Ukrainians have already taken the path of deportation, the majority to Poland.

Military attacks on the health system

At the same time, the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned numerous military attacks on health infrastructure. “The health care system has become a target (…). It is beginning to become part of the strategy and tactics of war. This is completely unacceptable and contrary to international humanitarian law,” said Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergency chief.

It is in this context that the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s Supreme Court (ICJ), on Wednesday ordered an immediate halt to Moscow’s military operations in Ukraine, saying the scale of the fighting was “deeply concerned”.

Vladimir Putin hammered in a speech that the unshakable, military operation was a “victory”. His army cannot be said to have captured any major city and is moving slowly.

Earlier, members of the US House of Representatives welcomed his Ukrainian delegation by video conference and reiterated his call for a no-fly zone over his country.

Fearing the United States and the Atlantic alliance, Joe Biden has so far rejected the idea of ​​setting up such a zone – which he reiterated on Wednesday that “there is no question of stationing troops in NATO or Ukraine” – leading to a confrontation that could escalate into a third world war. However, the organization has announced its intention to strengthen its presence in the East.

Volodymyr Zelensky is scheduled to address the Bundestag delegation on Thursday morning. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu is expected to leave Moscow for Ukraine.

Continuation of talks

The offensive and determination of the two camps did not prevent parallel talks from continuing, and resumed on Monday via video conference at the delegation level.

According to the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Pesco, the negotiators are now discussing a “compromise” that will transform Ukraine into a neutral country modeled on Sweden and Austria. “There are very firm formulas, which are close to an agreement,” underscored the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov.

Without denying the discussions on neutrality, the Ukrainian chief negotiator Mykhaïlo Podoliak declared that “the model + can only be Ukrainian”.

“My priorities in these talks are clear: the end of the war, the security guarantees, the sovereignty, the restoration of our territorial integrity, the real guarantees for our country, the real security for our country,” Volodymyr Zhelensky elaborated in the evening. On Tuesday night, he realized that the positions of the two camps were now “very realistic.” He had previously stated that he was ready to relinquish any of his country’s membership in NATO, which is Gas Belle to Russia.

The United Kingdom, the United States, Albania, France, Norway and Ireland have called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday afternoon.

Vladimir Putin on Wednesday pledged financial assistance to individuals and businesses, comparing sanctions to a “blitzkrieg” against Russia. Russian authorities continue to work in parallel to suppress any opposition to the war.

(AFP)

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