On Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will meet with leaders of NATO’s eastern flank, while China’s top diplomat meets with officials in Moscow. These are two different ways to show support before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Schools in Ukraine held classes online for the rest of the week because they were afraid of more Russian missile attacks a year after Moscow’s all-out attack on Feb. 24, which failed to topple the government and has been stuck for a long time.
In response to the standstill, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made veiled threats to use nuclear weapons. On Tuesday, he pulled out of a treaty that limited nuclear weapons. He did this because he thought that Washington was making the war worse by arming Ukraine.
Just a few weeks before the invasion, China and Russia made a new “no limits” deal. On Wednesday, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi was going to meet Putin. He called the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “my dear friend” and said that he hopes to reach new agreements with Russia during his trip.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, said in Moscow that NATO is a threat to Russia’s very existence. As a warning to the West over Ukraine, Russia suspended New START, its last major nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S.
Later, Russia’s foreign ministry said that it would keep following the rules in New Start (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) about how many nuclear warheads it could have deployed. On Wednesday, the treaty was put on hold by the lower house of Russia’s parliament.
Biden said that Russia was wrong when it said that the West was trying to control or destroy Russia. He also said that Russia was committing crimes against humanity by attacking civilians and raping people. Russia says it hasn’t done any war crimes or attacked civilians.
‘FIND A SOLUTION’
Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, said that Putin’s decision to end the nuclear treaty was “deeply regrettable and irresponsible.” Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, said that it made the world more dangerous and urged Putin to change his mind. Blinken has also said that Washington is worried that Beijing might give weapons to Moscow, and he has said that if that happens, bad things will happen.
Zhang Jun, China’s U.N. Ambassador, said that the New START treaty and other instruments were important for the global security system and that “the parties involved should continue to negotiate with each other.” Treaty rules say that the US and Russia should let each other check their nuclear arsenals. However, tensions over Ukraine had already stopped inspections.
Arms and ammunition worth tens of billions of dollars have been sent to Ukraine by NATO allies and other supporters. Since the beginning of the year, they have said they will send modern battle tanks, but they have not yet sent the Western fighter jets that Kyiv wants.
On Wednesday, Biden will meet with the leaders of the Bucharest Nine. These are the eastern members of NATO that joined after the Soviet Union ruled them for many years during the Cold War. Many of the strongest supporters of giving Ukraine military aid are among them.
Last year, Russia lost three major battles in Ukraine, but it still controls almost a fifth of the country. In the last few weeks, it has started a huge offensive in the eastern provinces. So far, it has only made small gains, even though it has suffered some of the worst losses of the war.
The Ukrainian military said that 20 settlements in the area, including Bakhmut city, which is the center of Russian advances in the eastern part of Donetsk, were shelled. The governor of the nearby Luhansk region said that Ukraine had stopped strong attacks near the town of Kreminna, which is further north.
Serhiy Haidai said on Ukrainian television-
Local officials said that two civilians were hurt when a Russian missile hit industrial buildings in Kharkhiv on Wednesday. Kharkhiv is the largest city in eastern Ukraine. Reuters was not able to check the reports on its own.
The biggest land war in Europe since World War II has forced millions of people to leave their homes, destroyed cities, towns, and villages, and hurt the world economy. More than 8,000 civilians have been killed, which the U.N. rights office calls “just the tip of the iceberg.”
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