(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.
The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.”
Russian forces moving from neighboring Belarus toward Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, have advanced closer to the city center in recent days despite the resistance. Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Kyiv, as well as major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol. Russia also bombed western cities for the first time this week, targeting Lviv and a military base near the Poland border.
Russia has been met by sanctions from the United States, Canada and countries throughout Europe, targeting the Russian economy as well as Putin himself.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Mar 22, 6:28 am
Russia responds to Biden on biological, chemical weapons, claiming it has neither
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Tuesday denied allegations that Russia might be planning to use biological or chemical weapons in Ukraine.
“We have neither of these,” Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow. “What the Americans are saying are malicious insinuations — we’ve heard them all the time and we’ve given exhaustive answers to them for a long time. The problem is, the U.S. has no habit of listening to anyone but itself.”
Ryabkov’s comments came after U.S. President Joe Biden accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of falsely claiming that the United States and Ukraine are developing biological or chemical weapons for use against Russia — rhetoric that Biden said shows Putin is considering using those types of deadly weapons in Ukraine.
“He’s already used chemical weapons in the past, and we should be careful of what’s about to come,” Biden said Monday during remarks at the Business Roundtable’s CEO Quarterly Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Mar 22, 4:25 am
Russia-US relations ‘on the brink of a breakup,’ diplomat warns
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned Tuesday that the United States should stop supplying Ukraine with weapons and making threats to Moscow in order to “preserve relations” with Russia.
“They simply need to stop in their escalation, both verbal escalation and in terms of stuffing the Kyiv region with weapons. They need to stop producing threats to Russia,” Ryabkov said while answering questions from reporters in Moscow. “Meanwhile, if they do manage to somehow positively influence Kyiv, something that I not just doubt, but I am confident that it will not happen, unfortunately, then I think there will be a certain prospect for normalizing relations.”
“For now, we see a downward tendency in relations with our country through the fault of the U.S.,” he added. “We regret it, but it does not impact our determination to move toward accomplishing the goals of the special military operation and to adapt to the circumstances related to the American sanctions and the sanctions imposed by European satellites of the U.S. at its behest.”
When asked whether Moscow plans to recall its ambassador, Ryabkov told reporters that the future of Russia-U.S. relations depends on Washington.
“A note of protest was passed to the American ambassador yesterday. It said that the current developments put these relations on the brink of a breakup,” he said. “There is nothing here beyond what was said there: that the question is about a policy that the U.S. will choose.”
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