Poland, EU leaders going to Kyiv, meet Zelenskyy


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Leaders of Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia are traveling to Kyiv on a European Union mission Tuesday to show support for Ukraine.

“Europe must guarantee Ukraine’s independence and ensure that it is ready to help in Ukraine’s reconstruction,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a tweet Tuesday announcing the trip.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Russian troops in an online video early Tuesday that they can surrender and will be treated “decently” and pleaded with European nations to provide his military with more weapons.

“On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I give you a chance,” Zelenskyy said in a video translated into English by his office, ahead of his scheduled speech to Canada’s parliament on Tuesday. “Chance to survive. If you surrender to our forces, we will treat you the way people are supposed to be treated. As people, decently.”

Zelenskyy also told northern European leaders that they could “help yourself by helping us.” Zelenskyy, speaking to leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force via videolink, said the Ukrainian military is rapidly using up weapons and other hardware obtained from the West.

Talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations were expected to resume via teleconference Tuesday, the president said. Talks were halted Monday for a “technical pause,” according to one of Zelenskyy’s advisers. Three previous rounds of talks held in Belarus provided little progress, but both sides expressed optimism ahead of this week’s negotiations.

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Latest developments:

►A humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Izium, an eastern city of 46,000 people, Deputy Mayor Volodymyr Matsokin said. The city lacks basic supplies, and extensive Russian shelling has severely damaged infrastructure, he said.

►Mariupol City Council says 2,000 civilian vehicles have left the besieged city through a so-called humanitarian corridor. Another 2,000 cars were waiting to exit along the evacuation route.

►The British government says it will raise import duties on vodka and other Russian products and ban the export of luxury goods to Russia.

►Multiple demonstrations by Ukrainians against Russian occupation have occurred over the last several days in the cities of Kherson, Melitopol and Berdyansk, according to the British Defense Ministry.

► More than 2.9 million Ukrainians have fled the country, the U.N. refugee agency said. Over 1.7 million of them exited through Poland.

A news anchor was speaking on Russian state TV when a woman appeared on camera behind her holding a sign with “no war” scrawled in English and a message warning people not to believe Russian propaganda.

An independent human rights group identified the woman as Marina Ovsyannikova. The group, OVD-Info, posted on its website that Ovsyannikova, who identified herself as an employee of the station, was taken into police custody.

Speaking in a video address early Tuesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Russians “who do not stop trying to convey the truth, real facts … And personally to the woman who entered the studio of Channel One with a poster against the war.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was traveling to Brussels on Tuesday for a meeting of NATO’s defense ministers that will focus on bolstering the alliance’s eastern front following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Austin then is scheduled to visit senior civilian and military leaders in Slovakia and Bulgaria, according to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.

The NATO meeting comes after the Russia’s cruise-missile attack Sunday on the Yavoriv military training base in western Ukraine. The attack killed at least 35 people and occurred not far from the border with Poland, a NATO ally. President Joe Biden and other senior officials have pledged to respond to any Russian attack that spills into NATO’s territory.

Tom Vanden Brook

Preliminary losses from Russia’s military actions in Ukraine are already estimated at $500 billion – and the damage grows worse every day, Minister of Finance Serhiy Marchenko said Tuesday. Supply chains have been broken, some businesses destroyed and others left unable to function because their workers have fled, Marchenko said. The true cost of the war won’t be determined until it’s over, he said. The International Monetary Fund, which has approved $1.4 billion in emergency financing for Ukraine, said this week that the country’s economic output could shrink by up to 35% if the war drags on.

Marchenko said some of the hundreds of billions in Russian assets frozen in the U.S. and Europe could be tapped to help his country rebuild.

Fox News journalist Benjamin Hall was injured in Ukraine on Monday while reporting on the Russian invasion, the network said. Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement that the network had “minimal level of details right now” but that Hall had been hospitalized. Hall, a father of three, has been reporting from Kyiv, Scott said.

“We will update everyone as we know more,” Scott said. “Please keep Ben and his family in your prayers.”

On Sunday, American photojournalist Brent Renaud was killed and another journalist was wounded in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv.

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Zelenskyy calls Russian attack on US journalists ‘deliberate’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the attack that killed American journalist Brent Renaud and injured his colleague a “deliberate attack.”

Associated Press, USA TODAY

China’s stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “impartial and constructive” while the U.S. has been “immoral and irresponsible” by spreading misinformation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Tuesday.

Lijan accused the U.S. of spreading misinformation over reports Beijing had agreed to a Russian request for military supplies. Lijan also said the U.S. played a major role in the development of the crisis, a reference to NATO expansion.

Lijan spoke at a press briefing on day after Yang Jiechi, one of China’s top diplomats, met with U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Yang called on the international community to support peace talks and that “China always stands for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.”

State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to confirm whether U.S. officials believe Beijing has conveyed its support for Moscow’s assault on Ukraine but said the U.S. is watching very closely whether China or any other country is providing any form of support including material, economic or financial assistance.

The White House is considering for President Joe Biden to travel to Europe in support of Ukraine and allies in the coming weeks, according to multiple media reports. The discussions have included considering Biden stopping in Brussels, home to NATO and the European Union, according to the reports from NBC News, Politico and Reuters. In addition, there are talks of Biden visiting Poland after a stop in Brussels, Reuters said.

Any potential trip would come after Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Poland and Romania last week. The aim of her trip was to show unity among NATO allies amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Biden has traveled abroad twice during his administration, both times in Europe. White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday would not confirm the president’s potential travel plans or preview what the trip may entail.

“There’s not been any final decision about a trip,” Psaki said. “So I don’t have anything to preview about what that would look like if you were to take a trip.”

– Rebecca Morin 

KRAKOW, Poland — After a deadly Russian missile attack in Ukraine just 15 miles from the Polish border Sunday, some Poles are increasingly anxious – saving money, checking to see whether their passports are up to date and making plans to flee if war spills over to their country.

“I said to my husband, ‘If only one bomb touches Polish ground, I will pack myself, pack my grandma, pack my mom, and we are going abroad,’” local artist Aga Gaj said.

Poles are nervous following a Russian airstrike that killed 35 and injured at least 100 at a military base where Americans had trained Ukrainian forces before the war. The United States and NATO have regularly sent instructors to the base, known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center. Just weeks before the war began, Florida National Guard members trained there. Read more here.

– Katelyn Ferral, USA TODAY Network

Contributing: The Associated Press



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