Biden calls Russia’s war in Ukraine ‘genocide’ for first time: LIVE UPDATES

Former Russian President and Deputy Chief of Security Council Dmitry Medvedev hinted at the possibility that Russia may soon make the death penalty legal again, according to reports from the Russian media outlet Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Medvedev’s statement comes after Russia parted ways with the Council of Europe last month, which bound the country to a moratorium on the death penalty.

Medvevdev also claimed that members of the Russian military have been subject to torture when captured by Ukrainian forces, saying there have been incidents of Russian service members having their throats cut and being shot in the knee.

But according to author and former DIA intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler, Medvedev’s statement is another example of Russia’s attempt to spread disinformation.

“Moscow is running another disinformation operation to normalize the narrative of the death penalty as it seeks justification to use it against captured Ukrainian military personnel or domestic opposition members,” Koffler told Fox News Tuesday. “Putin recently invoked the Stalin-era ‘Red Terror’ tactics, calling on Russian citizens to turn in perceived traitors to Russian authorities.

“He wants to instill fear on both Russians and Ukrainians who may consider anti-Russian government activities such as protests.”

Russia appoints new commander in Ukraine to ‘centralize command and control,’ amid failings, UK says

Russia appointing Army General Alexander Dvornikov to lead the war in Ukraine is an attempt by the country to “centralize command and control,” U.K.’s Defense Ministry said in a Wednesday morning update.

“An inability to cohere and coordinate military activity has hampered Russia’s invasion to date,” the update said.

Dvornikov has previous commanding experience in Syria and on Russia’s southern border with eastern Ukraine since 2016.

“Russian messaging has recently emphasised progressing offensives in the Donbas as Russia’s forces refocus eastwards,” the updated added. “Dvornikov’s selection further demonstrates how determined Ukrainian resistance and ineffective pre-war planning have forced Russia to reassess its operations.”

Lithuanian president heads to Kyiv

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said Wednesday morning he was headed to Kyiv to send a “strong message of political support and military assistance.”

“Lithuania will continue backing Ukraine’s fight for its sovereignty and freedom,” he added.

Fugitive pro-Putin Ukrainian oligarch captured, Ukraine says

Ukraine said Tuesday that  Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Putin Ukrainian politician who was under house arrest for suspected treason but escaped during the invasion had been recaptured.

He was detained in a special operation carried out by Ukraine’s secret service.

In his nightly video address to the nation Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy proposed that Russia could win Medvedchuk’s freedom by trading Ukrainians now held in Russian prisons.

Medvedchuk was the former leader of a pro-Putin political party and Putin is the godfather of his youngest daughter.

Ukraine successfully counter 6 Russian attacks in Eastern Ukraine in last 24 hours: Ukraine govt

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Wednesday morning said that Russian troops were continuing to attack civilian infrastructure in Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhya and attacks on the besieged city of Mariupol, where the government said thousands have died, continues.

In the disputed eastern area of Ukraine, Ukrainian forces successfully countered six Russian attacks in the last 24 hours and “two units of car equipment and three artillery systems of the opponent were destroyed.”

Ukraine needs new military tech: Expert

Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, describes the military technology that can benefit Ukraine in the war against Russia on ‘The Story.’

Putin says Russia will stay in Ukraine until invasion goals are met

Putin says the invasion is going according to plan despite mounting contrary evidence and an admittance of hefty losses among Russian troops by the government.

He also said that the invasion would continue until its goals have been met.

Russian troops have withdrawn from Kyiv in the face of Ukraine’s surprisingly strong defense and are instead focusing on the eastern part of the country.

Russia invaded on Feb. 24, with the goal, according to Western officials, of taking Kyiv, the capital, toppling the government and installing a Moscow-friendly regime. In the six weeks since, the ground advance stalled and Russian forces lost potentially thousands of fighters and were accused of killing civilians and other atrocities.

Putin claimed he had to invade to protect people in the Russian backed Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and for Russia’s safety.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Biden calls Russian actions in Ukraine ‘genocide’ for the first time to applause from Zelenskyy

President Biden called the actions of Russian forces in Ukraine “genocide” for the first time on Tuesday, a classification he had previously shied away from using.

“I called it genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian. The evidence is mounting,” Biden told reporters after appearing to reference the term earlier Tuesday.

In comments on inflation earlier Tuesday, Biden said that the prices Americans pay shouldn’t depend on whether a dictator “commits genocide” against another country, an apparent shot at Russian President Vladimir Putin and his decision to invade Ukraine.

“We’ll let the lawyers decide, internationally, whether or not it qualifies,” Biden later clarified in his answer to reporters in Iowa, “but it sure seems that way to me.”

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