Ukraine, Briefly

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  • The United States and the United Kingdom are investigating reports that Russian forces used chemical weapons in their onslaught on the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, according to the BBC. Russian-backed forces denied the allegations, Al Jazeera noted. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia will “calmly” continue its military operations in Ukraine following talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
  • British intelligence suggested that Russian troops are preparing for a larger and more concerted assault to expand Russia’s authority in Ukraine’s east, CNBC reported. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also warned that Russia has sent tens of thousands of troops to “prepare for further strikes.”
  • The United Nations called for an independent probe into reports that Russian forces committed rape and sexual assault during the ongoing invasion, Al Jazeera wrote. According to human rights organizations, witnesses reported that Russian troops carried out rapes in front of children and family members and threatened the lives of their victims. Russia denied the allegations.
  • French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said she completely backed sanctions against Russia for the Ukraine crisis, except those targeting energy supplies, Reuters reported. Le Pen explained she did not want “French people to face the (cost of living) consequences of decisions aiming to stop the imports of oil and gas.” Her comments came as US President Joe Biden is urging Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to accelerate purchases of Russian oil as the US and other countries seek to cut off Moscow’s energy revenue, the Associated Press added.

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