Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for more pressure on Russia as the war appears to be entering a period of stalemate.
Amid few wins for Russia’s forces, and a continuing staunch resistance from Ukraine, Kyiv claimed on Tuesday that around 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far in the fighting.
U.S. President Joe Biden has said Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s “back is against the wall” and he could resort to using more severe tactics in Ukraine.
On Monday, Ukraine rejected a call to surrender Mariupol to Russian forces, with President Zelenskyy stating that Ukrainians will “fight till the end.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said Ukrainian forces — including civilians — have put up a strong resistance and the Kremlin is struggling to achieve its goals in Ukraine. The Russians have been “frustrated,” said Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby.
Thousands of Starlink satellite internet kits have been sent to Ukraine, SpaceX president says SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company, has sent “thousands” of Starlink satellite internet dishes to Ukraine, company President Gwynne Shotwell told CNBC. The kits — which comprise an antenna, a mounting tripod and a Wi-Fi router — can be used to connect directly to SpaceX’s network in orbit. Starlink terminals were sent to Ukraine after an official, Mykhailo Fedorov, sought help from Musk after Russian attacks disrupted internet services in the country. Shotwell said most of the funding for the Starlink kits has come from private sources. She also added that “France helped,” and “I think Poland is helping.”
Ukraine says ‘confrontational’ Russia talks moving forward
Talks between Ukraine and Russia are confrontational but moving forward, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday, as the West plans to announce more sanctions against the Kremlin amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Hundreds of thousands are believed to be trapped inside buildings, with no access to food, water, power or heat. Both civilians and Ukrainian troops were coming under Russian fire, said regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Russian forces and Russian-backed separatist units had taken about half of the port city, normally home to around 400,000 people, Russia’s RIA news agency said, citing a separatist leader. But in an early morning address, Zelenskiy held out hope for negotiations, which have yielded little since the Feb. 24 invasion began.
“It’s very difficult, sometimes confrontational,” he said. “But step by step we are moving forward.”
Biden’s Brussels trip to highlight new Russia sanctions
U.S. President Joe Biden and his European counterparts will announce new sanctions against Russia and new measures to tighten existing sanctions during his trip to Brussels this week, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
Biden also will discuss longer-term adjustments to NATO force posture and contingencies in the case of nuclear weapons use, Sullivan said. Biden also will announce “joint action” on enhancing energy security in Europe, which is highly reliant on Russian gas.
The United States and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia as punishment for invading Ukraine and supplied billions of dollars in weapons and aid for Ukraine’s defense. Biden has pledged not to send U.S. soldiers into Ukraine, but promised to keep Washington’s commitment to defend NATO members if they were attacked.
Biden leaves on Wednesday for Brussels, where NATO and the European Union are based, for meetings on Thursday with fellow leaders. He will attend an emergency NATO summit, meet with G7 leaders, and address European Union leaders at a meeting of the European Council, Sullivan said.
Russian strikes turning Mariupol into ‘ashes’
Intense Russian air strikes are turning besieged Mariupol into the “ashes of a dead land,” the city council said, as the United States and Europe planned more sanctions to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
Street fighting and bombardments raged in Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said, a day after it rejected an ultimatum from Russia to surrender. Hundreds of thousands are believed to be trapped inside buildings, with no access to food, water, power or heat.
Russian forces and Russian-backed separatist units had taken about half of the port city, normally home to around 400,000 people, Russia’s RIA news agency said, citing a separatist leader.
“There is nothing left there,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address to Italy’s parliament.
Cuellar is the latest Democrat to distance from Koch as the company remains in Russia
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar is no longer accepting campaign contributions from Koch Industries after the conglomerate decided to remain in Russia despite Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.
“Congressman Cuellar has not received any money from the Koch Brothers this year and will not accept any future campaign contributions until they disassociate from Russia,” Jake Hochberg, a chief advisor for Cuellar, told CNBC in an emailed statement.
Cuellar’s decision to distance himself from Koch comes on two other Democratic lawmakers who said they stopped taking campaign contributions from Koch Industries’ political action committee after the company refused to cut its operations in Russia. Many other business are fleeing Russia as the U.S. and its Western allies levy harsh sanctions on the country.
Koch Industries’ glass manufacturer Guardian Industries, which has two facilities in Russia, will remain fully active despite the Kremlin’s war with Ukraine, Koch Industries President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Robertson.
US.. asks energy companies to be on ‘hyperalert’ for Russian cyberattacks
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the Biden administration has asked for potential retaliatory Russian cyberattacks.
“It’s not a surprise to anybody who has been watching Russia’s activities that their expertise in this realm causes great concern. So this is why it’s really important for individual actors and governments to be shields up as we say,” Granholm told reporters on a conference call.
Granholm said companies should be talking with each other and sharing information in order to safeguard against any attack on the U.S. energy infrastructure.
Granholm declined to say whether the U.S. has seen any attempts by the Russians to tamper with American power grids or other relevant electric systems.
Downed Russian drone strike near Ukraine’s National Academy of Science in Kyiv
Military emergency service members in the area of a research institute that’s part of Ukraine’s National Academy of Science, after a strike in northwestern Kyiv.