International Court joins war crimes investigation


The International Criminal Court in The Hague will join the investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine as Russia’s destructive invasion of its determined neighbor drags on for a third month.

A joint investigation team has been set up by Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine to prepare for possible prosecutions within the countries and before the international tribunal. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and the attorneys general of the three countries signed an agreement on Monday.

The agreement sends a “clear message that all efforts will be undertaken to effectively gather evidence on core international crimes committed in Ukraine and bring those responsible to justice”, the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation said in a statement. a statement.

Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian leaders and the military of targeting civilians, saying mass graves have been discovered with hundreds of victims. Russia has denied the allegations, accusing the Ukrainian military of faking photos of the dead or carrying out the murders and blaming Russia in a bid to build international support.

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Latest developments:

►Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a tweet on sundaythanked President Joe Biden for his leadership and support for the people of Ukraine, saying the friendship and partnership between the two countries is “stronger than ever”.

►Russia is planning a referendum in Kherson, a southern city that fell to Russian forces at the start of the war, aimed at justifying its occupation, the British Ministry of Defense has said.

►Reporters who accompanied Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Poland were barred by Pentagon and State Department officials from reporting on the Kyiv visit until the two men physically leave Ukraine. US officials have cited security concerns.

►Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said new evidence showed Russian troops killed tens of thousands of civilians in Mariupol and then tried to cover it up.

Sweden and Finland set to apply for NATO membership in May

Swedish and Finnish media report that their governments will submit NATO bids next month. The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti said on Monday that the Swedish government wanted “a common date for the publication of NATO candidacies” and referred to the week of May 16. Sweden To express tabloid said it confirmed the plan through sources in its government. The two Nordic countries have long cooperated with NATO on defense issues, and the United States supports their membership. Finland shares an 830 mile border with Russia.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to growing support from Sweden and Finland, a Russian neighbor, for NATO membership. NATO has provided some support to Ukraine since the invasion, but has repeatedly refused to institute a nosaid that would fully defend any of its members in the event of an attack.

Senior US officials meet with Zelenskyy and promise more help

The Biden administration has increased its financial commitment and named a new ambassador for Ukraine following a near-clandestine meeting in Kyiv between two senior US cabinet officials and President Volodymyr Zelensky. The announcements came hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made the highest-level visit by a US delegation to Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion.

Ukraine has repeatedly pressed the West for stronger weapons against Russia’s campaign in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region, where Moscow’s forces are scrambling to dislodge the last Ukrainian troops in the devastated port city of Mariupol.

Blinken and Austin told Zelenskyy and his advisers that the United States would provide an additional $300 million in foreign military funding and had approved a $165 million ammunition sale. Blinken said American diplomats who had left Ukraine before the war would begin returning to the country as early as this week.

“We had the opportunity to directly demonstrate our continued strong support for the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people,” Blinken said.

Biden appoints Bridget Brink as US Ambassador to Ukraine

President Joe Biden announced on Monday that he would nominate Bridget Brink as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, filling a post that had been vacant for three years. Brink is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and currently serves as Ambassador to Slovakia. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first US ambassador to Ukraine since Donald Trump removed Marie Yovanovitch from office in 2019. Yovanovitch’s dismissal was a factor in Trump’s first impeachment.

Brink, a Michigan native, previously served as a senior adviser and deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and was responsible for issues related to Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. She also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and Tbilisi, Georgia.

How much money did the United States send to Ukraine?

The latest U.S. financial commitment to Ukraine represents only a small fraction of total expenditures for this beleaguered nation of 45 million people. Since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the United States has committed about $3.7 billion in “security assistance”, the White House announced on Monday. The United States has provided more than $4.3 billion since the start of the Biden administration.

The United States provides more than arms and ammunition, announcing last week that it will give Ukraine an additional $500 million to help its government fund critical operations. The United States provided $500 million in similar aid last month.

“Ukrainians are standing up, they are standing strong, and they are doing it with the support that we have coordinated literally from around the world,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr. Zelensky.

Ukrainian officials warn of UN secretary-general’s meeting with Putin

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will travel to Moscow and meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, his office said in a statement last week. Some Ukrainian officials say the meeting is not a good idea.

Igor Zhovkva, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Guterres and the UN are “not really” allowed to speak on behalf of Ukraine and attempt peace negotiations with Russia on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

“It’s not a good idea to travel to Moscow. We did not understand his intention to go to Moscow and talk to President Putin,” he said, adding: “Any peace talk is good if it ends with a result. I really doubt that these peace talks organized by the UN Secretary General will lead to any result.”

He criticized the UN for its “delay” in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, saying Guterres should focus on that too.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said he was “not sure” Guterres’ trip would produce a diplomatic breakthrough with Russia on “Face the Nation” from CBS.

State National Guards will send armored vehicles to Ukraine

Several US governors have announced that their state national guards will send armored vehicles to Ukraine at the request of the Ministry of Defense.

Ohio and West Virginia will send an undisclosed number of M-113 APCs to Ukraine, which are used to move soldiers and equipment around the battlefield while providing protection against small arms fire and artillery effects.

“As we continue to learn more about Russian war crimes in Ukraine, those of us in Ohio stand ready to help the Ukrainian people in any way we can,” he added. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said in a statement. “Ohio has a strong Ukrainian community, and we are behind them and their families overseas.”

The announcement came the same week President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in military support for Ukraine.

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Contribute: The Associated Press

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