Kamala Harris accuses Russia of crimes against humanity at the Munich Security Conference
RussiaThe US ambassador has accused the country of trying to justify its own actions to fuel the crisis in Ukraine by claiming that Russia was behind crimes against humanity.
“We regard such insinuations as an unprecedented attempt to demonize Russia within the framework of the hybrid war unleashed against us,” the envoy, Anatoly Antonov, was quoted as saying by Russia’s state news agency TASS.
Antonov’s comments come after the US Vice President Kamala Harris‘ announcement that Russia had committed “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine.
The United States Department of State allegedly Vladimir Putins troops executed children and tortured and forcibly deported thousands of Ukrainians to Russia. It said the actions were “not random or spontaneous” but “part of the Kremlin’s comprehensive and systematic attack” on Ukraine.
In the meantime, have NATO The chief has warned that Putin is “planning for more war”, as he joined Rishi Sunak and other Western leaders in calling for stepped-up support for Ukraine.
Mr. Sunak, under Munich The security conference on Saturday insisted the world should “hold Russia accountable” for alleged war crimes and criticized “post-Cold War” accords for failing Kiev.
Allegations of war crimes are an “attempt to demonize Russia,” the Russian envoy says
Russia’s US ambassador has said US claims that Russia is behind crimes against humanity in Ukraine are an “attempt to demonize Russia”.
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov accused the US of trying to justify its own actions in fueling the crisis in Ukraine with the allegations of war crimes.
“We regard such insinuations as an unprecedented attempt to demonize Russia within the framework of the hybrid war unleashed against us,” Antonov was quoted as saying by Russia’s state news agency TASS.
“There is no doubt that the purpose of such attacks by Washington is to justify its own actions to fuel the Ukrainian crisis,” he said.
Vishwam Sankaran19 February 2023 04:54
The US formally concludes that Russia is guilty of “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine
The United States has formally concluded that Russia committed “crimes against humanity” during its war in Ukraine, Vice President Kamala Harris has said.
“In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have reviewed the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt: these are crimes against humanity,” Harris, a former prosecutor, told the Munich Security Conference.
“And I say to all those who have committed these crimes, and to their superiors who are complicit in these crimes, you will be held accountable.”
The official decision has no immediate implications for the ongoing war, but according to Reuters, Washington hopes it could help further isolate Vladimir Putin and spur legal efforts to hold members of his government accountable through international courts and sanctions.
Andy GregoryFebruary 18, 2023 12:17 p.m
Russia claims to have captured Hriankyivka
Russia’s Defense Ministry has claimed its forces have captured Hrianykivka, a village in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region far north of the main fighting.
A briefing by the Ukrainian General Staff later on Saturday said the village was being shelled, but made no mention of an assault.
Hrianykivka is about 180 km (110 miles) north of Bakhmut, a town in eastern Donetsk region that has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks.
Katy Clifton19 February 2023 00:01
Macron: “I don’t think we have to aim for a total defeat of Russia”
France wants Russia to be defeated in Ukraine but they do not want to “crush” it, President Emmanuel Macron has told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
“I do not believe, as some people do, that we must aim for a total defeat of Russia and attack Russia on its own soil. These observers want above all to crush Russia. That has never been France’s position and it will never be our position ”, Macron said.
Mr Macron has drawn criticism from some NATO allies for delivering mixed messages over his policy in the Ukraine-Russia war, with some seeing Paris as a weak link in the Western alliance.
On Friday, Macron called on his allies to increase military support for Ukraine.
Katy CliftonFebruary 18, 2023 at 23.00
EU gives hope for more ammunition to Ukraine
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said today that she was convinced that the EU’s common interest in getting more ammunition to Ukraine will trump individual national interests when it comes to joint European defense procurement programmes.
The bloc is rapidly exploring ways for its member states to join forces to buy ammunition to help Ukraine, following warnings from Kiev that its forces – which fire up to 10,000 artillery shells daily – need more supplies quickly.
“As always in this terrible war that Russia unleashed against Ukraine, we see that we can move mountains under pressure, and therefore here too,” she said in an interview with Reuters and other media at the Munich Security Conference.
“These are not normal times, these are extraordinary times. And so we should also look at extraordinary measures or procedures,” she added.
Katy CliftonFebruary 18, 2023 at 10 p.m
Moscow is accused of smuggling spies into the Netherlands
The Dutch government has said “a number” of Russian diplomats will have to leave the Netherlands, accusing Moscow of trying to smuggle spies into the country that is home to institutions including the International Criminal Court and the global chemical weapons watchdog.
The announcement is the latest twist in a diplomatic dispute between the two countries that began shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago sparked a war on Europe’s eastern flank. “Despite numerous attempts by the Netherlands to find a solution, Russia continues to try to bring intelligence officers into the Netherlands under diplomatic cover,” Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in a statement. “We cannot and will not allow that.” He added that it is still “important to keep the embassies open as a channel of communication, even now when relations with Russia are more difficult than ever.” The Russian diplomats were given two weeks to leave the country. A Russian trade office in Amsterdam was ordered to close on Tuesday.
Katy CliftonFebruary 18, 2023 at 21.00
Orban accuses the EU of fueling war
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said the EU is partly to blame for prolonging Russia’s war in Ukraine, doubling down on his government’s insistence that support for Kiev was the wrong strategy for Europe. Speaking at an annual state of the nation address in Budapest, Orban claimed the EU had fanned the flames of war by sanctioning Russia and providing Ukraine with money and weapons, rather than trying to negotiate peace with Moscow. “When Russia launched its attack, the West did not isolate the conflict but raised it to a pan-European level,” Orban said.
“The war in Ukraine is not a conflict between the armies of good and evil, but between two Slavic countries fighting each other. This is their war, not ours.”
Katy CliftonFebruary 18, 2023 at 20.00
Finland can join NATO before Sweden, says the defense minister
Finland’s defense minister said Saturday that his country will join NATO without waiting for Sweden if its Nordic neighbor’s accession is delayed by the Turkish government.
Mikko Savola told The Associated Press on Saturday that Finland would prefer the two countries to join the alliance, but it would not hold up the process if Turkey decides to accept Finland, but not Sweden, as it has warned.
“No, no. Then we will join,” Savola said in an interview on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich.
Since breaking with decades of non-alignment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Finland and Sweden have insisted they want to join NATO together. But Turkey’s reluctance to accept Sweden unless it increases pressure on Kurdish exile groups has made it more likely that the two will have to join the alliance at different speeds.
“Sweden is our closest partner,” Savola said. “Almost every week our defense forces train together and so on. It’s a very deep cooperation and we also fully trust each other. But it’s in Turkey’s hands now.”
Karl RitterFebruary 18, 2023 6:54 p.m
Sunak says Britain is ready to support allies who can supply Ukraine with fighter jets
Rishi Sunak has been asked if he has spoken to Poland about providing its MiG jets to Ukraine during his discussions in Germany today.
“What I have done is told all the allies that we are ready to support them if they can provide fighter jets to Ukraine now,” the prime minister told Munich radio.
“And for our part, we’re also a world leader in training Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard aircraft. It’s the right thing to do because this is about giving Ukraine the means to defend itself and win this war.
“It’s about more air defence, it’s about armored vehicles, it’s about long-range weapons – the UK is way ahead on all these things. And it’s important that we continue to do that and lead because we all want to see Ukraine succeed and this Russian aggression disappears … completely controlled and punished.”
Andy GregoryFebruary 18, 2023 6:06 p.m
Russia’s war has shown that the EU “can move mountains under pressure”, says von der Leyen
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown that the EU “can move mountains under pressure”, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said.
The bloc is quickly exploring ways for its member states to join forces to buy ammunition to help Ukraine, following warnings from Kiev that its forces – which fire up to 10,000 artillery shells daily – need more supplies quickly.
“As always in this terrible war that Russia unleashed against Ukraine, we see that we can move mountains under pressure, and so here too,” she told reporters at the Munich Security Conference, adding: “These are not normal times, it here are extraordinary times. And so we should also look at extraordinary measures or procedures.”
In the past, a focus on national interests has often prevented closer defense cooperation between European countries, hindering and slowing joint procurement programs, but von der Leyen expressed confidence that the bloc’s shared interest in supplying Kiev with ammunition will trump individual national interests when it comes to joint European defense procurement program.
Speaking to the conference, von der Leyen earlier suggested that the EU join forces with the bloc’s defense industry to speed up and scale up production of ammunition badly needed on the battlefield in Ukraine and to replenish stockpiles at home (see post 10:46 am).
Andy GregoryFebruary 18, 2023 5:12 p.m