Austrian Chancellor meets Putin in Russia amid warnings of new offensive against Ukraine | Ukraine

Austrian Chancellor is set to meet with Vladimir Putin on Monday, the Russian president’s first face-to-face meeting with an EU leader since ordering the invasion of Ukraine, amid warnings of a new offensive and shelling in the east.

Karl Nehammer said the meeting would take place in Moscow and that Austria had a “clear stance on the Russian war of aggression”, calling for humanitarian corridors, a ceasefire and full investigation of war crimes.

The British Ministry of Defense warned on Monday morning that Russian forces could resort to using phosphorus weapons in Mariupol while fighting for the city intensifies. the former use of ammunition by the Russian soldiers in Donetsk.

On the ground, Russian forces hit targets in eastern Ukraine with missiles and artillery on Sunday, and Ramzan Kadyrov, the powerful leader of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, said there would be an offensive not only on the besieged southern port of Mariupol but also against Kiev. . and other Ukrainian cities. “Luhansk and Donetsk – we will initially free ourselves completely … and then take Kiev and all other cities,” Kadyrov said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.

The United States has warned that the appointment of a new general in command of Russia’s military campaign is likely to usher in a new round of “crimes and brutality” against civilians. Alexander Dvornikov, 60, became prominent at the head of Russian troops in Syria in 2015-16, when there was a particularly brutal bombing of rebel-held areas, including civilian populations, in Aleppo.

Jake Sullivan, Washington’s National Security Adviser, said: “This particular general has a resume that includes brutality against civilians in other theaters – in Syria – and we can expect more of the same” in Ukraine.

Nehammer met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kiev on Saturday – the same day as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to provide Ukraine with 120 armored vehicles and anti-ship missile systems. Washington has also promised to give Ukraine “the weapons it needs” to defend itself against a new Russian offensive.

Russia has failed to occupy major cities, but Ukraine says it has assembled its forces in the east for a major attack and has urged people to flee.

Russian forces fired rockets into Ukraine’s Luhansk and Dnipropetrovsk regions on Sunday, officials said. Missiles completely destroyed the airport in the city of Dnipro, says Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the central Dnipropetrovsk region.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said high – precision missiles had destroyed Ukraine’s Dnipro battalion headquarters in the town of Zvonetsky. Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

In other developments:

  • Ukrainian officials said on Sunday that the death toll from a missile attack on a train station on Friday in the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region had risen to 57, while 109 were injured. The station was full of people trying to escape from the area. Russia has denied responsibility, saying the missiles used in the attack were used only by the Ukrainian military.

  • Joe Biden is set to hold a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, where the US president is expected to pressure India not to increase its imports of Russian crude oil. Biden has previously accused India of being the only “somewhat shaken” country in the Quad group of nations – which also includes Japan and Australia – in terms of Ukraine. It has not yet imposed sanctions on Russia.

  • The World Bank has predicted that Ukraine’s GDP will shrink by about 45% this year as the Russian invasion and the impact of a “deep humanitarian crisis” take its toll. It said that Russia would also fall into recession and that many countries around Ukraine would suffer severe hardship

  • Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 2,824 people were evacuated on Sunday through humanitarian corridors, including 213 from Mariupol, which has been under siege for weeks.

Since Russia invaded, Zelenskiy has appealed to Western powers to provide more defense assistance and punish Moscow with tougher sanctions, including embargoes against Russian energy exports.

In an interview broadcast on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Zelenskiy said he had confidence in his own armed forces, but “unfortunately, I do not trust that we will receive everything we need” from the United States.

“They have to supply weapons to Ukraine as if they were defending themselves and their own people,” Zelenskiy added. “They need to understand this. If they do not accelerate, it will be very difficult for us to keep up with this pressure.”

Sullivan told ABC News: “We want to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to fight back the Russians to prevent them from taking more cities and towns.”

Zelenskiy said earlier on Twitter that he had spoken by telephone with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about further sanctions, as well as more defense and financial support for his country, and welcomed Germany’s more favorable stance on Ukraine.

The EU on Friday banned Russian coal imports among other products, but has not yet touched on oil and gas imports from Russia.

Increasing civilian casualties have triggered widespread international condemnation and new sanctions.

A grave with at least two civilian bodies has been found in the village of Buzova near Kiev, said Taras Didych, leader of the Dmytrivka community, which includes the village, the latest reported find since Russian forces withdrew from areas north of the capital.

Moscow has repeatedly denied attacking civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its southern neighbor. Ukraine and Western nations have rejected this as an unfounded pretext for war.

Russia’s invasion has forced about a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes, turned cities into rubble and killed or injured thousands.

Some cities in eastern Ukraine are under heavy fire, with tens of thousands of people unable to evacuate.

With Reuters

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