The U.S. would accept 100,000 Ukraine refugees under a proposal the Biden administration is expected to unveil Thursday.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed the plan as President Joe Biden and European leaders marked one month since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with crucial summits in Brussels, Belgium.
In a video address to a NATO summit Thursday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine need unlimited military assistance. Zelenskyy urged NATO to provide Ukraine with “1% of all your planes, 1% of all your tanks.”
“When we will have all this, it will give us, just like you, 100% security,” he said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the gathering to order, saying Russia will continue to face consequences if Moscow does not end its war.
“We are determined to continue to impose costs on Russia to bring about the end of this brutal war,” Stoltenberg said in opening remarks of the emergency NATO summit. “We pay tribute to the great courage of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian armed forces fighting for their freedom and their rights.
Stoltenberg also praised “those in Russia who are bravely speaking out against the war. We hear their voices, they matter.”
Biden will address the NATO summit before meeting with the leaders of the other G-7 countries and speaking to all 27 leaders of European Union countries. Biden is scheduled to cap the day with a news conference.
The U.S. and its allies are expected to announce new sanctions on Russia, additional humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians, and to call on China to condemn the invasion. They’ll discuss how to respond to a cyber, nuclear or chemical attack by Russia and what level of force presence is needed in Eastern Europe in the near and longer term.
Late Wednesday, Zelenskyy called on people worldwide to gather in public Thursday to show support for his embattled country.
“Come to your squares, your streets. Make yourselves visible and heard,” Zelenskyy said in English during an emotional video address late Wednesday that was recorded in the dark near the presidential offices in Kyiv. “Say that people matter. Freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters.”
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►Ukraine’s navy reported Thursday that it had sunk the Russian ship Orsk in the Sea of Asov near the port city of Berdyansk. It released photos and video of fire and thick smoke coming from the port area. Russia did not immediately comment on the claim.
►As many as 15,000 Russian troops have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine began four weeks ago, according to NATO’s first estimate.
►The Russian stock market resumed limited trading Thursday under heavy restrictions almost one month after prices plunged and the market was shut down following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine
Russia to expel more American diplomats, State Department says
Russia has begun the process to expel several American diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Moscow, the State Department said Wednesday.
The department said it received a list of diplomats on who have been declared “persona non grata” by the Russian foreign ministry. It didn’t say how many diplomats were affected by the order, which generally results in the expulsion of those targeted within 72 hours.
The State Department called Wednesday’s move “Russia’s latest unhelpful and unproductive step” in relations between the countries. It urged Russia “to end its unjustified expulsions of U.S. diplomats and staff.”
— Charles Ventura, USA TODAY; Associated Press
US has determined Russia committed war crimes, Blinken says
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday the United States has determined Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.
“Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Blinken said in a statement.
He said the assessment is based on “a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources.”
Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has unleashed “unrelenting violence that has caused death and destruction across Ukraine.” He cited reports of indiscriminate attacks, including those deliberately targeting civilians, among other atrocities.
— Deirdre Shesgreen
Contributing: The Associated Press