Russia’s actions in Ukraine qualify as war crime

It’s just gone 3 pm in Kyiv, and fierce battles are being fought between Ukrainian and Russian forces throughout Ukraine.

Here’s what you need to know:

Talks to continue: A second round of Russia-Ukraine talks is set to take place today, according to a Ukrainian presidential aide.

The first round of talks on Monday lasted for five hours and ended without a breakthrough.

‘The real test’: US President Joe Biden used his annual State of the Union address to put forward a show of resolve that Western democracies stand firmly behind Ukraine, which Russia invaded last week.

“Throughout our history, we’ve learned this lesson: When dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos. They keep moving,” Biden said.

Yet Biden made it clear that no US troops would be fighting alongside Ukrainians, but the West would instead use sanctions and economic measures to, as he said, continue “inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine.”

Biden also affirmed that US would staunchly defend its NATO allies, including those in Eastern Europe who are concerned that they, like Ukraine, could one day be the target of Russian aggression.

The fight for key cities: Russia’s military appears to be steadily advancing on key southern cities. Russia’s Ministry of Defense said its forces now fully held Kherson, though Ukrainian authorities denied it, saying “some parts are under our control.”

Fighting also continues in nearby Mariupol, where heavy shelling left dozens injured, its mayor said. Russian troops and Russian-backed separatist have surrounded the city on three sides. The Kremlin hopes to take Mariupol to complete a land corridor that would link the Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 from Ukraine, with southern Russia.

Kharkiv pummeled: Russian artillery and missile strikes have also pounded Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-most populous city. Videos posted to social media and confirmed by CNN have shown significant destruction in the northeastern Ukrainian city. One strike hit an apartment complex near a hospital on Tuesday, while Kharkiv’s regional police department and Kharkiv National University were struck Wednesday morning.

Ukrainian authorities said the “massive” shelling continued on Wednesday.

Targets in Kyiv: On Tuesday, Russian forces fired rockets near a TV tower in the Ukrainian capital, hours after warning of “high-precision” strikes on other facilities to Ukrainian security agencies. The rocket attack took out broadcasting hardware, raising fears that Russia is attempting to knock out the city’s communications infrastructure.

The UN said at least 136 people, including 13 children, have been killed in Ukraine since Thursday, February 24, though those figures are likely to underestimate the true toll.

Zelensky said in six days, almost 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. The Kremlin has not publicly shared any death toll.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo