Global Review – 22nd March

Putin evaluating use of chemical and biological weapons’ – Biden

US President Joe Biden has warned there were clear signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be considering using biological and chemical weapons in the Ukraine conflict. Biden said Russian accusations that Kiev has biological and chemical weapons “are false” and are a “clear signal” that Putin “is considering using both” in the war in Ukraine. He pointed out Putin “is cornered and is now talking about the new false flag operations he is preparing”.

US-European talks on support for Ukraine

Earlier, President Biden had a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to the White House, they discussed military and humanitarian support for Ukraine. Biden is scheduled to attend the NATO summit and the European Council on Ukraine in Brussels this week and later visit Poland on Friday, for a bilateral meeting with Polish President Andrej Duda.

Biden confirms Russia used hypersonic missiles

President Biden has confirmed that Russia has used hypersonic missiles in bombings in Ukraine. “With the same warheads used on the other missiles they don’t make much difference, except for the fact that it is almost impossible to intercept them,” said Biden quoted by CNN. The United Kingdom intelligence is of the same opinion: The Guardian quotes RAF Deputy Marshal Mick Smeath, British military defense attaché saying, “The deployment of Kinzhal hypersonic missiles is intended to belittle Moscow’s lack of progress in the land campaign.”

Makariv regained

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that “the Ukrainian flag has been hoisted over the city of Makariv”. Kyiv Independent says Russian forces had been rejected. Makariv is an urban settlement in the Kiev Oblast, 60 km west of the Ukrainian capital. The village had counted several civilian victims in recent days.

Russia says US relations at ‘breaking’ point

Relations between Russia and the US are “on the verge of breaking” after President Biden called Russian leader Vladimir Putin a war criminal, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. The message was delivered in person Monday to John Sullivan, US ambassador to Russia, the ministry said in a statement. Sullivan was “handed a note of protest in connection with the recent unacceptable statements made [by Biden],” the ministry said. “It is emphasized that such statements by the American President, unworthy of a statesman of such a high rank, put Russian-American relations on the verge of breaking,” the statement said. The Kremlin added that any “hostile actions taken against Russia would receive a decisive and firm rebuff.”

‘Peace agreement only if NATO countries guarantee security’ – Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told Ukrainian, British and Czech broadcasters that: “If NATO does not want to grant membership to Ukraine, then individual countries that are part of the Alliance must guarantee its security.” He accused members of the Alliance of being “afraid of Russia” and said they “do not allow compromises” on territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Earlier, Alexander Rodnyansky, advisor to Zelensky, told the BBC, Russia was not serious about the peace talks. He said Russia used the talks as a way to distract attention from what is happening on the battlefield. “Peace is not sought and at the same time cities are bombed on a large scale,” he adds.

Russian elites planning to overthrow Putin 

A group of Russian elites are allegedly conspiring to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin and “restore economic ties” with the West, according to Ukrainian intelligence. “Poisoning, sudden illness, accident – Russia’s elite is considering removing Putin,” declared a Facebook post from the Chief Directorate of Intelligence for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The ministry claimed that a group of “influential people” has been forming in Russia who want to “remove Putin from power as soon as possible and restore economic ties with the West, which were destroyed by the war in Ukraine.” They allege that the group has already been eyeing Alexander Bortnikov, the Russian director of the Federal Security Service and a member of Putin’s inner circle, as a successor to the president.

Alina begged to persuade Putin end the war

Friends of Vladimir Putin’s lover, Alina Kabaeva, are begging her to go to Moscow to persuade him to end the war – as she faces expulsion from Switzerland. “Alina’s female friends are begging her to fly to Putin and persuade him to end the war,” a source told the New York Post’s Page Six. “He doesn’t seem to be listening to anybody, but perhaps he might listen to her.” Page Six exclusively reported earlier this month that the Russian president has allegedly been hiding his lover and their kids Switzerland. Kabaeva, an Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, reportedly has four children – two young boys and twin girls – with Putin, 69, though the two never officially confirmed it. The kids were allegedly born in Switzerland and all have Swiss passports, according to a source, who tells us Kabaeva, 38, is believed to hold passports under a number of different names and nationalities.

Russians opened fire on civilian protesters in Kyiv

Russian forces occupying the Ukrainian city of Kherson opened fire on peaceful protesters, according to authorities in Kyiv. “Russian security forces ran up, started throwing stun grenades into the crowd and shooting,” the Ukrainian armed forces’ press service said in a statement. Purported footage from the scene shows protesters running amid the sound of automatic gunfire. Small explosions, possibly concussion grenades, can be seen going off around the dozens of protesters. “This is the ugly face of Russia, a disgrace to humankind,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba tweeted above video from the scene. At least one video shows a wounded and bleeding protester. Kherson, a southern city just north of the Crimean peninsula, was the first large city to fall to Russian forces since the beginning of the Kremlin’s invasion last month. Peaceful protests against occupying authorities have been common over the past several weeks.

CEI, EU implements refugee redistribution plan

The Conference of Italian Bishops (CEI) has called for a redistribution plan for refugees arriving from Ukraine. Opening the work of the Permanent Episcopal Council, Cardinal President Gualtiero Bassettisaid, “The number of displaced people is destined to increase” and “we cannot think that the border countries can support this humanitarian commitment alone. It will be necessary for the European Union to decide to implement a real plan for the redistribution of Ukrainian citizens in the various member states.” Bassetti confirmed that next Friday, March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will not join the penance service in St Peter’s during which the consecration will take place, but will join privately from his residence. Bishops all over the world are confirming their participation.

Mass returns to St Peter’s Square

The Vatican has announced that after two years of pandemic, celebrations are back in St Peter’s Square. Pope Francis will celebrate Palm Sunday, April 10, and Easter Mass, April 17, in the square while Friday April 15 there will be the Via Crucis at the Colosseum.

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