President Joe Biden will explain how the “free world” should unite to resist Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a major speech in Poland on Saturday, signaling the path ahead for a war in Ukraine that could intensify.
Before his speech in Warsaw, he plans to meet some of the 2 million Ukrainian refugees who have sought safety in Poland. The president will speak about “why it is so important that the free world sustain unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression,” said Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.
On Friday, it appeared that Russia’s onslaught suffered a significant setback when the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, near Russian-occupied Crimea, was declared “contested territory again” by a US Defense Department official.
Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, deputy chief of staff of Russia’s armed forces, told a state-run TV channel Friday that the military will now focus on the “complete liberation” of the separatist Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials, citing eyewitnesses, said some 300 people had died after Russian forces bombed a theater where more than 1,000 had taken refuge in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol. NBC News was not able to independently confirm the claim, which involved an attack that has become an emblem of Russia’s indiscriminate bombardment of civilian targets.
Russian forces have entered Slavutych, Ukrainian official says
Russian forces have entered the northern city of Slavutych, which is home to workers from the nearby Chernobyl nuclear plant, according to a Ukrainian official.
Slavutych was built to house Chernobyl workers following the plant’s deadly 1986 nuclear disaster.
Oleksandr Pavliuk, governor of Kyiv’s regional military administration, said in a Telegram message Saturday that Russian forces had “invaded” Slavutych and seized its hospital. He said citizens had gathered in the city square for a pro-Ukraine rally.
Photos posted on Facebook by Slavutych’s city council showed a large group of people in the main square, unfurling a giant Ukrainian flag.
NBC News was not able to independently verify the claims, though officials have been warned for days that Russian troops were close to the city and that it was impossible to evacuate. On Friday, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych they had fended off an initial attack on the city.
Putin designates service members involved in Ukraine invasion as combat veterans
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law that designates service members involved in the war in Ukraine as combat veterans.
The law, which is published on a Russian government website, said that employees of law enforcement and security agencies involved in conflict will also be considered combat veterans, according to a translation. It referred to the ongoing invasion as a special military operation, the language consistently used by Putin and Russian forces to describe the war in Ukraine.
In an effort to crackdown on dissent in the country, the Kremlin made it illegal and punishable by 15 years in prison to refer to its invasion in Ukraine as a “war.”
Russia to continue using ‘heavy firepower’ in Ukrainian cities, UK says
Russia looks set to continue using “heavy firepower” in urban areas and incur further civilian casualties in Ukraine, Britain’s defense ministry said.
in an intelligence update published Saturdayit noted that Russia continues to besiege several cities — including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol — but that its troops appear “reluctant to engage in large scale urban infantry operations,” preferring instead to rely on “indiscriminate” air and artillery bombardments.
“It is likely Russia will continue to use its heavy firepower on urban areas as it looks to limit its own already considerable losses,” the update added.
A destroyed Russian tank is seen in this image provided by the Ukrainian Ground Forces, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, near the town of Trostianets, in the Sumy region on Friday.
Biden to rally support for Ukraine efforts in speech from Warsaw
WARSAW — President Joe Biden will give what he intends to be a major address here Saturday about the stakes for the world and the path ahead for a war in Ukraine that is only likely to intensify.
Ahead of the speech, Biden plans to meet with Ukrainian refugees who have flooded into Poland. In Warsaw, where Biden is set to deliver his speech from him, more than 300,000 refugees have arrived, with many seeking temporary shelter in a sports arena, and a steady flow continuing to come into the city’s train station each day.
“He will speak to the stakes of this moment, the urgency of the challenge that lies ahead, what the conflict in Ukraine means for the world, and why it is so important that the free world sustain unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression ,” said Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.
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Ukraine war has killed 136 children, the country’s prosecutor general says
The war in Ukraine has killed 136 children, the country’s prosecutor general said in a Telegram post on Sunday.
It added that 199 children have been injured and that the cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv saw the highest numbers of child casualties.
NBC News has not been able to verify the numbers.
The prosecutor’s message came after the United Nations said Friday that more than 1,080 civilians had been killed in the war, though the true toll is likely “considerably higher.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism