Wednesday, February 28

Zelenskyy at Davos and first war crimes verdict

3) Biden says Russia must pay price for ‘barbarous’ invasion

Zelenskyy’s appeal mirrored President Joe Biden’s earlier relation of Western efforts to oppose the Kremlin with other potential aggressors.

Biden made waves early Monday when he said the United States would be willing to intervene militarily if China were to invade the self-governing island of Taiwan. The question came up in the context of Ukraine, and the president said the burden to protect Taiwan is “even stronger” after Russia’s invasion.

Biden added that deterring China from attacking Taiwan was one reason why it’s important that Russian President Vladimir Putin “pay a dear price” for his “barbarous invasion of Ukraine.”

He added that the “long-term” price for Moscow would come in the form of sanctions that have been imposed by Washington and its allies.

4) Russian soldier gets life sentence in war crimes trial

A Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison Monday for killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian, in the first war crimes trial since Moscow’s invasion three months ago.

Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, pleaded guilty to violating the laws and customs of war under a section of the Ukrainian criminal code after he admitted to shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in the head in a village in northeastern Ukraine in the early days of the war.

Shyshimarin said he took the fatal shot under pressure from two officers and appealed for forgiveness from the civilian’s wife, who also appeared in court.

The verdict will likely be the first of many, with Ukraine ramping up its efforts to prosecute Russian soldiers for alleged atrocities against civilians. Russia has denied targeting civilians.

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5) Video shows Russians clearing mines at Azovstal plant amid mixed messages over fate of surrendered soldiers

The above video shows Russian troops clearing mines from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, the long-besieged port city where the Kremlin’s forces took full control last week.

Russia sent mixed messages about the fate of the Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered after months defending that last stronghold.

Denis Pushilin, the Kremlin-backed head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, told the Interfax news agency prisoners Monday that all Ukrainians who surrendered at Azovstal will face an “international tribunal” on the territory of the republic.

Meanwhile, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Andrei Rudenko, said Monday that a prisoner exchange with Ukraine for the captured soldiers was possible.

“This is not within my competence, but, probably, this is being discussed somewhere,” Rudenko told reporters, according to Russia’s state news agency Ria.

Kyiv has voiced hope for a prisoner swap in the days since it ceded control of the crucial southeastern city, but Moscow has indicated the Ukrainian troops could be put on trial and be treated as “war criminals.”

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