Tue. May 17th, 2022

JOE Biden has been accused of “risking nuclear World War 3” after his comments about a change of leadership in Russia.

Donald Trump claims Joe Biden has risked pushing Vladimir Putin into a nuclear conflict after the US president apparently called for the Russian leader to be ousted in off-the-cuff remarks.

Criticising the Biden administration’s handling of the Russian leader, former president Mr Trump said: “When you put him into a corner and you talk the way they’re talking – they’re talking weak – and they’re almost giving him an incentive.

“They’re handling him very badly, in my opinion.”

The President was talking about the invasion of Ukraine to a crowd at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

He said: “A dictator, bent on rebuilding an empire, will never erase the people’s love for liberty.

“Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.”

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

The apparent call for regime change in Russia was a stark change of American policy towards Putin.

Following the speech, the White House appeared to backtrack on Biden’s comments in a statement.

It said: “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

Follow our Russia-Ukraine live blog below for up-to-the-minute updates…

  • Russia to restrict entry for those from ‘unfriendly countries’

    Russia is preparing retaliatory visa measures that would restrict entry for citizens from “unfriendly countries”, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. 

  • Downing Street says direction on peace talks is ‘up for Ukrainian Government to decide’

    Downing Street has said that it is up to the Ukrainian government to decide what approach it should take for any peace talks with Russia.

    President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he is ready to discuss his country’s neutrality in any talks with Moscow.

    In response, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister believes that Putin must fail in Ukraine and the sovereignty of Ukraine must be restored.

    “Obviously it would be for President Zelensky and the Ukrainian government to decide on the right approach to negotiations. We will support them in that.

    “But it is not for the UK or any other country to seek to impose its will on the Ukrainian government as to what it should accept in those negotiations.”

    After the White House was forced to clarify remarks by President Joe Biden appearing to call for regime change in Moscow, the Downing Street spokesman said: “It is up to the Russian people who should be governing them.”

  • Respected Russian newspaper suspending online and print activities

    Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, whose editor Dmitry Muratov was a co-winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, said on Monday it was suspending its online and print activities until the end of Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine.

    The newspaper, which has already removed material from its website on Russia’s military action in Ukraine to comply with a new media law, said it had received another warning from state communications regulator Roskomnadzor on Monday about its reporting, prompting it to pause operations.

  • Home Office has granted 21,600 visas to Ukrainian refugees with family in UK

    The Home Office has now granted 21,600 visas to Ukrainians with family links in the UK, Downing Street has said.

    The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that as of 5pm Sunday, 76,200 applications had been opened through the family route of which 37,400 had been completed and submitted.

    The Government is due to start publishing figures for visas issued through the Homes for Ukraine scheme this week.

  • UN says 3.9 million people have fled Ukraine since invasion began

    Nearly 3.9 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion a month ago, UN figures showed Monday, with the flow continuing to slow.

    The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said 3,862,797 Ukrainians had fled the country — an increase of 41,748 from Sunday’s figures.

    Around 90 percent of them are women and children, it added.

    Of those who have left, 2.2 million have fled for neighbouring Poland, while more than half a million have made it to Romania. Nearly 300,000 have gone to Russia.

    Before the crisis began a month ago, EU member Poland was home to around 1.5 million Ukrainians.

    In total, more than 10 million people — over a quarter of the population in regions under government control before the February 24 invasion — are now thought to have fled their homes, including nearly 6.5 million who are internally displaced.

    Ukraine’s refugee crisis is Europe’s worst since World War II.

  • Graphic: Current Russian losses

    The Ukrainian army says Russian units are being pulled out of northern Ukraine into Belarus in order to replenish personnel and supplies.

    The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces wrote on Facebook saying Russian ranks needed rotation.

    Many units have suffered heavy losses and are in dire need of food, fuel and ammunition.

  • Ukrainian forces recapture Trostianets

    Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces have reclaimed Trostianets, one of the first towns to fall, in another blow to Putin’s war.

    Russia’s defeat is a significant victory, defence sources say – as it opens a route to the besieged city of Sumy.

    It is also understood Ukraine has won back Husarivka.

    The Russian President is believed to be facing defeat in Kyiv while Ukrainians have fought hard to reclaim Kherson.

  • ‘Starving’ Kyiv civilians are forced to drink SEWAGE water

    DESPERATE civilians in Kyiv have resorted to drinking SEWAGE water as the city continues to be bombarded by horror Russian missile strikes.

    Panicked people in the Ukrainian capital are facing starvation as food becomes scarce while they are “made to stay in basements and metro stations” amid relentless shelling, according to an official.

    With the besieged city hit by shortages of water and supplies, MP Lesia Vasylenko says families are turning to unthinkable measures.

    “People are actually starving without food, and drinking sewage water,” she told Times Radio.

  • Bitcoin price soars after Russia says it could try to dodge sanctions

    BITCOIN prices soared after Russia said it could try to dodge sanctions by selling oil and gas in cryptocurrency.

    The digital money has shot up around five per cent since Putin’s energy chief Pavel Zavalny said it could be used by friendly countries.

    He added they could use various currencies, such as the Turkish lira or Chinese yuan, depending on the buyer’s preference.

    The move is an attempt by the Kremlin to boost Russia’s currency, which has fallen 20 per cent in value this year, to avoid the West’s economic sanctions.

    Mr Zavalny said on Thursday: “We have been proposing to China for a long time to switch to settlements in national currencies for roubles and yuan.

    “With Turkey, it will be lira and roubles. You can also trade bitcoins.”

    The price of bitcoin has gone from around £32,576 on Thursday to around £34,156 on Sunday morning.

    Analyst David Broadstock, of the Energy Studies Institute in Singapore, said: “Russia is very quickly feeling the impact of unprecedented sanctions.

    “There is a need to shore up the economy and in many ways, Bitcoin is seen as a high growth asset.”

  • Russia foreign minister says Putin-Zelensky meeting should happen after agreement on key issues

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy should happen once the two sides are closer to agreeing on key issues.

    Speaking to Serbian media outlets, Lavrov added that any meeting between Putin and Zelenskiy to exchange views on the conflict right now would be counter-productive.

    Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

    Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces. 

  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Joe Biden’s comments about Vladimir Putin’s position were “not helpful”.

    The White House scrambled to row back Mr Biden’s unscripted declaration that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power”, insisting he was not calling for a regime change.

    Sir Keir told LBC radio: “Not helpful, to say something, to row back – big thing to say, for obvious reasons.”

    The Labour leader said the Ukraine situation is “thoroughly depressing” and, following the end of the Cold War, “I didn’t think in my lifetime we would see Russian tanks going into a European country”.

  • Public sector bodies ordered to cancel contracts with Russian & Belarusian companies

    Public sector bodies are being urged to check if they have any contracts with Russian or Belarussian companies and, if possible, cancel them and switch suppliers.

    The Cabinet Office has issued guidance to public bodies – including hospitals, councils and Whitehall departments – advising them on what they should do.

    Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay said: “Public money should not fund (Vladimir) Putin’s war machine.

    “We are asking hospitals, councils and other organisations across the public sector to urgently look at all the ways they can go further to sever their commercial ties to Russia.

    “The Government will continue to work closely with these organisations, ensuring they are able to take the necessary steps as quickly as possible, including taking legal routes where necessary.”

  • Ukraine-Russia peace talks to begin in Turkey later today

    Ukrainian and Russian negotiators will begin peace talks in Istanbul later on Monday, a senior Turkish official said, without elaborating.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed in a telephone call on Sunday for Istanbul to host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a ceasefire.

  • Ukraine claims it has taken down a Russian Su-35

    Security analyst Michael A Horowitz tweeted a video appearing to show the wreckage of a Russian Su-35 jet on the ground after being shot down.

    He tweeted: “Gerashchenko (advisor to the Interior Ministry) published this video of an Su-35 he says was shot down on March 24 near Izyum by Ukrainian air defenses.”

    The Sun has not been able to immediately verify the footage.

  • Growing fears for animals suffering in zoos

    Fears are beginning to grow for thousands of animals suffering from cold, hunger and stress in Ukraine’s zoos.

    Vitaly Ilchenko, who runs an ecopark near Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv, said part of it had been occupied by Russian forces.

    Three staff members have also been killed trying to get food to the animals.

    But he said he feared the park’s lions and tigers could starve to death.

    Karina Detiuk, the zoo’s deputy director, told the BBC: “Our monkeys need fruit and vegetables, our predators need meat and so on.

    “We are doing the impossible trying to keep them alive. Our wolves are howling worse than the air-raid sirens and it is heart-breaking.”

  • Good morning

    Joe Gamp here, signing in to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

    I’ll be bringing you the latest news, as it happens, throughout the day.

  • Vitali Klitschko gives Oleksandr Usyk his blessing to rematch Anthony Joshua

    VITALI KLITSCHKO has backed Oleksandr Usyk’s decision to leave Ukraine and train for a rematch with Anthony Joshua.

    The unified heavyweight champion, who dethroned AJ in September, had bravely taken up arms to defend his nation amid Russia’s invasion.

    And it threatened to postpone his sequel with Joshua, 32, who was instead contemplating a confidence-building interim bout.

    But Usyk, 35, has since revealed he is crossing the border to go through with a second fight against AJ.

    Former boxing champ Klitschko, now the mayor of Kyiv, has thrown support to his countryman and will even offer him some advice.

    He told The Telegraph: “A very important message could be carried through an event like this. We do not know if in three months we will exist.

    “I actually have plans to speak to Oleksandr Usyk to give him advice if he decides to make the fight, to have some special messages that he can put out there.”

  • Bitcoin price soars after Russia says it could try to dodge sanctions

    BITCOIN prices soared after Russia said it could try to dodge sanctions by selling oil and gas in cryptocurrency.

    The digital money has shot up around five per cent since Putin’s energy chief Pavel Zavalny said it could be used by friendly countries.

    He added they could use various currencies, such as the Turkish lira or Chinese yuan, depending on the buyer’s preference.

    The move is an attempt by the Kremlin to boost Russia’s currency, which has fallen 20 per cent in value this year, to avoid the West’s economic sanctions.

    Mr Zavalny said on Thursday: “We have been proposing to China for a long time to switch to settlements in national currencies for roubles and yuan.

    “With Turkey, it will be lira and roubles. You can also trade bitcoins.”

    The price of bitcoin has gone from around £32,576 on Thursday to around £34,156 on Sunday morning.

    Analyst David Broadstock, of the Energy Studies Institute in Singapore, said: “Russia is very quickly feeling the impact of unprecedented sanctions.

    “There is a need to shore up the economy and in many ways, Bitcoin is seen as a high growth asset.”

  • Ukraine ready to deploy baguette-sized Switchblade flying bombs 

    UKRAINE is ready to deploy baguette-sized Switchblade flying bombs that fit in a backpack to rain death on Russian tanks.

    The weapon, controlled from a tablet, can scout out targets over enemy lines to hit battlefield command and control headquarters.

    US President Joe Biden agreed to give Ukraine 100 Switchblades for around £600million.

    The devices fly at around 60mph for up to 15 minutes using a camera relaying video of the terrain, before accelerating to 100mph when its remote pilot locks onto a target.

    Military analysts say it gives Ukraine major advantages by providing surveillance and reconnaissance intelligence.

    They weigh about 2.5kg and are much lighter than the 20kg Javelin anti-tank missiles already used, which America also supplied.

  • Polish TV holding global charity telethon for Ukraine

    British artists Fatboy Slim and Craig David are among the music stars taking part in an English-language charity telethon for Ukraine being organised on Sunday by Polish state channel TVP, the network said.

    The “Save Ukraine #StopWar” programme, which will also include Ukrainian footballing legend Andriy Shevchenko, is being broadcast to more than 20 countries, TVP World said in a statement.

    The two-hour show will start at 1530 GMT.

    “Money will be raised for the victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the statement said, adding that Polish and Ukrainian anchors would take part.

    The organisers said it was “a project aimed at reaching out to millions of people around the world to help Ukrainians live through the war and win it”.

  • Macron fears ‘escalation’ after Biden calls Putin a ‘butcher’

    French President Emmanuel Macron has warned against verbal “escalation” with Moscow, after US President Joe Biden called Russian leader Vladimir Putin a “butcher”.

    Macron told broadcaster France 3 that he saw his task as “achieving first a ceasefire and then the total withdrawal of (Russian) troops by diplomatic means.”

    “If we want to do that, we can’t escalate either in words or actions.”

    Macron also added that he would call Putin on Monday or Tuesday to discuss a proposal from France, Greece and Turkey to evacuate Ukrainians from besieged port city Mariupol.

    “There is a lot of cynicism from the Russian side on this question,” Macron said.

    “We’re looking with the Ukrainian authorities in the city of Mariupol at how to organise the evacuation of everyone who wants to flee.”

    He added that “we have to do it quickly, in the very next days” given the intensity of combat and bombardments in the city.

  • People forced to drink sewage water in Kyiv

    Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko said people are starving and being forced to drink sewage water in Kyiv as the situation across the country worsens.

    Speaking to Times Radio, Ms Vasylenko said that Kyiv is still facing attacks and suffering food scarcity while people are “made to stay in basements and metro stations”.

    “People are actually starving without food, and drinking sewage water,” she said.

    “In Mariupol, thousands of people are getting forcefully deported across the border to Russia apparently to safety but then they are sent off in an unknown direction and nobody hears from them again.

    “So the atrocities, they’re just the same all over the place.”

  • Mayor of Kyiv says ‘We need more help to win’

    VITALI Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, has begged Boris Johnson and Joe Biden to send more help to Ukraine whilst vowing his country will “never give up”.

    In a highly emotional interview today on GB News Vitali, 50, said: “I want to say thank you very much to the US and to Great Britain for all their humanitarian help and all for their financial support.

    “But it’s not enough. We need more weapons and we need more help. We have to stop the Russians. The Ukrainian Army is so strong and our soldiers are destroying Russian plans, but we need more help to win.”

    Explaining why he believed Ukrainian forces were putting up such a strong fight, Vitali continued: “It’s like this, Russia’s Army and Russia’s soldiers are fighting for money. We are defending our children, our families, our homeland, our future. That’s why we are strong.

    “The world needs to remember this is our homeland. We are defending our friends. Our relatives. Our families. That’s why we are here. We have to defend our hometown and we have to defend our future. This war doesn’t have rules. We see big drama every day. We see millions leave Ukraine. We were always a peaceful country. We never were aggressive to anyone. But right now we have to defend ourselves.”

    “The Russians want to bring us back to the USSR. They want to occupy our homeland. We see our future as democratic and part of the European family.

    *We never go to the knee. We never give up. We defend our families”

  • US ‘has no strategy of regime change for Russia’

    The United States has no strategy of regime change for Russia, secretary of state Antony Blinken told reporters today.

    “I think the president, the White House, made the point last night that, quite simply, President Putin cannot be empowered to wage war or engage in aggression against Ukraine or anyone else,” Blinken said during a visit to Jerusalem.

    “As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia – or anywhere else, for that matter.”

  • Beckett: Biden has strong feelings and is inclined to voice them

    Former foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett spoke to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge earlier. 

    When asked what she thought about US President Joe Biden’s strong speech about Vladimir Putin no longer being allowed to remain in power, she said: “I’ve rather liked what we’ve seen in Joe Biden.

    “I know that he gets a lot of criticism, but he strikes me as being somebody who has strong feelings and is inclined to then just voice them.

    “And, you know, maybe we don’t get quite enough of that sincerity and reaction sometimes from people in our political world.”

    She added: “I’m sure that his staff and the people around him are right to say America’s not calling for regime change, but equally, I think many people will sympathise with the sentiments that led him to say what he did.”

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