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US ignores Russia warning on arms as Biden meets Scholz

When President Joe Biden met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a show of solidarity against Moscow on Friday, the United States offered an additional $400 million in security assistance in response to a Russian warning against arming Ukraine. Oliver Scolz

In the meantime, the leader of the Russian Wagner mercenary group said that Moscow's soldiers had "practically ringed" the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the scene of the invasion's heaviest fighting. Kyiv's ability to hold out against Moscow's military assault and even gain territory has been largely due to Western military help, but the Kremlin claimed that this would simply "prolong the conflict and have terrible consequences for the Ukrainian people."

Deliveries of weapons "significantly strain these nations' economies and have a negative impact on the well-being of the people living in these nations, especially those in Germany," said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Washington disregarded this advice when it unveiled the new security package for Kyiv, which included ammunition for the Himars precision rocket system, which Ukrainian forces have employed to devastating effect against Russian troops and supply depots. After disagreements over tank deliveries to Ukraine, Biden welcomed Scholz to the White House for his first visit to the nation's capital since Russia's incursion.

In his brief remarks to the press, Biden stated that when they last met, "Russia was amassing its forces" on the border. He added that the West had promised to respond, and "together we made good on that promise." In response, Scholz stated that it was crucial to let Ukraine know that "we would continue to (back it) as long as it takes and as long as it required." The lack of a joint news conference aroused concerns that there might still be issues, but the two leaders made an effort to allay those fears. Scholz stated that the bilateral relationship was "in a very excellent form."

US Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unexpected trip to Ukraine on Friday to attend a seminar on justice and war crimes, showing his support for Ukraine in yet another way. Throughout many discussions, the attorney general emphasized the department's commitment to holding Russia accountable for the crimes committed during its unlawful and unjustified invasion of its sovereign neighbor.

- The Bakhmut Battle

In a video posted on Telegram on Friday, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin stated that the group's soldiers "had nearly surrounded Bakhmut, only one road remains" to be taken. The 61-year-old has frequently blogged on Wagner's advancements, a once-obscure force that has gained prominence in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He has claimed in recent weeks that his troops had taken control of the villages of Yagidne, Berkhivka, and Paraskoviivka, which are located north of Bakhmut. While the hotspot of the fighting is in the east of Ukraine, Russia said this week that a group of Ukrainian combatants had crossed into the southern Bryansk region.

Kyiv dismissed the claims as a “deliberate provocation.”

The death toll from a Russian strike that hit an apartment block in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia earlier in the week has risen to seven, Ukrainian rescue services said. Moscow says its regions bordering Ukraine are routinely shelled by Ukrainian forces, but the reported incursion was a rare instance of fighting inside Russia. The Kremlin said Friday it would take steps to prevent cross-border incursions which killed two. “Measures will be taken to prevent similar events in the future,” Kremlin spokesman Peskov said.


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German Joe Biden Moscow Olaf Scholz Ukrainian


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