Connect with us

International

Rockets strike Ukraine’s Lviv as Biden says Putin ‘cannot remain in power’

Published

on

U.S. President Joe Biden described Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a butcher who “cannot remain in power” after meeting Ukrainian refugees in Poland, as Kremlin forces stepped up attacks across Ukraine, including the western city of Lviv.

Biden’s comments, an escalation of U.S. rhetoric towards Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, were not a call for regime change in Russia, a White House official said later, but meant to prepare the world’s democracies for an extended conflict.

Just before he spoke outside Warsaw’s castle on Saturday, four missiles hit the outskirts of Lviv, just 60 km (40 miles) from the Polish border, local officials said.

Another strike significantly damaged Lviv’s infrastructure but caused no reported deaths.

As the fight since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbour drags on, a visibly irritated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy again demanded Western nations send military hardware.

He asked whether they were intimidated by Moscow, saying, “We’ve already been waiting 31 days.”

Biden, in a fiery speech ending a European trip aimed at bolstering Western resolve, framed the war as part of a historic struggle for democratic freedoms.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said. The Kremlin dismissed the comment, saying it was “not for Biden to decide”.

Biden, after meeting refugees in Poland, called Putin a “butcher”.

“We need to be clear-eyed. This battle will not be won in days or months,” he said. “We need to steel ourselves for a long fight ahead.”

Moscow says the goals for what Putin calls a “special military operation” include demilitarizing and “denazifying” its neighbour. Ukraine and its Western allies calls this a pretext for an unprovoked invasion.

Russia has failed to seize any major Ukrainian city and the conflict has killed thousands of people, sent nearly 3.8 million abroad and driven more than half of Ukraine’s children from their homes, according to the United Nations.

READ ALSO:

FIGHTING, BOMBING NATIONWIDE

Western intelligence officials say Russian forces now rely on indiscriminate bombardments rather than risking large-scale ground operations, a tactic that could limit Russian military casualties but would harm more civilians.

Russian forces seized Slavutych, a town where workers at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant live, and the mayor said three people were killed, Interfax Ukraine news agency said.

Ukrainian staff have continued to work at Chernobyl after the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident was seized by Russian forces. The International Atomic Energy Agency has expressed alarm about the situation.

Russian forces fired at a nuclear research facility in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s parliament said.

In the encircled southern port of Mariupol, Mayor Vadym Boichenko said the situation remained critical, with street fighting in the centre. Mariupol has been devastated by weeks of Russian fire.

Reuters could not independently verify the accounts of fighting throughout Ukraine.

UKRAINE WAITS

The United States, which has pledged billions in aid, promised an additional $100 million for field gear and civilian security assistance for Ukraine’s border guard and police.

Zelenskiy compared Mariupol’s devastation to the destruction inflicted on the Syrian city of Aleppo by Syrian and Russian forces in Syria’s civil war.

He warned of dire consequence if Ukraine – one of the world’s major grain producers – could not export its foodstuffs and urged energy-producing countries to boost output so Russia cannot use its oil and gas wealth to “blackmail” other nations.

The U.N. has confirmed 1,104 civilian deaths and 1,754 injuries in Ukraine and says the real toll is likely higher. Ukraine says 136 children have been killed.

Russia’s defence ministry said 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded, the Interfax news agency reported on Friday. Ukraine says 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. Reuters could not independently verify the claims.

Reuters

International

Donald Trump says FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago home

Published

on

Donald Trump

Federal investigators searched the contents of Donald Trump’s safe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the former president said in a statement on Monday, the latest indication of an intensifying criminal investigation by the justice department into his affairs.

The FBI executed a search warrant around 6pm ET at Trump’s residence, which appears to have been related to an investigation into Trump unlawfully taking White House documents with him to Mar-a-Lago after his presidency, according to a source familiar with the matter.

“My beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a bitter statement lashing out at the raid, adding: “They even broke into my safe!”

READ ALSO:

During his presidency, Mar-a-Lago was known as Trump’s “winter White House”. Donald and Melania returned to the Florida resort after leaving Washington and since then, the president has made it the center of his political dealings.

The raid comes as Trump has been laying the foundations for another presidential run in 2024, and in the wake of a series of damning public hearings that laid out his and his allies’ role in the events leading up to the storming of the US capitol on 6 January.

In a furious statement, Trump compared the FBI raid to “Watergate” and blamed it on “Radical Left Democrats” who he said “desperately don’t want me to run for president in 2024 … who will do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming midterms elections”.

Continue Reading

International

US announces $1bn in new military aid for Ukraine in largest delivery of arms yet

Published

on

U.S. President, Joe Biden

The White House has pledged another $1 billion in new military aid for Ukraine – the largest delivery of rockets, ammunition and other arms from the nation to date.

It takes the total US security assistance to Ukraine under the Biden administration to more than $9 billion since Russia’s invasion in February.

The aid includes additional rockets for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, as well as thousands of artillery rounds, mortar systems, Javelins and other ammunition and equipment.

The announcement comes as analysts warn that Russia is moving troops and equipment to southern port cities to stave off a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

“At every stage of this conflict, we have been focused on getting the Ukrainians what they need, depending on the evolving conditions on the battlefield,” Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, said.

READ ALSO:

Monday’s package allows the US to deliver weapons systems and other equipment more quickly since it takes them off the Defense Department shelves.

For the last four months of the war, Russia has concentrated on capturing the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have controlled some territory as self-proclaimed republics for eight years.

Russian forces have made gradual headway in the region while launching missile and rocket attacks to curtail the movements of Ukrainian fighters elsewhere.

Mr Kahl estimated that Russian forces have sustained up to 80,000 deaths and injuries in the fighting, though he did not break down the figure with an estimate of forces killed.

He said the Russian troops have managed to gain “incremental” ground in eastern Ukraine, although not in recent weeks.

“But that has come at extraordinary cost to the Russian military because of how well the Ukrainian military has performed and all the assistance that the Ukrainian military has gotten.

And I think now, conditions in the east have essentially stabilised and the focus is really shifting to the south.”

The US and allies still are evaluating whether to supply aircraft to Ukraine, Kahl said. It’s “not inconceivable that western aircraft down the road could be part of the mix,” he said.

Evening Standard
Continue Reading

International

Three killed in Washington DC lightning strike – was climate change to blame?

Published

on

A Reuters TV video camera mounted on a nearby rooftop in Washington DC captured the lightning strike. Reuters

Climate change is increasing the likelihood of lightning strikes across the United States, scientists say.

The warning comes after a deadly lightning strike hit Washington DC last Thursday (4 August 2022), killing three people and leaving one other in critical condition.

What caused the deadly lightning strike in Washington DC?

Last week’s hot, humid conditions in Washington DC were primed for electricity. Air temperatures topped out at 34C. This is 3C higher than the 30-year normal maximum temperature for this time of year, according to the National Weather Service.

More heat can draw more moisture into the atmosphere, while also encouraging rapid updraft – two key factors for charged particles, which lead to lightning.

Global warming could increase the number of lightning strikes

In 2014, a key study released in the journal Science warned that the number of lightning strikes could increase by 50 per cent in this century in the United States. For each 1C of warming, a 12 per cent rise in the number of lightning strikes could occur, according to the study.

Fast-warming Alaska has seen a 17 per cent rise in lightning activity since the cooler 1980s. And in typically dry California, a siege of 14,000 lightning strikes during August 2020 sparked some of the state’s biggest wildfires on record.

Because heat and moisture are often needed to make lightning, most strikes happen in the summer. In the United States, the populous, subtropical state of Florida sees the most people killed by lightning.

Beyond the United States, there is evidence that lightning strikes are also shooting up in India and Brazil.

Three people were killed by the Washington DC lightning strike

Two men and two women were struck by lightning on Thursday while visiting Washington’s Lafayette Square, just north of the White House.

During a violent, afternoon thunderstorm, lightning hit near a tree that stands metres away from the fence that surrounds the presidential residence and offices across from the square, which is often crowded with visitors, especially in the summer months.

All four victims sustained critical, life-threatening injuries, and were taken to area hospitals. Two of them later died: James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, from Janesville, Wisconsin, the Metropolitan Police Department reported.

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life,” the White House said in a statement on Friday. “Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones, and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives.”

Later on Friday a third victim, a 29-year-old male, was pronounced dead. Further details on the victim were being withheld until the next-of-kin were notified.

It is still rare to be hit by lightning in the US, experts say

But even as lightning strikes increase, being hit by one is still extremely rare in the United States, experts say. Roughly 40 million lightning bolts touch down in the country every year, according to the Center for Disease Control – with the odds of being struck less than 1 in a million.

Among those who are hit, about 90 per cent survive the ordeal, the CDC says. The country counted 444 deaths from lightning strikes from 2006 through to 2021.

Euronews
Continue Reading

Trending