Ukraine war day 49| Zelensky's message on release of pro-Putin ally: 10 points
Joe Biden yet again slammed Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine war, which has resulted in a tremendous human cost for the war-hit country while the world too witnesses a refugee crisis and emerging challenges over the supply of fuel and grains. After Biden hit out at Putin over what he described as a "genocide", Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted: "True words of a true leader @POTUS. Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil. We are grateful for US assistance provided so far and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities."
Here are ten updates on the Ukraine war:
1. A prominent pro-Kremlin tycoon, Viktor Medvedchuk, was captured by the Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday. Medvedchuk, 67, is said to be one of the richest persons in Ukraine, and he counts Putin among his personal friends and says the Kremlin leader is godfather to his youngest daughter Darya, news agency AFP reported.
2. Zelensky posted a photo of the tycoon on his Instagram account and was quoted as saying in reports: "I propose to the Russian Federation: exchange this guy of yours for our guys and girls now held in Russian captivity." His photo was also shared on Facebook by the head of Ukraine's security service Ivan Bakanov, who said: "You can be a pro-Russian politician and work for the aggressor state for years. You can hide from justice these days. You can even wear a Ukrainian military uniform for camouflage... But will it help you escape punishment? No way! The shackles are waiting on you."
3. Putin on Tuesday pledged to continue his offensive in east Ukraine till his goals were met. The Russian president also said that photos and videos from the Bucha town near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, were fake.
4. In a warning to the West, he said it was not possible to isolate a country like Russia. "We don't intend to be isolated. It is impossible to severely isolate anyone in the modern world - especially such a vast country as Russia," he was quoted as saying in reports.
5. "Yes, I called it genocide," Joe Biden said in angry remarks on the Ukraine war weeks after his comments on Putin - : “For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power” - prompted a clarification from the White House.
6. Russia has been accused of over 5,000 crimes of aggression. "More atrocities of the Russian army were discovered in the Kyiv region: an evacuation convoy with children was attacked; six civilians were found shot dead in a basement. The scale of the killings of civilians is already being assessed by prosecutors as crimes against humanity," Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova said in one of her latest tweets.
7. Over 19,600 security personnel from Russia have been killed in the Ukraine war so far, Kyiv has said.
8. The Kremlin failed to capture Kyiv, and is now planning to intensify operations in the east of Ukraine in the rebel-held Donbas region. Ukraine has said it's planning for the big battle.
9. Ukrainian forces are surrounded and blocked" in Mariupol as Russian forces push to take the southeastern port city, Mykhaylo Podolyak, an official from Zelensky's office, tweeted.
10. The United States has "credible information" that Russia "may use... chemical agents" in its offensive to take Mariupol, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
(With inputs from AP, AFP, Reuters)
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