As Russian troops heighten their raids in eastern Ukraine and the civilian death toll rises, NATO officials convened in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss sanctions against Moscow and backing for Kyiv.
Here’s what you need to know:
- NATO warning: Despite Russia changing its military focus to the east of the country, NATO’s chief alerted the war could stretch on for years, as Russian President Vladimir Putin wants “to control the whole of Ukraine.” Secretary general Jens Stoltenberg also thanked the US for imposing sanctions on Russia, boosting defense capacities in Europe, and supporting Ukraine.
- UK’s stance: At a dinner with NATO foreign ministers, the British foreign secretary said the “age of engagement with Russia is over,” and “it is time to cast off an outdated approach to handling Russia.”
- US sanctions Putin family: The White House declared a new round of sanctions targeting major Russian financial institutions — as well as Putin’s adult daughters, Mariya Putina and Katerina Tikhonova. The US hopes to freeze any assets Putin may be hiding with them, a senior US official says.
- Trenches at Chernobyl: Ukrainian authorities disclosed drone video Wednesday displaying abandoned Russian military positions, including vacant pits and trenches, in a highly radioactively contaminated area near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
- Zelensky’s plea: In his nightly address Wednesday, the Ukrainian President delivered a message to the world that the “attitude to Russia is simple: either you support a search for peace or you’re supporting mass murders.” He also emphasized the need to restore Ukraine’s economy, and said he would call for the complete blockade of Russian banks from the international banking system.
- Russian speakers killed: In an interview with a Turkish outlet, Zelensky alleged people in Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine — including hundreds of children — have died in Russian airstrikes. Russia “told these people that they were coming to defend them,” he said.
- Civilian casualties: At least 1,563 civilians have been killed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, according to UN estimates. More than 2,200 have been injured.
- Horror in Bucha: More global leaders are denouncing Putin and Russian forces after the horrifying images of civilian casualties from Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, that emerged over the weekend. Journalists at the scene this week described seeing victims with their hands bound behind their backs, shot multiple ti