” Today, I can report that, based on information currently available, the US government believes that members of Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. »
Blinken, who is en route to Brussels with President Joe Biden for an emergency NATO summit, said Washington was relying on public and intelligence information.
We have seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocitieshe added, specifying that a court of law would ultimately be responsible for determining guilt
in specific cases.
Last week, President Biden declared Mr. Putin a war criminal and Mr. Blinken later claimed that this was also his personal belief.
Expulsion of diplomats
Separately, Moscow will expel US diplomats in retaliation for Washington’s expulsion of 12 members of the Russian diplomatic mission to the UN, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
” The US side has been given firm notice that any hostile act by the US against Russia will meet with a resolute and adequate response. »
The United States expelled 12 diplomats in early March, accusing them of
spying. The Russian ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, then denounced a
hostile gait American.
For its part, Poland expelled on Wednesday
45 Russian spies posing as diplomatsPolish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski announced on Wednesday.
We dismantle the network of Russian special services in our countryhe said on Twitter.
The espionage charges are
unfoundedsaid the Russian ambassador, mentioning that Russia reserved the right to take retaliatory measures.
The three Baltic countries and Bulgaria had taken similar measures on March 18. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have declared 10 Russian diplomats persona non grata,
in solidarity with Ukrainewhile Bulgaria expelled the same number of members of the Russian Embassy.
NATO strengthens in the East
As NATO leaders prepare for their meeting on Thursday, the organisation’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced the dispatch of military reinforcements to its eastern flank as well as increased aid to Ukraine to in the face of Russian cyberattacks and a possible chemical, biological or nuclear attack.
Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia will benefit from the arrival of four new Battlegroups, bringing the number of Battlegroups deployed in Eastern Europe to eight.
In total, NATO now has 40,000 troops directly under its leadership, in addition to the 100,000 US troops deployed in Europe and the forces of other member states, he said.
” We are determined to do everything we can to support Ukraine, assured the Secretary General. But NATO is not a party to the conflict [et] will not send troops to Ukraine. »
Regarding the threats of chemical, biological or nuclear warfare, the Secretary General did not want to go into details before tomorrow’s meeting.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also told CNN that Moscow will only use nuclear weapons in Ukraine if there is an existential threat against Russia.
We have an internal security doctrine; this is public, you can read there all the reasons for the use of nuclear weapons. And if it’s an existential threat to our country, then they can be used in accordance with our doctrine.he said.
US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend the NATO summit, as well as a meeting of G7 Heads of State and Government.
Expectations are high in anticipation of these meetings which aim to present a united front and increase the pressure on the Russians.
The allies have already rejected requests from the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, as well as those to supply fighter jets to kyiv.
They are trying to strengthen Ukrainian defenses without coming into direct conflict with Moscow.
According to Reuters, the Americans are trying in particular to convince Turkey to send its Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Ukraine.
There will also be a question of adjustments
long-term concerning NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe as well as
joint action to strengthen Europe’s energy securityaccording to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
The European Commission is working on the implementation of a plan to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by replacing it in particular with liquefied natural gas from Qatar and the United States.
New sanctions against Russia are also on the table, Sullivan also said.
Calls for the exclusion of the G20
The United States has indicated that it will consult with its allies on the possibility of excluding Russia from certain international organizations, including the G20, which is to meet in November in Bali, Indonesia.
The Russian Embassy in Indonesia said President Vladimir Putin had been invited and intended to attend.
China has come out against such an exclusion.
Russia is an important member country (of the G20), no member has the right to expel another countrysaid a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, Wang Wenbin.
Russia was suspended from the G8 after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Regarding the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, Moscow accused the United States of obstructing them.
Negotiations are difficult, the Ukrainian side is constantly changing its position. It’s hard to get rid of the feeling that our American colleagues are holding their handsRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a speech to students.
He blamed Westerners
to water Ukraine with armsintended for
keep as long as possible the two countries
in a combat situation.
Mr. Lavrov said to himself
hit by the scale of the Western sanctions adopted against Moscow and considered that they were intended to
remove Russia as an obstacle to a unipolar world.
” All this is not about Ukraine, but about the world order that the United States wants to dominate. »
On the humanitarian side, Lavrov will meet Peter Maurer, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Moscow on Thursday, according to the Foreign Ministry.