Biden says Russia’s Putin committing ‘genocide’ in Ukraine

  • US President Joe Biden says Russia is committing “genocide” in Ukraine by seeking to “wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian”.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised that Moscow will triumph in its “noble” war aims.
  • The mayor of Mariupol claims about 21,000 civilians have been killed in the besieged Ukrainian city to date.
  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expresses concern about the unconfirmed report of chemical weapons use in Mariupol.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Russian statesman says unconfirmed biowarfare labs in Ukraine ‘unacceptable’

Russia’s Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, has reiterated claims that the United States funded biological laboratories in Ukraine to develop biological weapons.

“These laboratories were not set up to pursue methods of eliminating dangerous diseases”, Medvedev said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.

“The work that was done there involved investigating pathological organisms that carry a threat to all of humanity,” he added, saying Russia considers such activity “unacceptable”.

In late March, Russia’s parliament set up a working group to investigate “the activities of biological laboratories in Ukraine”. Independent scientists, Ukrainian leaders, and officials at the White House and Pentagon have denied Russia’s claims.


‘World must respond now’: Zelenskyy on reports Russia used chemical weapons

Zelenskyy has called on the world to respond “preventively” to unconfirmed reports Russia used chemical weapons in Mariupol.

“Obviously it is impossible to conduct a full investigation and full analysis in the besieged city,” he said in his night-time address.

But he added given “Russian propagandists” repeated threats to use chemical weapons in Mariupol and the Russian army’s repeated use of phosphorus munitions in Ukraine, “the world must respond now. Respond preventively.”

“Because after the use of weapons of mass destruction, any response will not change anything. And it will only look like a humiliation for the democratic world.”


Zelenskyy offers prisoner swap with Russia: Medvedchuk for ‘our boys and girls’

Zelensky has offered to exchange pro-Kremlin oligarch Victor Medvedchuk for Ukrainians held by Russia.

“I offer the Russian Federation to exchange this guy of yours for our boys and our girls who are now in Russian captivity,” Zelenskyy said in his daily night-time address.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian authorities said they captured Medvedchuck, a prominent pro-Kremlin tycoon who escaped from house arrest after Russia’s invasion.

“And let Medvedchuk be an example for you. Even the former oligarch did not escape, not to mention much more ordinary criminals from the Russian boondocks. We will get everyone,” Zelenskyy warned.


Zelenskyy praises Biden’s ‘genocide’ comments

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has praised Joe Biden’s remarks that Russia committed genocide in Ukraine.

“True words of a true leader. Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil,” Ukraine’s President wrote on Twitter.


Arbitrary killings, forced disappearances in Crimea: human rights report

An annual human rights report released by the United States cites “credible reports” of significant human rights issues in Russian-occupied Crimea.

These include “unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; forced disappearance; torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by Russia or Russia-led ‘authorities’ – including punitive psychiatric incarceration; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions and transfer of prisoners to Russia.”

Russia annexed Ukraine’s territory of Crimea in 2014 and formally integrated it into Russia. Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and many other countries, consider the annexation a violation of international law.


Biden stands by ‘genocide’ remark: ‘Sure seems that way to me’

Biden has stood by his characterisation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide”, saying Putin “is trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian”.

“I called it genocide because it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian and the evidence is mounting,” Biden told reporters.

“We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me,” he said.

Read more here.

Joe Biden
Biden spoke to reporters while departing Des Moines International Airport in Iowa [Al Drago/Reuters]

FIFA warned court of World Cup chaos if Russia played

Letting Russia try to qualify for the World Cup risked doing “irreparable and chaotic” harm to the competition, FIFA has argued successfully at sport’s highest court.

The legal debate between FIFA and the Russian soccer federation was published by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, explaining why its judge denied an urgent Russian request to freeze a ban that excluded its teams from the men’s and women’s World Cups.

“Those decisions are both fully understandable and cannot be criticised from either a legal or moral point of view,” FIFA lawyers said in a submission to the court.


Russia, China seek to undercut US in space, US agency finds

A report on space and security conducted by the US’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has shown that Russia and China may be taking steps to undercut the US in its advantage in space, with both nations seeing space as a requirement for winning modern wars.

Those conclusions were spelled out at the Pentagon in the release of “Challenges in Security in Space Report – 2022”.

“Evidence of both nations’ intent to undercut the United States and allied leadership in the space domain can be seen in the growth of combined in-orbit assets of China and Russia,” said Kevin Ryder, a senior analyst at DIA.


Ukrainians return home to widespread destruction

Areas that were retaken by Ukrainian forces north of the capital, Kyiv, have sustained widespread damage by Russian shelling.

A few people have returned to see the devastation for themselves, Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Irpin, Ukraine.

Zelenskyy proposes swapping pro-Russian politician for prisoners

Zelenskyy has proposed swapping Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian tycoon and politician with close ties to Vladimir Putin, for male and female prisoners of war being held by Moscow’s forces.

In his daily address, the Ukrainian president said it was “important for our security forces and military forces to consider such a possibility”.


US to announce $750m more in weapons for Ukraine: Officials

The Biden administration is expected to announce another $750m in military assistance for Ukraine for its fight against Russian forces, two US officials familiar with the matter told the Reuters new agency.

The equipment would be funded using Presidential Drawdown Authority, or PDA, in which the president can authorize the transfer of articles and services from US stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

One of the officials said final determinations were still being made about the mix of equipment.


Biden says Russia is committing ‘genocide’

Biden has accused his Russian counterpart Putin of committing “genocide” in Ukraine.

“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank – none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,” the US president said at an event in Iowa on rising gas prices in the US.

Biden had previously described Putin as a “war criminal“, drawing rebuke from Moscow, but this is the first time he has used the word “genocide” to describe events in Ukraine.


World Bank to send Ukraine $1.5bn as food, energy prices spike

The World Bank is preparing a $1.5bn support package for Ukraine, the bank’s president, David Malpass, has said.

In remarks at the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland, Malpass said the bank was helping Ukraine provide critical services, including paying wages for hospital workers, pensions and social programmes.

“The World Bank was created in 1944 to help Europe rebuild after World War Two. As we did then, we will be ready to help Ukraine with reconstruction when the time comes,” Malpass said.


Chemical weapons watchdog says it is monitoring situation in Ukraine closely

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has said it is concerned by the recent unconfirmed report of chemical weapons use in Mariupol.

A spokesperson for the chemical weapons watchdog said the OPCW “is monitoring closely the situation in Ukraine”.

The group also said it had “uninterruptedly been monitoring the situation around declared chemical industrial sites” in the country.

Woman holding picture frame
A woman carries the portrait of Dmytro Stefienko, 32, a civilian killed during the war with Russia, during his funeral in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv [Rodrigo Abd/AP]

Top US diplomat says Washington cannot confirm use of chemical weapons in Ukraine

The United States is “not in a position to confirm” recent reports of chemical weapons use in Ukraine but is working to determine what happened, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
Ukraine said earlier it was checking unverified information that Russian forces may have used chemical weapons while besieging the city of Mariupol.

“We’re in direct conversation with partners to try to determine what actually has happened,” Blinken told reporters.


Zelenskyy publishes photo of pro-Russian politician in handcuffs

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has published a photo of prominent pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk in handcuffs after what he said was an operation by security forces.

Kyiv said in February that Medvedchuk, the leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life party, had escaped from house arrest. Last year, authorities opened a treason case against Medvedchuk, who says Putin is the godfather to his daughter, and who denies wrongdoing.

Ivan Bakanov, the head of Ukraine’s national security agency, said on the agency’s Telegram channel that Medvedchuk had been detained.


Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Tuesday, April 12 here.

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