Russia-Ukraine War: Biden Says ‘Butcher’ Putin Should No Longer Lead; Lviv Hit by Rockets | 10 Highlights

Smoke rises after an airstrike in Lviv, Ukraine, on Saturday. (Image: REUTERS/Vladyslav Sodel)

US President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “butcher” after he met Ukrainian war refugees in Poland

Vladimir Putin should no longer be the leader of Russia, said United States President Joe Biden on Saturday during his visit to Poland. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden announced at the very end of his address delivered to a crowd at Royal Castle in capital Warsaw.

He had called the Russian president a “butcher” while meeting Ukrainian war refugees earlier in the day. He also issued a stern warning to Putin: “Don’t even think about moving on one single inch of NATO territory.”

Lviv, meanwhile, was hit by rockets on the outskirts, said the city’s mayor, describing it as the first attacks within city limits since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Here are the top 10 highlights of the conflict, which has now entered its second month:

  1. Biden’s warning, strong message
    Delivering an impassioned speech in Polish capital Warsaw, Biden said the US was committed to obligations laid out in NATO’s charter “with the full force of our collective power”. But, he made it clear that the current conflict in Ukraine — not a NATO member — does not require America to become directly involved. “American forces are not in Europe to engage in conflict with Russian forces, American forces are here to defend NATO allies,” he said. Towards the end, Biden said Putin should no longer be the leader of his country, at the same time saying Europe must “steel itself for a long fight against Russian aggression”.
  2. Lviv bombed by rockets
    In what can be described as the first attacks within city limits of Lviv, the mayor said rockets had hit city outskirts. Lviv, some 60 km from the Polish border, has so far escaped the bombardment and fighting that has devastated some Ukrainian cities closer to Russia. Governor Maksym Kozytskyy said two rockets had struck the city’s eastern outskirts in the mid-afternoon and ordered residents to take shelter. Later, mayor Andriy Sadoviy said there had been another strike. “One more rocket strike on Lviv,” he said in an online post. Kozytskyy said five people had been wounded in the attack, citing preliminary figures.
  3. Russians Shift Focus?
    Russian forces in Ukraine seem to have shifted their focus from a ground offensive aimed at Kyiv, the capital, to instead prioritising what Moscow calls liberation of the contested Donbas region in the country’s industrial east, officials said, suggesting a new phase of the war.
  4. Russian defence minister speaks after long public silence
    Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu was seen chairing an army meeting and discussing weapons supplies in a video posted by his ministry, the first time he had publicly been shown speaking for more than two weeks. In the video, uploaded on social media, Shoigu said he had discussed issues related to the military budget and defence orders with the finance ministry. Prior to that, he had not been seen in public since March 11, fuelling speculation about his whereabouts.
  5. Ukrainian counteroffensive pushes Russians back
    Battle lines near Kyiv have been frozen for weeks with two main Russian armoured columns stuck northwest and east of the capital. A British intelligence report described a Ukrainian counteroffensive that had pushed Russians back in the east. On the other main front outside Kyiv, to the capital’s northwest, Ukrainian forces have been trying to encircle Russian troops in the suburbs of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, reduced to ruins by heavy fighting. The cities of Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy have also endured devastating bombardment. Russia’s defence ministry said 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded, the Interfax news agency reported. Ukraine says 15,000 Russian soldiers have died.
  6. Mariupol situation critical
    The mayor of the besieged city said he had spoken to France’s ambassador to Ukraine about options for evacuating civilians, after French President Emmanuel Macron said he would propose to Russia a plan to help people leave. Speaking on national TV, Mayor Vadym Boichenko said the situation in the encircled city remained critical, with street fighting taking place in its centre.
  7. 136 children dead
    The United Nations has confirmed 1,081 civilian deaths and 1,707 injuries in Ukraine but says the real toll is likely higher. Ukraine’s top presecutor general said the Russian invasion has led to the deaths of 136 children.
  8. Biden face-to-face with top Ukrainian officials in Poland
    In Poland, Biden met two Ukrainian ministers in the first face-to-face meeting between him and top Kyiv officials. Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and defence minister Oleksii Reznikov made a rare trip out of Ukraine.
  9. Zelenskyy asks for peace talks again
    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has again appealed to Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but says Ukraine would not agree to give up any of its territory for the sake of peace. In his nightly video address to the nation Friday, Zelenskyy appeared to be responding to Col Gen Sergei Rudskoi, deputy chief of the Russian general staff, who said Russian forces would now focus on the main goal, the liberation of Donbas.
  10. Humanitarian corridors
    Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said agreement has been reached on the establishment of 10 humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from front line hotspots in Ukrainian towns and cities.

(With inputs from Reuters and Associated Press)

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