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A mayor in Lithuania has a blunt message for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who launched an assault on Ukraine and is dealing with investigation for attainable conflict crimes, together with assaults on civilians.

Remigijus Simasius, the mayor of Vilnius, the capital, and a staff of volunteers painted “Putin, The Hague is ready for you” in massive block letters on a avenue simply outdoors the Russian embassy, in line with Reuters.

A handout picture supplied by the mayor’s workplace to the information company reveals the stencil in place:

A sign that reads “Putin, The Hague is waiting for you” is seen outside the Russian embassy in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. (Photo: Handout via Reuters)

An indication that reads “Putin, The Hague is ready for you” is seen outdoors the Russian embassy in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. (Photograph: Handout through Reuters)

The message comes as Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan of the Worldwide Legal Courtroom ― positioned in The Hague, within the Netherlands ― introduced an investigation of Putin over potential conflict crimes.

In a single occasion, Russia is accused of utilizing fearsome thermobaric weapons, aka “vacuum bombs.”

“If that had been true, it could probably be a conflict crime,” White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned this week, including that the U.S. has not but confirmed use of the weapons.

CNN reporters over the weekend mentioned they noticed a thermobaric rocket launcher shifting into place close to the border.

There are additionally a number of movies on-line of Russian strikes on civilian targets, and studies of deaths and accidents amongst civilians.

This text initially appeared on HuffPost and has been up to date.


Russia evacuates embassy in Ukraine as crisis escalates

Ukrainian cops stand guard in entrance of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday. Ukraine urged its residents to depart Russia as Europe braced for additional confrontation Wednesday after Russia’s chief obtained authorization to make use of navy drive exterior his nation. (Emilio Morenatti, Related Press)

Estimated learn time: 7-8 minutes

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia started evacuating its embassy in Kyiv and Ukraine urged its residents to depart Russia on Wednesday because the area braced for additional confrontation after President Vladimir Putin obtained authorization to make use of navy drive exterior his nation and the West responded with sanctions.

Hopes for a diplomatic manner out of a brand new, doubtlessly devastating battle in Europe appeared all however sunk because the U.S. and key European allies accused Moscow of crossing a pink line Tuesday in rolling over Ukraine’s border into separatist areas in Ukraine’s east known as Donbas, with some calling it an invasion.

Russia emptied its diplomatic posts in Ukraine, state information company Tass reported, a day after the Overseas Ministry introduced a plan to evacuate, citing threats. By Wednesday afternoon, the Russian flag not flew over the Kyiv embassy, and police surrounded the constructing.

After weeks of making an attempt to undertaking calm, Ukrainian authorities signaled growing concern. The Overseas Ministry suggested in opposition to journey to Russia and really helpful any Ukrainians there depart instantly, saying Moscow’s “aggression” might result in a big discount in consular providers.

Ukraine’s Nationwide Safety and Protection Council chief Oleksiy Danilov known as for a nationwide state of emergency, topic to parliamentary approval. He stated it will likely be as much as regional authorities to find out which measures to use, however they may embrace elevated safety at public amenities, site visitors restrictions and extra transport and doc checks.

A senior U.S. protection official in Washington stated the Russian forces arrayed alongside Ukraine’s borders are “as prepared as they are often” for an invasion, with about 80% in what the U.S. considers “ahead positions, able to go” inside 5 kilometers to 50 kilometers (3 to 30 miles) of the border.

The official, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate delicate info, added. “We nonetheless can’t verify that Russian forces have moved into the Donbas space.”

Now the stress must step as much as cease Putin. Hit his financial system and cronies. Hit extra. Hit arduous. Hit now.

– Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian overseas minister

President Joe Biden allowed sanctions to maneuver ahead in opposition to the corporate that constructed the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline and in opposition to the corporate’s CEO, the White Home stated.

Germany stated Tuesday it was indefinitely suspending the undertaking after Biden charged that Putin had launched “the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine” by sending troops into two separatist areas of japanese Ukraine. The pipeline is full however has not but begun working.

“At present, I’ve directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its company officers,” Biden stated in a press release. “These steps are one other piece of our preliminary tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I’ve made clear, we won’t hesitate to take additional steps if Russia continues to escalate.”

Biden waived sanctions final 12 months in opposition to Nord Stream 2 AG, when the undertaking was virtually accomplished, in return for an settlement from Germany to take motion in opposition to Russia if it used fuel as a weapon or attacked Ukraine.

Putin stated Tuesday he hadn’t but despatched any Russian troops into the insurgent areas opposite to Western claims, and Donetsk insurgent chief Denis Pushilin insisted Wednesday there have been no Russian troops within the area despite the fact that an area council member claimed yesterday that they had moved in.

A Ukrainian serviceman stands at his position at the line of separation between Ukraine-held territory and rebel-held territory near Svitlodarsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. U.S. President Joe Biden announced the U.S. was ordering heavy financial sanctions against Russia, declaring that Moscow had flagrantly violated international law in what he called the "beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine."
A Ukrainian serviceman stands at his place on the line of separation between Ukraine-held territory and rebel-held territory close to Svitlodarsk, japanese Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. U.S. President Joe Biden introduced the U.S. was ordering heavy monetary sanctions in opposition to Russia, declaring that Moscow had flagrantly violated worldwide regulation in what he known as the “starting of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.” (Picture: Evgeniy Maloletka, Related Press)

Ukraine’s Minister for Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov stated a wave of denial-of-service assaults focused official web sites and a few banks Wednesday, knocking websites of the parliament, cupboard and Overseas Ministry offline and inflicting interruptions or delays to the websites of the protection and inside ministry, which controls the police.

Most of the identical websites had been equally knocked offline in assaults final week that the U.S. and U.Ok. governments shortly blamed on Russia’s GRU navy intelligence company. Such assaults barrage web sites with junk site visitors, rendering them unreachable. Wednesday’s DDoS assaults appeared to have much less affect than the sooner onslaught, with focused websites quickly reachable once more — as emergency responders blunted them.

These had been simply the newest in a collection of indicators of escalating tensions. Kyiv recalled its ambassador to Russia and regarded breaking all diplomatic ties with Moscow; dozens of countries additional squeezed Russian oligarchs and banks out of worldwide markets; Germany halted a profitable pipeline deal; the U.S. repositioned further troops to NATO’s japanese flank bordering Russia; and the highest U.S. diplomat canceled a gathering along with his Russian counterpart.

Already, the specter of battle has shredded Ukraine’s financial system and raised the specter of huge casualties, power shortages throughout Europe and world financial chaos.

Even because the battle took a brand new, harmful flip, leaders warned it might nonetheless worsen. Putin has but to unleash the drive of the 150,000 troops massed on three sides of Ukraine, whereas U.S. President Joe Biden held again on even harder sanctions that might trigger financial turmoil for Russia however stated they’d go forward if there’s additional aggression.

European Union sanctions in opposition to Russia took impact, focusing on a number of corporations together with 351 Russian lawmakers, who voted for a movement urging Putin to acknowledge the insurgent areas, and 27 senior authorities officers, enterprise executives and prime navy officers.

It’s arduous to think about that there’s a particular person in Washington who expects Russia to revise its overseas coverage underneath a menace of restrictions.

–Anatoly Antonov, Russian ambassador within the US

German Overseas Minister Annalena Baerbock known as the EU sanctions solely “a primary step” and stated extra might comply with. Sanctions are key as a result of the West has dominated out taking over Russia militarily.

Ukrainian Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged Western leaders to not wait.

“We name on companions to impose extra sanctions on Russia now,” he tweeted Wednesday. “Now the stress must step as much as cease Putin. Hit his financial system and cronies. Hit extra. Hit arduous. Hit now.”

Responding defiantly to the steps already taken, Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov retorted on Fb that “sanctions can’t clear up a factor. It’s arduous to think about that there’s a particular person in Washington who expects Russia to revise its overseas coverage underneath a menace of restrictions.”

Russia’s Overseas Ministry has additionally bristled at sanctions. “Russia has confirmed that, with all the prices of the sanctions, it is ready to decrease the harm,” a press release learn.

Cyclists ride past an installation of crosses on which is written "Russian occupier", in front of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday. Ukraine urged its citizens to leave Russia as Europe braced for further confrontation.
Cyclists trip previous an set up of crosses on which is written “Russian occupier”, in entrance of the Russian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday. Ukraine urged its residents to depart Russia as Europe braced for additional confrontation. (Picture: /Emilio Morenatti)

In Ukraine’s east, the place an eight-year battle between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces has killed almost 14,000 folks, violence additionally spiked once more. One Ukrainian soldier was killed and 6 extra had been injured after insurgent shelling, the Ukrainian navy stated. Separatist officers reported a number of explosions on their territory in a single day and three civilian deaths.

In St. Petersburg, in the meantime, a number of hundred folks reportedly rallied in assist of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics within the east, whereas Russia marked Defender of the Fatherland Day, which celebrates the nation’s veterans and energetic servicemen.

After weeks of rising tensions, Putin took a collection of steps this week that dramatically raised the stakes. First, he acknowledged the independence of these separatist areas. Then, he stated that recognition extends even to the big elements of the territories now held by Ukrainian forces, together with the main Azov Sea port of Mariupol.

Lastly, lawmakers gave him authority to make use of navy drive exterior the nation — successfully formalizing a Russian navy deployment to the insurgent areas.

Putin laid out three situations that he stated might finish the standoff, urging Kyiv to acknowledge Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, to surrender its bid to affix NATO and partially demilitarize. Ukraine lengthy has rejected such calls for.

As rhetoric in Russia and the West toughened, British Protection Secretary Ben Wallace recalled how the British military “kicked the bottom” of Russia throughout the Crimean Warfare within the nineteenth century. Russia’s Protection Minister Igor Konashenkov fired again, dismissing Wallace’s claims as “mythology” and advising British troopers to review the historical past of Russia to keep away from “enriching our shared navy historical past with their lives for the pleasure of poorly educated British politicians.”

Lleida Contributing: Jim Heintz, Angela Charlton, Frank Jordans, Aamer Madhani, Eric Tucker, Ellen Knickmeyer, Robert Burns, Matthew Lee, Zeke Miller, Chris Megerian, Darlene Superville.


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