Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russian forces of reducing the southern city of Mariupol to ashes. Tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped in the strategic port city with little food or water. There are now no foreign journalists in the city to document what is happening. In southern Ukraine, Russian forces used stun grenades and machine gun fire to disperse a crowd of hundreds of people who gathered in Kherson Monday to protest against the Russian occupation of their city. Ukraine’s defense minister accused Russia of “state terrorism,” saying its assault has killed thousands of civilians, including 150 children, while destroying more than 400 schools and damaging more than 110 hospitals.
Ukrainian officials say a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor was killed when Russian forces shelled an apartment building in the besieged city of Kharkiv on Friday. Boris Romantschenko was captured by the Nazis at the age of 16, deported to Germany and forced into hard labor as a political prisoner in four Nazi concentration camps. He returned to the infamous Buchenwald camp a decade ago to celebrate the 67th anniversary of its liberation. On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky contrasted the killing of Romantschenko with Vladimir Putin’s claims that he’s seeking the “denazification” of Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky: “He survived Buchenwald, Dora-Mittelbau, Peenemünde and Bergen-Belsen, the conveyors of death created by the Hitlerites, but he was killed by a Russian strike which hit an ordinary Kharkiv multistory building. With each day of this war, it becomes more obvious what denazification means to them.”
Russia has summoned the U.S. ambassador to Moscow to deliver a formal complaint over President Joe Biden’s recent remark calling Vladimir Putin a “war criminal.” The diplomatic row threatens to sever relations between Moscow and Washington for the first time since the U.S. recognized the Soviet Union in 1933.
On Monday, President Biden claimed Putin is considering the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine — though Biden cited no evidence.
President Joe Biden: “And so his back is against the wall, and now he’s talking about new false flags he’s setting up, including he’s asserting that we, America, have biological as well as chemical weapons in Europe. Simply not true, I guarantee you. They’re also suggesting that Ukraine has biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. That’s a clear sign he’s considering using both of those.”
The Pentagon has identified the four U.S. marines who were killed Friday after their plane crashed in a remote region of Norway. The crash of the marines’ V-22 Osprey came as the U.S. led NATO allies in a series of massive war games, known as Cold Response. About 30,000 troops from 27 countries are taking part, making it one of NATO’s largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War. NATO says the drills are unrelated to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Japan has renounced Russia’s decision to withdraw from World War II peace talks, more than 76 years after the Soviet Union ended hostilities with Japan. The two sides never signed a peace treaty to formally conclude the war and have been locked in a dispute over territorial rights to the Kuril Islands, which Japan calls its “Northern Territories.” Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday blamed Russia for walking away from peace talks.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida: “This entire situation has been created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And Russia’s response to push this onto Japan-Russia relations is extremely unfair and completely unacceptable. Japan would like to strongly protest against this.”
Afghanistan’s Health Ministry says widespread malnutrition is leading to a surge of premature births and infant deaths. The ministry estimates that, since January, more than 13,000 newborn babies have died from malnutrition and hunger-related diseases. That’s more than six infant deaths per hour. Some 3.5 million children need nutritional support, and 95% of Afghanistan’s population does not have enough to eat. Human Rights Watch says U.S.-led sanctions are impairing Afghans’ basic human rights to life, food, healthcare and jobs. The group says Afghanistan urgently needs a functioning banking system to address its hunger crisis, with U.S. sanctions on Afghanistan’s central bank making large transactions impossible.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened historic confirmation hearings for President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, to fill retiring Justice Stephen Breyer’s upcoming vacancy. Judge Jackson currently sits on D.C.’s federal appellate court and is the first Black woman nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, and the first former public defender. Judge Jackson defended her record during her opening remarks.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson: “I have been a judge for nearly a decade now, and I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously. I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.”
The United Nations’ top official warned Monday the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is “on life support.” Secretary-General António Guterres said countries would need to cut global emissions nearly in half by 2030 in order to have a chance of reaching the 1.5-degree target.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “Last year alone, global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 6% to their highest levels in history. Coal emissions have surged to record highs. We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe. Our planet has already warmed by as much as 1.2 degrees, and we see the devastating consequences everywhere. … If we continue with more of the same, we can kiss 1.5 goodbye. Even 2 degrees may be out of reach.”
Guterres said countries that are looking to replace Russian oil and gas should invest heavily in renewables rather than pumping more oil or drilling new wells.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has unveiled a draft rule that would require publicly traded companies to document how their activities contribute to the climate crisis. Under the rule, corporations would be required to report greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations, as well as from the energy they consume. The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposal.
Chinese media reports rescue crews have found no signs of survivors in the wreckage of a passenger jet that crashed Monday in the southern region of Guangxi. President Xi Jinping has ordered an investigation into how the plane fell more than 25,000 feet in just two minutes. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has assigned an investigator for the crash, since it involved a U.S.-made Boeing 737-800. The aircraft has an excellent safety record, unlike Boeing’s 737 MAX, which had software flaws that led to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia three years ago that killed all 346 people aboard.