Russia signaled on Friday that it might redial its war aimed at focusing on eastern Ukraine after failing to break the country’s resistance in a month of fighting and attacks on civilians, including up to 300 feared killed in a theater bombing.
The shift is likely to occur as President Joe Biden visits elite U.S. troops serving with NATO across the border in Poland and Emmanuel Macron of France proposes the evacuation of internationally -backed civilians trapped in the bombed city of Mariupol.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the February invasion to destroy the Ukrainian army and topple pro-Western President Volodymyr Zelensky, bringing the country under Russian rule.
However, Sergei Rudskoi, a senior general, suggested a significantly reduced “primary goal” to control Donbass, an eastern province that has been partially held by Russian proxies.
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- French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request for Europe to pay for gas in rubles as he accused Moscow of trying to lift sanctions over its war against Ukraine.
- Macron told reporters after the EU summit in Brussels that Russia’s move was “not in line with what was signed, and I don’t see why we would use it”.
- Putin made the claim this week as Moscow struggled to support the economy in the face of weakening sanctions imposed by the West over its aggression on Ukraine.
- Macron said that “we are continuing our analytical work” following the Kremlin move.
- But he insisted “all signed texts are clear: it is forbidden. So European players who buy gas and who are on European soil must do so in euros”.
- A senior White House official said on Friday India’s position at the United Nations over the crisis in Ukraine was “unsatisfactory” but also not surprising given its historical ties with Russia.
- Mira Rapp-Hooper, Indo-Pacific director at the White House National Security Council, told an online forum hosted by Washington’s School of Advanced International Studies India needed an alternative to continuing close ties with Russia.
- “I think we will all certainly acknowledge and agree that when it comes to votes at the UN, India’s stance on the current crisis is unsatisfactory, to say the least. But it is also not surprising,” he said.