May 19, 2022

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Travelling Tomorrow

Moscow says talks with Ukraine are continuing


By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate will take up legislation Thursday to end normal trade relations with Russia and to ban the importation of its oil.

Both bills have been bogged down in the Senate, frustrating lawmakers who want to ratchet up the U.S. response to Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to be held accountable for what Schumer said were war crimes against Ukraine.

The trade suspension measure paves the way for U.S. President Joe Biden to enact higher tariffs on certain Russian imports.

The bill banning Russian oil would codify restrictions Biden has already put in place through executive action.

In a virtual speech to Congress last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “new packages of sanctions are needed constantly every week until the Russian military machine stops.”

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— Mariupol’s dead put at 5,000 as Ukraine braces in the east

— US targets Putin’s daughters, Russian banks in new sanctions

— Burned, piled bodies among latest horrors in Bucha, Ukraine

— Russia’s setback in Kyiv was memorable military failure

— Russian media campaign falsely claims Bucha deaths are fakes

— China calls for probe into Bucha killings, assigns no blame

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday calling for a federal government report on evidence of war crimes committed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Lawmakers backed the measure amid gruesome reports of atrocities in towns around Kyiv, particularly Bucha, and new accounts of the civilian death toll in the besieged port city of Mariupol.

The legislation calls for the U.S. president to submit to Congress a report on efforts to preserve evidence related to war crimes.

Last month, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution seeking an investigation of Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes.

In his daily nighttime video address to the nation late Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to hide evidence of war crimes to interfere with the international investigation.

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LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of trying to hide the evidence of war crimes to interfere with the international investigation.

“It seems that the Russian leadership was really afraid that the global anger over what was seen in Bucha would be repeated after what was seen in other cities,” Zelenskyy said in his daily nighttime video address to the nation late Wednesday.

“We have information that the Russian troops have changed tactics and are trying to remove the dead people, the dead Ukrainians, from the streets and cellars of territory they occupied. This is only an attempt to hide the evidence and nothing more,” Zelenskyy said.

He also said thousands of people are now missing, either dead or deported to Russia.

Zelenskyy also urged Russian citizens not to be afraid to protest the war.

“If you have even a little shame about what the Russian military is doing in Ukraine, then for such Russian citizens this is a key moment: You have to demand – just demand – an end to the war,” he said.

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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron spoke out against Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday evening, defending himself over criticism he held multiple talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to no avail.

On Monday, Morawiecki ridiculed the French leader’s several hours of phone calls with Putin, saying that they achieved nothing.

Some fear the comments from Poland might destabilize unity of the European Union as it hopes to stand unified in the face of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

Macron told TF1 broadcaster’s evening news that he takes full responsibility for speaking to Putin “in the name of France to avoid the war and to build a new architecture for peace in Europe several years ago.”

Macron is standing for re-election in France in polls that begin Sunday.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities say nearly 5,000 people were evacuated from combat areas Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 1,171 people were evacuated from the besieged Sea of Azov port of Mariupol, and 2,515 more left the cities of Berdyansk and Melitopol and other areas in the south.

She said an additional 1,206 people were evacuated from the eastern region of Luhansk.

Vereshchuk and other officials have been urging residents of eastern regions to evacuate in the face of an impending Russian offensive, saying that people in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions should leave for safer regions.

Donetsk region Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said at least five civilians were killed and eight others wounded by Russian shelling Wednesday.

Over 10 million people, about a quarter of Ukraine’s population, have been displaced by the war, and more than 4 million of them have fled the country.

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UNITED NATIONS — The United States and United Kingdom have boycotted an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council called by Russia to press its baseless claims that the U.S. has biological warfare laboratories in Ukraine.

The move by Russia on Wednesday was the latest of several that have led Western countries to accuse Moscow of using the U.N. as a platform for “disinformation” to draw attention away from its war against its smaller neighbor.

U.N. disarmament chief Izumi Nakamitsu told the council at two official Security Council meetings called by Russia on the issue last month that the United Nations is not aware of any biological weapons program in Ukraine.

“A smoke screen to draw attention away from the brutal warfare,” “irresponsible,” “dangerous” and “deplorable” were just a few of the responses by countries, including Norway, France, Ireland and Albania.

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ROME — Italian Premier Mario Draghi says no embargo of Russian gas is up for consideration at this point as the European Union ponders its next package of sanctions over the war in Ukraine, adding: “I don’t know if it ever will be on the table.’

Draghi told reporters Monday night that in case a gas embargo is proposed, Italy “will be very happy to follow it” if that would make peace possible.

Draghi added: “If the price of gas can be exchanged for peace … what do we choose? Peace? Or to have the air conditioning running in the summer? This is the question we must pose.”

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