Ukraine war: US, France to hold Russia to account

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The United States and France say they would hold Russia to account for widely documented atrocities and war crimes committed both by its regular armed forces and by its proxies in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron made the statement after talks at the Oval Office on Thursday.

Biden said Washington and Paris “are facing down Vladimir Putin’s grasping ambition for conquest” and “defending the democratic values and universal human rights.”

Biden told reporters he was prepared to speak with the Russian president “if in fact there is an interest in him deciding he’s looking for a way to end the war,” but added that Putin “hasn’t done that yet.”

Macron said he would continue to talk to Putin to “try to prevent escalation and to get some very concrete results” such as the safety of nuclear plants.

“We will never urge the Ukrainians to make a compromise which will not be acceptable for them because they are so brave,” Macron said.

There are no political talks underway to end the war, which Russia began on February 24 as a “special military operation” claiming its aim was to disarm its neighbour and root out leaders it characterises as dangerous nationalists.

Also Read: Ukraine war: EU considers cyber defence plans

Ukraine and the West call it an imperialist land grab, which has killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on both sides.

Meanwhile, Russia has accused the United States and NATO of playing a direct and dangerous role in the war and said Washington had turned Kyiv into an existential threat for Moscow which it could not ignore.

Ukraine’s armed forces have lost somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers so far, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told a Ukrainian television network on Thursday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in a video posted on Thursday night, remarked that December 1 was the anniversary of a referendum 31 years ago when Ukraine – then still part of the Soviet Union – voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence.

“Our desire to live freely … will not be broken. Ukrainians will never again be a tiny stone in some empire,” Zelenskiy said.

 

Reuters /Zainab Sa’id

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