US president is expected to announce further Russia sanctions as NATO, G7 and EU leaders to meet to discuss Ukraine war.
- The United States has determined that Russian forces committed war crimes in Ukraine.
- More than 4,500 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities on Wednesday through humanitarian corridors, a Ukrainian official has said.
- Russia says it will expel US diplomats in a tit-for-tat movestate media TASS has reported.
- Joe Biden has landed in Brussels ahead of NATO, G7 and EU summits.
- US president is expected to unveil further sanctions against Russia while on European trip.
- The first shipment from an $800m US arms package to Ukraine will be sent this week, a senior US defence official has said.
Here are the latest updates:
Biden thanks Belgium for supporting Russia sanctions: White House
Biden has thanked Belgium for its role in supporting sanctions against Russia, a White House official has said.
“Prime Minister Alexander de Croo of Belgium welcomed President Biden upon his arrival in Brussels,” the official said in a statement.
“President Biden thanked the Prime Minister for Belgium’s robust support in the EU for sanctions against Russia and for ongoing coordination in providing security assistance to Ukraine.”
First shipment from $800m US arms package to Ukraine to be sent this week
The first shipment from a new $800m US arms package for Ukraine will be shipped in the next day or so, and will not take long to reach Ukraine, a senior US defence official has said.
The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, did not specify which systems would be included in the first shipments to Ukraine but said priority would be given to the kinds of defensive weapons already being used by Ukrainian troops.
“We are already aggregating stocks in the United States and we’re getting ready to ship them over there,” the official said.
Biden lands in Brussels ahead of key meetings with European allies
Joe Biden has landed in Brussels ahead of NATO, G7 and European Union summits on Thursday.
The US president is expected to announce fresh sanctions on Russia while on his European tour, while shoring up support for Ukraine among Washington’s allies.
Before his departure for Belgium, Biden told reporters as he boarded the Marine One helicopter at the White House that he sees “a real threat” of Russian chemical warfare against Ukraine.
More than 4,550 people evacuated from Ukrainian cities on Wednesday
A total of 4,554 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Wednesday, a senior official has said.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said in an online post that 2,912 people had left the besieged city of Mariupol in private vehicles.
A day earlier, Tymoshenko said 8,057 people had escaped from cities across the country.
US says it determined Russian forces committed ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine
The United States has determined that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, stressing that Washington’s assessment is based on information drawn from “public and intelligence sources”.
In a statement on Wednesday, Blinken said there have been numerous credible reports of “indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians” in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began.
“Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the US government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” he said.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis.
Read all the updates from Wednesday, March 23 here.