US ignores Russia warning on arms as Biden meets Scholz

WASHINGTON: America responded Friday to a Russian warning in opposition to arming Ukraine by providing an additional $400 million in safety help, as President Joe Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a present of unity in opposition to Moscow.

The pinnacle of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group in the meantime mentioned its forces had “virtually encircled” the japanese Ukraine metropolis of Bakhmut, which has seen the fiercest preventing of Moscow’s invasion.

Western army assist for Ukraine has been key to Kyiv’s capacity to carry out in opposition to Moscow’s army onslaught and to even regain floor, however the Kremlin mentioned such help will solely “extend the battle and have unhappy penalties for the Ukrainian individuals.”

Arms deliveries “place a major burden on the economies of those international locations and negatively have an effect on the well-being of residents of those international locations, together with Germany,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned.

Washington ignored that warning, saying the brand new safety package deal for Kyiv that featured ammunition, together with for the Himars precision rocket system that Ukrainian forces have used to devastating impact in opposition to Russian troops and provide dumps.

Biden, Scholz to weigh subsequent steps for Ukraine

In a show of partnership after friction over supplying tanks to Ukraine, Biden hosted Scholz on the White Home for his first journey to Washington since Russia’s invasion.

Once they final met, “Russia was amassing its troops” on the border, Biden mentioned briefly remarks to the press, including the West had vowed to reply and “collectively we made good on that promise.”

In reply, Scholz mentioned it was vital to ship a message to Ukraine that “we are going to proceed to (help it) so long as it takes and so long as it needed.”

The absence of a joint press convention raised questions on remaining difficulties, however the two leaders tried to dispel that impression, and Scholz mentioned the bilateral relationship was “in an excellent form.”

In one other present of help for Ukraine, US Lawyer Common Merrick Garland made a shock go to to the nation on Friday to attend a convention on justice and warfare crimes.

“The lawyer basic held a number of conferences and reaffirmed our dedication to carry Russia accountable for crimes dedicated in its unjust and unprovoked invasion in opposition to its sovereign neighbor,” a Justice Division official mentioned.

Battle for Bakhmut

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin mentioned in a video launched on Telegram Friday that the group’s models “have virtually surrounded Bakhmut, just one highway stays” to be captured.

Western allies discussing ‘safety ensures’ with Kyiv: Scholz

The 61-year-old has often posted in regards to the advances of Wagner, his once-shadowy drive that has taken heart stage within the combat in japanese Ukraine.

He has mentioned in latest weeks that his fighters have seized three villages north of Bakhmut – Yagidne, Berkhivka and Paraskoviivka.

Ukraine has mentioned it’ll defend “fortress Bakhmut” for so long as potential, however this week officers mentioned the state of affairs was troublesome.

Russia is set to grab Bakhmut – a now-destroyed metropolis as soon as recognized for its glowing wine – as a part of its wider goal of capturing the whole Donetsk area.

Ukrainian troops have held out for months, preventing brutal trench warfare and artillery battles which have flattened massive parts of town, and President Volodymyr Zelensky this week mentioned that the preventing was “solely growing.”

His feedback adopted an evaluation from the commander of Ukraine’s floor forces Oleksandr Syrskyi, who mentioned it was “extraordinarily tense” within the metropolis.

‘Measures’ at border

Each Ukrainian and Russian forces have reported heavy casualties within the battle for management of Bakhmut, whose symbolic significance outstrips its army significance.

The battle has additionally uncovered political rivalries between Prigozhin and Russia’s common military.

US to unveil new ammunition assist to Ukraine Friday

Final week, he issued an unprecedented name to Russians to take his aspect and urged the protection ministry to share ammunition together with his fighters.

Whereas the hotspot of the preventing is within the east of Ukraine, Russia mentioned this week {that a} group of Ukrainian combatants had crossed into the southern Bryansk area.

Kyiv dismissed the claims as a “deliberate provocation.”

The demise toll from a Russian strike that hit an house block within the southern metropolis of Zaporizhzhia earlier within the week has risen to seven, Ukrainian rescue providers mentioned.

Moscow says its areas bordering Ukraine are routinely shelled by Ukrainian forces, however the reported incursion was a uncommon occasion of preventing inside Russia.

The Kremlin mentioned Friday it will take steps to forestall cross-border incursions which killed two.

“Measures shall be taken to forestall comparable occasions sooner or later,” Kremlin spokesman Peskov mentioned.