Recent ‘attacks’ in Ukraine ‘appear to be focused directly on civilians’: Lloyd Austin

Washington: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday saw recent “attacks” in Ukraine as being “directly focused on civilians”. Addressing a news conference with his Slovakian counterpart, Austin stopped short of saying that Russia was committing an outright war crime.

Austin continued, “If you (Russia) attack civilians, intentionally target civilians… that is a crime.” He said Russia’s actions in Ukraine are “under review” by the US State Department.

Austin said, “There is a process by which we will review all of this, but we call on Vladimir Putin to stop these terrible actions.”

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”, strongly condemning Putin’s actions on behalf of any US official since the war in Ukraine began three weeks ago.

Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. The war in Ukraine entered its fourth week on Thursday. Earlier in the day, survivors began to emerge from the rubble of the theater in the city of Naripole, taking refuge after a bombing by Russian forces on Wednesday. The number of casualties is not yet known.

Meanwhile, Russian forces continue to advance towards the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. In addition, on Thursday, nine evacuation routes, which lead out of various Ukrainian cities, including Mariupol, said the Ukrainian government.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said evacuation corridors did not work on Wednesday because Russian forces did not stop shelling.

First published:March 17th, 2022 at 9:23 pm

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