Live updates: Russia, Ukraine foreign ministers to meet
The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine war:
ANTALYA, Turkey — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says that a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in Turkey on Thursday aims pave the way for a meeting between the leaders of the two countries.
Russia’s Sergey Lavrov and Dmotry Kuleba of Ukraine are scheduled to hold talks on the sidelines of a diplomacy forum near the Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya. It would be the first high-level meeting between Moscow and Kyiv since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Cavusoglu said he would also participate in the meeting.
“Our main goal is to bring the three leaders together,” Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper quoted Cavusoglu as saying, in reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
NATO-member Turkey, which has cultivated close ties with both Russia and Ukraine, is trying to balance relations with both nations. It has positioned itself as a neutral party, seeking to facilitate negotiations between the warring sides.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved legislation that would ban Russian oil imports to the United States, an effort to put into law the restrictions announced by President Joe Biden in response to the escalating war in Ukraine.
Going further than Biden’s import ban on Russian oil, the bill making its way through Congress would also encourage a review of Russia’s status in the World Trade Organization and signal U.S. support for sanctions on Russian officials over human rights violations, as the U.S. works to economically isolate the regime.
Lawmakers in both parties have been eager to act, willing to risk higher gas prices at home in order to support Ukraine with a show of U.S. bipartisanship. The legislation was approved Wednesday, 414-17, and now goes to the Senate.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, who helped draft the bill, acknowledged it may cost more to fill up tanks at home to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tanks abroad.
“It is one way to demonstrate our solidarity,” Doggett said during the debate.
TOKYO — Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony is suspending all shipments of its PlayStation video game consoles as well as game software to Russia because of the war in Ukraine.
Launch of “Gran Turismo 7,” a popular racing car game, is being suspended, and the PlayStation store in Russia will close, Sony Interactive Entertainment said in a statement Thursday.
The company “joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine,” it said.
Sony, which has movies and music businesses, earlier said it’s halted theatrical releases of its movies in Russia. Sony Group Corp. has also announced $2 million in humanitarian aid to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the international aid group Save the Children to help war victims.
TOKYO — Japanese machinery and technology company Hitachi Group is suspending exports to Russia and has temporarily stopped manufacturing there.
Hitachi said Thursday products and services related to electric power equipment “indispensable to the daily lives of people” will continue. Operations in Ukraine have resumed by moving employees and families to safer areas, it said.
“Hitachi Group considers the safety and health of all employees and their families as its top priority. In Ukraine, the company is engaged in various activities to realize this goal and hopes that peace will return as soon as possible,” it said.
IRPIN, Ukraine — Hundreds of Ukrainians living in towns occupied by Russian troops on the outskirts of Kyiv fled Wednesday.
Streams of cars — some fixed with white flags — filed down the road, joined by lines of yellow buses marked with red crosses.
The Interior Ministry said about 700 people were evacuated from Vorzel and Irpin. People from three other Kyiv suburbs were unable to leave. Some who managed to get out said they hadn’t eaten in days.
“I forgot when I ate last,” said an Irpin resident who gave only her first name, Olena. “I’m so scared. I need to keep walking.”
Iuliia Bushinska, a Vorzel resident, said: “Occupiers came to our house and they were ready to shoot us.”
“They took away our house, our car, they took away our documents. So we need to start our life from the beginning. We survived things that I never experienced in my life,” Bushinska said.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. government publicly warned that Russia might seek to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, after Russia, without evidence, accused Ukraine of having chemical weapons labs.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Russia’s claim “preposterous” and said it could be part of an attempt by Russia to lay the groundwork for using such weapons of mass destruction against Ukraine itself.
“This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine,” said Psaki.
“Now that Russia has made these false claims, and China has seemingly endorsed this propaganda, we should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them.”
Russia has used chemical weapons before in carrying out assassination attempts against Putin enemies like Alexey Navalny and former spy Sergei Skripal. It also supports the Assad government in Syria which has used chemical weapons against its people in a decade-long civil war.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the West to impose even tougher sanctions on Russia after the airstrike on the maternity hospital in Mariupol.
“A genocide of Ukrainians is taking place,” Zelenskyy said Wednesday in his daily late evening video address to the nation. Wearing his now traditional wartime army green, he said the West should strengthen the sanctions so Russia “no longer has any possibility to continue this genocide.”
He said 17 people were injured in the attack, including pregnant women.
Mariupol has been blockaded by Russian troops for nine days. City officials said Wednesday that about 1,200 residents have been killed.
Zelenskyy again called on Western leaders to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, something NATO members have refused to do for fear of provoking a wider war with Russia. Short of that, Zelenskyy called for the delivery of more fighter jets to Ukraine, a proposal the Pentagon rejected on Wednesday.
Zelenskyy said about 35,000 civilians have used humanitarian corridors to flee to western Ukraine to escape the fighting.