The United States defence department has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “brutality” and “depravity” in his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s hard to look at what he’s doing in Ukraine,” a visibly emotional John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said, questioning how any “moral” person could justify the atrocities being committed in Ukraine.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“It’s the brutality of the coldest and the most depraved sort,” he said.
“I don’t think we fully appreciated the degree to which he would visit that kind of violence and cruelty and as I said depravity, on innocent people, on non-combatants, on civilians, with such utter disregard for the lives he was taking,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday his forces are in the fight of their lives, as Russia intensified its offensive in the eastern Donbas region.
Russia hit the Kharkiv region overnight, according to the region’s governor.
The Ukrainian president expressed hope his soldiers will stand their ground. “The situation in the Kharkiv region is difficult. But our troops and our intelligence have important tactical success,” Zelenskyy said.
“The occupiers are doing everything to destroy any life at the Donbas territory. Constant cruel bombardments, constant Russian strikes on infrastructure and residential areas state that Russia wants to make this territory uninhabited …”
Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over shaky talks to end a war now in its third month as Russia pounded areas in the east of the country and US lawmakers promised a massive new weapons package for Kyiv.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has told the Chinese state media agency that Russian demands for the removal of sanctions was part of its peace negotiations with Ukraine. He described the talks, which are taking place via video link, as “difficult”.