By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Fearing a world war, U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday his country would not intervene militarily against Russia in Ukraine, as Russian forces stepped up their bombardment across Ukraine.
Biden warned that U.S. troops fighting Russia would mean World War Three. However, an American security diplomat who accurately predicted the Russian invasion told Worthy News there are American forces in Ukraine.
Biden’s announcement came while satellite images and other sources showed that Russian troops were repositioning around Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. Additionally, attacks continued on several cities, including the besieged port city of Mariupol, where the death toll rose to at least 1,552, Ukrainian authorities said.
An adviser to the city’s mayor warned Friday that the number could rise as it was impossible to count the actual number, including of bodies in the streets, as the bombing continued.
Even the most optimistic scenario is that the civilian death toll will be vastly higher, the adviser, Pyotr Andryuschenko, said. “Humanity has not yet invented a word for what Russia is doing to us,” he added in remarks published by The New York Times newspaper.
Mariupol has faced relentless shelling by Russian forces, which have encircled the city.
Residents say the city has been cut off from electricity, water, and heating. Many have run out of food and are melting snow for water and chopping down trees to cook on fires outside, witnesses said.
The United Nations claimed Friday that 564 civilians around Ukraine were killed, and another 982 people had been injured by Russian forces so far in the war. However, the U.N. admitted that the total casualty toll was likely much higher.
Russian forces were also targeting other locations opening a new front in the country’s West in the cities of Lutsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Dnipro, several sources confirmed.
The attacks came while Moscow claimed U.S. biological weapons activities in Ukraine at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
Washington called such the claims “laughable,” saying they are another “false flag” to justify Russia’s potential use of similar weapons against Ukraine.
United Nations disarmament chief Izumi Nakamitsu said the U.N. was unaware of any biological weapons program in Ukraine.
However, there was more global concern about the stability of the defunct Chernobyl plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.
Electricity to the plant was cut Wednesday due to fighting involving Russian forces, who captured the site last month. When power was lost, the Ukrainian nuclear agency said there was only enough fuel to keep backup generators going for 48 hours.
The International Atomic Energy Agency warned that without power, staff “would carry out work under worsening radiation safety conditions due to a lack of ventilation at the facility.”
Chernobyl’s radioactive waste includes nearly 200 tons of nuclear fuel in the remains of the reactor, which was destroyed in the 1986 disaster, officials say. More than 20,000 used fuel assemblies from other decommissioned reactors are stored in a massive facility at the site.
Russian forces also attacked and captured Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, raising concerns about safe operations.
Despite some reported battlefield successes, Russia faced stiff resistance from Ukraine’s military and armed residents. Kyiv warned Moscow had asked Belarus to join the fight, but U.S. officials later rebutted previous claims its forces had already joined.
While fighting continued Friday, the Kremlin restricted access to social media outlet Instagram after its parent company Meta changed its rules to allow violent sentiment towards Russian forces. Moscow said it would brand Mata an “extremist organization” to enable anti-Russian content.
And in response to the latest wave of Western businesses pulling out of Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was considering “nationalizing their assets.”
The Soviet-era’s nationalization threats came as U.S. President Biden said the United States would join the European Union and other allies in stripping Russia of normal trade relations.
Russia will also be denied the ability to borrow from institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Additionally, as part of the economic sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, Russia faces higher tariffs on Russian goods in measures taken together with the Group of Seven countries.
Biden also said he planned to sign an executive order to ban certain imports into the United States from Russia, including seafood, vodka, and nonindustrial diamonds. This would deny Russia more than $1 billion in export revenues, according to White House estimates.
And the president plans to bar American exports of luxury items to Russia, including high-end watches, luxury vehicles, alcohol, jewelry, and apparel, amounting is to about $550 million per year.
The administration said Friday’s executive order would also give the president authority to ban new U.S. investments beyond the existing ban on such investment in Russian energy.
The U.S. will “make it harder for Russia to do business with the United States,” Biden said. “And doing it in unison with other nations that make up half of the global economy will be another crushing blow to the Russian economy,” he warned.
Despite being increasingly isolated, Putin appeared ready to continue the invasion he began more than two weeks ago in a sign of defiance that has worried Ukraine’s neighbors.
Several Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks, including in Turkey have collapsed, and the U.N. says more than two million people have already fled to nations bordering the war-torn country.
The ongoing clashes come despite Kyiv offering neutrality and not becoming a member of the NATO military alliance critical of Moscow’s demands.
There were International concerns Friday that Russia appeared to move towards occupying all of Ukraine and toppling the pro-Western government.
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