(Image courtesy of Micheal Kappelar/Reuters)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no signs that he will halt the invasion of Ukraine anytime soon. NATO has shown no willingness to directly involve itself in the conflict even though Ukrainian President Volodymryr Zelensky has repeatedly requested it. In order to keep the West firmly unified against the war, U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Brussels and Poland in what could be his most important international trip of his presidency.
Recently, the city that has been seeing the most bloodshed is not the capital city of Kiev, but the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol because Russian forces have almost seized the entire city. Local media has reported that residents are not being allowed to evacuate, and some are even being forcibly taken to Russian cities by Kremlin (Russian) soldiers.
During the recent course of the war, concerns of Putin using nuclear or chemical weapons in the conflict have risen, especially among NATO countries. They cite Putin’s frustration in that his military campaign in Ukraine hasn’t met any of his goals. The only path they see that the Russian president would take is by escalating the conflict.
“Any use of chemical weapons would totally change the nature of the conflict, and it would be a blatant violation of international law and have far-reaching consequences,” says NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Precisely, in an interview with CNN, a Russian government spokesperson refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons.
“We have a concept of domestic security, and it’s public. You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” spokesperson Dmitry Peskov states. “So if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept.”
The massive refugee exodus has not stopped as well. According to the United Nations, 3.6 million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country since the start of the invasion on February 24. That’s not taking into consideration the estimated 6.8 million displaced people within the country. This adds up to a total of over 10 million people that have been forced to flee their homes.
The United States is preparing to receive hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war.
“Many Ukrainian refugees will wish to stay in Europe, closer to their homes, but also will welcome 100,000 Ukrainians to the United States, with a focus on reuniting families,” Biden says after meeting with world leaders in Brussels.