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Biden warns Putin of sanctions, aid for Ukraine military if Russia invades

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(Last Updated On: December 8, 2021)

President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that the West would impose “strong economic” sanctions and “other measures” on Russia if it invades Ukraine, while Putin demanded guarantees that NATO would not expand farther eastward.

The two leaders held two hours of virtual talks on Ukraine and other disputes in a video call about U.S.-Russian relations, as Russia masses tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s border, Reuters reported.

Putin responded to the warning with a demand for reliable, legally binding guarantees against NATO expansion eastward and complained about NATO attempts to “develop” Ukrainian territory,” the Kremlin said.

The White House said Biden did not make any guarantees to limit NATO expansion with regard to Ukraine.

“I will tell you clearly and directly he made no such commitments or concessions. He stands by the proposition that countries should be able to freely choose who they associate with,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

No breakthroughs were reported but both sides agreed to continue communications, a development that could lower global tensions.

The Kremlin has denied harboring any intention to attack Ukraine and has said a troop buildup on its southern border is defensive, but neighboring nations are sounding alarms, Reuters reported.

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Kazakhstan puts unrest death toll at 225

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2022)

The bodies of 225 people killed in unrest in Kazakhstan last week, including 19 members of the security forces, were delivered to morgues throughout the country, Reuters quoting prosecutor general’s office said on Saturday (January 15).

The figure included civilians and armed “bandits” killed by security forces, Serik Shalabayev, the head of criminal prosecution at the prosecutor’s office, told a briefing.

He did not provide an exact breakdown of the figures and said numbers could be updated later, Reuters reported.

Violent protests began in the oil-producing Central Asian state this month after a jump in car fuel prices. The toll provided by Shalabayev confirmed the violence was the deadliest in the country’s post-Soviet history.

Shalabayev said 50,000 people joined the riots throughout the former Soviet republic at their peak on January 5 when crowds stormed and torched government buildings, cars, banks and shops in several major cities.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to a Russia-led military bloc for help during the unrest and sidelined his former patron and predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev by taking over the national security council.

According to the report after complaints about beatings and torture of those detained in the aftermath, Tokayev ordered police on Saturday to avoid abuses and told prosecutors to be lenient to those who have not committed grave crimes.

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Massive cyberattack hits Ukrainian govt websites amid Russia tensions

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(Last Updated On: January 15, 2022)

A massive cyberattack warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst” hit government websites on Thursday night, leaving some websites inaccessible on Friday morning and prompting Ukraine to open an investigation.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters it was too early to say who could be behind the attack but said Russia had been behind similar strikes in the past.

The cyberattack, which hit the ministry of foreign affairs, the cabinet of ministers and the security and defense council among others, comes as Kyiv and its allies have sounded the alarm about a possible new military offensive on Ukraine.

Russia has previously denied being behind cyber attacks on Ukraine.

“Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it,” said a message visible on hacked government websites, written in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

“All information about you has become public, be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future.”

The United States warned on Thursday that the threat of a Russian military invasion was high. Russia said dialog was continuing but was hitting a dead end as it tried to persuade the West to bar Ukraine from joining NATO and roll back decades of alliance expansion in Europe – demands that the United States has called “non-starters.”

“It’s too early to draw conclusions, but there is a long record of Russian assaults against Ukraine in the past,” the foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters.

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North Korea fires unidentified projectile, says South Korea

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(Last Updated On: January 15, 2022)

North Korea fired an apparent missile on Friday, just hours after criticizing a U.S. push for new sanctions over its recent missile launches as a “provocation” and warning of strong reaction.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea launched an unidentified projectile, without elaborating, Reuters reported.

Japan’s coast guard also said the North fired what could be a ballistic missile.

North Korea defended its missile tests as its legitimate right to self-defense and said the United States was intentionally escalating the situation by imposing new sanctions, state media reported earlier on Friday, citing the foreign ministry.

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