Zelenskiy reportedly asks Biden to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism – as it happened – The Guardian

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14.04Ukraine's Zelenskiy asks Biden to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism – reportUkrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has made a direct request to Joe Biden that the US designates Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Washington Post reports.This would be a rare and radical sanction, but Zelenskiy has been firm in putting pressure on the west to assist in Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, and this is no exception as his country endures atrocities from its northern neighbor.He asked the US president in a recent phone call, but the question has not previously been reported, the Post adds, citing unnamed sources, who apparently indicated that “Biden did not commit to specific actions during the call.”That was then: Last September, Joe Biden (R) met with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the Oval Office. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Post reports that “even during the Cold War, Washington refrained from designating the Soviet Union in this manner despite Moscow’s support for groups considered terrorist actors throughout the 1970s and 1980s.”Justification for the designation would have to be arrived at by secretary of state Antony Blinken. The designation is normally applied to nations that “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” according to a State Department fact sheet cited by the Post, which adds that there are four countries on the department’s list right now: North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Syria.British prime minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv last weekend. Photograph: Ukraine Government/PA2d ago16.11US Politics todayJoan E GreveThat’s it from us today. Here’s how things unfolded in US Politics today:
Russia reportedly sent a formal warning to the US to stop sending weapons to Ukraine, saying more shipments could result in “unpredictable consequences”. According to the Washington Post, Moscow told the White House that its arms shipments were “adding fuel” to the war in Ukraine. The state department would not confirm the communication, but officials made clear that the US would continue sending weapons to Ukraine.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has asked the US to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the Washington Post. Zelenskiy reportedly made the request in a recent phone call with Joe Biden, but the US president did not make any commitments on the matter.
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has reportedly warned allies that the war in Ukraine may continue for the rest of the year. When asked about the possibility of the war stretching through the rest of 2022, state department spokesperson Ned Price said, “It is possible.”
The Moskva, Russia’s flagship Black Sea missile cruiser, is believed to have been struck by at least one Ukrainian anti-ship missile. a senior US defense official told the AP. The ship sank yesterday in the northern Black Sea, and Ukrainian forces claimed credit for the attack.
For more updates on the war in Ukraine, follow the Guardian’s separate live blog, which is still running: 2d ago15.40Joan E GreveCongressman Chip Roy, a Republican of Texas, has responded to the new CNN report about text messages he exchanged with Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff to Donald Trump, in the weeks leading up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.CNN reports: The texts, which have not been previously reported, were sent by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The text exchanges show that both members of Congress initially supported legal challenges to the election but ultimately came to sour on the effort and the tactics deployed by Trump and his team.
‘We’re driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic,’ Roy texted Meadows on January 1. That text was first released in December by the House select committee and described as being written by a House Freedom Caucus member. Roy’s authorship has not been previously reported.Roy has now weighed in on the story, saying he would not apologize for the views expressed in the newly released messages.“Been off social media this Good Friday, but apparently there’s quite a stir,” Roy said on Twitter. “I’ll say this once. No apologies for my private texts or public positions - to those on the left or right. I stand behind seeking truth, fighting nonsense, & then acting in defense of the Constitution.”Been off social media this Good Friday, but apparently there’s quite a stir. I’ll say this once. No apologies for my private texts or public positions - to those on the left or right. I stand behind seeking truth, fighting nonsense, & then acting in defense of the Constitution.— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) April 15, 2022
2d ago15.21Ramon Antonio VargasThe Democrat with likely the best shot at defeating Chuck Grassley, the veteran Republican senator from Iowa, in November is back on the ballot for the 7 June primary.A decision Friday from the Iowa Supreme Court enables Abby Finkenauer to compete for the Democratic nomination against other party hopefuls, though all are considered long shots in the contest against Grassley.Two Republicans challenged Finkenauer’s candidacy paperwork, saying signatures from at least two counties were missing a required date.A decision from a panel of three state elected officials later found Finkenauer’s campaign staff had substantially complied with the relevant law. But subsequently, state judge Scott Beattie – appointed to the bench by Iowa’s Republican governor, Kim Reynolds – overturned that decision and disqualified Finkenauer from the ballot. Beattie’s ruling set the stage for Iowa’s high court to weigh in, and the outcome there favored Finkenauer. The GOP’s attempts to undermine ballot access and our election process were pathetic and desperate.Today they lost.With a unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court, we're still in this fight and we WILL beat Chuck Grassley in November.It's a good day for our democracy.— Abby Finkenauer (@Abby4Iowa) April 15, 2022
“The GOP’s attempts to undermine ballot access and our election process were pathetic and desperate,” Finkenauer said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Today they lost.”Finkenauer’s statement added, “We’re still in this fight, and we will beat Chuck Grassley in November. It’s a good day for our democracy.”Finkenauer made a name for herself when in 2018, at age 29, she became the second youngest person ever elected to the US House of Representatives. She served one two-year term beginning in 2019. Since then, Finkenauer has outraised other Democrats hoping to run head-to-head against Grassley in the midterms, including Mike Franken, a retired admiral, and Glenn Hurst, a doctor and city councilmember. Grassley, despite being 88 years old, is eyeing an eighth term in the Senate, having first been elected in 1980. Finkenauer’s party during the midterms will try to maintain, if not widen, a single vote-edge in the 50-50 Senate, where vice-president Kamala Harris can serve as a tiebreaker.Information from the Associated Press was used in this report2d ago15.05Julian BorgerRussia sent a formal warning to the US not to send more arms to Ukraine or it could face “unpredictable consequences”, it has been reported.According to the Washington Post, Moscow sent a diplomatic note, a démarche, warning that US and Nato deliveries of the “most sensitive” weapons systems to Ukraine were “adding fuel” to the conflict there and could bring “unpredictable consequences”. A spokesperson said the state department did not confirm any diplomatic correspondence as a matter of course, and made clear that the US would continue to send arms to Ukraine.“What we can confirm is that, along with allies and partners, we are providing Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of security assistance, which our Ukrainian partners are using to extraordinary effect to defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked aggression and horrific acts of violence,” the spokesperson said.The US is preparing to send the latest $800m (£610m) tranche of military aid to Ukraine, bringing to $2.6bn the total since the start of the war. The Biden administration has also made clear that it was sending increasingly heavy and sophisticated equipment, including helicopters, aerial and marine drones, and long-range 155mm howitzers, while training Ukrainian soldiers in their use.2d ago14.49Joan E GreveThe White House has just announced that Joe Biden will travel to Oregon and Washington state next week, marking the latest in a series of trips across the country for the US president.Next Thursday, Biden will travel to Portland, Oregon to “discuss how the unprecedented investments in his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are Building a Better America,” according to the White House’s announcement.And next Friday, which happens to be Earth Day, Biden will travel to Seattle, Washington, to “discuss his Administration’s efforts to continue bringing down costs for American families and growing our clean energy economy,” per the White House.The announcement of the trip comes days after the US labor department reported that inflation hit a 40-year high in March, with prices increasing by 8.5% over the year.2d ago14.04Ukraine's Zelenskiy asks Biden to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism – reportUkrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has made a direct request to Joe Biden that the US designates Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Washington Post reports.This would be a rare and radical sanction, but Zelenskiy has been firm in putting pressure on the west to assist in Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, and this is no exception as his country endures atrocities from its northern neighbor.He asked the US president in a recent phone call, but the question has not previously been reported, the Post adds, citing unnamed sources, who apparently indicated that “Biden did not commit to specific actions during the call.”That was then: Last September, Joe Biden (R) met with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the Oval Office. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Post reports that “even during the Cold War, Washington refrained from designating the Soviet Union in this manner despite Moscow’s support for groups considered terrorist actors throughout the 1970s and 1980s.”Justification for the designation would have to be arrived at by secretary of state Antony Blinken. The designation is normally applied to nations that “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” according to a State Department fact sheet cited by the Post, which adds that there are four countries on the department’s list right now: North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Syria.British prime minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv last weekend. Photograph: Ukraine Government/PA2d ago13.36Moskva hit by 'at least one' Ukrainian missile – senior US officialA senior US defense official says Washington believes the Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva that sank yesterday in the northern Black Sea was struck by at least one Ukrainian anti-ship missile, as claimed by the Kyiv government, The Associated Press writes.As it was: Russian Navy’s guided missile cruiser Moskva (Moscow) behind a wave breaker and an embankment, as it sails back into a harbour after tracking NATO warships in the Black Sea, in the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, November 16, 2021. Photograph: Alexey Pavlishak/ReutersPentagon officials had previously said they could not confirm the Ukrainian claim, but they also did not refute it.The senior US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an intelligence assessment, said the Moskva was hit Wednesday by at least one, and probably two, Neptune missiles, creating the large fire aboard the vessel.The official offered no further details beyond saying the US believes the Russians suffered some number of casualties aboard the ship.The Guardian’s global, round-the-clock live blog about the war itself is reporting that Kyiv believes the ship’s captain was killed in the initial explosion on board. The Moskva was one of only three such warships in its class in the Russian navy and was considered the pride of the Black Sea fleet.Russia claimed the ship was crippled by an ammunition fire on board and was towing it south from near the Ukrainian strategic port of Odesa towards Sevastopol, Crimea, when it sunk later yesterday in heavy seas.2d ago13.11More on the podcast interview by Biden pollster John Anzalone for Politico, where he turns his attention to some truths about Democratic “messaging”.“Republicans do a much better job of branding Democrats [than] Democrats do Republicans... We don’t do a good job of branding. But, goddamn, man, you know, critical race theory, which literally just one day popped up in the American lexicon and — it’s not taught in any public school in America — now it becomes an issue. They’re really good at branding.” Here’s the Guardian’s David Smith on the mischaracterization and misuse by right-wingers of the valuable academic topic of critical race theory.Meanwhile, Anzalone on the wealthy says that in his experience, Americans don’t generally have a problem with being prosperous (even astronomically wealthy), what people are very upset about is those people often barely paying any income tax.And why, as a party, we don’t elevate that in our messaging is beyond me,” he said, noting: “We’re scared of our own shadow on taxes.” Anzalone asserts that the Democrats have the ability to maintain control of the Senate. They currently are split evenly with the Republicans but have the wafer-thin majority because of vice president Kamala Harris’s decisive vote as president of the senate.Though the narrowness of that control has greatly hampered Joe Biden getting his agenda through Congress, where bills on many vital topics are stalled because of the 60-vote filibuster rule and the need for total Democrat unanimity to change the rule.Will it comfort or dishearten Democrats to be reminded that IF they get a shellacking in the midterms and lose control of Congress, Anzalone reminds them that Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama “went through this. And they got-re-elected.”2d ago12.51Now some US domestic political news, on the topic of the Democrats and the forthcoming midterm elections this November.On the campaign trail: Joe Biden takes a picture in the crowd while campaigning for Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe at a rally in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. October 26, 2021. McAuliffe lost to the Republican. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/ReutersJohn Anzalone, Joe Biden’s election campaign pollster, is warning in an interview with Politico that in 2022 he’s witnessing: The worst political environment that I’ve lived through in 30 years of being a political consultant.It’s a ripping review of the political landscape for Joe Biden’s party right now, during Anzalone’s interview for Politico’s Deep Dive podcast, recorded in Las Vegas.No one’s going to sit there as a Democratic consultant and try to bullshit you that this is anything but a really sour environment for Democrats. So we better look at the strategic ways that we can compete, right? Just compete to not get our asses kicked,” he told Ryan Lizza.Anzalone also said, of the environment for the Dems this cycle: I think what we’re missing right now is that voters are very much in, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ [mode]. … And they don’t feel Democrats can get their shit together and get things done. And so, you know, if we’re able to do something — a skinny [Build Back Better] or whatever on health insurance costs, prescription drug costs, elderly care, child care — that’s a big deal, because it will give Democrats … a competitive advantage on what they’re doing for working families. And it’ll cut through the inflation narrative, the Ukraine narrative, the Afghan narrative, the border narrative, etc. And right now, we don’t see that and we don’t have that.”More on other aspects of this fascinating dissection in a minute.Here’s what Anzalone had to say on Twitter yesterday about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, btw.2d ago12.05Russia's war in Ukraine could last all year, says Blinken - reportThe US believes that the war in Ukraine that Russia has been perpetrating since February 24 could last for the rest of 2022, secretary of state Antony Blinken has reportedly told some allies, CNN reports.Of course it is very hard for any official or military chief to forecast how long the brutal conflict will go on or whether it will escalate or weaken, but two European officials have indicated to the cable news outlet that US and European officials are increasingly pessimistic about its duration.Some unnamed officials said they believe Russian president Vladimir Putin will not agree to a diplomatic solution unless first faced with military defeat.Given the size of Russia and its military, compared with Ukraine, the concept of Russia being defeated militarily by its smaller, sovereign neighbor seemed impossible in the opening days of the war and, while still a long shot, seems less unlikely more than a month in.Despite declining to supply Ukraine with what it deems offensive weapons, lest Europe and NATO be drawn into battle with Russia, potentially sparking a third World War, leaders have warned, western nations have supplied and are increasing defensive weapons for Ukraine.The Ukrainian resistance to Russia has far exceeded expectations, seemingly warding off the invasion of the capital Kyiv, but of course there has been appalling destruction and barbaric Russian attacks on civilians and Putin is now amassing his troops afresh for an escalated assault on the eastern Donbas region and the Crimean peninsula.Blinken, a senior State Department official said: Has discussed with his counterparts our concern that the conflict could be protracted, but all of his engagements have revolved around how best to bring it to a halt as quickly as possible,” CNN reported.State department spokesman Ned Price was just on CNN doing a live interview and has not contradicted the Blinken report’s conclusion."It is possible" says @StateDeptSpox when @KateBolduan asks if the US believes the Ukraine war will last through the end of the yr. Blinken told European allies the US believes the Russian war in Ukraine could last through the end of 2022, our story: https://t.co/ygfM2OHhmM— Kylie Atwood (@kylieatwood) April 15, 2022
And, in relation to the Washington Post’s report today on that diplomatic memo from Moscow to Washington telling the US to stop arming Ukraine, there’s this.