Day 419: "Fabrication of lies."
1/ NATO Secretary General warned that Russia’s false claim that the U.S. is working with Ukraine to develop biochemical weapons could be used by the Kremlin as a pretext for the use of chemical weapons. “We must remain vigilant because it is possible that Russia itself could plan chemical weapons operations under this fabrication of lies,” Jens Stoltenberg said. “That would be a war crime” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby added: “It is of the Russian playbook that that which they accuse you of they’re planning to do now. Now, again, we haven’t seen anything into it indicates some sort of imminent chemical or biological attack right now, but we’re watching this very, very closely.” Kirby also said Russian forces are “broadening their target sets” after rockets hit a Ukrainian military base near the Polish border. (Politico / Reuters / ABC News / Washington Post)
- Live blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / ABC News / CNN
2/ The Kremlin instructed Russian state media to feature Fox News host Tucker Carlson “as much as possible,” according to a leaked memo produced by the Russian Department of Information and Telecommunications Support. The 12-page war memo told Russian media that it is “essential” to use more Carlson segments in their coverage because he “sharply criticizes” the actions of the United States and NATO and his position on the war in Ukraine is “Russia is only protecting its interests and security.” On March 9, Carlson repeated Russian disinformation that the United States set up biowarfare labs in Ukraine were “totally and completely true.” The following day, a “recommendations for coverage” memo from the Russian agency advised state media to relay the message that “activities of military biological laboratories with American participation on the territory of Ukraine carried global threats to Russia and Europe.” The document also encouraged hosts to allege that the “the United States is working on a ‘biogenocide of the Eastern Slavs.’” The claims of U.S.-run “biological research facilities” in Ukraine are not true. (Mother Jones / The Guardian / Business Insider / ABC News / NBC News / Washington Post)
3/ Russia asked China for military equipment as well as economic assistance to circumvent the sanctions that the U.S. and its allies have imposed on Putin and his regime. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, however, warned China not to try to “bail out” Russia, saying “there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts […] We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki added that China will face “significant consequences” if it violates the international sanctions against Russia. (CNN / Financial Times / New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico / Washington Post / Reuters)
4/ The Biden administration approved an additional $200 million in arms and equipment for Ukraine, which includes Javelin antitank missiles and Stinger antiaircraft missiles. Altogether, the administration has authorized $1.2 billion in weapons for Ukraine. Separately, 58 members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus urged Biden to facilitate the offer from Poland to deliver MiG-29 airplanes to Ukraine. The Pentagon struck down the proposal, saying fighter jets departing from a U.S. or NATO base could be seen as an escalation of the United States’ role in the war. On Friday, Biden announced that in conjunction with other G-7 nations and the European Union, the U.S. will revoke “most favored nation” trade status for Russia, which would allow the U.S. and others to impose tariffs on Russian goods. (New York Times / Washington Post)
5/ Joe Manchin said he opposes Biden’s nominee for the Federal Reserve’s top job overseeing banks over her focus on climate change and its threat to financial stability, effectively blocking Sarah Bloom Raskin’s confirmation from advancing to the Senate floor. Manchin, who has close ties to the fossil fuel industry and has rejected Biden’s climate agenda, said the Federal Reserve “is not an institution that should politicize its critical decisions.” Raskin previously called for stronger climate policies, writing last September that regulators should “ask themselves how their existing instruments can be used to incentivize a rapid, orderly, and just transition away from high-emission and biodiversity-destroying investments.” Raskin would need at least one Republican to support her to be confirmed. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
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