Ukraine’s president has signed a decree temporarily lifting the requirement for entry visas for any foreigner willing to join Ukraine’s International Defence Legion and fight on Ukraine’s side against invading Russian troops.
The decree by President Volodymyr Zelensky takes effect on Tuesday and will remain in effect as long as martial law is in place.
The move came after the first round of talks aimed at stopping the fighting between Ukraine and Russia ended Monday with no agreement except to keep talking.
Ukraine’s embattled president said stepped-up shelling across his country was aimed at forcing him into concessions.
“I believe Russia is trying to put pressure [on Ukraine] with this simple method,” Zelensky said late Monday in a video address.
He did not offer details of the hours-long talks that took place earlier but said that Kyiv was not prepared to make concessions “when one side is hitting each other with rocket artillery.”
Five days into Russia’s invasion, the Kremlin again raised the spectre of nuclear war, while an increasingly isolated Moscow ran into unexpectedly fierce resistance on the ground and economic havoc at home.
Meanwhile, outgunned Ukrainian forces managed to slow the Russian advance, and Western sanctions began to squeeze the Russian economy, but the Kremlin again raised the spectre of nuclear war, reporting that its land, air and sea nuclear forces were on high alert following Putin’s weekend order.
Stepping up his rhetoric, Putin denounced the U.S. and its allies as an “empire of lies.”
International Criminal Court to investigate
A tense calm reigned in Kyiv, where people lined up to buy food, water and pet food after two nights trapped inside by a strict curfew while social media video from Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, showed residential areas being shelled, with apartment buildings shaken by repeated, powerful blasts.
The Russian military has denied targeting residential areas despite abundant evidence of shelling of homes, schools and hospitals.
Exact death tolls are unclear, but the UN human rights chief said 102 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded in five days of fighting — warning that figure was likely a vast undercount.
Ukraine’s president said at least 16 children were among the dead.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says he plans to open an investigation “as rapidly as possible” into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement Monday night that the investigation will look at alleged crimes committed before the Russian invasion but said that “given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is my intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes falling within the jurisdiction of my office that is committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine.”