Lets make a deal?……
The US and Russia are NOT going at it directly ….
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Phoenix Mercury player Brittney Griner returned to a courtroom Wednesday to take the stand. She told the court that her rights were not read to her when she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February, and that translation offered to her during the Russian investigation was inadequate. At a news conference Wednesday, Blinken said he would discuss a proposal for her release in an upcoming meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a significant break from his past strategy of avoiding contact with senior Russian officials. Moscow said it had received no requests for a phone call between Blinken and Lavrov, according to state media.
- President Biden directed his national security team to pursue “every avenue” to bring Griner home safely, which ultimately led to the proposal made to Russia, NSC spokesman John Kirby said in a White House briefing Wednesday. He declined to share more details about the deal, he said, “to ensure that our own national security is preserved” and to avoid endangering the negotiations and “encouraging hostage taking in the future.”
- Griner’s lawyers in Moscow told The Washington Post on Wednesday that they had learned about the United States’ proposal for her release from the news and added that they are not participating in prisoner-swap discussions. A prisoner exchange is only possible after the court reaches a verdict. “In any case, we would be really happy if Brittney will be able to come home and we hope it will be soon,” said Maria Blagovolina, of the Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin law firm, and Alexander Boikov of the Moscow Legal Center.
- As Kyiv prepares for shipments from three ports, a center to monitor grain exports opened in Istanbul under the deal to release millions of tons of grain cut off by a Russian naval blockade. The joint coordination center brings together Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations to monitor the passage of merchant vessels from Ukraine and resolve any violations of the agreement. A Russian strike Saturday on the port of Odessa imperiled the deal, but preparations for the “first grain-laden ships to leave Ukrainian ports” were continuing, Turkey’s defense minister said Wednesday at the center’s opening.
- Ukrainian forces struck the Antonovsky Bridge in Kherson overnight, as they target a key supply link over the Dnieper River in a bid to wrest the southern region out of Russian hands. A Russian-backed official there said a HIMARS rocket launcher supplied by the United States hit the structure, which is now pierced with holes but is still standing. President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the bridge and others in the area will be rebuilt, and that Ukrainian forces where “doing everything to ensure that the occupiers do not have any logistical opportunities on our land.”
- Air defense systems from Britain, antiaircraft weapons from Germany and ammunition from the United States have arrived in Ukraine. Six British Stormer HVM air defense systems made it to the front in Ukraine this week, the southern military command said.
- Russia’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that its air force destroyed more than 100 rockets for U.S.-made HIMARS in the Dnipropetrovsk region Sunday. It said the attack “eliminated” up to 120 Ukrainian servicemen, “along with foreign mercenaries and technicians.”
- Biden administration officials told U.S. lawmakers that 75,000 Russians have been killed or wounded in the war, CNN reported, citing Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.)….