Wednesday briefing: US senators unite to brand Putin with war crimes |

Headlines: Mariupol’s situation remains desperate

Good Wednesday morning from me, Warren Murray.

The US Senate passed a unanimous resolution condemning Vladimir Putin as a war criminal – a rare show of unity in the deeply divided congress – as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the Russian side seemed “more realistic” in negotiations to end the crisis. war. The talks are expected to resume via video link today. Earlier, Zelenskiy acknowledged that Ukraine would not become a member of NATO, in a major concession.

As the war approaches its third week, heavy bombardment of Ukrainian cities continues. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said “the worst situation remains in the Mariupol region, where the opponent is trying to blockade the city in the western and eastern outskirts of the city.” According to reports, Russian troops seized a hospital in Mariupol and took around 500 people hostage. The leaders of three European Union countries – Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia – met Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Tuesday, arriving by train in a bold show of support in the face of danger.

‘You are not alone’: three leaders of EU countries meet Zelenskiy in Kyiv – video

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told Ukrainians: “Europe is on your side… The main purpose of our visit and the main message of our mission is to tell our Ukrainian friends that they are not not alone. Poland’s ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said an international peacekeeping mission should be sent to operate in Ukraine. Joe Biden has approved $13.6 billion in US aid and Zelenskiy is due to address the US Congress today. Meanwhile, NATO commanders will meet in Brussels where they are expected to draw up plans for new ways to deter Russia, including more troops and missile defenses in Eastern Europe. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov is expected to plead for more weapons from NATO countries. Follow further developments on our live blog.

Fine Referee – Silicon Valley executives will no longer be the “supreme arbiters” of online discourse, according to the culture secretary. Nadine Dorries says ‘unelected’ tech leaders have become some of the most powerful people in the world due to a lack of strong regulation, which would change under the revised Online Safety Bill to be released Thursday. This requires platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok to prevent the proliferation of illegal content such as child sexual abuse and terrorist material; and instructs the biggest tech companies to protect adults from legal but harmful content, such as cyberbullying. Social media platforms are subject to heavy fines for violations. There are protections for journalistic content and “democratically important” content. Dorries said: “We will never pursue legislation that threatens free speech…nor can we maintain the current status quo, where a handful of West Coast leaders are the ultimate arbiters of online speech. “

Mid-week catch-up

> Hopes are high that British-Iranian dual nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori can be released and allowed to return to London within days under a deal in which the UK agrees to repay a debt of £400 million and release an Iranian prisoner.

> Few teachers are aware that equality legislation applies to their school’s hair policies, despite high-profile court cases involving black students who have been penalized or expelled for their hairstyles, a survey has found.

> The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) has launched an appeal for a soil test kit containing radioactive material stolen from a van in the Madrid area.

> New Zealand reopens its borders. From April 13, vaccinated people from Australia will be admitted without isolation; followed on May 2 by vaccinated people from other visa-exempt countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Japan and Singapore.

> The UK’s most prestigious children’s book award, the Carnegie Medal, and its sister prize for illustration, the Kate Greenaway Medal, spotlight books that can help young readers. Here is this year’s shortlist.

“Really regrettable” – A 15-year-old black girl was strip searched by police at school in a procedure involving the exposure of private body parts, according to an official investigation which found racism was likely to have influenced the actions of agents. The child is currently undergoing therapy and is self-harming, according to statements from family members. Details of her treatment emerged in a review initiated by Hackney council after the December 2020 incident. Police had been called by teachers who told the review they thought she smelled strongly of cannabis and suspected she was carrying drugs. None were found on subsequent search. The Metropolitan Police have apologized for what a senior officer described as “truly regrettable” treatment. A separate report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is nearing completion.

Discovery of a tomb – Several tombs and a lead sarcophagus possibly dating to the 14th century have been discovered by archaeologists at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as reconstruction continues after its devastating 2019 fire. The coffin is believed to have been made for a high dignitary in the 1300s – the century after the cathedral was built.

14th century lead sarcophagus found under Notre Dame Cathedral. Photography: Julien de Rosa/AFP/Getty Images

The team used a mini endoscopic camera to look inside: “We can see pieces of cloth, hair and a pillow of leaves on the top of the head, a phenomenon well known when religious leaders were buried” , said Christophe Besnier, the chief archaeologist. “The fact that these plant elements are still inside means that the body is in a very good state of preservation.”

Today in Focus podcast: Abramovich’s long fall from favor

When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, he transformed the club’s fortunes and ushered in a new era of billionaire owners in the Premier League. But as David Conn explains, the issues that led to the sanctions imposed on him by the government last week have been well known for years.

Today in brief

Abramovich’s long fall from favor

Lunchtime read: “At 10, I knew all about nuclear explosions”

From CND marches to books, films and music, fear of the bomb was ubiquitous in the 1980s. Today, for many, the war in Ukraine has reignited that sense of dread. By Zoe Williams.

Cold War nuclear imagery composite
Compound: Guardian design; PENNSYLVANIA; Allstar/Channel 4; BBC; Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho; mirrorpix; Evening Standard/Getty Images; Photofusion/Rex/Shutterstock


A revitalized England had 135 points to beat India and claim their maiden Women’s World Cup victory in New Zealand. Ralf Rangnick says the referee’s failure to award a free-kick in the build-up to Atlético Madrid’s winner was decisive as Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League in a game that also highlighted the status of the team. Chelsea have withdrawn their request for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough to be played behind closed doors after causing exasperation and disbelief in sport and Downing Street with their desperate push for permission to sell tickets.

The roar of 70,000 horse racing fans was a welcome sound on the first day of a Cheltenham Festival capped by Honeysuckle’s repeat victory in the Champion Hurdle. England are preparing for Saturday’s final Six Nations match against France, perfecting their tackles to avoid another nightmarish red card scenario in Paris. Harriet Dart’s surprise breakthrough in week two of the BNP Paribas Open ended in the fourth round in Indian Wells with a heavy loss to a searing Madison Keys. And Lancashire fast bowler Saqib Mahmood will make a much-anticipated debut for England when the second Test against the West Indies kicks off on Wednesday.


The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates today for the first time since 2018, adding a quarter of a percentage point in line with actions by peers including the Bank of England to fight inflation, l impact of the war in Ukraine and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Asian stock markets are up today ahead of the Fed’s decision. We can also expect a rebound in the FTSE, as the British pound is worth $1.304 and €1.190 at the time of writing.

The papers

Today Guardian the print edition opens with “Ukrainian Nato concession as airstrikes hit capital” – the front page of the photo goes in hopes that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe might be about to be released. the I a ‘Putin is turning to Plan C’, saying the Russian leader is poised to wage a ‘war of attrition’ with long-range bombings of cities and infrastructure, and to expand the war to the western Ukraine.

Guardian front page, March 16, 2022
Guardian front page, 16 March 2022.

“Zelenskiy – we cannot join NATO” – this is the Times while the Daily Express describes Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s remarks as “a glimmer of hope for peace”. the Telegraph goes even further semantically, deeming Zelenskiy to have accepted that Ukraine could “never” join NATO. “A city of fear and defiance” – the Daily mail reports from kyiv.

the FinancialTimes says “The West is mounting the pressure on Moscow with actions against the oligarchs and the military”. the Subway sports a colorful phrasing regarding the mounting sanctions against Abramovich and his ilk: “Crackdown on Oli Lolly…You’re not bling anymore.” And Woody Johnson, former US ambassador to the UK, is making a £2billion ‘swoop’ for Chelsea, according to the Sun.


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