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Ukraine seeks more arms as U.S. and allies consider new penalties for Russia

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, left, walks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as they arrive for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.
Olivier Matthys
/
AP
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, left, walks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as they arrive for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.

NATO foreign ministers are meeting Thursday as part of a larger effort by the U.S., its allies and Ukraine to bolster Ukrainian defenses and impose new penalties on Russia for invading its neighbor.

Upon arrival in Brussels Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba made a blunt appeal for more military support. "My agenda is very simple," he said. "It has only three items on it: it's weapons, weapons and weapons."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Brussels to meet with both NATO and G-7 foreign ministers. Blinken had already announced another $100 million of military aid for Ukraine, bringing the U.S. total to $1.7 billion since Russia invaded in February.

The Associated Press cited a U.S. defense official speaking on condition of anonymity who said Russia had pulled all of its estimated 24,000 or more troops from the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas in the north, sending them into Belarus or Russia to resupply and reorganize, probably to return to fight in the east.

The European Union is expected to take additional measures, including an embargo on coal. Earlier, the U.S. and its allies already announced additional sanctions on Russia that target top Russian officials and family members, including Putin's adult children. Washington also imposed full blocking sanctions on two of Russia's top banks, Sberbank and Alfa Bank.

Also on Thursday, a U.S.-initiated resolution to suspend Russia from the U.N.'s human rights body goes before the General Assembly. The resolution is tied to charges that Russian soldiers killed civilians while retreating from the region around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, particularly after videos and photos emerged from the town of Bucha of corpses that appeared to be civilians.

The 47-member Human Rights Council is based in Geneva, and member countries are voted to the body for three-year terms by the 193-member General Assembly.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.

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