Russia not leaving Kyiv; Out of Chernobyl; Seeks ruble for fuel; Putin being "misled."

Despite promising to leave Kyiv this week, authorities say that Russia hasn’t slowed its assault, but it is regrouping to attack even more viciously in the coming week.

Russia had said that it would back away from Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities while peace negotiations were getting going. Their promise was clearly broken for the world to see during live videos of bombings in the outskirts of Kyiv. Russia had said they would drawdown in an attempt at "mutual trust." Ukrainian President Zelensky called the move "tactical."

Russians leave Chernobyl

Russian troops have left the Chernobyl nuclear plant campus apparently after soldiers became ill after digging trenches in the soil. In the first intentional concession of the war, Russian troops left the highly contaminated site. Reports indicate the soldiers suffered from radiation poisoning after digging trenches.

Putin says pay in rubles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that European countries that use oil and gas exported from Russia pay for the fuel in rubles. He told them to open accounts in Russian banks and transfer the money in rubles, or he would consider the countries in default.

Energy is the most powerful leverage Russia has over the West, but Germany responded by calling the demand “blackmail.” The government of Germany immediately released a plan to prevent any problems that might lead to rioting in the nation.

Italy said it was working with allies to find solutions and form a response to Russia’s demand. The southern European nation also stated that its gas supplies would help prevent some of the potential economic fallout.

Russians prevent evacuations from Mariupol.

Forty-five buses that were headed to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, in the country's south, have been stopped by the Russian army. The Russians also stopped and stole humanitarian aid that was bound for the city in response to a humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian siege of the city.

The Russian Defense Minister said the Red Cross and the UN refugee agency would be allowed into the city, but troops on the ground appear to have stopped the convoy’s progress.

Putin being misled

The White House said that recently declassified intelligence reports indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been misled by advisors on the situation in Ukraine. The reports say that Putin is being misled on both the military situation in Ukraine and the effects of Western sanctions on the Russian economy.

The Biden Administration hopes that by revealing this intel, it might reach President Putin and get him to reconsider his actions in Ukraine.

“One of the Achilles’ heels of autocracies is that you don’t have people in those systems that speak truth to power or have the ability to speak truth to power, and I think that’s what we’re seeing in Russia,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters during a stop in Algeria on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, President Biden told Ukrainian President Zelensky that another $500 million in direct aid was being sent to Ukraine.

Bob Peryea

National Correspondent

The Kentucky Daily

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