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“De-escalation and a return to diplomacy” – Biden urges Putin to avoid war

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US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have spoken via a secure video call for two hours, with the ongoing situation in Ukraine at the top of the agenda

The Kremlin has labelled the summit as “Frank and professional” and says Putin requested Biden for ‘guarantees’ that NATO will not expand eastwards.

While the White House says in a statement that Biden “voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine”.

The administration has made it clear that the US and its allies will respond with both economic and other measures “in the event of military escalation”

Biden has reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and is calling for a “return of diplomacy”.

For many analysts, the question that remains following the talks is whether Putin will actually launch an attack on Ukraine, or whether Putin is pressuring Biden to guarantee that the nation will not become a so-called “NATO launchpad”.

Following the call, Biden was expected to speak with several American allies, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Putin has previously complained that Ukraine poses a threat to his country through its close ties to the US and European nations

American intelligence officials said last week they believe Russia is preparing for an invasion of the former Soviet republic that could involve about 175,000 troops.

The White House said ​​Biden called on “de-escalation and a return to diplomacy” from Russia.

Biden was “crystal clear” with Putin about the consequences Russia would face should an invasion occur.

Biden warned Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. will provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians and impose unprecedented sanctions on Russia, national security adviser Jake Sullivan says.

“I will look you in the eye and tell you as President Biden looked President Putin in the eye and told him today that things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now,”

said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

“We still do not believe Pres. Putin has made a decision” on whether to invade Ukraine, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters after Biden-Putin call.

However, it’s important to note that Moscow has dismissed these claims as “fake news” with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister saying contact between the two countries was “badly needed”.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida as Category 4 storm

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Officials say it’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S.

Hurricane Ian has made landfall in southwest Florida with winds of 155 mph. Hitting the mainland U.S. as a Category 4 storm— officials say it’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the nation.

Moving at a crawling pace— Hurricane Ian is prompting major concerns about flooding and delayed rescues for those who decided to ride out the storm.

Forecasters say the storm’s relatively slow surge could lead to even greater rainfall than expected.

After slamming Florida’s southwest coast with Category 4 force Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told residents that Ian brought powerful conditions including relentless rainfall and life-threatening winds that are “incredibly dangerous.”

He said, “there will be debris in the air and flooding powerful enough to move cars around so please do not be outside during the storm. If you’re in those Southwest Florida counties that you need to be sheltering in place. Don’t forget that Ian will produce hurricane strength winds and massive flooding—not just where it makes the initial landfall—but throughout the state of Florida so central Northeast Florida will also feel impacts.”

The entire Sunshine state is under a state of emergency.

Several airports in Florida are closed with thousands of flights cancelled.

More than 50 of the state’s 76 school districts have already canceled classes, with many public schools be turned into evacuation shelters.

Meanwhile, FEMA has already deployed 700 personnel to Florida and the governor has activated 5,000 state national guard with another 2,000-guard coming in from other states.

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Nord Stream pipe attack “act of sabotage”

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The US State Department has described recent leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines as “apparent acts of sabotage”

U.S State Department spokesperson Ned Price says they have more questions than answers at this point.

Adding Secretary of State Antony Blinken will begin discussing the issue with European counterparts as soon as Wednesday.

Price confirmed the leak “impacts Europe’s broader energy security and energy resilience”.

When was pressed on whether sabotage would rise to the level of a breach of NATO Article 5, he declined to speculate.

But noted the investigation could take some time.

It comes as European countries ramp up their military presence at oil and gas facilities, following the Nord Stream incident.

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Russia is about to annex Ukraine, so what happens next?

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Moscow is about to annex a swath of Ukraine, releasing what it called vote tallies showing support in four partially occupied provinces to join Russia

It looks like Russia is poised to annex a large chunk of Ukraine.

This comes after so-called referendums were held in four occupied provinces, which showed overwhelming support for joining Russia.

Of course, these referendums were anything but legitimate. They were held at gunpoint and were widely denounced by Kyiv and the West as sham votes.

“They can announce anything they want. Nobody voted in the referendum except a few people who switched sides. They went from house to house but nobody came out,” said Lyubomir Boyko, 43, from Golo Pristan, a village in Russian-occupied Kherson province.

People attend a rally and a concert in support of annexation referendums in Russian-held regions of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg on September 23, 2022.

Moscow takes charge

Nevertheless, it looks like Moscow is moving ahead with its plans to absorb these Ukrainian regions. A tribune has been set up on Red Square, with giant video screens proclaiming “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!”

The Russian-installed administrations of the four Ukrainian provinces on Wednesday formally asked Putin to incorporate them into Russia, which Russian officials have suggested is a formality.

“The results are clear. Welcome home, to Russia!,” Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Telegram.

It’s expected that President Vladimir Putin will give a speech within days confirming the annexation. This would mean that, in just over a week, Putin has gone from endorsing the sham referendums to formalizing the annexation of Ukrainian territory.

This latest development is sure to increase tensions between Russia and the West. It also further diminishes the chances of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

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