Live updates: Stoltenberg: Chemical attack would change war

By AP News

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BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says any chemical attack by Russia on Ukraine would change the course of the war but he is not saying whether NATO would take military action.

BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says any chemical attack by Russia on Ukraine would change the course of the war but he is not saying whether NATO would take military action.

Asked whether a chemical weapons attack is a red line for NATO, Stoltenberg said, “I will not speculate beyond the fact that NATO is always ready to defend, to protect and to react to any type of attack on a NATO-allied country.”

Stoltenberg says “any use of chemical weapons would fundamentally change the nature of the conflict. It would be a blatant violation of international law, and it will have widespread and severe consequences.”

His remarks Thursday came as he arrived at NATO headquarters in Brussels to chair a summit of the military organization’s 30 national leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden.

NATO allies are worried about Russian rhetoric and fears that Moscow might want to create a pretext to use chemical weapons in Ukraine. The leaders are likely to agree to send equipment to help Ukraine protect against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

They’re also set to endorse a move to set up four new multinational battlegroups in eastern Europe to deter Russia from attacking any NATO members.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

Ukraine president to press Biden, NATO for more support

Biden , Western allies gather at tense moment in Ukraine war

UN to vote on blaming Russia for Ukraine humanitarian crisis

— Russian stock market , crushed by war, partially reopens

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

LVIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s navy on Thursday reported destroying Russia’s large landing ship, Orsk, near the port city of Berdyansk.

A short Facebook statement about the ship was accompanied with photos and videos of fire and thick plumes of smoke in the port.

The Russian military has not commented on what happened to the ship.

Berdyansk has been under Russian control since Feb. 27.

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department says Russia has begun the process of expelling several more diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

The department said it received a list of diplomats on Wednesday who have been declared “persona non grata” by the Russian foreign ministry. It didn’t say how many diplomats were affected by the order, which generally results in the expulsion of those targeted within 72 hours.

The Russian foreign ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan on Monday to protest President Joe Biden’s description of Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal” over the invasion of Ukraine. After that meeting, Russia warned that it was close to severing diplomatic relations with the United States, which would be unprecedented.

The State Department called Wednesday’s move “Russia’s latest unhelpful and unproductive step” in relations between the countries. It urged Russia “to end its unjustified expulsions of U.S. diplomats and staff.”

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Author: AP News

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