White House Correspondent Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer gives her take on the latest news from the White House

THE WHITE HOUSE

 Biden to welcome Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia, to the White House to celebrate 200 years of diplomatic relations. 

DIGITAL ASSETS

 Biden’s EO on digital assets seems like a constructive way forward. 

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The White House says Russia may be plotting a chemical or biological weapon attack in Ukraine. 

*All this and more ahead!

Good Morning DC!

We are two weeks past the start of the violent conflict in Ukraine, and the situation on the ground does not look better. According to Ukranian government, Russian forces have bombed a maternity and children’s hospital in the southern port city of Mariupol.  To Zelenskyy, this is clear evidence that Russia is committing war crimes throughout its invasion.

How long will Ukraine be able to fight back? “As long as it takes,” a Ukrainian diplomat in London told Good Morning DC, his eyes tearing up, adding “What Putin wants is to destroy our country.”

Your top news stories of today are below. 

BREAKING THIS MORNING

The Foreign Ministers of Russia and Ukraine met today for high level diplomatic talks in Antalya, Turkey. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West of “manipulating public opinion” and acting “dangerously.” He said that a maternity ward in Mariupol was “captured by Azov Battalion and other radicals” and is the base for “ultra radicals.” Lavrov said that “all mothers and pregnant ladies were taken out from that building.”

Lavrov said the EU is “in violation of all its principles” by supplying “deadly weapons” to Ukraine. “We are not planning to attack other countries,” said Lavrov adding that Russia made a proposal to Ukraine.

The Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said that ceasefire agreement was not reached.

“Russia is not in a position at this point to establish a ceasefire. They seek a surrender from Ukraine. This is not what they’re going to get. Ukraine is strong, Ukraine is fighting,” said Kuleba.

HAVE YOUR SAY

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THE WHITE HOUSE

Today at the White House, Biden will talk on the phone with Erdogan regarding Russia and Ukraine. 

In the afternoon, the President will welcome Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia, to the White House to celebrate 200 years of positive diplomatic relations. 

In the evening, Biden is set to deliver remarks to Democratic National Committee members at their Winter Meeting at the Washington Hilton. 

This morning in Poland, VP Kamala Harris will take part in a series of meetings. 

At 10:15 AM CEST, the Vice President will hold a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki. 

At 11:10AM CEST, she will hold a bilateral meeting with the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda. 

At 12:30PM CEST, the Vice President will participate in a press availability with President Andrzej Duda.

At 2:45PM CEST, she will then participate in a roundtable with people displaced from Ukraine. 

At 5:00PM CEST, Harris will meet with staff from the US embassies in Kyiv and Warsaw at the American School of Warsaw. 

At 6:50PM CEST, the Vice President will hold a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. 

Vice President Harris will remain overnight in Warsaw, Poland.

DIGITAL ASSETS

Biden signed an Executive Order on digital assets yesterday.

Gary Gesler says that he looks “forward to collaborating with colleagues across the government to achieve important public policy goals: protecting investors and consumers, guarding against illicit activity, and helping ensure financial stability.”

Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, welcomed the EO, saying it is “constructive.”

TODAY’S CRYPTO PRICES

Bitcoin (BTC):$39,109.57

Ether (ETH):$2,595.14

SOL:$82.62

LUNA: $95.51

.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The White House said that Russia may be plotting a chemical or biological weapon attack in Ukraine. 

At the Pentagon press briefing that took place yesterday, the questions about chemical weapons in Ukraine quickly emerged, following the testimony of Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs of the US, at a congressional hearing. Nuland said she was “quite concerned that Russian troops may be seeking to gain control of those labs.”

Kirby was asked to explain what Nuland exactly referred to. 

— “Can you basically explain to us what the relationship, if any, there was between the Pentagon and the Ukrainian side on any biological labs? When was the last cooperation and what do you have to say about these Russian accusations?”

KIRBY: “The Russian accusations are absurd. They’re laughable. And you know, in the words of my Irish Catholic grandfather, a bunch of malarkey. There’s nothing to it. It’s classic Russian propaganda. And, and I wouldn’t, if I were you, I wouldn’t give it a drop of ink worth paying attention to.”

“Yes. But could you explain to us what — has there been any relationship between…”

KIRBY: “We are not, not developing biological or chemical weapons inside Ukraine. It’s not happening. Yes.”

Psaki reported that “We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged US biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine. We’ve also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories.” She added, “Russia has a long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons, including in attempted assassinations and poisoning of Putin’s political enemies like Alexey Navalny.”

Referencing on the alliance between Russia and China, in making accusations against the US to have control of  26 labs in Ukraine alone, Psaki said, “We should all be on the lookout for Russia to possibly use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, or to create a false flag operation using them.”

The UK’s Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, reiterated that the UK won’t be imposing a no-fly zone in Ukraine, explaining that it would lead to direct confrontation between NATO and Russia. 

During a bilateral meeting with Secretary Blinken yesterday in Washington, DC, Truss walked back her comments from just ten days ago, in which she said that she supports Britons going to fight in Ukraine.

Truss claims that she never said that, but she did. Let’s recap.

”You support people from Britain going over to Ukraine to help in the fight?” 

“Absolutely, if that is what they want to do,” responded Truss. 

A new set of sanctions have been placed on Roman Abramovich in the UK. All his assets including Chelsea FC have been frozen. Abramovich has been sanctioned for his alleged close ties to Putin and preferential treatment.

Mohammed Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, did not pick up Biden’s call from The White House to discuss oil supplies. 

As McDonald’s is closing for business in Russia, people rushed to their local restaurants yesterday, forming lines to get their “last fast food supper.” 

And that’s a wrap for this Thursday morning, March 10 2022. Good Morning DC will be back tomorrow to bring you the latest first. 

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...