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Your Evening Briefing: Pentagon Official Accuses Putin of ‘Depravity’

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A street mural reading “brother” depicts Vladimir Putin in Belgrade last month. Serbia has maintained close ties to the Kremlin despite its war on Ukraine.

A street mural reading “brother” depicts Vladimir Putin in Belgrade last month. Serbia has maintained close ties to the Kremlin despite its war on Ukraine.

Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg

U.S. Defense Department spokesman John Kirby denounced Putin for the “depravity” of Russia’s tactics in Ukraine and the “bizarre” claims he’s made about his reasons for waging war there. “There’s not even an attempt by Russia to be precise in their targeting,” Kirby said. “It’s just brutality of the coldest and most depraved sort.” 

Russia’s central bank slashed interest rates and forecast international sanctions would trigger a bigger economic drop than expected before the war, while Germany signaled it wouldn’t oppose a European Union embargo on Russian oil as more nations move to decouple their energy needs from the Kremlin. Still, Russia appeared on track to avoid a looming sovereign default, tapping its domestic dollar reserves