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US to take 100,000 refugees; NATO to supply weapons to Ukraine

Even as the fighting raged in several cities, with the Russians attacking apartments, schools and hospitals, blowing up the port of Berdyansk, the NATO met in Brussels where Biden said "NATO has never, never been more united than is it today." Although his mission to Europe was "to ensure we stay united". Biden said allies would respond if Russia uses chemical weapons against Ukraine. (READ: Ukraine war: Western agents seek to get inside Putin's head)

WASHINGTON, March 24: The US will take 100,000 refugees from Ukraine being devastated by a mindless Russian invasion, and provide $1 billion more in new humanitarian assistance to the war-torn country, the White House announced on Thursday. The aid will be used for food and medical supplies.

"Today, the United States is announcing plans to welcome up to 1,00,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression through the full range of legal pathways, including the US refugee admissions program," the White House said in a statement.

In Brussels, US President Joe Biden said in a statement following a NATO emergency summit on Thursday, “We had the privilege of hearing directly from President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy (he addressed the NATO), and we will continue to support him and his Government with significant and increasing amounts of security assistance to fight Russian aggression and uphold their right to self-defense.” Biden is attending the summits of the NATO and Group of Seven leaders. He is also meeting European Union leaders to consolidate unity among them to face the Russian invasion.

NATO allies agree to supply weapons to Ukraine

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said the alliance has activated chemical, biological and nuclear defence elements. "Russia might use the pretext of NATO preparing a biological attack to carry out the same in Ukraine. We are concerned. If it happens, it'll change the nature of the conflict. It won't just affect Ukraine but also NATO countries," the NATO chief said.

"NATO allies have agreed to supply weapons to Ukraine to tackle such attacks. We have activated our chemical, biological, and nuclear defence elements," he added.

In a statement, NATO asked Putin to stop the war and withdraw the troops. "Russia’s attack on Ukraine threatens global security", it said.

The NATO will deploy four new combat units in Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

It extended the term of Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for a year.

In his video address to the NATO summit, Zelenskyy called for military assistance. Provide Ukraine with “1% of all your planes, 1% of all your tanks,” he pleaded. He also called on people worldwide to gather in public to show support for his country as the invasion is entering its second month.

At the UN, the General Assembly approved a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. India once again abstained. "India abstained on the resolution since what we require now is to focus on cessation of hostilities and urgent humanitarian assistance. The draft resolution didn't fully reflect our expected focus on these challenges," Ambassador TS Tirumurti said.

The Group of Seven leaders also announced plans to restrict the Russian Central Bank’s use of gold in transactions. The US announced a new sanctions on defense companies and more than 300 members of the Russian State Duma.

Port of Berdyansk set ablaze

Meanwhile, the Russian troops blew up a fuel tank, resulting in fire in the port of Berdyansk. Some Russian ships were also attacked. Ukrainian Navy said a Russian Alligator-class landing ship BDK-69 Orsk was destroyed in the port.

About 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine since the aggression began on February 24, according to the UN refugee agency.

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