FirstFT: Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, determines US

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The US said it had made a formal determination that Russia’s military has committed war crimes in Ukraine, pointing to atrocities including “indiscriminate attacks deliberately targeting civilians” carried out during Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Antony Blinken, secretary of state, said the Biden administration had made the assessment of Russian war crimes based on a “careful review” of information from public and intelligence sources and will be up to a court of law to determine “guilt in specific cases” .

Blinken noted in particular a strike on a theater in Mariupol that was clearly marked with the Russian word for “children” as well as an attack on a maternity hospital that killed a pregnant woman and her child. The US will continue to gather information on attacks and share them with allies and international institutions, he added.

The accusation of war crimes followed shortly after NATO’s announcement that it would provide Ukraine with defenses against chemical and nuclear weapons. US President Joe Biden, who called Putin a “war criminal” last week in his sharpest rebuke yet of the Russian president, joins other NATO and G7 leaders in Brussels today to discuss further allied response to the war.

More news on Ukraine

Share your thoughts with us at firstft@ft.com and we may feature them in the newsletter. Here’s the rest of today’s news – Sophia

1. Evergrande bondholders threaten legal action A group of bondholders is moving closer to formal legal action against China’s Evergrande after the world’s most indebted property developer made a surprise disclosure that mystery lenders to one of its subsidiaries claimed more than $ 2bn in cash.

Video: Evergrande: the end of China’s property boom

2. Boston Consulting Group sues GameStop over unpaid fees The firm, one of the world’s largest corporate advisers, has sued the video game retailer and meme-stock archetype GameStop over what it called $ 30mn in unpaid bills.

Tencent’s revenue growth hit by China’s regulatory crackdown The Chinese tech group reported its slowest revenue growth on record after diverting resources from game development and restricting the access of minors to its games in order to comply with a barrage of regulations introduced last year.

Activist shareholders battle Toshiba in critical vote on company future Shareholders may bring the company to reopen buyout talks with private equity. The meeting, happening today, is set to be a showdown marking the climax of a four-year struggle between Toshiba and shareholders on the direction of the company.

5. Taliban to bar teenage Afghan girls from secondary school The U-turn has sparked international condemnation and left desperate students stranded outside campuses. Girls had been allowed to attend primary school but the Taliban had said students from grade 7, or about age 13, would not be allowed to resume classes.

Coronavirus digest

The day ahead

Bank of Japan minutes published Minutes from Japan’s monthly monetary policy meeting are set to be released. The central bank has maintained a noticeably more cautious stance than that of the US amid surging prices.

World leaders meet in Brussels NATO heads of state will gather to discuss next steps in the Ukraine conflict. US President Joe Biden and European leaders face difficult choices amid fears that Vladimir Putin might resort to weapons of mass destruction to break Ukraine’s resistance. The NATO meeting coincides with a pre-planned European Council meeting of EU member state leaders.

What else we’re reading

Wirecard: the case against Markus Braun The former chief executive of the payments company that went bust with debts of € 3bn has swapped his life as a paper billionaire and is now facing fraud charges and the possibility of up to 15 years in prison. But his case is not clear cut.

Sunak announces income tax cut At the tail end of UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement came a promise to cut the basic rate of income tax by 1p in the pound in April 2024. The announcement, described as “desperate” by one senior Tory MP, confirms the grim political and economic situation in which Sunak finds himself.

Why ‘shrinkflation’ means you are paying the same for less Some companies are happy to pass on higher costs to customers – others are more sneaky, says Brooke Masters. And shrinkflation does not stop at manufacturers. Service and hospitality providers are under pressure to find creative ways to preserve their margins.

Iran’s enemies in the Middle East are closing ranks Efforts to renew the Iran nuclear deal may be in danger, writes David Gardner, as the possibility of the US removing Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard from its foreign terrorist list causes alarm in the region.

Movie

Writing with Fire follows the all-female staff of Hindi news portal Khabar Lahariya. This “observational documentary” is not just about journalism, but also reveals the complexities of caste and class inequalities. Here’s how a film about fearless Indian female reporters made it to the Oscars.

Suneeta has to fight chauvinism and corruption © BBC / Black Ticket Films

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