Accusations of war crimes are mounting against Vladimir Putin as Russian troops persist in targeting Ukrainian civilians, bombing apartment buildings, shelters, and hospitals. Facing widespread global condemnation, the Russian tyrant decided to hold a massive pro-Russia rally where he cited the Bible to support his violence against Ukraine.
Moscow police claim more than 200,000 people attended Putin's rally at Luzhniki stadium, celebrating the eighth anniversary of Russia seizing the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.
Putin praised his country's troops saying, “We have not had unity like this for a long time.” He then paraphrased the Bible, saying, "There is no greater love than giving up one’s soul for one’s friends.”
His quoting of the Bible and an 18th-century Russian admiral are just the latest sign of his increasing focus on using religion and history to rally Russians together as the country still struggles to climb out of its post-Soviet malaise.
As CBN's Faithwire recently reported, Putin sees Ukraine as part of Russia's "spiritual space," and some say he thinks he's a "messianic figure, a savior, to reunite Eastern Orthodox churches under Moscow."
'Targeting Civilians Is a War Crime'
Meanwhile, Russian forces are unleashing death and destruction on their Ukrainian brothers as they increase attacks on civilians. First responders were seen covering bodies of a family of five with blankets after a Russian missile strike in Chernihiv.
In Mariupol, an urgent rescue effort is underway, where survivors could be trapped alive under the rubble of a shelter destroyed in a Russian air strike. Out of the more than 1,000 believed to be in the building, including many women and children, only about 130 people have been rescued, so far.
"President Biden said his opinion, war crimes have been committed in Ukraine," said U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. "Personally, I agree. Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime."
Ukrainian forces have launched successful counterattacks, stalling Kremlin forces. Footage of a battle outside Kyiv on Wednesday showed Russian tanks being destroyed, possibly by a drone strike. CBN's George Thomas says Ukraine is clearly now going on the offensive.
"Authorities in Kyiv use the curfew to really attack the Russians," Thomas said while on a tour of a Ukrainian Checkpoint. "So, they've been going to locations like Irpin to Bucha – to try and push the Russians further away because the Russians are on their heels. You've got maybe 15,000 Russians who've died, reportedly, with those who've basically given up their tanks and trucks. So really, Russians are on their heels and the Ukrainians are taking the advantage."
With the invasion stalled, there are fears a frustrated Vladimir Putin might invent a pretext to use chemical weapons.
"We believe that Moscow may be setting the stage to use a chemical weapon and then falsely blame Ukraine to justify escalating its attacks," Blinken said.
There are also concerns China might provide military or economic aid to Putin. President Biden is expected to warn President Xi Jinping against any support in a call Friday. One analyst believes China could support Moscow surreptitiously.
"My prediction would be that any weapons that he (Jinping) might transfer will be done discretely with small amounts and dribbled out, more as the minimal sign of some partial solidarity than any desire to make a major battlefield difference," said Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow at The Brookings Institute.