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A car burns after the destruction of Mariupol children's hospital as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022 in this still image from a handout video obtained by Reuters.

Ukraine Military/Handout via REUTERS

Is rogue Russia using banned weapons and tactics?

The US State Department accused Russia on Thursday of using a chemical weapon called chloropicrin against Ukrainian soldiers. If true, the use of this choking agent would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international agreement that Russia has signed. Chloropicrin, widely used in World War I, is an oily substance that irritates the lungs, eyes, skin, and digestive system. The US says Russia is using it to force Ukrainian soldiers out of their trenches along the frontlines. The Kremlin’s chief spokesman has denied the charge.

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Biden speaks in Warsaw.

Slawomir Kaminski /Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Biden "gaffe" fallout, Russia changes war plan, Pakistani political turmoil

Does Biden have a red line?

In a fiery speech in Warsaw on Saturday, US President Joe Biden framed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a battle between authoritarian brutality and the free world. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said at the very end, reportedly going off-script — a comment the White House would later walk back as Biden simply meaning that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot continue to strong-arm Russia’s neighbors. But the confrontational phrase speaks for itself, and it’s hard to imagine Biden didn’t mean it at some level. He also notably called the Russian president a war criminal. For Putin, Biden’s words likely spell out what he’s been warning about for years: that America seeks regime change in Moscow. US allies, meanwhile, were quick to distance themselves from the remark, which some may fear could escalate tensions or trigger direct confrontation with Russia.

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