NBC News, Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, said that the two Americans, Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, 27, were “soldiers of fortune” who had been engaged in shelling and firing on Russian forces and should be “held responsible for the crimes they have committed.”

The sanctions imposed on Russia also played a role on Monday in an escalating confrontation with Lithuania, a member of both the European Union and NATO.

The Russian authorities threatened Lithuania with retaliation if the Baltic country did not swiftly reverse its ban on the transportation of some goods to Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland. Citing instructions from the European Union, Lithuania’s railway on Friday said it was halting the movement of goods from Russia that have been sanctioned by the European bloc.

Mr. Peskov told reporters the situation was “more than serious.” He called the new restrictions “an element of a blockade” of the region and a “violation of everything.”

small town of Toshkivka in Luhansk Province, part of the eastern region known as Donbas. That is where Russian forces have concentrated much of their military power as part of a plan to seize the region after having failed to occupy other parts of the country, including Kyiv, the capital, and Kharkiv, the second-largest city, in northern Ukraine.

Reports over the weekend suggested that Russian forces had broken through the Ukrainian front line in Toshkivka, about 12 miles southeast of the metropolitan area of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. Those are the last major cities in Luhansk not to have fallen into Russian hands. As of Monday, it remained unclear whether Russia had made any further advance there.

But Ukrainian officials said Russian forces had intensified shelling in and around Kharkiv, weeks after the Ukrainians had pushed them back, suggesting that Moscow still had territorial ambitions beyond Donbas.

“We de-occupied this region,” Mr. Zelensky said in an address to a conference of international policy experts in Italy. “And they want to do it again.”

Matthew Mpoke Bigg reported from London, Andrew Higgins from Warsaw, Thomas Gibbons-Neff from Druzhkivka, Ukraine, and Rick Gladstone from New York. Reporting was contributed by Valerie Hopkins and Oleksandr Chubko from Kyiv; Dan Bilefsky from Montreal; Monika Pronczuk from Brussels; Austin Ramzy from Hong Kong; Stanley Reed from London; and Zach Montague from Rehoboth Beach, Del.

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On Ukraine, Biden Flusters European Allies by Stating the Obvious

Her party leader and chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has been more circumspect, saying after a meeting with the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, on Tuesday that Germany was ready to discuss halting the pipeline should Russia attack Ukraine. “It is clear that there will be a high price to pay and that everything will have to be discussed should there be a military intervention in Ukraine,” Mr. Scholz said.

The issue is sensitive for Washington, too. Last week, at NATO, Wendy R. Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, said: “From our perspective, it’s very hard to see gas flowing through the pipeline or for it to become operational if Russia renews its aggression on Ukraine.”

But the divisions are precisely why her boss, the secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, is in Berlin on Thursday to talk to the German government and to senior diplomats from Britain and the so-called Normandy Format on Ukraine — France and Germany.

Set up in 2014 after the commemoration of D-Day in Normandy, the group includes Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, but not the United States, because at the time President Barack Obama wanted to leave Ukraine to the Europeans.

Some consider that to have been a mistake, and there are discussions now about whether the United States should also join to try to de-escalate the current crisis. Negotiations produced the Minsk accords, which both Russia and Ukraine accuse the other of violating, and which Russia continues to say hold the key to the Ukrainian crisis.

Further divisions were on display on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, where Emmanuel Macron, the French president, gave a long speech to the European Parliament setting out his priorities for the French presidency of the European Union — and implicitly for his own re-election campaign with voting in April.

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Gaza War Deepens a Long-Running Humanitarian Crisis

GAZA CITY — The nine-day battle between Hamas militants and the Israeli military has damaged 17 hospitals and clinics in Gaza, wrecked its only coronavirus test laboratory, sent fetid wastewater into its streets and broke water pipes serving at least 800,000 people, setting off a humanitarian crisis that is touching nearly every civilian in the crowded enclave of about two million people.

Sewage systems inside Gaza have been destroyed. A desalination plant that helped provide fresh water to 250,000 people in the territory is offline. Dozens of schools have been damaged or closed, forcing some 600,000 students to miss classes. Some 72,000 Gazans have been forced to flee their homes. And at least 213 Palestinians have been killed, including dozens of children.

The level of destruction and loss of life in Gaza has underlined the humanitarian challenge in the enclave, already suffering under the weight of an indefinite blockade by Israel and Egypt even before the latest conflict.

demonstrations began peacefully but led to clashes in some places in the West Bank Outside Ramallah, a group of Palestinians who had gathered separately from the protesters set fires on a major thoroughfare and later exchanged gunfire with Israeli soldiers, officials said. Three Palestinians were killed.

Rocket fire from Palestinian militants has also harmed Israeli infrastructure, damaging a gas pipeline and pausing operations at a gas rig and at two major Israeli airports.

But the damage was incomparable to that in Gaza.

Until Monday evening, Al Rimal health clinic in central Gaza City housed Gaza’s only coronavirus test laboratory. Doctors and nurses there administered hundreds of vaccinations, prescriptions and screenings a day to more than 3,000 patients.

But on Monday night an Israeli airstrike hit the street outside, sending shrapnel into the clinic, shattering windows, shredding doors, furniture and computers, caking rooms in debris and wrecking the virus lab.

adherence to the international laws of war, which bar the targeting of purely civilian sites and limit acceptable collateral damage to that which is proportionate to any military advantage.

according to a report last year by the United Nations, have left Gaza with “the world’s highest unemployment rate” and more than half of its population living below the poverty line.

By Monday, Israeli bombs had destroyed 132 residential buildings and rendered 316 housing units uninhabitable, according to Gaza’s Housing Ministry.

One airstrike essentially destroyed the Hala al Shawa clinic in northern Gaza which also provides primary health-care services and vaccinations, while another damaged four ambulances nearby, the Health Ministry said.

The blast from a third airstrike broke windows in operating rooms, forcing the clinic to transfer surgery patients to other hospitals, said Abdelsalam Sabah, the ministry’s hospitals director. A separate airstrike caused some structural damage to the nearby Indonesian hospital, he added. A piece of shrapnel flew into the emergency room at the Gaza Eye Hospital, nearly wounding a nurse, he said.

The strike on Al Rimal clinic in Gaza City also damaged the administrative offices of the Hamas-run Health Ministry, said Dr. Majdi Dhair, director of the ministry’s preventive medicine department.

One ministry employee was hospitalized and in serious condition after shrapnel struck him in the head, Dr. Dhair said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“This attack was barbaric,” he said. “There’s no way to justify it.”

Reporting was contributed by Patrick Kingsley and Myra Noveck from Jerusalem; Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel; and Irit Pazner Garshowitz from Tzur Hadassah.

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Europe Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire in Israel-Palestinian Fighting

BRUSSELS — European Union foreign ministers overwhelmingly called for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians in an emergency meeting on Tuesday, according to the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles.

All of the member states except Hungary backed a statement that condemned rocket attacks by Hamas and supported Israel’s right to self-defense but also cautioned that it had “to be done in a proportional manner and respecting international humanitarian law,’’ Mr. Borrell said at a news conference.

He said that the number of civilian casualties in Gaza, “including a high number of women and children,’’ was “unacceptable.’’ And he said that the European Union, as part of the quartet with the United States, Russia and the United Nations that seeks peace in the Middle East, would push to restart a serious diplomatic process.

“The priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a cease-fire,” Mr. Borrell said. Foreign policy in the European Union works by unanimity, so Mr. Borrell’s comments, despite Hungary’s opposition, were an effort, he said, “to reflect the overall agreement.”

evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

“The representatives of the European public, the ministers of foreign affairs in this case, are trying very hard to deal with the situation and find the best possible contribution by the E.U. to de-escalate and stop the violence,” he said. “And I think that’s it. I can only repeat that of course the casualties are unacceptable.”

Isabel Kershner contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

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Foreign Leaders Attend Funeral for President Idriss Déby of Chad

The leaders of several African nations and the president of France on Friday attended the funeral of President Idriss Déby of Chad, one of Africa’s most enduring and feared autocrats whose death was announced this week.

Military leaders said on Tuesday that he had died from injuries sustained in clashes between rebels and government forces.

Despite abuses directed at his own people during his 31-year rule, Mr. Déby had benefited from the indulgence of Western powers as he remained a steady linchpin for their military interventions against Islamist insurgents in the region. His death has thrown the future of the vast African nation into uncertainty.

The Chadian military announced this week that Mr. Déby, 68, had died on Monday — the same day that his victory in a sixth election, marred by irregularities, had been confirmed.

Front for Change and Concord in Chad, threatened to march on Ndjamena on Friday, after the funeral, and had warned foreign leaders not to attend.

whether he was in fact killed by a rival.

At the funeral on Friday, Mr. Déby’s family praised “a great fighter” who was “obsessed with peace and the unity of Chadians.”

“You’ve left while walking toward the enemy,” said Abdelkrim Idriss Déby, another of Mr. Déby’s sons.

Mr. Macron said Mr. Déby had lived as a soldier and died as one.

“Idriss, you were an exemplary leader and a courageous warrior, but you also knew the value of diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” Mr. Macron said at the funeral on Friday.

known as Operation Barkhane, is headquartered in the capital. The French president’s office said on Monday that the nation had lost “a courageous friend” with Mr. Déby’s death.

Thomas Gassilloud, a French lawmaker who sits on a parliamentary committee focusing on the relationship between France and Chad, said that Mr. Déby had long offered stability in a region where that was difficult to find.

“Chad is at the crossroads of zones that have faced multiple security crises in recent years: Libya to the north, Niger to the west, and the Central African Republic to the south,” he said, noting that Mr. Déby had studied at the prestigious Paris-based military school that trains senior French Army officers. “France was used to working with Déby, and when it came to military operations in the Sahel, they spoke the same language.”

Mr. Macron arrived in Ndjamena on Thursday evening, before the funeral, and met with Mahamat Idriss Déby at the presidential palace. The French authorities have said that “exceptional circumstances” in Chad justified the installation of Mr. Déby’s son as interim president.

Roland Marchal, a longtime expert on Chad at the Paris-based Sciences Po university, said that Mr. Macron’s meeting with Mr. Déby showed French approval for what several analysts consider a coup, noting that Paris had not publicly called for the Chadian Constitution to be respected, unlike U.S. officials have.

“France wants to keep a privileged relationship with the Chadian authorities,” Mr. Marchal said, “and for that it is ready to accept that the constitution of a country be swept away.”

Mahamat Adamou contributed reporting.

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Europe Struggles to Defend Itself Against a Weaponized Dollar

BRUSSELS — The new Biden administration is making nice with the European Union, talking of renewed cooperation and suspending retaliatory tariffs stemming from an old dispute between Airbus and Boeing.

But despite the warm words and efforts at rebuilding trust, the American willingness to punish its European allies and impose sanctions on them in pursuit of foreign-policy goals continues to rankle.

It is an underlying tension, a ready reminder of the asymmetric power of the United States. That is especially so when it comes to what are known as secondary sanctions. While Iran and Russia, for example, may be the primary target of sanctions, the secondary sanctions punish other countries and companies — very often European — that do business with them as well.

Increasingly popular with Congress, secondary sanctions have been deployed to coerce allies to fall into line on any number of issues. In recent years, those have included the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, Iran’s nuclear program and the socialist governments of Venezuela and Cuba. The great fear is that they would some day be used by the United States against China — or even vice versa — leaving Europe squeezed in the middle.

a marked vulnerability for Europe, which depends on open markets. It has prompted serious discussions of how to defend Europe and the euro from Washington’s whims, and it has become a central part of the argument about how to create “strategic autonomy,” so Europe can protect its own interests.

Last month, the European Union announced efforts to strengthen an “anti-coercion instrument’’ against “unfair trading practices.” The main sources of them are China and Europe’s self-professed ally and partner, the United States.

While Europe favors using multilateral institutions on trade disputes, “we cannot afford to stand defenseless in the meantime,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Union’s commissioner for trade. The European Union must be able to defend itself “from those trying to take advantage of our openness,’’ he said.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles, has condemned Washington’s use of secondary sanctions against European companies doing “legitimate business.’’

threatening “crushing legal and economic sanctions.’’

Denying access to the American market and the dollar is “an immense source of political power,’’ said Jonathan Hackenbroich of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, who has studied the issue as part of a project with senior German and French officials, who want to reduce European vulnerability.

Almost any company that has business in the United States or uses the American banking system or the dollar is going to try to preserve that relationship and cut off business with the target of the sanctions, he said, even to the point of “overcompliance.”

Mr. Borrell wrote that “we need to develop the international role of the euro, to avoid being forced to break our own laws under the weight of secondary sanctions.”

But few believe that the euro will become a rival to the dollar any time soon, or perhaps ever, given Europe’s slow growth, its internal divisions over how to solidify and strengthen the euro, and the growing power of China and the renminbi.

an estimated $2 billion, while Siemens lost a rail contract worth $1.5 billion and Airbus lost $19 billion.

President Biden has said that he will rejoin the Iran deal, but will not lift sanctions until Iran returns to compliance. Although most diplomats assume that Washington and Tehran will work out some sort of sequencing, European companies remain hesitant.

the debate over how Europe can project its own power and protect itself from larger and more powerful nations, whether allies or competitors, will not go away.

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