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Ukraine-Russia war – live: Biden lifts ban on Kyiv using US missiles to defend Kharkiv against Putin attacks

US policy against use of munitions unchanged as Ukraine confident Moscow lacks troop numbers for major push on city

Putin will be made to pay to rebuild Ukraine, says US secretary of state

US president Joe Biden has given Ukraine the go-ahead to use American weaponry to strike inside Russia strictly for defending Kharkiv, according to two US officials.

The sources stressed that US policy calling on Ukraine not to use American long-range missiles and other munitions against Russia offensively has not changed.

Kyiv officials have stepped up calls on the US administration to allow its forces to defend itself against attacks originating from Russian territory.

Russia is building up forces near northern Kharkiv where it launched an offensive this month, Ukraine’s top commander has said.

However, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said Moscow still lacked the troop numbers to stage a major push in the area.

Syrskyi said Russia was continuing to send additional regiments and brigades from other areas and from training grounds to bulk up its troops on two main lines of attack in Kharkiv region’s north.

Sweden has sent two crucial ASC 890 control and surveillance aircraft to Ukraine as part of a £981 million military package – the largest tranche of support provided by the Scandinavian country.

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Ukraine’s army chief says Russia pushing more troops into critical Kharkiv region

The chief of Ukraine‘s army has said Russia is pushing more troops into the northeastern Kharkiv region where Moscow’s forces have made significant advances in a spring offensive.

Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence operation claimed that sea drones destroyed two Russian KS-701 patrol boats in the Black Sea off the Russia-annexed Crimean peninsula. Russian officials did not immediately comment on the claim.

The air force said the overnight attacks included eight S-300 ballistic missiles, 11 cruise missiles and 32 Shahed drones. All the drones and seven of the cruise missiles were shot down, the air force said but did not give other details.

Ukraine’s army chief says Russia pushing more troops into critical Kharkiv region

Kyiv says its forces were continuing to strengthen their defensive lines in the area

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 19:00
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UK vows action over hundreds of Ukrainians with disabilities vanished into Russia

The British government has said it is “determined to hold to account“ those responsible for hundreds of Ukrainians with disabilities, including children, believed to have been forcibly removed to Russian-held territory and Russia itself, after a special report by The Independent.

In response to the 18-month investigation, the deputy foreign secretary, Andrew Mitchell, called the practice “despicable” and pledged further support to the disabled community in the war-wracked country.

The Independent’s four-article series revealed evidence that since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, people with disabilities have been held incommunicado, in squalid conditions and even forced into adopting Russian passports in order to secure treatment or care.

UK vows action over hundreds of Ukrainians with disabilities vanished into Russia

Deputy foreign secretary calls on those in the hundreds of cases revealed by an 18-month investigation by The Independent to be returned and pledges further support for the disabled community in Ukraine

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 18:00
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US Treasury official visits Ukraine to discuss sanctions on Russia and seizing Russian assets

A senior U.S. Treasury official is in Kyiv this week to talk with government officials about U.S. financial support for Ukraine, efforts to tighten sanctions on Russia and plans to use immobilized Russian sovereign assets for the benefit of Ukraine as it fends off Russian forces.

Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo’s trip comes as Russia gains territory on the battlefield after an especially lengthy delay in U.S. military aid left Ukraine at the mercy of Russia’s bigger army and as the outlook for Ukraine’s state finances is on shakier ground.

Adeyemo is set to meet with officials in Ukraine’s finance ministry and president’s office. He’s also planning a stop at the Kyiv School of Economics to speak with faculty and civil society groups working on sanctions policy and ways to make sanctions on Russia more effective.

US Treasury official visits Ukraine to discuss sanctions on Russia and seizing Russian assets

A U.S. Treasury official is traveling to Kyiv this week to talk about U.S. financial support for Ukraine, efforts to tighten sanctions on Russia and plans to use immobilized Russian sovereign assets for the benefit of Ukraine as it fends off Russian forces

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 17:00
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US close to completing Ukraine bilateral security deal talks, US official says

The United States is close to completing negotiations on a bilateral security agreement with Ukraine that President Joe Biden announced last year at a G7 meeting, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

G7 nations, led by the U.S., unveiled a framework in July for the long-term security of Ukraine to boost its defenses against Russia.

The U.S. official’s comment came after the Financial Times reported on Thursday that the U.S. and Ukraine were close to signing a bilateral security pact.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 16:30
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NATO chief seeks 40 billion euros per year for Ukraine military aid, source says

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg will ask allies to pledge a minimum of 40 billion euros ($43.37 billion) annually to fund military aid for Ukraine, an alliance source told Reuters on Thursday.

“We need to sustain that current level of support as a minimum to provide the predictability Ukraine needs, for as long as necessary,” the NATO source said, adding that allies had provided some 40 billion euros per year since Russia‘s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

NATO foreign ministers were to gather on Thursday evening for a two-day meeting in Prague and were expected to discuss Stoltenberg’s proposal during a working session on Friday.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 16:05
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Hungary's foreign minister visits Belarus despite EU sanctions, talks about expanding ties

Hungary‘s top diplomat visited Belarus on Wednesday for talks on expanding ties despite the European Union’s sanctions against the country.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó declared that “our position is clear: the fewer sanctions, the more cooperation!”

The EU has slapped an array of sweeping sanctions on Belarus for the repression, which followed mass protests fueled by the 2020 presidential election that was widely seen by the opposition and the West as rigged. Belarus’ isolation further deepened after authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko allowed Russian troops to use his country’s territory to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Hungary's foreign minister visits Belarus despite EU sanctions, talks about expanding ties

Hungary’s top diplomat has visited Belarus for talks on expanding ties despite the European Union’s sanctions against the country

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 15:30
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Zelensky hails key allies as Sweden becomes third country this week to pledge $1bn in military aid

Sweden has become the third country in as many days to pledge more than $1 billion (£785m) in additional military aid to Ukraine as president Volodymyr Zelensky concluded a three-day tour of Europe.

The package, announced by defence minister Pal Jonson, is the largest single tranche of support donated by Sweden since Vladimir Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, valued at 13.3 billion Swedish crowns (£981m).

It comes at a vital time for Ukraine as Russian forces, emboldened by an advantage born from a US military package delayed by more than six months, advance across the 640-mile frontline.

Zelensky hails key allies as Sweden becomes third country this week to pledge $1bn

Spain, Belgium and Sweden have all pledged to send at least $1 billion to Ukraine as Kyiv struggles against advantaged Russian forces across the frontline

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 15:10
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NATO chief calls for discussion on restrictions for arms supplied to Ukraine

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said ‘the time has come’ for members of the military alliance to re-consider some of the restrictions attached to the use of weapons they supplied to Ukraine in support of the country’s fight against Russia.

Western countries appeared increasingly divided in recent weeks on whether or not the Ukrainian military should be allowed to strike targets on Russian soil.

Some of Ukraine‘s allies argued this is part of legitimate self-defence against an invasion, while others voiced fears it could drag the West into the conflict

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 14:40
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Ukraine can still prevail, but only with robust support from NATO countries - Stoltenberg

Ukraine can still prevail in its war against Russia, “but only with continued robust support from NATO allies”, the head of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, said speaking in Prague ahead of a foreign ministers’ meeting on Thursday.

(AP)
Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 13:56
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Blinken condemns ‘poison’ of Russian misinformation

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has attacked Russian attempts to sow discord in democracies with misinformation after hinting that the Biden administration may soon allow Ukraine to use American-supplied munitions to strike inside Russia.

In Prague for a Nato foreign ministers meeting, Mr Blinken hit out at Moscow’s use of misinformation and disinformation, calling it a “poison”, and signing an agreement with the Czech government to combat it.

He also toured a Czech military base, where he saw armoured vehicles that Prague is sending to Kyiv to help fight Russia‘s invasion, and received a briefing on a Czech initiative to supply Ukraine with a million rounds of ammunition by the end of the year.

“We know that a major front in the competition that we have, the adversarial relationship that we have, notably with Russia, is on the information front,” he said.

Mr Blinken said the agreement with the Czechs - the 17th such accord the US has signed with partner nations - will help “to effectively deal with misinformation and disinformation, which is a poison being injected into our democracies by our adversaries”.

“The more we’re able to do together both between our countries but also with other countries, the more effective we’re going to be exposing it and dealing with it,” he told reporters at a signing ceremony with Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky.

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 13:24

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