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France to send Mirage warplanes as Putin threatens to arm West’s enemies

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Zelensky says China trying to undermine Ukraine peace summit

President Emmanuel Macron said France plans to provide Mirage 2000 warplanes to Ukraine and train Ukrainian pilots this summer.

Mr Macron did not specify how many single-engine jet fighters would be provided, by when or under what financial terms. He said France had proposed to train 4,500 Ukrainian soldiers but did not clarify where the soldiers would be trained.

The announcement comes amid a strain in Russian-French ties that followed Mr Macron’s statements about the possibility of deploying the country’s troops in Ukraine. Moscow has warned that French soldiers would be legitimate targets for Russia if they were sent to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has threatened to retaliate against Western countries that are allowing Ukraine to hit Russia with their long-range missiles.

Putin said Russia will provide such weapons to countries or adversaries within striking distance of Western nations.

“If we see that these countries are being drawn into a war against the Russian Federation, then we reserve the right to act in the same way. In general, this is a path to very serious problems,” Putin said at his annual economic forum in St Petersburg.

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Zelensky meets Biden and Macron in France

US President Joe Biden (R) shakes hands with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) during the International commemorative ceremony at Omaha Beach marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II ‘D-Day’ Allied landings in Normandy
US President Joe Biden (R) shakes hands with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) during the International commemorative ceremony at Omaha Beach marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II ‘D-Day’ Allied landings in Normandy (AFP via Getty Images)
France’s President Emmanuel Macron (R) greets Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival to attend the International commemorative ceremony
France’s President Emmanuel Macron (R) greets Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival to attend the International commemorative ceremony (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2024 07:30

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Biden calls Putin a ‘dictator’

US president Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is “not a decent man” but “a dictator” amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“He’s a dictator, and he’s struggling to make sure he holds his country together while still keeping this assault going,” Mr Biden told ABC World News during his trip to France to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

When asked about the US administration’s decision to authorise Ukraine to use American weapons to strike inside Russia, Mr Biden said the weapons were authorised to be used “in proximity to the border”.

“We’re not authorising strikes 200 miles into Russia, and we’re not authorising strikes on Moscow, on the Kremlin.”

“We’re not talking about giving them weapons to strike Moscow, to strike the Kremlin, to strike against — just across the border, where they’re receiving significant fire from conventional weapons used by the Russians to go into Ukraine to kill Ukrainians.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2024 07:00

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France to send Mirage 2000 warplanes to Ukraine

President Emmanuel Macron said France plans to provide Mirage 2000 warplanes to Ukraine and train Ukrainian pilots this summer.

Mr Macron did not specify how many single-engine jet fighters would be provided, by when or under what financial terms.

He said France had proposed to train 4,500 Ukrainian soldiers but did not clarify where the soldiers would be trained.

He made the announcement on the occasion of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to France as part of D-Day anniversary celebrations.

Mr Zelensky earlier in September said he had struck an agreement on training Ukraine pilots in France in conversation with Macron.

The head of the Ukrainian Air Force said in January that French Mirage aircraft may reinforce the Ukrainian air force.

Two Mirage 2000-5F fighter jets of the French Air Force are seen next to an Airbus A330 MRTT “Phenix” in the airspace of Poland
Two Mirage 2000-5F fighter jets of the French Air Force are seen next to an Airbus A330 MRTT “Phenix” in the airspace of Poland (REUTERS)

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2024 06:24

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US to send new $225m military aid package to Ukraine

The US will send about $225m in military aid to Ukraine, US officials said Thursday, in a new package that includes ammunition Kyiv’s forces could use to strike threats inside Russia to defend the city of Kharkiv from a heavy Russian assault.

The officials said the aid includes munitions for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, as well as mortar systems and an array of artillery rounds. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss aid not yet publicly announced.

Under a new US directive, Ukraine can use such weapons to strike across the border into Russia if forces there are attacking or preparing to attack.

That change, however, does not alter US policy that directs Ukraine not to use American-provided ATACMS or long-range missiles and other munitions to strike offensively inside Russia, according to US officials.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2024 06:15

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Russian warships headed to Caribbean for drills as tensions rise

The US has tracked Russian warships and aircraft that are expected to arrive in the Caribbean for a military exercise in the coming weeks.

The ships also are expected possibly to make port calls in Venezuela and Cuba, as Russia establishes a Western Hemisphere military presence that the senior Biden administration officials said was notable but not concerning.

The exercise will involve a “handful” of Russian ships and support vessels, the two officials said.

It’s not the first time Russia has sent its ships to the Caribbean.

This exercise, however, is taking place as Russian president Vladimir Putin has suggested that Moscow could take “asymmetrical steps” elsewhere in the world in response to president Joe Biden‘s decision to allow Ukraine to use US-provided weapons to strike inside Russia to protect Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2024 05:45

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Russia detains French man for ‘espionage’

The authorities in Russia have arrested a French NGO worker on suspicion of allegedly gathering information about the activities of Vladimir Putin’s military.

A criminal case has been launched against the Frenchman for allegedly violating Russia’s law that requires a person receiving foreign support to register as a “foreign agent”.

Moscow said the man, who it did not name, was involved in the “targeted collection of information in the field of military [and] military-technical activities of the Russian Federation”.

“Such information, if obtained by foreign sources, may be used against the security of the state,” it added.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue told AFP it was trying to secure the release of a member of its team, identifying him as Laurent Vinatier.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue is a Geneva-based non-profit that works to prevent and resolve armed conflicts through mediation and discreet diplomacy, according to its website.

“We are aware that Laurent Vinatier, an adviser at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, has been detained in Russia,” it said in a statement. “We are working to get more details of the circumstances and to secure Laurent’s release.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2024 05:14

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Taiwan to ban export of shell components to Russia and Belarus

Taiwan’s ministry of economic affairs said it has decided to restrict exports to Russia and Belarus by adding nitrocellulose to its list of controlled items.

The ban will come into force from 14 June.

Nitrocellulose, a highly flammable thermoplastic resin, is an essential component in smokeless gunpowder and ammunition propellant and has already been regulated by the US and EU.

The self-governed island currently has export restrictions on nitrocellulose with a nitrogen concentration in excess of 12.2 per cent, but nothing below that.

The decision to control exports of all nitrocellulose is necessary to strengthen and prevent “a regulatory loophole”, the ministry said.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2024 04:55

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Video: Zelensky embraces D-Day veteran: ‘You are the saviour of the people’

President Volodymyr Zelensky warmly embraced a veteran in a moving exchange at the D-Day ceremony in Normandy, France yesterday.

The veteran, who was sitting in a wheelchair, hugged the Ukrainian president and told him: “You’re the saviour of the people. You bring tears to my eyes”.

President Zelensky embraces D-Day veteran: ‘You are the saviour of the people’

President Volodymyr Zelensky warmly embraced a veteran in a moving exchange at the D-Day ceremony in Normandy, France on Thursday (6 June). The veteran, who was sitting in a wheelchair, hugged the Ukrainian president and told him: “You’re the saviour of the people. You bring tears to my eyes”. Mr Zelensky replied: “No, no, you saved Europe. You are our hero.” A video feed of the two men embracing was shown on screens at Omaha Beach and applauded by crowds of veterans.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar7 June 2024 04:29

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ICYMI: Russia arrests Frenchman suspected of collecting military intelligence

Russian investigators said on Thursday they had detained a French citizen on suspicion of gathering information about the activities of the Russian military.

The state Investigative Committee said the man was suspected, over a period of several years, to have “purposefully collected information in the field of military and military-technical activities of the Russian Federation”.

It added: “This information, when obtained by foreign sources, can be used against the security of the state. For these purposes, he repeatedly visited the territory of Russia, including the city of Moscow, where he held meetings with citizens of the Russian Federation.”

Investigators said the man, whom they did not identify, would be charged shortly under a Russian law on failing to register as a “foreign agent”, which carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

No comment was immediately available from the French Foreign Ministry in Paris.

Matt Mathers6 June 2024 23:00

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ICYMI: Scholz – Ukraine may use Western weapons against Russian border strikes

German chancellor Olaf Scholz has reiterated his stance that Ukraine could use weapons supplied by the West to defend itself against attacks launched from just inside Russia, such as those made against the Kharkiv region.

“In order to defend itself against such attacks, Ukraine can also use the weapons supplied by us and our allies – always in accordance with international legal obligations,” Mr Scholz told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

Mr Scholz’s comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned that allowing Kyiv to strike Russia with ever more powerful weapons was a serious escalation that was drawing the West towards a war with Russia.

Matt Mathers6 June 2024 22:00

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