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In a first, Ukraine fires US-made weapon inside Russia – latest updates

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

Russian sources claim Ukraine has fired US-made weapons inside Russia’s Belgorod for the first time as Washington lifted the ban on using its ammunition on Moscow.

Ukrainian forces reportedly used the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Himars), which is a light multiple rocket launcher, to hit bordering Belgorod city, claimed Russian defence ministry and Russian military bloggers.

Last week, the US allowed Ukraine a limited right to use US-made weapons at military targets inside Russia as Russian forces intensified their offensive on Ukrainian cities and villages.

This comes as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has accused China of helping Russia to disrupt an upcoming Swiss-organised peace conference on the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at Asia’s premier security conference, Mr Zelensky said that China is pressuring other countries and their leaders not to attend the upcoming talks. He did not say which ones.

“Regrettably this is unfortunate that such a big independent powerful country as China is an instrument in the hands of (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin,” he said at a news conference at the Shangri-La Dialogue defence forum.

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The war against rabies in Ukraine and the race to stop it crossing borders

A disease which has been largely eradicated from Europe, rabies is suddenly raising its head in Ukraine where millions of abandoned pets are now running wild.

Ahead of a film exposing the public health crisis, Joe Shute talks to Khrystyna Drahomaretska who caught the disease during her work inoculating feral cats and dogs roaming the streets in the wartorn country:

The war against rabies in Ukraine and the race against time to stop it spreading

A disease which has been largely eradicated from Europe, rabies is suddenly raising its head in Ukraine where millions of abandoned pets are now running wild. Ahead of a film exposing the public health crisis, Joe Shute talks to Khrystyna Drahomaretska who caught the disease during her work inoculating feral cats and dogs roaming the streets in the wartorn country

Athena Stavrou4 June 2024 06:00

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Nato has two to three years to prepare for confrontation with Russia, says Norway’s top general

Norway’s top military general has warned that Nato’s window of preparing against Russian aggression has dwindled from 10 years to two-three years.

“At one point someone said it’ll take 10 years but I think we’re back to less than 10 years because of the industrial base that is now running in Russia. It will take some time, which gives us a window now for the next two to three years to rebuild our forces, to rebuild our stocks at the same time as we are supporting Ukraine,” said General Eirik Kristoffersen, the head of the Norwegian Armed Forces.

He said Russia’s positions near his country’s borders have not changed significantly over the past year and this allows Oslo to strengthen defence capabilities agreed upon within Nato.

“So we can fulfil those plans and those decisions with content in the next years, but we need to speed up. We need to do it in two to three years to make sure that we are ready for whatever might happen,” the top military official told Bloomberg.

Arpan Rai4 June 2024 05:52

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Russian soldiers’ wives demand Putin return their men from war

Vladimir Putin’s defence minister Andrei Belousov has been asked by a group of Russian women to return their mobilised husbands from the war frontline in Ukraine, in a rare protest against the Kremlin.

One of the woman at yesterday’s protest, who gave her name as Paulina, said a group of 18 women had gathered to appeal personally to Belousov, an economist by training whom Putin appointed to the job last month.

Paulina, who said she was 20 years old and had a husband fighting in Ukraine, said the women want Belousov to impose strict limits on how long soldiers can serve before they must rotate out of active duty.

Pictures and videos Paulina published on Telegram showed women holding signs with slogans including “Please bring Papa home”. Several had brought along their school-aged children and toddlers in pushchairs.

No ministry officials came out of the building to speak with the women, Paulina said.

The protest showcases the anger and despair that has gripped some soldiers’ families as the war in Ukraine grinds on into its third year, with no end in sight.

The women’s protests are sensitive for the authorities, given that the Kremlin presents what it calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine as having the overwhelming support of the Russian people.

For months, different groups of Russian women have organised sporadic demonstrations to exert pressure on authorities to return their husbands, sons and brothers who were mobilised after a decree by Putin in September 2022.

Arpan Rai4 June 2024 05:19

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Poland has arrested 18 people on allegations of planning hostile acts on behalf of Russia, Belarus

Poland has arrested 18 people on allegations of pursuing hostile activities or planning sabotage on behalf of Russia and Belarus, including plans to assassinate Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the interior minister said Monday.

Ten of those arrested since December were directly involved in planning various forms of sabotage across Poland, Interior Minister Tomasz Siemoniak told a news conference.

Polish authorities have linked some recent arsons or attempted arsons to Russian-sponsored agents. Polish, Belarusian and Ukrainian nationals are among those arrested in recent months, according to the Internal Security Agency’s communiques.

Athena Stavrou4 June 2024 05:00

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Italy to send second air defence system to Ukraine for Russian ballistic missiles

Italy will send a second SAMP/T air defence system to Ukraine, its foreign minister said in a radio interview, responding to Kyiv’s pleas for greater help to fend off Russian missile attacks.

The system, also known as MAMBA, is a Franco-Italian battery that can track dozens of targets and intercept 10 at once. It is the only European-made system that can intercept ballistic missiles.

Rome and Paris jointly delivered a first system in 2023, but in recent months Ukraine has repeatedly called on partners to provide more help with air defence as it faces an increasing barrage of attacks on cities and energy infrastructure.

“It is known that we will send SAMP/T, which is an instrument of air defence, therefore of protection, that Ukraine itself asked us for,” foreign minister Antonio Tajani told state broadcaster Rai, confirming earlier media reports.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Italy has approved eight support packages to the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mr Tajani said the SAMP/T will be part of a ninth package under preparation, but did not give a time frame for delivery.

Arpan Rai4 June 2024 04:36

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Russia intercepts 20 Ukrainian drones in Kursk

Russian air defence units intercepted 20 Ukrainian drones in southern Russia’s Kursk region bordering Ukraine, regional governor Alexei Smironov said last night.

The governor claimed that the Ukrainian forces attacked four villages in his region using attack drones and helicopters, but no injuries were reported.

In Belgorod region, to the southeast, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said air defence units had downed “several airborne targets”. Roofs of some dwellings were damaged.

Arpan Rai4 June 2024 04:08

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Zelenskyy will participate in G7 summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will participate in the G7 summit later this month his spokesman has confirmed

He will attend the summit in southern Italy either online or in person from 13 to 15 June to participate in discussions about ways to use profits from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, I cannot confirm or deny that the President will physically participate in the G7 summit, but in any case, whether online or physically, there is no doubt that he will be there,” the president’s spokesman, Sergey Nikiforov told Ukrainian television.

Athena Stavrou4 June 2024 04:00

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Unsafe to restart Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, UN official says

It will be unsafe to restart the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine as long as war rages around it, UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi said on Monday.

Grossi held a meeting with Russia on the issue last week after officials including President Vladimir Putin told him Moscow hopes to restart Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, where the six reactors are now shut down as the International Atomic Energy Agency has recommended on safety grounds.

“The idea, of course, they have is to restart at some point. They are not planning to decommission this nuclear power plant. So this is what prompts the need to have a discussion about that,” Grossi told a news conference on the first day of a quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors.

Russia said after last week’s meeting it is not currently planning to reactivate the plant. Grossi said some important steps need to be taken before it can restart safely.

“In terms of what needs to happen …, there shouldn’t be any bombing or any activity of this type,” Grossi said.

“Then there should be a more stable assurance of external power supply. This requires repairs, important repairs of existing lines, which at the moment, and because of the military activity, are very difficult to envisage.”

(REUTERS)

Athena Stavrou4 June 2024 03:00

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Energy shutdowns hit Ukraine after Russian attacks target infrastructure

Ukraine imposed emergency power shutdowns in most of the country on Sunday, a day after Russia unleashed large-scale attacks on energy infrastructure and claimed it made gains in the eastern Donetsk province.

The shutdowns were in place in all but three regions of Ukraine following Saturday’s drone and missile attack on energy targets that injured at least 19 people.

Ukraine’s state-owned power grid operator Ukrenergo said the shutdowns affected both industrial and household consumers.

Athena Stavrou4 June 2024 01:30

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Italy likely to send second air defence system to Ukraine, source says

Italy will likely send a second SAMP/T air defence system to Ukraine, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Monday, responding to Kyiv’s demands for greater help to fend off Russian missile attacks.

The system, also known as MAMBA, is a Franco-Italian battery that can track dozens of targets and intercept 10 at once. It is the only European-made system that can intercept ballistic missiles.

Rome and Paris jointly delivered a first system in 2023, but in recent months Ukraine has repeatedly called on partners to provide more help with air defence as it faces an increasing barrage of attacks on cities and energy infrastructure.

The source, who declined to be named, confirmed newspaper reports that Italy was preparing to send a SAMP/T system which is deployed in Kuwait, but is soon due to return to Italy.

However, he did not give a timeframe for any delivery.

Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on Monday that the government could green light the new supplies after a summit of leaders of the Group of Seven major democracies, which Italy will host on June 13-15.

Athena Stavrou4 June 2024 00:01

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