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Ukraine war: Biden lifts ban on Kyiv using US missiles to defend Kharkiv

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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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US lets Kyiv use its weapons to defend Kharkiv

The United States has given Ukraine permission to use US-supplied weapons to target Russia, but solely for defending Ukraine’s embattled city of Kharkiv, an American official has said.

The decision amounts to a reversal by US president Joe Biden, who had until now steadfastly refused to let Ukraine use American weaponry for strikes inside Russia.

Ukrainian officials, most notably Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, have been increasingly vocal in arguing that the restriction was putting Ukrainian forces in an untenable situation as Russia has intensified attacks around the northeast Kharkiv region.

Russian rocket hit the Equestrian Center of the Veterinary Academy near Kharkiv
Russian rocket hit the Equestrian Center of the Veterinary Academy near Kharkiv (EPA)

Jane Dalton30 May 2024 21:53

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Kremlin says NATO is pushing Ukraine to continue ‘senseless war’ with Russia

The Kremlin said on Thursday that the United States, NATO and some European countries were encouraging Ukraine to continue what it called Kyiv’s “senseless war” with Russia and accused them of escalating tensions in recent weeks.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022 in what it called a special military operation, and Kyiv says it is defending itself – with Western help – in an effort to expel all Russian forces from its territory.

It says Russia is working hard to try to undermine its morale and will to fight.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday accused some Western countries of raising tensions in recent weeks by allowing Ukraine to use weapons they had supplied against targets inside Russia, something the United States has not publicly agreed to do yet.

“The member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance – the United States in particular, other European capitals – have in recent days and weeks embarked on a new round of escalation,” Peskov told reporters.

“They are doing this deliberately. We hear a lot of bellicose statements. … They are encouraging Ukraine in every possible way to continue this senseless war,” he said.

“This will all, of course, inevitably have consequences and will ultimately be very damaging to the interests of those countries that have taken the path of escalation.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain31 May 2024 04:00

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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.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain31 May 2024 03:00

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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy is expected in Normandy for commemorations of 80 years since D-Day, Macron says

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday he will greet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy along with other world leaders in Normandy for the 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day.

President Joe Biden is also scheduled to attend this year’s commemorations of the landings that led to the liberation of France and Europe from Nazi Germany’s occupation.

Dozens of World War II veterans are expected to return, many perhaps for the last time, to Normandy’s beaches.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain31 May 2024 01:00

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Ukraine army head says Russia augmenting its troops in critical Kharkiv region

Russia conducted an array of aerial attacks on Ukraine with cruise missiles, drones and ballistic missiles, Ukraine’s air force said Thursday, while the chief of the army said Russia is increasing its troop concentration in the 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 army head says Russia augmenting its troops in critical Kharkiv region

Russia conducted an array of aerial attacks on Ukraine with cruise missiles, drones and ballistic missiles, Ukraine’s air force said Thursday, while the chief of the army said Russia is increasing its troop concentration in the Kharkiv region where Moscow’s forces have made significant advances in a spring offensive

Maryam Zakir-Hussain31 May 2024 00:00

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Russia is finalising work on ‘retaliatory measures’ against EU over ban on some Russian media

Russia‘s foreign ministry said on Thursday it was finalising a proposal for “retaliatory measures” against the European Union over the bloc’s ban on the broadcast of four Russian media outlets on its territory.

The EU said earlier this month it was suspending the distribution of the Voice of Europe, the RIA Novosti news agency and the Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspapers.

The European Council said in a statement it was acting because the outlets “have been essential and instrumental in bringing forward and supporting Russia‘s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had earlier warned of an extremely painful response to the ban.

On Thursday, she told a news briefing that response was in its final stages of preparation and would be submitted for approval in the coming days.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 23:00

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Biden secretly told Ukraine it may strike Russia with US weapons

Jane Dalton30 May 2024 22:30

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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.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 22:00

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Russian rocket destroys equestrian centre

A Russian rocket wrecked the equestrian centre of the Veterinary Academy in Mala Danylivka village near Kharkiv on Thursday.

The Kharkiv Veterinary Academy was founded in 1804 and its equestrian centre is a historical building.

(EPA)

Nobody was killed or injured, according to Kharkiv governor Oleg Synegubov.

Jane Dalton30 May 2024 21:47

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Europe’s cybersecurity chief says disruptive attacks have doubled recently, sees Russia behind many

Disruptive digital attacks, many of which have been traced to Russia-backed groups, have doubled in the European Union in recent months and are also targeting election-related services, according to the EU’s top cybersecurity official.

Juhan Lepassaar, head of the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, or ENISA, told The Associated Press in an interview that attacks with geopolitical motives have steadily risen since Russia‘s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

“The number of hacktivist attacks (against) European infrastructure — threat actors whose main aim is to cause disruption — has doubled from the fourth quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2024,” Lepassaar said late Tuesday at the agency’s headquarters in Athens.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain30 May 2024 21:00

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