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Russia Ukraine latest news: Putin rains fresh air strikes on Kyiv as Zelensky meets Nato leaders


Zelensky accompanies Azovstal commanders back to Ukraine

Russia has fired a fresh wave of kamikaze drone attacks on the city of Kyiv and its wider region for a second night in row, Ukraine‘s military said today.

“The 504th day of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine. The enemy launched another air attack on the capital,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration said on Telegram.

The overnight attack came just hours before Volodymyr Zelensky was expected to meet Nato leaders at a summit that has backed Ukraine’s independence and military in the continuing war, but stopped short of offering a timeline for membership of the alliance.

France said yesterday that it would join Britain in supplying Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles, a move that allows Ukrainian forces to hit Russian troops and supplies deep behind frontlines.

In a new interview while the Nato summit takes place, Russia’s foreign minister claimed the war in Ukraine will continue until the West gives up plans “to dominate and defeat Moscow”.

Western nations have called on Vladimir Putin to end the conflict by withdrawing his troops from the neighbouring country.

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Putin’s forces rain drones on Kyiv and nearby region for second night in a row

Russian forces fired a wave of kamikaze drone attacks on the city of Kyiv and its wider region for a second night in row, Ukraine‘s military said today.

“The 504th day of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine. The enemy launched another air attack on the capital,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration said on Telegram.

The overnight attack came just hours before Volodymyr Zelensky was expected to meet Nato leaders at a summit that has backed Ukraine’s independence and military adeptness in the continuing war.

According to preliminary information from the Ukrainian military there were no immediate reports of casualties or major destruction. All drones were intercepted before hitting their targets, it said.

Witnesses heard blast noises in Kyiv, resembling the sound of air defence systems intercepting aerial objects.

Officials have not yet stated the number of Iranian Shahed drones Russia launched and how many were intercepted.

Arpan Rai12 July 2023 05:26

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War won’t end until West drops plans to defeat Moscow, say Lavrov

The war in Ukraine will continue until the West gives up plans to dominate and defeat Moscow, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, calling the Russian full-scale invasion an “armed confrontation”.

“Why doesn’t the armed confrontation in Ukraine come to an end? The answer is very simple. It will continue until the West gives up its plans to preserve its domination and overcome its obsessive desire to inflict on Russia a strategic defeat at the hands of its Kyiv puppets,” according to a transcript of the interview with Indonesian newspaper Kompas published on Russia’s foreign ministry website.

“For the time being, there are no signs of change in this position,” he said, speaking at the same time as Nato allies meet for a key summit where military aid for Ukraine is top of the agenda.

Western nations have called on Vladimir Putin to end the Ukraine conflict by withdrawing his troops from the neighbouring country.

In the more than 500 days since Russia invaded Ukraine – dubbed a “special military operation” by Putin on the first day of the war in February last year – tens of thousands of troops have been killed, millions of civilians displaced and hundreds of children have been killed in bombing raids on public infrastructure.

Mr Lavrov claimed that the goal of the “US-led collective West” in supporting Ukraine is to bolster its global hegemony.

The West has stated its clear intentions to help Ukraine win its conflict with Russia, and Western powers have supplied large amounts of modern arms and ammunition to help Kyiv defend its territory.

Arpan Rai12 July 2023 04:54

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No membership but Ukraine to get security package from G7 allies

While an invite to join Nato remains off the table this year for Ukraine, its allies and all members of the G7 are set to sign a long-term security arrangement with the war-hit nation that Rishi Sunak said had the potential to “return peace to Europe”.

The G7 declaration, out later today and expected to be ratified on the margins of the Nato summit in Vilnius, is set to provide more defence equipment, increase and accelerate intelligence sharing and bolster support for cyber defences.

It plans to expand training programmes and military exercises, while also developing Ukraine’s industrial capabilities, according to Downing Street.

As the British prime minister cited the UK as having played a leading role in the pact, No 10 said the accord marked the first time that so many countries had agreed a comprehensive multi-year security arrangement of such a nature with another country.

The announcement comes after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky voiced his frustration that Nato has not offered a timeframe for Kyiv to join the alliance.

Arpan Rai12 July 2023 04:16

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Biden blames busy schedule for skipping Nato leadership dinner

US president Joe Biden skipped a dinner with Nato leaders last night and instead returned to his hotel room in Lithuania.

A US official was reported as saying that the US president skipped the dinner because he has four full days of official business ahead of him and is preparing for a major speech for today.

Mr Biden, who arrived in Europe on Sunday, sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the dinner in his place.

The gathered leaders have offered an invitation to Ukraine to join in the defence alliance, pending certain conditions.

Arpan Rai12 July 2023 04:03

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Voices: Why Ukraine’s plea for Nato membership is such a challenge for the West

For Ukraine, what it is asking for has been simple – a pathway to membership of Nato to protect its future in the wake of Russia‘s invasion. For its Western allies however, making that a reality is not so straightforward.

The advantages of membership for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky are obvious. Article 5 of the alliance treaty is a cast-iron mutual defence clause that has US, UK and French nuclear weapons at its core. Given the vast swathes of destruction that Moscow’s aggression has wrought, being given a seat at the Nato table would also give Kyiv the extra layer of security needed during what will be a long period of reconstruction (whenever that comes).

My colleague Chris Stevenson reports:

Eleanor Noyce12 July 2023 03:01

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ICYMI: Zelensky hits out at lack of Vilnius summit timetable for Ukraine to join Nato

Volodymyr Zelensky said it is “absurd” that no timeframe has been set for Ukraine to join Nato following confirmation the UK is pushing for long-term military support to be pledged for Kyiv.

The Ukrainian president said “uncertainty is weakness” as he criticised Nato leaders for failing to agree a pathway for his war-torn country to accede to the defensive alliance.

Mr Zelensky said the delay was providing Russia with the “motivation to continue its terror”.

Eleanor Noyce12 July 2023 02:00

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Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

Ukraine has fought back courageously against Mr Putin’s warped bid to restore territory lost to Moscow with the collapse of the Soviet Union and has continued to defy the odds by defending itself against Russian onslaughts with the help of Western military aid.

Eleanor Noyce12 July 2023 01:00

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Why are Russian and Belarusian players allowed back at Wimbledon?

Russian and Belarusian players will return to Wimbledon as neutrals this year after the All England Club lifted its ban on players from both countries competing in the Championships.

Wimbledon was the only one of the four grand slam tournaments to ban players from Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but was criticised by the men’s and women’s professional tours for doing so.

In response, Wimbledon was stripped of its ranking points and the Lawn Tennis Association was hit by a fine after the ban on Russian and Belarusian players was extended to the summer’s other grass-court events in Britain.

Eleanor Noyce12 July 2023 00:01

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US to move ahead with transfer of F-16 jets to Turkey

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration will move ahead with the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in consultation with Congress, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday, a day after Ankara gave the green light for Sweden to join NATO.

Turkey, which had been the main stumbling bloc on Sweden’s path towards the alliance, had requested in October 2021 to buy $20 billion of Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernisation kits for its existing warplanes.

Speaking ahead of a summit of NATO leaders in Lithuania, Sullivan said Biden “had been clear that he supports the transfer.”

“He has placed no caveats on this … He intends to move forward with that transfer,” Sullivan told reporters, without giving details on the timing.

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat who has blocked the F-16 sale, said on Monday he was in talks with the Biden administration about his hold and that he could make a decision “in the next week.”

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Secretary of State Antony Blinken had spoken to Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and members of Congress, including Menendez, in recent weeks. “And as the national security adviser said today, we will move forward with that sale, which we do understand needs to be approved by key members of Congress,” he told a daily news briefing.

Blinken pressed Fidan on Sweden’s accession to NATO during calls on Wednesday and Saturday, according to State Department readouts. He spoke to Fidan again on Monday, hours before Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that he had agreed to approve Sweden’s accession.

“I am not going to characterize those conversations other than to say we have always made clear that we have supported the sale of F-16s to Turkey and we will continue to do so,” Miller said.

Tensions between Turkey and fellow NATO member Greece – which wants to buy F-35 jets from the United States – could be a stumbling block for the F-16 sale, however. Blinken also spoke to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday.

Menendez had said he had concerns about Turkey that extended beyond Sweden joining NATO, including human rights and Turkish overflights of Greek airspace.

Eleanor Noyce11 July 2023 23:00

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Artist who dumped manure at Belarusian president’s office dies in prison, wife says

A Belarusian artist who once dumped manure outside an office of President Alexander Lukashenko has died in a prison, where he was serving a five-year sentence, human rights activists and his wife said Tuesday.

Ales Pushkin, 57, died in a prison in Grodno in western Belarus of an unknown cause, even though he wasn’t known to be sick, according to the Viasna human rights center.

His wife, Janina Demuch, told The Associated Press he “died in the intensive care unit of the prison under unclear circumstances.”

Belarusian authorities did not comment.

Eleanor Noyce11 July 2023 22:01


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