Ukraine-Russia war – live: Leaders in Switzerland for major peace summit as Zelensky rejects Putin ‘ultimatum’

Almost 100 nations are gathering in Switzerland this weekend to participate in peace talks led by president Volodymyr Zelensky, as he seeks to drum up support for a plan to end the Ukraine conflict.

US vice president Kamala Harris, French president Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan are among those set to attend the 15-16 June meeting at the Swiss mountaintop resort of Buergenstock.

Russia was not invited to the talks, while China – its most important ally – has refused to attend.

Seeking to distract from the Swiss government-hosted talks near Lucerne, Vladimir Putin set out yesterday the terms under which Russia would agree to a ceasefire in Ukraine.

They follow a similar pattern to previous statements by Russian officials and include conditions Ukraine has already rejected outright, including the permanent transfer of four eastern Ukrainian provinces Russia is currently occupying parts of, and a formal commitment that Kyiv will never join Nato.

Zelensky dismissed it as an unacceptable “ultimatum” while the US said Putin could “end [the war] today if he chose”.

Key Points

  • World leaders reach Switzerland as Zelensky’s peace talks begin today

  • Putin says more than 600,000 Russians are fighting in Ukraine

  • Russian soldiers surrender after Ukrainian counterattack in Vovchansk

  • Putin says West's 'theft' of Russia's assets will not go unpunished

  • Biden signs ‘unprecedented' security deal with Zelensky

  • US, Nato call out Putin’s plan to end war: ‘He could end it today'

Putin's ceasefire proposal calling for surrender, says Kamala Harris

04:26 , Arpan Rai

US vice president Kamala Harris, who led the Washington delegation at the peace summit in Switzerland yesterday, said the Russian president was asking Ukraine to surrender to Moscow.

On the eve of the summit, Vladimir Putin said Russia would end the war if Kyiv agreed to drop its Nato ambitions and handed over four provinces claimed by Moscow. The conditions apparently reflected Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war. The proposal was swiftly rejected by Ukraine and its allies in the West.

“He’s calling for surrender,” Ms Harris said, adding, “Let nothing about the end of this war be decided without Ukraine.”

“Freezing the conflict today, with foreign troops occupying Ukrainian land, is not the answer. It is a recipe for future wars of aggression,” said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Ms Harris announced more than $1.5bn in energy and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, where infrastructure has been pounded by Russian airstrikes since the 2022 invasion.

Ukraine conference draft communique calls out Russia's war on Ukraine

04:06 , Arpan Rai

A draft communique for a summit of world leaders convened to pursue a pathway for peace in Ukraine makes reference to Russia’s “war” against Kyiv and urges that Ukraine’s territorial integrity be respected, according to a copy of the document seen by Reuters.

“In particular, we reaffirm our commitment to refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine, within their internationally recognised borders, including territorial waters, and the resolution of disputes through peaceful means as principles of international law,” the text of the draft communique read.

The final communique is due to be issued on Sunday at the conclusion of the two-day conference at the Buergenstock resort in central Switzerland. The draft was dated 13 June.

The Swiss government has said it hopes the final summit declaration will be supported unanimously by participants. The document tracked certain changes made to the draft.

The document also calls for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to be restored to Ukrainian control and for Kyiv’s access to its Azov sea ports to be safeguarded.

We rescue Ukrainian children from Russia and see the trauma they suffer

04:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Mykola Kuleba, the founder of Save Ukraine, calls for international action to help bring home children who have been separated from their families by Russia’s invasion:

We rescue Ukrainian children from Russia and see the trauma they suffer

Sunak warns Russia’s allies they are ‘on the wrong side of history’ at Ukraine summit

03:56 , Arpan Rai

Rishi Sunak has warned Russia’s allies they are “on the wrong side of history” and said Vladimir Putin has no interest in “genuine peace” in Ukraine,

He also condemned the Russian leader’s “escalating nuclear rhetoric”.

The prime minister is at a major international summit on Ukraine in Switzerland with Volodymyr Zelensky.

It comes after Mr Sunak said G7 leaders had reached a “historic breakthrough” at a summit in Italy this week by agreeing a loan for Ukraine that will be funded by frozen Russian assets in Europe.

He said: “This is just and it is right. But true justice will only come when Russia leaves Ukraine.”

Sunak warns Russia allies they are ‘on the wrong side of history’ at Ukraine summit

Sunak warns Russia’s allies they are ‘on the wrong side of history’ at Ukraine summit

03:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Rishi Sunak has warned Russia’s allies they are “on the wrong side of history” and said Vladimir Putin has no interest in “genuine peace” in Ukraine,

He also condemned the Russian leader’s “escalating nuclear rhetoric”.

The prime minister is at a major international summit on Ukraine in Switzerland with Volodymyr Zelensky.

Sunak warns Russia allies they are ‘on the wrong side of history’ at Ukraine summit

Putin treats international law like ‘toilet paper’, says Kyiv’s top official as peace summit meets

02:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin has been criticised for treating international humanitarian law like “toilet paper” as a key peace summit focused on the abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children by Russia begins.

Almost 20,000 children are known to have been forcibly abducted from the occupied territories of Ukraine, though the true figure is believed to be much higher.

The move prompted the international criminal court to issue arrest warrants for both Putin and his children’s right’s commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova.

Putin treats global law like ‘toilet paper’, says Kyiv official ahead of peace summit

Kidnapped, abused, humiliated – the Ukrainian children stolen by Russia

01:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

In a special investigation, Tom Watling tells the story of five teenagers who were taken into Russia or Russian-occupied territory before eventually being rescued. Many others are still believed to be trapped:

Kidnapped, abused, humiliated – the Ukrainian children stolen by Russia

Putin treats international law like ‘toilet paper’, says Kyiv’s top official as peace summit meets

23:30 , Barney Davis

Another exclusive by Tom Watling reporting on the peace summit in Switzerland focussing and the abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children by Russia.

Putin treats global law like ‘toilet paper’, says Kyiv official ahead of peace summit

Freezing Ukraine's conflict is a recipe for further war, EU's Von der Leyen

21:30 , Barney Davis

Freezing the conflict in Ukraine is not an answer but a recipe for future wars of aggression, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a Ukraine summit in the Swiss resort of Buergenstock.

“Freezing the conflict today, with foreign troops occupying Ukrainian land, is not the answer. It is a recipe for future wars of aggression,” she said in her speech.

“Instead we need to support a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace for Ukraine. One that restores Ukraine’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity.”

Kamala Harris announces $1.5 billion in Ukraine aid at Switzerland peace summit

19:30 , Barney Davis

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris pledged America’s unwavering support for Ukraine and announced more than $1.5 billion in aid for the country’s energy sector and its humanitarian situation as a result of Russia’s 27-month invasion.

“This war remains an utter failure for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” Harris said during a bilateral meeting with Zelenskiy. “It is in our interest to uphold international norms,” she added, pledging U.S. support for the country.

The $1.5 billion includes $500 million in new funding for energy assistance and the redirecting of $324 million in previously announced funds toward emergency energy infrastructure repair and other needs in Ukraine, the vice president’s office said.

“These efforts will help Ukraine respond to Russia’s latest attacks on Ukraine energy infrastructure by supporting repair and recovery, improving Ukraine’s resilience to energy supply disruptions, and laying the groundwork to repair and expand Ukraine’s energy system,” Harris’ office said.

Kidnapped, abused, humiliated – the Ukrainian children stolen by Russia

16:50 , Barney Davis

In a special investigation, Tom Watling tells the story of five teenagers who were taken into Russia or Russian-occupied territory before eventually being rescued. Many others are still believed to be trapped

Kidnapped, abused, humiliated – the Ukrainian children stolen by Russia

Zelensky believes history will be made at Swiss peace summiy

15:47 , Barney Davis

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday predicted “history being made” at the Swiss-hosted conference that aims to plot the first steps toward peace in Ukraine even though experts and critics don’t expect any major breakthroughs because Russia isn’t attending.

The presidents of Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Somalia joined dozens of Western heads of state, other senior government leaders and high-level envoys at the meeting, in the hopes that Russia could join in one day.

In a brief statement to reporters alongside Swiss President Viola Amherd at the outset of the summit, Zelensky cast the gathering as a success, saying: “We have succeeded in bringing back to the world the idea that joint efforts can stop war and establish a just peace.”

“I believe that we will witness history being made here at the summit,” he said.

Russian plane violated Swedish airspace on Friday, military says

14:12 , Barney Davis

A Russian military aircraft briefly violated Swedish airspace east of the Baltic island of Gotland on Friday and was met by Swedish fighter jets, the Nordic country’s armed forces said on Saturday.

The Swedish armed forces said in a statement that the Russian military aircraft, a SU-24, had been hailed with a warning but failed to respond after which two Swedish Gripen fighters were sent up to meet it.

Sweden’s military said the airspace violation had been brief.

“The Russian actions are not acceptable and show a lack of respect for our territorial integrity,” Swedish air force chief Jonas Wikman said. “We followed the entire chain of events and were in place to intervene.”

Russia Black Sea (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
Russia Black Sea (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

Fire as Russian rocket nearly strikes Mykolayiv settlement

13:06 , Barney Davis

The Russian army continues to put pressure on Ukrainian frontlines with artillery shelling, airstrikes, and a large number of attack drones.

In an update on Saturday, the Southern Defense Forces of Ukraine said on Telegram: “The enemy launched a rocket attack on the Mykolayiv region.

“As a result of the impact, a fire broke out in an open area outside the settlement, which was promptly extinguished.

“The occupiers continue to press with artillery fire, carry out airstrikes, use a large number of strike drones of various types, and actively conduct aerial reconnaissance. Over the past day, the flight of 213 reconnaissance UAVs was recorded in the operational zone.”

Zelensky said ‘we are dealing with terrorists’ on eve of peace summitt

12:12 , Andre Langlois

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to SkyTG24 on the eve of the opening of the inaugural Peace Summit in Switzerland.

“The road to peace is a long one because we are dealing with terrorists, and we must follow the right path, based on the UN Charter and international law.

“We must have the same basis. And we are doing this without breaking the law, without violating people’s rights,” he said.

Ukraine dismissed ceasefire conditions announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday as “absurd”, saying he was trying to mislead world powers and undermine genuine peace efforts.

Putin said in a speech Russia would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry described his words as “manipulative statements aimed at misleading the international community (and) undermining diplomatic efforts to achieve a just peace”.

EUR-GEN UCRANIA-GUERRA (AP)
EUR-GEN UCRANIA-GUERRA (AP)

Ukraine ‘repels seven Russian attacks’ in past 24 hours

09:59 , Barney Davis

Ukrainian forces said they had repelled seven enemy attacks in Orikhiv and one on the bank of the Dnipro River.

The Southern Defense Forces of Ukraine said on Telegram: “In the operational zone of the Southern Defence Forces, daily counter-battery confrontation and repelling enemy assaults continues.

“The enemy does not abandon his intention to knock out our units from their occupied positions.

“Over the past day, the occupiers have carried out 7 assaults in the Orihiv direction. They had no success.

“On the left bank of the Dnipro, in the temporarily occupied Kherson Oblast, the enemy launched 1 assault. Having suffered losses, he retreated to his original positions. The defence forces continue to carry out comprehensive measures to maintain positions.”

 (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Putin’s peace proposals aren’t serious, says German chancellor

08:52 , Arpan Rai

The G7 leaders did not discuss Russian president Vladimir Putin’s purported proposal for peace on Friday “since everyone knew they were not serious”, German chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

“Everyone knows that this was proposal wasn’t meant seriously, but had something to do with the peace conference in Switzerland,” he told ZDF television in an interview.

Speaking from Italy shortly before leaving for Switzerland, where the Ukraine peace conference opens today, Scholz said Putin’s proposals – for Ukraine to fully abandon four provinces Russia has occupied in part, stop fighting and drop its ambition of Nato membership – were aimed only at distracting from the summit.

World leaders are gathering in Switzerland for talks aimed at pressuring Russia to end its war in Ukraine.

World leaders gather in Switzerland with Putin noticeably absent

08:35 , Andre Langlois

The presidents of Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Somalia will join many Western heads of state and government and other leaders at a conference this weekend, aiming to plot out first steps toward peace in Ukraine – with Russia notably absent.

Swiss officials hosting the conference say more than 50 heads of state and government, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, will join the gathering at the Burgenstock resort overlooking Lake Lucerne. Some 100 delegations including European bodies and the United Nations will be on hand.

Who will show up - and who will not - has become one of the key stakes of a meeting that critics say will be useless without the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government, which invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and is pushing ahead with the war.

US Vice President Kamala Harris is set to attend while Turkey and Saudi Arabia have dispatched their foreign ministers. Key developing countries such as Brazil, an observer at the event, India and South Africa will be represented at lower levels.

Ukraine employs a flexible defence amid wait for new Western ammo

08:17 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian firepower has been improving since US lawmakers approved a much-needed military aid package this spring, though not quickly enough to halt the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.

New weapons and ammunition have been trickling to the front line since Joe Biden signed off on the massive aid package in April. But it will take weeks, if not months, for Ukraine to fully replenish its depleted stocks.

Kyiv has turned to a bend-but-don’t-break strategy to buy time until it can get more Western weapons and ammunition to the front. By ceding some territory, Ukraine has been able to fight from better defended positions, according to interviews with senior Ukrainian military leaders, soldiers and officers in the field, and analysts.

Although the influx of Western munitions has shrunk Kyiv’s glaring artillery disadvantage, Moscow’s forces are still gaining ground along the snaking front line and will likely continue to do so through the summer, when the drier ground and longer days will only aid their push.

Ukraine is still on the defensive in the Donetsk region, enabling Moscow’s forces to inflict heavy losses during Ukrainian troop rotations and bringing them closer to crucial Ukrainian supply routes.

Read more here:

Ukraine employs a flexible defense while waiting for new Western ammo to get to the front

Kyiv’s diplomatic clout to be tested in Swiss peace talks

07:59 , Arpan Rai

Peace talks taking place in Switzerland today and tomorrow represent a test of Ukraine’s diplomatic clout, with China’s decision to stay away already limiting the extent to which the summit can put pressure on Russia.

Russia has not been invited to the talks, while the Kremlin dismissed the event as a waste of time and claimed it had no interest in attending. China had said it would consider taking part, but ultimately declined because Russia would not be there.

Without China, hopes of isolating Moscow have faded, while recent military reverses have put Kyiv on the back foot. The war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas has also diverted attention from Ukraine.

“The summit risks showing the limits of Ukrainian diplomacy,” said Richard Gowan, UN Director at the International Crisis Group. “Nonetheless, it is also a chance for Ukraine to remind the world that it is defending the principles of the UN Charter.”

“It’s clear that at the moment, in geopolitical terms, for China the special relationship with Russia takes precedence over any other consideration,” said Bernardino Regazzoni, a former Swiss ambassador to China.

“What can (Zelensky) hope for out of it?” said Daniel Woker, a former Swiss ambassador. “Another small step forward in international solidarity with Ukraine as the victim of Russian aggression.”

The talks are expected to focus on broader concerns triggered by the war, such as food and nuclear security and freedom of navigation, and a draft of the final declaration identifies Russia as the aggressor in the conflict, sources said.

Putin promises ceasefire if Ukraine withdraws troops from four occupied Ukrainian regions

07:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin has promised to “immediately” order a ceasefire in Ukraine and begin negotiations if Kyiv starts to withdraw troops from the four occupied Ukrainian regions and renounces plans to join Nato.

Such a deal appears a non-starter for Kyiv, which wants to join the military alliance and has demanded that Russia withdraw its troops from all of its territory.

“We will do it immediately,” Mr Putin said in a speech at the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow.

His remarks came as leaders of the G7 leaders met in Italy and as Switzerland prepared to host scores of world leaders this weekend to try to map out first steps toward peace in Ukraine.

Mr Putin said his proposal is aimed at a “final resolution” of the conflict in Ukraine rather than “freezing it”, and stressed that the Kremlin is “ready to start negotiations without delay”.

Broader demands for peace that the Russian leader listed included Ukraine‘s non-nuclear status, restrictions on its military force and protecting the interests of the Russian-speaking population in the country.

“We’re urging to turn this tragic page of history and to begin restoring, step-by-step, restore the unity between Russia and Ukraine and in Europe in general,” Mr Putin said.

Mr Putin’s remarks represented a rare occasion in which he clearly laid out his conditions for ending the war in Ukraine, but it did not include any new demands.

World leaders reach Switzerland as Zelensky’s peace talks begin today

06:36 , Arpan Rai

World leaders are joining Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky at a summit in Switzerland starting today to explore ways of ending the deadliest conflict in Europe since the Second World War.

Russia hasn’t been invited to the event and China has declined, but the Swiss government says 92 countries will be represented.US vice president Kamala Harris, French president Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan are among those set to attend the 15-16 June meeting at the Swiss mountaintop resort of Buergenstock.

India, which has helped Moscow survive the shock of economic sanctions, is expected to send a delegation. Turkey and Hungary, which similarly maintain cordial ties with Russia, will be represented by their foreign ministers.

But despite months of intense Ukrainian and Swiss lobbying, some others will not be there, most notably China, a key consumer of Russian oil and supplier of goods that help Moscow maintain its manufacturing base.

“This meeting is already a result,” Zelensky said in Berlin earlier this week, while acknowledging the challenge of maintaining international support as the war, now well into its third year, grinds on.

Organisers preparing a joint statement have battled to strike a balance between condemning Russia’s actions and securing as many participants as possible, diplomats say.

A final draft of the summit declaration refers to Russia’s “war” against Ukraine, and also underlines commitment to the UN charter and respect for international law, according to two people familiar with the document.

Switzerland wants the summit to pave the way for a “future peace process” in which Russia takes part – and to determine which country could take on the next phase.

Several diplomats said Saudi Arabia is among the favourites, with other Middle Eastern states also possible.

Zelensky visited Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to discuss the summit with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister will attend, Switzerland said.

Putin says more than 600,000 Russians are fighting in Ukraine

06:21 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin has claimed that more than 600,000 Russian troops are fighting in Ukraine as his 27-month-old invasion drags on.

Speaking at a public event with Russian military personnel, Putin claimed there were 617,000 military personnel fighting in Ukraine in December 2023.

This is the first time Putin has publicly acknowledged deployment of hundreds of thousands of his soldiers in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency’s spokesperson Andrii Yusov said that the true number of Russian troops in Ukraine on 15 December was 450,000 and Putin is exaggerating the figures to “increase information pressure” on the war-hit nation.

Kyiv’s tally of Russian soldiers killed, wounded or captured fighting in Ukraine includes more than 500,000 Russian troops.

A declassified US intelligence report in December said that Russia had lost 315,000 troops in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion, representing nearly 90 per cent of the military personnel it had in February 2022.

Armenian leader announces plan to leave Russia-dominated security alliance as ties with Moscow sour

06:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The leader of Armenia on Wednesday declared his intention to pull out of a Russia-dominated security alliance of several ex-Soviet nations as tensions rise between the two allies.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his government will decide later when to leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO, a grouping that includes Russia and the former Soviet Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Amid the widening rift with Russia, Armenia earlier froze its participation in the alliance, canceled its involvement in joint military drills and snubbed CSTO summits.

Armenian leader announces plan to leave Russia-dominated security alliance as ties with Moscow sour

Kamala Harris to address Ukraine summit in Switzerland, meet Zelensky

05:25 , Arpan Rai

US vice president Kamala Harris will attend the international Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland starting today, where she will meet with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky and address world leaders.

She will stress that the outcome of the war in Ukraine affects the entire world, a US official said, and push for the maximum number of countries to back the notion that Russia’s invasion violates the UN Charter’s founding principles and that Ukraine‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected.

Ms Harris, who will spend less than 24 hours at the gathering in Lucerne, will be standing in for president Joe Biden at the event.

Ms Harris will meet Mr Zelensky and address the summit’s plenary session. Mr Biden met his Ukrainian counterpart both at the G7 summit, where they signed a US-Ukraine security agreement, and in France for events surrounding the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

The president will be returning to the United States after his participation at the G7 summit in Italy to attend a fundraiser for his re-election campaign in Los Angeles.

Zelensky meets Pope ahead of peace summit

05:08 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky met Pope Francis yesterday and spoke to him about “Russian aggression and terror” and thanked the sovereign of Vatican city for participation in the peace talks.

“I met with @Pontifex and thanked His Holiness for his prayers for peace in Ukraine, his spiritual closeness to our people, and humanitarian aid for Ukrainians. I informed the Pope about the consequences of Russian aggression, its air terror, and the difficult energy situation,” he said on X.

The Ukrainian war-time leader said he is looking forward to seeing the Pope play a role in establishing peace.

“We discussed the Peace Formula, the Holy See’s role in establishing a just and lasting peace, and expectations for the Global Peace Summit. I thanked the Holy See for its participation in the Summit and highlighted its efforts aimed at bringing peace closer, particularly returning Ukrainian children abducted by Russia.”

US submarine pulls into Guantanamo Bay a day after Russian warships arrive in Cuba

05:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A U.S. Navy submarine has arrived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a show of force as a fleet of Russian warships gather for planned military exercises in the Caribbean.

U.S. Southern Command said the USS Helena, a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine, pulled into the waters near the U.S. base in Cuba on Thursday, just a day after a Russian frigate, a nuclear-powered submarine, an oil tanker and a rescue tug crossed into Havana Bay after drills in the Atlantic Ocean.

The stop is part of a “routine port visit” as the submarine travels through Southern Command’s region, it said in a social media post.

US submarine pulls into Guantanamo Bay a day after Russian warships arrive in Cuba

US, Nato call out Putin’s plan to end war: ‘He could end it today'

04:44 , Arpan Rai

Western leaders have called out Russian president Vladimir Putin’s sudden plan to “dictate peace” and end the conflict in Ukraine.

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin said at Nato headquarters in Brussels that Putin “has illegally occupied sovereign Ukrainian territory. He is not in any position to dictate to Ukraine what they must do to bring about a peace.”

Austin added that Putin “started this war with no provocation. He could end it today if he chose to do that.”

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said: “This is not a peace proposal. This is a proposal of more aggression, more occupation, and it demonstrates in a way that that Russia’s aim is to control Ukraine.”

Putin said if “Kyiv and Western capitals” reject his offer, “it is their business, their political and moral responsibility for continuing the bloodshed.”

Putin warns West’s ‘theft’ of Russian assets in G7 deal won’t go unpunished

04:26 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin has denounced the freezing of Russian assets by the West as “theft” and vowed that it would not go “unpunished” in a speech at the Russian foreign ministry yesterday.

Mr Putin’s remarks came on the heels of a deal by G7 nations for a $50bn loan package for Ukraine using frozen Russian assets.

The Russian president also accused Western countries of “destroying the system that they created and which for many decades ensured their prosperity and allowed them to consume more than they earn through debts”.

“Despite all the scheming, theft will remain theft, and it will not go unpunished,” he said.

Watch here:

Putin says West’s ‘theft’ of Russian assets in G7 deal won’t go unpunished

Ukrainian attacks kill six in Russia’s Belgorod region

04:21 , Arpan Rai

At least six people were killed in Ukrainian attacks on southern Russia’s Belgorod region yesterday, officials said.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said four bodies had been pulled from the rubble of a multi-floor apartment building hit by Ukrainian shelling in the border town of Shebekino.

A ministry statement posted after midnight said 50 per cent of the rubble from the site had been cleared. Pictures on the ministry’s Telegram channel showed a crane clearing debris and the building’s facade shattered, with one stairwell collapsed.

Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said a Ukrainian drone had struck a car in a village near Shebekino, killing the driver. He said a woman was killed in her home when it was struck by rocket fire in the village of Oktyabrsky, further west.

Ukraine has staged frequent attacks on Belgorod and other Russian border regions in recent months.

President Vladimir Putin cited attacks on Belgorod as grounds for a cross-border incursion last month into Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

G7 leaders agree to lend Ukraine billions backed by Russia's frozen assets. Here's how it will work

04:13 , Arpan Rai

Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies have agreed to engineer a $50bn loan to help Ukraine in its fight for survival that would use interest earned on profits from Russia’s frozen central bank assets as collateral.

Details of the deal were still being hashed out as G7 leaders gathered for a summit in Italy, but the money could reach Kyiv before the end of the year. That’s according to a French official who confirmed the agreement Wednesday ahead of a formal announcement at the summit.

It will be up to technical experts to work through the details.

The US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that the goal is “to provide the necessary resources to Ukraine now for its economic energy and other needs so that it’s capable of having the resilience necessary to withstand Russia’s continuing aggression.”

Another goal is to get the money to Ukraine fast.

Here’s how the plan would work:

G7 leaders agree to lend Ukraine billions backed by Russia's frozen assets. Here's how it will work

NATO approves a plan to speed security aid and training to Ukraine's beleaguered armed forces

04:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

NATO defense ministers on Friday approved a plan to provide reliable long-term security aid and military training for Ukraine after delays in Western deliveries of funds, arms and ammunition helped invading Russian forces to seize the initiative on the battlefield.

Kyiv’s Western backers have mostly concentrated their efforts through the Pentagon-run Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a forum for around 50 countries to drum up the weapons and ammunition the war-ravaged country needs most.

The new plan would be a complementary effort. Announcing the move after chairing a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the effort would be headquartered at a U.S. military base in Wiesbaden, Germany and involve almost 700 staff.

NATO approves a plan to speed security aid and training to Ukraine's beleaguered armed forces

Putin’s conditions to end war are ‘ultimatum’, says Zelensky

03:54 , Arpan Rai

President Volodymyr Zelensky told Italy’s SkyTG24 news channel that Vladimir Putin’s comments about ending the Russian invasion of Ukraine amounted to an ultimatum, carefully timed to appear just before the Swiss summit.

Putin announced yesterday that Russia would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its Nato ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow, demands Kyiv swiftly rejected as tantamount to surrender.

“It is clear he (Putin) understands that there will be the peace summit. It is clear he understands the majority in the world are on Ukraine’s side, on the side of life,” he said.

“And on the eve of the summit, amid air raid sirens, the killing of people and missile attacks, he speaks as though he is issuing some sort of ultimatum.”

Mr Zelensky’s adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said the Russian president is asking Kyiv to concede geopolitical sovereignty.

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” the official said.

Wars drive number of forcibly displaced people to record high, UN says

03:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The number of people forcibly displaced in the world through wars, persecution and disasters, natural and man -made, rose to a record 117.3 million last year with the situation likely to get even worse, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.

Forced displacement has continued to rise in the first four months of this year, and the total of those affected is expected to reach 120 million in the near future, with no end to global strife in sight.

“These are refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, people being forced away by conflict, by persecution, by different and increasingly complex forms of violence,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Wars drive number of forcibly displaced people to record high, UN says

Ukraine war produced more emissions than Netherlands in a year, new report claims

02:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The war in Ukraine has produced more emissions than the country of Netherlands does in a year, a new report has claimed.

The report, published on Thursday by Ukraine’s environment ministry in collaboration with climate NGOs, claims the war, now in its third year, has led to the emission of about 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to annual emissions produced by 90 million cars or the whole of the Netherlands.

The number includes emissions already released and future emission from work to repair the destruction caused by the war.

Ukraine war produced more emissions than Netherlands in a year, new report claims

ICC probes cyberattacks in Ukraine as possible war crimes - sources

01:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are investigating alleged Russian cyberattacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure as possible war crimes, four sources familiar with the case have told Reuters.

It is the first confirmation that attacks in cyberspace are being investigated by international prosecutors, which could lead to arrest warrants if enough evidence is gathered.

The probe is examining attacks on infrastructure that endangered lives by disrupting power and water supplies, cutting connections to emergency responders or knocking out mobile data services that transmit air raid warnings, one official said.

ICC prosecutors are working alongside Ukrainian teams to investigate “cyberattacks committed from the beginning of the full-scale invasion” in February 2022, said the official, who declined to be named because the probe is not finished.

Two other sources close to the ICC prosecutor’s office confirmed they were looking into cyberattacks in Ukraine and said they could go back as far as 2015, the year after Russia‘s seizure and unilateral annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Moscow has previously denied that it carries out cyberattacks, and officials have cast such accusations as attempts to incite anti-Russian sentiment.

Ukraine is collecting evidence to support the ICC prosecutor’s investigation.

Ukraine's Zelenskiy says Putin's ceasefire offer cannot be trusted

Saturday 15 June 2024 00:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The ceasefire offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin is an ultimatum which cannot be trusted, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.

Speaking to Italy’s SkyTG24 news channel on the sidelines of a G7 summit, Zelensky said he believed Putin would not stop his military offensive even if his ceasefire demands were met.

Finland will host a NATO land command and troops

Friday 14 June 2024 23:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Finland will host a new land command unit of the NATO military alliance, Minister of Defence Antti Hakkanen told reporters on Friday following a meeting of the alliance in Brussels.

After decades of military non-alignment, Finland joined NATO last year in response to neighbouring Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine.

“I’m pleased to state that today all NATO member states have given their political consent to Finland’s key goals in its NATO integration,” Hakkanen said.

“Finland will host a NATO command and there will be land force presence in Finland,” he added.

Hakkanen said the Finnish NATO command will have as a task to direct land warfare operations in northern Europe and in Scandinavia.

“With these decisions, the security of Finland and at the same time the security of Northern Europe is strengthened, and they significantly benefit the security of the entire alliance,” he said.

Ukraine arrives at Euro 2024 to a patriotic welcome and vivid reminder of the war at home

Friday 14 June 2024 22:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

With patriotic songs broadcast and thousands of exiled Ukrainians in the stadium, the men’s national team was made to feel at home at its first training in Germany for the European Championship.

After the national anthem played, and before the warmups began, there was a vivid reminder of the war at home that is a constant and uniting force for this Ukraine squad.

Each player had a ball to give to a fan and Oleksandr Zinchenko presented his to a military veteran who had prosthetic legs below each knee.

Ukraine arrives at Euro 2024 to a patriotic welcome and vivid reminder of the war at home

US submarine pulls into Guantanamo Bay a day after Russian warships arrive in Cuba

Friday 14 June 2024 21:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A U.S. Navy submarine has arrived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a show of force as a fleet of Russian warships gather for planned military exercises in the Caribbean.

U.S. Southern Command said the USS Helena, a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine, pulled into the waters near the U.S. base in Cuba on Thursday, just a day after a Russian frigate, a nuclear-powered submarine, an oil tanker and a rescue tug crossed into Havana Bay after drills in the Atlantic Ocean.

The stop is part of a “routine port visit” as the submarine travels through Southern Command’s region, it said in a social media post.

US submarine pulls into Guantanamo Bay a day after Russian warships arrive in Cuba

Triumphant Meloni holds court at G7 summit as fellow leaders face uncertain futures

Friday 14 June 2024 20:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Basking in her recent European election success, a triumphant Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni is holding court at a G7 summit marked by the uncertain political futures facing her fellow leaders.

With her contemporaries in Puglia contending with challenging domestic elections or troubling poll ratings, the Italian premier alone has entered the summit from a position of stability, seeking to further her own agenda for Italy.

While the Ukraine war and stability brought by Joe Biden’s US presidency had lent unity to proceedings in recent years, the prospect of Donald Trump’s return and a number of other elections has imbued this week’s summit with a different sense of urgency to reach agreements while the status quo still remains in place.

Triumphant Meloni holds court at G7 summit marked by uncertainty

Biden and Zelensky strike long-awaited security deal: ‘We’re going to stand with Ukraine’

Friday 14 June 2024 19:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced three new measures that he said will create “a stronger foundation” for Ukraine in its bloody war against Russia: a sweeping bilateral security agreement between the United States and Ukraine, a $50 billion loan for Kyiv backed by the Group of Seven countries, and new sanctions against Russian individuals and entities.

Speaking alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Puglia, Italy, Biden said those “three major steps” would show Russian President Vladimir Putin that he cannot wait out or divide the western alliance, which will remain on Kyiv’s side “until they prevail in this war.”

Biden and Zelensky strike 10-year security deal: ‘We’re going to stand with Ukraine’

A peace summit for Ukraine opens in Switzerland, but Russia won't be taking part

Friday 14 June 2024 18:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Switzerland will host scores of world leaders this weekend to try to map out first steps toward peace in Ukraine even though Russia, which launched and is continuing the war, won’t take part.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government didn’t want Russia involved, and the Swiss — aware of Moscow’s reservations about the talks — didn’t invite Russia. The Swiss insist Russia must be involved at some point, and hope it will join the process one day.

Ukrainians too are considering that possibility, Zelenskyy’s top adviser says.

A peace summit for Ukraine opens in Switzerland, but Russia won't be taking part

Russian forces ‘deliberately starved’ Ukrainians in Mariupol, new report claims

Friday 14 June 2024 17:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian forces deliberately starved Ukrainians in Mariupol as a tactic of war by targeting their water, food and medical facilities before taking the strategic port city in 2022, according to an investigation by an international human rights group.

Satellite imagery showing evidence of attacks on civilian infrastructure in the city, including food distribution centres, was collected by Global Rights Compliance’s Starvation Mobile Justice Team, and relate to the first 85 days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before the fall of Mariupol.

In a report on “Russia’s siege, starvation, and capture of Mariupol city”, the rights group said its investigators analysed reams of satellite imagery as well as pictures, videos, public statements and digital data to make the assessment. The investigation took about a year to complete.

Russian forces ‘deliberately starved’ Ukrainians in Mariupol, new report claims

NATO approves a plan to speed security aid and training to Ukraine's beleaguered armed forces

Friday 14 June 2024 16:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

NATO defense ministers on Friday approved a plan to provide reliable long-term security aid and military training for Ukraine after delays in Western deliveries of funds, arms and ammunition helped invading Russian forces to seize the initiative on the battlefield.

Kyiv’s Western backers have mostly concentrated their efforts through the Pentagon-run Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a forum for around 50 countries to drum up the weapons and ammunition the war-ravaged country needs most.

The new plan would be a complementary effort. Announcing the move after chairing a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the effort would be headquartered at a U.S. military base in Wiesbaden, Germany and involve almost 700 staff.

NATO approves a plan to speed security aid and training to Ukraine's beleaguered armed forces

Luxembourg joins Czech-led ammunition drive for Ukraine, minister says

Friday 14 June 2024 16:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Luxembourg has joined a Czech-led initiative to buy ammunition for Ukraine, the Czech defence minister said on Friday.

Prague said in May that it had contributions of more than 1.6 billion euros that could cover half a million shells this year for Ukraine as it fights Russia‘s invasion.

“Today, Luxembourg joined the countries that will contribute financially to the Czech ammunition initiative,” Jana Cernochova said in a post on social media platform X.

Cernochova did not say how much money Luxembourg was contributing.

Ukraine has been urging Western allies to step up military aid to help it repel Russian forces, now well into the third year of their invasion.

Here is the latest on Russia from the G7 summit in Italy

Friday 14 June 2024 15:37 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

  • The leaders agreed on an outline deal on Thursday to provide $50 billion of loans for Ukraine using interest from Russian sovereign assets frozen after Moscow invaded its neighbour in 2022.

  • The summit’s communique includes a pledge to continue applying significant pressure on Russian revenues from energy and other commodities, including by improving the efficacy of the oil price cap policy.

  • The statement said the G7 would take additional sanctions on “those engaged in deceptive practices while transporting Russian oil” and raise the costs of Russia‘s war by building on the comprehensive package of sanctions and economic measures already in place.

  • Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and the United States promised sanctions against entities that helped Russia circumvent sanctions on its oil by transporting it fraudulently.

 (AFP/Getty)
(AFP/Getty)

Canada's defense investment in the Arctic puts it on track to meet NATO guideline, minister says

Friday 14 June 2024 15:19 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Canada looks on track to meet NATO’s military spending guideline soon, Defense Minister Bill Blair said Friday, notably by boosting investment in the Arctic near its shared border with Russia as the region warms quickly due to climate change.

After Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO allies agreed to halt budget cuts and move toward spending 2% of their gross domestic product on defense within a decade. Canada was barely spending 1% at the time.

Last year, as it became clear that Russia’s war with Ukraine would grind on, they decided that 2% should be a spending minimum. According to NATO figures, Canada was estimated to be spending 1.33% of GDP on its military budget in 2023.

“My defense spending budget will increase by 27% next year over this year,” Blair said at a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Brussels. “We’ve begun the important processes of acquiring the additional capabilities that we require (and) to meet NATO’s requirements of us.”

He said that Canada is investing “quite significantly in the high Arctic” and building new military capabilities like maritime sensors that can detect threats.

Zelensky says Putin’s ceasefire offer cannot be trusted

Friday 14 June 2024 14:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The ceasefire offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin is an ultimatum which cannot be trusted, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.

Putin said in a speech earlier in the day that Russia would end the war in Ukraine if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow.

Speaking to Italy’s SkyTG24 news channel on the sidelines of a G7 summit, Zelensky said he believed Putin would not stop his military offensive even if his ceasefire demands were met.

“These are ultimatum messages that are no different from messages from the past,” the Ukrainian leader said in remarks translated and aired in Italian via an interpreter.

“He will not stop”, Zelenskiy said about Putin, making a parallel with German Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s expansionist drive before the outbreak of World War II.

“It is the same thing that Hitler used to do (...) This is why we should not trust these messages,” Zelensky added.

Putin in "no position" to make demands of Ukraine for peace: US defense secretary

Friday 14 June 2024 14:33 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in “no position” to make demands on Ukraine to end the war, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Friday, as he touted Kyiv’s military successes confronting Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

Putin said earlier on Friday that Russia would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions, hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow, and carry out a demilitarization.

“He is not in any position to dictate to Ukraine what they must do to bring about peace,” Austin told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (AP)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (AP)

Putin’s ‘peace conditions’ repeat old demands

Friday 14 June 2024 14:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

In his speech at the Russian foreign ministry today, Vladimir Putin also listed broader demands including: Ukraine‘s non-nuclear status, restrictions on its military force and protecting the interests of the Russian-speaking population in the country.

“We’re urging to turn this tragic page of history and to begin restoring, step-by-step, restore the unity between Russia and Ukraine and in Europe in general,” Putin said.

Putin’s remarks represented a rare occasion in which he clearly laid out his conditions for ending the war in Ukraine, but it did not include any new demands.

The Kremlin has said before that Kyiv should recognise its territorial gains and drop its bid to join Nato.

Russia does not fully control either of the four regions it illegally annexed in 2022, Mr Putin said on Friday that Kyiv should withdraw from them entirely and essentially cede them to Moscow within their administrative borders.

In Zaporizhzhia in the southeast, Russia still does not control the region’s namesake administrative capital of 700,000 people, and in the neighbouring Kherson region, Moscow withdrew from Kherson’s biggest city and capital of the same name in November 2022.

 (AP)
(AP)

Turkey to tell Ukraine summit that Moscow should be there, source says

Friday 14 June 2024 14:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Turkey’s foreign minister will tell this weekend’s summit aimed at discussing ways to end the war in Ukraine that a meeting with both Kyiv and Moscow present would yield more results, a Turkish diplomatic source said on Friday.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will join world leaders at the summit in Switzerland, to which Russia is not invited. NATO ally and Black Sea littoral state Turkey has sought to maintain good ties with both Kyiv and Moscow during the war, offering to host peace talks or mediate.

“(Fidan) will point out that a summit that all sides attend has a higher probability of yielding results,” the source said, adding he would also warn against the growing risk of the usage of weapons of mass destruction.

The source said Fidan would also reiterate Turkey’s call for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia to reach a negotiated end to the war.

Turkey supports Ukraine‘s territorial integrity and provides it with military support, but also opposes Western sanctions on Moscow.

Ukraine war produced more emissions than Netherlands in a year, new report claims

Friday 14 June 2024 13:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The war in Ukraine has produced more emissions than the country of Netherlands does in a year, a new report has claimed.

The report, published on Thursday by Ukraine’s environment ministry in collaboration with climate NGOs, claims the war, now in its third year, has led to the emission of about 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to annual emissions produced by 90 million cars or the whole of the Netherlands.

The number includes emissions already released and future emission from work to repair the destruction caused by the war.

Ukraine war produced more emissions than Netherlands in a year, new report claims

Friday 14 June 2024 13:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Tom Keatinge, the founding Director of the Centre for Finance and Security (CFS) at Royal United Services Institute, spoke to Tom Watling about the G7 deal latest deal on Russian assets.

He said: “The fact that it has taken so long to come to a decision on central bank assets does not reflect a spirit of urgency in the West.

“We can expect Russia to respond with a spirit of urgency. That could include expropriation of Western businesses. It is already very difficult for Western business to leave Russia without paying huge taxes.

“I think we can expect to see a backlash, an economic backlash from Russia. I suspect we would also see a military backlash. We know that everytime Zelensky stands up and makes a high profile speech, the volume of missiles and drones fired at Kyiv increases, as happened this week.

“The point is that if we adopt the mindset that we are at economic war with Russia, we should expect there to be casualties of that war, and those casualties will be Western companies that have, for whatever reason, stayed in Russia.”

Ukrainian presidential aide dismisses peace conditions laid out by Putin

Friday 14 June 2024 13:01 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A Ukrainian presidential aide dismissed a “peace proposal” put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, saying it was not a serious attempt to agree on peace and had no relevance to any negotiations.

Speaking via Zoom, Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters there was “no possibility to find compromise” between Putin’s statement and Ukraine‘s conditions for ending the war launched by Russia.

A peace summit for Ukraine opens in Switzerland, but Russia won't be taking part

Friday 14 June 2024 12:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Switzerland will host scores of world leaders this weekend to try to map out first steps toward peace in Ukraine even though Russia, which launched and is continuing the war, won’t take part.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government didn’t want Russia involved, and the Swiss — aware of Moscow’s reservations about the talks — didn’t invite Russia. The Swiss insist Russia must be involved at some point, and hope it will join the process one day.

Ukrainians too are considering that possibility, Zelensky’s top adviser says.

A peace summit for Ukraine opens in Switzerland, but Russia won't be taking part

Putin: ‘Conditions for peace with Ukraine are very simple’

Friday 14 June 2024 12:18 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Stating Russia’s terms for peace with Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said: “The conditions are very simple.”

He demanded the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in eastern and southern Ukraine.

“As soon as they declare in Kyiv that they are ready for such a decision and begin a real withdrawal of troops from these regions, and also officially announce the abandonment of their plans to join NATO - on our side, immediately, literally at the same minute, an order will follow to cease fire and begin negotiations,” he said.

“I repeat, we will do this immediately. Naturally, we will simultaneously guarantee the unhindered and safe withdrawal of Ukrainian units and formations.”

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Putin sets out Russian conditions for peace talks with Ukraine

Friday 14 June 2024 11:51 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Vladimir Putin on Friday set out what he said were Russia‘s preconditions for starting peace talks with Ukraine.

He said Russia would be ready for such talks “tomorrow” if Ukrainian troops withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions and if Ukraine gave up its plans to join NATO.

If Ukraine agreed to those conditions, Putin said Russia would cease fire and start negotiations.

Putin says West's 'theft' of Russia's assets will not go unpunished

Friday 14 June 2024 11:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the West’s seizure of Russian sovereign assets was theft and would not go unpunished.

Speaking at a meeting with Foreign Ministry officials, Putin said the way the West had treated Moscow showed that any country could fall victim to a similar Western asset freeze.

“Despite all the chicanery, theft will certainly remain theft. And it will not go unpunished”, Putin said.

“Now it is becoming obvious to all countries, companies (and) sovereign funds that their assets and reserves are far from safe in both the legal and economic sense of the word.

“Anyone could be next in line for expropriation by the U.S. and the West.”

Putin was speaking a day after the leaders of the Group of Seven major democracies agreed on an outline deal to provide $50 billion of loans for Ukraine using interest from Russian sovereign assets frozen after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in 2022 in what it called a special military operation.

 (AP)
(AP)

Ukrainian military says it downed 7 of 14 Russian missiles

Friday 14 June 2024 10:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Ukrainian military said on Friday its forces downed seven of 14 missiles and all 17 drones launched by Russia in overnight attacks in the west of the country.

Russian forces targeted critical infrastructure and military objects during the raid, air force spokesperson Illia Yevlash said on national television.

The Ukrainian military destroyed 11 aerial targets over the western region of Khmelnytskyi, according to the governor. One attack started a fire on infrastructure but no casualties were reported.

Air defence shot down seven of 10 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles, the Ukrainian military said.

Russia also launched three Iskander-M ballistic missiles, targeting Zaporizhzhia region, and one Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile in its attack, according to Yevlash.

“(Kinzhal) headed for Khmelnytskyi region where it did not reach its target,” he said.

Zaporizhzhia’s governor said a missile struck an open area with no damage nor casualties immediately reported.

The air force also destroyed five drones over the Dnipropetrovsk region, its governor said, with no reports of damage or casualties.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage says Putin is a ‘clever political operator’

Friday 14 June 2024 10:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage suggested Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky should enter negotiations with Russia, although he acknowledged Kyiv’s Western allies will continue support to support them.

Mr Farage, challenged about his previous remarks praising Russian president Mr Putin as an operator, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Yeah, but not as a human being.”

Asked why, Mr Farage replied: “How many years has he been in power? He’s gone from prime minister, to president, he’s a clever political operator. He kills journalists, I don’t like him as a human being in any way at all.

“You can recognise the fact that some people are good at what they do even if they have evil intent.”

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage (PA Wire)
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage (PA Wire)

Ukraine arrives at Euro 2024 to a patriotic welcome and vivid reminder of the war at home

Friday 14 June 2024 10:09 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

With patriotic songs broadcast and thousands of exiled Ukrainians in the stadium, the men’s national team was made to feel at home at its first training in Germany for the European Championship.

After the national anthem played, and before the warmups began, there was a vivid reminder of the war at home that is a constant and uniting force for this Ukraine squad.

Each player had a ball to give to a fan and Oleksandr Zinchenko presented his to a military veteran who had prosthetic legs below each knee.

Ukraine arrives at Euro 2024 to a patriotic welcome and vivid reminder of the war at home

Ukraine plans record power imports on Friday, grid operator says

Friday 14 June 2024 09:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine plans record power imports on Friday after significant energy infrastructure damage by Russian missile attacks, Ukrainian power grid operator Ukrenergo said.

Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine‘s energy sector have intensified since March, resulting in blackouts in many regions, forcing Kyiv to start large-scale electricity imports from the European Union.

A ministry statement said that the country would import 31,904 megawatt hours (MWh) of power on Friday versus the previous record of 29,796 MWh on Wednesday.

G7 leaders strike deal on $50bn funding for Ukraine using Russian assets

Friday 14 June 2024 09:20 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

G7 leaders have reached a deal to use profits from frozen Russian assets to provide around $50bn (£39bn) worth of support to Ukraine.

It came after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he expected “important decisions” from the summit in Italy, with leaders from the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan seeking to shore up support for Kyiv as several of them face elections or political turmoil at home.

Also on Thursday, US President Joe Biden agreed to a sweeping bilateral security agreement that will see his country and Ukraine work together “to help deter and confront future aggression against the territorial integrity” of either state.

G7 leaders strike deal on $50bn funding for Ukraine using Russian assets

Explosion heard in Kyiv region after missile warning

Friday 14 June 2024 09:01 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

An explosion rang out across the region outside the Ukrainian capital on Friday, a Reuters witness said, following an air raid siren and warnings by the military of a possible Russian missile attack.

“Air defence forces are working in Kyiv region. Stay in your shelters! The missile danger continues,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

It was unclear if the explosion indicated air defences had shot down a target. Public broadcaster Suspilne cited local residents saying they had heard explosions in the western region of Khmelnytskyi.

After the air raid siren sounded, the Air Force said long-range missiles had been fired at Khmelnytskyi region and told Kyiv residents to take cover. The military then declared the air raid alert over, but there was no further official information.

Russian soldiers surrender after Ukrainian counter attack

Friday 14 June 2024 08:39 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Dozens of Russian soldiers have appeared to surrender to Ukraine troops after Kyiv launched a counter attack around the city of Vovchansk.

A video released by Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade shows Ukrainian soldiers taking at least 24 Russians as prisoners of war.

South Korea and US sound alarm over North Korea-Russia ties ahead of Putin visit

Friday 14 June 2024 08:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A possible impending visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to North Korea could deepen military ties between the two countries in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, officials of South Korea and the United States warned on Friday.

South Korea’s vice foreign minister, Kim Hong-kyun, in an emergency phone call with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, said Putin’s visit should not result in more military cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow in violation of the resolutions, according to Seoul’s foreign ministry.

Echoing Kim’s concerns, Campbell pledged continued cooperation to tackle potential regional instability and challenges caused by the trip.

“While closely monitoring related developments, the two sides agreed to resolutely respond through airtight cooperation to North Korea’s provocations against South Korea and actions that escalate tensions in the region,” the ministry said in a statement.

On Wednesday, a senior official at Seoul’s presidential office said Putin was expected to visit North Korea “in the coming days”. Russia‘s Vedomosti newspaper on Monday reported Putin would visit North Korea and Vietnam in the coming weeks.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday declined to give a date or agenda for a possible visit but said Russia‘s right to develop closer ties with North Korea should not be in doubt or a source of fear for anyone.

 (AP)
(AP)

Ukraine and Japan sign “breakthrough” $4.5 billion security deal

Friday 14 June 2024 07:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine and Japan signed a “breakthrough” security deal worth $4.5 billion on Thursday, Volodymyr Zelensky announced on X.

The Ukrainian president said the agreement includes “security and defense assistance, humanitarian aid, technical and financial cooperation, as well as joint efforts on the Peace Formula”.

He added: “Additionally, the agreement implies sanctions against the aggressor and efforts to hold the aggressor accountable.”

Ex-Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant employee jailed for collaborating with Russia

Friday 14 June 2024 07:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

A former employee of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was sentenced to 10 years in prison for collaborating with Russian forces at the facility, Kyiv Independent reported.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, was captured by Russian troops in March 2022, just days after Moscow launched its Ukraine invasion.

The man was found guilty of collaborating with Russian authorities while holding a senior position, the prosecutor’s office said, adding that a pre-trial investigation was carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine’s (SBU) Zaporizhzhia Oblast office.

The man agreed to be appointed the first deputy general director of the plant and helped organise meetings to persuade colleagues to support Russia’s operations at the plant, the prosecutor’s office said.

File: A photo shows a view of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
File: A photo shows a view of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine arrives at Euro 2024 to a patriotic welcome and vivid reminder of the war at home

Friday 14 June 2024 07:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

With patriotic songs broadcast and thousands of exiled Ukrainians in the stadium, the men’s national team was made to feel at home at its first training in Germany for the European Championship.

After the national anthem played, and before the warmups began, there was a vivid reminder of the war at home that is a constant and uniting force for this Ukraine squad.

Each player had a ball to give to a fan and Oleksandr Zinchenko presented his to a military veteran who had prosthetic legs below each knee.

Ukraine arrives at Euro 2024 to a patriotic welcome and vivid reminder of the war at home

Ex-spy says US should be concerned by Russian ships visiting Cuba

Friday 14 June 2024 06:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

An ex-spy has warned that the US should be concerned by Russian ships visiting Cuba, but the Kremlin has insisted that there is nothing to worry about.

Former KGB spy Jack Barsky, who spent a decade spying for the Soviet Union in the US before he was discovered by the FBI, told NewsNation that the US should be “worried” after Russia sent three warships and a nuclear-powered submarine into Cuban waters – just 90 miles from Florida – for routine military exercises.

“You can’t look at this as just a routine exercise. It has to be seen against the background where Putin is stating that he’s actually fighting the West in the Ukraine,” he said.

Martha McHardy reports.

Ex-spy says US should be concerned by Russian ships visiting Cuba

Putin shows off in launch of Russian dummy nuclear warheads

Friday 14 June 2024 06:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian drills to deploy tactical nuclear weapons for combat involved the special delivery of dummy nuclear warheads to forward storage points and an airfield where they were loaded on bombers, according to Russia‘s nuclear unit.

President Vladimir Putin ordered the nuclear drills after what Russia said were threats from the West, including signals from Western officials that they would allow Ukraine to strike deep into Russia with Western weapons.

Drills have taken place in the south of Russia, which borders Ukraine, and with the involvement of soldiers from the Leningrad military district in Russia‘s northwest, and have included mobile missile launchers, the air force and navy.

Putin shows off in launch of Russian dummy nuclear warheads

Drones strike Russian oil refinery

Friday 14 June 2024 05:41 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

An oil refinery in Russia’s Voronezh Oblast has been struck by drones overnight, regional Governor Aleksandr Gusev said.

One of the drones hit the oil refinery damaging fuel tanks but caused no deaths, he added.

Russia has reported a rise in Ukrainian attacks on its territory since its forces opened a new front in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region last month.

Russian journalist killed in shelling in Ukraine

Friday 14 June 2024 05:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Ukrainian shelling killed a Russian journalist covering the 27-month-old war in a village in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

Valery Kozhin, who worked for Russia’s NTV television channel, was one of a group of journalists hit in the strike, said Ivan Prikhodko, mayor of Horlivka, north of the Russian-held regional centre of Donetsk.

NTV had earlier reported that three of their staff, including Kozhin, had been wounded in the village of Holmivskyi and taken to hospital.

At least 16 journalists have died since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, according to Reuters.

Two Indians killed fighting for Russian military in Ukraine

Friday 14 June 2024 05:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Two Indian men recruited by the Russian army have been killed in Ukraine, India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

India said further recruitment of its nationals by Russia would “not be in consonance” with their bilateral partnership and demanded a “verified stop”.

The ministry urged its citizens to “exercise caution” while seeking employment in Russia amid reports that dozens of Indians had been duped by agents into fighting for the Russian military.

Two Indians killed fighting for Russian military in Ukraine

UK imposes first sanctions targeting Russia’s ‘shadow fleet’

Friday 14 June 2024 04:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Britain has imposed its first sanctions targeting vessels in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “shadow fleet” that it said was used to circumvent Western sanctions on the trade in Russian oil.

The action, part of 50 new sanctions and co-ordinated with G7 partners, also targeted suppliers of munitions, machine tools, microelectronics, and logistics to Russia’s military, including entities based in China, Israel, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, the government said.

“Today’s action includes the UK’s first sanctions targeting vessels in Putin’s shadow fleet, used by Russia to circumvent UK and G7 sanctions and continue unfettered trade in Russian oil,” a government statement said.

Britain also sanctioned Russia’s leading financial marketplace, the Moscow Exchange, saying it had obtained a benefit from or supported the Kremlin “by carrying on business in a sector of strategic significance.”

US reporter Evan Gershkovich, jailed in Russia on espionage charges, to stand trial, officials say

Friday 14 June 2024 04:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been jailed for over a year in Russia on espionage charges, will stand trial in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, authorities said Thursday.

An indictment of the Wall Street Journal reporter has been finalized and his case was filed to the Sverdlovsky Regional Court in the city about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) east of Moscow, according to Russia’s Prosecutor General’s office.

Gershkovich is accused of “gathering secret information” for the CIA about Uralvagonzavod, a facility in the Sverdlovsk region that produces and repairs military equipment, the Prosecutor General’s office said in a statement, revealing for the first time the details of the accusations against him.

US reporter Evan Gershkovich, jailed in Russia on espionage charges, to stand trial, officials say

G7 leaders strike deal on $50bn funding for Ukraine

Friday 14 June 2024 03:52 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

G7 leaders have reached a deal to use profits from frozen Russian assets to provide around $50bn (£39bn) worth of support to Ukraine.

It came after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he expected “important decisions” from the summit in Italy, with leaders from the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan seeking to shore up support for Kyiv as several of them face elections or political turmoil at home.

Also on Thursday, US president Joe Biden agreed to a sweeping bilateral security agreement that will see his country and Ukraine work together “to help deter and confront future aggression against the territorial integrity” of either state.

Tom Watling has more.

G7 leaders strike deal on $50bn funding for Ukraine using Russian assets

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