UK to help Finland in event Putin launches attack – follow live

UK to help Finland in event Putin launches attack - follow live
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Russia’s most-advanced £4 million tank destroyed by Ukraine

Boris Johnson has confirmed the UK would come to Finland’s assistance, including with military support, in the event of an attack on the country.

The prime minister was speaking at a press conference alongside Finnish president Sauli Niinisto after signing a new military alliance with the country to help deter and prevent further Russian aggression against its neighbours.

Asked at the press conference if there would be “British boots on the ground” on Finnish territory during a “possible conflict with Russia”, he said: “I think the solemn declaration is itself clear.

“And what it says is that in the event of a disaster, or in the event of an attack on either of us, then yes, we will come to each other’s assistance, including with military assistance.”

Meanwhile on Wedensday, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said his troops have made gains pushing Russian troops out of four villages near Kharkiv.

The Ukrainian counter-attack near the northeastern city could signal a new phase of the conflict, making supply lines into Russia potentially vulnerable further crippling the Kremlin attack.


First war trial of captured Russian soldier to begin soon

Ukraine will hold its first war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier — who is accused of killing a 62-year-old civilian in the first few days of the invasion — confirmed the country’s top prosecutor general on Wednesday.

The captured soldier — 21-year-old Vadin Shyshimarin — was held for the killing of an unarmed civilian who was gunned down while riding a bicycle in February, four days into the war, said prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova.

He served with a tank unit and was accused of firing through a car window on the man in Chupakhivka village.

He could be jailed for up to 15 years, the prosecutor general said.

It is not immediately clear when the trial will begin.

Ms Venediktova’s office said that they are probing more than 10,700 alleged war crimes committed during the course of country’s invasion. Ukraine has identified more than 600 suspects.

Arpan Rai12 May 2022 05:10

Zelensky says will utilise $40bn ‘as quickly as possible’

Thanking Washington for the fresh tranche of aid, Volodymyr Zelensky said the funds will be put to use as quickly as possible and will also be used for the investigation of war crimes.

“What exactly is positive? These funds will be used as quickly as possible and without bureaucracy to strengthen Ukraine’s defence. First of all, it is weapons and ammunition for us, equipment,” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly address.

He added: “But not only that. It is also a support for the investigation of war crimes of the Russian Federation, the occupiers, support for diplomatic work and more.”

Mr Zelensky has described the cleared bill as a “new and significant package of support for our state and global democracy.”

“I am grateful to the people of America and to all our friends in Congress and the [Biden] administration for their support,” the wartime president said in a video address.

Arpan Rai12 May 2022 04:45

Pro-Moscow leaders of Ukraine’s occupied Kherson ‘seek to join Russia’

The Russian-occupied region of Kherson in Ukraine plans to ask President Vladimir Putin to incorporate it into Russia by the end of the year, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Wednesday, quoting the military-civilian administration there.

Kherson is the first region set to be annexed since Moscow began its military campaign in February saying it needed to disarm Ukraine and protect its Russian-speakers from “fascists”.

That rationale has been dismissed by Ukraine and the West as a baseless pretext for an imperialist war of aggression, Reuters reported.

The Kremlin said it was up to residents living in the region to decide whether they wanted to join Russia.

But Hennadiy Lahuta, the ousted Ukrainian governor of the Kherson region, told reporters in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro that the population wanted only “a speedy liberation and return to the bosom of their homeland, their mother – Ukraine”.

Russia said in April it had gained full control of the region, which has seen sporadic anti-Russian protests.

Arpan Rai12 May 2022 04:30

Top EU official backs multi-trillion plan to rebuild Ukraine

A top European official has backed a multi-trillion-euro ‘Marshall’-style plan to rebuild Ukraine, pledging the firepower of the EU’s lending arm for what he said must be a global rescue effort.

Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank, said Europe must not be left alone to foot the vast bill that he predicted could run into the trillions.

Under the post-World War Two US scheme known as the Marshall Plan, the United States granted Europe the present-day equivalent of some $200 billion over four years in economic and technical assistance.

Addressing the need for a similar programme for Ukraine, Hoyer told Reuters that the cost of rebuilding the country had been discussed at recent meetings at United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington.

Arpan Rai12 May 2022 04:24

Russia demands Poland apologise following ambassador paint attack

Russia on Wednesday demanded a formal apology from Poland and threatened possible future reprisals for a protest in which Moscow’s ambassador to Warsaw was doused with red paint.

The ambassador, Sergey Andreev, was accosted by people protesting against Russia’s intervention in Ukraine as he went to lay flowers at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw on Monday, drawing a furious reaction from Moscow.

The Russian foreign ministry summoned Polish Ambassador Krzysztof Krajewski to receive its protest, Reuters reported.

“Russia expects an official apology from the Polish leadership in connection with the incident and demands the safety of the Russian ambassador and all employees of Russian foreign institutions in Poland are ensured,” it said in a statement.

“A decision on further steps will be taken depending on Warsaw’s reaction to our demands.”

On Wednesday afternoon, red paint was splattered over the entrance to the Polish Embassy in Moscow, a spokesman for the Polish foreign ministry said.

<p>Sergey Andreev covered in red paint </p>

Sergey Andreev covered in red paint

Tom Ambrose12 May 2022 01:00

‘Build peace’, Italy tells the US and EU

The United States and Europe need to work with Russia and Ukraine to end their conflict and forge a peace deal, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday.

Speaking a day after meeting US President Joe Biden, Draghi said Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February, had shown it was not invincible and that it was vital to seek ways of ending the 11-week war, Reuters reported.

“We agreed that we must continue to support Ukraine and put pressure on Moscow, but also begin to ask how to build peace,” Draghi told reporters, adding that it was essential for the United States to talk directly with Russia.

However, he stressed that no one should try to impose a peace deal on Ukraine. “This would be a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 23:54

Meta withdraws Ukraine war content policy guidance request

Facebook parent Meta Platforms said on Wednesday it has withdrawn a request for policy guidance from its Oversight Board about the content moderation of posts related to Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.

“This decision was not made lightly – the PAO (policy advisory opinion) was withdrawn due to ongoing safety and security concerns,” the company said in a blog post.

The board, which can make binding decisions on specific thorny content moderation appeals and give policy recommendations, said it was “disappointed” by the decision.

A Meta spokesman declined to give more information about the policies on which it was seeking guidance or about the specific concerns.

Russia banned Facebook and Instagram in March, finding Meta guilty of “extremist activity” amid Moscow’s crackdown on social media during its invasion of Ukraine. Meta’s messaging service WhatsApp is not affected by the ban. Russia has also throttled Twitter by slowing its service.

Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 22:53

Biden seeks Congress approval for small weapons deal to Turkey

The Biden administration has informally reached out to the U.S. Congress to seek approval for a proposed sale of missiles and equipment upgrades to NATO ally Turkey, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The weapons package was an existing request by Ankara, and includes AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air and sidewinder missiles, as well as hardware and software updates for F-16 fighter jets, sources said.

The notification to Congress is part of an informal process that gives lawmakers the opportunity to question or quash potential weapons sales quietly to avoid chafing US allies publicly.

The news on the package was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 21:48

Pro-Russian hackers target Italy institutional websites

Pro-Russian hackers have attacked the websites of several Italian institutions, including the senate, ANSA news agency reported on Wednesday.

The hacker group “Killnet” claimed the attack, ANSA said, which also involved the National Health Institute (ISS) and the Automobile Club d’Italia, a national drivers’ association.

The websites of the senate and the ISS were back online at 8pm local time. It was impossible to access them one hour earlier, Reuters reported.

The defence ministry, whose website was not available, said in a statement this was “due to long-planned maintenance activities ongoing on the website”.

A source at the Italian cyber security agency told Reuters they were working with the affected administrations to restore the websites, suggesting “the first appropriate technical countermeasures”.

Police said an investigation was ongoing, but made no further comment.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many western governments have raised the level of alert over possible cyber attacks on IT systems and infrastructure.

Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 20:54

Ukraine proposes swapping Azovstal defenders for Russian POWs

Ukraine has proposed to Russia that badly injured defenders in the Azovstal plant in the port of Mariupol be swapped for Russian prisoners of war, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Wednesday.

“There is no agreement yet. Negotiations are continuing,” she said in an online post.

Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 19:54