Tuesday, 28 May, 2024

Live blog: Biden signs bill reviving WW2 plan to supply arms to Ukraine



Scores of Ukrainians are feared dead after an alleged Russian bomb flattened a school while Ukrainian fighters hold out inside Mariupol’s steel plant as fighting enters its 75th day.

Ukrainian soldiers stand next to a destroyed Russian tank on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian soldiers stand next to a destroyed Russian tank on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine. (AA)

Monday, May 9, 2022

Biden signs measure speeding up US weapons deliveries to Ukraine

President Joe Biden has eased the acceleration of US weapons shipments to Ukraine through a law based on a World War 2 measure helping US allies to defeat Nazi Germany.

Biden signed the Lend-lease Act in the Oval Office, saying the United States supports Ukrainians' "fight to defend their country and their democracy against Putin's brutal war."

Acknowledging the billions of dollars already spent by the United States, Biden said "caving to aggression is even more costly." The Lend-lease Act, streamlining the flow of military equipment, "is based on a WW2-era programme to help Europe resist Hitler," the White House said.

US: Putin's claim of Ukraine defensive action patently absurd

The United States has said President Vladimir Putin was "absurd" and insulting history by casting Russia's attacks on Ukraine as a defensive operation on the anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany.

"To call this a defensive action is patently absurd," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters. "It is an insult to those who have lost their lives and those who have fallen victim to this senseless oppression."

Earlier, Putin defended Russia's "special military operation" as necessary to protect the "Motherland" as Moscow flexed its military muscle at a huge parade marking the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany.

US temporarily suspends tariffs on Ukraine steel imports

The US has suspended for one year tariffs imposed on Ukrainian steel imports, a move designed to help the nation's economy. The 25 percent tariff was imposed in March 2018 to protect domestic industry, although a handful of countries were exempted.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo hailed the importance of the industry that continues to operate and employ one in every 13 Ukrainians, providing them with an "economic lifeline".

"We can't just admire the fortitude and spirit of the Ukrainian people—we need to have their backs and support one of the most important industries to Ukraine's economic well-being," Raimondo said in a statement.

Pentagon: Ukrainians being sent to Russia against their will

The United States has seen indications that some Ukrainians are being moved to Russia against their will, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has said, calling the actions "unconscionable."

EU's von der Leyen sees progress in talks with Hungary on Russian oil ban

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says she has made progress in talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on a possible EU-wide ban on Russian fossil fuels.

"This evening's discussion with PM Viktor Orban was helpful to clarify issues related to sanctions and energy security", von der Leyen said in a tweet. "We made progress, but further work is needed", she added.

Von der Leyen said she would convene a video conference with other countries in the region to strengthen regional cooperation on oil infrastructure.

UN rights session planned on Ukraine to address Mariupol 'mass casualties'

The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Ukraine this week, an official has said, after Kiev called for a review of the situation there, including reports of mass casualties in Mariupol.

Diplomats said that the meeting, set to take place on Thursday, could include a resolution that would task the newly formed Commission of Inquiry into the war with providing a detailed report to the council later this year.

Among at least 55 signatory countries to a letter requesting the meeting were Germany, Britain, Türkiye and the United States.

Ukrainian president calls for moves to unblock ports

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for immediate moves to open Ukrainian ports blockaded by Russia to allow wheat exports and prevent a global food crisis.

In a post on the Telegram messaging app after speaking to European Council President Charles Michel, Zelenskyy wrote: "It is important to prevent a food crisis in the world caused by Russia's aggressive actions."

"Immediate measures must be taken to unblock Ukrainian ports for wheat exports," he wrote.

EU's Michel forced to take cover during Odessa strike

European Council President Charles Michel, who made a surprise visit to Odessa, was forced to break off a meeting and take cover when missiles again struck the southern Ukrainian city.

The strike took place as he held talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

"During the meeting with the PM, the participants needed to interrupt the meeting to take shelter as missiles struck again the region of Odessa," an EU official said.

US sanctions Russian Sberbank, Gazprombank executives

The US has announced sanctions on executives of Russia’s largest bank of Sberbank and Gazprombank, subsidiary of state-owned energy company Gazprom, amid Moscow’s offensive on Ukraine.

The sanctions targeted eight current and recent board members of Sberbank and 27 board members of Gazprombank, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

State-owned Moscow Industrial Bank and 10 of its subsidiaries were added to the sanctions list as well.

Belarus leader says West 'at war with Russia' in Ukraine

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a key ally of Moscow, has accused the West of supporting Nazi ideas and of being "at war with Russia" in Ukraine.

"Followers of the Nazis are obsessed with the idea of revenge, but they are not ready to fight openly against the heirs of the Soviet people," Lukashenko said at a speech on Victory Day.

"That's why they are flooding Ukraine with weapons, waging war on memorials, symbols and veterans," he said.

US: Asia's reaction to Ukraine conflict sends signal to Russia and China

The reaction of Asian countries to the Ukraine crisis helps show Russia and China that they cannot act with impunity when launching an offensive, the US ambassador to Japan has said.

Rahm Emanuel made the comment in an online event hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Japan's ambassador to the United States Tomita Koji told the event that US President Joe Biden's planned visit to Japan this month would send a signal that Washington was still focused on the Indo-Pacific.

WHO delivers 20 all-terrain ambulances to Ukraine

The World Health Organization has given Ukraine’s Health Ministry 20 all-terrain ambulances able to work in damaged and inaccessible areas to support emergency health needs as Russia has continued bombarding its neighbour’s towns and cities.

“We bring not just supplies but support based on your needs. Today we are handing 20 ambulances, along with generators and blood refrigerators, to hospitals wherever they are needed,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“But the most important thing we want to see delivered is peace,” he said of the attacks started by Russian forces on February 24.

Russia: Talks with Ukraine continue but not ready for in-person meeting

Russian chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said that peace talks with Ukraine had not stopped and were being held remotely, according to the Interfax news agency.

Moscow has accused Kiev of stalling the talks and using reports of atrocities committed by Russian troops in Ukraine to undermine negotiations. Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls its "special military operation".

Asked when-in person talks might be held with Ukrainian negotiators, Medinsky said: "We need more specifics on hand in order to meet in person."

Russia says it destroyed US-made radar system in Ukraine

The Russian defence ministry said that its forces had destroyed a US-made counter-battery radar station near the eastern Ukrainian town of Zolote.

The United States and other NATO allies have been supplying increasingly heavy weapons to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian forces that entered in February.

Russian ambassador to Poland hit with red paint

Russia's ambassador to Poland was splattered by red paint thrown at him by protesters opposed to the offensive in Ukraine, preventing him from paying respects at a Warsaw cemetery to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II.

Ambassador Sergey Andreev arrived at the Soviet soldiers cemetery to lay flowers on Victory Day, which marks the the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allies. The holiday was celebrated with pomp in a parade at Red Square in Moscow.

As he arrived at the Soviet Soldiers Cemetery in the Polish capital, Andreev was met by hundreds of activists opposed to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Ukraine exported over 1 million tonnes of grain in April despite conflict

Ukraine has sown about 7 million hectares of spring crops so far this year, or 25-30 percent less than in the corresponding period of 2021, and exported 1.090 million tonnes of grain in April, Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi said.

He underlined the importance of exports of Ukrainian grain via Romania while Russia is blockading Ukrainian ports, but said those exports could be complicated in two months by exports of the new wheat crop in Romania and Bulgaria.

Russia's Putin makes 'fairytale claims' – UK defence secretary

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “made a number of fairytale claims for months and years now,” British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

Wallace’s remarks came as a response to Putin’s claims that his country was under NATO threat he made at the Russia’s Victory Day parade in Moscow earlier in the day.

Wallace accused Russian generals of hijacking their "forebears' proud history," and said they must face war crimes trials.

Russian satellite TV shows a Ukraine message: 'blood on your hands'

Russian satellite television menus were altered to show viewers in Moscow messages about the war in Ukraine: "You have blood on your hands", according to screenshots obtained by Reuters.

The photographs showed Moscow satellite television menus on Victory Day, when Russia celebrated the 77th anniversary of Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany, with every channel showing anti-war slogans.

"You have the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of dead children on your hands," said one slogan.

Russian forces defending 'Motherland' in Ukraine – Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies and to defend 'Motherland'.

Speaking at a military parade marking the World War II victory over the Nazis, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fighting against Nazi troops and the Russian forces’ action in Ukraine. He said that the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to ward off a potential aggression.

He added that the Russian troops were fighting for the country’s security in Ukraine and observed a minute of silence to honour the troops who fell in combat

'We will win': Ukraine defiant on anniversary of WWII victory

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, commemorating victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, said his country would win in its war with Russia and would not cede any territory.

"On the Day of Victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory. The road to it is difficult, but we have no doubt that we will win," he said in a written address.

Russia is also marking the anniversary of the Soviet Union's World War Two victory. President Vladimir Putin was due to preside over a parade of troops, tanks, rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles on Moscow's Red Square, and to make a speech.

Russian attacks on rail system fail to paralyse 'lifeline of Ukraine'

A salvo of missiles brought the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine to Fastiv, a quiet town abounding with flowering cherry trees and set in sweeping farmland hundreds of kilometres from the front lines.

The strike on April 28, which injured two people, hit an electrical substation that feeds power to a confluence of railway lines that forms a key hub of networks linking central Europe, Russia, and Asia.

The damage quickly was repaired, said Ukrainian officials, and a Reuters visit last week revealed no lingering impact. Trains plied between Kiev and the southern port of Odesa, disgorging passengers into the station at Fastiv, a town of 45,000 people 75 km (45 miles) south of the capital.

Canada's Trudeau: World determined to make sure Putin loses in Ukraine

The world will do everything possible to ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin loses his "illegal war" in Ukraine, including keeping Moscow under sanctions for years, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.

"What Putin needs to understand is that the West is absolutely determined and resolved to stand against what he is doing," Trudeau told the Reuters news agency in an interview in Kiev.

"His illegal war, his escalations, his crossing of red lines by choosing to further invade Ukraine means that we will do as a world everything we can to make sure that he loses," he said, adding Putin is making a terrible mistake.

For live updates from Sunday (May 8), clickhere

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