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.
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.
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
Zelensky discusses aid and increasing sanctions with Germany
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he has spoken to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and discussed defensive aid, energy sector cooperation and increasing sanctions on Russia.
“We appreciate the high level of dialogue with Germany and support in our struggle!” he said in a tweet.
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 19:15
Johnson: NATO is a defensive alliance
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said that NATO was a defensive alliance and did not pose a threat to any other country, as Sweden and Finland consider joining the organisation in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“NATO is a defensive alliance. NATO poses no threat to anyone. It is there for the purposes of mutual defence,” Johnson said in a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki.
It came as the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said the Russian President Vladimir Putin should look in the mirror if Finland decides to join NATO to increase its own security.
The Finnish leader was expected on Friday to confirm that Helsinki will apply for membership of the US-led Western military alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 18:16
UK-Finland security pact reflects ‘extreme difficulty of the times we are in’
Ahead of today’s joint press conference, Boris Johnson said a “solemn declaration” between the UK and Finland reflects the “extreme difficulty of the times we are in”.
After signing a parallel agreement with Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson in Harpsund, her country retreat, Johnson said the UK would help to defend the country against any military attack.
Sitting across a dining table from Finnish president Sauli Niinisto ahead of their bilateral meeting, Mr Johnson said: “I think the solemn declaration we’ve agreed is very useful between us and we value it very highly and I think that it reflects the extreme difficulty of the times that we are in and the consequences of the aggression we have seen”.
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 18:14
UK would come to Finland’s assistance if Russia attacks
Boris Johnson said the UK would come to Finland’s assistance, including with military support, in the event of an attack on the country.
Asked during a press conference alongside Finnish president Sauli Niinisto 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.
“But the nature of that assistance will of course depend upon the request of the other party.
“But it’s also intended to be the foundation of an intensification of our security and our defence relationship in other ways as well.”
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 18:02