Ukraine-Russia war live: Putin ‘invokes Cuban Missile Crisis’ as he moves ‘nuclear-capable’ ships to Havana

Zelensky says China trying to undermine Ukraine peace summit

Vladimir Putin is invoking the memory of the Cuban Missile Crisis by moving “nuclear-capable” warships to Cuba in a move intended to provoke the United States, a think tank warned.

Four Russian vessels will make a port call to Havana between 12 and 17 June before stopping off in Venezuela later in the month, according to Cuban and US officials.

The Admiral Gorshkov frigate, the Kazan nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine, the Academic Pashin replenishment oiler, and the Nikolai Chiker rescue tug will all be part of the visit, the US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War.

The Admiral Gorshkov is capable of carrying Zircon hypersonic missiles, which the Kremlin has touted as being able to carry a nuclear warhead. There is no suggestion the ship will be equipped with nuclear weapons during the visit.

In 1962, former Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev moved nuclear missiles to Havana which led to an intense stand off between Moscow and Washington.

Meanwhile, Putin has threatened to retaliate against Western countries that are allowing Ukraine to hit Russia with their long-range missiles.

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While many in the EU worry about far-right gains at the ballot box – those close to Russia crave security

Alexander Butler8 June 2024 13:30

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Ukraine air defence downs 9 out of 13 Russian drones over four regions

Ukrainian air defence and mobile drone hunters groups shot down nine out of 13 Russian drones over four regions of the country, the air force said on Saturday.

The Iranian-made Shahed drones were downed over the central Poltava region, southeastern Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions, and the Kharkiv region in the northeast, the statement said. One X-59 Russian missile launched from Russia’s Kursk region was also downed.

Serhiy Lysak, Dnipropetrovsk regional governor, said the overnight drone attack damaged commercial and residential buildings and also a power line. Details of the damage in other regions were not immediately clear.

Alexander Butler8 June 2024 12:20

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Putin says Russia does not need to use nuclear weapons for victory in Ukraine

Russian president Vladimir Putin said there was no need to use nuclear weapons to deliver victory for Moscow in Ukraine, the strongest signal yet from the Kremlin chief that there will not be a nuclear strike.

Mr Putin, whose forces have been making advances in eastern Ukraine in recent months, said he did not see the conditions for the use of such weapons and requested that people stop discussing the nuclear topic.

However, Mr Putin, who leads the world’s biggest nuclear power, said he did not rule out changes to Russia’s nuclear doctrine, which sets out the conditions under which such weapons could be used.

He also said that if necessary Russia could test a nuclear weapon, though he saw no need to do so at the present time.

Mr Putin’s response came to a question from Sergei Karaganov, an influential Russian analyst, who asked if Mr Putin should hold a “nuclear pistol to the temple” of the West over Ukraine.

“The use is possible in an exceptional case – in the event of a threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. I don’t think that such a case has come. There is no such need,” he said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“But this doctrine is a living tool and we are carefully watching what is happening in the world around us and do not exclude making some changes to this doctrine. This is also related to the testing of nuclear weapons.”

Shweta Sharma8 June 2024 08:41

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Biden, Macron get ready for pomp-filled state visit to discuss Ukraine and Israel

French president Emmanuel Macron will host US president Joe Biden today for a state visit marked by pomp and a parade as well as talks on trade, Israel and Ukraine.

The two men, who share a warm relationship despite past tensions over a submarine deal with Australia, will participate in a welcoming ceremony with their wives at the iconic Arc de Triomphe and a parade down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees before holding a meeting about policy issues and then attending dinner.

Jake Sullivan said talks between the two men would touch on Russia’s war with Ukraine, Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, and policy issues ranging from climate change to artificial intelligence to supply chains.

White House spokesperson John Kirby said the countries would announce a plan to work together on maritime law enforcement and the US Coast Guard and French navy would discuss increased cooperation.

Mr Biden and Mr Macron are also expected to discuss strengthening Nato, and both have pledged their countries’ support for Ukraine, though they have not agreed yet on a plan to use frozen Russian assets to help Kyiv. A US Treasury official said on Tuesday the United States and its G7 partners were making progress on that.

Shweta Sharma8 June 2024 08:00

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Ukraine air defence downs 9 out of 13 Russian drones over four regions

Ukrainian air defence and mobile drone hunters groups shot down nine out of 13 Russian drones over four regions of the country, the air force said today.

The Iranian-made Shahed drones were downed over the central Poltava region, southeastern Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions, and the Kharkiv region in the northeast, the statement said. One X-59 Russian missile launched from Russia’s Kursk region was also downed.

Serhiy Lysak, Dnipropetrovsk regional governor, said the overnight drone attack damaged commercial and residential buildings and also a power line.

Details of the damage in other regions were not immediately clear.

Shweta Sharma8 June 2024 07:49

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UN says Ukraine’s monthly civilian death toll rises to highest in a year

Ukraine marked a significant increase in monthly civilian casualties in May, reaching the highest point in nearly a year, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) said today.

It said conflict-related violence killed at least 174 civilians and injured 690 in Ukraine in May, the highest number of civilian casualties since June 2023.

It noted that the main reason for the high number of civilian casualties was the use of air-dropped bombs and missiles in populated areas such as communities near the frontline and Kharkiv city.

“Over half of the casualties in May occurred in Kharkiv city and region where Russian armed forces launched a new ground offensive on May 10,” Danielle Bell, the head of HRMMU, said.

Ms Bell said that the attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, have been deadly and no place in Ukraine was safe.

“The attacks on a shopping center and printing house in Kharkiv city highlight the stark vulnerability of civilians engaged in everyday activities, where even routine tasks like buying supplies to repair damaged homes can result in the loss of life and loved ones,” said Ms Bell.

An employee of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine stands in the middle of debris in a hardware supermarket in Kharkiv destroyed by a Russian strike
An employee of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine stands in the middle of debris in a hardware supermarket in Kharkiv destroyed by a Russian strike (AFP via Getty Images)

Shweta Sharma8 June 2024 07:30

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US could deploy more nuclear weapons on its border to deter adversaries, Biden aide says

The US may have to deploy more strategic nuclear weapons in coming years against growing threats from Russia, China and other adversaries, a senior White House aide said yesterday.

Pranay Vaddi, the top National Security Council arms control official, made his comments in a speech on “a more competitive approach” to arms control that outlined a policy shift aimed at pressing Moscow and Beijing to reverse rejections of US calls for arsenal limitation talks.

“Absent a change in adversary arsenals, we may reach a point in the coming years where an increase from current deployed numbers is required. We need to be fully prepared to execute if the president makes that decision,” he told the Arms Control Association.

“If that day comes, it will result in a determination that more nuclear weapons are required to deter our adversaries and protect the American people and our allies and partners.”

The US currently adheres to a limit of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads under the New START treaty with Russia even though Moscow suspended it last year.

The administration remains committed to international arms control and non-proliferation regimes designed to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, Mr Vaddi said.

But, he said, Russia, China and North Korea “are all expanding and diversifying their nuclear arsenals at a breakneck pace, showing little or no interest in arms control.”

The three and Iran “are increasingly cooperating and coordinating with each other in ways that run counter to peace and stability, threaten the United States, our allies and our partners and exacerbate region tensions,” he said.

Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are sharing advanced missile and drone technology, said Mr Vaddi, citing Moscow’s use in Ukraine of Iranian drones and North Korean artillery and missiles, and Chinese support for Russia’s defense industries.

Shweta Sharma8 June 2024 07:04

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Biden promises new $225m aide to Zelensky in Paris talks

US president Joe Biden announced a fresh $225m aid to Ukraine on the sidelines of his meeting with president Volodymyr Zelensky for D-Day events.

Mr Biden apologised to Mr Zelensky in what was their first first face-to-face encounter since the Ukrainian president visited Washington in December, when the two pressed Republicans to overcome opposition in their party to more support for Ukraine.

“You haven’t bowed down, you haven’t yielded at all, you continue to fight in a way that is … just remarkable,” Mr Biden told the Ukrainian leader at the start of their meeting on Friday. “We’re not going to walk away from you.”

He confirmed he was signing an additional tranche of $225m on Friday to help Ukraine reconstruct its electric grid.

“We’re still in, completely, totally,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Zelensky thanked Biden for US military, financial and humanitarian support.

“It’s very important that you stay with us. This bipartisan support with the Congress, it’s very important that in this unity, United States of America, all American people stay with Ukraine, like it was during World War Two, how United States helped to save human lives, to save Europe,” he said in English.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Shweta Sharma8 June 2024 05:30

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Zelensky hits out at Putin’s claims about Ukraine’s presidential legitimacy

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has hit back at Vladimir Putin for raising questions over the legitimacy of his presidency in the absence of elections in the war-torn country.

In a joint news conference with France’s President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, Mr Zelensky said: “President Zelensky’s legitimacy is recognized by the people of Ukraine only, he is elected by the people of Ukraine.”

“I am very grateful for the support. Our people are free. To be honest, that’s what we are fighting for (freedom). I am grateful for the support,” he said.

He added said Mr Putin’s legitimacy is recognized only by the Russian president himself.

“Putin elects himself. Russian people are just a decoration, they only have one actor,” Mr Zelensky said, pointing to Russia’s presidential election,

Ukraine had to undergo elections in March 2024 after Mr Zelensky’s first term ended in May. However, martial law was imposed following the Ukraine war in February 2022, banning elections during wartime.

French President Macron receives Ukrainian President Zelensky in Paris
French President Macron receives Ukrainian President Zelensky in Paris (EPA)

Shweta Sharma8 June 2024 05:10

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British foreign secretary falls victim to hoax video call and messages

Foreign secretary Lord David Cameron has been the victim of hoax a video call and messages from someone claiming to be the former president of Ukraine, it has been revealed.

In order to stave off any attempts to manipulate video footage of Lord Cameron from the communications, the government has made public what happened.

A statement from the Foreign Office said a “number of text messages were exchanged followed by a brief video call between the Foreign Secretary and someone purporting to be Petro Poroshenko, former president of Ukraine”.

Mr Poroshenko served as Ukrainian president between 2014 and 2019, and has remained a prominent figure in the country since leaving office.

Shweta Sharma8 June 2024 04:45

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