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Russia-Ukraine war: UK defence secretary travels to Kyiv as death sentence for Britons labelled ‘breach of Geneva convention’ – live | Ukraine


UK defence secretary met Zelenskiy in Kyiv, says MoD

Britain’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, travelled to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, to discuss the UK’s support of Ukraine.

In a statement, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said:

The working visit took place this week to allow the defence secretary to hear first-hand how the operational needs of Ukraine’s armed forces are developing as the nature of the conflict continues to change.

This will ensure that the UK’s continued support is evolving to meet those requirements and is tailored to the situation on the ground.

Wallace met Reznikov on the first of the two-day visit, before speaking with Zelenskiy about how the UK would continue to give support “to meet Ukraine’s needs as the conflict enters a different phase”, the MoD said.

The statement continued:

The three agreed to work even more closely going forward in support of their shared goal of enabling Ukraine to liberate itself from illegal Russian occupation.

They also discussed the range of equipment and training the UK is currently providing, and what further support we can offer to help Ukrainian forces to defend their country.

A video posted on Zelenskiy’s Telegram account shows Wallace telling the president that he is doing an “amazing job”, the BBC’s Nick Beake reports.

NEW: UK Defence Secretary @BWallaceMP has met Ukraine’s President Zelensky in Kyiv.
 
In a video posted on the president’s Telegram channel, Mr Wallace is seen telling Mr Zelensky he’s doing an “amazing job”
 
President Zelensky replies the Ukrainian people are to be praised pic.twitter.com/h14qc4bpNX

— Nick Beake (@Beaking_News) June 10, 2022

The UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace, travelled to Kyiv to meet president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, to discuss Britain’s support of Ukraine.

Speaking to Wallace at the Ukrainian presidential headquarters, Zelenskiy said he was “grateful in general to Great Britain, the government and the prime minister”.

Wallace, visiting the city two months after Boris Johnson, praised Zelenskiy for his wartime leadership and said he was “doing amazing”.

Ukraine’s Zelenskiy welcomes Ben Wallace in Kyiv – video

Today so far …

It is 6pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

  • Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence has said Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now almost solely reliant on weapons from the west to keep Russia at bay. “This is an artillery war now,” said Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence. The frontlines were now where the future would be decided, he told the Guardian, “and we are losing in terms of artillery”.
  • Ukrainian troops claim they have advanced in fierce street fighting in Sievierodonetsk but say their only hope of turning the tide is with more artillery to offset Russia’s massive firepower. Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine’s governor of Luhansk, said Ukrainian troops were “exhausting the enemy” in Sievierodonetsk.
  • Ukraine’s defence ministry spokesperson, Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, said Russia is looking for weak points in Ukrainian defences near the Siverskyi Donets River in eastern Ukraine. Motuzyanyk said the situation was calmer in southern Ukraine, where Russia is trying to impose its rule on a tract of occupied territory spanning Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces.
  • Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence has said Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now almost solely reliant on weapons from the west to keep Russia at bay. “This is an artillery war now,” said Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence. The frontlines were now where the future would be decided, he told the Guardian, “and we are losing in terms of artillery”.
  • The UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, has raised the case of two Britons sentenced to death for fighting against Russian forces in a phone call with her Ukrainian counterpart. No 10 has said that Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, are entitled to combatant immunity as prisoners of war. The prime minister, Boris Johnson is appalled by the death sentences and has ordered minister to do “everything in their power” to secure their release, a spokesperson added.
  • Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said two British nationals and one Moroccan were sentenced to death in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) had committed crimes on the territory of the self-proclaimed state. Lavrov declined to comment on the cases, saying they are under the jurisdiction of the DPR, which is internationally recognised as part of Ukraine. A senior Ukrainian official said Russia wants to use the men as “hostages” to put pressure on the west over peace negotiations.
  • Russia is struggling to provide basic public services to the population in Russian-occupied territories and Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak, the UK Ministry of Defence said. In its latest report, British intelligence said there is “likely a critical shortage” of medicines in Kherson and medical services in Mariupol “are likely already near collapse”. The report added that fighting continues around Sievierodonetsk.

Good afternoon from London. It’s Léonie Chao-Fong still here to bring you all the latest developments from the war in Ukraine. I’m on Twitter or you can email me.

Here’s more on the visit to Kyiv by Britain’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, to meet with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov.

Speaking to Wallace at the presidential headquarters in the Ukrainian capital, Zelenskiy said he was “grateful in general to Great Britain, the government and the prime minister”.

Zelenskiy said:

The war highlights who is our friend or friends – not just strategic friends, but real friends now. And I believe Great Britain is a friend.

Ben Wallace travelled Kyiv to meet Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Photograph: Telegram

He added:

Arms, money and sanctions – these are three things in which Great Britain consistently demonstrates its leadership.

The presidential press service did not say whether the pair had discussed the sentencing of two Britons and a Moroccan to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

The remains of a children’s carousel that was destroyed during the Russian invasion stands forlornly in the grounds of Dobropark, a children’s theme park on the outskirts of Kyiv
The remains of a children’s carousel that was destroyed during the Russian invasion stands forlornly in the grounds of Dobropark, a children’s theme park on the outskirts of Kyiv Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
A lion statue stands at the entrance to an amusement building that was destroyed during the Russian invasion in the grounds of Dobropark.
A lion statue stands at the entrance to an amusement building that was destroyed during the Russian invasion in the grounds of Dobropark. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde has had a little more to say about Turkey’s objections to her country joining Nato, having spoken in parliament on the topic earlier. [see 8.27am]

“We take Turkey’s security very seriously and we will as a Nato member contribute to security for all Nato members, Turkey included,” Reuters reports she told a news conference later in the day.

Linde said Swedish membership of Nato could “change the conditions for arms exports within our national regulatory framework”.

The minister said talks between representatives of Sweden, Finland, Turkey and Nato were being held in a constructive spirit. However, asked at the news conference in what way talks were constructive, she could only reply: “They are not called off.”

She said she had been very surprised by Turkey’s objections, which were first voiced publicly shortly after applications were handed in. She said that before the application had been made, “we had had talks with Turkey where they had said that ‘we certainly have views on various things that we can discuss where we aren’t of the same opinion, but we welcome Sweden and Finland’”.

Germany will assist Ukraine in providing medical support for war victims by helping build trauma centres for the wounded, donating prosthetic limbs and deploying German doctors to the country, its health minister, Karl Lauterbach, said.

“Ukraine needs humanitarian aid just as urgently as it needs our military support,” the minister said during a visit to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

The aid would include Germany helping to supply prostheses, deploying 200 doctors in Ukraine, setting up training on treating burns and connecting some hospitals in Ukraine to a telemedicine service, the ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters.

UK defence secretary met Zelenskiy in Kyiv, says MoD

Britain’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, travelled to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, to discuss the UK’s support of Ukraine.

In a statement, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said:

The working visit took place this week to allow the defence secretary to hear first-hand how the operational needs of Ukraine’s armed forces are developing as the nature of the conflict continues to change.

This will ensure that the UK’s continued support is evolving to meet those requirements and is tailored to the situation on the ground.

Wallace met Reznikov on the first of the two-day visit, before speaking with Zelenskiy about how the UK would continue to give support “to meet Ukraine’s needs as the conflict enters a different phase”, the MoD said.

The statement continued:

The three agreed to work even more closely going forward in support of their shared goal of enabling Ukraine to liberate itself from illegal Russian occupation.

They also discussed the range of equipment and training the UK is currently providing, and what further support we can offer to help Ukrainian forces to defend their country.

A video posted on Zelenskiy’s Telegram account shows Wallace telling the president that he is doing an “amazing job”, the BBC’s Nick Beake reports.

NEW: UK Defence Secretary @BWallaceMP has met Ukraine’s President Zelensky in Kyiv.
 
In a video posted on the president’s Telegram channel, Mr Wallace is seen telling Mr Zelensky he’s doing an “amazing job”
 
President Zelensky replies the Ukrainian people are to be praised pic.twitter.com/h14qc4bpNX

— Nick Beake (@Beaking_News) June 10, 2022

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has appealed for his country not to be left in a “grey zone” with its EU membership bid and urged the bloc to prove that its words must be “accompanied by deeds”.

Addressing the 2022 Copenhagen Democracy Summit, Zelenskiy said the “first thing is to finally remove this grey zone”, AFP reports. He added:

In the coming weeks, the European Union could take a historic step that will prove that the words on the membership of the Ukrainian people in the European family are not in vain.

The European Commission is expected to give its opinion on Ukraine’s membership bid in the coming days, before EU leaders decide whether to grant Kyiv official candidate status at a European Council summit on 23-24 June.

Zelenskiy said he wondered why some member states were still hesitant about allowing Ukraine to join and cutting ties with Russia.

Zelenskiy said:

Why, if the polls show that 71% of Europeans consider Ukraine as part of the European family, are there still political sceptics who hesitate to allow us to join the European Union?

He added:

The European system could lose if words are not accompanied by deeds.

The leader of Britain’s Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer, has condemned the case of two Britons sentenced to death for fighting Russian forces, adding that he agrees with the UK government’s approach to securing their release.

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner “should be treated as prisoners of war”, Starmer said at a press conference, adding:

The government is right on this and I think it’s very important that we say there’s no party politics in this – we stand as one in condemning what is happening here and demanding in the strongest possible terms that they be treated as prisoners of war.

It is utterly to be condemned.

Nato’s deputy chief, Mircea Geoană, said he was “confident” that Sweden and Finland would join the military alliance, despite objections from Turkey.

The two Nordic countries applied to join Nato in May but their membership bids have faced opposition from Turkey, which accuses them of supporting and harbouring Kurdish militants and other groups it has labelled as terrorists. Sweden and Finland have said they condemn terrorism and are open to dialogue.

Ankara has some “legitimate” concerns “when it comes to terrorists”, Geoană said at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, Reuters reports.

Asked about security guarantees for Sweden and Finland in the period up until they become fully fledged Nato members, he said he did not see any real risk to the countries from Russia.

Geoană said:

We don’t see signs from Russia of having the capabilities or intention at this point to be aggressive in military terms against these two aspirant countries.

We can treat this period with caution in a proactive way, but we don’t see real risks from a traditional military standpoint for Finland and Sweden.

His remarks come after Finland announced it plans to amend border legislation to allow the building of barriers on its eastern border with Russia.





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