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UK’s David Cameron says Ukraine can use British weapons against targets in Russia

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Ukrainian President Zelenskiy meets British Foreign Secretary Cameron in Kyiv. Reuters

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron, during his visit to Kyiv, told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the UK government will provide $3.75 billion each year to the war-torn country as long as necessary.

The UK has left it up to Ukraine to decide how it wants to use British weapons, adding that Kyiv has the right to strike Russian targets.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron, during his visit to Kyiv, told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the UK government will provide $3.75 billion each year to the war-torn country as long as necessary.

“Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it’s defending itself,” he said.

Meanwhile, he told Reuters that some of the weapons would arrive in Ukraine during his visit itself.

Cameron, who led the UK from 2010 and 2016 as prime minister and only returned to frontline politics several months ago, met Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on his second visit to Kyiv as foreign secretary.

The US, on the other hand, does not “enable or encourage” Ukraine to use American-made weapons against targets within Russia, US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said.

Source:First Post

Meanwhile:

oscow has accused David Cameron’s of a “direct escalation” after the foreign secretary said Ukraine can use British weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

“The Kremlin considers British foreign minister David Cameron’s statement about Kyiv’s right to use British weapons to attack Russian targets dangerous,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, has said. “This is a direct escalation of tensions around the Ukrainian conflict, which could potentially pose a danger to European security.”

Lord Cameron earlier promised £3 billion of annual military aid to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes”, adding that Britain had no objection to its weapons being used inside Russia. “Ukraine has that right. Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it’s defending itself,” he said.

His comments put Britain on a more hawkish footing towards Russia – at least publicly – than the United States, which stipulates that any weapons it supplies to Ukraine should only be used within Ukraine’s internationally-recognised borders rather than against targets inside Russia itself.

It comes as a Ukrainian intelligence official warned the fall of Chasiv Yar is only a matter of time.

The capture of the town could pave the way for Russia to capture the rest of the Donetsk region.

Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s defence intelligence, said: “Not today or tomorrow, of course, but all depending on our reserves and supplies.”

Follow the latest updates below.

05:30 PM BST

That’s all for today

Thank you for tuning in to today’s live blog. We’ll be back tomorrow to bring you all the latest from the war in Ukraine.

Key moments from today:

  • A top Kremlin official and ally of Vladimir Putin has called president Volodymyr Zelensky a “bastard”, “halfwit” and a “c–t” over plans for a peace conference in Switzerland.
  • The Latvian army has begun digging an anti-tank trench as part of its first line of defence near the Russian border, LSM, the Latvian public broadcaster, reported.
  • Russia has warned it would launch a “devastating revenge strike” if Ukraine strikes the Kerch Bridge, which links southern Russia to the Black Sea peninsula.
  • Russian agents have targeted military sites in Vestland, the home of northern Europe’s largest naval base, Norway’s intelligence service has warned.
  • Prague has been targeted by “dozens” of cyberattacks launched by a group with links to Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, government officials said.
  • The fall of Chasiv Yar is only a matter of time, a Ukrainian intelligence official has warned, with Russia likely to capture the elevated stronghold within the next couple of weeks.
  • Germany has accused Russia’s GRU intelligence unit of carrying out a major cyberattack on Olaf Scholz’s ruling SPD party last year which exposed email addresses and other personal data.
  • Russia’s aim is to seize Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia by the end of the year, Kyiv’s ground forces chief has warned.
  • Moscow has accused Lord Cameron of making “dangerous” remarks that imperil European security over his support for Ukraine to use British weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

05:22 PM BST

Kremlin attacks ‘bastard halfwit c–t’ Zelensky over peace talks

A top Kremlin official and ally of Vladimir Putin has called president Volodymyr Zelensky a “bastard”, “halfwit” and a “c–t” over plans for a peace conference in Switzerland.

Dmitry Medvedev’s expletive-laden rant comes after Mr Zelensky has repeatedly insisted that Russia is not invited to a proposed June “peace summit” in Switzerland as there is no assurance that Moscow will bargain in good faith. Mr Medvedev is Russia’s former president, put in power as a puppet for Mr Putin.

Mr Medvedev’s comments echoed Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, who said on Thursday that the June gathering would not be a “serious conference with serious expectations of some kind of results” without Russia’s presence.

Despite Kyiv’s reservations, the country’s deputy intelligence chief has warned that Ukraine will at some point have to enter into direct talks with Russia to bring the war to an end.

Vadym Skibitsky, deputy chief of Ukraine’s HUR military intelligence service, told the Economist that such wars can only end with treaties, adding that both sides are currently jockeying for “the most favourable position” ahead of potential talks.

04:59 PM BST

Pictured: Aftermath of Russian shelling

A view shows an apartment block destroyed in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict – Alexander Ermochenko/REUTERS© Provided by The Telegraph

04:52 PM BST

Latvia digs trenches on Russian border

The Latvian army has begun digging an anti-tank trench as part of its first line of defence near the Russian border, LSM, the Latvian public broadcaster, reported.

Located about a kilometre from the border, the trench forms part of a chain of defensive fortifications, including obstacles and ammunition depots, that Riga is constructing along its frontier with Russia and Belarus, LSM said.

“We are digging up the road and making an anti-tank ditch here so that vehicles cannot move along this road. Including tanks,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kaspars Lazdins, engineering inspector of Latvia’s National Armed Forces. “This ditch has specified parameters, and it has the appropriate depth to fulfill its task.”

Latvia’s “anti-mobility plan” makes use of natural obstacles such as forests and rivers, according to Mr Lazdins, and preserves the option for minefields to be laid if war breaks out.

It comes after Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania agreed in late January to build a Baltic defense line in the coming years to strengthen the eastern border with Belarus and Russia.

04:23 PM BST

Putin spends big on defence over ‘paranoid fear’ of West

Vladimir Putin’s “paranoid fear” of the West seeking to limit Russia’s power has led him to boost military spending to record levels, a US intelligence chief has said.

The Kremlin has increased defence spending to nearly 7 per cent of Russia’s GDP, almost double the historical average. Based on US national intelligence calculations, Moscow’s defence budget now accounts for roughly 25 per cent of all federal spending.

“Putin continues to believe that Russia is under threat and almost certainly assumes that a larger, better-equipped military will convey that opinion to Western and domestic audiences,” said Avril Haines, the director of US national intelligence.

Ms Haines said that Putin perceives Nato’s expansion and Western assistance for Ukraine as “the US and Europe trying to limit Russia’s power”, adding that Moscow is likely to continue its “increasingly aggressive tactics” against Ukraine, with the war unlikely to end “any time soon”.

04:00 PM BST

Russia promises ‘devastating revenge’ if Ukraine attacks Crimean Bridge

Russia has warned it would launch a “devastating revenge strike” if Ukraine strikes the Kerch Bridge, which links southern Russia to the Black Sea peninsula.

Moscow said it believed that Ukraine, which has recently received long-range ATACM guided missile systems from the United States, was plotting to attack the bridge ahead of or on May 9, the day when Russia marks victory in WWII.

“The Crimean Bridge is once again in the crosshairs,” Maria  Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, told a news briefing, listing statements from Ukrainian officials that suggested the bridge is in Kyiv’s sights. “Preparations for an attack on it, which is hard to believe, are now being carried out openly, with ostentatious bravado and with the absolute direct and shameless support of the collective West.

“I would like to warn Washington and Brussels that any aggressive actions against Crimea are not only doomed to fail, but will also be met with a devastating revenge strike,” she said.

A Ukrainian intelligence official told the Guardian last month that Kyiv was preparing for a special operation to destroy the bridge “in the first half of 2024”.

03:37 PM BST

Pictured: Russia strikes Kharkiv

A firefighter at work in Kharkiv after a guided bomb explosion – SERGEY BOBOK/AFP© Provided by The Telegraph

03:11 PM BST

Ukraine loses 200 square miles of territory in 2024

Russia has captured 211 square miles of Ukrainian territory so far this year, Sergei Shoigu, Moscow’s defence minister, has claimed.

Speaking to senior military commanders, Mr Shoigu said Ukrainian forces were retreating all along the front line and Russian troops were breaking what he called a network of Ukrainian strongholds.

“The Ukrainian army units are trying to cling on to individual lines, but under our onslaught they are forced to abandon their positions and retreat,” he said.

“Over the past two weeks, the Russian Armed Forces have liberated the settlements of Novobakhmutivka, Semenivka and Berdychi in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the Russian name for one of four annexed Ukrainian regions.

It comes as Ukraine’s ground commander said Russia is intent on seizing three Ukrainian territories, in Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia, by the end of the year, a land mass of nearly 370 square miles.

02:50 PM BST

Russian spies ‘target northern Europe’s largest naval base’

Russian agents have targeted military sites in Vestland, the home of northern Europe’s largest naval base, Norway’s intelligence service has warned.

“We see that part of Russia’s purpose may be to prepare acts of sabotage. They operate throughout the district and move around,” said Torgils Lutro, the Vestland head of Norway’s PST intelligence service.

“Russian intelligence agents work against various targets, such as critical and vulnerable infrastructure and military installations. They also have a clear goal of uncovering Norwegian emergency preparedness routines.”

The region is home to a naval base at Haakonsvern as well as energy infrastructure such as the power plants and oil and gas facilities.

The intelligence service told NRK, Norway’s state-owned media outlet, that it had exposed Russian agents, but did not say how many.

02:28 PM BST

Russian hackers launch ‘dozens’ of attacks against Czech Republic

Prague has been targeted by “dozens” of cyberattacks launched by a group with links to Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, government officials said.

The Czech foreign ministry blamed the Russian group APT28, also known as Fancy Bear, for the attacks, citing “the mode of operation and the focus of these attacks”.

“Some Czech institutions have… been the target of cyberattacks exploiting a previously unknown vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook from 2023,” said a ministry statement.

It comes after Berlin officials said that the same notorious hacking group had carried out a cyberattack on members of the ruling Social Democratic Party in 2023.

Vit Rakusan, the Czech interior minister, said his country’s infrastructure had recently experienced “higher dozens” of such attacks.

“The attacks were orchestrated by the Russian Federation and its military intelligence service GRU,” Mr Rakusan told reporters at a news conference with his German counterpart Nancy Faeser.

01:55 PM BST

Pictured: Russia gears up for Victory Day celebrations

Russians hold a giant replica of the victory banner as they attend an event commemorating victory in WWII near the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow – EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV© Provided by The Telegraph

Russian soldiers march during an event commemorating victory in WWII near the Museum of the Great Patriotic War – YURI KOCHETKOV/EPA-EFE© Provided by The Telegraph

01:14 PM BST

Fall of key hill city Chasiv Yar ‘a matter of time’ Kyiv admits

The fall of Chasiv Yar is only a matter of time, a Ukrainian intelligence official has warned, with Russia likely to capture the elevated stronghold within the next couple of weeks.

Asked when Moscow might seize the city, Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s defence intelligence, said: “Not today or tomorrow, of course, but all depending on our reserves and supplies.”

Mr Skibitsky told the Economist that the Russian army is under orders to “take something” in time for Victory Day celebrations on May 9, or, failing that, before Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing a week later.

A Ukrainian military commander who spoke to the Telegraph last week warned that the loss of Chasiv Yar would pave the way for Russia to capture the rest of the Donetsk region.

01:09 PM BST

Five dead in Russian strikes on Ukraine

Russian attacks against Ukraine killed five people and injured 17 over the past day, regional authorities reported.

In Donetsk, two people were killed, including a 12-year-old boy, Vadym Filashkin, the governor, reported, as Russia carried out strikes across eight Ukrainian regions.

Strikes on town and villages in the region killed two more and injured four others, the head of the regional military administration said.

In Kharkiv, one man was killed and 10 people injured, according to Oleh Syniehubov, the regional governor. Meanwhile in Kherson, Russia struck 14 settlements over the past day, injuring one person, the regional governor reported.

12:40 PM BST

Russia hacks emails of Germany’s ruling party

Germany has accused Russia’s GRU intelligence unit of carrying out a major cyberattack on Olaf Scholz’s ruling SPD party last year which exposed email addresses and other personal data.

Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, told reporters in Australia that the GRU-controlled hacking organisation APT28 was behind the “intolerable” attack, vowing that there would be “consequences”.

“Today we can say unambiguously… we can attribute this cyber attack to a group called APT28, which is steered by the military intelligence service of Russia,” Ms Baerbock said, describing it as a “state-sponsored Russian cyberattack on Germany”. “This is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable and will have consequences,” she added.

German Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock speaks during a ceremony – MICHAEL ERREY/REUTERS© Provided by The Telegraph

APT28, also known as Fancy Bear, is a notorious hacking group which has previously targeted Pussy Riot, Nato and US defence firms. Ms Baerbock did not provide further details of the attack, but German media last year reported that an SPD executive had been targeted in a cyber-attack in January, “resulting in possible data exposure”. The EU’s computer security response unit CERT-EU said there were “concrete signs” the attack came from Russia.

It is the latest embarrassing incident of Germany falling victim to Moscow hacking, after Russian media in March published an audio recording of a meeting between senior German military officials,

12:17 PM BST

Kyiv launches cyberattack on Russia

Ukraine has launched a large-scale cyberattack in Russia’s Tatarstan region, a military intelligence source said.

The attack blocked internet providers and mobile operators in Kazan, Russia’s fifth largest city, the agency source told the Kyiv Independent, with Ukrainian media reporting that Alabuga, the site of an alleged Shahed-type drone factory, was the main target.

The press service for Tattelecom, one of the largest telecommunications operators in Russia, said that it was the biggest cyberattack Ukraine has mounted on its networks to date.

It comes after Ukraine last month launched strikes on drone factories in the Tartasan cities of Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk. located about 800 miles inside Russia, according to Ukraine’s military intelligence.

11:51 AM BST

Russia aims to capture three key Ukrainian regions by end of 2024, says Kyiv

Russia’s aim is to seize Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia by the end of the year, Kyiv’s ground forces chief has warned.

“Russia’s main goal remains to destroy Ukraine as a nation,” said Oleksandr Pavliuk, who in February took over from Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukraine’s military chief, as ground forces commander.

“But as we haven’t given them that opportunity since 2022, we believe the goals the Russians set for themselves this year are the complete occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and, if they are successful there, the Zaporizhzhia region.”

First on Russia’s list of targets is the Donetsk hilltop stronghold of Chasiv Yar, which reports suggest it intends to capture in time for Russian Victory Day celebrations on May 9.

“We are trying everything we can do to stop the Russian plan to capture Chasiv Yar before May 9, ”the commander told the Times. “But the Russians have a 10-to-one ratio of artillery superiority there, and total air superiority.”

Mr Pavliuk echoed previous warnings from Kyiv that Russia is maximising its gains ahead of the arrival of US weapons, after Congress last month passed a $61 billion aid package following months of delays.

“We will do everything we can to prevent a Russian breakthrough, and we hope that the American weaponry will help us,” said Mr Pavliuk. “If it had arrived in time, we would not have lost the territories that we have lost in the last few months.”

11:27 AM BST

Ukrainian agent plotting ‘terror’ attacks killed, claims Moscow

Moscow’s FSB security service said it had killed a man recruited by Ukraine to blow up military buildings and energy sites in key Russian cities, state media reported.

The FSB said it has “neutralised” a man who had “planned to commit a series of terrorist acts in Russia”, an FSB statement said.

These, it said, included attacks “against defence ministry facilities in the Moscow region and against members of a volunteer battalion and a volunteer centre in Saint Petersburg”.

Footage of the alleged incident puyblished by RIA Novosti shows an apparent firefight between FSB agents and the suspect in the Leningrad region.

The man is seen running into a concrete bunker in a field before armed FSB agents surround it and open fire. The video then shows a photo of his dead body inside the bunker, with a pistol lying by his hand.

The FSB said he was a Russian citizen, born in 1976, who had been recruited by Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence unit.

It said he had previously managed to flee when the FSB tried to detain him in the Moscow region, abandoning a car containing grenades, a pistol, a hunting rifle and equipment for making home-made bombs.

The man was planning to attack a fuel depot in the Leningrad region, the FSB alleged.

11:03 AM BST

Kremlin accuses Lord Cameron of ‘direct escalation’

Moscow has accused Lord Cameron of making “dangerous” remarks that imperil European security over his support for Ukraine to use British weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

“The Kremlin considers British foreign minister David Cameron’s statement about Kyiv’s right to use British weapons to attack Russian targets dangerous,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, has said.

“This is a direct escalation of tensions around the Ukrainian conflict, which could potentially pose a danger to European security.”

Moscow also rebuked Emmanuel Macron, the French president, who, in an interview with the Economist, refused to rule out putting boots on the ground in Ukraine.

“This is a very important and very dangerous statement,” Mr Peskov told a briefing. “France, through its head of state, keeps talking about the possibility of its direct, on-the-ground involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.”

10:54 AM BST

Pictured: Lord Cameron sits down with president Zelensky

Lord Cameron, the foreign secretary, meeting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv – PA© Provided by The Telegraph

10:40 AM BST

Lord Cameron: Ukraine has right to defend itself with British weapons

Ukraine has the right to use British weapons to strike inside of Russia, Lord Cameron has said, writes Albert Tait.

The Foreign Secretary, who has visited Kyiv and met with president Volodymyr Zelensky, said it was Ukraine’s “right” to decide whether to do so.

He said: “Ukraine has that right. Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it’s defending itself.”

Lord Cameron’s visit on Thursday follows the Government’s announcement that it will commit to at least £3 billion a year in military support to Ukraine.

Read the full report here. 

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