Russia's defence spending was up nearly 40% in the first four months of the year, according to preliminary data released by the finance ministry on Wednesday. Russia spent 1.7 trillion roubles ($26.4 billion) on defence between January and April, almost half the 3.5 trillion roubles, or 2.6% of GDP, budgeted for all of 2022. Stay with TOI for latest updates:Read Less
US opens Kyiv embassy after three months
The US Embassy in Kyiv resumed operations on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, nearly three months after removing its diplomats and suspending work there over Russia's invasion of Ukraine."The Ukrainian people, with our security assistance, have defended their homeland in the face of Russia’s unconscionable invasion, and, as a result, the Stars and Stripes are flying over the Embassy once again," Blinken said in a statement.
Biden: US to work with Finland, Sweden to stay vigilant against any threats to shared security
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday the United States would work with Finland and Sweden to stay vigilant against any threats to their shared security while the two countries' NATO membership is being considered.Biden said in a statement that he strongly supports Finland and Sweden's applications to join NATO which he said would "further strengthen our defense cooperation and benefit the entire Transatlantic Alliance."
US reopens Kyiv embassy
Biden says 'strongly' supports Finland, Sweden Nato bid
US President Joe Biden expressed strong backing Wednesday for the bid by Finland and Sweden to join Nato in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and offered US support in the event of "aggression" during the application process."The United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression" while their bid is considered, Biden said in a statement.
With troops in Ukraine, Russia's defence spending leaps 40%
Russia's defence spending was up nearly 40% in the first four months of the year, according to preliminary data released by the finance ministry on Wednesday, almost three months into Moscow's large-scale military campaign in Ukraine.Russia spent 1.7 trillion roubles ($26.4 billion) on defence between January and April, almost half the 3.5 trillion roubles, or 2.6% of GDP, budgeted for all of 2022.The ministry had initially forecast a budget surplus of 1% of GDP, or 1.3 trillion roubles, for 2022, but now expects a deficit of at least 1.6 trillion roubles.
Russia expels 85 diplomats from France, Spain and Italy
Russian deputy PM says russia will restore all "freed" territories in Ukraine, this decision has been made: RIA
Russia closing Moscow offices of Canadian broadcaster CBC, says ministry
Russia said Wednesday it was closing the Moscow offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in retaliation for Ottawa's banning of Russian state media outlet RT."A decision was made to take retaliatory measures in connection with Canada's actions, in this case to close the Moscow offices of Canadian television and radio broadcasting company CBC, including the cancellation of the accreditations and Russian visas of its journalists," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Spain slams Russia expulsion of 27 of its diplomats
Russia could cut off gas to Finland this week
Russia could cut off gas supplies to Finland this week, Finland's state-owned energy provider Gasum said on Wednesday, in a row over Moscow's demand for countries to pay for gas in roubles and as Helsinki seeks NATO membership.In a statement, Gasum said it had not received any information about the matter from Russia's Gazprom Export or from the Russian transmission operator, but that it was preparing for a scenario where Moscow cuts off gas late on Friday or on Saturday.Gazprom did not respond to a request for comment.
Russia uses new generation of laser weapons in Ukraine
Russia on Wednesday said it was using a new generation of powerful laser weapons in Ukraine to burn up drones, deploying some of Moscow's secret weapons to counter a flood of Western arms supplied to its former Soviet neighbour. President Vladimir Putin in 2018 unveiled an array of new weapons including a new intercontinental ballistic missile, underwater nuclear drones, a supersonic weapon and a new laser weapon. Yury Borisov, the deputy prime minister in charge of military development, told a conference in Moscow that laser weapon Peresvet was already being widely deployed and it could blind satellites up to 1,500 km above Earth.
Russian soldier on trial in Kyiv for war crimes pleads guilty for murder
A Kyiv district court met on Wednesday to begin hearing its first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier who took part in Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion, a case of huge symbolic value for Ukraine.
Italy strongly backs Finland, Sweden bids to join Nato
Rome strongly supports Finland's and Sweden's application to join NATO and is willing to speed up any internal procedures for the two countries to join the alliance as soon as possible, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday. Marin told reporters a fast ratification of membership would be the "best security guarantee for Finland and for Sweden at this stage".With the applications now formally submitted, the Nordic countries and their backers face uncertain months where any resistance to their bids needs to be overcome, with all 30 of NATO's members needing to approve the enlargement.
Ukraine opens first war crimes trial against Russian soldier
EU chief von der Leyen proposes up to 9bn Euros in more aid to Ukraine
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday proposed extra aid to Ukraine of up to nine billion euros ($9.5 billion) this year to help Kyiv cope with the ravages of war.The money would be raised by the EU on the markets and offered to Ukraine in the form of loans, an official in von der Leyen's European Commission told AFP. The EU money for reconstruction should come with conditions that Ukraine commit to reforms needed for it to reach its goal of one day joining the bloc, said von der Leyen.Funding will be focused on fighting corruption, building governance capability and rule of law, ensuring judges' independence and adhering to the EU's ambition to make green and digital transitions, she said.
Russia's expulsion of Italian diplomats "hostile act": PM Draghi
Russia's decision to expel Italian diplomats is an "hostile act", Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday, warning diplomatic channels with Moscow must not be interrupted.Russia will expel 24 Italian diplomats in a retaliatory move, news agency RIA cited the foreign ministry as saying - the latest in a series of tit-for-tat responses to European countries that have ordered out Russian staff.
Erdogan urges Nato allies to 'respect' concerns over Finland, Sweden
German cabinet approves Nato accession request from Finland and Sweden
Interrogation, uncertainty for soldiers abandoning Mariupol
Russia said Wednesday that nearly 1,000 Ukrainian troops at a giant steelworks in Mariupol have surrendered, abandoning their dogged defense of a site that became a symbol of their country's resistance, as the battle in the strategic port city appeared all but over.Ukraine ordered the fighters to save their lives — and said their mission to tie up Russian forces is now complete — but has not called the column of soldiers walking out of the plant a surrender. The fighters face an uncertain fate, with Ukraine saying they hope for a prisoner swap but Russia vowing to try at least some of them for war crimes.
Russia expels 34 French diplomats: Foreign ministry