Ukraine war news latest: Boris Johnson offers Zelensky major troop-training operation

Boris Johnson meets President Zelensky in Kyiv

Boris Johnson has offered Ukraine a major armed forces training operation he believes could “change the equation” against the Russian invasion during a surprise visit to Kyiv.

In talks with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the prime minister said the UK could train up to 10,000 troops every 120 days.

The trip to the Ukrainian capital, his second since Russia began its invasion in February and arranged in secret, comes just a day after visits by French president Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Olaf Scholz and Italy’s Mario Draghi.

“My visit today, in the depths of this war, is to send a clear and simple message to the Ukrainian people: the UK is with you, and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail,” Mr Johnson said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin says he has nothing against Ukraine’s joining the EU.

“It is not a military bloc, a political organisation like Nato,” he said after EU leaders gave their blessing for the country and its neighbour Moldova to become candidates to join the bloc.

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Wheelie bin from Hampshire found 1,200 miles away in Ukraine

Wheelie bin from Hampshire found 1,200 miles away in Ukraine

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 14:12

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Vladimir Putin forced to delay keynote speech after cyberattack in Russia

Russian president Vladimir Putin has been forced to delay a keynote speech at a showpiece international event by a cyberattack, the Kremlin says.

The prestigious St Petersburg International Economic Forum suffered from a “denial of service” cyberattack on its accreditation system, which held up the speech by an hour, officials say.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the attack, which began on Thursday, disabled the forum’s guest accreditation and admission system, leading to a host of problems with access.

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 13:35

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Ukraine moves step closer to EU membership as it is granted candidate status

Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union was given a considerable boost on Friday as the European Commission recommended the country be a candidate for membership.

It is the first step in a lengthy process to secure membership and comes a day after French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi and Romanian president Klaus Iohannis vowed to back Kyiv’s candidacy on a visit to Ukraine’s capital.

“The Commission recommends… Ukraine is given candidate status,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference, dressed in Ukraine‘s national colours of a yellow jacket and blue shirt.

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 13:15

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Amid Ukraine’s war, a farmer takes comfort from her snails

The Ukrainian farmer was living a quiet life with the quietest of creatures: snails that she raises for export. Then, skies on the horizon turned flaming red. Russia had launched its invasion and nearby towns were burning.

Olena Avramenko’s village of Veresnya, northwest of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, was quickly occupied by Russian forces. But her snails were too precious to leave.

So she stayed, sheltering in her basement and cooking meals of snails — snail ravioli, fried snails, snails with garlic butter — for herself and the eight other people she took in.

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 13:00

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EU backs Ukraine’s membership bid

The European Union gave its blessing on Friday for Ukraine and its neighbour Moldova to become candidates to join the trading bloc.

Ukraine applied to join the EU just four days after Russian troops poured across its border in February. Four days later, so did Moldova and Georgia – smaller ex-Soviet states also contending with separatist regions occupied by Russian troops.

“Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the country’s aspiration and the country’s determination to live up to European values and standards,” the EU’s executive Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels. She made the announcement wearing Ukrainian colours, a yellow blazer over a blue shirt.

President Voloymyr Zelensky thanked von der Leyen and EU member states on Twitter for a decision he called “the first step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our victory closer”.

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 12:27

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Expert Mary Dejevsky answers your questions on Putin’s war

In the week that Russia said its missiles had destroyed an ammunition warehouse for weapons donated by NATO alliance countries in Ukraine‘s western Lviv region, expert and Independent columnist Mary Dejevsky will be on hand to answer reader questions about the conflict as part of an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session.

Why is Moscow focusing its attention on the eastern region of Donbas? What will happen next at the chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk as Vladimir Putin’s top defence official urges Ukrainian fighters trapped in a chemical plant to “stop their senseless resistance and lay down arms”? Why is it a key city in Russia’s view? Put your questions to Mary this Friday 17 June at 2pm.

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 11:34

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Russia not squeaky clean but not ashamed of it, Lavrov says

Russia has not been “squeaky clean” in the war with Ukraine and is “not ashamed of it”, claims the country’s foreign minister.

Sergei Lavrov was asked by the BBC about a UN report in the Ukrainian village of Yahidne where 360 residents were forced to stay in a school basement by Russian forces for 28 days and 10 people died.

He responded: “It’s a great pity but international diplomats, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary-General and other UN representatives, are being put under pressure by the West. And very often they’re being used to amplify fake news spread by the West.”

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 11:06

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Ben Wallace says Ukrainians have capabilities ‘to make significance progress in east’

Ben Wallace says Ukrainians have capabilities ‘to make significance progress in east’

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 10:23

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Brussels to propose Ukraine become EU membership candidate

The European Commission will recommend on Friday that the European Union designate Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for membership, with Georgia being asked to meet certain conditions before being granted the same status, diplomats said.

While some EU countries including the Netherlands and Denmark do not support more countries becoming EU membership candidates, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy won the backing of France, Germany, Italy and Romania on Thursday.

The Commission, the EU executive, is expected to make its proposal around 1000 CET (0800 GMT). That will pave the way for EU government leaders to sign off on it at a summit next Thursday and Friday in Brussels in what will be a morale boost for Ukraine as it fights Russia’s invasion.

In their first visit to Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Italy’s Mario Draghi and Romania’s Klaus Iohannis said Ukraine belonged in the “European family”.

EU candidate status, sought by Ukraine since 2014 when protests in Kyiv toppled an unpopular pro-Russian president, would be a milestone in its path from a former Soviet republic towards a developed economy in the world’s largest trading bloc.

However, the path towards membership is expected to take years, requiring deep reforms tackling endemic corruption.

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 09:52

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Macron sees little hope in getting grain out of Odesa port

French president Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he was open to talking to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin as part of efforts to strike a deal to get grain out of the Ukrainian port of Odesa but that he saw little chance of an agreement.

“We have to talk with Russia on food security and it (discussions) can be justified by liaising directly with the UN secretary general to get grains out of Odesa,” Macron told BFM TV on his way back from Ukraine.

“But I don’t believe a lot in this path, because I already had talks a few weeks ago with president Putin, but he didn’t want to accept a UN resolution on this subject.”

Joe Middleton17 June 2022 09:13