Biden to send long-range rocket system to Ukraine
President Joe Biden will send Ukraine a long-range rocket system as part of a new $700 million security package that is going to be announced today. Biden wrote in an opinion piece in ‘The New York Times’ that “we decided that we will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.” The announcement comes a day after Biden said the United States was not going “to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia.”
Russian troops control most of Sievierodonetsk
Russian forces have taken control of most of the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk but have not surrounded it, the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk province has said as heavy fighting continued in and around the key city and civilians were told to stay underground. Serhiy Gaidai said in an online post late Tuesday that Russian shelling had made it impossible to deliver humanitarian supplies or evacuate people.
Zelensky accuses Russia of “madness”
President Zelensky has accused Russia of “madness” after Russian troops bombed a chemical plant in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk. Condemning the attack, Zelensky said: “Given the presence of large-scale chemical production in Sievierodonetsk, the Russian army’s strikes there, including blind air bombing, are just crazy.” Russian forces had hit a nitric acid tank at a chemical plant and warnings were issued to people to stay indoors. Sievierodonetsk is an industrial hub, and has come under massive fire.
In other developments…
- Ukraine has welcomed EU sanctions, but criticised the “unacceptable” delay. Speaking alongside Slovakia’s President Zuzana Caputova in Kyiv, President Zelenskiy noted that 50 days had passed between the 5th and 6th sanction packages.
- The American ambassador to the UN has warned that “countries that consider buying Russian oil, given the decision taken by Europeans, are violating the sanctions… and would be held accountable”. Answering a question about the new Asian buyers of Moscow’s oil, Linda Thomas Greenfield said:“We hope they join us all in ensuring that Russia does not use them to violate the sanctions imposed to persuade Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.”
- Sanctions against Russia are directed at ordinary citizens and motivated by hatred, the former president Dmitry Medvedev has said. Medvedev, who advises Vladimir Putin on national security matters, said in a post on Telegram on Tuesday that the “endless tango of economic sanctions” won’t touch the political elite but have incurred losses for big business.
- The African Union has warned EU leaders that Moscow’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports risks “a catastrophic scenario” of food shortages and price rises. Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, who chairs the union, said “the worst is perhaps ahead of us” if current global food supply trends continue.
- Ukraine is working on an international UN-led operation with naval partners to ensure a safe trade route for food exports, according to Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. He accused Russia ofplaying “hunger games with the world by blocking Ukrainian food exports”.
- Ukraine is to prosecute 80 suspected war criminals, said Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova. It was announced Tuesday as representatives of a group of countries investigating Russian war crimes and international criminal court prosecutor, Karim Khan, met at The Hague.
- Russia has further cut off gas supplies to Europe. State energy giant Gazprom turned off the taps to a top Dutch trader and halted flows to some companies in Denmark and Germany. The intensification of the economic battle on Tuesday follows the EU’s overnight decision to place an embargo on most Russian oil imports as part of its financial sanctions against the Kremlin.
British ministerial code at risk of ‘ridicule’ over Partygate
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is at risk of placing the ministerial code in a place of “ridicule” over the Partygate scandal, according to his own ethics adviser. In a scathing public rebuke, Christopher Geidt said there were “legitimate” questions over whether Mr Johnson had breached ministerial standards and made a veiled threat to quit if the PM said there was no case to answer. But the prime minister insisted he had not breached the code.
Queen jets in for jubilee
Queen Elizabeth yesterday made her way back to London from Scotland ahead of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The 96-year-old monarch arrived at Aberdeen Airport in the afternoon ahead of a flight back to the capital to take part in the four-day celebrations to mark her 70th year on the throne. It comes as royal superfans have already begun camping out to get a prime spot on The Mall for the Jubilee despite the start of the celebrations with Trooping the Colour not taking place for another two days. The four-day celebrations will start on Thursday with a special Trooping of the Colour, followed by a service of Thanksgiving on Friday and her beloved Epsom Derby on Saturday. A special Jubilee Pageant will take place on Sunday through the streets of London.
Festivals could become monkeypox super-spreader events – WHO
Festivals in Europe could speed up the spread of monkeypox, WHO experts have warned. Officials are scrambling to raise awareness of the outbreak ahead of the summer as many cases have been linked to ‘large events or parties’. WHO’s technical lead for monkeypox, Rosamund Lewis said that while most cases so far have been among gay or bisexual men, anyone is at potential risk, regardless of their sexual orientation.
KK dead at 53
Popular Bollywood star KK has died after collapsing on the return to his hotel in Kolkata, India, following performing for an hour on stage. The Hindu reported he 53-year-old fell ill after he came off stage. The father-of-two was reportedly taken to a private hospital, where he was pronounced dead. KK died of a heart attack, according to Times of India.
Tennis: Nadal eliminates Djokovic
Rafael Nadal eliminated world number 1 and reigning champion Novak Djokovic at night in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros for 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4 ). The Spaniard, no.5 in the ATP, will continue the search for his 14th title on Parisian soil by facing on Friday, his 36th birthday, the German Alexander Zverev (no.3) for a place in the final. Tuesday’s showdown between Nadal and Djokovic was their 59th – more than any other two male players have played against each other in the Open era. Djokovic has a 30-29 advantage in the overall series, though Nadal improved to 8-2 against his rival at the French Open.
Football: Ukraine dream of World Cup morale boost
Ukraine’s national football team are dreaming of a place at the World Cup to bring some relief to theirwar-torn nation as they face Scotland in a playoff semi-final tonight. Oleksandr Petrakov’s side have not played a competitive match since Russia’s invasion in February. Players based in their homeland have since been allowed to leave the country and train together in Slovenia. In recent weeks they have been joined by Ukrainian football’s star names who play in Europe’s top leagues. The winner of Scotland-Ukraine play-off goes on to face Wales to decide which team makes it to Qatar.
King Karim Champions League player of the season
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has been named thenChampions League player of the season. The French international won the competition for a fifth time as Real beat Liverpool 1-0 in the final last Saturday. He scored 15 goals in 12 matches in the competition and is a leading cointender to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.