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Iran Press TV

EU pledges €500mn in extra military aid to Ukraine, UK urges more

Iran Press TV

Friday, 13 May 2022 9:25 AM

Throwing their full weight behind Kiev, France has announced that the G7 (Group of Seven) industrialized nations are "strongly united" in backing Ukraine until its "victory" against Russia.

It came as Britain urged more military assistance for Ukraine to stem Russia's rapid advances in the former Soviet republic.

Amid the raging war in Ukraine, foreign ministers of the G7 nations--Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, the United States, and the European Union-- will convene for their annual meeting on Friday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the G7 countries were "very strongly united" in their will to "continue in the long term to support Ukraine's fight for its sovereignty until Ukraine's victory."

"It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine, by increasing the sanctions," British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said as she arrived for the talks with her G7 counterparts.

The war in Ukraine is set to figure prominently in talks between the G7 diplomats, with Ukrainian and Moldovan foreign ministers Dmytro Kuleba and Nicu Popescu also expected to join.

Ahead of the meeting, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said the group will defy Russian attempts to split the world over Ukraine.

"Never since the end of the Cold War have we G7 partners been more profoundly challenged. Never before have we stood more united," she said in a tweet.

Germany is set to host a separate meeting of ministers from NATO this weekend, as Sweden and Finland gear up to apply for membership of the military alliance, despite threats from Moscow.

Russia, which launched the military operation in Ukraine on February 24, has over the past three months made significant military advances in the country despite Kiev receiving military aid from the West.

Western countries have supplied Ukraine with weapons, including artillery, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank weapons, and other powerful materiel, but Kiev has been pushing allies for more support.

Le Drian in his remarks on Friday pointed to the global effects of what he called a "lasting conflict... particularly in the area of food security."

"We will continue our support efforts ... but I would add that we need to deal with a conflict that will last and the long-term consequences on food security. We need to show that Russia's aggression against Ukraine is provoking the global food crisis," he asserted.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also on Thursday highlighted the growing impact of the simmering war on poorer countries.

"We as the strongest industrialized democracies have a special responsibility" to help poorer nations weather the food and energy squeezes caused by the war, the minister said.

Meanwhile, Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign policy chief, on Friday announced that the bloc would provide a further 500 million euros worth of military support to Ukraine.

He further said that he was confident a deal could be reached in the coming days to agree to an embargo on Russian oil.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev's failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow's recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a "special military operation" was to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

Lavrov slams 'aggressive, militant' EU

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said he suspected the motives of Ukraine's intention of joining the European Union (EU) while accusing the bloc of ambitions beyond the European continent.

Ukraine, Lavrov told reporters following a meeting of CIS foreign ministers in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, was "ready to declare a neutral, non-aligned status."

"At the same time, they are trying in every possible way to emphasize their desire to become an EU member," the top Russian diplomat noted. "There are serious doubts about how harmless such a desire is from Kiev."

Russia has repeatedly insisted that Ukraine abandon its ambition to join the US-led military alliance NATO and declare itself "neutral".

While Kiev has admitted that it is unlikely to become a NATO member, it has moved ahead in the past three months with an application to join the 27-nation EU.

Lavrov also accused the EU of transforming from a "constructive, economic platform" into an "aggressive, militant player, declaring its ambitions far beyond the European continent", pointing to moves in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

"They are rushing to follow in the tracks already laid by NATO, thereby confirming the trend that they are merging with the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) and will in fact serve as its appendage," he said.

EU pledges 500 mn euros worth of weapons to Ukraine

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday pledged an additional 500 million euros ($520 million) in military assistance for Ukraine at a meeting of G7 industrialized nations in northern Germany.

Amid the war in Ukraine, foreign ministers of the G7 nations--Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, the United States, and the European Union-- convened for their annual meeting on Friday.

The extra cash will raise the EU's total military aid for Ukraine to two billion euros, he said. "The recipe is clear -- more of the same," Borrell said, urging allies to keep up "pressure on Russia".

He further said that he was confident a deal could be reached in the coming days to agree to an embargo on Russian oil.

Western countries have supplied Ukraine with weapons, including artillery, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank weapons, and other powerful materiel, but Kiev has been pushing allies for more support.

Russia's 'grain theft' in eastern Ukraine 'repugnant': Germany

Germany's agriculture minister on Friday accused Russia of "grain theft" in eastern Ukraine, calling it "repugnant", as G7 countries met to discuss the impact of the Ukraine war on global food security.

"This is an especially repugnant form of war that Russia is leading, in that it is stealing, robbing, taking for itself grain from eastern Ukraine," Cem Oezdemir said at the start of a meeting.

Russia was "stealing, robbing, taking for itself grain from eastern Ukraine," Oezdemir said, describing it as an "economic war".

France says G7 committed to support Kiev

Throwing full weight behind Kiev, France on Friday announced that the G7 (Group of Seven) industrialized nations are "strongly united" in backing Ukraine until its "victory" against Russia.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the G7 countries were "very strongly united" in their will to "continue in the long term to support Ukraine's fight for its sovereignty until Ukraine's victory".

Le Drian in his remarks on Friday also pointed to the global effects of what he called a "lasting conflict... particularly in the area of food security."

Russia likely to cut gas supplies to Finland

Russia has rejected a report in a Finnish newspaper that said Moscow was likely to cut gas supplies to Finland as soon as Friday, calling the report fake.

"Most likely, this is another newspaper hoax," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call, adding that Gazprom remained a reliable gas supplier.

Newspaper Iltalehti reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources, that Finnish politicians had been warned that Russia could halt gas supplies to its neighbor on Friday.

Germany offers to finance Ukraine's post-war reconstruction

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has said he would be in favor of financing the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine with seized Russian state assets, according to an interview published by German weekly Der Spiegel on Friday.

"In the case of the Russian state's assets, my sense of justice speaks in favor," Lindner told the weekly but said that clarification of the legal basis for such a move was still needed.

"In the case of private assets, it would be a case of expropriation. The hurdles in our constitutional state are high," he said.

The finance ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations (G7) are due to discuss the financing of Ukraine's reconstruction at a meeting in Germany next week.

It comes as Sweden and Finland are gearing up to apply for membership in the military alliance, despite threats from Moscow.

Ukraine to fight for Zmiinyi Island

Ukraine will fight for the remote Zmiinyi Island (Snake Island) in the Black Sea "for as long as is needed", the head of Ukrainian military intelligence said on Friday.

"Whoever controls the island can at any time block the movement of civilian ships in all directions to the south of Ukraine," Kyrylo Budanov said in televised comments.

Renewed fighting around Snake Island in recent days may become a battle for control of the western Black Sea coast, according to some defense officials, as Russian forces struggle to make headway in Ukraine's north and east.

Russia claims to strike oil refinery in central Ukraine

Russia's defense ministry on Friday said its forces had struck the Kremenchug oil refinery in central Ukraine, destroying its production capacity and fuel tanks.

The ministry also said its forces shot down a Ukrainian Su-27 aircraft in Kharkiv region, according to an unconfirmed report in Reuters.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev's failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow's recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a "special military operation" was to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

Over the past three months, Russian forces have made significant military advances in the country despite Kiev receiving massive military aid from the West.

Ukrainian forces make advances: Report

Ukrainian forces destroyed a pontoon bridge and parts of a Russian armored column as it tried to cross a river in the Donbas region on Friday, video footage released by Ukraine's military showed, and a Russian naval ship was also set afire in the Black Sea.

According to Reuters journalists, Ukraine was now in control of territory stretching to the banks of the Siverskiy Donets River, around 40 km (25 miles) east of Kharkiv.

Footage released by Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command appeared to show several burnt-out military vehicles and segments of a bridge partially submerged in the river.

The images showed many more damaged or abandoned vehicles, including tanks, in the woods and on the track leading to the river.

Iaily intelligence update on Friday, Britain's defense ministry said the images suggested that Russia had lost armored maneuver elements of at least one battalion tactical group and the pontoon bridging equipment deployed while crossing the Siverskyi Donets river west of Severodonetsk. Reuters could not immediately verify the report, or when or where the clash took place.



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