Ukraine war briefing: Ukrainians ‘have the right to strike inside Russia’, says David Cameron | Ukraine

  • Weapons supplied by Britain to Ukraine can be used to strike inside Russia, David Cameron has said, as the UK foreign secretary promised £3bn a year “for as long as it is necessary” to help Kyiv. Patrick Wintour writes that it is the UK’s biggest spending pledge since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022. In January, the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, pledged £2.5bn in military aid to Ukraine for 2024-25.

  • Cameron said: “Ukraine has the right to strike inside Russia because Russia is striking inside Ukraine … You can understand why Ukraine feels the need to defend itself.” The foreign secretary announced that the UK’s donation of military equipment would include precision-guided bombs, air defence missiles and equipment for 100 mobile air defence teams to shoot down Russia’s drones and missiles.

  • The UK also committed to doubling its domestic munitions production by investing a further £10bn over the next 10 years. “We’ve just emptied all we can in terms of giving equipment,” said Cameron. “Some of the equipment is actually arriving in Ukraine today while I am here.”

  • Emmanuel Macron has said the question of sending western troops to Ukraine would “legitimately” arise if Russia broke through Ukrainian frontlines and Kyiv made such a request. In an interview with the Economist, the French president maintained his stance of strategic ambiguity, saying: “I’m not ruling anything out, because we are facing someone who is not ruling anything out.”

  • At least eight children were injured in the town of Derhachi in Ukraine’s north-eastern Kharkiv region on Thursday when Russian guided bombs struck a site close to a sports complex where they had been training, local officials said. An elderly man was also wounded.

  • Russia said on Thursday it had captured the village of Berdychi which lies about 12km (7 miles) north-west of Avdiivka – a week after Ukrainian forces pulled out. Over the weekend, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, Oleksandr Syrsky, said troops had retreated from Berdychi and two other nearby villages to protect “the lives and health of our defenders”.

  • Russian energy company Gazprom said on Thursday it suffered a record annual loss in 2023 as the European market was practically shut to its gas exports due to war sanctions. The state-owned firm suffered a net loss of 629bn rubles ($6.9 bn/£5.5bn) in 2023 compared with a net profit of 1.23tn rubles in 2022.

  • The governors of three Russian regions reported that energy facilities were damaged by Ukrainian drone strikes. Oryol region governor Andrei Klychkov said energy infrastructure was hit in two communities. The Smolensk and Kursk governors reported one facility damaged in each region.

  • The Kremlin has rejected allegations by the US that Russian forces used the chemical weapon chloropicrin against Ukrainian. Moscow also criticised a fresh round of US sanctions – including on entities in China and other countries that western investigators have linked with Russia’s war effort. Several Chinese banks have stopped servicing Russian clients after being warned they could be hit with western sanctions, Russian and western media have reported in recent months.

  • The Chinese government said it would take “necessary measures” in response to what it called the “illegal and unilateral sanctions” against “normal” trading relations. The US package targets nearly 300 entities in Russia, China and other countries. China has never condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine and stands accused of indirectly supporting the war.

  • Nato has condemned an intensifying campaign of Russian “malign activities” on member states’ territory including disinformation, sabotage, violence and cyber interference. Authorities in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Britain have recently investigated and charged people in connection with “hostile state activity”. In London, a 20-year-old British man has been charged with masterminding an arson plot against a Ukrainian-linked target, while Czech authorities announced in March they had busted a Moscow-financed network that spread Russian propaganda and influence, including in the European parliament.

  • Vladimir Putin sees domestic and international developments trending in his favour and the war is unlikely to end soon, the US director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, has told the senate armed services committee. “Putin’s increasingly aggressive tactics against Ukraine, such as strikes on Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure, were intended to impress Ukraine that continuing to fight will only increase the damage to Ukraine and offer no plausible path to victory.”

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