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G7 pledge billions for Ukraine ‘to get through this’ – SABC News

The Group of Seven on Thursday agreed to give Ukraine $18.4 billion to pay its bills, funds that Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said would hasten Kiev’s victory over Russia and are just as important be like “the weapons provided by you”.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters at the G7 financial leaders meeting in Germany: “The message was, ‘We stand behind Ukraine. We will pull together with the resources they need to get through this.’”

Earlier Thursday, Shmyhal tweeted: “Supporting partners will accelerate our victory… Despite Russia’s efforts to destroy our economy, we will win together!”

More arms pledges came Thursday, as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday he had approved $100 million in additional US arms, equipment and supplies for Ukraine.

Last week, Russia won its biggest victory since the invasion began, when Kyiv announced it had ordered its garrison at a Mariupol steel mill to withdraw after a nearly three-month siege of the city.

Russian forces have lost ground elsewhere, however, being driven out of northern Ukraine and the area around the capital in late March and pushing forward from the outskirts of the second-largest city of Kharkiv this month.

US President Joe Biden announced in Washington on Thursday his support for Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move by Finland and Sweden reverses generations of military non-alignment and is the biggest shock to European security in decades.

NATO member Turkey has objected, accusing the two Nordic nations of harboring Kurdish militants, but Biden and European leaders said they were confident Turkey’s concerns could be addressed.

Biden, who has hosted Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the White House, told reporters, “I think we’ll be fine.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said late Wednesday: “We have told allies that we will say no to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership,” adding: “NATO is a security alliance and we cannot accept terrorists.” are in it.”

Niinisto said Finland will work to ensure Turkey’s security, adding: “We condemn terrorism in all its forms and are actively engaged in combating it.”

MARIUPOL STEEL MILL

The ultimate outcome of the bloodiest battle in Europe in decades remains unclear, with no confirmation of the fate of hundreds of Ukrainian defenders.

Moscow said Thursday that 1,730 Ukrainian fighters have surrendered so far, including 771 in the past 24 hours.

Ukraine, which says it is seeking a prisoner exchange, has not said how many were at the facility or commented on the fate of the remainder since confirming just over 250 surrendered in the first hours after they ordered them to surrender.

The Switzerland-based International Committee of the Red Cross said it had registered hundreds of prisoners from the facility who are now being held by Russia, but did not give an exact number.

The leader of the Russian-backed separatists who control the area said nearly half the fighters stayed at the steelworks, where underground bunkers and tunnels protected them from weeks of Russian bombardment.

“More than half have laid down their arms,” ​​Denis Pushilin told Internet TV channel Solovyov Live. “Let her surrender, let her live, let her face the charges for all her crimes honestly.”

The wounded would be given medical attention, while the healthy would be taken to a penal colony and treated well, he said. Ukrainian officials say they cannot publicly comment on their fate while negotiations to rescue them are underway.

Russia denies agreeing to a prisoner swap. Many of the Azovstal defenders belong to a Ukrainian unit of far-right origin, the Azov regiment, which Moscow calls Nazis and faces prosecution for crimes.

UKRAINE PROGRESS

Oleksiy Gromov, deputy chief of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, told an online briefing that Ukraine had recaptured 23 settlements near Kharkiv in the past two weeks.

On Thursday, the roar of artillery duels echoed across sunlit fields and forests north of Kharkiv near the village of Slatyne.

Ukrainian troops said fighting was ongoing for the nearby village of Demetiivka, about 8 km from the Russian border, which Ukrainian military said was recaptured the previous day.

But Russia is still pushing its main offensive with massive artillery and armor and trying to seize more territory in eastern Donbass, which consists of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which Moscow is claiming on behalf of separatists.

Ukraine’s General Staff said Russia’s attacks were focused on Donetsk. Russian forces “suffered significant casualties” around Sloviansk north of Donetsk.

G7 pledge billions for Ukraine ‘to get through this’ – SABC News

Source link G7 pledge billions for Ukraine ‘to get through this’ – SABC News

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