November 29, 2022

British PM Sunak visits Kyiv to confirm ‘continued UK support’ to Ukraine


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak paid an unannounced visit Saturday to Ukraine’s capital for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky . This comes after Ukraine’s prosecutor general announced that at least 437 Ukrainian children have been killed as a result of the Russian invasion and more than 830 have been injured. Read our blog to see how the day’s events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1)

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10:08pm: Ukraine says around 60 Russians killed in long-range shelling attackAround 60 Russian soldiers were killed in a long-range Ukrainian artillery attack this week, Kyiv said on Saturday, the second time in four days that Ukraine claimed to have inflicted major casualties in a single incident.

In a Facebook post, the armed forces general staff said Russia suffered the losses on Thursday when Ukrainian forces shelled the town of Mykhailkva, 40 km (25 miles) to the south of Kherson. Russian forces abandoned the city earlier this month.

It gave no further detail. The Russian defence ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment, and Reuters was unable to independently verify the Ukrainian military’s account.

5:29pm: US says Russia’s war in Ukraine offers preview to potential global tyrannyUS Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said failure to help Ukraine secure its own future could lead to a “world of tyranny and turmoil”, in a speech on Saturday that sought to lay out the stakes in the war for the international community.

Austin’s remarks, delivered at a security forum in Canada, were some of his most powerful to date on Russia’s nearly nine-month-old invasion. He warned of the risks of global nuclear proliferation.

“Putin’s fellow autocrats are watching. And they could well conclude that getting nuclear weapons would give them a hunting license of their own. And that could drive a dangerous spiral of nuclear proliferation,” Austin said.

5:15pm: Five injured in Russian strike on aid station near KhersonFive people were injured in a Russian strike on a humanitarian station in southern Ukraine, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential administration, said the attack took place in the town of Bilozerka, just west of the city of Kherson, which Ukrainian troops retook from Russian forces last week. He said the centre had been handing out bread.

The United Nations has said more than 16,000 civilians have been killed since Russia’s Feberuary 24 invasion. Moscow has denied targeting civilians.

2:55pm: UK to provide new air defence package for UkraineBritain will provide a 50 million pound ($59.4 million) air defence package for Ukraine, including anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter Iranian-supplied drones, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on his first trip to Kyiv on Saturday.

“We are today providing new air defence, including anti-aircraft guns, radar and anti-drone equipment, and stepping up humanitarian support for the cold, hard winter ahead,” Sunak said in a statement.

2:42pm: Ukraine’s Zelensky says he met UK PM Sunak in KyivUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video on Saturday depicting him meeting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Kyiv. “During today’s meeting, we discussed the most important issues both for our countries and for global security,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Downing Street confirmed the meeting took place ensuring “continued UK support” for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. “The prime minister is in Ukraine today for his first visit to Kyiv to meet President (Volodymyr) Zelensky and confirm continued UK support,” The PM’s office said.

1:30pm: Spain sends fresh batch of electric generators to Ukraine, says ambulances to comeSpain said Saturday it had sent 14 new electric generators to Ukraine, where Russian attacks on energy infrastructure have left many without power or warm water.

On Friday “we dispatched a new package of 14 generators in view of what is proving to be a very harsh and difficult winter in Ukraine”, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said.

Kyiv on Friday appealed to European allies for support, saying nearly half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure had been disabled and needed repair.

Temperatures have plunged across Ukraine in recent days, with the first snow falling on Thursday.

Madrid last month said it had sent five generators.

Albares said Spain would also dispatch 30 ambulances as well as police reinforcements to help Ukraine investigate possible war crimes on its territory.

1:24pm: Russia slams Poland’s refusal to allow Lavrov to attend OSCE meetingRussia on Saturday blasted Warsaw’s refusal to allow Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to attend a meeting next month of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe as “unprecedented and provocative”.

“The decision from Poland, which is the acting chairman of the OSCE, to refuse the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov in the OSCE’s ministerial meeting in Lodz on December 1-2 is unprecedented and provocative,” the foreign ministry said.

The OSCE is the world’s largest security body.

12:01pm: More than 400 Ukrainian children have been killed due to Russia’s invasion, prosecutor general saysAt least 437 Ukrainian children have been killed as a result of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said on Saturday.

More than 837 children have also been injured in a tally officials said was “not final” because they were still verifying information from zones of active fighting, liberated areas and territory still occupied by Russian forces.

The eastern Donetsk region was the most affected, with 423 children killed or injured, the prosecutor’s office said.

The United Nations has said at least 16,295 civilians have been killed since Russia’s February 24 invasion, which Kyiv and Western leaders have denounced as an act of unprovoked aggression.

11:53am: Peace in Ukraine only possible if country’s 1991 borders are restored, top Zelensky aide saysPeace in Ukraine will “only” be possible if the country’s 1991 borders are restored, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday.

“There will be peace when we destroy the Russian army in Ukraine and reach the borders of 1991,” Andriy Yermak, head of the presidential administration, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

10:45am: Finland says NATO application due to ‘drastic change’ in security amid Ukraine warFinland’s application to join NATO was the “natural step” to take following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Nordic country’s foreign minister told a conference in Bahrain on Saturday.

The decision to apply for NATO membership is “a result of the drastic change in our security environment”, Finland’s top diplomat Pekka Haavisto told the annual Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrain.

“Applying for NATO membership was… a natural step for us to take”, he added.

In 2004, Finland said it would take the so-called “NATO option”, in the event that its security environment “changes dramatically”, the foreign minister said.

“And what would be more dramatic for a change than the attack of your neighbour towards a country of 50 million people?” Haavisto asked.

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and scrambled to become NATO members in May.

All 30 NATO member states except Hungary and Turkey have ratified Finland’s accession, which requires unanimous approval. Hungary has said it will support Finland’s bid.

On Friday, Finland unveiled a plan to increase security on its border with Russia, including a 200-kilometre (124-mile) fence.

7:56am: Most APEC members ‘strongly condemn’ war in Ukraine, summit statement saysAsia-Pacific leaders added their voices on Saturday to international pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, issuing a summit statement saying “most” of them condemned the war.

The 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum issued a joint declaration after a day and a half of talks in Bangkok criticising the conflict and the global economic turmoil it has unleashed.

The summit communique was agreed by all APEC members, including Russia and China – which has refrained from public criticism of Moscow for the invasion – but includes a number of diplomatic fudges.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy,” it said.

“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”

Apart from substituting the name of the organisation, the statement was word-for-word the same as a G20 declaration issued Wednesday after a summit in Indonesia and reportedly the fruit of intense diplomatic haggling.

7:50am: More than 200 Ukrainians subject to detentions, disappearances in Kherson region, Yale research group saysHundreds of Ukrainians were detained and forcibly disappeared in Kherson after Russia seized the province, in evidence of a planned campaign, a Yale University group researching war crimes said on Friday.

The Conflict Observatory, a research group under Yale University’s School of Public Health, said they documented 226 extrajudicial detentions and forced disappearances in Kherson. Around a quarter of that number were allegedly subjected to torture and four died in custody.

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