Russia-Ukraine war live: Zelenskiy in Germany for Recovery Conference; Russian plane accused of violating Finnish airspace

From 43m ago

Zelenskiy arrives in Germany to take part in Ukraine Recovery Conference

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has arrived in Germany to take part in the Ukraine Recovery Conference and meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Zelenskiy said measures concerning Ukraine’s energy sector, damaged by Russian air attacks, would be the priority, as well as continued military support, including air defences and joint manufacture of munitions, and the coordination of positions ahead of the “peace summit” to be hosted by Switzerland later in the week.

“In the face of Russia’s air terror, urgent solutions for Ukraine’s energy sector will be our top priority,” the Ukrainian president was quoted as saying.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, poses for a photo with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, ahead of their talks at Bellevue Palace in Berlin.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, poses for a photo with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, ahead of their talks at Bellevue Palace in Berlin. Photograph: Bernd von Jutrczenka/AP

The conference will include the launch of 95 investment projects for which it is hoped western funding will be secured, as well as a range of reform targets. The country’s future accession to the EU will also be discussed, in what organisers have referred to as a “fourth dimension” of the conference agenda.

Hosted by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, attendees are to include a range of senior international diplomats and foreign ministers, from Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine to the UK’s David Cameron. Several Ukrainian mayors from big cities including Kyiv and Lviv are expected to attend.

The head of Ukraine’s reconstruction agency, Mustafa Nayyem, resigned on Monday, saying he had been prevented from attending after being systematically undermined by the Ukrainian government from doing his job. You can read more about his decision here:

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Russian and Belarusian troops have started the second stage of tactical nuclear drills in Russia, Russia’s defence ministry has said.

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The ministry said the drills were aimed at ensuring that the two countries’ military personnel and equipment were ready to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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“During the exercise, issues of joint training of units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons will be worked out,” the defence ministry said.

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In the first stage of the drills, Russian troops trained how to arm and deploy Iskander missiles, while the air force trained how to arm Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.

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The second stage, announced on Tuesday, involved working out joint training of Russian and Belarusian units “for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” the defence ministry said.

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Last month, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, ordered his military to practise the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons after what Moscow said were threats from France, Britain and the US.

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Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said in April that “several dozen” Russian tactical nuclear weapons had been deployed in Belarus under an agreement announced last year by himself and Putin.

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Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. The time has just gone past 10:40am in Kyiv.

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An investigation has been launched after a Russian military plane was suspected of violating Finnish airspace on Monday morning, flying about 2.5 km (1.6 miles) inside the Nordic country’s border, Finland’s defence ministry said.

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The violation in the eastern Gulf of Finland lasted for about two minutes, the ministry said, with the country’s defence minister, Antti Hakkanen, warning that Finland takes “the suspected territorial violation seriously”.

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The previous confirmed territorial violation by Russian aircraft occurred in August 2022, when two fighter jets entered into Finnish airspace in the Gulf of Finland, the ministry said.

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Finland – which has a 1,340km (832 mile) land border with Russia – joined Nato in April 2023. Members agree that if one of them is attacked, the other countries should help it defend itself.

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In other developments:

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    \n

  • A Russian SU-34 bomber crashed in the Caucasus mountains during a routine training flight likely due to a technical malfunction, killing the crew aboard, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday, citing the defence ministry. “The plane crashed in a deserted area. There is no destruction on the ground. The crew was killed,” the defence ministry was quoted as saying. It was not immediately known how many people were on board.

  • \n

  • The Biden administration will lift its ban on allowing a controversial Ukrainian military unit to use US weapons, the Washington Post reported. The state department reversed a decade-old prohibition on the Azov Brigade – which has far-right and ultra-nationalist roots – from using American training and weapons after a new analysis found no evidence of human rights violations by the unit, the outlet reported. “After thorough review, Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Azov Brigade passed Leahy vetting as carried out by the US department of state,” the state department said in a statement obtained by the newspaper. The Leahy Law bars US military assistance to foreign units found to have committed such violations.

  • \n

  • Ukraine announced the appointment of Vadym Sukharevskyi as commander of drone forces, a newly created post. Sukharevskyi was already a deputy commander of the armed forces with responsibility for drones. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, decreed in February the creation of a separate branch of the armed forces devoted to drones and the order was endorsed last week by the government.

  • \n

  • Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday that its forces “continued to advance into the depths of the enemy’s defence and liberated the settlement of Staromaiorske”, located southwest of the Russian-held city of Donetsk. The loss of the village is a symbolic blow to Kyiv, as it is one of the few Ukraine managed to recapture last year in a largely lacklustre counter-offensive.

  • \n

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Volodymyr Zelenskiy has arrived in Germany to take part in the Ukraine Recovery Conference and meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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Zelenskiy said measures concerning Ukraine’s energy sector, damaged by Russian air attacks, would be the priority, as well as continued military support, including air defences and joint manufacture of munitions, and the coordination of positions ahead of the “peace summit” to be hosted by Switzerland later in the week.

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“In the face of Russia’s air terror, urgent solutions for Ukraine’s energy sector will be our top priority,” the Ukrainian president was quoted as saying.

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President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, poses for a photo with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, ahead of their talks at Bellevue Palace in Berlin.","caption":"German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, poses for a photo with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, ahead of their talks at Bellevue Palace in Berlin.","credit":"Photograph: Bernd von Jutrczenka/AP"}},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

The conference will include the launch of 95 investment projects for which it is hoped western funding will be secured, as well as a range of reform targets. The country’s future accession to the EU will also be discussed, in what organisers have referred to as a “fourth dimension” of the conference agenda.

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Hosted by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, attendees are to include a range of senior international diplomats and foreign ministers, from Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine to the UK’s David Cameron. Several Ukrainian mayors from big cities including Kyiv and Lviv are expected to attend.

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The head of Ukraine’s reconstruction agency, Mustafa Nayyem, resigned on Monday, saying he had been prevented from attending after being systematically undermined by the Ukrainian government from doing his job. You can read more about his decision here:

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Key events

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, has been speaking about the two-day Ukraine recovery conference, which starts in Berlin on Tuesday.

She said it will pave the way for Ukraine to join the EU (the European Commission recommended last year that formal accession talks begin with Ukraine and Moldova).

“We stand together and united,” Baerbock said in light of ongoing Russian attacks. This applies to the recovery of Ukraine as well as its way into the European Union, she said.

Russia and Belarus start second stage of tactical nuclear drills – ministry

Russian and Belarusian troops have started the second stage of tactical nuclear drills in Russia, Russia’s defence ministry has said.

The ministry said the drills were aimed at ensuring that the two countries’ military personnel and equipment were ready to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“During the exercise, issues of joint training of units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons will be worked out,” the defence ministry said.

In the first stage of the drills, Russian troops trained how to arm and deploy Iskander missiles, while the air force trained how to arm Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.

The second stage, announced on Tuesday, involved working out joint training of Russian and Belarusian units “for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” the defence ministry said.

Last month, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, ordered his military to practise the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons after what Moscow said were threats from France, Britain and the US.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said in April that “several dozen” Russian tactical nuclear weapons had been deployed in Belarus under an agreement announced last year by himself and Putin.

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Updated at 09.21 BST

Zelenskiy arrives in Germany to take part in Ukraine Recovery Conference

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has arrived in Germany to take part in the Ukraine Recovery Conference and meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Zelenskiy said measures concerning Ukraine’s energy sector, damaged by Russian air attacks, would be the priority, as well as continued military support, including air defences and joint manufacture of munitions, and the coordination of positions ahead of the “peace summit” to be hosted by Switzerland later in the week.

“In the face of Russia’s air terror, urgent solutions for Ukraine’s energy sector will be our top priority,” the Ukrainian president was quoted as saying.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, poses for a photo with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, ahead of their talks at Bellevue Palace in Berlin. Photograph: Bernd von Jutrczenka/AP

The conference will include the launch of 95 investment projects for which it is hoped western funding will be secured, as well as a range of reform targets. The country’s future accession to the EU will also be discussed, in what organisers have referred to as a “fourth dimension” of the conference agenda.

Hosted by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, attendees are to include a range of senior international diplomats and foreign ministers, from Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine to the UK’s David Cameron. Several Ukrainian mayors from big cities including Kyiv and Lviv are expected to attend.

The head of Ukraine’s reconstruction agency, Mustafa Nayyem, resigned on Monday, saying he had been prevented from attending after being systematically undermined by the Ukrainian government from doing his job. You can read more about his decision here:

Opening summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. The time has just gone past 10:40am in Kyiv.

An investigation has been launched after a Russian military plane was suspected of violating Finnish airspace on Monday morning, flying about 2.5 km (1.6 miles) inside the Nordic country’s border, Finland’s defence ministry said.

The violation in the eastern Gulf of Finland lasted for about two minutes, the ministry said, with the country’s defence minister, Antti Hakkanen, warning that Finland takes “the suspected territorial violation seriously”.

The previous confirmed territorial violation by Russian aircraft occurred in August 2022, when two fighter jets entered into Finnish airspace in the Gulf of Finland, the ministry said.

Finland – which has a 1,340km (832 mile) land border with Russia – joined Nato in April 2023. Members agree that if one of them is attacked, the other countries should help it defend itself.

In other developments:

  • A Russian SU-34 bomber crashed in the Caucasus mountains during a routine training flight likely due to a technical malfunction, killing the crew aboard, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday, citing the defence ministry. “The plane crashed in a deserted area. There is no destruction on the ground. The crew was killed,” the defence ministry was quoted as saying. It was not immediately known how many people were on board.

  • The Biden administration will lift its ban on allowing a controversial Ukrainian military unit to use US weapons, the Washington Post reported. The state department reversed a decade-old prohibition on the Azov Brigade – which has far-right and ultra-nationalist roots – from using American training and weapons after a new analysis found no evidence of human rights violations by the unit, the outlet reported. “After thorough review, Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Azov Brigade passed Leahy vetting as carried out by the US department of state,” the state department said in a statement obtained by the newspaper. The Leahy Law bars US military assistance to foreign units found to have committed such violations.

  • Ukraine announced the appointment of Vadym Sukharevskyi as commander of drone forces, a newly created post. Sukharevskyi was already a deputy commander of the armed forces with responsibility for drones. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, decreed in February the creation of a separate branch of the armed forces devoted to drones and the order was endorsed last week by the government.

  • Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday that its forces “continued to advance into the depths of the enemy’s defence and liberated the settlement of Staromaiorske”, located southwest of the Russian-held city of Donetsk. The loss of the village is a symbolic blow to Kyiv, as it is one of the few Ukraine managed to recapture last year in a largely lacklustre counter-offensive.

The Guardian

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