Friday, 14 June 2024 04:43

What to know after Day 841 of Russia-Ukraine war

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WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Biden, Zelenskiy inch toward NATO with 10-year defense agreement

U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement on Thursday aimed at bolstering Ukraine's defense against Russian invaders and getting Ukraine closer to NATO membership.

The deal, signed on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy, aims to commit future U.S. administrations to support Ukraine, even if former President Donald Trump wins November’s election, officials said.

"Our goal is to strengthen Ukraine's credible defense and deterrence capabilities for the long term," Biden said at a joint news conference with Zelenskiy.

He said the G7's message to Russian President Vladimir Putin is "You cannot wait us out. You cannot divide us." The group of rich nations also agreed to a $50 billion loan for Ukraine backed by profits from frozen Russian assets.

The U.S.-Ukraine security deal is a framework for a long-term effort to help develop Ukraine’s outdated armed forces and serve as a step towards Ukraine's eventual NATO membership, according to the text.

The Ukraine president called the agreement historic, saying it is a bridge toward his country's eventual NATO membership. "This is an agreement on security and thus on the protection of human life," he said.

Zelenskiy has long sought NATO membership but the allies have stopped short of taking that step. The Western alliance regards any attack launched on one of its 32 members as an attack on all under its Article Five clause.

In the event of an armed attack or threat of such against Ukraine, top U.S. and Ukrainian officials will meet within 24 hours to consult on a response and determine what additional defense needs are required for Ukraine, the agreement says.

Under the agreement, the United States restates its support for Ukraine's defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, amid a renewed push by Russia on Ukraine's eastern front.

It also outlines plans to develop Ukraine's own defense industry and expand its military.

Ukraine needs a "significant" military force and sustained investments in its defense industrial base consistent with NATO standards, the text says.

It will allow the two countries to share intelligence, hold training and military education programs and combined military and exercises.

With Trump leading Biden in many election polls, the future of the agreement remains unclear.

Trump has expressed skepticism of Ukraine’s continued fight, saying at one point that he would end the conflict in his first day in office. Trump has also pushed for Europe to take on more of the burden of supporting Kyiv.

Zelenskiy, asked about what could happen for his country if there is a change in leadership in the United States and in other allied nations, said people stood with Ukraine because they have shared values and empathize with the Ukrainian people.

He said he does not think that popular support will change.

“If the people are with us, any leader will be with us in this struggle for freedom,” he said.

Biden recently shifted his policy against allowing Ukraine to use American weapons for attacks inside Russia, permitting Kyiv to fire long-range U.S. missiles against Russian targets near the embattled Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

At the news conference, Biden made clear he would not permit Ukraine to expand its use of U.S. missiles inside Russia.

"It makes a lot of sense for Ukraine to be able to take out or combat what is going across that border. In terms of long range weapons ... we have not changed our position on that," Biden said.

 

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

China rejects US allegations on assisting Russia in special military op in Ukraine

Trade between Russia and China is conducted openly and in accordance with the WTO (the World Trade Organization) norms as Beijing exerts strict control over exports of dual-purpose goods, Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the United States told TASS on Friday.

"China is not a creator of a party to the Ukraine crisis. We are committed to promoting talks for peace. China does not provide weapons to the parties to the conflict and strictly controls the export of dual-use articles, which is widely applauded by the international community," the diplomat said commenting on US President Joe Biden's recent statement that China was allegedly assisting Russia in the special military operation in Ukraine.

"Our normal trade with Russia is done aboveboard. It’s consistent with WTO rules and market principles, and does not target any third party," the diplomat added.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Italy this week, US President Biden said: "China is not supplying weapons but the ability to produce those weapons [in Russia], the technology available to do it, so it is, in fact, helping Russia."

US President Biden did not provide any details to back his statement about China’s alleged assistance to Russia during the special military operation in Ukraine.

 

Reuters/Tass

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