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Ukraine LIVE: Russia to forge new China alliance

Ukraine LIVE: Russia to forge new China alliance

SERGEI LAVROV has extended the hand of friendship to dictator Xi Jinping, vowing to bring Russia closer to China after being shunned by the West.

Ukraine: Grant Shapps shares ‘concern’ over food shortages

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Russia’s Foreign Minister said China had information and communications technologies “that are in no way inferior to the West” as he stated the Kremlin’s goal to further develop these ties. Mr Lavrov added that Russia could count on “only ourselves and on countries which have proved themselves reliable and do not dance to some other piper’s music”. After describing the West’s stance on Ukraine as a “dictator’s position,” he continued: “If they [the West] want to offer something in terms of resuming relations, then we will seriously consider whether we will need it or not. We must cease being dependent in any way on supplies of absolutely everything from the West for ensuring the development of critically important sectors for security, the economy or our homeland’s social sphere.”

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Lavrov extends hand of friendship to Xi – Russia to forge new China alliance

Lavrov extends hand of friendship to Xi – Russia to forge new China alliance (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

‘Absolutely essential’ to arrange safe passage for grain out of Ukraine, says Shapps

It is “absolutely essential” to arrange a safe passage to get grain and other goods out of the country, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. 

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “There are lots of potential ways to get grain and other goods out of the country and indeed goods into the country as well.

“I think it’s absolutely essential that we do, otherwise there could be a lot of hunger and famine that could dwarf the numbers involved in the war itself.”

Asked about suggestions that the UK could send military ships to the Odesa port to escort ships carrying goods out of the country, Mr Shapps added: “I can’t go into specific details, there are a lot of complexities to this, including mined waters near the Odesa port.

“Clearly the situation with Russia and Putin and their approach to this could make it very difficult.

“The big top line is it’s hard to overestimate the extent to which Ukraine was and is the bread basket of the world.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (Image: SKY NEWS)

Tara Fair

Who is Volodymyr Zelenksy?

Volodymyr Zelensky is the 6th President of Ukraine, a position he has held since 2019.

Prior to his career in politics, Mr Zelensky was a comedy actor and starred in a show called Servant of the People, in which he played the role of the Ukrainian President.

He also recorded the voice of Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dubbing of the British films Paddington and Paddington 2.

For his courageous leadership in the war against Russia, Mr Zelensky appeared on TIME’s list of the world’s most influential people in 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Turkey pulls rug from under Sweden and Finland’s NATO bid with new extradition ultimatum

Turkey is delaying Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO in a bid to obtain the extradition of Kurds from Europe.

Turkish President Erdogan is accusing Sweden and Finland of harbouring individuals linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party militant group (PKK) and followers of a cleric Turkey accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.

Turkey has said it will not look positively on the Nordic states’ NATO membership unless they clearly show cooperation on the fight against terrorism and other issues, and lift the arms embargo.

President Erdogan spoke to both countries’ leaders on Saturday, telling Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson that Ankara expected concrete steps to address its concerns, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto that failing to deal with terrorist organisations posing a threat to a NATO ally would not suit the spirit of alliance.

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Turkish President Erdogan (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Putin ‘gearing up for bloody barrel bomb campaign’

Vladimir Putin has triggered fears he could be planning to unleash a bloody barrel bomb campaign in Ukraine after he brought in troops with close connections to the fearsome Syrian army.

European officials fear technicians connected to the Syrian military’s infamous barrel bombs that have left a path of destruction throughout most of the country have been deployed by Russia to possibly help prepare for a similar campaign in Ukraine.

More than 50 specialists, all of whom possess wide-ranging abilities in making and delivering the devastating explosive, have been in Russia for the past several weeks working alongside officials from Putin’s military, according to intelligence officers.

Barrel bombs, which are explosives packed into a drum and released from a helicopter, had a terrifying impact on the Syrian war.

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Barrel bomb attacks swept through Syria during the war (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Food shortages could kill more than war, warns Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has warned famine caused by grain and food shortages due to the invasion of Ukraine could cause more deaths than the war itself.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Shapps said he had spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksandr Kubrakov about the type of infrastructure that could be put in place to ensure grain could leave the country.

He said: “I’m specifically concerned with the situation in Ukraine, we’ve seen this barbaric invasion by Putin.

“What really worries me is we’ve seen many lives lost in Ukraine and we could see even more lives lost in other places in the world through grain and food shortages which could be even greater than the lives lost in the war directly.”

Ukraine: Grant Shapps shares ‘concern’ over food shortages

Tara Fair

Russia to set up military base in Kherson

The Russian-appointed administration in Kherson, southern Ukraine, will ask Moscow to set up a military base on its territory, Russia’s RIA news agency reports, citing a government official.

Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of what Russia calls the “civil-military regional administration” of Kherson, told RIA: “There should be a Russian military base in the Kherson region.

“We will ask for this and this is what the whole population wants.

“This is essential and will be a guarantor of security for the region and its inhabitants.”

Tara Fair

Zelensky is ‘ready’ for prisoner exchange with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is “ready” for an exchange of prisoners with Russia.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Zelensky said: “The exchange of people – this is a humanitarian matter today and a very political decision that depends on the support of many states.

“We do not need the Russian servicemen, we only need ours.

“We are ready for an exchange even tomorrow.”

He told the conference that several thousand people were now in captivity after Russia’s capture of the southern port city of Mariupol.

Zelensky is ‘ready’ for prisoner exchange with Russia (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

Russian military has 20 times more equipment in Donbas, said Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has praised the resilience of his troops, which are outgunned the Donbas region.

Speaking at a conference in Davos, Mr Zelensky said: “We lack equipment because we are fighting against such a large state and a large army. 

“They have 20 times more equipment now in the Donbas. 

“Imagine how strong our soldiers are, what a people we have!”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends World Economic Forum meeting via video link, Davos (Image: GETTY)

Tara Fair

‘Russia’s capture of Severodonetsk would see Luhansk region under Kremlin occupation,’ warns MoD

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has warned that “Russia’s capture of Severodonetsk would see Luhansk region under Kremlin occupation”. 

The battle for Severodonetsk is becoming a focal point in the war and it is one of the few major cities in the eastern Luhansk region that is still controlled by Ukraine.

But the update warns that if the Donbas front line moves further west, it will extend Russian lines of communication and likely see its forces face further logistic resupply difficulties.

The update also states that Russia has increased the intensity of its operations in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine as it seeks to encircle Severodonetsk, Lyschansk and Rubizhne.

But there has been strong Ukrainian resistance with forces occupying well dug-in defensive positions.

u2014 Ministry of Defence ud83cuddecud83cudde7 (@DefenceHQ) May 24, 2022

Tara Fair

Good morning

Good morning from London. I’m Tara Fair, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: Tara.fair@reachplc.com

Twitter: @TaraFair_

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