Joe Biden urges Congress to swiftly approve Ukraine aid left out of US government funding bill; Rishi Sunak rows back on defence minister’s suggestion that British troops could carry out training in Ukraine
The US president, Joe Biden, has called on Congress to swiftly approve aid to Ukraine
after it was left out of
. “We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” Biden said.
US senators from both major parties have issued a statement in support of Kyiv, saying Washington will continue to provide critical support to Ukraine
after aid to the country was left out of the Congress deal averting a US government shutdown. The joint statement from six senators including Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell, and Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, said they welcomed the agreement but it left a “number of urgent priorities outstanding”.
Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, said there are no immediate plans to deploy military instructors to Ukraine
, rowing back from comments made by his defence minister, Grant Shapps,
who had suggested troops could carry out training in the country
. “It might well be possible one day in the future for us to do some of that training in Ukraine,”
Sunak said on Sunday
. “But that’s something for the long term, not the here and now. There are no British soldiers that will be sent to fight in the current conflict.”
Shapps told the Sunday Telegraph that, particularly in the west of Ukraine
“the opportunity now is to bring more things ‘in country’
, and not just training, but also we’re seeing [UK defence firm] BAE, for example, move into manufacturing in country. I’m keen to see other British companies do their bit as well by doing the same thing. So I think there will be a move to get more training and production in the country.”
Russia’s former president and deputy head of the security council, Dmitry Medvedev, said that moving training and production into Ukrainian territory
would “turn your instructors into legal targets for our armed forces. Knowing full well that they will be mercilessly destroyed. And no longer as mercenaries, but precisely as British Nato specialists. These idiots are actively pushing us towards a third world war.”
Slovakia’s populist likely new prime minister, Robert Fico, who campaigned on a pledge to end military aid to Ukraine,
has said his position “has not changed”
after his party’s clear election win made him favourite to lead the country again. “People in Slovakia have bigger problems than Ukraine,” the Smer leader said.
Ukraine marked Defenders Day,
honouring veterans and remembering soldiers killed in Russia’s invasion
. “Tough times have made us strong. And the strong bring the times of victory closer. Step by step. Today, tomorrow, every day, every minute,” the president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said in a brief address on Telegram.
Two purported Ukrainian drones struck Russian territory on Sunday
, with social media footage showing one hitting a helicopter base in Sochi and another an aircraft factory in Smolensk. Possibly related to these attacks, Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan called today for “a nuclear ultimatum” after a drone fell right in front of her family home in Adler, about 38km from Sochi.
Russian documents indicating a surge in military spending in 2024 suggest Moscow is preparing for “multiple further years of fighting in Ukraine”
, the UK Ministry of Defence has said. In its latest intelligence update, the ministry said papers apparently leaked from Russia’s finance ministry suggested the country’s defence spending was likely to rise to about 30% of total public expenditure in 2024.
An International Monetary Fund team is to kick off meetings in Ukraine to discuss policy goals and challenges with government officials.
Ukraine’s economy has suffered since Russia invaded in February 2022, with Kyiv relying heavily on western aid to finance social and humanitarian payments. Last week, the IMF said it had begun its second review of a $15.6bn multi-year loan program for the country. The four-year program for Kyiv is part of a $115bn global package to support the country’s economy during the war.