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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Warren Murray and agencies

Ukraine war briefing: Macron, Scholz agree Kyiv should use allies’ weapons against launchers in Russia

Demonstration of a remote-controlled evacuation stretcher vehicle during a presentation by Ukrainian defence manufacturers in the Kyiv area on Tuesday
Demonstration of a remote-controlled evacuation stretcher vehicle during a presentation by Ukrainian defence manufacturers in the Kyiv area on Tuesday. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
  • Ukraine should be allowed to use its allies’ weapons to “neutralise” Russian military bases used to fire missiles into Ukraine, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, said on Tuesday. But he added: “We should not allow them to touch other targets in Russia, and obviously civilian capacities.”

  • Macron commented during a state visit to Germany, whose chancellor, Olaf Scholz, appeared to back Ukraine on the matter as well – saying he agreed with the French president as long as the Ukrainians respected the conditions of the weapons’ suppliers. The chancellor has however refused to supply Germany’s Taurus cruise missiles – sought by the Ukrainians and capable of powerful strikes on Russian positions inside Ukraine and deep into Russia.

  • The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, told the Economist that alliance members should let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with western weapons. But the White House on Tuesday ruled out such a possibility for US-supplied weapons. “There’s no change to our policy at this point. We don’t encourage or enable the use of US-supplied weapons to strike inside Russia,” said John Kirby, national security council spokesperson.

  • Vladimir Putin warned of “serious consequences” if Russia is struck with western weapons – repeating a pattern of routine but vague and unfulfilled threats towards Ukraine’s allies. The Kremlin also gloated over persisting differences in the west – “we see that there is no consensus on this issue”, regime spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the Russian daily Izvestia.

  • The first deliveries of 155mm artillery shells under a Czech-led initiative should arrive in Ukraine within days, the Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, said on Tuesday while hosting Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, and leaders of some EU allies in Prague. The initiative had so far raised €1.6bn, Fiala said.

  • EU officials have said an estimated €6.5bn for Ukraine remains stalled by the Hungarian government of Viktor Orbán, considered Russia’s staunchest ally in the union. “That’s the sad thing that we have the cash, we have the capacity, but we are still pending decisions to implement” aid decisions for Ukraine, said the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell. Single member states have wide veto powers – though these powers can be suspended where a member is deemed to be working against the EU’s principles and interests.

  • Belgium on Tuesday made a €1bn aid pledge to Ukraine and a commitment to give Ukraine 30 F-16 fighter jets in the next four years.

  • Russian guided bombs killed two civilians in the eastern Ukrainian city of Toretsk on Tuesday and heavily damaged two multi-storey apartment buildings, said the Donetsk regional governor, Vadym Filashkin.

  • The White House has said the US and its partners are prepared to use more sanctions and export controls to prevent China-Russia trade that threatens their security, Patrick Wintour writes. Daleep Singh, a national security advisers, said they could also act further to increase Russia’s cost of using a shadow fleet to evade a G7 oil price cap.

  • Singh said Russia was utterly dependent on China, giving Beijing “enormous leverage” over Moscow, and China faced risks and costs as well, given its combined goods trade with the EU and US was seven times that of its trade with Russia. Singh said Russia-China trade had dropped since Joe Biden expanded the targeting of financial institutions, and authorities may go further.

  • Singh said the G7 leaders’ summit next month was the best chance to shore up Ukraine by planning to monetise around $300bn in frozen Russian assets, a move he said was risky but necessary. G7 leaders are scheduled to gather in Italy on 13-15 June.

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