- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.
President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks Friday, April 22, 2022, at Green River College in Auburn, Wash., south of Seattle.  - Sputnik International

LIVE UPDATES: Biden Announces New Package of Military Aid to Ukraine Including Artillery, Radars

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Ukrainian officials are frustrated that their calls for the United States to arm them with long-range MLRS are being resisted by the White House, Politico said in a report on Wednesday, citing a congressional staffer with knowledge of recent talks on arming Ukraine.
The Biden administration remains in active discussions about whether to deliver MLRS to Ukraine, with worries persisting at the White House that the Kremlin could view the shipment of such systems as escalatory, the report said.
Analysts recently told Sputnik that US weapons flowing into Ukraine will still fall into the hands of terrorists and end up threatening the United States and its allies even if proposals to boost oversight are implemented.
In February, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine to help the Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics (DPR and LPR) fend off intensifying attacks by Ukrainian forces. Russia's Defence Ministry said the operation, which targets Ukraine's military infrastructure, aims to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" Ukraine.
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20:06 GMT 19.05.2022
Two Russian Villages Come Under Mortar Shelling From Ukraine - Governor
20:06 GMT 19.05.2022
No Plans for Biden, Erdogan to Talk Over Issues About Sweden, Finland NATO Bid - Sullivan
19:53 GMT 19.05.2022
US Seeks to Provide Missiles to Ukraine for Use Against Russian Ships - Reports
The White House is considering sending two types of anti-ship missile - Boeing Harpoons and Raytheon-Kongsberg Naval Strike Missiles (NSM), Reuters reported citing three US officials and two congressional sources as saying.

However, the weapons' delivery is being complicated by the fact that there is limited availability of platforms to launch the Harpoons from shore, given that the missile is largely sea-based, the report said.

The Biden administration is considering taking a launcher off of a US ship, according to the officials cited in the report.

There is also reluctance among countries possessing Harpoon missiles to be the first to send them to Ukraine because of concerns about Russian reprisals should a ship be sunk, the officials said.

The United States considers delivery of NSMs to be less logistically challenging, due to the fact that NATO allies could loan available ground-based launchers, the report said.

Weapons requests, including the US systems, would need approval by the State Department, the report added.
19:21 GMT 19.05.2022
US in Conversations With Finland, Sweden About Potential Security Assurances - Pentagon
"We're having staff level conversations with both militaries [Finland and Sweden] about any potential security assurances and/or capabilities that they might appreciate having availability to in this time between application and accession," US Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said on Thursday.
19:19 GMT 19.05.2022
New $100Mln US Aid Package for Kiev Includes 18 Howitzers, 3 AN/TPQ-36 Radars - Pentagon
18:28 GMT 19.05.2022
Nebenzia: Russia Has Reason to Believe Ukraine Grain Going to Europe in Exchange for Arms
Russia suspects Ukraine is sending grain to Europe in exchange for military assistance amid Russia's special military operation, Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzia said on Thursday.
"Grain ... are being carried out of Ukraine actively using railways and using barges on the Danube but where is this screen going? We have reason to suspect that this grain is not being used to feed the hungry in the Global South, but it's being stored in grain storage of a number of different European countries," Nebenzia said during a UN Security Council meeting. "As we understand it, Ukraine is paying for deliveries of Western weapons in this way."
18:07 GMT 19.05.2022
Russian Envoy to UN: Sanctions on Russia, Belarus Damaged Agricultural Sector Before Ukraine Crisis
Western nations' sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus damaged the agricultural sector even prior to the start of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzia said on Thursday.
"Illegal unilateral sanctions on Russia and Belarus have damaged the agricultural sector, and they had done that even before the events in Ukraine," Nebenzia told a UN Security Council meeting.
18:03 GMT 19.05.2022
Russian Foreign Ministry: Russia Not Blocking Exports of Ukrainian Grain
Statements alleging that Russia is blocking exports of Ukrainian grain in the Black Sea ports are “speculations,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik on Thursday.
“Talking about Russia allegedly blocking the export of Ukrainian grain in the Black Sea ports and the deficit in the grain market in the result is nothing but speculation,” Zakharova said, adding that issues in logistics arose due to mining of seaports by Ukraine.
The spokeswoman also said that Russia continues to export food and fulfill its obligations.
"Our country is interested in the stable functioning of the world food market," Zakharova said.
18:02 GMT 19.05.2022
Biden Announces Another $100Mln Ukraine Aid Package to Includes More Artillery, Radar
US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that he is authorizing another $100 million in security assistance to Ukraine, following the passage of the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill by Congress.
“And today, I am announcing another package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery, radars and other equipment to Ukraine, which they are already using so effectively on the battlefield,” Biden said in a statement.
The funding is expected to come from what remains of the drawdown authorities available for use by the Biden administration for Ukraine.
17:57 GMT 19.05.2022
Iran Offers to Mediate Between Russia, Ukraine
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Thursday that the Islamic republic was ready to act as a mediator in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
"Iran supports any diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict given its excellent ties with Russia and is ready to mediate and help with the settlement of the crisis," the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement citing the top diplomat.
Amir Abdollahian spoke over the phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He criticized the use of sanctions as a tool for pressuring Russia and spoke in favor of a negotiated ceasefire in Ukraine.
The ministers discussed the talks in Vienna that aim to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Amir Abdollahian said that a breakthrough was possible if the United States "acts rationally."
17:47 GMT 19.05.2022
NATO Will Support Ukraine 'For as Long as Necessary'
NATO provide continue to support Ukraine as long as it is necessary, Supreme Allied Commander for Europe (SACEUR) Gen. Tod Wolters told a press conference at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.
"NATO will support Ukraine for as long as necessary," Wolters told reporters. "We support them. [The] allies are providing light and heavy equipment.
Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine's top military commander Gen. Valery Zaluzhny briefed the most senior NATO chiefs and assured them his country would never accept occupation and conquest by Russia.
"General Zaluzhny provided an update. Ukraine will never accept Russian occupation," Wolters said.
NATO has provided nearly $4 billion in aid to Ukraine since the start of Russia's special military operation and has increased Ukraine's air capabilities by 50% and its land forces by 40%, Wolters said.
17:11 GMT 19.05.2022
Johnson, Zelensky Discuss Resumption of Ukraine's Grain Exports
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed options for opening sea and land routes for exports of Ukrainian grain, the Downing Street said on Thursday.
"They [Johnson and Zelensky] looked at options to open up critical sea and land supply routes for Ukrainian grain stocks, and committed to direct their teams to work urgently on the next steps," the prime minister's office said in a statement.
According to the statement, Johnson expressed concern about the consequences of Russia's military operation in Ukraine and the blockade of its Black Sea ports, as well as rising food prices in developed countries.
The Downing Street added that Johnson and Zelensky also agreed to step up work with allies, including the United States, France and Germany, to form a long-term security architecture for Ukraine.
Shortly after the meeting, Johnson said that the UK military aid to Ukraine was also high on the agenda.
“I updated the President on support flowing to Ukraine’s defence, including long-range artillery, shore-to-ship missiles and unmanned drones. This is part of our additional £1.3 billion [$1.6 million] military aid package for Ukraine,” Johnson tweeted.
17:10 GMT 19.05.2022
EUCOM Commander Says Hopes Call Between Milley, Gerasimov Brings Sides 'One Step Closer to Diplomatic Solution'
17:00 GMT 19.05.2022
Blinken Says Western Sanctions on Russia Not Causing Global Food Insecurity
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the Western nations are not causing food insecurity around the world, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in remarks to the UN Security Council on Thursday.
"Sanctions aren't preventing Russia from exporting food and fertilizer, sanctions imposed by the United States and many other countries deliberately include carve outs for food for fertilizer and seeds from Russia," Blinken said.
The United States is working with countries to inform them about exemptions from the US sanctions against Russia to allow the flow of food products, Blinken added.
Ukraine is a key global grain producer, accounting for 9% of the world's wheat exports, 13.5% of corn and 70% of sunflower products. The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) has said the Ukrainian crisis has triggered a price spike on key staples in the diet of most families in the heavily import-depended Middle East, "putting basic food items beyond the reach of the most vulnerable."
On February 24, Russia launched a special military
16:52 GMT 19.05.2022
US Senate Passes $40Bln Ukraine Aid Bill, Sending Legislation to Biden for Finalization
A storm cloud hangs over the U.S. Capitol Building on May 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.05.2022
US Senate Passes $40Bln Ukraine Aid Bill, Sending Legislation to Biden for Finalization
16:50 GMT 19.05.2022
Top US, Russian Brass Discuss Security Issues, Agree to Keep Open Lines of Communication
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Chief of Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov spoke on Thursday to address security-related matters and both agreed to keep open lines of communication, Joint Staff spokesman Col. Dave Butler said.
"The military leaders discussed several security-related issues of concern and agreed to keep the lines of communication open," Butler said in a statement.
Specific details of their conversation will be kept private, Butler added.
16:37 GMT 19.05.2022
Blinken Says Ukraine Will Cease to Exist Should it Stop Fighting Against Russia
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday there would be "no more Ukraine" if Kiev stops fighting against Russian forces.
"If Russia stopped fighting tomorrow, the war would end. If Ukraine stopped fighting, there would be no more Ukraine," Blinken said during remarks at the UN Security Council.
Blinken is in New York City this week to discuss with the United States' international partners the global food shortage and the conflict in Ukraine.
16:36 GMT 19.05.2022
Defense Official: US Military Aid to Ukraine No Danger to Supplies for Indo-Pacific
Military aid that the United States is providing to Ukraine within the presidential drawdown authority (PDA) does not endanger materiel being sent to allies in the Indo-Pacific region, a senior US defense official said on Thursday.
"We're not using PDA to provide equipment to Indo-Pacific allies and partners. It's just a completely different, it's a completely different set of priorities, a completely different set of sources. So if you're asking me [whether] because of all the materiel we're providing to Ukraine, we are putting at risk materiel that's going to Indo-Pacific allies. The answer is no," the official told journalists.
On Thursday, the US Senate will vote on a bill to deliver over $40 billion in new military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. The bill will increase presidential drawdown authority funding from the $5 billion the Biden administration initially requested to $11 billion.
15:57 GMT 19.05.2022
IMF Engages With Ukraine on 'Daily Basis' Over Kiev’s Financial Needs
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) maintains almost daily contacts with Ukrainian authorities to discuss Kiev’s financial needs, IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said on Thursday.
“Since the beginning of the war, we have been very closely engaged with the authorities [of Ukraine], and by that I mean almost on a daily basis,” Rice said. “The response by the Ukrainian authorities has been remarkable.”
Rice noted the IMF disbursed $1.4 billion in emergency financing for Ukraine in March and set up a so-called administered account. Such an account allows donors to make contributions in a secure way, he said.
“Canada has pledged $1 billion [US$780 million]. I am not aware of other pledges or commitments at this point,” Rice added.
In April, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that the IMF and Ukraine discussed a follow-up aid package to support the nation's economy after the current crisis ends.
15:22 GMT 19.05.2022
Russian MoD: Russian Chief of General Staff Gerasimov Spoke With US Counterpart Milley by Phone
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