UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has said it is up to Ukraine to decide how to use British weapons and insisted it has the right to strike targets on Russian territory. During a visit to Kyiv, he said the UK would provide £3bn ($3.75bn) per year for as long as necessary. “Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it's defending itself," Lord Cameron said. Russia condemned what it called "another very dangerous statement…This is a direct escalation of tension around the Ukrainian conflict, which would potentially pose a threat to European security," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The US has reportedly urged Ukraine to halt its strikes on oil refineries in Russia, fearing it could provoke an escalation in the conflict.

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The US has accused Russia of deploying chemical weapons as a "method of warfare" in Ukraine, in violation of international laws banning their use. State department officials said Russia used the choking agent chloropicrin to win "battlefield gains" over Ukraine. The allegations, which US officials said were not an "isolated" incident, would contravene the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which Russia signed. The Kremlin rejected the accusations, calling them "baseless". Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that Russia stood by its obligations under the CWC, which prohibits states from developing or acquiring new weapons. Some 193 states have ratified the convention. - BBC

WORLD BRIEFING: May 25, 2024
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WORLD BRIEFING: May 25, 2024

The world in focus, as seen by a Canadian leading global affairs analyst, writer and speaker, in his review of international media.

The House of Representatives has passed a bill aimed at addressing reports of rising antisemitism on college campuses, where activists angered by Israel's war against Hamas have been protesting for months and more recently set up encampments on campus grounds. The Antisemitism Awareness Act would see the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of antisemitism for the enforcement of federal anti-discrimination laws regarding education programs. The bill passed with a 320-91 vote. Seventy Democrats and 21 Republicans voted against the measure. - NPR

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The US has imposed sanctions on more than 300 Russian and international entities, including some in China and Turkey, for providing support to Moscow’s military as it wages war in Ukraine. The fresh measures reflect Washington’s increasing concern about China and other countries providing critical inputs to sustain Russia’s military industrial base. The targets of the sanctions announced on Wednesday include two Chinese groups that provided Moscow with nitrocellulose, an ingredient for gunpowder and rocket propellant, as well as Russian importers of the chemicals. “Today’s actions will further disrupt and degrade Russia’s war efforts by going after its military industrial base and the evasion networks that help supply it,” Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday. The sanctions follow warnings from Yellen and secretary of state Antony Blinken that Chinese companies providing support for Moscow’s war in Ukraine will face significant consequences. - FT

Tensions remain high in Tbilisi on May 3 as a standoff continues between the government and Georgians opposed to a controversial "foreign agent" law who have been staging large protests that authorities have attempted to disperse using violent means, including rubber bullets, according to eyewitnesses. Traffic was finally restored in the early hours of May 3 at a main intersection of the Georgian capital that had been blocked for about six hours by large numbers of peaceful protesters descending upon Heroes' Square. Police reportedly arrested several participants, although there was no forceful intervention against demonstrators similar to what had happened the previous night. However, eyewitnesses, including two injured men, told RFE/RL that what they called "provocateurs" arrived by car around 1 a.m. in Heroes' Square and physically assaulted some of the protesters. - RFE/RL

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Hamas says it is considering in a "positive spirit" a Gaza truce deal, while the U.N. warned rebuilding the devastated Palestinian territory would require efforts not seen since World War II. After months of stop-start negotiations, Hamas has sounded an optimistic tone about the latest hostages-for-cease-fire proposal, raising hopes an agreement may soon be reached -- even as medics in the besieged strip reported fresh strikes on Gaza's southernmost city of Rafah on Friday. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said the group will "soon" send a delegation to Egypt to complete ongoing cease-fire discussions with a deal that "realizes the demands of our people." Haniyeh, the leader of the militant group's political wing, told Egyptian and Qatari mediators in calls on Thursday that Hamas was studying the latest proposal from Israel with a "positive spirit." - VOA

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