Ukraine says it has repelled a Russian armoured attack in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, after Moscow's forces launched an incursion across the border and sought to break through defensive lines. Kharkiv regional head Oleh Syniehubov said Russian reconnaissance groups had tried to penetrate the border, adding that "not a single metre has been lost". The local head in Vovchansk said the town had come under heavy attack from the early hours of Friday and civilians were being evacuated. Russian forces are said to be preparing a summer offensive in Ukraine in the coming weeks, possibly even seeking to capture the regional capital Kharkiv. But Ukrainian military figures are adamant that Russia does not have the resources to do so. - BBC

At the Bucha Journalism Conference today in the Kyiv Oblast town known for brutality of Russian forces, speakers identified a number of urgent needs for the Ukrainian media sector - including support for local and regional media. In an opening address, Ukrainska Pravda editor Sevgil Musaieva reminder journalists the need to focus on verifying the facts as well as protecting one’s own safety

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China and Hungary will expand cooperation in several areas, including in the nuclear power industry, Hungarian Prime Minister Vitkor Orban announced in Budapest on May 9 after talks with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. “China is one of the pillars of the new world order," Orban told a press conference in the Hungarian capital. Xi arrived in the Hungarian capital late on May 8 after meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade. His European tour started on May 5 in France where President Emmanuel Macron and EU leaders urged him to ease Chinese trade restrictions and to use his influence to press Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine. Orban said bilateral trade had quadrupled in the past 20 years, transforming relations between Beijing and Hungary into "a strategic partnership." - RFE/RL

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China Says Conducting Joint Military Drills with Russia
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China Says Conducting Joint Military Drills with Russia

China's defense ministry said the two militaries had begun the exercises, called Joint Sea-2024, in "early July" and they would last until the middle of this month.

The European Union has agreed in principle to a deal that would use the proceeds from frozen Russian assets to supply weapons for Ukraine. The bloc said the first payments could be made by the summer, despite calls by Washington for its European allies to go much further and fully seize Russia’s billions for the benefit of Kyiv. EU officials welcomed the agreement. Writing on X, formerly Twitter, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday, "there could be no stronger symbol and no greater use for that money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a safer place to live." The EU’s Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, wrote that the first $1 billon should be available by the summer, mainly for military support. "Russia will pay directly for its crimes," Dombrovskis said. - VOA

Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed Israel can "stand alone", after the US warned arms shipments could be stopped if he orders a full-scale invasion of Rafah in Gaza. Thousands of people have already fled the southern city after the Israeli military began what it called a "limited" operation on Monday. US President Joe Biden has repeatedly warned against the operation, saying that it would cross a "red line". But Mr Netanyahu dismissed the US warning, saying Israel would fight on. “If we need to ... we will stand alone. I have said that if necessary we will fight with our fingernails," the prime minister said. - BBC

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On Thursday, Ukraine’s highly-popular former chief of staff of the Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, was formerly designated by President Zelensky as Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Kingdom. The move comes after the president ousted Zaluzhnyi from his post.

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