President Volodymyr Zelensky will visit Madrid on Monday, his first state visit to Spain since he first took office in 2019.

Zelensky will first sit down with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at noon, followed by a press conference. The two countries are preparing to sign a bilateral cooperation agreement, much as Ukraine has done with Britain and others. Zelensky will then go to the royal palace to meet with King Felipe VI, Spain’s head of state and commander-in-chief of its armed forces.

“Afterwards, King Felipe and Queen Letizia will host a lunch in his honor,” the royal family said.

Zelensky was supposed to visit Spain earlier this month but had to postpone due to the Russian aggression in Ukraine’s northeast.

“We have made decisive progress in our bilateral relations with the Ukrainian government,” Sanchez said on Sunday. “So much so that I can announce today that, as soon as the situation on the front allows, we will sign an agreement with Ukraine that will increase economic, social, and institutional cooperation between our countries.”

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Pentagon unveils latest military package: HIMARS missiles, mortars, and artillery rounds

Almost a month after the United States legislature approved $61 billion in new aid for Ukraine, the Pentagon announced its latest military package for Kyiv, worth approximately $275 million.

“This announcement is the Biden Administration’s fifty-eighth tranche of equipment to be provided from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021,” a statement from the Pentagon reads.

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Two American and one European volunteer from a mortar team in the International Legion talk about their motivation and experience serving in a mortar team near Chasiv Yar.

“It is the fifth security assistance package the President has authorized since signing the national security supplemental last month.” 

  • Ammunition for HIMARS
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds
  • 60mm mortar rounds
  • Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) missiles
  • Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems
  • Precision aerial munitions
  • Small arms and additional rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades
  • Demolitions munitions
  • Anti-armor mines
  • Tactical vehicles to recover equipment
  • Helmets, body armor, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear protective equipment
  • Spare parts, maintenance, and other ancillary equipment.

American lawmakers from both parties have recently pressed the Biden administration to change its policy of restricting Ukraine from using US-made weapons such as HIMARS to target locations inside Russian territory.

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Separately, Washington also officially announced on Sunday the US will attend the Peace Summit in Switzerland in mid-June, but the administration has not named its delegates. Some 80 countries have confirmed attendance at the June 14-15 summit outside Lucerne.

When Zelensky met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this month, the Ukrainian President said that it is important that Biden himself attend. The State Department noted that the President was slated for a campaign event in California on those dates.

Climbing death toll in Kharkiv includes a 12-year-old

After a Russian airstrike over the weekend slammed into a busy hypermarket and engulfed it in flames, the death toll from the attack climbed to 16 on Sunday, as rescuers extinguished the blaze and identified bodies.

Kharkiv’s regional governor, Oleg Synegubov, posted online that another 43 civilians were wounded in the attack on the Epitsentr superstore.

Among the dead was a 12-year-old girl who was visiting the city, local police said. Two others were employees of the store. Many are still listed as missing, and police have asked relatives of the missing for DNA samples to help identify the bodies.

Zelensky on Sunday posted a video of the hypermarket explosion and its aftermath, commenting, “Aggressive regimes like Russia’s are rapidly increasing their appetite for aggression. When they succeed in one part of the world, it creates problems in many other places; aggression spreads unless it is stopped.”

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NYT: US intel says Russians behind sabotage plots throughout Europe

The New York Times on Sunday reported that US intelligence officials say they have uncovered evidence that the Kremlin is behind a series of recent sabotage attempts on European targets, confirming the voiced suspicions of the leaders of Estonia, Poland, and others.

According to the NYT, the “covert operations have mostly been arsons or attempted arsons targeting a wide range of sites, including a warehouse in England, a paint factory in Poland, homes in Latvia and, most oddly, an Ikea store in Lithuania. But people accused of being Russian operatives have also been arrested on charges of plotting attacks on U.S. military bases.”

The Prime Minister of Estonia said last week that Russia was conducting a “shadow war” against Europe, while her counterpart in Poland announced the arrest of 12 people on charges of orchestrating “beatings, arson and attempted arson” working on behalf of Russian intelligence services.

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The NYT referenced Western security officials as saying that the intent of the attacks, carried out by citizens of those countries working as agents of the Kremlin, was to disrupt weapons supplies to Kyiv by attempting to stage supposed European opposition to the funding of Ukraine and to sow discord in the targeted countries. They also said that while Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, wanted attention attracted to these arsons, it wasn't looking for so much attention that Moscow would be suspected.

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