An article published on Thursday in Politico, quoting three unnamed US officials, claimed that President Joe Biden’s administration has clandestinely given the green light to certain Ukrainian strikes within Russia using US weapons.

The secretive policy amendment was formulated shortly after President Volodymyr Zelensky implored the US to remove such restrictions, and is limited to Russian military targets that are launching attacks on Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

“The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine can use U.S. weapons for counter-fire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them,” Politico quoted one of the American officials as saying. The source added that the administration’s policy of not allowing long-range strikes inside Russia “has not changed.”

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On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken may have laid the groundwork for the policy tweak leak by saying that the administration was “adapting” to battlefield developments and hinted that slight changes to the US stance could be forthcoming.

Politico concluded: “In effect, Ukraine can now use American-provided weapons, such as rockets and rocket launchers, to shoot down launched Russian missiles heading toward Kharkiv, at troops massing just over the Russian border near the city, or Russian bombers launching bombs toward Ukrainian territory. But the official said Ukraine cannot use those weapons to hit civilian infrastructure or launch long-range missiles, such as the Army Tactical Missile System, to hit military targets deep inside Russia.”

Unknown Drones Spy on Ukrainian Training Grounds in Germany
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Unknown Drones Spy on Ukrainian Training Grounds in Germany

A German officer said they assumed some flew with “unfriendly intentions” but decided to simply incorporate them into the training to caution Ukrainian troops of the real dangers on the battlefield.

Jury finds Trump guilty on all felony charges

About six weeks after Donald Trump first arrived in a New York City courthouse to face felony charges of falsifying business records to pay “hush money” to conceal his sexual relations with pornographic film star Stormy Daniels, to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections illegally, the disgraced former US president, oft-bankrupt real estate magnate, and former reality TV star was found guilty on all 34 counts.

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Trump's sentencing has been scheduled for July 11.

The US Constitution does not prevent a convicted felon from running for federal office, and Trump remains the presumed Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential elections. But this would be the first time this has happened.

In 2016, Trump attempted to coerce Ukrainian leadership into providing damaging information on his 2020 presidential election rival, Joe Biden. To obtain his goal, Trump blocked payment of a congressionally mandated military aid package to put pressure on Zelensky. Some of Trump’s associates later were convicted on criminal charges for that illegal scheme, but the former president was never charged.

At a fundraiser earlier this month, Trump suggested he would have bombed Moscow and Beijing to advance US policy initiatives, and has recently reversed course in his pledges for financial support for Ukraine although he has insisted that Europe must do more than the US in terms of funding.

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German defense minister announces new €500M weapons package while visiting Odesa

On an unannounced visit to Odesa on Thursday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umierov that Berlin was preparing a €500 million ($540 million) military aid package for Ukraine that includes much-requested air-defense systems.

Pistorius said that the shipment will include a “large number of missiles" for Iris-T SLM medium-range air-defense systems and a smaller allotment of munitions for SLS shorter-range systems. The package also includes drones, armored vehicles and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, and a million rounds of small-arms ammunition.

Ukrainska Pravda reported that Germany has earmarked more than €10.8 billion ($11.7 billion) in military support for Ukraine by 2024. Pistorius has clarified that 18 wheeled howitzers will be supplied beginning in 2025, “as well as training for Ukrainian technicians, satellite communications, and the repair of 19 Spanish Leopard tanks, which will be transferred to Ukraine by Spain,” Ukrainska Pravda said.

 

 

Macron and Biden will discuss Ukraine situation during WWII ceremonies

French President Emmanuel Macron will host US President Joe Biden on June 8 for the first state visit to France of the US leader France after both men attend commemorations for the World War II D-Day landings in Normandy, AFP reported. The US president will be in France from June 5 to June 9 with their talks center around the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East.

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AFP reported that about a million people are expected to attend the D-Day commemorations in France, including Britain’s head of state, King Charles III, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. All in all, about 25 heads of government or state are expected to attend, AFP projected.

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