US President Joe Biden has apologised to his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for delays in military aid to Ukraine and has pledged $225m (£191m) in support. The pair met for talks in Paris, a day after they both attended the 80th anniversary commemorations of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. The US Department of Defense said the new aid package would include ammunition and anti-aircraft missiles. Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Mr Biden said previous delays in aid had been caused by some Republicans in Congress, but reiterated US support for Ukraine. “The United States will stand with you," Mr Biden told Mr Zelensky. "You haven't bowed down. You haven't yielded at all. You continue to fight in a way that is just remarkable, just remarkable." In response, Mr Zelensky stressed the importance of his country's relationship with the US, saying it was crucial in the fight against Russia: "We count on your continuing support in staying with us shoulder to shoulder." - BBC

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Due to several Russian strikes on the Ukrainian power infrastructure and grid, some districts of Kyiv do not have electricity for 20 hours, media and other sources reported. In the southern port city of Odesa outages daily outages are hitting at least seven hours a day. Concerns are mounting that come fall and winter, the worst impact on citizens of impacted cities will occur. We are catastrophically short of electricity for our needs,” Serhii Kovalenko, chief executive of the Ukrainian private electricity distributor YASNO, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. Recently, the Kremlin has shifted its tactics, the Washington Post reported. Russian forces are now concentrating their missiles on Ukraine’s thermal and hydroelectric power plants, while slamming the transmission system with self-destructing drones.

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US Election: Should Biden Bow Out?

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In my opinion, with the many Russian strikes on critical infrastructure in recent weeks, it’s got to a point where productivity and the psychological state of people are really being impacted. It’s a catastrophic blow to the Ukrainian economy. And one that I don’t think western leaders fully appreciate or are prepared for. Some experts are suggesting a humanitarian crisis come winter as those power installations cannot be easily repaired and major parts such as transformers are in short supply.

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The Israeli military pushed ahead with its offensive in central Gaza on Friday, saying it had killed dozens of militants, including some who had holed up in the premises of a former United Nations school that had been converted into a shelter in the area. The military said it targeted Hamas fighters at a school compound in Shati, a coastal neighborhood northwest of Gaza City’s downtown. The number of casualties was unclear. “Hamas systematically, intentionally and strategically places its infrastructure and operates from within civilian areas in full violation of international law and while putting the lives of Gazan civilians at risk,” the Israeli military said in a statement after the strike. Friday’s attack occurred a day after a strike on a similar school complex nearby in Nuseirat where displaced civilians had taken shelter. The Gazan health authorities said women and children were among those killed in that strike. - NYT

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French President Emmanuel Macron says he wants to finalize the creation of a coalition of military instructors for Ukraine and begin Kyiv's EU accession talks by the end of the month. Speaking on June 7 at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Macron said several of France’s partners had already agreed to take part in the coalition of instructors. “We will use the days to come to finalize the largest possible coalition to implement Ukraine's demand," Macron said. Ukraine’s top commander said last week he had signed paperwork allowing French military instructors to soon access Ukrainian training centers. Russia responded by saying they would be a “legitimate target” for Russian armed forces. - RFE/RL

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress on July 24 as his country continues to wage war against Hamas in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks. All four top Congressional leaders extended the formal invitation to Netanyahu at the end of May, noting that Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed Congress last year. “Less than three months later, the horrific attacks of October 7th shocked the world and forced your nation into a fight for its very existence,” read the letter from House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. “We join the State of Israel in your struggle against terror, especially as Hamas continues to hold American and Israeli citizens captive and its leaders jeopardize regional stability.” - NPR

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Eleven Yemeni employees of United Nations agencies have been detained by Yemen’s Houthi rebels under unclear circumstances, authorities said Friday, as the rebels face increasing financial pressure and airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition. Others working for aid groups also have been taken. The detentions come as the Houthis, who seized Yemen’s capital nearly a decade ago and have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition since shortly after, have been targeting shipping throughout the Red Sea corridor over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. But while gaining more attention internationally, the secretive group has cracked down at dissent at home, including recently sentencing 44 people to death. U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric in New York acknowledged 11 U.N. staffers had been taken. - AP

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