World

UKRAINE UPDATE: 10 APRIL 2024

UK’s Cameron lobbies Trump for aid to Kyiv; US slams attacks on Russian oil refineries

UK’s Cameron lobbies Trump for aid to Kyiv; US slams attacks on Russian oil refineries
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron. (Photo: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images) | Former US president Donald Trump. (Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images)

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron held a meeting in Florida with Donald Trump, with whom he has clashed in the past over Brexit and Nato, as the UK tries to persuade the presidential candidate’s Republican allies to stop obstructing a commitment to send more US aid to Ukraine.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Ukraine’s recent attacks on Russian oil refineries risked affecting global energy markets and urged the country to focus on military targets instead.

The US has sent a stash of Iranian munitions it captured from Houthi militants to Ukraine to help in its fight to repel Russia’s invasion, the US Central Command said.

Cameron lobbies old adversary Trump to unlock Ukraine aid

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron held a meeting in Florida with Donald Trump, with whom he has clashed in the past over Brexit and Nato, as the UK tries to persuade the presidential candidate’s Republican allies to stop obstructing a commitment to send more US aid to Ukraine.

Their talks late on Monday came ahead of Cameron’s trip to Washington to meet Republican legislators as well as Biden administration officials. The visit comes at a sensitive time as the UK, France and other nations try to keep the international focus on Ukraine’s battle to repel Russia’s invasion. 

US funding is critical, but a $60-billion aid package has become snarled in politicking ahead of the presidential election in November. House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far declined to call a vote on the funding as he tries to prevent a rebellion from Republican hardliners who could sink the legislation and even try to oust him as speaker. The Senate has already approved the aid.

Ahead of his trip, Cameron said on X that “Speaker Johnson can make it happen in Congress.” But asked by reporters in Washington why he wasn’t meeting the Louisiana Republican, the foreign secretary replied that he was speaking to senators and Congress members on “both sides of the aisle” to make his point that ensuring Ukraine wins is in US interests.

“There will be people in Iran, in Pyongyang, in Beijing looking at how we stand by our allies, how we help them, how we stop this illegal and unprovoked aggression and working out whether we are committed, whether we’re prepared to see it through,” Cameron said at a joint press conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “I’m here to offer my opinion, to meet with anyone who wants to talk to me about it, to make those arguments.”

Trump is seen as the key to unlocking the Republican opposition, providing the context for Cameron’s visit. Facing an electoral rematch against President Joe Biden in November, Trump is sceptical about providing military support to Ukraine and has suggested giving loans instead of direct funding.

Yet Cameron was tight-lipped about his talks with Trump, calling it a private meeting and saying only that they discussed “important geopolitical subjects”.

In a statement, Trump’s campaign said the former president and Cameron discussed issues including the “upcoming US and UK elections, policy matters specific to Brexit, the need for Nato countries to meet their defence spending requirements, and ending the killing in Ukraine”.

The UK argues that US aid is vital to Ukraine’s ability to continue to resist Russian forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pleaded for the swift approval of US aid, as his country’s forces wrestle with ammunition shortages and delays in supplies of artillery shells from allies that have left them outgunned against Russia.  

US slams Ukraine strikes on Russian oil refineries 

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Ukraine’s recent attacks on Russian oil refineries risked affecting global energy markets and urged the country to focus on military targets instead.  

As Ukraine’s battlefield situation has steadily deteriorated in recent weeks, the country has increasingly turned to strikes deep within Russian territory, including infrastructure. The strikes are part of a bid to reduce fuel supplies to the Russian military, as well as to cut revenues from exports that Moscow uses to fund the war.

“Those attacks could have a knock-on effect in terms of the global energy situation,” Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. “Ukraine is better served in going after tactical and operational targets that can directly influence the current fight.”

Read more: Russia’s crude exports fall back as flows from the Baltic shrink

The US has struggled to balance cutting President Vladimir Putin’s war-fuelling revenue from petroleum exports with keeping global energy markets supplied to cool inflation and ease a soft landing for the global economy. It says its main tool — a price cap on Russian oil exports — has been successful, but concerns are rising as global oil prices hit the highest in almost six months, mainly on Middle East tensions.

Austin’s remarks were immediately rebuked by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who accused the administration of discouraging effective Ukrainian action for political reasons. “It sounds to me that the Biden administration doesn’t want gas prices to go up in an election year,” Cotton said.

Ukraine has bombed more than a dozen Russian oil refineries since its air offensive began in early January, including some of the biggest plants in the country, according to Giorgi Revishvili, a former senior adviser to Georgia’s National Security Council.

US sends Ukraine Iranian weapons captured from Houthi militants

The US has sent a stash of Iranian munitions it captured from Houthi militants to Ukraine to help in its fight to repel Russia’s invasion, the US Central Command said.

The transfer of more than 5,000 AK-47s, machine guns, sniper rifles, RPG-7s and more than 500,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition to Kyiv took place last week, according to a statement on a social platform X on Tuesday.   

Kyiv’s troops have already had to retreat from some territory as Russian forces sometimes outgun them by as much as seven to one. Moscow has also stepped up missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as Kyiv is running low on air defence.

The Central Command and naval forces had seized the weapons and ammunition from four vessels that carried the supply to Houthi militants in Yemen between May 2021 and February 2023, according to the statement. “This constitutes enough material to equip one Ukrainian brigade with small arms rifles,” it said.

EU to set stricter rules on Ukraine tariff-free trade extension

The European Union moved closer to extending its tariff-free trade with Ukraine, while tightening rules on food imports to placate protesting farmers’ concerns about oversupply.

The European Parliament’s committee on international trade voted on Tuesday to support the hard-fought provisional agreement reached by the bloc’s 27 member states the previous day. The proposed one-year extension suspending duties and quotas will reinstate tariffs if the supply of certain products exceeds a set threshold — but the safeguards don’t include potential restrictions on wheat despite demands from France, Poland and Hungary.

Extending the so-called autonomous trade measures — which still need to be approved by a European Parliament vote at the end of April — would allow Kyiv to keep almost unfettered access to the EU market until June 2025. The trade accord, along with concerns over rising production and administrative costs, has been the focus of farmer protests across Europe, most recently in Poland and Belgium. 

Ukraine says it’s behind blaze on Russian warship in Baltic Sea

Ukrainian military intelligence was responsible for an attack on a Russian naval missile carrier in the Baltic Sea, according to an official familiar with the operation, underscoring Kyiv’s effort to strike Kremlin forces far from the front line.  

Such an attack, which couldn’t be independently confirmed, would be the first by Ukrainian forces in the Russian territory of Kaliningrad, an exclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

Military intelligence in Kyiv, or GUR, posted a video on its website earlier showing flames erupting aboard a vessel. The flames caused damage to communications equipment and machinery on the Serpukhov, a Russian Buyan-class corvette, the GUR said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attack was carried out by Ukrainian agents. Neither the Russian military nor Kremlin officials made any mention of the incident.  

The ship was docked at a naval base in Baltiysk, a settlement in Kaliningrad located just over 20km from the Polish border, the GUR said. 

Separately, GUR drones targeted an air force training centre in the town of Borisoglebsk, more than 600km south of Moscow, in Russia’s Voronezh region, the official said.

Several Russian Telegram news channels, including Brief and Baza, reported that two drones struck the training centre, causing minor damage to a building facade and windows.

Voronezh Governor Alexandr Gusev said a drone was downed overnight without causing significant damage. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Dump Trump.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      You are right about Trump Fanie but I am not sure if you can Isolate him from the current leadership on the handling of Ukraine.
      They committed to support Ukraine but started controlling Frontline supplies, not according to what Ukraine needs to win the war but what they can give Ukraine and not upset Russia the enemy who invaded.
      I am not a military expert but I don’t believe it’s the way to win a war.
      In Palestine the reason why America is not getting approval from many countries to support Israel is not because they stand with Hamas, it’s because they are economical with the truth.
      In 1948 Ben Gurion president of the newly formed Israel state, issued order 40 to the military to destroy 11 Palestinian settlements next to Gaza metropolitan and build settlements, the families were pushed into Gaza which was later renamed Gaza strip and turned from a city where Jews,Christians and Palestinians were doing business, into the biggest refugee camp in the world.
      This is the same area that the non condoned act of Hamas took place.
      Ben Gurion was appreciated by naming a place after him in USA, the Ben Gurion square.
      By the settlers celebrating in that area on October 7 a historian provocation was revoked.
      It was in no way a licence for the terror attack and it in no way called for the massacre we observe of Palestinians by Israel’s current government.

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