Russia-Ukraine latest: NATO considering €100bn package to 'Trump-proof' war effort – Sky News

In Brussels, members of NATO are marking 75 years of the alliance and discussing how to support Ukraine. Elsewhere, four people have been killed in a drone strike overnight in Kharkiv. Listen to a podcast on how Russia is avoiding the effects of Western sanctions while you scroll.
Thursday 4 April 2024 15:06, UK
Local resident Yevgenia Suvorova, 69, checks on the belongings in her flat after a shelling attack in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. 
The area is controlled by Russian occupiers, who say Ukraine was behind this morning’s shelling. 
Russian-installed officials said a man was killed in the city of Donetsk during the attack. 
Moscow has detained three more people suspected of involvement in last month’s mass shooting at a concert hall, the FSB security service was quoted as saying. 
The arrests include a Russian citizen and two foreign citizens, all originally from Central Asia. 
They were detained in Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Omsk, news agency Interfax said.
At least 144 people were killed in the attack on the Crocus Concert Hall near Moscow. 
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Russia has repeatedly claimed Ukraine was behind it.
Ukraine has firmly denied this, and the West has said there is no evidence Kyiv was involved.
We’re hearing more now from the NATO meeting in Brussels, where foreign ministers are discussing long-term support for Ukraine. 
Hungary’s foreign minister has said his country would oppose any NATO proposal that would lead to an escalation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. 
Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Peter Szijjarto said: “We must do everything possible to avoid direct conflict between NATO and Russia in the coming period.”
He said he believed there were “intentions to the contrary”, and that some of the proposals being discussed “would certainly cross some of the lines that until now were believed to be red”. 
NATO has been debating a plan to provide more predictable military support to Ukraine in the coming years.
The move would see the alliance providing non-lethal aid such as demining equipment, fuel and medical supplies. 
The French president has hit out at Moscow’s comments on last month’s deadly concert hall attack, dismissing them as “ridiculous” and “threatening”. 
Emmanuel Macron was speaking a day after a rare phone call between the French and Russian defence ministers, after which both made diverging media statements. 
The Russian defence ministry had quoted defence minister Sergei Shoigu as telling his French counterpart that the “Kyiv regime does nothing without approval of its Western handlers” and that Russia hoped the French special services weren’t involved in the terror attack.
Mr Macron said such comments “were indeed baroque and threatening, which is nothing new”.
“In other words, it’s ridiculous,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of a swimming pool built for the Paris Olympics.
“It makes no sense and doesn’t fit with reality” to say that France “could be behind it [the Moscow attack] and that the Ukrainians are behind it,” he said. 
“But it’s a manipulation of information, which is part of Russia’s arsenal of warfare today.”

France’s defence ministry said in a statement following the phone call that its minister Sebastien Lecornu firmly condemned the attack and that Paris had no information linking it to Ukraine. 
In a win for Ukraine’s foreign minister at the NATO meeting in Brussels, allies have agreed to identify and find air defence systems in their arsenals to send to Kyiv. 
Dmytro Kuleba had been pushing for Ukraine’s allies to provide more defence systems, saying they had about 100 at their disposal that could be provided. 
Earlier he said he found it “impossible to comprehend” that more air defences could not be sent to Ukraine. 
Announcing the new stance, he said: “Allies will undertake an exercise of allocating or finding this – identifying these additional air defense systems in order to bring them to Ukraine, to provide them to Ukraine and help defend our skies.” 
Vladimir Putin has spoken out about the terror attack on a concert hall near Moscow which killed at least 144 people. 
Nearly two weeks after the mass shooting, which was claimed by Islamic State, he said: “We have every reason to believe that the main goal of those who ordered the bloody, awful terrorist act in Moscow was to damage our unity. 
“There are no other goals visible, there are none, because Russia cannot be the target of terrorist attacks by Islamic fundamentalists. 
“We are a country that demonstrates a unique example of interfaith harmony and unity, of inter-religious and inter-ethnic unity.”
Russia has repeatedly said the attack was ordered by Ukraine, while not providing evidence to back that assertion.
Ukraine has denied involvement and the West has said it has intelligence confirming Islamic State was behind the attack. 
We’re starting to get an idea of how NATO members are responding to a proposal for a €100bn aid package to Ukraine. 
The package was suggested by NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and is being discussed at a meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers. 
German defence minister Boris Pistorius said in a news conference in Berlin that the fund was worth considering, but it was important to prevent the doubling up of structures. 
Such a fund would also have to take into consideration the national contributions already made by NATO countries, Mr Pistorius said. 

One of the emergency responders killed in a Russian “double tap” strike earlier was a 52-year-old firefighter whose son, also a firefighter, was putting out a blaze several buildings away. 
Ukraine’s interior ministry shared footage of the younger man, Volodymyr, kneeling on the ground and sobbing after learning his father had been killed. 
Two emergency workers consoled him as he wept. 
Vladyslav Loginov, 52, had “devoted his life to work in the fire service” before his death overnight, interior minister Ihor Klymenko said. 
His son Volodymyr had followed in his footsteps to become a guard chief at a nearby fire station. 
The father and son were deployed to the scene in Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, after an initial drone attack. 
They had been working a few houses away from each other when the secondary attack hit. 
The Finnish government has said it will extend the closure of its border with Russia until further notice. 
It also added several ports to its list where travel would be prohibited.
Finland, which recently joined NATO, closed its land borders with Russia late last year after a surge in migrant crossings from its neighbour. 
It accused Moscow of weaponising migration in response to its NATO accession.
Russia has denied this. 
Finland’s interior minister Mari Rantanen said: “Finnish authorities see this as a long-term situation. We have not seen anything this spring that would lead us to conclude that the situation has changed meaningfully.”
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he has no doubt Russia will try to target the Paris Olympics this summer. 
“I have no doubt whatsoever, including in terms of information,” Mr Macron said. 
France has already increased its security alert to the highest level in the wake of the deadly terror attack near Moscow last month. 
The attack on the Crocus Concert Hall, which killed at least 144 people, was claimed by Islamic State. 
Tens of thousands of police officers, soldiers and security agents will be deployed to protect the Games this summer.
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