Ukraine war latest: Russia and China issue nuclear war warning – as Putin holds crucial talks with Xi amid fierce … – Sky News

Vladimir Putin is in China, where he is meeting with president Xi Jinping less that a week after launching a fresh incursion into the Kharkiv region of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia has said it has expelled a British defence attache after the UK kicked out the Russian counterpart last week
Thursday 16 May 2024 19:14, UK
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UK defence secretary Grant Shapps has branded the expulsion of British defence attache Adrian Coghill from Russia a “desperate move”.
Moscow announced earlier it had made the move in retaliation to the UK kicking out his Russian counterpart over spying allegations last week.
Mr Coghill was reportedly called to the Russian embassy earlier, where he was told of his expulsion (seen 16.25 post).
In a post on social media, Mr Shapps said Vladimir Putin’s issue with Mr Coghill was that he “personified the UK’s unwavering support for Ukraine”.
Four women have been killed in a Ukrainian attack in Russia-controlled Donetsk, Russian news agency TASS is reporting, citing claims from local authorities.
Sky News cannot independently verify the claim.
Vladimir Putin’s trip to China, his first since his re-election, demonstrates a show of unity between the two countries as they develop their “no limits” partnership.
Ahead of the visit, Mr Putin told Chinese media that his meeting with President Xi Jinping would be a “dialogue between friends”.
But what are his aims from the visit? Our Moscow correspondent Ivor Bennett explains…
Russia does not have sufficient forces needed for a strategic breakthrough in Kharkiv, NATO’s top military commander has said.
Speaking after a meeting in Brussels, the alliance’s supreme allied commander for Europe Christopher Cavoli said he was confident Ukrainian troops would be able to hold their lines in the northeastern region, where Russia launched a surprise new offensive nearly a week ago.
Mr Cavoli also said “serious improvements” are expected in Ukraine’s ammunition situation soon.
Kyiv has been running short of ammunition and weapons following delays in the delivery of munitions from its allies, in particular the US.
Moldova’s parliament has voted to hold a referendum on European Union membership in October.
The proposed referendum date of October 20 was backed by a total of 56 members in the 101-member assembly.
For context: Like Ukraine before it was invaded in February 2022, Moldova is a former Soviet country leaning towards the West. President Maia Sandu has long indicated that she wants to steer the country towards EU membership.
Concern has grown during the war that Moldova could be next in Russia’s sights as it seeks to regain control over former Soviet states.

The breakaway region of Transnistria in eastern Moldova recently appealed for Moscow’s help to protect it against what it claims are threats from Moldova’s government.
The US has imposed further sanctions on two Russian individuals and three companies in Moscow for facilitating arms transfers between Russia and North Korea.
It is the latest round of sanctions imposed by the US to disrupt and expose arms transfers between the two countries, including the transfer and testing of North Korean-produced ballistic missiles to Russia.
A statement from the US treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence named individuals and firms including Trans Kapital Limited Liability Company, the Rafort Limited Liability Company and Tekhnologiya. 
It said the individuals and firms targeted had attempted to evade sanctions by using front companies to move military equipment to support the war in Ukraine.
“Today’s action reflects our commitment to disrupt the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea deepening military cooperation with Russia,” Brian Nelson, the under-secretary of the US said in a statement.
“The United States will continue to take action to hold accountable those who seek to facilitate the shipment of weapons and other material to enable Russia’s war,” Mr Nelson added.
Denmark has announced it will send a new military aid package to Ukraine, worth around 5.6bn Danish crowns (approximately £699m).
Troels Lund Poulsen, Denmark’s defence minister, said the packages includes primarily air defence and artillery.

He said it was Denmark’s 14th package to the country.
In the Kharkiv region, where Ukrainian soldiers are fighting to hold back two Russian fronts, operators man drones from a trench.
A member of Achilles battalion, 92nd brigade, can be seen emerging, carrying a first-person view drone before lift off.
Back inside the wooden walls, another operator wears goggles allowing him to steer the weapon.
Russia has said it has expelled British defence attache Adrian Coghill in retaliation for the UK’s announcement it was kicking out his Russian counterpart last week. 
Mr Coghill was reportedly called to the Russian embassy, where he was told of his expulsion. 
The Russian foreign ministry called Britain’s actions “unfriendly”and “anti-Russian” and said retaliatory measures from Moscow will not end here. 
“The initiators of the escalation will be informed about further retaliatory steps,” the ministry said. 
On 8 May, Britain announced that it would expel the Russian defence attache, remove diplomatic status from some properties and limit the length of Russian diplomatic visas in response to what Home Secretary James Cleverly called Moscow’s “malign activity”. 

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said all they need is two Patriot systems and to stop Russia from occupying the Kharkiv region.
Speaking to ABC News during a visit to the embattled region, the Ukrainian president said the country “cannot afford to lose Kharkiv” and “needs help now” to save it from occupation. 
“The situation is very serious,” Mr Zelenskyy said.
Moscow launched a fresh incursion across the border into Kharkiv last Friday, forcing 8,000 people to flee their homes.
It comes after the announcement of a further $2bn in US aid  – on top of the $61bn already promised.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken said yesterday that Washington is “focused” on sending Patriot missile systems and other forms of critical air defence to Ukraine.
The Patriot, is a surface-to-air missile defence system and considered one of the most advanced air defence systems in the US.

Earlier this month, Germany also pledged an additional Patriot battery, while Spain said it will deliver anti-aircraft Patriot missiles.

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