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Ukraine and Eastern Europe

Stories under this heading cover Ukraine and Eastern Europe. 

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G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

The G7 will explore ways to use future revenues from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the G7 and its allies froze around $300 billion in Russian assets. "We are making progress in our discussions on potential avenues to bring forward the extraordinary profits stemming from immobilized Russian sovereign assets to the benefit of Ukraine," the draft statement said. G7 negotiators have been discussing for weeks how best to use these assets, which include major currencies and government bonds held mainly in European vaults. The United States (US) has been urging its G7 partners - Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada - to support a loan that could provide Kyiv with up to $50 billion in the near term. The cautious language of the statement, lacking figures or specifics, underlines the many legal and technical issues that would need to be resolved before such a loan could be issued. A G7 source indicated that there would be no significant changes to the statement before the final version is released later on Saturday (25 May).

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Editor's choice
News
G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

The G7 will explore ways to use future revenues from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the G7 and its allies froze around $300 billion in Russian assets. "We are making progress in our discussions on potential avenues to bring forward the extraordinary profits stemming from immobilized Russian sovereign assets to the benefit of Ukraine," the draft statement said. G7 negotiators have been discussing for weeks how best to use these assets, which include major currencies and government bonds held mainly in European vaults. The United States (US) has been urging its G7 partners - Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada - to support a loan that could provide Kyiv with up to $50 billion in the near term. The cautious language of the statement, lacking figures or specifics, underlines the many legal and technical issues that would need to be resolved before such a loan could be issued. A G7 source indicated that there would be no significant changes to the statement before the final version is released later on Saturday (25 May).
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News
More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

Thousands of Ukrainian prisoners have expressed interest in a new initiative that offers them the opportunity to exchange their prison sentence for military service. According to Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Olena Vysotska, more than 3,000 prisoners have already signed up to contribute to strengthening Ukraine's armed forces. "This response is in line with our expectations when introducing this legislation," Vysotska stated. Furthermore, she noted that up to 20,000 prisoners could potentially be eligible to participate in the programme, with approximately 4,500 having expressed interest thus far. It is important to stress that prisoners convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape, other sexual violence, and crimes against national security are excluded from this scheme. This development coincides with Ukraine's urgent need for additional troops in its ongoing conflict with Russia. Russia has similarly implemented analogous arrangements for prisoners of war in the context of this conflict.
Editor's choice
News
More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

More than 3,000 Ukrainian prisoners join army to fight against Russia

Thousands of Ukrainian prisoners have expressed interest in a new initiative that offers them the opportunity to exchange their prison sentence for military service. According to Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Olena Vysotska, more than 3,000 prisoners have already signed up to contribute to strengthening Ukraine's armed forces. "This response is in line with our expectations when introducing this legislation," Vysotska stated. Furthermore, she noted that up to 20,000 prisoners could potentially be eligible to participate in the programme, with approximately 4,500 having expressed interest thus far. It is important to stress that prisoners convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape, other sexual violence, and crimes against national security are excluded from this scheme. This development coincides with Ukraine's urgent need for additional troops in its ongoing conflict with Russia. Russia has similarly implemented analogous arrangements for prisoners of war in the context of this conflict.
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Opinion
Opinion: Committing to doing what it takes for Ukraine to achieve victory

Opinion: Committing to doing what it takes for Ukraine to achieve victory

2024 started with an unprecedented number of Russian drones and ballistic missiles raining down on Ukraine. In this op-ed published this week on various media outlets, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, argues that Ukraine prevailing against the Russian aggression is the best security guarantee for Europe and that a paradigm shift is needed from supporting Ukraine for 'as long as it takes' to committing to 'what it takes' for Ukraine to achieve victory. Borrell argues that we must intensify our efforts to win the race against time with Putin’s Russia. "We cannot allow him to prevail. Our own security is at stake. Should Putin’s strategy prove successful, it would embolden Russia and other autocracies to pursue their imperialist agendas. We must at any cost prevent a world where might makes right, where powerful countries change borders at will, and the weak fall prey to the strong. Allowing such a scenario would cast a long shadow over our future for decades to come. Ukraine prevailing against the Russian aggression is the best security guarantee for Europe. A Russia that learnt to stay within its borders will lessen pressure on its neighbours, ease Ukraine’s path to EU membership and allow Europe and the world to shift attention to the many other challenges that need solving. With our assistance, Ukraine can consign Russia’s imperial ambitions to the pages of history. This must guide our actions and thinking."
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Russia confirms damage to one of its Black Sea fleet ships

Russia confirms damage to one of its Black Sea fleet ships

Russia has confirmed one of its warships has been damaged in a Ukrainian attack on a Black Sea port. The airstrike took place at Feodosiya in Russian-occupied Crimea early on Tuesday morning. Russia's Ministry of Defence said the large landing ship Novocherkassk was struck by Ukrainian aircraft carrying guided missiles. The head of the Ukrainian Air Force said earlier its warplanes had destroyed the ship. One person was killed in the attack, according to the Russian-installed head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov. Several others were reportedly hurt. Six buildings were damaged and a small number of people had to be taken to temporary accommodation centres, Mr Aksyonov added. The port's transport operations are said to be functioning as normal after the area was cordoned off, while a fire caused by the attack was contained. Footage purportedly showing a huge explosion in the port was shared by Ukrainian air force commander Lt Gen Mykola Oleshchuk. The images have not been independently verified. However, satellite imagery from 24 December shows a ship at port in Feodosiya that appears to be the same length as the Novocherkassk - a landing ship designed to transport troops, weapons and cargo to shore. Any significant damage to the ship will be a welcome bit of good news for Ukraine, with waning Western support now affecting its front-line operations. Given that the Novocherkassk was in dock, it is highly likely it was being loaded with soldiers, equipment or both. There was speculation that the ship was carrying Iranian-made Shahed drones, which Russia has been using in its attacks on Ukrainian targets.