Ukrainian official shot dead near front line

Ukrainian servicemen patrol an area heavily damaged by Russian military strikes
Ukrainian servicemen patrol an area heavily damaged by Russian military strikes in Zaporizhzhia - REUTERS/Stringer

A Ukrainian official has been shot dead in Zaporizhzhia, near Ukraine’s southern front line, police said as they launched a murder probe.

“In the city of Zaporizhzhia, the police are searching for a man who shot a local official,” police said. “The injured man died. The police are conducting urgent investigative and operational measures.”

The attacker fired four shots at the official outside a high-rise apartment building. Video posted online shows the suspect running from the area in a blue jumper and hat.

Zaporizhzhia is around 12 miles from the front line.

There have been several assassinations of Russian-installed officials in occupied areas of Ukraine – blamed by Moscow on Ukrainian security services - but similar attacks behind Ukrainian lines are more rare.


03:30 PM BST

That’s all for today

Thank you for following our live blog coverage. On Tuesday 11 June, the Biden administration lifted restrictions on the transfer of American weapons and training to the Azov Brigade, a controversial Ukrainian military unit. The move will help the Azov Brigade, among Ukraine’s most effective and popular fighting units, move beyond its reputation as a far-right movement.

Meanwhile Volodymyr Zelensky attended a conference on Ukrainian reconstruction in Germany, where he said Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy facilities have destroyed half of its electricity generation capacity since winter.

Other key developments from the day were:

  • A Ukrainian official was shot dead in Zaporizhzhia, near Ukraine’s southern front line, police said as they launched a murder probe.

  • Finland made its first deployment for Nato since joining the alliance in April 2023, sending seven F-18 fighter jets to a military base in southeastern Romania where they will conduct air shielding missions with Romanian and British jets.

  • Mr Zelensky warned of growing pro-Russian rhetoric in Europe, after far-right parties – some sympathetic to the Kremlin – made gains in European Union elections. He also said Ukraine has done everything it needs to start accession negotiations with the European Union.

  • A Russian military jet crashed during a training flight in North Ossetia, killing two people on board.

  • Russian and Belarusian troops started the second stage of tactical nuclear drills in Russia.

  • Voters in the European Union showed clear support for parties who back Ukraine in the bloc’s parliamentary elections, German chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

  • China urged the BRICS bloc of nations to take on greater responsibilities and establish itself as being inclusive to the world, foreign minister Wang Yi said, in the wake of Western sanctions and trade restrictions imposed on the country.

  • Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said it had received assurances from Russia that it would stop recruiting the island nation’s citizens to fight in Ukraine following allegations thousands had been duped into combat roles.


03:18 PM BST

Ukraine appeals for help rebuilding shattered cities

Ukraine and its allies drummed up support to protect Ukrainian cities from Russian missiles today and urged international businesses to put their faith, and billions of dollars, into post-war reconstruction.

Kyiv hopes the recovery conference will cement its credentials as a future member of the European Union that is worthy of huge injections of reconstruction financing – even as Russian forces continue to make slow advances in Ukraine’s east.

Speaking alongside German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had already wiped out enough energy infrastructure to power the cities of Berlin and Munich combined.

Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin
Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin - REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

He was hoping to come away from the conference with pledges of billions of euros for defence and agreements on building a new and more modern energy system.

“Ukraine is suffering from the most destructive form of the Russian view of energy as a weapon,” Mr Zelensky said.

Citing World Bank estimates that Ukraine could need $500 billion over a decade, Mr Scholz said companies had to be offered a business case for investing, and talked up Ukraine’s potential in sectors including renewables, IT and pharmaceuticals.


02:53 PM BST

US drops ban on arming Ukraine’s controversial Azov battalion

The Biden administration has lifted restrictions on the transfer of American weapons and training to the Azov Brigade, a controversial Ukrainian military unit.

The move will help the Azov Brigade, among Ukraine’s most effective and popular fighting units, move beyond its reputation as a far-right movement.

US laws prohibit providing equipment and training to foreign military units or individuals suspected of committing gross human rights violations, but the State Department said it found “no evidence of Gross Violations of Human Rights committed” by the force.

Soldiers of 12th Special Forces Brigade Azov of the National Guard
Soldiers of 12th Special Forces Brigade Azov of the National Guard - AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

The brigade has tried to move away from its ultranationalist origins since the start of the war. Its soldiers played a key part in the defence of Mariupol.

“This is a new page in our unit’s history,” the Azov Brigade wrote in a statement. “Azov is becoming even more powerful, even more professional and even more dangerous for occupiers.”

“Obtaining western weapons and training from the United States will not only increase the combat ability of Azov, but most importantly, contribute to the preservation of the lives and the health of personnel,” the statement said.

Moscow has repeatedly portrayed the Azov as a Nazi group and accused it of atrocities – without providing evidence. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US move was “extremely negative”.


02:39 PM BST

Finland sees first Nato deployment as its jets join mission in Romania

Finland has made its first deployment for Nato since joining the alliance in April 2023, sending seven F-18 fighter jets to a military base in southeastern Romania where they will conduct air shielding missions with Romanian and British jets.

A Finnish Air Force commander said the mission would help speed up Finland’s integration into Nato.

“I’m sure that during this enhanced air policing air shielding mission our integration into NATO will take a big leap forward,” Johan Anttila, commander of Finland’s Karelia Air Wing told soldiers on the tarmac at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base.

“We as a team will have learned a lot and all this will boost Nato deterrence and defence.”

Finland’s accession, ending seven decades of military non-alignment, roughly doubled the length of the border the North Atlantic Treaty Organization shares with Russia and bolstered its eastern flank amid Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine.


02:34 PM BST

Zelensky, in Berlin, says must prevent Ukraine being divided by ‘wall’

Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine must not be divided, drawing parallels with the Berlin Wall in an address to the German parliament.

“You can understand why we are fighting so hard against Russia’s attempts to divide us, to divide Ukraine. Why we are doing absolutely everything to prevent a wall between parts of our country,” Mr Zelensky told German lawmakers.


01:59 PM BST

Zelensky warns pro-Russian rhetoric ‘dangerous’ for EU countries

Volodymyr Zelensky during a joint press conference with German chancellor Scholz
Volodymyr Zelensky during a joint press conference with German chancellor Scholz - CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Volodymyr Zelensky has warned of growing pro-Russian rhetoric in Europe, after far-right parties – some sympathetic to the Kremlin – made gains in European Union elections.

“It seems to me that the most important thing is that people did not choose pro-Russian populist rhetoric. But radical pro-Russian rhetoric is dangerous for your countries,” Mr Zelensky said in Berlin.


01:41 PM BST

Russian hybrid operations very concerning, say Romania, Poland and Latvia

Russia’s malign hybrid activities in Nato countries are a source of deep concern, the presidents of Romania, Poland and Latvia said on Tuesday in a statement released to coincide with a meeting of eastern members of the alliance.

Countries on Nato’s eastern flank say that Russia is using tactics ranging from sabotage and cyberattacks to illegal migration to destabilise them due to their support for Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied accusations that it is behind such activities.

“We are deeply concerned about Russia’s recent malignant hybrid activities on Allied territory, which constitute a threat to Allied security,” the presidents said in the statement.

“We will act individually and collectively to address these actions, boost our resilience and continue to coordinate closely to ensure that the Alliance and Allies are prepared to deter and defend against hybrid actions or attacks.”

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday that 10 people had been arrested in Poland in recent weeks for acts of sabotage.

Czech prime minister Petr Fiala said on Monday that Russia may have been behind an attempted arson attack on Prague city buses last week.


01:22 PM BST

EU voters showed clear support for pro-Ukraine parties, Scholz says

Voters in the European Union showed clear support for parties who back Ukraine in the bloc’s parliamentary elections, German chancellor Olaf Scholz has said.

“The European elections have brought clear results. An overwhelming majority of citizens support parties that also agree that Ukraine must be supported,” Mr Scholz said, standing alongside Volodymyr Zelensky.


12:58 PM BST

Turkish foreign minister discusses economic issues with Lavrov in Russia

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov attends a press conference on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers of the BRICS group of nations
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov attends a press conference on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers of the BRICS group of nations - REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan raised “economic issues that are important for Turkey” with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday and they also discussed the war in Gaza, a Turkish diplomatic source said.

The source gave no details on the talks, which took place in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod where Fidan was attending a meeting of the BRICS group. Fidan said last week that Turkey, a Nato ally, may consider joining the group, which Moscow hopes will one day challenge US domination of the global economy.


12:40 PM BST

Zelensky says Kyiv has done everything needed to start EU accession negotiations

Ukraine has done everything it needs to start accession negotiations with the European Union, Volodymyr Zelensky said in Berlin.

He made the remark during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.


12:32 PM BST

In pictures

Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, talks with an injured Ukrainian soldier in Berlin.
Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, talks with an injured Ukrainian soldier in Berlin - Hannes Albert/dpa via AP
Volunteers donate blood for the army in the art space of a book shop in Kyiv,
Volunteers donate blood for the army in the art space of a book shop in Kyiv - AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Team Ukraine competes in the women's 4 x 400m relay heat during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic stadium in Rome
Team Ukraine competes in the women's 4 x 400m relay heat during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic stadium in Rome - ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images

12:22 PM BST

China urges greater BRICS role as Western sanctions mount

China has urged the BRICS bloc of nations to take on greater responsibilities and establish itself as being inclusive to the world, foreign minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, in the wake of Western sanctions and trade restrictions imposed on the country.

Many Chinese companies have faced Western sanctions over their support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the European Commission is set to announce tariffs this week on Chinese EVs in a bid to protect European carmakers.

This week, the G7 wealthy democracies is expected to send a tough warning to smaller Chinese banks to stop helping Russia evade Western sanctions, Reuters reported.

The politicisation of economic issues had grown along with unilateral sanctions and technological barriers, Mr Wang said at a BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod, without naming any countries. His remarks were published by his ministry.


12:13 PM BST

Russia says captured two more eastern Ukrainian villages

Russia said Tuesday it had captured two more villages in eastern Ukraine, in the latest in a string of gains for Moscow on the battlefield.

Moscow’s defence ministry said Russian forces took Timkovka in the northeastern Kharkiv region and Miasozharivka, calling it by its Russian name of Artemovka, in the eastern Lugansk region.

The reports could not be immediately verified.


11:26 AM BST

Sri Lanka says Russia to stop recruiting fighters from the island

Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said it had received assurances from Russia that it would stop recruiting the island nation’s citizens to fight in Ukraine following allegations thousands had been duped into combat roles.

Relatives have urged Colombo to bring back the Sri Lankans, mostly retired soldiers, at least 16 of whom have been reported killed and 37 wounded in the fighting, according to parliament, with around a dozen others reportedly held as prisoners of war in Ukraine.

Sri Lankan foreign minister Ali Sabry raised the issue with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the BRICS ministerial meeting in Moscow on Monday, the ministry said.

“At the request of minister Ali Sabry, it was also agreed that no further recruitment from Sri Lanka will be done,” the ministry said.


11:09 AM BST

Russian fighter-bomber crashes after ‘technical fault’

A Russian military jet crashed during a training flight in North Ossetia, killing two people on board, the defence ministry said Tuesday.

The Sukhoi SU-34 jet crashed “in a mountainous zone” and there was “no damage on the ground”, the ministry said, adding that a technical problem appeared to have caused the crash.

It comes amid an increase in aircraft accidents in Russia, attributed to sanctions imposed on Russia leading to a shortage of necessary parts.

North Ossetia, which borders ex-Soviet Georgia, is about 500 miles from the front line in Ukraine.

On June 8, regional authorities said Ukraine targeted a military airfield near the town of Mozdok with drones but three of them were shot down. It was the first such attack in North Ossetia since the war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.


11:06 AM BST

Kharkiv mayor says striking Russia helped calm embattled city

Ukraine’s army has struck missile launch positions in Russia, helping to reduce the number of attacks on the embattled city of Kharkiv, its mayor told Reuters on Tuesday.

His comments came after the US approved the use of American weapons to strike targets inside Russia that were being used to attack Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city located close to the Russian border.

Rescue workers carry an injured person from a building destroyed bya Russian airstrike in Kharkiv
Rescue workers carry an injured person from a building destroyed bya Russian airstrike in Kharkiv - AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

While missile and drone strikes continue, Ihor Terekhov said the change had helped bring relative “calm”.

“This has helped,” Terekhov said in an interview in Berlin. “That is why maybe Kharkiv has ... this period of ... calm the last couple of weeks ... that there were no great strikes as it was, for example, in May.” He was speaking through a translator.


10:55 AM BST

Italian minister announces packages to boost Ukrainian military

The Italian government has agreed to a package of 140 million euros for Ukrainian infrastructure and stands ready to send a further package to support air defence, Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani has said.


10:40 AM BST

Russia destroyed half of Ukraine’s power generation capacity, says Zelensky

Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy facilities have destroyed half of its electricity generation capacity since winter, Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.

“As a result of the strikes of Russian missiles and drones, nine gigawatts of capacity have already been destroyed. The peak of electricity consumption last winter was 18 gigawatts. So half now doesn’t exist,” Mr Zelensky told a conference in Berlin.


10:29 AM BST

Kremlin: Lifting of ban on weapons to Azov ‘extremely negative’

The decision by the US to lift a ban on arms supplies to Ukraine’s Azov unit is “extremely negative”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said.

The move shows that Washington will not stop at anything in its attempts to hurt Russia, Mr Peskov told a briefing.


10:27 AM BST

Ukraine has re-captured 50% of territory seized by Russia, says MoD


10:03 AM BST

Scholz urges allies to boost Ukraine air defence

Olaf Scholz has urged allies to dig deeper in their military stocks to help Ukraine bolster its air defence against Russian attacks.

“I would like to make a heartfelt plea to everyone here today: please support our initiative to strengthen Ukraine’s air defence with everything that is possible,” Mr Scholz told delegates gathered in Berlin for the Ukraine Recovery Conference.

Germany is leading an effort called Immediate Action on Air Defence for Ukraine, and has itself contributed three Patriot systems to Kyiv.


09:51 AM BST

Putin will not win in Ukraine, says Scholz

German chancellor Olaf Scholz has vowed Russia would not win its war in Ukraine as he welcomed president Volodymyr Zelensky at a reconstruction conference in Berlin.

“There will be no military victory and no dictated peace,” Mr Scholz said, calling on Russian president Vladimir Putin to “end his brutal campaign and withdraw his troops”.


09:49 AM BST

Russia says West may force it to amend nuclear doctrine

The actions of the West are making Russia think about amending its nuclear deterrence framework, the TASS news agency cited deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Tuesday.

Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke about Russia’s nuclear doctrine last week, saying that it was a “living instrument” which could be changed. On Tuesday, Ryabkov declined to say what exactly could change in the documents.


09:33 AM BST

Russia begins second stage of tactical nuclear weapon drills with Belarus

Russian and Belarusian troops have started the second stage of tactical nuclear drills in Russia, Russia’s defence ministry said on Tuesday.

In the first stage of the drills, Russian troops trained how to arm and deploy Iskander missiles, while the air force trained how to arm Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. The second stage involved working out joint training of Russian and Belarusian units “for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” the defence ministry said.

“The exercises are aimed at maintaining the readiness of personnel and equipment of units for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons of Russia and Belarus in order to unconditionally ensure the sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry added.

Russian troops prepare a missile launcher for joint Russian-Belarusian drills
Russian troops prepare a missile launcher for joint Russian-Belarusian drills - Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet equipped with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile flies during the second stage of tactical nuclear drills of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus
A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet equipped with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile flies during the second stage of tactical nuclear drills of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus - Russian Defence Ministry

In footage released by the defence ministry, an Iskander missile system was shown being driven into a field and the missiles was raised. Also shown were MiG-31 supersonic interceptors carrying Kinzhal missiles, and Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic bombers.

Russia has said the United States and its European allies are pushing the world to the brink of confrontation between nuclear powers by giving Ukraine billions of dollars of weapons.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Russia could use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations, however on Friday he also said that Russia had no need to use nuclear weapons to secure victory in Ukraine.


09:05 AM BST

In pictures: Leaders arrive at Ukraine Recovery Conference

David Cameron arrives to attend the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin
David Cameron arrives to attend the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin - ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz greets Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. T he conference will run over two days
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz greets Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. The conference will run over two days - ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images
Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas. The  conference is bringing together international representatives from politics, business and civil society working towards the recovery, reconstruction and modernization of Ukraine
Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas. The conference is bringing together international representatives from politics, business and civil society working towards the recovery, reconstruction and modernization of Ukraine - Sean Gallup/Getty Images

08:58 AM BST

China says it will oppose all unilateral sanctions after G7 warning on its Russia links

China will resolutely oppose all unilateral sanctions following new warnings from G7 countries on small Chinese banks about their links to Russia, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

China will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, spokesperson Lin Jin said.


08:35 AM BST

Ukrainian and Japanese companies sign economic cooperation memorand

Ukrainian and Japanese companies will deepen economic cooperation, including in infrastructure recovery, energy, the development of drones for mine clearance and funding affordable houses, according to Ukraine’s economy ministry.

Ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024, a Japanese-Ukrainian round table was held in Berlin, during which 23 memorandums on cooperation between Ukrainian and Japanese organisations were signed, the ministry said.

“Cooperation between Ukraine and Japan is systematically deepening,” said Ukraine’s minister of economy Yuliya Svyridenko. “I especially thank you for the grant for 100 prostheses through the licensing of their production in Ukraine. Equally important is the joint study of the possibilities of building a new pediatric hospital in Ukraine.”

Japan also plans to introduce the latest technologies in Ukraine, provide training and develop the potential of Ukrainian specialists. The Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO) has decided to open an office in Kyiv.


08:14 AM BST

Germany hosts recovery conference for Ukraine

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy shakes hands with German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy shakes hands with German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier - REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Germany is hosting a conference to gather support for Ukraine’s recovery from the destruction wreaked by Russia’s war, sending a new signal of solidarity with Kyiv at the start of a week of intense diplomacy.

The two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, following up on a similar gathering in London a year ago, comes before the Group of Seven summit of Ukraine’s leading Western allies in Italy and a global peace summit in Switzerland this coming weekend.

“Even during the current times of war, Ukraine needs to continually rebuild houses, water pipelines, hospitals and power grids,” German development minister Svenja Schulze said in a statement. “People want to keep on living in their country, and to do so they need electricity, water and a roof over their heads.”


08:00 AM BST

ICYMI: Ukrainian fighter jet gets first direct hit on Russian soil

A Ukrainian fighter jet has struck a target inside Russia for the first time, destroying a “command node” and a suspected ammunition dump.

The strike, on Sunday, occurred across the border north of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where Russia has been amassing troops and equipment as part of a new axis that opened up last month.

The attack comes after the West gave the green light for missiles to be fired into Russia, and Ukraine destroyed an advanced Russian anti-aircraft system placed near the border.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor for the Russian region of Belgorod, said a “non-residential building” had been struck in the village of Rakitnoye.

Footage of the area showed a huge fire in what appeared to be a warehouse. Other footage from the area showed a remote-controlled drone placing a Ukrainian flag on a nearby mobile phone tower.

A Ukrainian military source told Sky News: “A Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) mission has struck a Russian command node in Belgorod.

“Whilst damage assessment is still occurring, it is confirmed as a direct hit. This is the first UAF air-delivered munition delivered against a target within Russia.”

Read more


07:38 AM BST

In pictures

A Ukrainian national guard servicemen fires a D-20 cannon towards Russian positions at the frontline near Kharkiv
A Ukrainian national guard servicemen fires a D-20 cannon towards Russian positions at the frontline near Kharkiv - AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka
Ukrainian Army soldiers prepare LELEKA 100 military intelligence drone for flight in the direction of Chasiv Yar
Ukrainian Army soldiers prepare LELEKA 100 military intelligence drone for flight in the direction of Chasiv Yar - Jose Colon/Anadolu via Getty Images
Healthcare workers evacuate senior Ukrainian citizens
Healthcare workers evacuate senior Ukrainian citizens - Vincenzo Circosta/Anadolu via Getty Images

07:31 AM BST

US envoy calls for Japan’s help to quickly replenish US missile inventory

The United States needs Japan’s help to quickly replenish missile inventory and repair warships as conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine continue and Washington seeks to keep its deterrence credible in the Indo-Pacific, the US ambassador to Japan said.

“It is clear that the United States military industrial base cannot meet all the strategic challenges that we have and obligations we have,” said ambassador Rahm Emanuel.

He spoke as Japan and the US held their first talks to accelerate military industrial cooperation, two months after an April agreement.

The two countries have agreed to establish working groups for missile co-production and for maintenance and repair of US Navy ships and Air Force aircraft in the region, the Japanese Defense Ministry said in a statement. There will also be a group to discuss a stronger supply chain.


07:27 AM BST

Biden to lift ban on Ukrainian unit using US weapons

The Biden administration will lift its ban on allowing a controversial Ukrainian military unit to use US weapons, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing State Department officials.

The State Department reversed a decade-old prohibition on the Azov Brigade from using American training and weapons after a new analysis found no evidence of human rights violations by the unit, the Post reported.

Servicemen of the 12th Special Forces Brigade Azov of the National Guard of Ukraine fire a howitzer towards Russian troops
Servicemen of the 12th Special Forces Brigade Azov of the National Guard of Ukraine fire a howitzer towards Russian troops - Sofiia Gatilova/Reuters

“After thorough review, Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Azov Brigade passed Leahy vetting as carried out by the US Department of State,” the State Department said in a statement obtained by the newspaper. The Leahy Law bars US military assistance to foreign units found to have committed such violations.

The Azov Regiment, which has far-right and ultra-nationalist roots, is part of Ukraine’s National Guard and evolved out of a battalion that was formed in 2014 and fought against Russian-backed separatists who carved out breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.


07:23 AM BST

Zelensky arrives in Germany to meet Scholz

Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday night announced his arrival in Germany for talks with chancellor Olaf Scholz and to participate in a conference on Ukrainian reconstruction.

“Chancellor Scholz and I will discuss further defence assistance, the expansion of Ukraine’s air defence system, and joint arms production,” Mr Zelensky wrote on X.

Berlin recently authorised Ukraine to use German weapons to strike targets in Russia, having long refused to do so for fear of provoking an escalation of the war with Russia. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Germany abandoned its traditional position of pacifism and became the second largest supplier of military equipment to Kyiv after the United States.

Mr Zelensky is due to participate on Tuesday and Wednesday in a conference on reconstructing Ukraine, which will be attended by 10 prime ministers, other government representatives and the private sector.

“In the face of Russia’s air terror, urgent solutions for Ukraine’s energy sector will be our top priority,” said Mr Zelensky.

“I will also meet with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Bundestag President Barbel Bas, as well as visit a military base where our servicemen are training,” he added.