Putin warns against striking Russia as Ukraine gets more aid from EU allies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy received a second $1 billion promise of military aid in as many days Tuesday during a whirlwind tour of three European Union countries, while President Vladimir Putin warned that hitting Russian soil with Western-supplied weapons could set the war on a dangerous new path.

The aid pledge for 2024 came from Belgium, which topped up the money with a commitment to give Ukraine 30 F-16 fighter jets in the next four years.

US to increase Ukraine air defenses as Russian gains concern officials

Putin says the Kremlin’s forces are seeking to establish a “buffer zone” in Kharkiv to prevent Ukraine launching attacks across the border there.

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Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren, meeting with her EU colleagues, said a Patriot system will be built “in a short time frame.” The Netherlands has the core components for a Patriot system and other EU nations will contribute other key parts and munitions.

“Ukraine is also fighting Europe’s fight,” she said.

Zelenskyy was to visit Belgium and Spain earlier this month but postponed all his foreign trips after Russia launched its Kharkiv offensive and left Ukrainian forces reeling.

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In other developments, the U.N.’s atomic agency’s chief was in Russia’s westernmost territory of Kaliningrad to talk about safety issues involving the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.

The plant has been occupied by the Russian forces since early in the war, and all of its reactors have been in a cold shutdown. Frequent shelling around Europe’s largest nuclear plant has raised global concerns over nuclear security.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi met with Alexei Likhachyov, head of Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom. The Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Grossi as saying that “common understanding” has been reached on the steps that are necessary to enhance the plant’s security, but restarting it “seems impossible” at the moment.

Likhachyov echoed his sentiment on restarting the plant, but also vowed its current state is “absolutely safe.”


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: World