Soldiers prepare for an overnight combat (Photo by Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)


World leaders to seek solutions to Ukraine war without Russia or China


A number of world leaders will meet in Switzerland to look for possible solutions to the conflict in Ukraine, but without Russia.

Representatives from China will also not attend the gathering on June 15-16.

Those who will make an appearance include India, although it is one of the countries that has deepened its economic relationship with Moscow, helping Russia circumvent the blockade imposed by Washington.

The US  continues to strengthen Ukraine militarily to confront Moscow. US defence secretary Lloyd Austin announced at NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 13 that Washington was to sign a bilateral agreement with Ukraine.

Later that day, US President Joe Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the 10-year bilateral security agreement on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy.

“The United States intends to provide long-term materiel, training and advising, sustainment, intelligence, security, defence industrial, institutional, and other support to develop Ukrainian security and defence forces that are capable of defending a sovereign, independent, democratic Ukraine and deterring future aggression,” an official US press release stated.

The retired general said he was “impressed” by NATO’s support for Ukraine, with which “more than 50 countries” were indirectly allied.

Austin added: “It is key to maintain and increase support” to Ukrainian troops in order to “hold the line near Kharkiv and continue to inflict casualties on Russia”.

With that objective in mind, he said the Atlantic alliance partners would mobilise “anti-aircraft defences, armoured vehicles, artillery and ammunition” as soon as possible.

“Anti-aircraft defences right now are the first priority,” Austin added.

That was acknowledged by US Air Force General Charles Quinton Brown Jr, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The important thing is to maintain the defence lines to give credibility to all the great work done so far,” he acknowledged.

Gen Brown also said that the battlefront was now more stabilised, “contrary to the last few weeks”.

Austin said support for Ukraine would continue “for decades” and that everything NATO was carrying out now was just a beginning.

Asked by reporters about the possibility of launching attacks on Russian soil, he stated: “Ukraine asked for permission to counterattack Russian targets with American weapons and US President Joe Biden has done so – but our position on attacking Russia on its own territory remains the same.”

That apparently referred to Washington’s previous refusal allow Kyiv to use US weaponry against targets within Russia.

According to intelligence sources, that was due to “an agreement between the two at the beginning of the conflict [in 2022] to choose the frames of the conflict without either of the two opponents being dragged into a dead end”.