The G7 agreed on Thursday to allocate $ 18.4 billion to Ukraine to pay the bills, which, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal, will accelerate Kyiv’s victory over Russia and are as important as “weapons you give ”.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters at a meeting of G7 finance leaders in Germany: “The message was: ‘We stand for Ukraine.’ We are going to pool the resources they need to get through this. ”

Earlier on Thursday, Shmygal wrote on Twitter: “Supporting partners will accelerate our victory … Despite Russia’s efforts to destroy our economy, together we will win!”

Additional arms commitments were also voiced on Thursday, as U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Thursday that he had authorized $ 100 million in additional weapons, equipment and supplies to Ukraine.

Last week, Russia won the biggest victory since the invasion began: Kyiv announced that after almost three months of siege, the city had ordered its garrison to be assembled at a metallurgical plant in Mariupol.

However, Russian troops lost ground elsewhere, pushed out of northern Ukraine and the outskirts of the capital in late March and pushed back this month from the outskirts of Kharkiv’s second-largest city.

In Washington, US President Joe Biden on Thursday backed Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This move by Finland and Sweden cancels several generations of military non-alignment and is the biggest shock to European security in decades.

Turkey, a NATO member, has spoken out, accusing the two northern states of hiding Kurdish militants, but Biden and European leaders have said they are confident Turkey’s concerns can be resolved.

Biden, who hosted Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson and Finnish President Sauli Niiniste at the White House, told reporters: “I think we will be fine.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said late Wednesday: “We have told the Allies that we will say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership,” adding: “NATO is a security alliance and we cannot accept terrorists.”

Niinista said Finland would commit to Turkey’s security, adding: “We condemn terrorism in all its forms and are actively involved in the fight against it.”

MARIUPAL METALLUP PLANT

The end result of the bloodiest battle in Europe for decades remained unclear, without confirmation of the fate of hundreds of Ukrainian defenders.

On Thursday, Moscow said that 1,730 Ukrainian fighters had surrendered at the moment, including 771 in the past 24 hours.

Ukraine, which says it is seeking an exchange of prisoners, did not say how many were at the plant, and did not comment on the fate of the others, as it confirmed that just over 250 surrendered in the first hours after it ordered them to surrender.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, based in Switzerland, said it had registered hundreds of prisoners from the plant, which is now in Russia, but did not name the exact number.

The leader of the Russian-backed separatists who control the area said almost half of the fighters remained inside the metallurgical plant, where underground bunkers and tunnels protected them from weeks of Russian bombing.

“More than half of them were weapons,” Dzyanis Pushylin told the Nightingales Live TV channel. “Let them surrender, let them live, let them be honestly charged with all their crimes.”

According to him, the wounded received medical treatment, and those who were in good condition were taken to the colony. Ukrainian officials say they cannot comment publicly on their fate while talks on their rescue are under way.

Russia denies consent to exchange prisoners. Many of Azovstal’s defenders belong to a Ukrainian unit of far-right origin, the Azov Regiment, which Moscow calls a Nazi and says it should be prosecuted for its crimes.

UKRAINE SITTING

Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Alexei Gromov said at an online briefing that over the past two weeks, Ukraine recaptured 23 settlements near Kharkov.

On Thursday, the roar of artillery battles echoed through sun-drenched fields and forests north of Kharkiv near the village of Slatina.

The Ukrainian military said the fighting was taking place around the neighboring village of Demetyevka, which the Ukrainian military said had repulsed the day before, about 8km from the Russian border.

But Russia is still leading the main offensive, using massive artillery and armored vehicles, trying to seize more territory in the eastern Donbass, which consists of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which Moscow claims on behalf of the separatists.

The General Staff of Ukraine said that Russia’s attacks were focused on Donetsk. Russian troops “suffered significant losses” around Sloviansk north of Donetsk.

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