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Ukraine war: Counteroffensive delayed, UK sends 'Storm Shadow' missiles, Trump calls for peace

Members of a Ukrainian air-defence unit demonstrate their work near Kyiv on Monday, May 8, 2023.
Members of a Ukrainian air-defence unit demonstrate their work near Kyiv on Monday, May 8, 2023. Copyright Andrew Kravchenko/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Andrew Kravchenko/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AFP/AP
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These are the latest developments from the Ukraine war.

UK sends long-range missiles to Ukraine

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London has said it will supply Ukraine with "Storm Shadow" cruise missiles - something Kyiv has requested repeatedly.

The rockets have a range of over 250km, according to the manufacturer. To put that into perspective, Himars missiles given to Ukraine by the US can only hit targets 80km away. 

Some have expressed concern that supplying long-range weapons could escalate tensions with Russia by enabling Ukraine to strike deeper within its territory. 

However, Ukrainian officials insist they would not use such missiles to hit targets within Russia.

Storm Shadows will give Ukraine the "best chance" of defending itself and allow it "push back Russian forces", UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

But he warned the missiles' range was "not in the same league" as Russia's - with some of Moscow's weapons able to reach much further. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday Moscow would make an "appropriate" military response if Storm Shadows were given to Ukrainian forces. 

Counteroffensive needs more time - Zelenskyy

Ukraine's President has said his country’s much-anticipated counter-offensive needs more time to prepare. 

In an interview with the BBC, Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed it would be unacceptable to launch an assault now because it would cost too many lives. 

“With (what we have) we can go forward and be successful,” he said in the interview broadcast on Thursday. 

“But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable,” he was quoted as saying. “So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time.” 

A Ukrainian fightback against Russia's invasion has been expected for weeks. 

Ukraine is gearing up for the assault, having received advanced Western weapons, including tanks and air defences, and training for its troops.

Zelenskyy’s remarks could be a red herring to keep the Russians guessing, while ammunition supply difficulties faced by both sides have only added more uncertainty.

India ramps up purchases of Russian oil

Indian imports of Russian oil rose tenfold last year, according to one of its banks. 

Figures from the Bank of Baroda showed Asia's third-largest economy massively increased purchases of crude oil from Moscow, as Western countries moved to slash Russian energy imports.

India now receives nearly 20% of its oil from Russia - up from just 2% in 2021, the state-owned lender revealed. 

Moscow has sold energy at a discounted price to countries like China and India, which is the third largest importer of oil on the planet. 

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During the last financial year, India saved around €4.55 billion due to these reduced costs.  

New Delhi has not joined Western sanctions on Russian imports, maintaining it cannot pay high prices with millions in poverty, though there is pressure from Europe and the US. 

It has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Trump calls for peace

Former US President Donald Trump has called for fighting to stop in Ukraine. 

Speaking at a 90-minute event on the news outlet CNN - which he has repeatedly called fake news - Trump said "I want everybody to stop dying". 

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Asked who he would like to see win, the ex-president added: "I don't think of winning or losing, I think in terms of getting it settled."

Trump has repeatedly claimed Russia would have never invaded Ukraine if he were president. He claims if he was voted into the White House again, Ukraine would have a settlement in 24 hours. 

The 76-year-old said he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin had made an error invading Ukraine, though stopped short of calling him a war crime, when asked.

Tensions are growing within the US Republican Party over whether to keep supporting Kyiv as it battles to expel Russian forces. 

In March 2022, the Pew Research Center found widespread support for helping Ukraine, with 74% of Americans saying the Biden administration was either providing the right amount of aid or should provide more.

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Since then, the percentage of Americans saying their country has given “too much” aid to Ukraine has steadily increased, hitting 26% in January. 

Poland renames Russia's Kaliningrad

Poland is reverting to using its historical name for Kaliningrad, a Russian city and administrative region it borders. 

It will be designated on Polish maps as Krolewiec from now on, following a recommendation from the government commission on geographic names abroad.

The Kremlin reacted angrily, with its spokesperson Dmitry Peskov calling the move a “process bordering on insanity” that went beyond Russophobia.

The city, formerly known as Koenigsberg, was ceded from Germany to the Soviet Union after World War II. In 1946, it was renamed Kaliningrad, after Mikhail Kalinin, one of the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution.

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Polish authorities said the current name was artificial, lacking any connection to the city or the region, whereas the centuries-old name of Krolewiec was part of Poland’s cultural heritage.

They also pointed out that Kalinin was one of six Soviet officials who ordered the execution of more than 21,000 Polish prisoners of war. 

The Ukraine war has reinvigorated deep-seated tensions between Russia and Poland, with Warsaw emerging as a key ally of Kyiv, supplying it with weapons and rallying international support.

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