BELGOROD: Two civilians were killed on Friday in shelling on Russia’s Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine, while Moscow’s forces attacked Kyiv for a sixth day in a row.
Over the past few days, hundreds of residents have fled villages near Russia’s border with Ukraine as shelling intensified in the southwestern Belgorod region.
Earlier in the day, the regional governor said two women were killed by shelling. “Shrapnel hit cars passing by. Two women travelling in one of them died on the spot from their wounds,” he said.
Two people were severely wounded by the shelling that hit a village in the district of Shebekino.
The head of the Shebekino district, Vladimir Zhdanov, said authorities were continuing to evacuate people but faced difficult conditions.
UK supports adding Ukraine to Nato; Blinken warns against peace efforts that may ‘reward’ Russian aggression
On Thursday, the Russian defence ministry said forces had used jets and artillery to repel a Ukrainian attempt to “invade” the region of Belgorod.
On Friday, Ukraine said it had destroyed all 15 missiles and 21 drones from a new wave of overnight attacks that left two people wounded in Kyiv.
Ukraine’s path to Nato
Britain supports adding Ukraine to Nato and “that path is open” to them, although political realities may slow the process, British Defence Minister Ben Wallace said on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security meetings in Singapore.
He noted that it is not possible to add members in the middle of a war, and that the way forward was to continue aiding and arming Ukraine for both short- and long-term security.
“The best thing we can do to help Ukraine is now to help them defeat Russia,” Wallace said.
’Just and durable“ peace effort
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned against any peace initiatives that could help legitimise Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian territory, saying a “just and durable” peace effort should address accountability and reconstruction.
Delivering what US officials described as a highlight speech that lays out Washington’s view of 16 months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Blinken said over the coming weeks and months some countries were likely to call for a ceasefire.
But for any peace effort to be lasting, he laid out, it requires Ukraine’s “full participation and assent” and should support Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery, with Moscow paying its share, Blinken said.
“A ceasefire that simply freezes current lines in place and enables Putin to consolidate control over the territory he seized and then rest, rearm and re-attack. That is not a just and lasting peace,” Blinken said.
“It will legitimise Russia’s land grab, it would reward the aggressor and punish the victim,” he said.
He added that if and when Russia is prepared to discuss “true peace” Washington will respond and would be open to a broader discussion about European security that would reduce the likelihood of further conflict.
The US has been Ukraine’s top military and economic supporter, sending billions worth of weapons systems to defend itself.
Blinken said Washington was working with Ukraine and other allies to build consensus around the core elements of a durable peace and welcomed any initiatives but said they must uphold the principles of the United Nations charter.
“We will support efforts whether by Brazil, China, or any other nation if they help find a way to a just and lasting peace,” Secretary Blinken added.
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2023