🔴 Live: EU leaders to discuss Russia’s aborted rebellion, further Ukraine support in Brussels
European Union leaders will on Thursday debate the repercussions of the Wagner Group’s aborted rebellion in Russia as they pledge further support for Ukraine in its war against Moscow’s invasion at a summit in Brussels. The leaders will also talk with NATO head Jens Stoltenberg and discuss what role the EU could play in Western commitments to bolster Ukraine’s security. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
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6:12am: EU should not ‘lower the bar’ to take in Ukraine, says Denmark
Denmark’s Finance Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that his government supported European Union membership for Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and the western Balkans but said “geopolitical circumstances” did not justify skating over governance reforms, in an interview with the Financial Times on Thursday.
The EU risks “importing instability” if it relaxes its standards on democracy and corruption to hasten the accession of Ukraine and other candidate countries, Rasmussen told FT.
5:00am: EU leaders to discuss Russia rebellion, pledge support for Ukraine
European Union leaders will on Thursday debate the repercussions of the aborted rebellion in Russia as they pledge further support for Ukraine in its war against Moscow’s invasion.
At a summit in Brussels, the leaders will also talk with NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg and discuss what role the EU could play in Western commitments to bolster Ukraine’s security.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the leaders were certain to discuss Saturday’s dramatic abandoned rebellion by the Wagner mercenary group, even though it is not on the agenda of the summit or mentioned in drafts of its written conclusions.
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council of EU leaders, said the West should continue to support Ukraine and bolster its own defences.
“Ever more in these circumstances, we will reassert our commitment to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, including through sustainable financial and military assistance,” he wrote in a letter inviting leaders to the summit.
1:01am: Zelensky’s leadership honoured with top UK award
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been awarded a prestigious UK prize for his leadership and contribution to international relations, the Chatham House think tank said on Thursday.
The London-based research body said it had awarded Zelensky the 2023 Chatham House Prize, hailing his transformation from actor-turned novice politician to wartime leader as “nothing short of extraordinary”.
“The former actor has unified his nation in defiance of a formidable foe,” the think tank said in a statement.
12:28am: Russian general Surovikin was sympathetic towards Wagner rebellion, US officials say
General Sergei Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, was sympathetic to mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s weekend rebellion, US officials said on Wednesday, though it was unclear if he actively supported it.
Prigozhin startled the world by leading an armed revolt on Saturday that brought his Wagner Group fighters from the Ukrainian border to within 200 kilometers (125 miles) of Moscow before he abruptly called off the uprising.
Three officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Surovikin had been in support of Prigozhin but Western intelligence did not know with certainty if he had helped the rebellion in any way.
As the rebellion began, Surovikin publicly urged fighters of the Wagner private militia to give up their opposition to the military leadership and return to their bases.
“I urge you to stop,” Surovikin had said in a video posted on Telegram messaging app, his right hand resting on a rifle.
Key developments from Wednesday, June 28:
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that he had called a meeting of senior officials from Turkey, Sweden and Finland on July 6 to try to overcome Turkish objections to Sweden joining the military organisation.
Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday arrested a man they accused of helping Russia direct a missile strike that killed at least 11 people, including three teenagers, at a popular pizza restaurant in eastern Ukraine. The Tuesday evening attack on Kramatorsk wounded 61 other people, Ukraine’s National Police said.
Read yesterday’s liveblog to see how all the day’s events unfolded.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)
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