Putin warns of ‘lightning fast’ retaliation to intervention in war; White House plans more aid for Ukraine

‘We would never feel safe again’ if Putin succeeds in Ukraine, UK says

“If Putin succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe,” said U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Mateusz Wlodarczyk | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The fate of Ukraine is hanging in the balance and Western allies must “double down” on their support for the country to ensure Putin fails in Ukraine, the U.K.’s foreign secretary said Wednesday.

“Ukraine’s victory is a strategic imperative for us all,” Liz Truss said in a speech in London last night, as she argued the Group of Seven industrialized nations and their allies need to maintain pressure on Russia through tougher sanctions, including “cutting off oil and gas imports once and for all,” providing further military aid, and continued humanitarian support.

“If Putin succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe,” she said, adding that “we would never feel safe again.”

“So we must be prepared for the long haul and double down on our support for Ukraine,” she said. Truss’ comments come at a time when tensions between Western nations and Russia have risen significantly, with President Vladimir Putin warning that Russia will retaliate against any intervention in the Ukraine war.

Holly Ellyatt

Blinken says Europe has ‘ambitious’ plans to cut energy reliance on Russia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2022. Blinken and the defense secretary on Monday committed a total of $713 million in foreign military financing for Ukraine and 15 allied and partner countries. 

Al Drago | Reuters

European countries have ‘genuinely ambitious’ plans to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, adding that ‘further progress’ was expected on Russian oil imports in the coming weeks.

“The Europeans have, I think, genuinely ambitious plans to move away from this reliance on Russian energy. The challenge is to put them into effect,” Blinken said at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Around half of Russia’s 4.7 million barrels per day of crude exports go to the EU. Cutting them off would deprive Moscow of a major revenue stream.

“I think you are likely to see in the coming weeks further progress on the oil side of the equation in terms of Russian imports. Gas is a bigger challenge,” he added.

The European Union is considering options to cut imports of Russian oil as part of possible further sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, but none has been formally proposed as governments assess their impact.

— Reuters

White House set to make ‘massive’ funding request for more Ukraine aid

A C-130 Hercules taxis on the flightline July 14, 2014, at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kelly Goonan | U.S. Air Force

The White House is preparing to send a request to Congress for additional Ukraine aid as early as Thursday, administration officials confirmed to NBC News.

Officials described the amount of the request as “massive” but would not provide a specific dollar amount as some of the details have not been finalized.

The officials said the dollar amount sought should be able to fund U.S. support for Ukraine through the end of the current fiscal year, which ends in September. Since Russia’s late February invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has authorized $3.4 billion in military assistance.

Last week, President Joe Biden said that he was running out of funding authorized by Congress and would soon send a request to lawmakers.

The latest military aid package of $800 million, which is the eighth installment of aid, comes after eight weeks of war and as Russian forces prepare for a renewed fight in the east and south of Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

Putin threatens to retaliate against anyone who interferes with war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks past a guard during a ceremony honouring the country’s Olympians and Paralympians at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia April 26, 2022. 

Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned world leaders against interfering with what he continues to call a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

“I want to stress once more, the special military operation in the Ukraine and Donbas, which started in February, all the objectives will be definitely carried out to guarantee the security of people in the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, the Russian Crimea and all our country,” Putin said before Russia’s Council of Legislators in St Petersburg.

He said Russia’s military prevented a “real threat, which was hanging over our motherland.” Putin added that the Kremlin would retaliate against anyone who interfered with the ongoing military operation.

“Our response, our retaliation, those attacks will be lightning-fast. We have all instruments for that. Such instruments that no one can boast of … and we’re going to use them if we have to. I want everybody to know that,” Putin said.

It was not immediately clear what was meant by instruments. Putin also said the rafts of global sanctions against Russia have failed to “strangle us economically.”

— Amanda Macias

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