Connect with us

Published

on

The UK will appoint a new envoy to oversee a plan to ramp up the production of weapons and ammunition, which is now a “national priority”, the foreign secretary has revealed.

Lord Cameron, speaking on a visit to Ukraine, also underlined the importance of supporting the Ukrainian war effort against Russia, warning that the world was at an “absolutely critical tipping point” and Kyiv must prevail or else Europe faced a “very dangerous future”.

However, he cautioned against an idea from French President Emmanuel Macron to consider sending NATO troops to Ukraine to join the fight if Russia’s Vladimir Putin achieves a breakthrough, saying that such a move would be a “dangerous escalation”.

“I don’t think it is right to have NATO soldiers killing Russian soldiers,” the foreign secretary said in an interview in the western city of Lviv on Friday, having met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other top ministers in Kyiv on Thursday.

Follow live:
Moscow rages over Cameron remarks

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, shakes hands with Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 2, 2024. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Image:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, shakes hands with Lord Cameron this week. Pic: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP

Lord Cameron made the two-day trip to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to Ukraine, which most recently includes a promise to transfer more of the British military’s own stockpiles of weapons, including precision-guided bombs and air defence missiles.

The UK has also promised at least £3bn worth of military assistance annually.

But Western nations are failing to deliver munitions to Ukraine’s frontline as quickly as Russia is rearming its military, with Russian troops gaining ground in the east in recent months.

President Putin put his economy on a war footing when he launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 – something NATO allies are only slowly starting to move towards.

Rishi Sunak said last week he would increase UK defence spending to 2.5% of national income by 2030 – claiming this equated to an additional £75bn in investment.

He also said he was putting the UK defence industry on a “war footing” and added £10bn of new funding would be dedicated to domestic munitions production over the next decade.

Read more:
UK cities ‘increasingly vulnerable’ to attacks from the air
Is the UK preparing properly amid rising risk of war?

Lord Cameron met Lviv's mayor during his visit to Ukraine
Image:
Lord Cameron met Lviv’s mayor during his visit to Ukraine

‘We need to build up our own stocks’

Asked how Britain could force defence companies like BAE Systems, Thales and Babcock – that have to answer to their shareholders, not the government – to increase production lines at the required rate and scale without some kind of legislation to force them to act, Lord Cameron revealed the plan for a new envoy for defence production.

“There is a specific munitions strategy of £10bn which will do exactly what you are talking about – the ramping up of production,” he said.

“But crucially I think we can go further than that in terms of a specific defence envoy with the ability from the prime minister to go out and make sure we are doing those muti-year deals with the defence suppliers because we need not only to provide more weapons to Ukraine, we need to build up our own stocks.

“So this is very important, it is a national priority.

“The prime minister is giving the lead and I think the industry will respond.”

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Pushed on whether the new envoy – whose identity has not yet been revealed – would be the modern-day equivalent of someone like Lord Beaverbrook, who was tasked with expanding aircraft production during the Second World War, Lord Cameron said: “It is the 21st century so there won’t be a Lord Beaverbrook.”

But he signalled that the envoy’s ability to approach industry with a commitment to fund multi-year contracts for munitions would be key – and could also drive down cost.

“It is possible to go to the defence contractors and say to them: ‘You are not going to get the price you might have hoped for year after year after year because we are going to make a contract with you over the coming years to make sure we replenish our ammunition, our artillery, our long rage fires, our missiles’ – those crucial things vital for Ukraine but also vital for our own defence.”

As for why the government needed to appoint a specific envoy to this role, Lord Cameron said: “You need I think to have that direct line to the prime minister to make sure we are making this the national priority it clearly is.”

Cameron warns of ‘dangerous future’

Turning to the war in Ukraine, the foreign secretary said Europe faced “two futures” – one in which Ukrainian forces, backed by Western weapons, are able to push out the Russian invaders and secure what he called a “just peace”.

“That is a footing on which you can see great security and prosperity for us and for Europe,” he said.

But he warned: “A future in which Putin is successful and Ukraine is pushed back is I think a very dangerous future.”

Nations such as Moldova and even the NATO states of the Baltics would be worried that President Putin might turn his attention towards them next, Lord Cameron said.

In addition, the authoritarian regimes in Iran and China would be watching closely.

“I think we are at an absolutely crucial tipping point in global affairs,” Lord Cameron added.

Continue Reading

World

Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

Published

on

By

Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has directly called on his US and Chinese counterparts to join his latest summit for peace in Ukraine.

Speaking from Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Friday, Mr Zelenskyy announced a “global peace summit”, co-hosted by Switzerland, starting on 15 June.

He claimed 80 countries have already confirmed their attendance.

But he said: “I am appealing to the global leaders of the world who are still outside the global efforts of the global peace summit.

“To President Biden, the leader of the United States, and to President Xi, the leader of China, we do not want the UN charter to be burned.

“Please show your leadership in advancing the peace.”

Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

He added that it must be “real peace – not just a pause in the strikes” after various ceasefire breaches by the Russians.

More on Ukraine

Finally, he urged: “The efforts of the global majority are the best guarantee that all commitments will be fulfilled.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Shopping mall hit by strike in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

Printworks and shopping centre targeted this week

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, with a pre-war population of 1.5 million people, is close to the frontline, and has been consistently targeted since the initial invasion in February 2022.

On Thursday, its ‘Vivat’ printworks, which is the country’s largest, was hit by missiles, killing seven people, and destroying an estimated 50,000 books. A further 21 people were injured, Ukrainian officials said.

On Saturday, a strike on a shopping centre killed six people, injured 40, and left a further 16 unaccounted for, local authorities said.

Elsewhere in the city, an additional 11 people were injured as a result of strikes, including a 13-year-old boy.

Just over the border, in Russia’s Belgorod region, the regional governor there said four residents died as a result of Ukrainian attacks on Saturday.

Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

Read more
Crowded DIY stores hit by strikes
Ukrainians training without firing due to shortages
Putin thanks Xi for his Ukraine efforts

Mr Zelenskyy warned a new Russian offensive is being planned northwest of Kharkiv.

Ukrainians and military analysts have repeatedly warned of depleting weapon supplies on the frontline.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Earlier this month the US agreed to a further $2bn (£1.6bn) in military support for Ukraine.

It has consistently resisted calls to send US troops there, in line with NATO’s refusal for direct involvement in the conflict.

China has resisted calls by NATO and its member states to take a direct stance against Russia in support of Ukraine.

President Xi hosted Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a show of “friendship” earlier this month.

Continue Reading

World

Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

Published

on

By

Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

Hamas has launched rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza for the first time in months.

The barrage of rockets set off air raid sirens in cities as far away as Tel Aviv.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January, although Palestinian militants have continued to sporadically fire rockets and mortar rounds at communities along the Gaza border since then.

Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Israeli military said eight projectiles crossed into Israel after being launched from the area of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli forces recently launched an incursion.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

You can receive breaking news alerts on a smartphone or tablet via the Sky News app. You can also follow @SkyNews on X or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest news.

Continue Reading

World

India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after ‘chain of explosions’

Published

on

By

India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after 'chain of explosions'

At least six newborn babies have died after a fire broke out at a children’s hospital in India, according to reports.

Firefighters said they carried 12 newborns out of the centre in the Vivek Vihar district of east New Delhi late on Saturday night, but five of them died due to smoke inhalation.

Two other infants are believed to have already died, according to local media. There are differing reports as to whether six or seven infants have been killed so far.

Another five survived and are being treated in a nearby hospital, Delhi fire department chief Atul Garg said.

The blaze, which broke out on the first floor of the hospital, was put out after about an hour.

Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of a baby care center in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 26, 2024. A fire broke out in the care center on Saturday night killing six infants, a fire service officer said on Sunday. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)
Image:
Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of the hospital. Pic: AP

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Mr Garg told the ANI news agency that an oxygen cylinder blast was the likely cause of the fire, but there has been no official confirmation.

“It was a very tough operation,” he was quoted as saying by India Today.

More on India

“We made two teams. One team started firefighting because there was a blast of cylinders. We can say it was a chain of blasts of cylinders.

“We had to save ourselves also. We started rescue operations for babies as well. Unfortunately, we could not save all the children… That is a regrettable incident.”

The owner of the baby hospital has fled, according to Delhi police.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, called the fire “heartbreaking”, adding that the “causes of the incident are being investigated and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared”.

Machines move the debris following a fire in a gaming zone in Rajkot, in the western state of Gujarat, India, May 26, 2024. REUTERS/Amit Dave
Image:
Machines move debris after a fire in Rajkot. Pic: Reuters

Earlier on Saturday, at least 27 people were killed in a fire at a crowded amusement park in the city of Rajkot in Gujarat state in western India.

Continue Reading

Trending