FirstFT: Nato states agree to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine
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Nato member states have agreed to supply new types of advanced weaponry to Ukraine as Kyiv prepares for a fresh Russian offensive in the east.
The pledge followed a plea from Ukraine’s foreign minister for western countries to move faster with supplies or instead see “many people die . . . because this help came too late”.
Six weeks since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s troops have largely withdrawn from territory north of Kyiv after failing to seize the capital. But they are regrouping and rearming ahead of an advance in the eastern Donbas region, Ukrainian and western officials said.
That has sparked demands from Kyiv for more heavy weapons, armour and more advanced systems. Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he would use a Nato meeting in Brussels to request aircraft, missiles, armoured vehicles and heavy air defence systems.
Liz Truss, UK foreign secretary, told reporters after the meeting that member states had backed giving “new and heavier equipment to Ukraine, so that they can respond to these new threats from Russia”.
The latest on the war in Ukraine:
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Five more stories in the news
1. Porsche IPO shows old ties are loosening in corporate Germany Germany doesn’t do glitzy initial public offerings, but its most coveted and profitable auto brand is being let loose on the market by owner Volkswagen with a partial flotation planned for the end of the year. When it comes, Europe’s investment banks will be left looking on wistfully from the sidelines.
2. Emmanuel Macron reckons with anger and apathy With polling day approaching, the French president’s path to re-election has been complicated by divisions and discontents as well as the pull of far-right and hard-left candidates.
3. European credit funds hit by first quarter outflows Investors have withdrawn close to €14bn from European corporate debt funds in the worst three months since the start of the pandemic, as the war in Ukraine fired up already rapid inflation and stirred market volatility.
4. New Wolseley owner accuses co-founder of causing ‘last resort’ sale Thailand’s Minor Hotel Group, which won full control of London’s Wolseley and Delaunay restaurants last week, has accused their original co-founder Jeremy King of refusing its offer to recapitalise the business, leaving it with no option but to launch a “last resort” sale.
5. Imperial College reinforces European links with French partnership Imperial College London has set up a partnership with CNRS, France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, to sustain cross-Channel academic collaboration in the wake of post-Brexit barriers.
Japan is set to lift an entry ban on non-resident foreign nationals from 106 countries, one of the strictest border regimes among richest nations.
The UK’s long Covid toll hit a record, with a study estimating 1.7mn people, or 2.7 per cent of the population, were suffering symptoms more than four weeks after contracting the virus.
MPs in Germany reject a bid to make Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for those over 60.
The days ahead
Rio Tinto AGM Rio Tinto will lose another board member after its annual meeting today, with non-executive director Hinda Gharbi set to exit in the wake of the miner’s 2020 decision to blow up an Aboriginal heritage site. (West Australian)
Economic data France is to release industrial production figures today, Italy reports February retail sales data and Norway publishes February GDP figures. Canada is set to unveil March unemployment numbers.
French presidential election The first round of France’s presidential election will be held on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know about the state of the race. If no single candidate wins a majority, a likely scenario, there will be a second round vote on April 24.
What else we’re reading
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‘He believes Putin will fall and he will run for president’ Film-maker Daniel Roher tells of how his thrilling documentary portrait of jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny came together under extreme circumstances.
The secret life of fungi is weirder and wilder than you can imagine Fungi are hot in the science community right now, with a vast new frontier opening up that makes the space race look like a school project. Tim Hayward explores why the future is at our feet.
Twitter’s edit button will not rewrite your life Usually, editing is a good idea. The proliferation of rambling newsletters has reinforced the need for it. However, Twitter’s virtue is that it is a forum for quick debate. Introducing edits would only make this a ponderous affair, writes Emma Jacobs.
Competitive co-operation or containment? Martin Wolf reviews two books that set out opposing views on how the US should approach its relationship with superpower rival China.