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Six weeks since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s troops have largely withdrawn from territory north of Kyiv after failing to seize the capital.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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Coronavirus digest

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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.

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US secretary of state Antony Blinken listens to US president Joe Biden and Chinese president Xi Jinping’s virtual meeting in November
US secretary of state Antony Blinken listens to US president Joe Biden and Chinese president Xi Jinping’s virtual meeting in November © Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg

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