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Hungary will never send weapons to Ukraine, foreign minister says

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told CNBC on Tuesday that the country will never send weapons to Ukraine, saying that the “more weapons delivered, the longer the war will take.”

Szijjártó added that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in October to see if there is scope for peace in the ongoing conflict.

Despite being a member of the EU, Hungary has maintained friendlier ties with Russia, pushing back against European sanctions on Moscow and against efforts to curb Russian oil and gas imports. Hungary has defended its continued energy cooperation with Russia, saying it needs to maintain energy supplies and combat inflation.

— Karen Gilchrist, Holly Ellyatt

Russia conducting a ‘hybrid operation’ at borders, Finnish foreign minister tells CNBC

Russia has been allowing migrants without valid documents through to the Finnish border, as well as “mobilizing” people toward Finland and the European Union, Finland’s minister for foreign affairs Elina Valtonen told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro on Tuesday.

“We consider this to be a hybrid operation by Russia,” she said, adding that Finland had “responded accordingly” by deciding to shut its entire border with Russia.

'We have decided to close the entire border' with Russia, says Finland's minister for foreign affairs

“We hope that Russia goes back to normal where they respect our treaties,” Valtonen said. If treaties continue to be disrespected by Russia, borders may remain closed, she added.

Border closures may also impact people who live across the two countries, and diplomatic missions that may otherwise use the crossings to come into the West, she added.

“I think this just goes to show that Russia, in its current state, is using all possible means to cause trouble,” Valtonen said.

She also addressed Ukraine’s application to join NATO, saying Finland believed Ukraine’s “rightful place is in NATO in the future,” while pointing out that the alliance cannot accept new members if they are actively involved in a war.

“Whatever the steps are we can take to advance Ukraine’s membership in NATO in the future we will take those steps,” Valtonen said.

She also reiterated support for Ukraine in its “fight for freedom.”

— Sophie Kiderlin

Germany is increasing its military support for Ukraine: Foreign minister

“We are not only keeping up our military support for Ukraine’s self defense, but we are increasing it by 8 billion euros [$8.79 billion],” Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, said Tuesday in response to a question asked by CNBC’s Silvia Amaro.

Baerbock added that the NATO-Ukraine forum — scheduled as part of the ongoing NATO meeting in Brussels — also makes clear “that the security and the peace in Ukraine is also the insurance for peace in Europe.”

Germany increasing military support for Ukraine, foreign minister says

Wife of Ukraine’s military intelligence chief in hospital following suspected poisoning

The wife of Ukraine’s military intelligence chief has been admitted to hospital with suspected poisoning, Ukrainian media reported Tuesday.

Sources in the Ukrainian intelligence community told the Kyiv Post news outlet that Marianna Budanova, the wife of Ukraine’s head of intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, had been poisoned.

KYIV, UKRAINE – MARCH 10: Kyrylo Budanov, Chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine, speaks during the farewell ceremony for Dmytro Kotsiubailo on Independence Square on March 10, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The farewell ceremony for Dmytro Kotsiubailo known as “Da Vinci” was held in St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, and then the procession went to the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). 27-year-old “Da Vinci” was the commander of the “Da Vinci Wolves” battalion as part of the 67th Separate Mechanized Brigade. Three days ago, Dmytro Kotsiubailo died in a battle with Russian troops on the front line near Bakhmut. Dmytro became the first volunteer who received the highest national title of Hero of Ukraine during his lifetime with the award of the Order of the Gold Star for personal courage. (Photo by Yurii Stefanyak/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

When asked to confirm reports that Budanova had been taken ill, a source in Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence was quoted as telling the Kyiv Post: “Unfortunately this is true.”

The Babel news outlet said its intelligence sources had informed it that Budanova had been “poisoned with heavy metals.”

Budanova’s condition in hospital is unknown but Babel reported that “the course of treatment is now being completed, and then there will be a check-up by the doctors,” quoting an unnamed source. Budanova had been diagnosed with heavy metal damage.

“These substances are not used in any way in everyday life and military affairs. Their presence may indicate a purposeful attempt to poison a specific person,” the intelligence agency said.

Media outlets said the suspected poisoning was being investigated and treated as an attempted assassination.

— Holly Ellyatt

3,000 additional Chechen fighters to be sent to Ukraine, leader says

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov attends a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in the Chechen capital Grozny, Russia May 9, 2022. 

Chingis Kondarov | Reuters

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said an additional 3,000 Chechen fighters will be sent to fight in Ukraine.

“To solve the tasks set by our Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin, we will not spare any effort or resources,” Kadyrov said on Telegram Monday, adding: 

“This position is shared with me by another three thousand worthy Chechen soldiers who have begun service as part of new units of the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian National Guard.”

He said two new regiments subordinate to Russia’s defense ministry had been created, called “AKHMAT-Russia” and “AKHMAT-Chechnya.” Kadyrov said most of the troops have battle experience and “the best equipment and modern weapons.” 

“In addition, the guys are highly combative and very motivated to achieve results.”

Chechen fighters have a fierce reputation and one gained in two wars fought against Russia in the 1990s and early 2000s when the Chechen Republic sought independence from Russia. Times have changed since then, however, and Kadyrov is a Putin loyalist.

Kadyrov said the 3,000 Chechen personnel were ” the best of the best” and described them as “the ones who deserve to be the loyal foot soldiers of our unsurpassed leader Vladimir Putin!”

— Holly Ellyatt

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