Ukraine at perilous crossroad as £1.6 billion lifeline granted from US

It is the most difficult time in Ukraine in months, ITV News Correspondent John Ray reports

Crossing Ukraine’s western border is always a disorientating experience.

Today, the sun shines and the traffic flows swiftly on the highway to Kyiv.

It can be hard to keep in mind this nation has been fighting for its existence for two grinding years.

But away to the east, where we are heading, that war has reached another important juncture.

There, Russian troops have mounted a series of incursions - the most sustained since 2022. Around 8,000 civilians have been evacuated from the path of their attack.

Ukrainian commanders, mindful that Moscow may be mounting a feint, have still had to deploy reserves to the Kharkiv region.

The US secretary of state is in Kyiv today to stand symbolically shoulder-to-shoulder with his embattled hosts.

He comes with the promise of $2 billion (£1.6 billion) of military aid - and for the first time gave Ukraine licence to deploy western weapons against targets inside Russia itself.

In the past there was reluctance to do so for fear of escalation.

Perhaps the public change of heart is a measure of the sudden seriousness of the situation.

So too is Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s decision to cancel all foreign engagements for the time being.

"It’s a very serious situation," a Ukrainian friend tells me. "We still don’t have the artillery or the missiles."

The US military aid was delayed for months, so this was a crisis made in part by political infighting in Washington.

Now, new air defence systems are promised; they can’t arrive soon enough.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin says his soldiers are making progress on all fronts.

For once, it’s not an entirely empty boast.

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