Latest news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

Ukraine says Russian forces focus fight on Donetsk

Ukrainian soldiers carry new military weapons in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on May 14, 2022.

Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Ukrainian Armed Forces said the main focus of Russian fighters is on Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

In the latest operational update posted on Facebook, Ukraine said 16 Russian attacks were repelled in the Donetsk and Luhansk directions last night with eight Russian tanks, 17 units of armored fighting vehicles, four special armored vehicles and six conventional enemy vehicles destroyed.

They also said that Russian forces are trying to recover lost positions around the main city of Kharkiv in northeastern Russia. Earlier in the week, Russian forces retreated to the border.

Ukraine claimed that Russia was looking to engage university students in occupied Donetsk “in hostilities” in the absence of other resources to mobilize. The information could not be verified.

– Holly Eliat

Vyshyvanka Day in Ukraine

Women in traditional Ukrainian dress.

Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wished his countrymen all the best on Vyshyvanka Day, a national holiday that celebrates the traditions and popular culture of Ukraine in the national costume, the traditional embroidered dress called “vyshyvanka”.

“I wish you health. Strong, unbreakable, brave and free. Happy Vyshyvanka Day, Ukraine!” , Zelensky said on his Telegram channel today, while wearing his embroidered T-shirt.

The day, which is traditionally celebrated on the third Thursday of May every year, has even more resonance this year as it happens as Ukraine is still under attack from Russia.

Holly Eliat

An official says a ceasefire in Ukraine is impossible unless Russia withdraws all its forces

An advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that a ceasefire in Ukraine is impossible unless all Russian forces withdraw.

“Do not offer us a ceasefire – this is impossible without the complete withdrawal of Russian forces,” Mikhailo Podolak said on Twitter on Thursday.

He said that Ukraine is not interested in the new “Minsk” agreements and the renewal of the war in a few years, referring to several failed agreements aimed at ending the conflict in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine – between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainians. Troops – which have been ongoing since 2014 before the broader Russian invasion.

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Unless Russia is “willing to completely liberate the occupied territories, our negotiating team is arms, sanctions and money,” he said.

Holly Eliat

British government says Moscow is expelling top commanders over failures on the battlefield

The British government said Russia’s Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, who appears here with Vladimir Putin, has likely kept his job, but may have lost Putin’s trust.

sergey johnev | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images

In recent weeks, Moscow has dismissed senior military leaders for their failure to invade Ukraine.

The British Ministry of Defense referred to Lieutenant General Serhiy Kessel, whose forces failed to capture the second largest city in Ukraine, Kharkiv. Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded the Black Sea Fleet until the sinking of the flagship, Moskva, in April, was also stopped.

Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, “is likely to remain in office,” but it is unclear whether President Vladimir Putin retains confidence in him.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an intelligence updateThe British ministry predicted that Russia would have difficulty regaining the initiative in its war against Ukraine, because generals and other officials would want to seek cover by deferring to their superiors on important decisions.

“Many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine are likely to be increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal responsibility for Russia’s operational setbacks,” the Defense Ministry said.

– Ted Kemp

Russia says it has sent 900 Ukrainian soldiers to a former prison colony

In this image taken from a video released by the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, wounded Ukrainian soldiers are seen on a bus as they are being evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Russian Ministry of Defense | AP

Russia said 900 Ukrainian soldiers had been transferred to a former prison colony in a Russian-controlled area of ​​Donetsk.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, citing the Russian Defense Ministry, that 959 Ukrainian fighters, including 51 seriously wounded, “lay down their weapons within two days.”

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She added that while the wounded were receiving medical care in a hospital in the pro-Russian “Donetsk People’s Region” in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, “the rest were sent to a pre-trial detention center” in Olenivka, where the former prison colony is located.

On Monday, the Ombudsman for Human Rights of Ukraine said on Telegram She said the Russian military is holding more than 3,000 civilians from Mariupol in the former penal colony, with some of them being interrogated and tortured. The information has not been verified, however.

The soldiers were holed up at the Azovstal steelworks plant in Mariupol and were evacuated earlier this week to Russian-controlled territory. There were expectations that they could be replaced by Russian soldiers under Ukrainian control, but this is not certain.

Ukraine said more of its fighters remained at the Azovstal steel plants, but did not say how many.

The complex was seen as the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the southern port city – the stronghold that Russia aimed to control since the beginning of its invasion on February 24 and which is seen as a strategic goal for Moscow as it aims to create a land bridge from Russia to Crimea, annexing it year 2014.

Ukraine said its soldiers had been “evacuated” while Russia claimed they had “surrendered”.

Holly Eliat

Ukraine’s presidential adviser says the war is unlikely to end by autumn

Local children sit on a swing in the yard of an apartment building destroyed by the Russian army’s air strike in Ukraine on May 13, 2022. The war in Ukraine is expected to continue through the summer and possibly beyond, presidential adviser Oleksiy Aristovich said, citing NBC. News.

Maxim Marosenko | Norfoto | Getty Images

War in Ukraine is likely to It will last through the summer and possibly beyondNBC News quoted Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Aristovich as saying, despite signs that some parts of the country are returning to normal life.

“It is quite clear to me that this war is unlikely to end by the fall,” Aristovich told Ukrainian television, according to NBC News.

It comes as President Volodymyr Zelensky is seeking to extend martial law for another 90 days, NBC News reported.

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Since the war began on February 24, martial law has been extended twice, with the current order expiring on May 25.

– Chelsea Ong

Biden is optimistic about Finland and Sweden joining NATO despite Turkey’s concerns

US President Joe Biden expressed optimism that Turkey could be persuaded to support Finland and Sweden in their efforts to join NATO.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Biden told reporters when asked if he could persuade Turkey to change its mind.

Biden’s comments came two days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan He doubled his country’s opposition For new candidates for the International Security Alliance.

However, the White House echoed Biden’s optimism at a news conference.

“We are confident that eventually, Finland and Sweden will have an efficient and effective accession process, [and] “Turkey’s concerns can be addressed,” Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.

He indicated that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was in talks with his Turkish counterpart. “We feel good about what this is going to be,” Sullivan said.

Kevin Brueninger

The United States reopens its embassy in Kyiv after closing it for three months

Staff raise a flag outside the US Embassy in Kyiv on May 18, 2022, as the embassy reopens after a three-month closure due to the Russian invasion.

Sergey Sobinsky | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images

The United States reopened its embassy in Kyiv after closing it for three months before and during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“When we suspended operations at the Embassy, ​​we made the point: While we will move US Embassy personnel for their safety and security, this will in no way preclude our outreach and support to the Ukrainian people, government and civil society. As well as our allies and partners,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrote in statment.

With the American flag hoisted over the compound, the United States became the latest Western country to resume diplomatic operations in Kyiv.

Blinken said the United States has beefed up security procedures and protocols at the embassy ahead of the reopening and return of US diplomats.

– Amanda Macias

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