Ukraine news – live: Zelenksy rebuffs calls to cede territory to Russia

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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he will not give up his country’s land in return for an end to the war with Russia.

Negotiations for a peace deal cannot resume until Russia demonstrates it is willing to move its troops and equipment back “to the position before 24 February” when Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, Mr Zelensky said in a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Earlier, Russia said it is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported, citing comments by foreign minister Andrei Rudenko on Wednesday.

It comes amid fears of global food shortages as Putin’s troops’ blockade Black Sea ports in Ukraine’s south.

Key Points

  • Ukraine won’t give up land for peace, Zelensky says

  • Russia claims it will end food blockade amid global supply fears

  • Soros: Civilisation may not survive this war

  • Russia encircling Donbas cities

  • Zelensky says he will negotiate with Putin only

  • Mariupol basement hides 200 corpses

  • Russian attack in Donbas ‘largest on European soil since WWII', says Ukraine

Ukraine health emergency sparks rival resolutions at WHO assembly

09:09 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A proposal to condemn the regional health emergency triggered by Russia‘s aggression in Ukraine will come before a World Health Organisation (WHO) assembly on Thursday, prompting a rival resolution from Moscow that makes no mention of its own role in the crisis.

The original proposal backed by the United States and more than 40 other countries, condemns Russia‘s actions but stops short of immediately suspending its voting rights at the U.N. health agency.

The Russian document backed by Syria, which echoes the language of the first text, will also be decided on.

If the Western-led initiative passes nearly unanimously, observers say it would send a powerful political message that is rare in the multilateral system.

“The devastating military actions undermine the efforts to ensure health and wellbeing for everybody, undermine the mission of WHO,” Adam Niedzielski, the health minister for Poland which is one of the resolution’s backers, told the assembly.

“I believe the Organisation cannot remain silent in these cases.”

Both resolutions express “grave concerns over the ongoing health emergency in and around Ukraine“, but only the Western-led proposal says that the emergency is “triggered by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine“.

US rejects Russia’s offer to unblock Ukrainian ports in exchange for lifting sanctions

08:58 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

US has rejected Russia’s offer to unblock Ukrainian ports in exchange for lifting sanctions, as reported by The Kyiv Independent.

U.S. Department of State spokesman Ned Price called Russia’s suggestion “empty promises.” The quickest solution to rising prices, he said, “is to end the Russians’ brutal war.”

Charles laments ‘nightmare situation’ during visit to Ukraine refugee centre

08:47 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Prince of Wales has spoken out about the “nightmare situation” in Ukraine during a trip to Romania to meet refugees who have fled the war in their homeland.

Charles was joined by distant relative Margareta, head of the Romanian royal family, for the unannounced tour of a donation centre for refugees in the capital Bucharest.

Speaking through an interpreter, the prince told a group of Ukrainian families: “We feel for Ukraine, a nightmare situation. Keep praying.”

My colleague Tony Jones has more:

Charles laments ‘nightmare situation’ during visit to Ukraine refugee centre

UK foreign secretary visits Bosnia to pledge support

08:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is visiting Sarajevo today to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to peace and stability in Bosnia amid growing fears of malign influence from Russia in the ethnically-divided Balkan country.

During her one-day trip, Truss will meet with top Bosnian officials and announce plans to deepen “security and economic partnership with (the country) in the face of secessionists and Russian attempts to influence and destabilize” it, the U.K. Foreign Office said in a statement.

Truss will also address Bosnia’s multi-ethnic armed forces to urge support for Ukraine with a message that “Russia‘s aggression cannot be appeased. It must be met with strength,” it added.

Bosnia condemned Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations, but failed to agree on imposing sanctions against the Kremlin because of opposition from Serb officials.

President of World Bank warns war could trigger global recession

08:24 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The president of the World Bank has warned a global recession could be triggered from the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, David Malpass pointed to the slow growth of Germany’s economy due to higher energy prices.

“As we look at the global GDP ... it’s hard right now to see how we avoid a recession,” he said. “The idea of energy prices doubling is enough to trigger a recession by itself.”

Ukraine and Russia represent 53 per cent of global trade in sunflower oil and seeds, and 27 per cent in wheat, according to the United Nations.

They also export 28 per cent of fertilisers made from nitrogen and phosphorous, as well as potassium, but a current shortage in fertiliser production could dramatically impact economic conditions worldwide.

Russian forces shell 40 towns in eastern Ukraine

08:08 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian forces have shelled more than 40 towns in Ukraine‘s eastern Donbas region, forcing Ukrainians to bury civilians killed in mass graves, as Tass news agency reported some 8,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war in the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk.

After failing to seize Ukraine‘s capital Kyiv or its second city Kharkiv in its three-month-old war, Russia is trying to take full control of the Donbas, comprised of two eastern provinces Russia claims on behalf of separatists.

Russia has poured thousands of troops into the region, attacking from three sides in an attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces holding out in the city of Sievierodonetsk and its twin, Lysychansk. Their fall would leave the whole of Luhansk province under Russian control, a main Kremlin war aim.

“The occupiers shelled more than 40 towns in Donetsk and Luhansk region, destroying or damaging 47 civilian sites, including 38 homes and a school. As a result of this shelling five civilians died and 12 were wounded,” the Joint Task Force of Ukraine‘s armed forces said on Facebook.

It said 10 Russian attacks were repelled, four tanks and four drones destroyed, and 62 “enemy soldiers” killed.

ICYMI - Russia ‘ready to let Ukraine export food’ as crisis warnings mount

07:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko said on Wednesday, as concerns grow over a global food shortage due to the war.

Russia’s invasion has sparked a global food crisis that the UN has warned could starve millions and lead to civil unrest in hunger-prone countries.

Russia has blockaded Ukrainian ports, stopping exports from one of the world’s biggest grain producers and sending food prices skyrocketing around the world.

Western allies of Ukraine have been discussing ways to break the Russian blockade without military intervention, Liam James reports.

Russia ‘ready to let Ukraine export food’ as crisis warnings mount

Russia preparing for Battle of Sievierodonetsk

07:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Institute for the Study of War has said the intensity of Russian attacks and the amassing of troops suggests Russia may start its offensive on Sievierodonetsk prior to cutting off Ukrainian ground lines of communication, as reported by The Kyiv Independent.

Sievierodonetsk is a city in the Luhansk Oblast of Ukraine, located to the northeast of the left bank of the Siverskyi Donets river and approximately 110 km to the northwest from the Oblast capital, Luhansk.

Donbas separatist leader calls for Russia’s military operation to be accelerated

07:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The leader of Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway Donetsk region has called for the military operation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine to be accelerated, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Denis Pushilin, head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said Kyiv had blocked water supplies to key cities in the north of the region and called for military action to be stepped up.

Russia has suffered significant losses, says MoD

07:16 , Stuti Mishra

Russia’s failure to anticipate Ukrainian resistance and the subsequent complacency of Russian commanders has led to significant losses across many of Russia’s more elite units, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence in its latest intelligence update on the war today.

Russia’s airborne forces – the VDV – have been heavily involved in several notable tactical failures since the start of Russia’s invasion, the MoD noted. Russian doctrine anticipates assigning the VDV to some of the most demanding operations. The 45,000-strong VDV is mostly comprised of professional contract soldiers. Its members enjoy elite status and attract additional pay.

“The VDV has been employed on missions better suited to heavier armoured infantry and has sustained heavy casualties during the campaign,” it said. “Its mixed performance likely reflects a strategic mismanagement of this capability and Russia’s failure to secure air superiority.”

“The misemployment of the VDV in Ukraine highlights how Putin’s significant investment in the armed forces over the last 15 years has resulted in an unbalanced overall force,” the statement concludes.

Russia integrating Kherson into its educational system

06:55 , Stuti Mishra

The Russia-controlled Kherson region of Ukraine will be integrated into Moscow’s education system, the Russian Tass news agency has reported quoting local officials.

“We will integrate into Russia’s education system but preserve the best local educational traditions,” Tatiana Kuzmich, chief of the Kherson region’s education department, told the agency on Thursday.

“Obviously, we should reject the Bologna system and return to the best domestic educational traditions. Schools in the Kherson region will follow this path,” she said.

The statement comes after Vladimir Putin fast-tracked the process of Russian citizenship for Ukrainian residents of the occupied Zaporizhzhiaand Kherson regions.

Alexei Selivanov, a Moscow-installed officer of the ministry of internal affairs of Zaporizhzhia has also told the agency that the move means these territories will not return to Ukraine.

People hold a Ukrainian flag with a sign that reads: ‘Kherson is Ukraine’, during a rally against the Russian occupation in Kherson (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
People hold a Ukrainian flag with a sign that reads: ‘Kherson is Ukraine’, during a rally against the Russian occupation in Kherson (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Foreign secretary to warn against ‘appeasement’ of Putin

06:30 , Stuti Mishra

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss is expected to warn against any attempt at “appeasement” of Vladimir Putin and will tell allies and partners there must be no “backsliding” in support for Ukraine during her visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina today.

“Russia’s aggression cannot be appeased. It must be met with strength,” Ms Truss is expected to say in a speech to the Bosnian armed forces at Sarajevo’s Army Hall.

“We must not allow a prolonged and increasingly painful conflict to develop in Ukraine,” she will say, according to a statement from the foreign office.

“We must be relentless in ensuring Ukraine prevails through military aid and sanctions. We can’t take our foot off the accelerator now.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Zelensky pleads with the west to send more weapons

06:10 , Stuti Mishra

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has pleaded with the west to send more help to Kyiv “without exceptions, without limits”, as he said his army was facing the fiercest attack by Russian forces yet.

“We need the help of our partners – above all, weapons for Ukraine. Full help, without exceptions, without limits, enough to win,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Wednesday, where he also rebuffed the suggestions that Ukraine should cede control of areas occupied by Russian forces.

Mr Zelensky’s statement comes as Russia intensifies its assault on the eastern Donbas region. He said in some places Russia has many more weapons and soldiers.

“I am grateful to everyone who spoke about it, including in Davos,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seen on a screen as he addresses the audience from Kyiv (AP)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seen on a screen as he addresses the audience from Kyiv (AP)

Charles laments ‘nightmare situation’ during visit to Ukraine refugee centre

05:50 , Stuti Mishra

The Prince of Wales has spoken out about the “nightmare situation” in Ukraine during a trip to Romania to meet refugees who have fled the war in their homeland.

Charles was joined by distant relative Margareta, head of the Romanian royal family, for the unannounced tour of a donation centre for refugees in the capital Bucharest.

More than a million Ukrainians have crossed the border into Romania since the Russian invasion in February and the nation has had to quickly adapt to deal with the needs of the displaced.

Read more details on the visit here:

Charles laments ‘nightmare situation’ during visit to Ukraine refugee centre

US says Russia granting occupied Ukrainians citizenship is an attempt to ‘impose will by force’

05:33 , Stuti Mishra

Reacting to Russia’s move to fast track citizenship for Ukrainians living in areas held by Vladimir Putin’s forces, the US has said it is a move “to subjugate the people of Ukraine, to impose their will by force”.

“We have seen Russian forces forcibly remove individuals from occupied territory. We have seen Russia’s forces transport Ukrainians to the so-called filtration camps,” the US state department’s spokesman Ned Price told journalists in a briefing late on Wednesday.

“We have seen Russia’s forces attempt through other ways to subjugate, otherwise subdue the Ukrainian people in these areas,” Mr Price said.

“So to the extent that this is an effort that is only loosely disguised as an element of Russia’s attempt to subjugate the people of Ukraine, to impose their will by force, that is something that we would forcefully reject,” he further said.

“It is not entirely unlike Russia’s attempts to manufacture these fake referenda, referenda that are designed to offer the veneer of legitimacy to Russian rule over parts of what is sovereign Ukrainian territory; referenda where Russian-backed officials tend to somehow accrue 90-plus, 99 per cent of the vote.”

He also said Russian forces had used this tactic before in Crimea in 2014 and earlier in Chechnya.

Russian forces shell more than 40 towns in Ukraine’s Donbas region

05:06 , Stuti Mishra

Russian forces shelled more than 40 towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, Ukraine’s military has said.

“The occupiers shelled more than 40 towns in Donetsk and Luhansk region, destroying or damaging 47 civilian sites, including 38 homes and a school. As a result of this shelling five civilians died and 12 were wounded,” the Joint Task Force of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook.

The statement said 10 enemy attacks were repelled, four tanks and four drones destroyed, and 62 “enemy soldiers” were killed.

After failing to seize Ukraine’s capital Kyiv or its second city Kharkiv, Russia is trying to take full control of the Donbas, the last main escape route for civilians trapped in the path of their invasion, now in its fourth month.

The region is comprised of two eastern provinces that Moscow claims on behalf of separatists.

Russia has poured thousands of troops into the region, attacking from three sides in an attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces holding out in the city of Sievierodonetsk and its twin Lysychansk.

Their fall would leave the whole of Luhansk province under Russian control, a key Kremlin war aim.

Russia says it is opening sea corridor for ships to leave Black Sea ports

04:46 , Stuti Mishra

Russia says it is opening a safe sea corridor, which will remain open every day, to allow foreign ships to leave Black Sea ports.

Mikhail Mizintsev, who heads Russia’s National Defence Control Centre under the General Staff, said on Wednesday that 70 foreign vessels from 16 countries are now in six ports on the Black Sea including Odesa, Kherson and Mykolaiv, according to the Interfax news agency.

Earlier, it said the port of Mariupol was functioning after three months of fighting amid growing international criticism of an unfolding global food crisis triggered by its blockade.

Ukraine shares video meme of ‘suicide’ drone attacking Russian tank set to Star Wars theme

02:45 , Tom Batchelor

Ukrainian armed forces have shared a video of a so-called “kamikaze” or suicide drone neutralising a Russian tank, catching the soldiers drinking alcohol on it off guard.

“A modern kamikaze drone, equipped with a powerful explosive, flew straight into the tank, causing irreparable damage to the enemy,” Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said in the Facebook post, sharing the video.

“According to our soldiers, the Russian occupiers were quietly drinking alcohol at one of the positions, sitting on the armor of their tank. However, the usual Russian occupation was abruptly interrupted by an unexpected attack from the air,” it added.

Here is the story:

Ukraine shares meme of ‘suicide’ drone attacking Russian tank

Putin announces 10% raise to minimum wage

01:27 , Tom Batchelor

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a 10% raise to the minimum wage rate and pensions in the coming weeks, a move that comes as the Russian economy faces an unprecedented wave of international sanctions.

Mr Putin said in a government meeting that the minimum cost of living will be up 10 per cent beginning 1 June, and the minimum wage rate and state pensions will go up 10 per cent starting 1 July. The bump will bring the minimum wage to about $250 per month and the average pension to $320, according to the Interfax news agency.

“Our key and unchanging priority is to increase the welfare and quality of life of citizens,” Mr Putin said.

He also tasked government officials with increasing pay for Russian soldiers serving abroad as the Russian military operation in Ukraine enters its fourth month.

Russian tank operative reveals tactics in Ukraine war

Thursday 26 May 2022 00:15 , Tom Batchelor

A Russian tank operative has revealed tactics used in the Ukraine war, saying the hatch is left open to enable quick escape in the event of a strike.

Here is a summary of the interview, reported in a Russian newspaper:

Zelensky dismisses calls for Ukraine to cede land to Russia

Wednesday 25 May 2022 23:31 , Tom Batchelor

Volodymyr Zelensky has strongly rebuffed those in the West who have suggested Ukraine cede control of areas occupied by Russian forces for the sake of reaching a peace agreement.

Those “great geopoliticians” who suggest this are disregarding the interests of ordinary Ukrainians - “the millions of those who actually live on the territory that they propose exchanging for an illusion of peace,” he said late on Wednesday in his nightly video address to the nation. “We always have to think of the people and remember that values are not just words.”

Mr Zelensky compared those who argue for giving Russia a piece of Ukraine to those who in 1938 ceded territory to Hitler in hopes of preventing World War II.

The interests of Ukraine should not be outweighed by “the interests of those in a hurry to meet the dictator again,” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Zelensky said his army was facing the fiercest attack by Russian forces, who in some places have many more weapons and soldiers. He pleaded for even more military assistance from the West, “without exception, without restrictions. Enough to win.”

EU, US and UK form atrocity crimes group

Wednesday 25 May 2022 22:59 , Tom Batchelor

The European Union, the United States, and UK have announced the creation of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA).

The ACA will reinforce current EU, US and UK efforts to further accountability for atrocity crimes in the context of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine.

A statement on the British government website said: “It advances commitments made by the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom to demonstrate international support and solidarity at this crucial historical moment for Ukraine.”

EU High Representative, Vice-President Josep Borrell, said: “It is critical to ensure that all those responsible for the terrible atrocities committed during the unprovoked Russian military aggression in Ukraine are brought to justice.

“There can be no impunity for war crimes. The Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group will be providing advice and supporting the ongoing efforts of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s War Crimes Units to collect, preserve, and analyse evidence of atrocities to help the investigations and ensure justice takes its course.

US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken said: “This initiative will directly support efforts by the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General to document, preserve, and analyse evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed by members of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, with a view toward criminal prosecutions.

“The ACA is an essential element of the United States’ commitment that those responsible for such crimes will be held to account.”

Russian forces reportedly use thermite munitions in Donetsk

Wednesday 25 May 2022 22:20 , Tom Batchelor

Russia ‘ready to let Ukraine export food’ as crisis warnings mount

Wednesday 25 May 2022 21:46 , Tom Batchelor

Russia is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko said on Wednesday, as concerns grow over a global food shortage due to the war.

Russia’s invasion has sparked a global food crisis that the UN has warnedcould starve millions and lead to civil unrest in hunger-prone countries.

Here is the story:

Russia ‘ready to let Ukraine export food’ as crisis warnings mount

War could trigger global recession, says World Bank

Wednesday 25 May 2022 21:23 , Tom Batchelor

World Bank President David Malpass has suggested that Russia’s war in Ukraine and its impact on food and energy prices, as well as the availability of fertiliser, could trigger a global recession.

Mr Malpass told an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce that Germany’s economy, the world’s fourth largest, has already slowed substantially due to higher energy prices, and said reduced production of fertiliser could worsen conditions elsewhere

“As we look at the global GDP ... it’s hard right now to see how we avoid a recession,” Mr Malpass said. He gave no specific forecast.

He said the economies of Ukraine and Russia were both expected to see a significant contraction, while Europe, China and the United States were seeing slower growth.

Russia eases route to citizenship for occupied Ukrainian regions

Wednesday 25 May 2022 21:03 , Tom Batchelor

Vladimir Putin has signed a decree simplifying the process for residents of Ukraine‘s Russian-occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions to acquire Russian citizenship and passports.

The decree marks a further step towards “Russification” of the two regions, where Moscow’s war in Ukraine has enabled it to establish a continuous land bridge linking Russia to the Crimean peninsula which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Putin’s move extends a scheme available to residents of areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine‘s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where Moscow has issued around 800,000 passports since 2019.

Video appears to show shelling near Kharkiv

Wednesday 25 May 2022 20:45 , Tom Batchelor

Video shared on Telegram appears to show shelling near Kharkiv on Wednesday evening.

It comes after authorities in its second-largest city reopened the underground metro, where thousands of civilians had sheltered for months under relentless bombardment.

The reopening was evidence of Ukraine’s biggest military success over the past few weeks: pushing Russian forces largely out of artillery range of Kharkiv, as they did from the capital Kyiv in March.

Ukraine seeks infantry fighting vehicles and tanks from Germany

Wednesday 25 May 2022 20:17 , Tom Batchelor

Kyiv is seeking to acquire German Marder infantry fighting vehicles and ideally also Leopard main battle tanks but has not made much headway with the government in Berlin so far, Ukraine‘s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.

“Something that we think is feasible is these Marder armoured vehicles, and our dream, of course, is German Leopard tanks,” he told a news conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“But we are not even close to, we are not there.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has been criticised for dragging his feet over heavy weapons supplies to Ukraine, is scheduled to address business leaders gathered in the Swiss resort on Thursday.

Ukraine ends visa-free travel for Russians

Wednesday 25 May 2022 19:59 , Tom Batchelor

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday ordered an end to visa-free travel for Russian citizens, citing the need to improve border security in the wake of Moscow’s invasion.

Russian citizens are currently allowed to visit neighbouring Ukraine without visas. In an order posted on the presidential website, Mr Zelensky said he backed a petition submitted by a citizen asking for this practice to end.

“Against the backdrop of full-scale Russian aggression, the issue raised is important and vital. I support the need to strengthen controls on the entry of Russian citizens,” he said.

Mr Zelensky said he had sent a letter to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal asking him to work on the matter. He did not give further details.

Finland says Russian ban on gas export having ‘limited’ impact

Wednesday 25 May 2022 19:42 , Tom Batchelor

Russia halted gas exports to neighboring Finland on Saturday, a highly symbolic move that came just days after the Nordic country announced it wanted to join Nato and marked a likely end to Finland’s nearly 50 years of importing natural gas from Russia.

But Finland has said it is coping just fine without it:

Nordic nations must meet Turkey’s ‘security concerns’ to join Nato

Wednesday 25 May 2022 19:23 , Tom Batchelor

A senior Turkish official insisted after talks with Swedish and Finnish officials on Wednesday that Turkey would not agree to the two Nordic countries joining Nato unless specific steps are taken to address Ankara’s objections.

“We have made it very clear that if Turkey’s security concerns are not met with concrete steps in a certain timeframe the process will not progress,” Ibrahim Kalin told a news conference after the talks in Ankara that lasted about five hours.

Mr Kalin is the spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and a senior presidential aide.

Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join Nato last week, in a move representing one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of Russia’s war in Ukraine that could rewrite Europe’s security map.

Turkey has said it opposes the countries’ membership in the Western military alliance, citing grievances with Sweden’s — and a to a lesser extent Finland’s — perceived support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other entities that Turkey views as security threats.

Protesters speak out against Ukraine war on Cannes red carpet

Wednesday 25 May 2022 19:03 , Tom Batchelor

Protesters speaking out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine have taken to the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in the third such incident this week.

A group which contained Ukrainian filmmakers behind the 2022 film Butterfly Vision held up a banner which read “Russians kill Ukrainians. Do you find it offensive or disturbing to talk about this genocide?”.

The participants also covered their faces with transparent squares with the crossed eye image which is used in social media when content is deemed sensitive or disturbing.

During a photocall for the film, producers Darya Bassel and Yelizaveta Smith wore t-shirts with an image of an explosion on the front with the same message as the banner on the back.

The film’s Ukrainian director Maksym Nakonechnyi also wore a t-shirt that reads “Free Tayra” in reference to Ukrainian medic Julia Paevska, known as Tayra, who has reportedly been taken captive by Russian forces.

Ukraine shares video of two destroyed Russian tanks

Wednesday 25 May 2022 18:45 , Tom Batchelor

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has shared footage which it says shows two Russian tanks destroyed during fighting in the Luhansk region.

UK and Spain call on Nato to look at Russian threat from Africa

Wednesday 25 May 2022 18:29 , Tom Batchelor

Russia’s expanding influence and activity in Africa pose a “worrying” threat to the security of Nato countries along with its invasion of Ukraine and must be addressed by the military alliance, the Spanish and British defence ministers said Wednesday.

At a joint news conference in Madrid, Spain’s Margarita Robles said the expansion of operations by the Russian state and Russian private security companies such as the Wagner Group in countries like Mali and Libya was “very clear” and accused them of fomenting organised crime and terrorism.

“Nato cannot remain indifferent in this situation,” she added.

International coalition dedicated to freeing mainland Ukraine need as Nato won’t act, says senior MP

Wednesday 25 May 2022 18:02 , Tom Batchelor

An international coalition of countries dedicated to freeing Ukraine from Russian forces is needed, a senior Tory MP has said.

Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood told the Commons that a new coalition was needed as “Nato refuses to formally get involved”.

He said: “It is consensus-driven and it is clear some countries don’t want to lean forward.

“It is time, therefore, to form a coalition of like-minded nations working together to better co-ordinate military support for Ukraine, increasing the quality and quantity of equipment, assisting with supply chains and training, all united by a mission to see Ukraine push Russian forces entirely out of its mainland.”

Prince Charles calls Ukraine humanitarian crisis ‘nightmare situation’

Wednesday 25 May 2022 17:43 , Tom Batchelor

The Prince of Wales has spoken out about the “nightmare situation” in Ukraine during a trip to Romania to meet refugees who have fled the war in their homeland.

Charles was joined by distant relative Margareta, head of the Romanian royal family, for the unannounced tour of a donation centre for refugees in the capital Bucharest.

More than a million Ukrainians have crossed the border into Romania since the Russian invasion in February and the nation has had to quickly adapt to deal with the needs of the displaced.

Speaking through an interpreter, the prince told a group of Ukrainian families: “We feel for Ukraine, a nightmare situation. Keep praying.”

Russia has used 60 per cent of its high-precision weapons stock, says Ukraine

Wednesday 25 May 2022 17:13 , Tom Batchelor

UN to discuss Russian exports during Moscow visit

Wednesday 25 May 2022 16:53 , Tom Batchelor

A senior United Nations official is due to visit Moscow in the coming days to “discuss the scheme by which we can export out fertilisers,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Wednesday.

Mr Nebenzia said that “formally fertilisers and grain are not under sanctions, but there are logistical, transport, insurance, bank transfer problems” created by Western sanctions imposed on Russia that “prevent us from exporting freely”.

“We are prepared to export fertilizers and grain from our ports to the world market,” he said, adding that when it came to Ukrainian grain exports - “I think that should be negotiated with the Ukrainians, not with Russians.”

Mr Nebenzia said Rebecca Grynspan – head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development and coordinator of the UN Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance – was due to discuss Russian exports during a visit to Moscow.

Russia risks default with vow to pay foreign debt in rubles

Wednesday 25 May 2022 16:33 , Tom Batchelor

Russia says it will pay dollar-denominated foreign debt in rubles, a move that is likely to be seen by foreign investors as a default.

The US Treasury Department led by Janet Yellen allowed a license to expire Wednesday that permitted Russia to keep paying its debtholders through American banks. The license applied to American investors and international investors who have dollar-denominated debt or bonds.

The Russian finance ministry said it will pay in rubles and offer “the opportunity for subsequent conversion into the original currency.” The ministry didn’t give a timeframe for that to happen.

Russia has not defaulted on its international debts since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Russia begins ‘de-facto annexation’ of Mariupol with passport issuing

Wednesday 25 May 2022 16:20 , Tom Batchelor

Swiss government to confiscate 100 million francs from associate of former Ukrainian president

Wednesday 25 May 2022 16:11 , Tom Batchelor

The Swiss government on Wednesday said it would initiate proceedings to confiscate more than 100 million francs ($104 million) in assets of a close associate of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Switzerland’s governing Federal Council said it is providing support to Ukraine as Kyiv is facing “certain difficulties” in its efforts to confiscate the money, which have been compounded by the current war.

But it said the move is unrelated to sanctions imposed on Russia this year.

The government said the assets of Mr Yanukovych associate Yuriy Ivanyushchenko and family members were frozen in Switzerland following the ouster of the Kremlin-friendly Yanukovych in 2014.

A Swiss federal court will determine whether the assets can be confiscated and, if it agrees, they will be returned to Ukraine.

Putin visits injured troops ‘for first time since war started'

Wednesday 25 May 2022 15:42 , Tom Batchelor

Vladimir Putin has visited injured soldiers for the first time in the three-month war, according to reports.

The Russian president was seen in a brief clip apparently speaking to troops at an unidentified hospital.

ICYMI: Russia ‘ready to let Ukraine export food’ as crisis warnings mount

Wednesday 25 May 2022 15:40 , Matt Mathers

Russia is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko said on Wednesday as concerns grow over a global food shortage due to the war.

My collague Liam James reports:

Russia ‘ready to let Ukraine export food’ as crisis warnings mount

Russia drives to cut off key towns in Ukraine's east

Wednesday 25 May 2022 15:12 , Matt Mathers

Russia launched a fresh assault before dawn on Wednesday on the easternmost Ukrainian-held city in the battlefield Donbas region, threatening to close off the last main escape route for civilians trapped in the path of the advance.

After failing to seize Kyiv or Ukraine's second city Kharkiv, Russia is trying to take full control of the Donbas, comprised of two eastern provinces Moscow claims on behalf of separatists.

Russia has poured thousands of troops into the region, attacking from three sides in the hope of encircling Ukrainian forces holding out in the city of Sievierodonetsk on the east bank of the Siverskiy Donets River and its twin Lysychansk on the west bank. Their fall would leave the whole of Luhansk region under Russian control, a key Kremlin war aim.

"All the remaining strength of the Russian army is now concentrated on this region," President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a late night address.

Ukraine won’t give up land for peace, says Zelensky

Wednesday 25 May 2022 14:45 , Matt Mathers

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he will not give up his country’s land in return for an end to the war with Russia.

Negotiations for a peace deal cannot resume until Russia demonstrates it is willing to move its troops and equipment back “to the position before 24 February” when Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, Mr Zelensky said in a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

My colleague Liam James reports:

Ukraine won’t give up land for peace, says Zelensky

Britain calls on Russia to let Ukraine export its grain

Wednesday 25 May 2022 14:30 , Matt Mathers

Britain's defence secretary Ben Wallace on Wednesday called on Russia to let Ukraine export its grain to help countries where grain scarcity could trigger hunger.

Russia must "do the right thing", Wallace told reporters in Madrid where he met with his counterpart Margarita Robles.

He rejected the idea to lift sanctions against Russia in return for grain release and welcomed the suggestion to make Black Sea nations, such as Turkey, to escort the Ukraine grain shipments.

Ukraine says it is fighting to keep control of key supply route in Donbas

Wednesday 25 May 2022 13:48 , Matt Mathers

Ukraine is battling to remain in control of a key highway to the front-line city of Sievierodonetsk, the country's defence ministry said on Wednesday.

Defence ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said in a briefing that alternative routes existed to supply Ukrainian units in Sievierodonetsk, which is enveloped on three sided by Russian forces.

Motuzyanyk said that Russia's aim was to fully surround Ukrainian units in the city, as well as in nearby Lysychansk.

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