DEVELOPING | Russia and Ukraine blame each other after peace talks stall

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18 May 21:26

At least 10 Ukrainians killed by Russians in Donetsk region -governor

At least 10 Ukrainian civilians, including two children, were killed by Russian forces in the eastern region of Donetsk on Wednesday, regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said in an online message.

Kirilenko, who did not give details, said a further seven people had been injured.


18 May 19:45

US reopens Kyiv embassy after three-month closure

The US embassy in Kyiv reopened on Wednesday after a three-month closure due to Russia's 24 February invasion of Ukraine.

"We are officially reopening operations," spokesperson Daniel Langenkamp told Reuters shortly before the US flag was raised above the embassy.

He said a small number of diplomats would return initially to staff the mission.


18 May 19:03

Russia and Ukraine blame each other after peace talks stall

The Kremlin said on Wednesday Ukraine was showing no willingness to continue peace talks, but officials in Kyiv blamed Russia for the lack of progress Russia.

The last known face-to-face peace negotiations were on March 29. Officials said contacts had continued remotely but both sides said on Tuesday that the talks had stagnated.

"Negotiations are not progressing and we note the complete unwillingness of Ukrainian negotiators to continue this process", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

Interfax news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko as saying on Tuesday that Russia and Ukraine were not holding talks "in any form", and that Kyiv had "practically withdrawn from the negotiation process".

Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the situation.

"Putin is not ready to hold talks," he said on the Telegram messaging app. "The only chance(for peace) is the destruction of the Russian occupiers. As for when they will be ready to accept defeat, I think it's a matter of months."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reiterated an offer to hold direct talks with Putin last week but Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian leader, said on Tuesday that talks were "on hold".

Putin says Russian forces are on a special operation to demilitarise and "denazify" Ukraine. The West and Kyiv call that a false pretext to invade Ukraine on 24 February.


18 May 15:34

Putin ally Kadyrov admits that Russia is 'finding it difficult' in the invasion of Ukraine

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, admitted that Russia is encountering "difficulties" in its invasion of Ukraine. 

At an event in Moscow, Kadyrov addressed Russia's faltering invasion of Ukraine, in which Kadyrov's militias have played an important role and suffered heavy casualties. 

Read more on Business Insider

18 May 15:16

Russian soldier pleads guilty to killing civilian in first war-crimes trial from Ukraine invasion

A Russian solider pleaded guilty on Wednesday to killing an unarmed civilian in Ukraine.

His conviction is the first from a war-crimes trial linked to Russia's invasion. Ukrainian officials have said thousands more cases are open.

Read more

18 May 14:41

OPINION | Russian activist Sergey Davidis: We need to support Ukraine against Putin's dictatorship

The rhetoric of some of Vladimir Putin's spokespersons is hardly distinguishable from the rhetoric of Nazi Germany chieftains. Under such circumstances, most citizens adopt a position of passive acceptance, writes Russian lawyer and human rights activist, Sergei Davidis.

Read more on News24

18 May 13:51

Putin said he invaded Ukraine to stop NATO expanding. He is achieving the opposite.

Russian President Vladimir Putin argued that invading Ukraine would stop the NATO military alliance expanding. That plan now appears to have backfired.

Since the early 2000s, Putin has complained that NATO's eastward expansion, welcoming nearby countries like Latvia and Lithuania, is a threat to Russia's national security.

Read more on Business Insider

18 May 08:45

Finland, Sweden hand in applications to join NATO

Finland and Sweden on Wednesday handed in their bids to join US-led alliance NATO, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine up-ended decades of military non-alignment.

"The applications you have made today are an historic step. Allies will now consider the next steps on your path to NATO," alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said, after receiving the bids from the Finnish and Swedish ambassadors at NATO headquarters.


17 May 20:48

Russian attacks kill 7 in Donetsk region-governor

Russian attacks killed seven civilians in the Donetsk region on Tuesday, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on his Telegram channel.

Kyrylenko said six people had been injured. Reuters could not independently confirm the governor's account.


17 May 18:40

Ukrainian president and France's Macron discuss Ukraine's war with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday he had a "long and meaningful" phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron about the war in Ukraine.

"Told about the course of hostilities, the operation to rescue the military from Azovstal and the vision of the prospects of the negotiation process. Raised the issue of fuel supply to Ukraine," Zelenskiy said on Twitter.

"We also discussed defence support from France, preparation of the 6th package of (European Union) sanctions (against Russia), possible ways to export Ukrainian agricultural products. Held a substantive discussion of our application for the status of a candidate for EU membership."


17 May 15:54

Eight dead in Russian strike on Ukraine village housing military base - official

Russian strikes on Tuesday targeting a village in north Ukraine where a military based is located left eight people dead and injured 12 more, a local official told AFP.

Spokesperson for the Chernigiv region's emergency services, Oleksandr Ivchenko, said "eight people were killed and 12 were injured" during a Russian attack on the village of Desna where a Ukrainian military base is located.

- AFP 

17 May 11:04

Rescue mission under way at Azovstal as hundreds evacuated

More than 260 fighter have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. 

- Ukraine has managed to repel the Russian army for longer than many expected.

- Moscow's new military focus is the Donbas region. 

Read more

16 May 22:04

Ukraine says 20 civilians killed in shelling in Luhansk, Donetsk regions

Ukraine's Joint Forces Task Force said late on Monday that 20 civilians, including a child, were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The military task force said in a statement on its Facebook page that 25 communities in the regions were fired at, with 42 residential buildings and a school among locations hit.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the report.

There was no immediate response from Russia to the report.


16 May 21:02

Nine civilians killed in Russian attacks in Ukraine's Donetsk region - governor

Nine civilians were killed by Russian attacks on Monday in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, the region's governor said.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, in a post on the Telegram messaging app, said nine residents were killed and six injured.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the report.


16 May 19:38

Russian troops pushed to within 3-4 km of Russian border near Kharkiv- US official

Ukrainian forces have pushed back Russian troops near the country's second-largest city of Kharkiv to within 3 to 4 kilometres of the Russian border, a senior US defence official said on Monday.


16 May 19:37

At least 10 killed as Russia shells Ukraine's Severodonetsk: governor

At least ten people were killed in the latest shelling in Severodonetsk in the east of Ukraine, as the city is almost surrounded by Russian troops, the Lugansk region governor Sergiy Gaiday said Monday.

Russian troops "are shelling Severodonetsk without stopping," Gaiday said in a statement in Telegram."

At least ten people were killed. It is currently extremely difficult to check the area due to new shelling," he added, urging the locals not to leave the shelters.


16 May 17:14

16 May 15:46

Ceasefire reached to evacuate wounded from Azovstal - Russian ministry

Russia's defence ministry said on Monday that an agreement has been reached to evacuate injured soldiers from the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol.

"An agreement was reached with representatives of the Ukrainian military blocked at Azovstal in Mariupol to evacuate the wounded," the ministry said, adding that a "regime of silence" was introduced for the duration of the evacuation.

- AFP 

16 May 13:59

Flood saves Ukrainian village from Russian occupation

- The small of village of Demydiv in the Ukraine was purposely flooded to ward off Russian troops. 

- Residents say it was worthwhile though they are forced to move around in boats. 

- Russia's invasion is now in its third month. 


16 May 12:47

Adriaan Basson | An ominous warning to SA from Putin's enemy No. 1

News that the ANC's largest funder is linked to a Russian oligarch with close ties to Moscow is an alarming development, writes Adriaan Basson.


16 May 11:22

Ukrainian troops defending Kharkiv reach state border with Russia - governor

Ukrainian troops defending the city of Kharkiv have reached the state border with Russia, the regional governor said on Monday.

Reuters could not independently verify the comments made by Kharkiv region governor Oleh Sinegubov on the Telegram messaging service. It was not immediately clear how many troops had reached the Russian border and where.

Ukraine has been retaking territory in its northeast, driving Russian forces away from Kharkiv, the second-largest Ukrainian city.

- Reuters 

16 May 09:47

ANALYSIS | Nicholas Westcott: The war in Ukraine - Africa risks paying a heavy price for neutrality

If African countries mean what they say about respecting sovereignty and building a fairer international system, they need to step in, not step away, writes Nicholas Westcott. 


16 May 08:45

Ukraine restarts gas distribution stations, supplies in Kharkiv

Ukraine's gas transit system operator said over the weekend that it had resumed operations at two distribution stations in the Kharkiv region and restarted gas supply to more than 3 000 consumers.

Ukraine has scored a series of successes since Russia invaded on February 24, forcing Moscow's commanders to abandon an advance on the capital Kyiv before making rapid gains to drive them from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-biggest city.

"Both stations were shut down due to damage to the main gas pipeline in the Kharkiv region as a result of hostilities," the operator said in a statement, adding that the damages have now been repaired.

Some 54 gas distribution stations in seven regions of Ukraine remain shut down, the operator added.

- Reuters 

16 May 08:44

OPINION | Czechia foreign minister Jan Lipavský: Reject Orwellian analogies that war is 'liberation'

The unprovoked, illegal Russian aggression against Ukraine should remind us how memories can be violated for the sake of neo-imperial policies, writes Jan Lipavský, the foreign minister of Czechia.


15 May 17:14

NATO assures Ukraine open-ended military support against Russia

NATO on Sunday pledged open-ended military support for Ukraine, as Finland hailed its "historic" bid to join the alliance and with Western claims that Russia had suffered heavy losses in its push east.

The promise came after Finland jettisoned decades of military non-alignment for a bulwark against Russia, redrawing the balance of power in Europe and angering the Kremlin.

On the ground in Ukraine, Russia announced air strikes in the east, as well as in Lviv, near the Polish border in the west which has largely been spared the destruction of elsewhere.

At a meeting of alliance foreign ministers in Berlin, Germany's Annalena Baerbock said it would provide military assistance "for as long as Ukraine needs this support for the self-defence of its country".

"Ukraine can win this war. Ukrainians are bravely defending their homeland," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg added.

Finland's move to join NATO is expected to be followed by neighbouring Sweden as soon as Monday, despite concerns from member state Turkey which has accused both countries of harbouring Kurdish extremists.

Stoltenberg said the alliance would look to provide both with interim security guarantees while the applications are processed, including possibly by increasing troops in the region.


15 May 14:42

Kyiv praises Berlin for arms deliveries

Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba praised Germany on Sunday for setting a "precedent" and overcoming a "psychological barrier" by delivering heavy weapons to Kyiv.

"A precedent has been set. The first psychological barrier (on handing weapons to Ukraine) has been overcome," Kuleba said in a video on Facebook while on a visit to Berlin.

After previously limiting deliveries to defensive weapons, Berlin is ramping up shipments of heavy arms to Ukraine, sending German self-propelled howitzers to Kyiv.

Kuleba said Germany had hosted training for Ukrainian soldiers on how to use the artillery.

"This is an extremely important moment for our relations, because it will be the first heavy weapons that Germany will hand over to Ukraine soon," he said.

Germany said it would send seven Pazerhaubitze 2000s (armoured howitzer 2000) to Ukraine last week, which Kuleba said would be used to "smash the enemy."

He had discussed what other weapons could be given to Kyiv, but "the final decision is still up to the Germans," Kuleba said.

Kuleba also discussed more weapon deliveries to Ukraine with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the German capital.

"More weapons and other aid is on the way to Ukraine," he said on Twitter, posting a photograph of his meeting with the US official.


15 May 14:22

Russia says it strikes Ukraine positions in battle for Donbas

Russia said on Sunday it had pummelled Ukrainian positions in the east with missiles, targeting command centres and arsenals as its forces seek to encircle Ukrainian army units in the battle for Donbas.

Nearly three months since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russian and Russian-backed forces are still in control of an area of Ukraine about the size of Greece along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea and in Ukraine's east bordering Russia.

Russian forces have been driven out of the area around the city of Kharkiv in the northeast in the past two weeks, their most rapid losses since being expelled from areas around Kyiv and the north of Ukraine at the start of April.

Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, is trying to capture two eastern provinces known as the Donbas. Its forces have been pushing down from the city of Izium south of Kharkiv in an attempt to surround Ukrainian forces between Izium and Russian-controlled territory around the city of Donetsk.

Russia's defence ministry said rockets had hit two command points, 11 company positions and four artillery stores in four regions of the eastern Donetsk region, some deep in Ukrainian-controlled territory between Donetsk and Izium.

Russian forces, the defence ministry said, had hit areas near the cities of Baxmut and Kostyantynivka. Russia also destroyed two S-300 missile systems and a radar post in the Sumy region of north-eastern Ukraine, the defence ministry said.

Russia said that since the start of the military operation, its forces had destroyed 165 aircraft, 125 helicopters, 879 unmanned aerial vehicles, 306 anti-aircraft missile systems, and 3,098 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles.

The reports from the Russian defence ministry could not be independently confirmed.


14 May 21:58

14 May 21:56

Ukraine's Zelensky: situation in Donbas region remains very difficult

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday said the situation in the Donbas region remained very difficult, adding that Russian forces were still trying to demonstrate some kind of victory.

"On the 80th day of a full-scale invasion this seems especially crazy, but they are not stopping their efforts," he said in a late-night video address.


14 May 20:26

Top US Senate Republican McConnell meets Zelensky in Kyiv

Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate, paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Saturday with other Republican senators and met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for talks.

McConnell is pressing Republican Senator Rand Paul to end his opposition to a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, which has overwhelming support from both major parties.

Zelensky hailed what he said was a powerful signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine.

"Thank you for your leadership in helping us fight not only for our country but also for democratic values and freedoms. We really appreciate it," he said in a statement.

McConnell was accompanied by Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas.

Dozens of foreign politicians and celebrities have visited Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February to show their support.

President Joe Biden's wife, college professor Jill Biden, made an unannounced trip to Kyiv last Sunday.


14 May 19:55

14 May 19:53

Ukraine could win war by year-end: Kyiv intel chief

The war in Ukraine could reach a "breaking point" by August and end in defeat for Russia before the end of the year, Kyiv's head of military intelligence told the UK's Sky News on Saturday.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov, 36, told the news network that he was "optimistic" about the current trajectory of the conflict.

"The breaking point will be in the second part of August," he said."Most of the active combat actions will have finished by the end of this year.

"As a result, we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories that we have lost including Donbas and the Crimea," he said.

Intense fighting is currently raging in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region, where Russia has recently been concentrating its forces without making significant progress.

Budanov said that Ukraine knows "everything about our enemy. We know about their plans almost as they're being made."Russia has so far been able to claim complete control of only one major city, Kherson, and the military offensive that many experts predicted would be lightning fast has been marked by setbacks, especially logistical.

The Ukraine intelligence chief also made unverified claims that a coup was already under way in Moscow to depose President Vladimir Putin, and that the Russian leader was "very sick" with cancer.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in April that reports Putin had cancer were "an invention and a lie."

- AFP 

14 May 12:20

14 May 12:19

Ukrainian servicemen load bodies of Russian soldiers onto refrigerated rail cars

Ukrainian military authorities loaded the bodies of Russian soldiers collected after fighting in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions onto refrigerated rail cars on Friday.

Volodymr Lyamzin, the head of Ukraine’s civil-military cooperation, said his country was acting in accordance with international law and was ready to return the bodies to Russia.

Read more on News24

14 May 09:47

Siya Khumalo | Plot twist in Russia vs Ukraine crisis as Sweden and Finland broach NATO membership

If Sweden and Finland join NATO before Ukraine, it's Putin's loss or it's proof Ukraine was a pawn among rich countries that posture (but don't act) on principle: time will tell, writes Siya Khumalo.

Read more on News24

13 May 14:59

'Every second was hellish' - survival and escape from the Mariupol steelworks in Ukraine

Five storeys below the besieged Azovstal steelworks, Ukrainian soldiers told Nataliya Babeush she had a few minutes to prepare to escape the underground bunker she called home for more than two months.


13 May 14:39

13 May 14:21

Ukraine asks G7 to seize Russia assets to rebuild country

Ukraine asked the G7 countries on Friday to seize Russia's assets and hand them to Kyiv to help rebuild the country, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, adding that he hoped Hungary would agree with EU partners an oil embargo on Moscow.

"Canada has already done this and I have a feeling that others will reach that point sooner rather than later. We are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. Russia must pay," he told reporters on the sidelines of a G7 foreign ministers meeting in northern Germany.

- Reuters

13 May 14:11

Millions could die in global food crisis unless Putin stops blockading Black Sea ports, UN warns

The head of the United Nations World Food Program pleaded with Russia's President Vladimir Putin to open the Black Sea ports before "millions" of people die of hunger, CNN reported.


13 May 14:07

WATCH | Ukraine prepares for first war crimes trial. US says prosecutors ready to try war criminals

A US ambassador said on Thursday that it will be challenging to apprehend Russians accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine but said international prosecutors will be ready to capture them if they travel abroad. 


13 May 13:20

Russian soldier said he would quit the army because there is no point in fighting in Ukraine - report

A Russian soldier told The Guardian he would quit the army because there is no point in fighting in Ukraine. 


13 May 13:00

13 May 12:33

NATO membership would deter conflict: Swedish review

Swedish membership in NATO would reduce the risk of conflict in northern Europe, a security policy review by parties in Sweden's parliament said on Friday.

"Swedish NATO membership would raise the threshold for military conflicts and thus have a deterrent effect in northern Europe," the report presented at a press conference in Stockholm said.


13 May 11:51

Moscow says EU becoming 'aggressive, militant'

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said he doubted the motives of Ukraine's intention of joining the European Union, while accusing Brussels of ambitions beyond the European continent.

Ukraine, where Russia launched a military campaign on 24 February, "is ready to declare a neutral, non-aligned status", Lavrov told reporters following a meeting of CIS foreign ministers in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe.

"At the same time, they are trying in every possible way to emphasise their desire to become an EU member," Lavrov added.

"There are serious doubts about how harmless such a desire is from Kyiv," he said.


13 May 11:30

Ukrainian forces prevented attempted Russian river crossing in the Donbas, Britain says

Ukrainian forces successfully prevented an attempted Russian river crossing in the Donbas, the British defence ministry said in a regular Twitter bulletin on Friday.

Images suggest that Russia has lost armoured manoeuvre elements of at least one battalion tactical group and the deployed pontoon bridging equipment while crossing the Siverskyi Donets river west of Severodonetsk, Britain said in its intelligence update.

- Reuters

13 May 10:39

13 May 10:05

UK's Truss says need to supply more weapons to Ukraine to pressure Russia

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday that it was vital to keep up the pressure on Russia by supplying more weapons to Ukraine and imposing further sanctions.

"It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine and by increasing the sanctions," she told reporters on arrival at a G7 foreign ministers meeting in northern Germany.

- Reuters

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