Ukraine fears that any pause in fighting would result in the Russians hitting back harder once they fall
Ukraine has ruled out a ceasefire deal with Moscow over fears a lull in fighting would allow Russian troops to regroup.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Russia would hit Ukraine harder only if a pause was agreed.
He also ruled out a deal that would cede territory to President Vladimir Putin.
Denis Pushilin, the pro-Kremlin head of the separatist part of Donetsk, claimed 2,439 people who were removed from the factory are now in custody.
Despite hopes that they will be sent back to Ukrainian-held territory, it looks like the soldiers will now be brought to justice.
That means the Kremlin now has a land bridge between mainland Russia and Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The capture of the devastated city will also free up Russian fighters for the major offensive currently taking place across the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, although the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) says these troops need to be “reequipped” with what can be one “lengthy process”.
More news from the weekend:
- Russia has stepped up its offensive in the Donbass region, with a new major attack reported in Luhansk province. The British MoD says the city of Severodonetsk – near Luhansk – has become a tactical priority for Russia after its victory at Mariupol
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow was taking “appropriate countermeasures” after Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO. He said Russia will form 12 units and divisions in its western military district – near its border with Finland – and is working to improve the combat strength of its troops in the region
- Western officials believe 50 Syrian barrel bomb “experts” have been dispatched to Russia, the Guardian reported. The indiscriminate weapon has caused hundreds of deaths and devastated civilian areas during Syria’s civil war, with intelligence suggesting that Russia may now be trying to use a similar tactic in Ukraine
- The Kremlin has banned Morgan Freeman from visiting Russia under an updated “stop list” of US officials and celebrities
- British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that Moldova should be “equipped according to NATO standards”. to arm themselves against Russian aggression.
- She also revealed that Britain’s allies were discussing how to help smaller nations defend against Russia.
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Here are the latest updates on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Last update: Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 4:30 p.m
It could be ’20 years’ before Ukraine joins EU – France
French Europe Minister Clement Beaune has warned that it could take “15 or 20 years” for Ukraine to become a full member of the EU.
Mr Beaune told Radio J in Paris: “We have to be honest. If you say that Ukraine will join the EU in six months or a year or two, you are lying.
“That’s probably in 15 or 20 years, that takes a long time.”
The French minister’s comments will come as a blow to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was hoping to secure quick accession to the bloc after the Russian invasion.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron has offered a compromise to create a “European political community” – a middle ground on EU membership – but Mr Zelensky has rejected the proposals.
Ukrainian soldiers have said to stop defending Mariupol
The Ukrainian military command has ordered soldiers to “save the lives of soldiers” and stop defending the city of Mariupol.
The city, heavily besieged since the beginning of the war, was at the center of a bloody struggle for control of the Azovstal Steel Works.
The complex housed civilians who are now being evacuated and was the last base of Ukrainian forces in the city. However, Russia’s top military official said the steel mill has now been “completely liberated”.
The US announces a record-breaking aid package for Ukraine
US President Joe Biden has announced the country’s largest-ever aid package for Ukraine.
The US will hand over $40 billion in aid to the country, the largest sum sent to Ukraine since the war began.
President Biden said the newly announced aid package was “a clear bipartisan message to the world” that the US would support Ukraine in defending “its democracy and freedom.”
The package includes $6 billion for security assistance, $8.7 billion for US equipment to be sent to Ukraine and $5 billion to address global food insecurity as a result of the war.
Crushing footage shows Russian soldiers shooting unarmed Ukrainian civilians
Newly released CCTV footage allegedly shows Russian soldiers shooting dead two unarmed Ukrainian civilians.
It is believed to have been filmed during the height of the conflict as it was centered around Kyiv. Footage shows two Russian guards approaching a commercial area in the city.
Two Ukrainian men approach the soldiers with raised arms.
After moving away from the encounter, the Russian guards are seen returning and shooting the two men in the back.
Now the US has urged social media platforms not to remove such footage from their sites, even if it violates their posting policy.
US Democratic lawmakers said, “If this content is verified as authentic, it could help support allegations of war crimes and other atrocities committed by Russian forces against the people of Ukraine.”
Russia: Finland joining NATO will not help security in Europe
The Kremlin has said that Finland’s entry into NATO will not help stability and security in Europe.
Putin: Russia’s military action in Ukraine a ‘necessary response to Western policies’
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policy.
Speaking about the Nazis at a military parade marking the former Soviet Union’s victory in World War II, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fight against Nazi troops and the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine.
He said the campaign in Ukraine is a timely and necessary step to ward off potential aggression.
The Russian leader added that troops are fighting for the country’s security in Ukraine and observed a minute’s silence to honor those who fell in battle.
The Russian President spoke at a Victory Day Parade in Moscow celebrating their victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
US First Lady on surprise trip to Ukraine
US First Lady Jill Biden has met with her Ukrainian counterpart during a surprise visit to western Ukraine.
She later wrote on Twitter: “This Mother’s Day I wanted to be with Ukrainian mothers and their children. Far too many Ukrainians have had to flee their homes in recent months – forcing them to leave their loved ones behind.
“As a mother, I can only imagine the sorrow and fear they must feel every day at the unprovoked attack by Russia. I have seen firsthand how people in Slovakia and Romania have opened their homes, their schools, their hospitals and their hearts.
“Together we are united for Ukraine.
“I hope that by being here I can convey how much their strength and resilience inspires the world and remind them that they are not alone.”
Russia’s Victory Day explained
Victory Day is Russia’s central national holiday and has an enduring meaning for ordinary Russians, many of whom carry portraits of their relatives who fought in the war.
While the annual event is always a mix of pride and patriotism for the Kremlin, this year there are also concerns about what President Vladimir Putin might say given his desire to make military advances as his brutal invasion of Ukraine falters .
Victory Day, May 9, was set as a priority for Russia early in the conflict, although Moscow has realized that a quick victory was impossible given Ukraine’s tight defenses.
Battle rages at the Mariupol Steel Plant
The Ukrainian military said it has retaken territory in the south and repulsed Russian attacks in the east, amid a battle raging at a steelworks in Mariupol – where Ukrainian troops have holed up in tunnels and bunkers to repel a Russian attack.
Ukrainian militants have been holding out at the sprawling Azovstal Steel Plant — the last pocket of resistance in a city otherwise controlled by Moscow’s forces.
“The enemy, with the support of aircraft, has resumed the offensive to take control of the plant,” Ukraine’s military general staff said on Thursday.
Video posted on social media on Wednesday evening showed Russian airstrikes on the steel mill.
Ursula von der Leyen: “We ensure an orderly exit from Russian oil”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said ending the EU’s dependence on Russian oil “will not be easy, but we simply have to do it”.
This will be a total import ban on all Russian oil, sea and pipeline, crude and refinery.
We will ensure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly manner so that we and our partners can secure alternative supply routes and minimize the impact on global markets.
https://www.nationalworld.com/news/world/ukraine-latest-kyiv-ceasefire-mariupol-azvostal-steel-plant-3583546 Ukraine rules out ceasefire over concerns raised by Mariupol militants