Russia-Ukraine war: nine dead in Kharkiv shelling; Ukrainian general warns of Russian advantage in Luhansk – live

Kharkiv death toll rises to 9 dead

Nine people were killed in Kharkiv Thursday, the regional governor said, and 19 were injured.

Governor Oleg Sinegubov said on social media that 19 civilians were injured. Among the dead were a five month old.

These, he said, are “the terrible consequences of Russian aggression”.

As my colleagues Shaun Walker and Lorenzo Tondo reported earlier: the Russian-speaking city at the border of Ukraine was pounded by artillery for first time in two weeks, just as life there was beginning to to normal.

Russian troops had been pushed back over the past few weeks, but remained within arrillery range of the city.

Divisions in EU over Russia sanctions is ‘matter of saving lives’, Zelenskiy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has complained about divisions inside the European Union over more sanctions against Russia and asked why some nations were being allowed to block the plan.

The EU is discussing a sixth round of punitive measures, including an embargo on Russian oil imports.

Such a move requires unanimity but Hungary opposes the idea for now on the grounds its economy would suffer too much.

“How many more weeks will the European Union try to agree on a sixth package?” Zelenskiy asked in a late night address on Thursday, noting that Russia was receiving a billion euros a day from the 27-nation bloc for energy supplies.

“Of course I am grateful to those friends who are advocating new sanctions. But where do the people blocking this sixth package get their power from? Why are they allowed to hold such power?” he asked.

Berlin hopes talks on the new round of sanctions will be completed soon but it will not be a topic at a leaders’ summit next week, a German official said on Wednesday.

Pressure on Russia is literally a matter of saving lives. And every day of procrastination, weakness, various disputes or proposals to ‘pacify’ the aggressor at the expense of the victim merely means more Ukrainians being killed,” he said.

On Wednesday he savaged suggestions that Kyiv make concessions to bring peace, saying the idea smacked of attempts to appease Nazi Germany in 1938.

He also reiterated complaints that the world had so far failed to totally isolate the Russian banking system and was not providing heavy weapons quickly enough.

Kharkiv death toll rises to 9 dead

Nine people were killed in Kharkiv Thursday, the regional governor said, and 19 were injured.

Governor Oleg Sinegubov said on social media that 19 civilians were injured. Among the dead were a five month old.

These, he said, are “the terrible consequences of Russian aggression”.

As my colleagues Shaun Walker and Lorenzo Tondo reported earlier: the Russian-speaking city at the border of Ukraine was pounded by artillery for first time in two weeks, just as life there was beginning to to normal.

Russian troops had been pushed back over the past few weeks, but remained within arrillery range of the city.

Catch up

  • Officials in Ukraine have admitted that Russia has the “upper hand” in fighting in the country’s east. The governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, said just 5% of the area now remained in Ukrainian hands – down from about 10% little more than a week ago – and that Ukrainian forces were retreating in some areas.
  • At least nine civilians were killed, including a child, and 19 injured by Russian shelling in the city of Kharkiv in north-east Ukraine, regional authorities have said. Residents have been urged to go to, or remain in, shelters. The claims have not been independently verified.
  • There are about 8,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war held in the Russian-backed self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, the Luhansk official Rodion Miroshnik has said. “That’s a lot, and literally hundreds are being added every day,” Miroshnik was quoted by the Russian Tass news agency as saying.
  • Russia has deployed mobile propaganda vans with large-screen televisions to humanitarian aid points in the captured city of Mariupol. The Orwellian turn comes as the Kremlin continued to push forward with efforts to integrate newly occupied territories across the south of Ukraine.
  • Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president who is a close Putin ally, has ordered the creation of a new military command for the south of the country bordering Ukraine. The Belarusian armed forces previously said they would deploy special operations troops in three areas near its southern border with Ukraine. Lukashenko has also talked up the role of Russian-made missiles in boosting the country’s defences.
  • Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, said that “weapons, weapons and weapons again” are what the country needs.Russia still has a weapons advantage, and Ukraine needs “more heavy weapons. Without these, we won’t be able to push them back,” he said in a Twitter q & a.

Léonie Chao-Fong, Guardian staff

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, said that “weapons, weapons and weapons again” are what the country needs.

Russia still has a weapons advantage, and Ukraine needs “more heavy weapons. Without these, we won’t be able to push them back,” he said in a Twitter q & a.

Asked about peace talks, he said:

The moment Russia requests a ceasefire will mean only one thing, that Russia is one step away from losing the war. Russia will not request a ceasefire while they are on the offensive. But when they request a ceasefire we will think twice and three times before considering.

US officials are questioning Americans who travel to Ukraine to fight Russia, citing domestic security issues, reports Politico’s Besty Woodruff Swan and Christopher Miller:

U.S. officials, worried about domestic security issues, have been questioning Americans at airports as they travel to Ukraine to fight Russia, according to an intelligence bulletin reviewed by POLITICO.

The document shows that the U.S. government is gathering information about Americans traveling to Ukraine and is interested in their activity after they return. But critics say the focus on “violent extremist-white supremacists” echoes one of the Kremlin’s top propaganda points: that supporting Ukraine means also supporting neo-Nazis.

It comes as Washington grapples with a messy challenge: dissuading Americans from fighting alongside soldiers who have received some of their training and many of their weapons from the U.S. itself.

The Justice Department has not said whether it’s legal for Americans to join the Ukraine conflict. But no Americans are known to face criminal charges just for traveling to Ukraine to fight Russia, which invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24. This document shows that if law enforcement officials wanted to bring charges, they’ve had plenty of opportunities.

Read the full article here.

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy will be speaking virtually tomorrow at Stanford University, according to a tweet from a current professor at the school.

Michael McFaul, a professor at Stanford and a former US ambassador to Russia, tweeted about Zelenskiy’s impending talk:

Here’s a story from the Guardian’s Pjotr Sauer about a Russian soldier’s life as a prisoner of war:

Still getting used to the feel of his gun and military fatigues, Anton suddenly found himself surrounded by Ukrainian forces as bullets flew by, with one striking his arm.

“It was our first confrontation with the enemy; we hadn’t even fired a shot. They ambushed us, and we couldn’t fight back. We had to surrender,” said Anton, a 21-year-old Russian serviceman, in an interview with the Guardian.

Anton was taken captive by Ukrainian forces near Mykolaiv on 2 March with five other soldiers from his unit, as Russian forces were staging an offensive on the strategically important shipbuilding city near the Black Sea.

Anton, who asked not to be identified with his real name, would spend the next 45 days in Ukrainian captivity. He was eventually released in mid-April after Moscow arranged a prisoner exchange with Ukraine, and spoke to the Guardian from Russian territory.

Anton’s story is a very rare account of a Russian PoW who has since been exchanged, as both Russia and Ukraine have released very little information about the fate of the hundreds of captive Russians.

Moscow does not publicise the names of its service people captured in Ukraine. However, during his captivity, Anton was interviewed as a Russian prisoner by a prominent Ukrainian vlogger. He was also named as a captured Russian soldier on websites close to the Ukrainian authorities.

Read the full story here.

World Health Organization (WHO) member states strongly condemned Russia today for its invasion of Ukraine and attacks on healthcare sites, reports AFP.

At WHO’s annual healthcare convention, the resolution condemning Russia was approved by 88 votes, with 12 votes against. A Russian counter-resolution on the health crisis in Ukraine did not get approved.

The approved resolution says that it “condemns in the strongest terms” Russia’s “military aggression against Ukraine, including attacks on healthcare facilities”.

The resolution also demands Russia “immediately cease any attacks on hospitals” and other healthcare facilities.

Ukrainian ambassador Yevheniia Filipenko said that the resolution and vote “sends a clear signal to the Russian Federation: stop your war against Ukraine. Stop attacks on hospitals.”

“The World Health Assembly confirmed that the responsibility for the health crisis in Ukraine rests exclusively with the Russian Federation,” added Filipenko.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said today that the military situation in eastern Ukraine is much worse than people say it is, reports Reuters.

During a live question and answer session on Twitter, Kuleba said that the military situation in Ukraine’s eastern part is worse than many people say. Kuleba added that Ukraine still needs heavy weaponry to effective fight Russia.

Kharkiv hit by fresh strikes amid fears city is still on Russian agenda

This is the latest update on the situation in Kharkiv from Shaun Walker and Lorenzo Tondo:

Artillery has pounded the city of Kharkiv for the first time in two weeks, just as life in Ukraine’s second city was starting to return to normal after Russian troops were pushed back from its outlying towns and villages.

Kharkiv’s regional governor, Oleh Synehubov, said at least seven people had been killed and 17 injured in the attacks on the northern part of the city.

“There’s no logic to it, it’s just terror against the local population, to sow panic and to destroy critical infrastructure,” said Synehubov, dressed in military fatigues with a pistol at his hip, in an interview with the Guardian in central Kharkiv shortly after the attacks.

The largely Russian-speaking city near the border of the two countries was heavily attacked during the first days of the war as Russian forces tried to take control, but they were pushed back to the suburbs. The Russians sent artillery and missiles into the city, on one occasion destroying the regional administration building, housed in a grand Stalin-era structure.

The Russians have been pushed further back over the last six weeks as Ukrainian forces regained control of several towns and villages, but they remain well within artillery range of the city centre.

“For two weeks it’s been relatively quiet … I think this is them saying hello, telling us they are still there, trying to create panic,” Synehubov said.

A damaged car is seen at shelled Severnaya Saltyvka residential area, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine May 26, 2022. Photograph: Iván Alvarado/Reuters

One fascinating aspect of US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s speech on America’s China policy was the promise to use the unity caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a tool in that broader global rivalry.

As the AP reports, Blinken thinks the coalition of nations now helping Ukraine against Russia can be mashalled by the US into a broader group opposing Chinese influence: “While the US sees Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine as the most acute and immediate threat to international stability, Blinken said the administration believes China poses a greater danger.

“Blinken laid out principles for the administration to marshal its resources, friends and allies to push back on increasing Chinese assertiveness around the world. Although he made clear that the US does not seek to change China’s political system, rather it wants to offer a tested alternative.

“This is not about forcing countries to choose, it’s about giving them a choice,” he said.

Russia’s defence ministry said civil vessels may safely use the Azov Sea port, in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, as it had eliminated the danger from mines.

The ministry said yesterday that Russian forces had completed removing mines in the port and nearby waters.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, warned that the western countries supplying weapons to Ukraine capable of hitting Russian territory would be “a serious step towards unacceptable escalation”, Russian state-owned news agency Tass reports.

Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov as saying that he hoped sane people in the west would understand this, adding:

There are still a few left there.



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