Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine
NATO chief speaks with Erdogan about Finland, Sweden joining
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference along with the European Parliament President Roberta Metsola (not pictured) at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, April 28, 2022.
Johanna Geron | Reuters
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has met with Finland’s prime minister and spoken to Turkey’s president as he seeks to overcome Turkish resistance to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.
Stoltenberg, who visited Washington this week, tweeted that he met with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin while there and discussed “the need to address Turkey’s concerns and move forward” with the Finnish and Swedish membership applications.
Russia’s war in Ukraine pushed the Nordic countries to apply to join NATO, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Sweden and Finland of supporting Kurdish militants deemed by Turkey to be terrorists.
Stoltenberg said he had a “constructive phone call” with Erdogan, calling Turkey a “valued ally” and praising Turkish efforts to broker a deal to ensure the safe transportation of grain supplies from Ukraine amid global food shortages caused by Russia’s invasion. Stoltenberg tweeted that he and Erdogan would continue their dialogue, without elaborating.
— Associated Press
The Art of War: 101 days in, street artists show their support of Ukraine
It’s been 101 days since Russia invaded Ukraine and street artists around the world continue to create works showing support for Ukraine and condemnation of Russia. See the full collection here.
Ukrainian soldiers take pictures of a mural titled ‘Saint Javelin’ dedicated to the British portable surface-to-air missile has been unveiled on the side of a Kyiv apartment block on May 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The artwork by illustrator and artist Chris Shaw is in reference to the Javelin missile donated to Ukrainian troops to battle against the Russian invasion.
Christopher Furlong | Getty Images
Murals of two young Ukrainian victims portrayed on the wall. On the left, Vitaliy Skakun Volodymyrovych (1996-2022) who is seen as a hero by the Ukrainian army for his heroic action during the explosion of a bridge to stop the Russian army, on the right, 10 year old Ukrainian Polina, murdered by Russian soldiers when she and her family tried to flee Kyiv by car.
Ana Fernandez | Sopa Images | Getty Images
Street artist Denys Antiukov and his assistant Hanna work on a mural inspired by the Russian Warship, Go F… Yourself! postage stamp in the Khortytskyi district of Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine.
Albert Koshelev | Future Publishing | Getty Images
A newsagent picks up magazines next to a mural by Italian urban artist Salvatore Benintende aka “TV BOY” depicting a girl painting a peace symbol on an Ukraine’s flag, reading “Hope” in Barcelona on April 30, 2022.
Pau Barrena | AFP | Getty Images
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA – APRIL 26: Street art paintings which supports Ukraine on April 26, 2022 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and has been met with worldwide condemnation in the form of rallies, protests and peace marches taking place in cities across the globe. (Photo by Paulius Peleckis/Getty Images)
Paulius Peleckis | Getty Images
— Getty Images | Reuters | AP
Ukraine says no point in talks until Russian troops pushed back
Ukraine said there was no point in negotiating with Russia until Moscow’s forces are pushed back as far as possible toward Ukraine’s borders.
Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak makes statements on the latest developments in the war during an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Kyiv, Ukraine on April 19, 2022.
Metin Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak made the comment when asked about an offer from French President Emmanuel Macron to mediate talks between Kyiv and Moscow to end the war in Ukraine that passed the 100-day mark on Friday.
“…Until we receive weapons in their full amount, until we strengthen our positions, until we push them (Russia’s forces) back as far as possible to the borders of Ukraine, there is no point in holding negotiations,” Podolyak said on television.
Macron, who has sought to maintain dialogue with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin since Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion, said the West should not humiliate Russia, so that it can keep the doors open for a solution to be reached through diplomacy.
Ukraine, which says that Russia has already occupied about 20% of its territory, is now receiving more powerful weapons from the West.
“Our armed forces are ready to use (the new weapons)…and then I think we can initiate a new round of talks from a strengthened position,” David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian lawmaker and a member of the negotiation team, said on Friday.
Among other things, the United States will give Ukraine precision HIMARS rocket systems allowing it to hit Russian positions from a longer range.
Ukraine says Russian troops are trying to cut access to Sievierodonetsk
A photograph shows an explosion in the city of Severodonetsk during heavy fightings between Ukrainian and Russian troops at eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on May 30, 2022, on the 96th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images
Kyiv said Moscow had reinforced its troops around Sievierodonetsk and attempted to cut off Ukraine’s access to the industrial city, the focus of a Russian offensive to take the eastern Donbas region.
Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province, said Russian forces were blowing up bridges across the Siverskyi Donets river to prevent Ukraine from bringing in military reinforcements and delivering aid to civilians in Sievierodonetsk.
“The Russian army, as we understand, is throwing all its efforts, all its reserves in that (Sievierodonetsk) direction,” Gaidai said in a live TV broadcast. “Russians are blowing up bridges, so we could not bring in reinforcements to our boys in Sievierodonetsk.”
Since being driven back from the capital Kyiv, Russia has launched a massive assault in Luhansk and Donetsk, two provinces that make up the eastern Donbas region.
For both sides, the fighting in the east in recent weeks has been one of the deadliest phases of the war, with Ukraine saying it is losing 60 to 100 soldiers every day.
Ukraine’s military said on Saturday Russia had used artillery to conduct “assault operations” in Sievierodonetsk, but Russian forces retreated and Ukrainian troops are holding positions inside the city, around 145 kilometers (90 miles) from the Russian border.
Russian soldiers also attempted to advance towards Lysychansk, across the Siverskyi Donets river from Sievierodonetsk, but were stopped, Ukraine’s military general staff said.
Reuters reached Sievierodonetsk on Thursday and was able to verify that Ukrainians still held part of the city.
In neighboring Donetsk province, Russian troops were just 15 km (9 miles) outside the city of Sloviansk, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Reuters on Friday.
Britain’s defense ministry said Russian air activity remains high over Donbas, with Russian aircraft carrying out strikes using both guided and unguided munitions.
In Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, a missile hit an agricultural storage unit, wounding two people, the regional administration’s spokesman wrote on Telegram.
UK says Russia’s offensive in northern Ukraine ‘ended in a costly failure’
The U.K. Ministry of Defence said Russia’s offensive in northern Ukraine “ended in a costly failure.”
The ministry said Russian forces were spread “too thinly without enough support from artillery and combat aircraft.” It said those efforts were based on “wildly optimistic assessments about the welcome Russian troops would receive in Ukraine.”
“Russia has now adopted a ‘strategy of attrition’ and is achieving slow and costly gains in the Donbas” region of eastern Ukraine, the ministry said.
— Christine Wang
Putin blames ‘short-sighted’ Western policy for energy, food issues
Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the West for problems in global food and energy markets, warning new sanctions would only exacerbate the situation.
“It’s an absolutely short-sighted, erroneous, I would say, simply a stupid policy which leads into a dead end,” Putin said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the road construction development via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on June 2, 2022.
Mikhail Metzel | AFP | Getty Images
Russia’s war in Ukraine has roiled the global economy, disrupting global food and energy supply chains. The two nations produce about 30% of the world’s wheat and barley. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that food prices are at the highest levels ever recorded.
“The unfavorable situation in the global food market did not begin to take shape yesterday or even from the moment Russia launched a special military operation in the Donbass and Ukraine. It began to take shape as early as February 2020 in the process of combatting the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said, according to a TASS report translated by NBC News.
Putin’s comments come as the U.N. continues its efforts to release grain trapped in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports due to Russia’s blockade.
— Christine Wang
UN calls for end to violence as it works to release grain exports stuck in Black Sea ports
As the war in Ukraine entered its 100th day, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the conflict “already taken thousands of lives, caused untold destruction, displaced millions of people, resulted in unacceptable violations of human rights and is inflaming a three-dimensional global crisis – food, energy and finance – that is pummeling the most vulnerable people, countries and economies.”
“As we mark this tragic day, I renew my call for an immediate halt to violence, for unfettered humanitarian access to all those in need, for safe evacuation of civilians trapped in areas of fighting and for urgent protection of civilians and respect for human rights in accordance with international norms,” the UN chief said.
The UN said it is continuing work to release grain stuck in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports as well as securing fertilizer from major producer Russia. The agency estimates 1.5 billion people globally are in need of that food and fertilizer. It stressed resuming exports is key to preventing another crisis.
While humanitarian efforts have sought alternatives to maritime exports, the UN said the sea is still the “only viable solution” because of “the huge amount of cereals and other essential foodstuffs produced.” Rail and truck transportation cannot manage the same volume and have their own logistical problems, UN crisis coordinator for Ukraine Amin Awad said.
— Christine Wang