Ukraine news – live: Zelensky says Donbas becoming ‘hell’ as Russia’s Belgorod ‘shelled’

President Zelensky meets US officials

Russian attacks have completely destroyed Donbas, turning the eastern Ukrainian region into “hell”, Volodymyr Zelensky said last night.

“The occupiers are trying to exert even more pressure. It is hell there – and that is not an exaggeration,” the Ukrainian president said.

“(There are) constant strikes on the Odesa region, on the cities of central Ukraine. The Donbas is completely destroyed,” Mr Zelensky said.

He added that the bombing and shelling of other cities, with “air and missile strikes” from Russia are “not just hostilities during the war”.

The British defence ministry has said it expects Russia to try and re-equip and refurbish its troops in Mariupol before deploying them in Donbas, where it could look to reinforce operations.

Meanwhile, officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross said that hundreds of Ukrainians fighters from the Mariupol steel factory have now been registered as prisoners of war.


After capturing Mariupol, Russia to focus on Donbas – British MoD

Russia will need to re-equip and refurbish its troops in Mariupol before deploying them in Donbas where it could look to reinforce operations, the British defence ministry said on Friday.

Once Russia has secured Mariupol, it is likely they will move their forces to reinforce operations in the Donbas, the ministry claimed.

“Staunch Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol since the start of the war means Russian forces in the area must be re-equipped and refurbished before they can be redeployed effectively. This can be a lengthy process when done thoroughly,” it said in its latest intelligence update.

However, Russian commanders are “under pressure to demonstrably achieve operational objectives”, the defence ministry said.

“This means that Russia will probably redistribute their forces swiftly without adequate preparation, which risks further force attrition,” it claimed.

According to the ministry officials, as many as 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers are likely to have surrendered from the Mariupol Azovstal steel factory.

An unknown number of Ukrainian forces remain inside the factory, the ministry said.

Arpan Rai20 May 2022 06:40


Kherson to join Russia soon, says Moscow-appointed governor

The South Ukrainian city Kherson will soon become a part of Russia, the region’s self-proclaimed governor said.

The announcement was made at a first meeting in the city with the occupying forces backed by Russian collaborators, reported The Kyiv Independent.

Governor Volodymyr Saldo said: “We see the Russian Federation as our own country,” stating that the new budget for Kherson has been approved in Russian rubles.

Arpan Rai20 May 2022 06:18


Mariupol troops registered as POWs

Hundreds of Ukrainians fighters from the Mariupol steel factory have been now registered as prisoners of war, officials said.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, personal details of hundreds of soldiers — name, date of birth, closest relative — have been recorded. They will be treated as prisoners and will be subjected to humane treatment of POWs under the Geneva Conventions.

The soldiers “must not be subjected to any form of torture or ill-treatment”, Amnesty International said.

Russian officials said that more than 1,700 defenders of the Azovstal steel plant have surrendered to Moscow since Monday, marking the end stage of the siege in the port city.

Arpan Rai20 May 2022 05:52


Nato military leaders say 42,000 troops and 120 jets on high alert

Top Nato military leaders commended the Ukrainian response along with the alliance’s assistance and said that the coalition’s resolve and unity is “as great as it’s ever been”.

Air Force general Tod D Wolters, commander of European Command and the Nato supreme allied commander Europe said that in the last 84 days, “our focus is to support so that Ukraine can prevail.”

“With respect to the defence of the alliance, we’ve responded in all domains, in all regions, to shield all allies. We’ve deployed elements of the Nato Response Force to strengthen our forward defence,” Mr Wolters said on Thursday.

He added that there are now eight battle groups under Nato command deployed along the eastern flank. “There are now over 42,000 troops and 120 jets on high alert, with more than 20 ships ready to respond. Our land domain has seen a 10-fold increase, the air domain a 50 percent increase of fighters patrolling the skies,” the commander said.

More than 100,000 service members from the US are in Europe to “ensure deterrence works, and the alliance has re-started training Ukrainian service members”.

“The bottom line: Nato resolve and unity is as great as it’s ever been. The performance of our Ukrainian partners facing this aggression has been very, very impressive,” he said.

Arpan Rai20 May 2022 05:26


Russian soldier in Ukraine war crime trial pleads for forgiveness from victim’s widow

A captured Russian soldier who is being tried for the first ever war crimes trial in Ukraine has asked his victim’s widow to forgive him during the court proceedings in Kyiv.

Vadim Shishimarin said he was ordered by two officers to shoot a 62-year-old civilian in Ukraine’s Sumy and he had initially refused the orders.

He asked the victim’s widow Kateryna Shelipova – who was present at the trial – to forgive him.

“I realise that you can’t forgive me, but I’m pleading with you for forgiveness,” he said.

Ms Shelipova said her husband – a pensioner and grandfather of two – had gone out to see a Russian tank that had been blown up. She added that she was “arguing with him, saying it was not safe to go out”.

Read the full story here:

Arpan Rai20 May 2022 04:55


Russia using food as weapon in Ukraine – Antony Blinken

Russia has weaponised food in Ukraine by holding the produce and supplies “hostage” not just for Ukrainians but for millions around the world, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Thursday.

“The Russian government seems to think that using food as a weapon will help accomplish what its invasion has not – to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people,” Mr Blinken said in his address to the United Nations Security Council.

He added that the food supply for “millions of Ukrainians and millions more around the world has quite literally been held hostage”.

Marred by war for nearly three months now, the war in Ukraine has led to skyrocketing of prices of grains especially wheat, cooking oils, fuels and fertilisers. The UN officials and experts have sounded an alert for a looming food crisis.

Officials in Moscow snubbed the remarks by Mr Blinken and said that Russians were “not idiots” and would not export food while being subject to tough sanctions.

Arpan Rai20 May 2022 04:42


Situation in Ukraine’s Donbas is ‘hell’, says Zelensky

Russian attacks pounding Ukraine’s industrial region Donbas have turned the area into hell, president Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday in his nightly address.

“The occupiers are trying to exert even more pressure. It is hell there – and that is not an exaggeration,” the Ukrainian president said.

“(There are) constant strikes on the Odesa region, on the cities of central Ukraine. The Donbas is completely destroyed,” Mr Zelensky said.

He added: “The brutal and absolutely pointless bombing of Severodonetsk… 12 dead and dozens wounded in just one day. The bombing and shelling of other cities, the air and missile strikes of the Russian army – all this is not just hostilities during the war.”

After failing to capture the capital city Kyiv, Russian soldiers have turned their focus to Donbas — which includes separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk on which Russia claims hold.

Russian troops have used massed artillery, air strikes and armour to gain as much territory as possible in Donbas.

Arpan Rai20 May 2022 04:27


EU considering using oligarchs’ assets to rebuild Ukraine

The European Union is looking into ways of using the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to fund the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.

(AFP via Getty Images)

“Our lawyers are working intensively on finding possible ways of using frozen assets of the oligarchs for the rebuilding of Ukraine. I think Russia should also make its contribution,” she told ZDF television.

Lamiat Sabin20 May 2022 03:00


Donbas region ‘completely destroyed,’ says Zelensky

Russian forces had “completely destroyed” the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, said Volodymyr Zelensky.

“In the Donbas, the occupiers are trying to exert even more pressure. It is hell there – and that is not an exaggeration,” the Ukrainian president said in a late-night video address to Ukrainians.

Lamiat Sabin20 May 2022 02:00


Final stage of the war expected to be ‘bloodiest’ – Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky said he cannot yet call on Ukrainian refugees to return home as he fears that the final stage of the Russian invasion will be the most bloody.

Volodymyr Zelensky during a speech to students on 19 May 2022

(The Presidential Office of Ukraine)

During a speech to students, the Ukrainian president said: “The final stage is the most difficult, the bloodiest, it really is.

“We can’t disengage ourselves and say, ‘that’s it, the war is over.’ I will tell you frankly that in Kyiv, since the end of the occupation of Kyiv Oblast, there is the feeling, that’s it, there is no war. Until the moment when the missiles don’t fly.”

He added: “I can’t shout ‘come home’ today to all those who are abroad, because the war is not over.”

Lamiat Sabin20 May 2022 01:00

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