Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Russian artillery hits central Kharkiv, nine people killed: regional governor

Russian artillery strikes hit the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, for the first time in a week and killed nine people, its governor said. The strikes came as Russian forces stepped up their bombardment of towns across eastern Ukraine.

Paramedics and rescue workers carry a man injured during a shelling in Kharkiv on May 26, 2022, the 91st day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sergei Bobok | AFP | Getty Images

Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synehubov posted on Telegram to say that doctors were providing all necessary assistance to all Kharkiv residents who were injured.

“The enemy continued to shell settlements in the Kharkiv region at night. A boarding school in Lyubotyn was damaged as a result of enemy shelling. Chugiv was also shelled at night. Residential houses were damaged,” did he declare.

“I emphasize once again that it is impossible to relax in all cases,” the governor also said. “The enemy is acting insidiously and deliberately striking civilians. Do not be in the streets unnecessarily and do not ignore airborne alarms.”

-Natasha Turak

Britain’s Boris Johnson calls Putin a ‘crocodile’

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi, Russia, May 23, 2022.

Ramil Sitdikov | sputnik | Reuters

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken of the difficulty of reaching a negotiated agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the war in Ukraine.

“How can you deal with a crocodile when it’s eating your left leg? What’s the deal? That’s what Putin does,” Johnson said in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday.

“We desperately need this to end. The world needs this to end,” he said, suggesting a way for the Russian leader to save face so he can leave Ukraine. “The only way to end it is for Putin to accept that the ‘denazification of Ukraine’ has taken place and that he can step down with dignity and honour.”

Putin launched the war on the false premise of “denazifying” Ukraine, a democratic country with a Jewish president. Ukrainian officials reject the idea that Putin would withdraw from the country if he received concessions like ceded territory, arguing that this would only encourage him to go further.

-Natasha Turak

Russian forces capture several villages in Donbass

This photograph taken on May 25, 2022 shows a general view of a destroyed building after a strike in Kramatorsk in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

Russian forces have captured several villages in Donbass northwest of Popasna as they gradually make progress in their efforts to encircle Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the British Ministry of Defense wrote in its daily intelligence update on Twitter.

“Russia is pressing the Severodonetsk pocket although Ukraine retains control of several defended areas, denying Russia full control of Donbass,” he wrote.

The invading forces also likely destocked 50-year-old T-62 tanks, the British ministry wrote, to support troops in the south tasked with occupying parts of southern Ukraine.

“The T-62s will almost certainly be particularly vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and their presence on the battlefield highlights Russia’s lack of modern, combat-ready equipment,” the post said.

-Natasha Turak

Officials say the United States is preparing to approve the sending of long-range rocket systems to Ukraine

A multiple launch rocket system fires during an artillery live-fire event on March 4, 2020. The United States is preparing to boost military assistance to Ukraine by sending advanced long-range rocket systems which are now the main demand of Ukrainian officials, CNN quoted several officials.

Christof Stache | AFP | Getty Images

The United States is preparing to increase military assistance to Ukraine by send advanced long-range rocket systemsaccording to CNN, which cited multiple officials.

The Biden administration plans to send the systems as part of a broader package of military and security assistance to Ukraine, which could be announced as early as next week, CNN reported.

Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have asked the United States and its allies to provide them with the multiple-launch rocket systems.

These systems can fire many rockets at a great distance – far further than any of the systems Ukraine already has, CNN reported. Ukraine claims it could be a game-changer in its war against Russia, according to the report.

The Biden administration was reluctant to send the systems due to National Security Council concerns that Ukraine could use the systems to carry out offensive attacks against Russia, CNN said, citing officials.

The officials also added that the administration was concerned that sending heavy weapons to Ukraine would be seen by Russia as a provocation that could provoke retaliation against the United States, CNN reported.

—Chelsea Ong

US defense official says Russia is making ‘gradual progress’ in Donbass

A Ukrainian serviceman examines a crater and a destroyed house in the village of Yatskivka, eastern Ukraine, April 16, 2022. Russia is making ‘gradual progress’ in Donbass after little progress was made thanks to its previous two tactics, a senior US defense official said. said in a briefing.

Ronaldo Schmidt | AFP | Getty Images

Russia is making “incremental progress” in Donbass after little progress was made through its two previous tactics, a a senior US defense official said during a briefing.

“We estimate that Russia has made additional gains in its push towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk; not many but, but some additional gains,” he said, referring to two towns in the northern part of the Oblast of Donetsk.

Donbass refers to two regions in eastern Ukraine, Luhansk and Donetsk — two “people’s republics” supported by Russia. Russian officials have declared their new main objective to be the “full release” of t from Luhansk and Donetsk.

Russia is trying to encircle the Donbass region by pinching the far eastern regions of Ukraine, the defense official said. However, no new advances by Russian troops have been made in the Donetsk region, the official added.

—Chelsea Ong

White House expects Russia to default on debt and see limited effect on global economy

People line up near euro and US dollar rates to sign ruble at the entrance to the exchange office on May 25, 2022 in Moscow, Russia. Russia edged closer to default on Wednesday after the US Treasury let a key sanctions waiver expire.

Konstantin Zavrazhin | Getty Images

The Biden administration expects Russia to default on its sovereign debt, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has said.

Moscow “is unlikely to fulfill its obligation and will face default, a lasting sign of its pariah status in the global financial system,” she said. Jean-Pierre added that the White House expects a “minimal” effect on the global economy as Russia has “already been isolated financially” by a wave of sanctions.

When the US sanctioned Russia’s central bank earlier this year, it allowed an exception for Russia to pay its bondholders through US banks. The Treasury Department lifted the exclusion this weekraising the prospect of default.

-Jacob Pramuk

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