Liveupdated1653757246

Ukraine war – live: Macron, Scholz call on Putin to hold ‘serious negotiations’ with Zelensky

Boris Johnson backs the West sending Kyiv long-range rocket launch systems

Andy Gregory
Saturday 28 May 2022 18:00
Comments

President Zelensky meets US officials

European leaders have urged Vladimir Putin to engage in “serious negotiations” with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.

French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz also called on Mr Putin to release the 2,500 Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steel plant, who are currently detained by Russian forces.

In a joint phone call with Mr Putin, the two European leaders asked Mr Putin to hold “direct serious negotiations” with Mr Zelensky. They “insisted on an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops”, the German chancellor’s office said.

It comes as Russia claims to have seized control of Lyman after days of fighting over the Ukrainian town. The claimed success is believed to be key to the next phase of Moscow’s assault in the Donbas region.

In his late-night address on Friday, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky had declared: “If the occupiers think that Lyman and Sievierodonetsk will be theirs, they are wrong. Donbas will be Ukrainian.”

But the UK’s Ministry of Defence said it was “likely” that Vladimir Putin’s forces had captured most of the town of Lyman, “in what is likely a preliminary operation for the next stage of Russia’s Donbas offensive”.

1653757246

Ukraine war: Today’s economy updates

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the leaders of France and Germany in a phone call that Russia was willing to discuss ways to make it possible for Ukraine to resume shipments of grain from Black Sea ports, the Kremlin said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that international partners were working intensively to find ways to resume the export of grain from Ukraine to avert a global food crisis.

A ship has entered the Ukrainian port of Mariupol for the first time since Russia completed its capture of the city to load metal and ship it east to Russia, TASS news agency reported, in a move that Kyiv decried as looting.

The EU is seeking a deal this weekend to ban Russian oil deliveries by sea but not pipeline to win over Hungary. Zelenskiy has accused the EU of dithering.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 18:00
1653755446

War surges Norway's oil, gas profit. Now, it's urged to help

Europe’s frantic search for alternatives to Russian energy has dramatically increased the demand — and price — for Norway’s oil and gas.

As the money pours in, Europe‘s second-biggest natural gas supplier is fending off accusations that it’s profiting from the war in Ukraine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who is looking to the Scandinavian country to replace some of the gas Poland used to get from Russia, said Norway’s “gigantic” oil and gas profits are “indirectly preying on the war.” He urged Norway to use that windfall to support the hardest-hit countries, mainly Ukraine.

Read more here:

War surges Norway's oil, gas profit. Now, it's urged to help

Europe’s frantic search for alternatives to Russian natural gas has dramatically increased the demand — and price — for Norway's oil and gas

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 17:30
1653753646

Macron, Scholz urge Putin to release Azovstal fighters - Elysee palace

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to release the 2,500 Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steel plant detained by Russian forces, the Elysee palace said.

The two European leaders, in a joint call, also urged Putin to accept a direct exchange with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the palace said.

Russia said this month that almost 2,000 Ukrainians had surrendered after making a last stand in the ruins of Mariupol, where they had held out for weeks in bunkers and tunnels beneath the vast Azovstal steelworks.

Macron and Scholz also insisted on the urgency of lifting the Russian blockade of the port of Odesa to allow Ukrainian grain exports, the palace said.

The Kremlin said Putin told Macron and Scholz in the call that Russia was willing to discuss ways to make it possible for Ukraine to resume shipments of grain from Black Sea ports.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a “special operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its southern neighbour. Ukraine and Western nations have dismissed this as a baseless pretext for war.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 17:00
1653751846

Russia takes small cities as it aims to widen battle in east Ukraine

Russia said Saturday that its troops and separatist fighters had captured a key railway junction in eastern Ukraine, the second small city to fall to Moscow’s forces this week, as they fought to seize all of the country’s contested Donbas region.

Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the city of Lyman had been “completely liberated” by a joint force of Russian soldiers and the Kremlin-backed separatists, who have waged war in the eastern region bordering Russia for eight years.

Lyman, which had a population of about 20,000 before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, serves as a regional railway hub.

Ukraine‘s train system has ferried arms and evacuated citizens during the war, and it was not immediately clear how the development might affect either capability.

Controlling the city would give the Russian military a foothold for advancing on larger Ukrainian-held cities in Donetsk and Luhansk, the two provinces that make up the Donbas.

Since failing to occupy Kyiv, Ukraine‘s capital, Russia has concentrated on seizing the last parts of the region not controlled by the separatists.

Fighting continued Saturday around Sievierodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk, twin cites that are last major areas under Ukrainian control in Luhansk province.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 16:30
1653750046

Ukraine's former President blocked from leaving the country

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was prevented from leaving Ukraine to take part in a meeting of a NATO body in Lithuania, his party’s parliamentary faction said on Saturday.

Poroshenko was stopped twice at a border crossing with Poland while he was on his way to the meeting of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, a consultative interparliamentary organisation, the statement said.

Ukrainian media reported Poroshenko could not cross the border due to “technical problems” with a permit allowing him to leave the country.

“Poroshenko had received all the formal permissions to leave the country and had been included ... in the official delegation of the Parliament of Ukraine for this event,” his European Solidarity parliamentary faction said.

Poroshenko was to have a number of high-level meetings in Vilnius, including with the President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda. He was also scheduled to participate in a meeting of the European People’s Party in Rotterdam, it said.

In January, Poroshenko won a court ruling allowing him to remain at liberty while being investigated for treason in a probe he says was a politically motivated attack linked to allies of his successor, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Poroshenko is being investigated in connection with the financing of Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country through illegal coal sales in 2014-15.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 16:00
1653748104

Johnson spoke to Zelensky about work to avoid grain crisis today

Boris Johnson spoke to Volodymyr Zelensky about the “intensive work taking place” to export grain out of Ukraine and “avert a global food crisis” during a phone call on Saturday morning.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister said that the UK will continue to support the heroic Ukrainian armed forces in their efforts to defend their homeland against this barbaric attack, including helping provide the equipment they need.

“The leaders spoke about Putin’s despicable blockade of Odesa, Ukraine’s biggest shipping port.

“The Prime Minister outlined to President Zelensky the intensive work taking place with international partners to find ways to resume the export of grain from Ukraine to avert a global food crisis.

“He said that the UK would work with G7 partners to push for urgent progress. The leaders agreed next steps and the imperative for Russia to relax its blockade and allow safe shipping lanes.

“The Prime Minister spoke about the importance of the international community continuing to work and act together, so that Ukraine succeeds and Putin fails.

“He also emphasised that countries have a duty to support Ukraine, both now and in the long-term, so that it is never in the position to be attacked again.

“The leaders agreed to remain in close contact.”

Sam Rkaina28 May 2022 15:28
1653746420

‘All this suffering because of a madman’

Families have been telling the Independent’s Kim Sengupta of their grief over losing loved ones as Russia steps up its assault on the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine.

“No mother should have to watch her daughter die. No mother should have to piece together her daughter’s body. They killed her, they broke my heart, they broke the hearts of our family.”

Vera Ivanova is inconsolable in her grief.

Her daughter, Nataliya, died in a bombing in Sievierodonetsk — one of two cities, along with Lysychansk, that the Russians are trying to capture to complete their seizure of the Luhansk region in the fierce battles of eastern Ukraine.

Sam Rkaina28 May 2022 15:00
1653744657

Branch of Ukrainian orthodox church breaks with long loyalty to Russia over invasion

A branch of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church which remained loyal to Moscow after a 2019 schism has said it will break with the Russian church over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine was given permission by the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide to form a church independent of Moscow in 2019, largely ending centuries of religious ties between the two countries.

However many parishes, especially in Ukraine's east, elected to remain loyal under the umbrella of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate.

But following a meeting of of its leadership the church announced that it would declare its “full independence” from Russia, in a statement condemning Moscow’s invasion and the support of Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia’s church.

Andy Gregory28 May 2022 14:30
1653742797

Local Communist Party deputy warns of more Russian ‘orphans’ unless war ends

A Communist Party legislative deputy in Russia's far east has demanded an end to the war in Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian forces.

Breaking with the party line in a rare show of opposition to his country's war, Leonid Vasyukevich told a meeting of the Primorsk regional Legislative Assembly in Vladivostok on Friday: “We understand that if our country doesn't stop the military operation, we'll have more orphans in our country.”

His comments, which he addressed to Vladimir Putin, were shown in a Telegram video. Another deputy followed to support Mr Vasyukevich's views but the legislative assembly's chairman issued a statement afterward calling the remarks a “political provocation” not supported by the majority of lawmakers.

Andy Gregory28 May 2022 13:59
1653740877

Any agreement with Russia ‘not worth a broken penny’, peace talks negotiator says

Any agreement with Russia cannot be trusted and Moscow can only be stopped in its invasion by force, Ukraine’s peace talks negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has said.

“Any agreement with Russia isn't worth a broken penny,” Mr Podolyak, a presidential aide to Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote on Telegram. “Is it possible to negotiate with a country that always lies cynically and propagandistically?”

He added: “Russia has proved that it is a barbarian country that threatens world security ... A barbarian can only be stopped by force.”

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other after peace talks stalled, with the last known face-to-face negotiations on 29 March. Earlier this week, Mr Zelensky said Vladimir Putin was the only Russian official he was willing to meet with to discuss how to end the war.

Andy Gregory28 May 2022 13:27

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in