President Zelensky meets US officials
The region’s governor Viacheslav Gladkov said that the village Solokhi was shelled “from the Ukrainian side” several times over a period of days. On Telegram on Wednesday, he said one man was wounded.
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Mr Gladkov reported that Belgorod village Bezimeno was also shelled “from the Ukrainian side” and that there was one person who sustained “slight injury”.
On 13 May, he said an 18-year-old man – Ruslan Nefedov – was buried after he “died during the shelling of our border village of Solokhi by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
The first alleged Ukrainian attack on Belgorod amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was reported on 1 April, when two helicopters struck an oil depot.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian government adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine should only be offered a ceasefire if Russian troops completely withdraw.
He added: “Ukraine is not interested in a new ‘Minsk (Protocol)’ and the war starting up again in a few years.”
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.
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.”
Five Ukrainian civilians killed in Donetsk region - local official
Five civilians were killed and six were injured as a result of Russian military activity in the Donetsk region today, Ukraine reported.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the administration of the Donetsk region, wrote on Facebook: “On 19 May, the Russians killed 5 civilians in the Donetsk region: 2 people in Bakhmut, 1 person in Krasnohorivka, 1 person in Avdiivka and 1 person in Khrestyshche.”
“Six more people were injured.”
It’s not currently possible to determine the exact number of victims in Mariupol and Volnovakha, Mr Kyrylenko said.
Putin’s daughter ‘flew to Germany 50 times in two years’
One of Vladimir Putin’s daughters has flown from Moscow to Munich more than 50 times between 2017 and 2019, according to an investigation by Russian and German media.
Katerina Tikhonova – a scientist and former acrobatic dancer – had travelled on chartered flights with full state support and in the company of employees of Putin’s own presidential security service, a joint investigation by independent Russian media outlet iStories and German magazine Der Spiegel suggests.
The leaked cache of documents also includes the passports of a then two-year-old girl, which suggests Putin has a previously-unknown granddaughter.
Also found was the passport of Igor Zelensky, the former director of the Munich state ballet, according to a report by the Guardian, who is suspected to be Ms Tikhonova’s partner and the father of her child.
In case you missed it: George Bush’s Freudian slip-up
George W Bush described the invasion of Iraq – which he led as commander in chief – as “brutal” and “wholly unjustified” before correcting himself to say he meant to refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The former US president said during a speech at his presidential centre in Texas: “The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq – I mean of Ukraine.”
“Iraq, too,” he added.
The 75-year-old resorted to blaming his mistake on his age, while commentators described it as a Freudian slip.
His decision to launch a US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was on the basis of alleged weapons of mass destruction that have never been proven to exist.
Read the full report here by Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
‘And the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq... I mean of Ukraine’
Watch: Biden welcomes Sweden and Finland’s Nato bids
US president Joe Biden has supported applications by Sweden and Finland to join Nato.
He rejected Turkey’s opposition to their bids to join the military alliance, insisting the two countries “meet every Nato requirement and then some”.
Mr Biden appeared in the White House Rose Garden with Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson and Finnish president Sauli Niinisto.
Number of Ukraine’s fighters still in Azovstal unknown
It’s unknown how many Ukrainian fighters remain inside the steelworks in Mariupol while an evacuation process is ongoing.
Russia’s defence ministry said 771 fighters from the Azov Regiment of the Ukrainian armed forces had surrendered in the past day.
This brings the total of those who had given themselves up since Monday to 1,730.
Ukrainian officials declined to comment, saying it could endanger rescue efforts.
The Azov Battalion of the Ukrainian armed forces has had neo-nazis within its ranks – leading Russia to claim that its invasion was an attempt to “de-nazify” Ukraine.
Here’s more on the evacuation story by Emily Atkinson
Measures being taken to evacuate Azovstal ‘heroes’, official claims
Egypt thanked for rejecting Russia shipment Ukraine’s grain
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has thanked Egypt for rejecting a Russian ship loaded with grain which he said had been stolen from Ukraine.
On Sunday, Egypt’s supply minister said that a ship had been turned away on the grounds that it did not have the proper paperwork. Ukraine’s embassy in Cairo alleged the ship was carrying grain from Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine.
Mr Kuleba tweeted: “Spoke with my Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry. Grateful to Egypt for turning away a Russian ship loaded with grain stolen in Ukraine.”
Ukraine and Egypt had agreed to coordinate efforts to make Russia unblock Ukraine’s food exports, he added.
Mr Kuleba also held talks with Cote d’Ivoire foreign minister Kandia Camara about the importance of unblocking Ukrainian food exports to “avert hunger and rising prices in Africa.”
It comes after UK PM Boris Johnson and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky spoke on the phone today about ways to export Ukrainian grains.
A Downing Street spokesperson said after the call: “They looked at options to open up critical sea and land supply routes for Ukrainian grain stocks, and committed to direct their teams to work urgently on the next steps.”
Kyiv official welcomes US Senate’s approval of $40bn aid
A top aide to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the US Senate after it approved nearly $40 billion (about £32bn) in aid, saying this would help ensure the defeat of Russia.
Mr Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said in an online post minutes after the vote: “We are moving towards victory confidently and strategically. We thank our allies.”
He also tweeted: “Thanks US Senate for the historic decision to provide $40 billion aid package to Ukraine. Together, we'll win.”
The Senate voted 86-11 in favour of the package of military, economic and humanitarian aid.
US Senate approves $40bn aid for Ukraine
The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to approve a $40bn (£30bn) supplemental spending bill to provide further defence and financial aid to Ukraine’s government.
The bill passed with support from 86 senators – 47 Democrats and 39 Republicans – and was objected to by 11 senators.
Read the full story here by Andrew Feinberg
The aid package now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature
G7 countries commit $18.4bn for Ukraine – draft document
G7 nations have committed $18.4 billion (almost £15bn) in transfers and loans to help Ukraine meet its immediate costs, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
The finance ministers and central bankers – of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – are meeting in Bonn, Germany, today and tomorrow.
In the draft document, they said: “We have mobilised 18.4 billion US dollars of budget support, including 9.2 billion US dollars of recent commitments in the lead up to the Petersberg meeting, to help Ukraine close its financing gap and continue ensuring the delivery of basic services to the Ukrainian people.”
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