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.
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”.
West working to break Russian blockade and ‘avert global food crisis’, says PM
The West is working to break the Russian blockade on Ukrainian ports in order to “avert a global food crisis” by releasing millions of tons of grain, Boris Johnson has said.
The Prime Minister spoke on Saturday morning with President Volodymyr Zelensky about international efforts to put a stop to the “despicable blockade” of Odesa, Ukraine’s major southern port on the Black Sea.
The conversation between the leaders comes after Mr Johnson revealed this week that the West was supporting the Ukrainians to demine the Black Sea and reopen international shipping lanes.
Holly Bancroft28 May 2022 20:02
European leaders call for ‘serious negotiations’ between Putin and Zelensky
Vladimir Putin has been urged to hold “direct serious negotiations” with Volodymyr Zelensky to try and find an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Macron and Scholz urged the Russian president to “find a diplomatic solution to the conflict”, while also calling for the immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of troops from Ukraine.
Ukraine, however, is doubtful that negotiations would be fruitful saying any deal with Russia could not be trusted.
“Any agreement with Russia isn’t worth a broken penny. Is it possible to negotiate with a country that always lies cynically and propagandistically?” peace talks negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Telegram.
Zaina Alibhai28 May 2022 20:02
Macron and Scholz calls for release of Ukrainian in steelworks
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Schloz have urged Vladimir Putin to release the Ukrainians that had been detained from Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks.
Some 2,500 fighters were taken prisoner by Russian forces after they surrendered following months of relentless shelling in the besieged city.
Hundreds were thought to have been taken to a former penal colony while others were said to have received treatment in hospital.
Zaina Alibhai28 May 2022 19:31
ICYMI – Son of British MP in Ukraine ‘filmed destroying Russian armoured vehicle’
Ben Grant can reportedly be heard shouting “shoot it now” and “mind the back blast” before an anti-tank missile is launched on a Russian BTR in a woodland in northeast Ukraine.
Mr Grant, 30, son of of former minister Helen Grant, Conservative MP for Maidstone and The Weald, is among group of Western volunteer fighters supporting Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.
My colleague Emily Atkinson has more details here:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 19:00
Russia takes small cities, aims to widen east Ukraine battle
Russia asserted 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 Defense 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.#
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 18:30
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
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.
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.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain28 May 2022 17:30
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
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
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