E.U. plans to give Ukraine $500 million to buy heavy weapons
The European Union is planning to give Ukraine almost $520 million to buy heavy weapons that will help fend off Russia’s invasion.
The bloc’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell announced the funds at a gathering of top diplomats from the Group of Seven wealthy nations Friday. But E.U. diplomats cautioned that any disbursement still requires ratification by all member states. Some countries are expressing misgivings, and approval is unlikely before next week.
EU Council president Charles Michel, who represents the EU’s 27 governments in Brussels, threw his “full support” behind the plan. “Time is of the essence,” Michel wrote in a message posted on Twitter.
Borrell also expressed hope of soon getting the bloc’s member states to agree an oil embargo against Russia, despite the misgivings of some countries.
China says confidence in U.N. shaken by vote to investigate alleged Russian abuses in Ukraine
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday that a decision by the U.N. Human Rights Council to set up an investigation into alleged human rights abuses by Russian troops in Ukraine had shaken members’ trust in the body.
The U.N. Human Rights Council resolution to set up the investigation passed on Thursday by a strong majority, with 33 members voting in favour and two — China and Eritrea — against.
Zhao said during a Friday news briefing that China’s objection was due to the U.N. failing to look at some countries that wage war, while choosing to target others.
Restoring water supply in the east
‘Russia’s strategic defeat is obvious to everyone’: Zelenskyy
Russia’s strategic defeat is already obvious to everyone in the world, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address to the nation late Wednesday.
“Russia simply lacks courage to admit it so far,” Zelenskyy said. “They are cowards. And they are trying to hide the truth behind missile, air and artillery strikes.”
Zelenskyy’s comments came on the day that Russia’s neighbor Finland announced its intention to join NATO, expanding the military alliance in a move that has angered Moscow as Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly confronted with lack of significant military progress in Ukraine.
E.U. to provide 500 million euro of military aid to Ukraine
The European Union will support Ukraine by providing military equipment worth 500 million euros, said foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell Friday ahead of the G7 meeting.
Borrell said that they aim to put more “pressure on Russia with economic sanctions,” counter the spread of misinformation and internationally isolate the country.
The diplomat is optimistic that the G7 will “present a united front” in dealing with Russia and stressed the urgency of an oil embargo on the country.
“I am sure we will have an agreement. We need it and we will have it. We have to get rid of the oil dependency from Russia,” he said.
Pussy Riot kick off ‘Anti-War Tour’ after member flees Russia in disguise
Russian commanders ‘under pressure’ to make progress, British military says
British military officials say the heavy losses suffered by Russia in a failed river crossing in eastern Ukraine demonstrate the pressure that the Kremlin’s commanders are under to make progress in the strategically important region.
The U.K. Ministry of Defence said in a tweet Friday that Ukrainian forces prevented a group of Russian troops from crossing the Siverskyi Donets river, west of Severodonetsk in the Donbas region, where the two armies have been clashing in recent weeks.
Russia lost “significant” elements of at least one battalion tactical group, as well as equipment used to quickly deploy a floating bridge, the ministry said.
“Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry said in its tweet.
It said Russian forces have failed to make any significant advances in the Donbas region, despite concentrating its forces here after withdrawing and redeploying troops from Ukraine’s north.
Satellite imagery shows aftermath of strikes on Azovstal plant
New satellite images by Earth observation company Maxar show the damage dealt by aerial and artillery attacks on the Azovstal steel plant compound in eastern Mariupol.
The picture was taken on May 12, 2022.
Russian soldier to stand trial in first Ukraine war crimes case
A Russian soldier is scheduled to appear in a Kyiv court Friday for killing a civilian in northern Ukraine, setting up what could beome the conflict’s first case of a member of the Russian armed forces being prosecuted for a war crime.
Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, stands accused of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man who was riding a bicycle in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka in the Sumy region, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said as she announced Shyshimarin’s case on Wednesday.
The man died on the spot just a few dozen meters from his home, according to Venediktova. The alleged murder is said to have happened on Feb. 28.
Shyshimarin faces up to life in prison if convicted, Venediktova said.
Shyshimarin’s attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, acknowledged that the case against his client is strong, but said the final decision over what evidence to allow will be made by the court in Kyiv, the Associated Press reported. Ovsyanikov said Thursday that he and his client had not yet decided how he will plead, the agency said.
Venediktova said last week her office was looking into more than 9,800 potential war crimes and “it’s only the top of the iceberg.”
Snake Island strike
Maintain sanctions until the military is withdrawn, U.K. foreign minister says
Sanctions against Russia should only be lifted when the country’s troops leave Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said to foreign ministers at the Group of Seven (G7) meeting Thursday.
Truss also implored her counterparts to help ramp up Ukraine’s defense. She said that more military equipment should be provided to the country to “keep up the pressure” on Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
“It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine, by increasing the sanctions,” the foreign secretary said at the meeting in Germany.
Big guns and small drones have become a devastating combo in Ukraine
PARIS — They were developed more than a century apart, but an unusual combination of decades-old and cutting edge technology — heavy artillery and remote-controlled drones — is helping Ukraine’s army make inroads into Russia’s eastern occupation.
The cannons, howitzers and other heavy guns provided by NATO members and allies are similar to the weapons that have been battlefield staples since World War I, lobbing explosive shells farther than the eye can see. They are being used to great effect to suppress Russian positions and allow Ukrainian infantry counterattacks in the Donbas region.
The importance of artillery is underscored by international efforts to ship more guns and ammunition to Ukraine, with many NATO members contributing some of the newest and most advanced versions of these weapons.
But experts say Ukrainian forces are going one better by harnessing widely available drone technology to provide real-time surveillance data on Russian targets and fire their heavy weapons with unprecedented accuracy.
“Each drone provides the opportunity to destroy enemy troops,” said Valerii Iakovenko, founder of DroneUA, a Ukrainian tech firm that advises the government on drone use.
Read the full story here.
Japan imposes more sanctions, bans high-tech export to Russia
Japan will ban the export of high-tech goods including quantum computers, printers and electron microscopes to Russia starting May 20.
Its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday that it will place an export ban as part of “its international efforts for ensuring peace in the whole world, for settling this issue.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japan imposed various economic sanctions and froze the assets of influential Russian oligarchs. The fresh ban will restrict the export of oil refining equipment, equipment used in the production of microelectromechanical circuits, solar cells for hydrogen fuel and renewable energy, and vacuum pumps, among other goods.
Battling on in Bakhmut
Germany promises G-7 show of unity against Russia as ministers meet
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven powerful economies aim to give what Germany called a “powerful sign of unity” as they meet on Friday to discuss the war in Ukraine, fears that the conflict could spill over into Moldova, and food security concerns.
The annual meeting running until Saturday brings together top diplomats from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union to a 400-year-old castle estate in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus.
They will defy Russian attempts to split the world over Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said ahead of the meeting. “Never since the end of the Cold War have we G7 partners been more profoundly challenged. Never before have we stood more united,” she said in a tweet.
Ukraine claims it struck a Russian logistics ship in the Black Sea
Ukrainian officials say their forces took out another Russian ship in the Black Sea.
Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, said late Thursday the Vsevolod Bobrov logistics ship was struck as it was trying to deliver an anti-aircraft system to Snake Island. He said the ship was badly damaged but was not believed to have sunk.
A spokesman for the Odesa regional military administration said the vessel caught fire after the strike. There was no confirmation from Russia and no reports of casualties.
The British Ministry of Defense said this week that Ukraine has been targeting Russian air defenses and supply vessels on Snake Island in an effort to disrupt Moscow’s efforts to expand its control over the Black Sea coastline.