Britain 'playing with fire' over F-16 jets, warns Russia

Drone explodes above Kyiv - GLEB GARANICH/Reuters
Drone explodes above Kyiv - GLEB GARANICH/Reuters

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Western nations were “playing with fire” by agreeing to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, describing the move as an “unacceptable escalation” of the conflict.

In an excerpt from a Russian television interview, Mr Lavrov said: “It's playing with fire, without a doubt”.

Mr Lavrov denounced it as an attempt to “weaken Russia” by “Washington, London and their satellites in the EU.”

Earlier this month, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte agreed to work together to build an “international coalition” to help support Ukraine with training and procurement of F-16 jets. Washington later agreed to allow Western allies to send their US-made jets to Ukraine.

05:00 PM

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04:34 PM

Reznikov: Kyiv symbol of 'the Kremlin's failed imperial ambitions'

Ukraine's defence minister Oleksii Reznikov has said Kyiv "has become a symbol of Ukraine’s unbreakable spirit and the Kremlin’s failed imperial ambitions" in a post on social media to commemorate Kyiv Day.

Mr Reznikov wrote on Twitter on Sunday: "Last night, Kyiv survived one of the largest russian air attacks since the beginning of the war. They have failed yet again. Kyiv stands strong.

"They didn’t take you in 3 days. They couldn’t intimidate you in 459 days. They will be defeated."

04:19 PM

Pictured: Servicemen bid loved ones farewell at Kramatorsk rail station

Couples bid each other farewell at the railway station in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region - OLEG PETRASYUK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock
Couples bid each other farewell at the railway station in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region - OLEG PETRASYUK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

03:58 PM

Top Ukraine official says Ukraine joining NATO can be "key factor" in ending war

The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andrii Yermak, has said that inviting Ukraine to join the NATO alliance “can be a key factor in ending this war” in Ukraine.

In an interview with Voice of America, Mr Yermak said: “I believe that the invitation of Ukraine to NATO can be a key factor in ending this war. Russia, with its aggression changed reality on February 24. But now this is the reality. Finland has already become a member of NATO, Sweden is on the way to it. The same should happen for Ukraine.”

Mr Yermak also said that Ukraine needs security guarantees while “on the way” to its membership to NATO. “With regard to security guarantees. You know that President Zelensky started talking about this many months ago, that we need security guarantees on the way to our membership in NATO. Because the main guarantee is NATO membership. NATO is the strongest alliance in the world today.”

03:25 PM

Charles Moore in Ukraine: ‘The people are traumatised, bloodied and bewildered by sadistic violence’

The original Feeding of the Five Thousand was, of course, achieved by Jesus, but it happens today in Ukraine without direct divine intervention. It is accomplished by Siobhan’s Trust, a small British charity, conceived in Scotland, operating from Lviv, and led by several men wearing kilts, and Miss University of Ukraine 2017, Charles Moore writes.

Every day at 10am or so, if you happen to be in the middle of some Ukrainian town ravaged by the Russian invasion and its aftermath, you may see three lorries appear. One will probably be emblazoned “The Sedbergh Wolf”, supplied, through Jozef Mycielski, the chief fundraiser, by Sedbergh School in Cumbria. Another, “The Gazza”, is provided by St James’s Place, the wealth management advisers. The third is “Artemis”. A fourth, “Blossom”, is currently being repaired near, of all places, Auschwitz.

These vehicles will then form three sides of a square, so that, if a shell drops nearby, the spread of any shrapnel is contained. The fourth side will be filled by the trestle tables from which the thousands may be fed.

Read more on this story by Charles Moore here.

03:00 PM

Ukrainian tennis player booed at French Open after refusing to shake hands with Belarusian opponent

Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk was booed and jeered at the French Open after refusing to shake hands with Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka following the first round match between the two on Sunday.

World number two Sabalenka won the match 6-3, 6-2 against the 20-year-old Ukrainian, who had previously said she would not shake hands with the player, whose country Belarus is a close ally of Russia.

Sabalenka, 25, said: “Nobody in this world, Russian athletes or Belarusian athletes, supports the war. Nobody. If we could stop it, we would do it."

However, Kostyuk said: “She never says that she personally doesn't support this war, and I feel like journalists should change the questions that you ask these athletes because the war is already there.

"I feel like you should ask these players who would they want to win the war because if you ask this question, I'm not so sure these people will say that they want Ukraine to win."

The Ukrainian player is one of the strongest critics of Russian and Belarusian players’ continued presence in the sport. Kostyuk hasn't shaken the hands of any opponent from Russia or Belarus since her country was invaded by Russia.

02:36 PM

In pictures: War in Ukraine

A man clears debris in a building damaged during a Russian drone attack in Kyiv - Roman Pilipey/Getty Images Europe
A man clears debris in a building damaged during a Russian drone attack in Kyiv - Roman Pilipey/Getty Images Europe
A local resident looks on in a partially destroyed residential building after a Russian drone strike in Kyiv - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP
A local resident looks on in a partially destroyed residential building after a Russian drone strike in Kyiv - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP
A destroyed building after the Russian drone attack in Kyiv - Anadolu/Anadolu Agency
A destroyed building after the Russian drone attack in Kyiv - Anadolu/Anadolu Agency

02:12 PM

Zelensky to submit draft resolution to impose sanctions on Iran

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is to ask the Ukrainian parliament to impose sanctions on "key ally of Moscow" Iran for 50 years, an adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine has said.

Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter on Sunday: “Tehran has become a key ally of Moscow in this war, deliberately supplying it with weapons for attacks on civilian cities.

“Tonight's attack on Kyiv with 50 Shaheds on City Day is another eloquent confirmation of this truth. In legal terms: Iran is doing this with direct intent and realising the consequences of its actions. And there will definitely be consequences.

He added: “That is why President [Zelensky] is submitting to the Parliament a draft resolution to impose sanctions on Iran for 50 years."

01:48 PM

Watch: Russian troops pray with icon gifted by Putin

Russian state television channel Zvezda, run by the country’s defence ministry, has shown troops praying with a religious icon that was gifted by Vladimir Putin to the commanders of Russia’s Dnieper Group of Forces, ahead of the anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive.

The Russian President gifted the icon to the commanders in the occupied regions of Ukraine around the time of Russian Orthodox Easter in April, and said it had belonged to “one of the most successful defence ministers in the Russian empire”.

01:21 PM

Russia launched attacks on 15 settlements in the Donetsk region, says Ukraine's National Police

One person has been killed and 30 residential buildings have been damaged as a result of shelling in the Donetsk region, Ukraine’s National Police has said.

In a statement on Telegram on Sunday, the force said: “During the day, Russian troops launched 19 strikes on the region. Among the civilian population, there are dead and wounded.”

According to the national police, 15 settlements were attacked, and Russian forces used  Iskander operational-tactical missile systems as well as artillery.

Gas pipes and power grids were also hit.

12:51 PM

Olena Zelenska hails 'unbreakable city' of Kyiv on city's anniversary

The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, has congratulated the Ukrainian capital city on Kyiv Day, and called it an "unbreakable city", following the biggest night of drone strikes since the war began which mainly targeted the capital.

Ms Zelenska shared a video on Twitter celebrating Kyiv Day, where citizens from around the city are presented with bouquets of flower balloons.

Alongside the video, she wrote: "Congratulations on your day, Kyiv! And to all the people in whom your heart beats. After nights under fire, all the trials and tribulations, they work, rescue and volunteer more and more.

"For the sake of everyone who holds [Ukraine] together. Unbreakable people in the unbreakable city!"

12:30 PM

Ukrainian army chief promises to 'take back' land from Russia in counter-offensive

Ukraine’s top military commander on Saturday released a video promising to "take back" land from Russian occupiers, as Ukrainian officials signalled that a counter attack was about to begin, James Kilner reports.

“The time has come to take back what belongs to us,” General Valerii Zaluzhnyi said in a statement published alongside the well-produced video, which showed Ukrainian soldiers preparing for battle, asking for God’s blessing ahead of the “decisive attack” and pledging to avenge their fallen comrades.

Ukrainian troops and officials have taunted Russia by heavily trailing their counteroffensive for months. They have described wearing down Russia’s infantry and artillery stockpiles in advance of the attack.

Read more on this story here.

12:16 PM

Pictured: Drone explodes after being shot down over Kyiv

A drone explodes after it was shot down during a Russian drone strike in Kyiv - AFP/SERGEI SUPINSKY
A drone explodes after it was shot down during a Russian drone strike in Kyiv - AFP/SERGEI SUPINSKY

11:59 AM

Zelensky praises air defence forces and rescuers following Kyiv drone attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the country’s air defence forces and rescuers as “heroes”, following what appeared to be the biggest drone attack on Kyiv since the start of the war.

Mr Zelensky wrote on Telegram on Sunday: “The Air Defense Forces of Ukraine. You hear the air raid alarm differently than most people. You look up to destroy enemy missiles, aircraft, helicopters, and drones.

“Every time you shoot down enemy drones and missiles, lives are saved.”

He added: “Our rescuers who are involved in eliminating the consequences of enemy strikes. You do your best to save others.”

“You are our heroes!”

11:45 AM

Four dead in Dnipro medical facility attack on Friday, says governor

The death toll following the attack on a medical facility in Dnipro on Friday has risen to four, the regional governor has said.

Dnipropetrovsk governor Serhii Lysak wrote on Telegram on Sunday: “Among the victims are a 56-year-old doctor and a 64-year-old employee of the destroyed medical facility. And a 57-year-old employee of a neighbouring veterinary clinic”.

“Overall, the attack claimed the lives of four people… sincere condolences to the families.”

On Friday, Mr Lysak said that a 69-year-old man who was “simply passing by” had been killed in the attack on the region in south-eastern Ukraine.

11:30 AM

Ukraine’s chaotic scramble for fresh troops as recruiters go into overdrive

Zhenia’s unit of volunteers were outnumbered by five to one when the order came through to lay down their weapons and surrender to the invaders, Joe Barnes reports.

It was the beginning of a seven-month ordeal in Russian captivity, including physical and psychological torture.

Prisoners of war like Zhenia were supposed to be exempt from returning to battle under planned legislation, but just five months after his release, the 41-year-old is about to rejoin his brothers-in-arms in one of the hottest areas of the conflict.

Read more on this story from Joe Barnes in Kyiv here.

11:15 AM

South Africa appoints panel to investigate US allegations of arms shipment to Russia

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a panel to investigate allegations by the US ambassador that a Russian ship had collected weapons from a naval base near Cape Town last year, the presidency has said in a statement.

South Africa has denied claims made by the US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, on May 11 and the allegations have since caused a diplomatic row between the two countries, calling into question South Africa’s non-aligned position on the Ukraine conflict. South Africa has abstained from voting on UN resolutions about the war, saying it is impartial.

In a statement published on Sunday, the presidency said: "The President decided to establish the enquiry because of the seriousness of the allegations, the extent of public interest and the impact of this matter on South Africa's international relations."

11:02 AM

Pictured: Aftermath of drone attack at industrial facility in Kyiv

Rescuers put out the fire at an industrial facility after a Russian drone strike in Kyiv - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP
Rescuers put out the fire at an industrial facility after a Russian drone strike in Kyiv - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP
Rescuers put out the fire at an industrial facility after a Russian drone strike in Kyiv - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP
Rescuers put out the fire at an industrial facility after a Russian drone strike in Kyiv - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP

10:43 AM

Wagner chief says he is 'convinced' of ban of coverage about him on state media by senior officials

The head of the Wagner Group of mercenary fighters has said that he is convinced that senior Kremlin officials had banned reporting about him on state media, and warned that such an approach would lead to a backlash from the Russian people.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose fighters spearheaded the campaign in Bakhmut, said when asked about what appeared to be a ban on coverage about him: "What is forbidden is always sweeter.

"Wagner is not a piece of slippery soap which the bureaucrats have got used to shoving all over the place; Wagner is an awl, a stiletto that you cannot hide.”

Mr Prigozhin added: "I am absolutely convinced they have forbidden (coverage). That high-level bureaucrats, those very towers of the Kremlin, are trying to shut the mouths of everyone so that they don't speak about Wagner will only give another shove to the people."

10:22 AM

Two killed and three wounded across Kyiv following overnight attack

Two people were killed and three people injured in Kyiv after 40 drones were launched at the capital.

The city’s administration said that debris from destroyed drones “fell on a seven-storey building” in the Golosiivskii district, killing one person and injuring another. A fire broke out in a warehouse zone, with flames shooting 1,000 metres into the air, wounding another person. The authorities said that emergency services were present “at all the sites.”

Kyiv’s mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, said that a 41-year-old man had died in the Solomianskii area, and a 35-year-old woman had been hospitalised.

10:07 AM

Russia's ambassador to UK warns that Russia 'hasn't just started yet to act very seriously' in Ukraine

Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kelin, has warned that Russia “hasn’t just started yet to act very seriously” in Ukraine.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Kelin said that Russia had “enormous resources” and warned of a “new dimension” in the war.

Mr Kelin told Laura Kuenssberg: “It is a big idealistic mistake to think that Ukraine will prevail. Russia is 16 times bigger than Ukraine. We have enormous resources and we haven’t just started yet to act very seriously."

09:31 AM

Drone attack on Russia's Ilsky oil refinery thwarted, claim officials

Russia claimed to have thwarted an attack on the Ilsky oil refinery in the Krasnodar region, as several drones approaching the facility were “neutralised” by air defence systems.

The region’s emergency officials said on Telegram on Sunday: “Several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) tried to approach the territory of the Ilsky oil refinery in the Krasnodar Krai.

"All of them were neutralised, the infrastructure of the plant was not damaged."

Officials did not say who was behind the alleged attempted attack. Reuters was unable to independently verify reports.

The Ilsky oil refinery in the southern region of Krasnodar Krai has come under attack several times this month, according to officials, with Russian state media reporting in early May that a drone strike caused a fire at the facility.

09:02 AM

Latest MoD update

08:18 AM

Photos show aftermath of attack

Kyiv fire
Kyiv fire
Kyiv attack
Kyiv attack
Kyiv attack
Kyiv attack

08:14 AM

Debris sparks fires

Falling debris sparked a fire in a three-storey warehouse in the leafy Holosiivskyi district in the southwestern part of Kyiv, Mayor Klitschko said.

A fire broke also out after falling drone debris hit a seven-storey non-residential building in the Solomyanskyi district west of the city. The district is a busy rail and air transport hub.

In the Pecherskyi district, flames tore through the roof of a nine-storey building and in the Darnytskyi district a shop was damaged, Kyiv's military administration officials said on Telegram.

08:08 AM

One confirmed dead after drone strikes

Several districts of Kyiv have been damaged in the overnight attacks, officials said, including the historical Pecherskyi neighbourhood.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko has confirmed one casualty this morninig. He says a 41-year-old man was killed by falling debris.

Ukraine's Air Force says it managed to hit 52 of the 54 Russia-launched drones that threatened Kyiv overnight.

The pre-dawn attacks came on the last Sunday of May when the capital celebrates Kyiv Day, the anniversary of its official founding 1,541 years ago.

"The history of Ukraine is a long-standing irritant for the insecure Russians," Andriy Yermak, the head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's office, said on his Telegram channel.

08:03 AM

Good morning

Russia has attempted to unleash a major strike on Kyiv overnight. We will have all the latest news out of Ukraine for you. Follow our live updates throughout Sunday.