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Ukraine news – live: Kyiv says giving up land to Russia would backfire

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Ukraine’s lead negotiator has ruled out any ceasefire deal in which Kyiv would cede territory to Russia or allow Russian troops to remain on its land.

Such concessions would backfire as Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting, said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky who is leading talks with Moscow.

“The war will not stop. It will just be put on pause for some time,” Mr Podolyak said in an interview with Reuters in the presidential office in Kyiv.

“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”

A Kremlin minister today said that sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine have caused serious logistical problems in the country.

Vitaly Savelyev, the Russian transport minister, said Moscow had been forced to look for new trade corridors as sanctions have hit its operation on the standard shipping route to Asian partners.

Earlier, the Russian foreign ministry warned western sanctions would prove destabilising for the world economy.

Key Points

  • Granting Russia land would backfire, says Ukrainian negotiator

  • International sanctions ‘almost broken all logistics’ in Russia

  • Russia’s war can only be resolved through ‘diplomacy’ – Zelensky

  • Ukraine vows to ‘fight for return’ of Azovstal defenders

  • Russia bans almost 1,000 Americans, including Biden

‘Everything on fire’, say Donbas residents

08:39 , Rory Sullivan

Ukrainians fleeing the fighting in the Donbas region have spoken of how “everything is on fire” in their home towns.

Lida Chuhay, 83, was one of hundreds of people evacuated by train from the town of Pokrovsk. She had first fled her home in Lyman in Luhansk province.

“Ashes, ruins. The northern parts, the southern parts, all are ruined,” she said. “Literally everything is on fire: houses, buildings, everything.”

Speaking about the Russians, Olha Medvedeva, another Lyman resident, said: “They ruined everything. The five-story building where we were living, everything flew away — the windows, the doors.”

Ukraine war in pictures

08:15 , Rory Sullivan

Here are some of the latest images from eastern Ukraine:

A Ukrainian soldier on a road outside of Lysychansk, eastern Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
A Ukrainian soldier on a road outside of Lysychansk, eastern Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
Residents walk through Mariupol (REUTERS)
Residents walk through Mariupol (REUTERS)
Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol (REUTERS)
Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol (REUTERS)

New Zealand army to help train Ukrainian soldiers

07:56 , Rory Sullivan

New Zealand will send 30 soldiers to the UK to offer training to Ukrainian troops, prime minister Jacinda Ardern has said.

The training will focus on how to operate howitzer guns.

“This additional deployment is really another way that New Zealand can support Ukraine...There are very few armed forces that could provide this training right now, which is why New Zealand has been specifically called upon,” Ms Ardern said.

Russia likely to resume offensives on southern axis, says US think tank

07:50 , Rory Sullivan

Russia only made minimal territorial gains on Sunday, the US think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said.

Moscow is expected to increase its offensives against southern Ukraine, it added.

Russians focus on Luhansk city in Donbas assault

07:31 , Rory Sullivan

Russian forces are bombarding the east Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk as they try to capture more of the Donbas region.

Serhii Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, the province where Severodonetsk is located, said the Kremlin was “engaging in a scorched-earth approach” to destroy the city. He added that the Russians were indiscriminately shelling it.

The bombardment came as the Polish president Andrzej Duda became the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament.

On a visit to Kyiv on Sunday, he said: “Unfortunately, in Europe there have also been disturbing voices in recent times demanding that Ukraine yield to Putin’s demands.

“I want to say clearly: Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future. Only Ukraine has the right to decide for itself.”

Ukraine first war crime trial: Verdict expected in Vadim Shishimarin case today

07:13 , Arpan Rai

The Ukrainian authorities are expected to announce a verdict in country’s first war crimes trial involving a captured Russian soldier later today. Vadim Shishimarin is accused of shooting a civilian dead in the first few days of the invasion.

The 21-year-old sergeant has been prosecuted under a section of the Ukrainian criminal code on laws governing war.

He testified in the court in Kyiv on Thursday that he shot a civilian from an open car window on orders from two other Russian officers in the car in order to prevent their location from being disclosed.

Mr Shishimarin has pleaded guilty to the charges against him and could face life imprisonment.

According to his defence attorney, the Russian soldier was unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and mass casualties that Russian troops encountered when they first invaded Ukraine.

Zelensky says '50 to 100' dying every day in country’s east

06:29 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that between “50 to 100 people” are dying every day in the besieged country’s east, adding that with the increasing rate of attacks from Russia, men of conscription age should not leave Ukraine.

“When today, 50 to 100 people a day can die in the most difficult direction, in the east … They are defending our state and our independence, which is what everyone in the world is talking about,” Mr Zelensky said during a press briefing alongside Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

He was responding to a question on a petition seeking the possibility of men leaving the country during the war, days after Ukraine extended its martial law.

Mr Zelensky said: “And when I am approached with such a petition so that our men can leave our country during martial law, I believe that this is not exactly a petition for me.

“I don’t know to whom this petition should be addressed. Maybe to me. Or maybe it should be addressed to parents who lost their sons, who defended this or that region, this or that city at the cost of their lives? And you know that most of them are not the cities where they were born,” he said.

The petition has already received 25,000 signatures.

He added that the administration has a certain period of time to respond to a petition.

Russians may voice dissatisfaction with war in Ukraine amid rising casualties, claims UK

06:09 , Arpan Rai

The Russian public could increasingly voice its dissatisfaction with the war in Ukraine as the number of casualties in the conflict continues to rise, the British defence ministry said.

“In the first three months of its ‘special military operation’, Russia has likely suffered a similar death toll to that experienced by the Soviet Union during its nine-year war in Afghanistan,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update.

It added that the high number of deaths of Russian soldiers has been caused by a “combination of poor low-level tactics, limited air cover, a lack of flexibility, and a command approach which is prepared to reinforce failure and repeat mistakes”.

“The Russian public has, in the past, proven sensitive to casualties suffered during wars of choice. As casualties suffered in Ukraine continue to rise they will become more apparent, and public dissatisfaction with the war and a willingness to voice it may grow,” the ministry said on Monday.

Russia clears mines from Ukraine’s Azovstal plant, 100 explosives destroyed

06:07 , Arpan Rai

Days after taking control of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Russian soldiers are clearing mines and debris from the mill’s grounds as they scan the area for unexploded ordnance.

A Russian soldier going by the nom de guerre Babai told Reuters that the troops will be busy with the task for the next couple of weeks.

“The task is huge, the enemy planted their own landmines, we had also planted anti-personnel mines while blocking the enemy. So we’ve got some two weeks of work ahead of us,” he said.

The troops walked through the compound laden with debris and checked for explosives with mine detectors, a video showed.

An operation carried out on Sunday saw the detonation of mines in controlled explosions and the clearing of debris using military bulldozers.

“Over the last two days, over 100 explosives have been destroyed. The work continues,” the Russian soldier said.

Russia says the last of the Ukrainian fighters holding out at the steel plant surrendered on Friday, though Ukrainian officials have not officially confirmed this. The battle for the plant lasted for weeks, and its fall means Russia now controls the whole of the strategic port city of Mariupol.

Air sirens sounded across Ukraine amid increased air strikes

05:14 , Arpan Rai

Authorities sounded air raid sirens across Ukraine in the early hours of Monday with more attacks from Russian troops expected in the besieged country’s east and southern parts.

Russian fighters have intensified the attacks in the Donbas and Mykolaiv areas using air strikes and artillery fire in the last week, in its preparedness to capture more territories.

Ukraine has called the increased bombardment from Moscow’s troops a “scorched-earth” strategy to wrest control from the country on the eastern front.

Ukraine rejects ceasefire, territorial concessions to Russia

05:04 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine will not make any territorial or ceasefire concessions to Russia, officials announced on Sunday.

The country’s presidential chief of staff said: “The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine‘s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” in a Twitter post on Sunday.

The commitment has been backed by ally Poland, whose president Andrzej Duda said any permanent loss of Ukrainian territory would be a “huge blow” to the entire western bloc.

He warned against trying to appease Vladimir Putin, and called on other nations to push Russia to completely withdraw from Ukraine.

“Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin’s demands,” Mr Duda said.

“Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future,” he said.

The Polish leader is the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament in person since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country in February.

Ukraine bans Russian symbols ‘Z’ and ‘V’

04:46 , Arpan Rai

The Ukrainian parliament has banned symbols used by the Russian military to promote its war in Ukraine.

These symbols — “Z” and “V” — have been widely spotted on Moscow’s military vehicles and areas occupied by Russian troops in Ukraine during the course of the invasion.

The move passed by parliament on Sunday includes an exception for the use of Z and V for educational or historic purposes, after an intervention by Volodymyr Zelensky.

The wartime president had previously vetoed a preliminary version of the bill and said the two symbols should be allowed in displays in museums, libraries, scientific works, re-enactments, textbooks and similar instances.

Of the 423-member Verkhovna Rada assembly, 313 deputies voted in favour of the move, opposition member Yaroslav Zheleznyak said.

Zelensky to join Davos meet today

04:25 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he will be joining the discussions at the Davos Forum on Monday.

“This is the world’s most influential economic platform where Ukraine has something to say,” Mr Zelensky said.

He added that there will be other public speeches during the week, including an address to the Stanford University community.

The Ukrainian leader will also participate in multiple bilateral level talks with representatives of various states and international organisations this week, he announced in his nightly address.

“Our state expands its international ties every week to get everything it needs to end the war as soon as possible,” Mr Zelensky said.

He added: “There will be a new meeting of representatives of the partner countries - "Ramstein-2", if we call this group after the place of the first meeting in Germany. We look forward to new useful decisions for our defence.”

WHO assembly- what to expect for Ukraine

03:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

More than 100 world health ministers will meet in Geneva next week for the World Health Organization’s first in-person assembly in three years as the U.N. agency seeks to define its future role in global health policy.

The WHO’s Europe region passed a resolution against Russia this month and asked Tedros to prepare a report on Ukraine‘s health emergency.

Members are also preparing a resolution to be submitted to the assembly, although diplomats say it will stop short of suspending Russia‘s voting rights, as some initially sought.

ICYMI - To circumvent Ukraine and bottlenecks, a controversial new trade route emerges: Iran

02:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Newly emerging trade routes are slashing transport times between Europe, western Asia and the Middle East from upwards of six weeks to as little as six days, saving consumers and exporters shipping expenses, insurance fees, and refrigeration costs.

There is just one catch.

The truck routes, which were first launched last year with lorries travelling from the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan to Turkey, pass through Iran, further integrating Tehran into the global economy, adding to its coffers and increasing its clout despite years of efforts by the United States to isolate it.

International correspondent Borzou Daragahi reports:

To circumvent Ukraine and bottlenecks, a controversial new trade route emerges: Iran

Ukraine rules out any ceasefire deal that would see land given to Russia

02:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine’s lead negotiator has ruled out any ceasefire deal in which Kyiv would cede territory to Russia or allow Russian troops to remain on its land.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to president Volodymyr Zelensky, who is leading talks with Moscow said such concessions would backfire as Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting.

“The war will not stop. It will just be put on pause for some time,” Mr Podolyak said in an interview with Reuters in the presidential office in Kyiv.

“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”

Read more here:

Ukraine rules out any ceasefire deal that would see land given to Russia

ICYMI - Kyiv rules out a ceasefire as Russia says its forces pummel Ukraine command centres

01:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Moscow as Russia stepped up its attack in the country’s east and south, pounding the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions with air strikes and artillery fire.

Russia‘s defence ministry said its forces pummeled Ukrainian command centres, troops and ammunition depots in Donbas and the Mykolaiv region in the south with air strikes and artillery.

The heaviest fighting focused around the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Vadym Denysenko said.

The cities form the eastern part of a Ukrainian-held pocket that Russia has been trying to overrun since mid-April. *Reuters could not independently verify those battlefield reports.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says his country is interested in a major gas exploitation project in Senegal

01:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country is interested in a major gas exploitation project in Senegal as he began a three-nation visit to Africa on Sunday that also is focused on the geopolitical consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Senegal is believed to have significant deposits of natural gas along its border with Mauritania at a time when Germany and other European countries are trying to reduce their dependence on importing Russian gas.

“We have begun exchanges and we will continue our efforts at the level of experts because it is our wish to achieve progress,” Scholz said at a joint news briefing with Senegalese President Macky Sall.

The gas project off the coast of Senegal is being led by BP, and the first barrels are not expected until next year.

This week’s trip marks Scholz’s first to Africa since becoming chancellor nearly six months ago.

Two of the countries he is visiting — Senegal and South Africa — have been invited to attend the Group of 7 summit in Germany at the end of June.

Participants there will try to find a common position toward Russia, which was kicked out of the then-Group of Eight following its 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

Ukraine parliament bans Russian war symbols

Sunday 22 May 2022 23:58 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine‘s parliament on Sunday banned the symbols “Z” and “V”, used by Russia‘s military to promote its war in Ukraine but agreed to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s call to allow their use for educational or historic purposes.

Yaroslav Zheleznyak, an opposition member, announced the decision on the Telegram messaging app, saying 313 deputies had voted in favour in the 423-member Verkhovna Rada assembly.

Zelenskiy had vetoed an earlier version of the bill and called for the two symbols to be allowed in displays in museums, libraries, scientific works, re-enactments, textbooks and similar instances.

Neither of the two letters exists in the Russian alphabet. They have been widely used, particularly on Russian military vehicles and equipment, to promote the aims of the conflict.

Moscow calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbour and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

Over the weekend, Russia pummelled positions in the east of Ukraine, pounding the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions with air strikes and artillery fire.

The new bill bans the creation of non-governmental organisations using Russian war symbols or undermining Ukraine‘s sovereignty.

The Ukrainian parliament on Sunday also extended for another 90 days, or until Aug. 23, the period of martial law in the country.

Russia presses Donbas attacks as Polish leader praises Kyiv

Sunday 22 May 2022 23:23 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia pressed its offensive in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Poland’s president traveled to Kyiv to support the country’s European Union aspirations, becoming the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament since the start of the war.

Lawmakers gave a standing ovation to President Andrzej Duda, who thanked them for the honor of speaking where “the heart of a free, independent and democratic Ukraine beats.”

Duda received more applause when he said that to end the conflict, Ukraine did not need to submit to conditions given by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Unfortunately, in Europe there have also been disturbing voices in recent times demanding that Ukraine yield to Putin’s demands,” he said.

“I want to say clearly: Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future. Only Ukraine has the right to decide for itself.”

Duda’s visit, his second to Kyiv since April, came as Russian and Ukrainian forces battled along a 551-kilometer (342-mile) wedge of the country’s eastern industrial heartland.

After declaring full control of a sprawling seaside steel plant that was the last defensive holdout in the port city of Mariupol, Russia launched artillery and missile attacks in the region, known as the Donbas, seeking to expand the territory that Moscow-backed separatists have held since 2014.

ICYMI - Sanctions have ‘virtually wrecked all logistics’ in Russia, transport minister admits

Sunday 22 May 2022 23:09 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A Kremlin official admitted that western sanctions were stopping the Russian economy from functioning.

Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev told state media that punitive measures had “virtually wrecked” Russian trade logistics, the Kremlin’s transport minister was quoted by Interfax as saying.

He said Russia was being forced to consider alternative trade routes, including the north-south corridor running from Moscow through central Asia to India.

My colleague Liam James has more:

Sanctions have ‘virtually wrecked all logistics’ in Russia, transport minister admits

PM pens heartfelt letter to Ukrainian children

Sunday 22 May 2022 22:38 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Boris Johnson has penned an emotive letter to the children of Ukraine, commending them for holding their heads high in the “toughest of times” and reassuring them they are not alone.

The Prime Minister said he was “very sad” to see youngsters absent from the streets and parks of Kyiv when he visited the Ukrainian capital last month, adding: “I cannot imagine how difficult this year must have been for you.”

But he said the children must bear two things in mind - that they should be “immensely proud” and they have “millions” of friends around the world.

In his letter to the Ukrainian children, Mr Johnson wrote: “When your president showed me around Kyiv last month, the absence of children and young people on the streets and in the parks made me feel very sad.

“Since the invasion many of you have been forced to flee your homes. You have left behind family, friends, pets, toys and all that is familiar, seeking refuge in underground stations, distant cities, even other countries. I cannot imagine how difficult this year must have been for you.”

Mr Johnson said the children should be proud of their country, their parents, their families, their soldiers, and “most of all” themselves.

“Many of you have seen or experienced things no child should have to witness,” he wrote.

“Yet, every day Ukrainian children are teaching all of us what it means to be strong and dignified, to hold your head high in even the toughest of times. I can think of no better role model for children and adults everywhere.”

The PM said the children may be separated from their friends at home but they have “millions of others all over the world”, including in the UK.

“We fly Ukrainian flags from our homes, offices, churches, shops and playgrounds, even from my own roof in Downing Street, where the windows are filled with sunflowers drawn by British children,” he wrote.

“Our young people are painting your flag in their classrooms and making blue and yellow bracelets in support of your country.”

He added: “I believe, like your president, that Ukraine is going to win this war. I hope with all my heart that, one day soon, you will be free to return to your homes, your schools, your families.

“And whatever happens, however long it takes, we in the UK will never forget you, and will always be proud to call you our friends.”

Prime minister promises to ‘redouble efforts’ to provide vital food and aid to Ukraine

Sunday 22 May 2022 22:18 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Boris Johnson has resolved to “redouble efforts” to provide vital food and humanitarian aid to the Ukrainians, and ensure the country is able to export to the rest of the world.

The prime minister told Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky that Britons are “1000%” behind his people in a call on Sunday evening, No 10 has said.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister paid tribute to the incredible courage demonstrated by the president and his family in recent months. He expressed his profound hope that they would, along with all the people of Ukraine, be able to return to life as normal one day soon.

“President Zelensky thanked the Prime Minister for the UK’s ongoing support.

“The Prime Minister reiterated that the British people are 1000% behind the people of Ukraine. He outlined both the most recent defensive support the UK has sent to Ukraine and the further sanctions being imposed on (Vladimir) Putin and his supporters.

“The leaders discussed Putin’s despicable blockade of Odesa, Ukraine’s biggest shipping port. The Prime Minister resolved to redouble efforts to provide vital food and humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine and ensure that the country was able to export to the rest of the world.

“The leaders agreed on the need for the international community to remain united in its condemnation of Putin’s barbarism. The Prime Minister said that every country had a duty to help Ukraine in their struggle for freedom, both now and in the long-term.

#ICYMI Biden signs $40bn Ukraine aid bill

Sunday 22 May 2022 21:58 , Liam James

Joe Biden has signed the $40bn Ukraine aid package after the bill was physically flown to South Korea, the White House confirmed (Graeme Massie writes).

The Senate passed the bill following the president’s departure from Washington to Seoul, but he signed it on Saturday before his state dinner with South Korea’s president Yoon Suk Yeol.

The Biden administration says that an official brought a hard copy father bill on a commercial flight to Asia for the president’s signature. Mr Biden also signed a bill to improve access to baby formula during the current nationwide shortage.

The Ukraine bill includes money for military and humanitarian aid for the war-torn country as it continues to try and repel Russia’s forces.

Biden signs $40bn Ukraine aid bill after it was flown to him in South Korea

Russia’s war on Ukraine can only be resolved through ‘diplomacy’, says Zelensky

Sunday 22 May 2022 21:30 , Liam James

Ukrainian victory over Russia will be hard won through diplomacy, said Volodymyr Zelensky in an interview marking the third anniversary of his inauguration last night.

“We did not start this war. But we have to finish it,” he said in the hour-long broadcast recorded on Friday and released on Saturday.

“Victory will be bloody in battle. But the end will be in diplomacy. We want everything back. Russia does not want to give anything away.”

An end to the fierce war can only be reached “at the negotiating table”, he added.

World faces ‘unprecedented’ wave of hunger as Ukraine harvests worse than feared

Sunday 22 May 2022 20:50 , Liam James

The world faces an unprecedented wave of famine and hunger triggered by a further “explosive” increase in food prices, experts have warned, after new figures revealed the extent to which the war in Ukraine will decimate global supplies of wheat.

Forecasts supplied exclusively to The Independent suggest that Russia’s brutal campaign, including its blockade of vital Ukrainian ports, is likely to cause even deeper disruption to food supplies than was previously feared.

Wheat production is now expected to be halved this year – a significantly worse outcome than previous forecasts predicted, said MHP, one of Ukraine’s largest exporters.

More worryingly, Ukraine will export less than a quarter of the amount of wheat it exported last year, according to the company.

World faces ‘unprecedented’ hunger as Ukraine harvest worse than feared

Russian officer ‘says he resigned out of guilt'

Sunday 22 May 2022 20:05 , Liam James

A Russian officer who reportedly resigned weeks into the invasion of Ukraine told CNN he left his post out of guilt.

The officer, who CNN allowed to remain anonymous, said he resolved to quit after reflecting on the invasion.

He said while driving in a military column after crossing the border he would hide his face as he was embarrassed to be seen by Ukrainians on their land.

After a couple of weeks he was deployed to accompany equipment in need of repair, where he was able to listen to the radio and hear the news.

He said: “That’s how I learned that shops are closing in Russia and the economy is collapsing. I felt guilty about this. But I felt even more guilty because we came to Ukraine.”

Soon he told his commander of his wish to resign. “He told me there could be a criminal case. That rejection is betrayal. But I stood my ground. He gave me a sheet of paper and a pen,” he said, adding he wrote his resignation there and then.

Accounts of Russian troops refusing to fight have been appearing often in the western press recently.

UK ‘unprepared’ for soaring food prices and shortages, says head of government advisory body

Sunday 22 May 2022 19:20 , Liam James

The UK is unprepared for huge food price hikes and shortages of essential goods that will be triggered by the Ukraine war, the head of a government advisory body fears (Rob Merrick writes).

Ian Wright has told The Independent of growing concerns that there is no proper plan for a “scary” future of disrupted food supplies, warning: “This is a bigger crisis than energy.”

Cooking oil, which is used in crisps, ready meals, biscuits and mayonnaise, has already been rationed, while rising fertiliser and animal feed prices are hitting domestic production.

Supplies of donated food by charities and community groups – co-ordinated by an organisation with no government funding – will run out as millions more flock to lunch clubs and homeless shelters, it is feared.

UK ‘unprepared’ for soaring food prices and shortages from Ukraine war

Senegal prepared to supply gas to Europe in lieu of Russia

Sunday 22 May 2022 18:43 , Liam James

Senegal is ready to work towards supplying the European market with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the country’s president said, as the Russian supply is shunned by countries in opposition to the war in Ukraine.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz met Senegalese president Macky Sall in Dakar today and discussed how Europe could access Senegal’s billions of cubic metres of gas reserves.

Russia provided 41 per cent of Europe’s LNG before invading Ukraine but the continent is now seeking alternative suppliers. Germany, which was particularly reliant on Russian gas, said it could help Senegal explore a gas field holding untapped reserves.

Mr Sall forecast Senegal’s LNG output reaching 2.5 million tonnes next year and 10 million tonnes by 2030 – meaning Senegal could eventually plug much of the gap left by Russia, which supplied 11 million tonnes of LNG to Europe in 2020.

Full story: Sanctions have ‘virtually wrecked all logistics’ in Russia

Sunday 22 May 2022 18:10 , Liam James

A Kremlin official admitted that western sanctions were stopping the Russian economy from functioning.

Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev told state media that punitive measures had “virtually wrecked” Russian trade logistics, the Kremlin’s transport minister was quoted by Interfax as saying.

He said Russia was being forced to consider alternative trade routes, including the north-south corridor running from Moscow through central Asia to India.

“The sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation today have virtually wrecked all the logistics in our country. And we are forced to look for new logistics corridors,” Mr Savelyev said.

Sanctions have ‘virtually wrecked all logistics’ in Russia, transport minister admits

Russian-appointed mayor injured in explosion

Sunday 22 May 2022 17:30 , Liam James

The Russian-appointed head of the occupied Ukrainian town next to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was injured in an explosion on Sunday, a Ukrainian official and a Russian news agency said.

Andrei Shevchik, who was appointed mayor of Enerhodar following the Russian army’s occupation of the town, was in intensive care following the attack, Russia’s RIA news agency reported, citing a source in the emergency services.

“We have accurate confirmation that during the explosion the self-proclaimed head of the ‘people’s administration’ Shevchik and his bodyguards were injured,” Dmytro Orlov, who Ukraine recognises as mayor of the town said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Enerhodar is a town with a pre-war population of over 50,000.

Many residents work at the two power plants located next to the town, one of which is the Zaporizhzhia plant, the largest nuclear power station in Europe. Ukraine has previously complained that Russia’s occupation of the plant raises the risk of a nuclear disaster.

Ukraine rules out giving land to Russia

Sunday 22 May 2022 16:59 , Liam James

Ukraine’s lead negotiator has ruled out a ceasefire that would involve Russian forces remaining in occupied areas or any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory.

Making concessions would backfire because Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said.

“The war will not stop. It will just be put on pause for some time,” Mr Podolyak said in an interview with Reuters in the heavily guarded presidential office.

“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”

Recent calls for an immediate ceasefire have come from US defence secretary Lloyd Austin and Italian prime minister Mario Draghi.

Africa ‘doesn’t want to take sides’ in Ukraine war

Sunday 22 May 2022 16:41 , Liam James

The chair of the African Union and president of Senegal, Macky Sall, said he would visit Moscow and Kyiv in the coming weeks to promote deescalation in Ukraine and peace through dialogue between the two sides.

Speaking at a joint news conference with German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Mr Sall said: “We do not want to be aligned on this conflict, very clearly, we want peace.

“Even though we condemn the invasion, we’re working for a de-escalation, we’re working for a ceasefire, for dialogue ... that is the African position.”

Much of Africa is wary of damaging ties with Russia by taking a stance against it invasion of Ukraine.

Several African nations abstained from a UN vote calling on Russian to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Eritrea, a country with a long history of pro-Russian positions, voted against the resolution.

Sall receives Scholz at the presidential palace in Dakar (Reuters)
Sall receives Scholz at the presidential palace in Dakar (Reuters)

Zelensky offers Polish citizens in Ukraine reciprocal rights

Sunday 22 May 2022 16:06 , Lamiat Sabin

Polish citizens in Ukraine will be granted the same rights that Ukrainian refugees in Poland are currently receiving under a new “special legal status”.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced the new policy today during a visit to Kyiv by his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

Poland has granted the right to live and work and claim social security payments to over 3 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a new parliamentary bill will be tabled soon to give Polish citizens in Ukraine the same rights.

A family of Ukrainian refugees crosses the border into Poland (Victoria Jones/PA)
A family of Ukrainian refugees crosses the border into Poland (Victoria Jones/PA)

Ukraine will ‘probably join EU in 20 years’ – French minister

Sunday 22 May 2022 15:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Earlier, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Polish president Andrzej Duda for his lobbying for Ukraine to join the European Union in the wake of the Russian invasion.

But a French minister said it could take 15 to 20 years for Ukraine to join the bloc.

France’s Minister for European affairs, Clement Beaune (AFP via Getty Images)
France’s Minister for European affairs, Clement Beaune (AFP via Getty Images)

Clement Beaune, Europe minister for France, reportedly told Paris-based Jewish community radio station Radio J: “We have to be honest. If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you’re lying.

“It’s probably in 15 or 20 years, it takes a long time.”

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