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Ukraine news – live: Russian shelling kills at least seven civilians in Kharkiv

·26-min read
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Russian shelling has killed at least seven civilians and wounded 17 in the city of Kharkiv on Thursday, local authorities said.

The country’s second biggest city had been relatively quiet since Ukrainian forces regained territory around it and pushed back Russian troops this month. However Vladimir Putin’s forces appear to have halted their retreat.

“It’s too early to relax,” Kharkiv region governor Oleh Synehubov said, reporting heavy fighting to the north and northeast of the city. “The enemy is again insidiously hitting the civilian population, terrorising them.”

Meanwhile, the possibility of new missile strikes on west Ukraine has been flagged by a senior Ukrainian military official today.

General Oleksiy Gromov said that Russia has been moving Iskander missile systems to Belarus’ western Brest region, which triggers this plausability of new strikes.

Elsewhere, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss accused Putin of holding the world to ransom over food and that he is “weaponising hunger”.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the accusations and said Western countries have taken “a series of unlawful actions that has led to the blockade”.

Key Points

  • Russian shelling kills at least seven and wounds 17 in Kharkiv, say local authorities

  • Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis

  • Putin ‘holding the world to ransom’ over food, says Liz Truss

  • Putin will only negotiate ‘when war victory impossible’ Scholz says

  • Putin has nine months to take the victory, former Nato general predicts

  • Russian weapon movement sparks fears of new strike west of Kyiv

Ukraine says fast-tracking of Russian citizenship is ‘violation’

08:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Kyiv has responded to the publication of a Russian presidential decree simplifying the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of southern Ukraine.

The Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine said that the push for Russian citizenship and passports is a “gross violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the Ukrainian state.

Ukrainians are being pushed to become Russian citizens (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainians are being pushed to become Russian citizens (AFP via Getty Images)

“This decree will not have any legal consequences. Because the international community and international law will give due consideration to bold actions, the scale of which has not been repeated since the Second World War,” the statement said.

The ministry said the forced passportization of Ukrainians should be an indisputable reason for the European Union and other countries to impose new packages of sanctions against Russia from the European Union and other countries.

Fiji court dismisses appeal over Russian-owned superyacht

07:35 , Lamiat Sabin

The US won the latest round of a legal battle today to seize a $325-million Russian-owned superyacht in Fiji.

Fiji’s Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Feizal Haniff, who represents the company that legally owns the superyacht Amadea.

The superyacht Amadea (AP)
The superyacht Amadea (AP)

Mr Haniff had argued the US had no jurisdiction under Fiji’s mutual assistance laws to seize the vessel, at least until a court ascertained who was the true owner of the superyacht.

He said he now plans to take the case to Fiji’s Supreme Court.

The US argues that its investigation has found that the Cayman Islands-flagged yacht is owned by the sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, an economist and former Russian politician.

End military action in Black Sea for grain export, says economic adviser

07:06 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Ukraine has grain reserves to meet domestic and global demand until the end of 2022 provided all military actions in the Black Sea are called off, Oleh Ustenko, president Volodymyr Zelensky’s economic adviser, said.

“Russia wanted to use food as a weapon, among other things,” he said.

“They are playing different cards at the same time - energy, food, plus they are conducting their ‘military operation’ on our land and destroying infrastructure, as well as destroying all our food supplies,” he explained.

Mr Ustenko added: “I believe that the only way to bring grain to world markets is to stop the war or at least stop all military action in the Black Sea.”

Infant and eight others killed in Kharkiv airstrike

06:23 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Nine people, including a five-month-old child, were killed by a Russian airstrike in Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv on Thursday.

“So far, 19 people have been injured, including a nine-year-old child. And unfortunately, nine were killed, including a 5-month-old infant,” governor Oleg Sinegubov said.

The family was walking outside when the Russian forces struck the city, killing the infant and the father, the governor added. The mother is in the hospital in critical condition.

Kharkiv mayor Igor Terekhov urged people to find shelter following the airstrikes. “Enemy troops are shelling our city again. I urge you to stay in safe places, basements, shelters and at subway stations,” he said in a video on Telegram.

Russian TV claims UK on brink of cannibalism

05:42 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

A Russian news outlet has claimed the rising cost of living in the UK may soon force people to resort to cannibalism.

Citing an article by Jeremy Clarkson in which the ex-Top Gear presenter joked about Britons eating their neighbours, TsargradTV said “journalists begin to say terrible things aloud, reminding them of the risk of cannibalism”.

The television channel quoted Clarkson’s Sunday Times column at length, in which the broadcaster wrote: “Politicians say they are ‘monitoring the situation’, which means they aren’t doing anything at all, but one day they will have to because while people can live without heat or clothing or even sex, they cannot live without food. Hunger makes people eat their neighbours.”

Tom Batchelor has more.

Russian TV channel claims UK on brink of cannibalism

Russia carrying out ‘genocide’ in Donbas, says Zelensky

05:08 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday accused Russia of carrying out “an obvious policy of genocide” in the Donbas region.

“All this, including the deportation of our people and the mass killings of civilians, is an obvious policy of genocide pursued by Russia,” he was quoted by AFP as saying.

The war-time president added that Moscow’s offensive in Donbas could end up leaving the region “uninhabited”.

US will not deploy military to assist in Ukraine grain export, says Pentagon

04:53 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Russia has resorted to weaponising food but the United States has no plans to employ military assistance to move grains outside of Ukraine, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Thursday.

“Now they’re using economic tools as weapons, they’re weaponising food. They’re weaponising economic assistance. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by that, since they’ve weaponised everything else, including lies and information, but they’re weaponising it,” Mr Kirby said.

When asked if the US military will be pressed into action to aid exports, he added: “There are no plans to use the United States military or military resources or assets to assist in the – in the movement of grain outside of Ukraine.”

Russia blames west for food crisis

04:36 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Russia on Thursday accused the west for the growing food crisis that has been worsened by Kyiv’s inability to ship millions of tons of grain and other agricultural products while under attack.

Russian president Vladimir Putin told Italian prime minister Mario Draghi that Moscow “is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertiliser on the condition that politically motivated restrictions imposed by the West are lifted”.

The UK shot back at Russia by accusing it of “trying to hold the world to ransom,” insisting there would be no sanctions relief.

Albania offers Soviet-built naval base to Nato ‘in these dangerous times’

03:00 , Joe Middleton

Albania has offered Nato the use of a Soviet naval base “in these dangerous times,” country has announced.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said the Pashaliman naval base, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of the capital Tirana, could have “added value” to the alliance and they had prepared a project on its renovation.

“In these dangerous times I believe the general may consider having a Nato’s naval base in Albania,” Rama said in a speech Wednesday.

Albania, which became a Nato member in 2009, has joined the United States and the European Union in denouncing Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Albania offers Soviet-built naval base to Nato ‘in these dangerous times’

‘This is a critical time’: Ukrainian soldiers pay a heavy price as they fight Russian barrage in the Donbas

02:00 , Joe Middleton

Kim Sengupta speaks to some of those injured on the front line, who make clear that more weaponry from the west will help them counter Russia’s firepower.

‘This is a critical time’: Ukrainian forces face Russian barrage in the Donbas

Truss accuses Putin of ‘weaponising hunger’ with Ukrainian grain blockade

01:00 , Joe Middleton

Zelensky complains about EU divisions on further Russia sanctions

Thursday 26 May 2022 23:46 , Joe Middleton

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday complained about divisions inside the EU over more sanctions against Russia and asked why some nations were being allowed to block the plan.

The EU is discussing a sixth round of punitive measures, including an embargo on Russian oil imports. Such a move requires unanimity but Hungary opposes the idea for now on the grounds its economy would suffer too much.

“How many more weeks will the European Union try to agree on a sixth package?” Zelensky said in a late night address, noting that Russia was receiving a billion euros a day from the 27-nation bloc for energy supplies.

“Of course I am grateful to those friends who are advocating new sanctions. But where do the people blocking this sixth package get their power from? Why are they allowed to hold such power?” he asked.

Berlin hopes talks on the new round of sanctions will be completed soon but it will not be a topic at a leaders’ summit next week, a German official said on Wednesday.

Zelensky’s comments mark the second day in a row that he has sharpened his criticism of the world’s approach to the war.

“Pressure on Russia is literally a matter of saving lives. And every day of procrastination, weakness, various disputes or proposals to ‘pacify’ the aggressor at the expense of the victim merely means more Ukrainians being killed,” he said.

On Wednesday he savaged suggestions that Kyiv make concessions to bring peace, saying the idea smacked of attempts to appease Nazi Germany in 1938.

Putin and Draghi hold talks on easing international food crisis

Thursday 26 May 2022 22:26 , Joe Middleton

Vladimir Putin and Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday discussed ways to help ease the international food crisis, with the Kremlin saying this could be done only if the West lifts sanctions.

“Vladimir Putin emphasized that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizers, provided that politically motivated restrictions from the West are lifted,” Moscow said in a statement.

Ukraine has described the Russian position as “blackmail”, and British foreign secretary Liz Truss said on Thursday that Putin was “trying to hold the world to ransom” by weaponising the food crisis created by his war on Ukraine.

The White House said there were no talks being held about relaxing sanctions on Russia in order to secure grain exports.

In a news conference held on Thursday evening, Draghi said he took the initiative of calling the Russian leader.

“I felt it was my duty to take (this initiative) because of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis that may affect the world’s poorest,” he told reporters.

Draghi said the Russian president told him the food crisis was the fault of sanctions.

“I am interested in a more defined, smaller issue, which is to try to see if we can unblock these huge quantities of grain in Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea,” Draghi said.

He added he will hold a call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on this issue.

Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports has prevented shipments of grain, of which both countries are major exporters. Russia accuses Ukraine of mining the ports.

The conflict is fuelling a global food crisis by sending prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer soaring.

Ukraine shares video meme of ‘suicide’ drone attacking Russian tank set to Star Wars theme

Thursday 26 May 2022 21:45 , Joe Middleton

Ukrainian armed forces have shared a video of a so-called “kamikaze” or suicide drone neutralising a Russian tank, catching the soldiers drinking alcohol on it off guard.

“A modern kamikaze drone, equipped with a powerful explosive, flew straight into the tank, causing irreparable damage to the enemy,” Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said in the Facebook post, sharing the video.

“According to our soldiers, the Russian occupiers were quietly drinking alcohol at one of the positions, sitting on the armor of their tank. However, the usual Russian occupation was abruptly interrupted by an unexpected attack from the air,” it added.

It was the first time Ukrainian officials have released video of the US-supplied Switchblade drones in action.

Ukraine shares meme of ‘suicide’ drone attacking Russian tank

It’s time to be realistic about the war in Ukraine

Thursday 26 May 2022 21:15 , Joe Middleton

Any resolution will proceed from facts on the ground as they are, not as we would wish they were, writes Mary Dejevsky.

It’s time to be realistic about the war in Ukraine | Mary Dejevksy

Putin ‘holding the world to ransom’ over food, says Liz Truss

Thursday 26 May 2022 20:44 , Joe Middleton

Vladimir Putin is holding “the world to ransom” over food, Britain’s foreign minister Liz Truss has claimed.

Speaking on a trip to Bosnia, she also accused the Russian leader of “weaponising hunger” across the world.

David Harding reports.

Putin ‘holding the world to ransom’ over food, says Liz Truss

‘This is a critical time’: Ukrainian soldiers pay a heavy price as they fight Russian barrage in the Donbas

Thursday 26 May 2022 20:17 , Joe Middleton

Kim Sengupta speaks to some of those injured on the front line, who make clear that more weaponry from the west will help them counter Russia’s firepower.

‘This is a critical time’: Ukrainian forces face Russian barrage in the Donbas

It’s time to be realistic about the war in Ukraine

Thursday 26 May 2022 20:46 , Joe Middleton

Any resolution will proceed from facts on the ground as they are, not as we would wish they were, writes Mary Dejevsky.

It’s time to be realistic about the war in Ukraine | Mary Dejevksy

We need more heavy weapons, says Ukraine’s foreign minister

Thursday 26 May 2022 19:42 , Joe Middleton

The military situation in eastern Ukraine is even worse than people say it is and the country needs heavy weapons now to effectively fight Russia, foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday.

Mr Kuleba, taking part in a live question and answer session with Twitter users, also said peace talks with Russia were not really taking place.

Truss accuses Putin of ‘weaponising hunger’ with Ukrainian grain blockade

Thursday 26 May 2022 19:25 , Joe Middleton

Italy attempts to unblock free grain exports in Black Sea ports

Thursday 26 May 2022 18:45 , Joe Middleton

Italy aims to free grain exports blocked in Black Sea ports, prime minister Mario Draghi told reporters on Thursday following a phone call he held with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“The first initiative one could begin to explore is to see whether a cooperation between Russia and Ukraine to unblock Black Sea ports could be built,” Draghi said.

Draghi said he would soon talk to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on this issue.

Seven more civilians die in conflict hotspot amid Putin’s push to seize Donbas

Thursday 26 May 2022 18:19 , Joe Middleton

At least seven more civilians were reported to have been killed during Russia’s continued push to seize the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s forces have been trying to take full control of Donbas after having failed to seize Kyiv, or Ukraine’s second-biggest city Kharkiv, during the war which has lasted for three months.

The Donbas region is comprised of two separatist Moscow-backed provinces – Luhansk and Donetsk. More than 40 towns in both provinces have been shelled, according to the Ukrainian armed forces.

Lamiat Sabin reports.

Seven more civilians die amid Putin’s push to seize Donbas in eastern Ukraine

Russian shelling kills at least seven and wounds 17 in Kharkiv, say local authorities

Thursday 26 May 2022 17:43 , Joe Middleton

Russian shelling killed at least seven civilians and wounded 17 in the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Thursday, local authorities said.

Kharkiv, Ukraine‘s second biggest city, had been relatively quiet since Ukrainian forces regained territory around it and pushed back Russian troops this month, enabling the authorities to reopen the city metro network.

But Russia appears to have halted its retreat and a Reuters correspondent in Kharkiv said repeated explosions could be heard on Thursday as Russian forces dug in and maintained control of positions in villages north of the city.

“It’s too early to relax,” Kharkiv region Governor Oleh Synehubov said, reporting heavy fighting to the north and northeast of the city. “The enemy is again insidiously hitting the civilian population, terrorising them.”

ICYMI: Albania offers Soviet-built naval base to Nato ‘in these dangerous times’

Thursday 26 May 2022 17:20 , Joe Middleton

Albania has offered Nato the use of a Soviet naval base “in these dangerous times,” country has announced.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said the Pashaliman naval base, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of the capital Tirana, could have “added value” to the alliance and they had prepared a project on its renovation.

“In these dangerous times I believe the general may consider having a Nato’s naval base in Albania,” Rama said in a speech Wednesday.

Albania, which became a Nato member in 2009, has joined the United States and the European Union in denouncing Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Llazar Semini reports

Albania offers Soviet-built naval base to Nato ‘in these dangerous times’

WHO votes to adopt Wester-led resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine

Thursday 26 May 2022 16:56 , Joe Middleton

A World Health Organization (WHO) assembly on Thursday voted to adopt a Western-led resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine which it says led to a health emergency.

The resolution was approved by 88 votes in favour and 12 against, with 53 abstentions, the meeting’s president Hiroki Nakatani said prompting a standing ovation by the resolution’s backers.

Typically, the WHO annual assemblies make decisions by consensus. A parallel proposal brought to the annual assembly by Russia and Syria was rejected with 66 against and 15 in favour with 70 abstentions.

Putin ‘glad’ foreign companies have left Russia

Thursday 26 May 2022 16:36 , Joe Middleton

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he was glad some foreign companies had left Russia because home-grown businesses could take their place.

Since the war, a host of major foreign investors - ranging from BP to McDonald’s Corp - have exited just as the Russian economy faces its worst contraction since the years following the turmoil of the Soviet collapse.

“Sometimes when you look at those who leave - thank God, perhaps? We will occupy their niches: our business, our production it has already grown, and it will safely sit on the ground prepared by our partners,” Putin said.

Speaking by video link to leaders of ex-Soviet states, Putin quipped that luxuries such as the Mercedes favoured by bandits in the chaos of post-Soviet Russia would still be available, though he admitted they might be a little more expensive.

“It will be a little more expensive for them but these are people who already drove Mercedes 600s and they will still do so. I can assure you they will bring them in from wherever, from whichever country.”

Putin said Russia still needed access to the advanced technologies of developed economies.

“We are not going to cut ourselves off from this - they want to squeeze us out a bit, but in the modern world this is simply unrealistic, impossible.”

He did not elaborate on how Russia would find ways to maintain access to western components and software.

Zelensky thanks Finnish PM for support as she visits Ukraine

Thursday 26 May 2022 16:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Finland for its support during the war against Russia on Thursday as Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin visited Kyiv.

Marin, whose country is a member of the European Union, is the latest European leader to visit Kyiv in a show of solidarity since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.

“For us, Finland’s military assistance is very valuable,” Zelensky, wrote on Facebook after talks with Marin. “Weapons, sanctions policy and the unity of our partners in the issue of Ukraine‘s accession to the EU - this is what can provide strength in the defence of our land.

Other European leaders to visit Kyiv since the war began include European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

Marin also went to the towns of Irpin and Bucha where Ukraine suspects Russian troops carried out atrocities. Russia has dismissed the allegations as a “monstrous forgery” aimed at denigrating the Russian army.

Zelensky’s office said Marin had praised Ukrainians for the “heroic spirit” they had shown during the war.

Former Russian general says 'denazification' mission could take up to 10 years

Thursday 26 May 2022 16:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Colonel General and ex-commander of the Airborne Forces Vladimir Shamanov in an interview with journalist Oksana Kravtsova on YouTube that Russia’s ‘special military operation’ could take between five to 10 years.

He said in the interview: “Those who expected that we [in Ukraine] would be met with flowers, this is one of the main mistakes that we felt very keenly in the first five days [of the special operation]. Today we have already overcome this component, but there is still a lot to be done,”

Black Sea ports still the best way to get Ukraine's grain moving fast

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:55 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Ukraine is desperately trying to export its vast stores of grain by road, river and rail to help avert a global food crisis but has no chance of hitting its targets unless Russia‘s blockade of its Black Sea ports is lifted, a government official has said.

Before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, the country had the capacity to export up to 6 million tonnes of wheat, barley and maize a month but exports collapsed to just 300,000 tonnes in March and 1.1 million in April.

While the government wants to lift that to 2 million, it is hitting logistical bottlenecks ranging from a lack of train wagons, fuel and trucks to freight wagons using a wider rail gauge than its neighbours, obstacles that could take years and billions of dollars to overcome.

At the moment, Ukraine has at least 20 million tonnes of surplus grain in silos and the APK-Inform agricultural consultancy estimates another 40 million could be available for export once the next harvest comes in this summer.

“There is hunger in Africa and in other countries. We have seen the dynamics of a population missing that food from year to year,” said Roman Rusakov, a senior official at Ukraine‘s Agriculture Ministry. “I just cannot imagine what might happen without Ukraine shipping next season’s exportable surplus.”

“Ports are necessary. But having said that we certainly will improve our railway logistics. Meantime, (river) ports will be in place to do a good job. But will it be enough to reach the target of like 6, 7 million a month? No way.” he told Reuters.

“The first task is to reach 2 million.”

McDonald’s Russia restaurants to reopen under new brand from June 12

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

McDonald’s Russia said on Thursday it plans to reopen restaurants to the public from June 12 under a new brand that will be introduced separately, after the burger chain said it was selling to a local licensee.

The fast-food company is selling its restaurants in Russia, exiting in opposition to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and ending more than three decades of the “Golden Arches” in the country.

16 helicopters provided Mariupol defenders with arms, supplies, additional soldiers

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

According to Ukraine’s latest intelligence update, 16 helicopters provided Mariupol defenders with arms, supplies, additional soldiers.

Intelligence Chief Kyrylo Budanov said that there have been 7 missions during which Mi-8 helicopters provided Azovstal defenders with arms, ammunition, medicine & food.

Russia seeking to encircle Ukrainian forces

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:23 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Reuters journalists operating in Russian-held territory further south saw proof of Moscow’s advance in the town of Svitlodarsk, where Ukrainian forces withdrew earlier this week.

The town is now under firm control of pro-Russian fighters, who have occupied the local government building and hung a red flag bearing the Soviet hammer and sickle at the door.

Drone footage filmed by Reuters of the nearby abandoned battlefield showed scores of craters pockmarking a green field surrounded by wrecked buildings. Pro-Russian fighters were milling about in trenches.

Russia‘s recent gains in the Donbas follow the surrender of Ukraine‘s garrison in Mariupol last week, and suggest a shift in momentum on the battlefield after weeks in which Ukrainian forces had advanced near Kharkiv in the northeast.

“Recent Russian gains offer a sobering check on expectations for the near term,” tweeted defence analyst Michael Kofman, director of Russian studies at the U.S.-based CNA think-tank.

Russian troops have broken through Ukrainian lines at Popasna, south of Sievierodonetsk, and are threatening to encircle Ukrainian forces, he wrote.

“The extent to which this breakthrough at Popasna threatens Ukraine‘s overall position depends on whether or not Russian forces gain momentum.”

Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Vadym Denisenko told a briefing 25 Russian battalions were attempting to surround the Ukrainian forces.

Four killed in Kharviv shelling

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A regional governor in eastern Ukraine says shelling of the city of Kharkiv killed at least four civilians.

Kharkiv Gov. Oleg Synyehubov said that another seven residents of Ukraine‘s second-largest city were wounded in Thursday’s shelling.

He urged people to stay in shelters, warning that the barrage might continue.

Putin says West will fail in isolating Russia

Thursday 26 May 2022 15:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the West will fail in its attempts to isolate Russia and face growing economic problems.

Speaking today via video link to members of the Eurasian Economic Forum, Putin said Russia wasn’t going to shut itself off from international cooperation.

The forum includes several ex-Soviet nations.Putin said that trying to isolate Russia is “impossible, utterly unrealistic in the modern world” and “those who try to do it primarily hurt themselves.”

The Russian leader cited growing economic challenges in the West, including “inflation unseen in 40 years, growing unemployment, rupture of supply chains and the worsening of global crises in such sensitive spheres as food.”

“This is not a joke,” he said. “This is a serious thing that will have an impact on the entire system of economic and political relations.”

He lambasted the West for seizing Russian reserves, saying that “the theft of others’ assets never brought any good.”

Albania offers Soviet-built naval base to Nato ‘in these dangerous times’

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:49 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Albania has offered Nato the use of a Soviet naval base “in these dangerous times,” country has announced.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said the Pashaliman naval base, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of the capital Tirana, could have “added value” to the alliance and they had prepared a project on its renovation.

“In these dangerous times I believe the general may consider having a Nato’s naval base in Albania,” Rama said in a speech Wednesday.

My colleague Llazar Semini reports:

Albania offers Soviet-built naval base to Nato ‘in these dangerous times’

Russian weapon movement sparks fears of new strike west of Kyiv

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:27 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A senior Ukrainian military official conceded at a briefing on Thursday that Russia had the upper hand in fighting in Ukraine‘s eastern Luhansk region at present.

“Russia has the advantage, but we are doing everything we can,” General Oleksiy Gromov said.

Gromov also said Ukraine had observed Russia moving Iskander missile systems to Belarus’ western Brest region, which Gromov said raised the possibility of new missile strikes on west Ukraine.

International Committee of Red Cross says only 300 families in Russia and Ukraine have answers about loved ones

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:12 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday that it has been able to give answers to 300 families in Russia and Ukraine about the fate of their loved ones.

ICRC Director-General Robert Mardini told reporters that the organisation’s work trying to clarify the fate of missing persons “is very much on track.” He did not disclose the fate of the 300 Russians and Ukrainians, saying only that their families had provided “very concrete questions about their loved ones.”

Mardini said some progress has also been made on the right of the ICRC to visit prisoners of war, which is part of the Geneva conventions.

“There is agreement on both sides” on this right, “which is good news,” Mardini said, but the major obstacle in the ICRC carrying out visits is the war itself and the logistical constraints.

Mardini said the ICRC registered all the Ukrainian fighters that held out until last week at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol before they were taken to Russian-controlled territory. Russia said there were 2,439 Ukrainian fighters.

“Registering prisoners of war or detainees amounts to nothing short of a life insurance,” Mardini said.

Kremlin says it destroyed a large Ukrainian unit in the east

Thursday 26 May 2022 14:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Russian military says it has destroyed a large Ukrainian unit with equipment at a railway station in the east.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Thursday that the Russian warplanes hit the railway station in Pokrovsk when an assault brigade that arrived to reinforce the Ukrainian forces in the region was unloading there.

Konashenkov also said that the Russian military destroyed Ukraine‘s electronic intelligence center in Dniprovske in the southern Mykolaiv region, killing 11 Ukrainian soldiers and 15 foreign experts. His claims couldn’t be independently confirmed.

Konashenkov stated that the Russian air force has struck 48 troops and weapons concentrations and two ammunition depots over the past 24 hours.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the Russian artillery hit over 500 Ukrainian targets, including troops concentrations and artillery positions, he said.

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