President Zelensky meets with US officials
Russian shelling killed at least seven civilians and injured 17 in the city of Kharkiv on Thursday, local authorities said.
The country’s second-largest city has 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 north and northeast of the city. “The enemy is again insidiously striking the civilian population, terrorizing it.”
Meanwhile, the possibility of further missile strikes on western Ukraine was flagged today by a senior Ukrainian military official.
General Oleksiy Gromov said Russia had moved Iskander missile systems to the western Brest region of Belarus, triggering this plausibility of new strikes.
Elsewhere, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has accused Putin of holding the world to ransom for food and of “weaponizing hunger”.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the accusations and said Western countries had taken “a series of illegal actions which led to the blockade”.
US won’t deploy military to help export Ukrainian grain, Pentagon says
Russia has resorted to weaponizing food, but the United States has no intention of employing military assistance to transport grain out of Ukraine, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.
“Now they are using economic tools as weapons, they are weaponizing food. They weaponize economic aid. I guess that shouldn’t surprise us because they’ve weaponized everything else, including lies and information, but they’re weaponizing it,” Kirby said.
Asked if the U.S. military would be in a hurry to act to help exports, he added: “There are no plans to use U.S. military or military resources or assets to assist in the – to the movement of grain outside Ukraine.”
Alisha Rahaman SarkarMay 27, 2022 4:53 a.m.
Russia blames the West for the food crisis
Russia on Thursday blamed the West for the growing food crisis that has been made worse by Kyiv’s inability to ship millions of tonnes of grain and other agricultural products as it comes under attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi that Moscow “is ready to make a significant contribution to solving the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizers provided that the politically motivated restrictions imposed by the ‘West be lifted’.
The UK hit back at Russia accusing it of “trying to hold the world to ransom”, insisting there would be no sanctions relief.
Alisha Rahaman SarkarMay 27, 2022 04:36
Albania offers Soviet-built naval base to NATO ‘in these dangerous times’
Albania has offered NATO to use a Soviet naval base “in these dangerous times”, the country announced.
Prime Minister Edi Rama said the Pashaliman naval base, 180 kilometers (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 think the general might consider having a NATO naval base in Albania,” Rama said in a speech Wednesday.
Albania, which became a member of NATO in 2009, joined the United States and the European Union in denouncing Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Joe MiddletonMay 27, 2022 03:00
‘This is a critical moment’: Ukrainian soldiers pay heavy price as they fight Russian barrage in Donbass
Kim Sengupta talks to some of the wounded on the front line, who say more western weapons will help them counter Russian firepower.
Joe MiddletonMay 27, 2022 02:00
Truss accuses Putin of ‘arming hunger’ with Ukrainian grain blockade
Truss accuses Putin of ‘arming hunger’ with Ukrainian grain blockade
Joe MiddletonMay 27, 2022 01:00
Zelensky complains of EU divisions over new Russia sanctions
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday complained about divisions within the EU over new sanctions on Russia and questioned why some nations were allowed to block the plan.
The EU is discussing a sixth round of punitive measures, including an embargo on Russian oil imports. Such a decision requires unanimity but Hungary opposes it for the moment on the grounds that 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 speech, noting that Russia receives one billion euros a day from the 27-nation bloc for energy supplies.
“Of course, I am grateful to those friends who are advocating for new sanctions. But where do the people blocking this sixth package get their power from? Why are they allowed to wield such power? He asked.
Berlin hopes talks on the new round of sanctions will be completed soon, but that will not be a topic at a leaders’ summit next week, a German official said on Wednesday.
Zelensky’s comments mark the second consecutive day he has refined his critique of the global approach to war.
“The pressure on Russia is literally about saving lives. And every day of procrastination, weakness, various arguments or proposals to ‘pacify’ the aggressor at the expense of the victim just means more Ukrainians are being killed,” he said.
On Wednesday, he lambasted suggestions that Kyiv would make concessions to bring peace, saying the idea resembled attempts to appease Nazi Germany in 1938.
Joe MiddletonMay 26, 2022 11:46 p.m.
Putin and Draghi hold talks to ease international food crisis
Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday discussed ways to help ease the international food crisis, with the Kremlin saying this could only be done if the West lifts sanctions.
“Vladimir Putin stressed 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 the politically motivated restrictions of the West are lifted,” said Moscow in a statement.
Ukraine called Russia’s stance “blackmail”, and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Thursday that Putin was “trying to hold the world to ransom” by weaponizing the food crisis created by his war on Ukraine.
The White House said there were no ongoing discussions about easing sanctions on Russia to secure grain exports.
At a press conference on Thursday evening, Draghi said he took the initiative to call the Russian leader.
“I felt it was my duty to take (this initiative) because of the seriousness of the humanitarian crisis which can affect the poorest in the world,” he told reporters.
Draghi said the Russian president told him the food crisis was the fault of the sanctions.
“I’m interested in a more specific, smaller question, which is trying to see if we can unblock these huge amounts of grain in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports,” Draghi said.
He added that he would hold a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on this issue.
The Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports has impeded shipments of grain, of which the two countries are major exporters. Russia accuses Ukraine of mining ports.
The conflict is fueling a global food crisis by driving up the prices of grain, cooking oil, fuel and fertilizer.
Joe MiddletonMay 26, 2022 10:26 p.m.
Ukraine shares video of ‘suicide’ drone attacking Star Wars-themed Russian tank
The Ukrainian armed forces have shared a video of a so-called “kamikaze” or suicide drone neutralizing a Russian tank, catching the soldiers drinking alcohol on it by surprise.
“A modern kamikaze drone, equipped with high explosive, flew directly into the tank, causing irreparable damage to the enemy,” Ukraine’s special operations forces said in the Facebook post, sharing the video.
“According to our soldiers, the Russian occupiers were quietly drinking alcohol in one of the positions, sitting on the armor of their tank. However, the usual Russian occupation was abruptly interrupted by an unexpected air attack,” he added.
It was the first time Ukrainian officials had released video of US-supplied Switchblade drones in action.
Joe MiddletonMay 26, 2022 9:45 p.m.
It’s time to get real about the war in Ukraine
Any resolution will flow from the facts on the ground as they are, not as we would like them to be, writes Marie Dejevski.
Joe MiddletonMay 26, 2022 9:15 p.m.
Putin ‘holds the world to ransom’ for food, says Liz Truss
Vladimir Putin holds “the world to ransom” for food, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has claimed.
Speaking during a trip to Bosnia, she also accused the Russian leader of “weaponizing hunger” across the world.
Joe MiddletonMay 26, 2022 8:44 p.m.
The Independent Gt