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Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Civilians rescued from Mariupol steel plant head for safety

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A senior U.S. official says the United States believed Russia is planning this month to annex large portions of eastern Ukraine and recognize the southern city of Kherson as an independent republic.

Authorities say a Russian missile attack struck the Black Sea port of Odesa on Monday evening.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to address Ukraine’s parliament, delivering a message that the fight against Russian invasion is Ukraine’s “finest hour.”

Mr. Johnson’s office says the U.K. leader will announce a new 300 million pound ($375 million) package of military aid to Ukraine when he speaks to the legislature by video link on Tuesday.

The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.

Here are the latest updates:

Ukraine

Ukrainian official accuses Russia of crimes

 Ukraine’s ambassador-designate to Canada says Russia must be held accountable for its troops committing sex crimes, including against children.

Yulia Kovaliv told a Canadian House of Commons committee Monday that Russia is using sexual violence as a weapon of war and said rape and sexual assault must be investigated as war crimes.

She said Russia also has kidnapped Ukrainian children and taken them to Russian-occupied territories and now Russia itself. Ukraine is working with partners to find the children and bring them back.

“Russians, a few days ago, killed a young mother and taped her living child to her body and attached a mine between them,″ the ambassador said. She said the mine detonated.

All of Russian society, and not just President Vladimir Putin “and his proxies,” should bear responsibility for the war on Ukraine because more than 70% of Russians support the invasion, Kovaliv said.- AP

Mariupol, Ukraine

Civilians rescued from Mariupol steel plant head for safety

Russia resumed pulverizing the Mariupol steel mill that has become the last stronghold of resistance in the bombed-out city, Ukrainian fighters said Monday, after a brief cease-fire over the weekend allowed the first evacuation of civilians from the plant.

Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official warned that Russia is planning to annex large portions of eastern Ukraine this month and recognize the southern city of Kherson as an independent republic.

Michael Carpenter, U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that those suspected actions are “straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook” and will not be recognized by the United States or its allies.

In Mariupol, more than 100 people — including elderly women and mothers with small children — left the rubble-strewn Azovstal steelworks on Sunday and set out in buses and ambulances for the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia, about 140 miles (230 kilometers) to the northwest, according to authorities and video released by the two sides.- AP

Ukraine

Ukraine’s foreign reserves resilient amid war shock -central bank head

Foreign financial aid will ensure the stability of Ukraine’s central bank reserves as the country deals with the economic shock from the Russian invasion, central bank governor Kyrylo Shevchenko said late on Monday.

The central bank’s international reserves fell to $26.8 billion as of beginning of May from $28.1 billion a month earlier.

“We have an adequate stock of international reserves, despite the … government’s fulfilments of all its foreign debt obligations,” Shevchenko wrote on the NV Business media portal.

“With sufficient international financial assistance, we will be able to maintain reserves at the proper level and even increase them.”- Reuters

Russia

Moscow says 1,847 children among thousands transported from Ukraine to Russia

 More than 11,500 people, including 1,847 children, were transported from Ukraine into Russia on Monday without the participation of Kyiv’s authorities, Russia’s defence ministry said.

That number includes evacuations from Russian-backed breakaway regions of Ukraine, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics, which Russia recognised as independent just before launching its Feb. 24th invasion.

Russia says the people have been evacuated on their own request, while Ukraine has said Moscow has forcefully deported thousands of people to Russia since the war’s beginning.- Reuters

Russia

Russian teams out of soccer championships

The Union of European Football Associations has kicked Russian soccer teams out of the Women’s European Championship, the next men’s Champions League and qualifying for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The latest round of sporting sanctions Monday during Russia’s war on Ukraine followed UEFA and FIFA suspending Russian national and club teams in February from playing in international competitions, including the men’s World Cup playoffs.

The latest expulsions are likely to be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, just as the Russian Football Union has challenged the previous decisions.- AP

U.S.A.

Russia planning east Ukraine annexation: U.S. official

A senior United States official says the U.S. believed Russia is planning this month to annex large portions of eastern Ukraine and recognise the southern city of Kherson as an independent republic.

Michael Carpenter, the U.S. ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said on Monday that the suspected actions are “straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook” and will not be recognised by the United States or its partners and allies.

Ukraine

‘Heavy fighting’ in Ukraine’s east as Mariupol evacuation delayed

Ukrainian authorities were hoping Monday to evacuate more civilians from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, as Russia’s offensive in the east of Ukraine continued with “active and heavy” fighting.

Kyiv said more than 100 civilians were evacuated over the weekend from the sprawling Azovstal plant, the last holdout of Ukrainian forces in Mariupol which has been surrounded by Russian forces since they invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Ukraine

Ukraine admits ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ fighter pilot is a myth

On social media, the “Ghost of Kyiv” was a military hero, an ace fighter pilot hailed for supposedly shooting down multiple Russian planes. The tales began just days into the war and circulated for months, bolstered by official Ukrainian accounts.

But on Saturday, Ukrainian authorities admitted that the legendary pilot was a myth.



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