Determined Zelenskyy tells country ‘Donbas will be Ukrainian’

  • Ukrainian president tells country ‘Donbas will be Ukrainian’ as Russia pounds Severodonetsk
  • US President Joe Biden says his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is trying to ‘wipe out’ Ukrainian culture and identity.
  • Russia’s finance minister says he expects to receive $14.4bn in additional energy revenues this year, part of which will go to fund the country’s war in Ukraine.
  • The ICC prosecutor urges Russia to cooperate with investigation into alleged war crimes.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Russia affiliated churches in Ukraine critcise Moscow-based leader for supporting invasion

The leaders of the Orthodox churches in Ukraine that were affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church have adopted measures declaring the church’s full independence while criticising the Russian church’s leader for his support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The council of the Moscow-connected body, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, on Friday said it “condemns the war as a violation of God’s commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill!’ … and expresses disagreement with the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia regarding the war in Ukraine.”


Russia has not surrounded Severodonetsk: Governor

The governor of the Luhansk region has denied Russian claims that their forces have surrounded the eastern city of Severodonetsk but said Ukrainian soldiers may have to retreat.

Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram Friday that the Russians have seized a hotel and bus station.

“The Russians will not be able to capture Luhansk region in the coming days, as analysts predict. We will have enough forces and means to defend ourselves,” Haidai wrote.

He added that it’s possible that “not to be surrounded, we will have to leave.”
A critical supply and evacuation path, the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway, is constantly under fire, but supplies and people are still passing on it, Haidai said.

Local resident Viacheslav walks on debris of a residential building damaged by a military strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk region
A resident walks on debris of a residential building damaged by a military strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Severodonetsk, Luhansk region [File: Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters]

Russian legislator calls for forces’ withdrawal: AP

The Associated Press news agency (AP) is reporting that a Communist Party legislative deputy in Russia’s Far East has demanded an end to the war in Ukraine and the withdrawal of its armed forces.

“We understand that if our country doesn’t stop the military operation, we’ll have more orphans in our country,” Leonid Vasyukevich said at a meeting of the Primorsk regional Legislative Assembly in the Pacific port of Vladivostok on Friday, according to AP. Russia has called the war a “special military operation”.

His comments, which he addressed to President Vladimir Putin, were shown in a video posted on a Telegram channel originating from the region, the agency said. Another deputy followed to support Vasyukevich’s views but the legislative assembly’s chairman issued a statement afterwards calling the remarks a “political provocation” not supported by the majority of lawmakers.


‘Donbas will be Ukrainian’: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has struck a determined tone in his regular nightly video address amid reports that Russia had captured Lyman and was pounding the city of Severodonetsk.

Ukraine was protecting its land “as much as our current defence resources allow,” he said.

“If the occupiers think that Lyman or Severodonetsk will be theirs, they are wrong,” Zelenskyy said. “Donbas will be Ukrainian.”


Lithuanians come together to buy drone for Ukraine

Lithuanians have raised some 3 million euros ($3.2 million) in just three days – out of the 5 million euros ($5.3 million) needed – to buy an advanced military drone for Ukraine.

Laisves TV, a Lithuanian internet broadcaster that launched the drive, says hundreds of people have donated small amounts.

Ukraine has bought more than 20 Bayraktar TB2 armed drones in recent years and ordered 16 more on January 27. That batch was delivered in early March.

“This is the first case in history when ordinary people raise money to buy something like a Bayraktar. It is unprecedented, it is unbelievable,” Beshta Petro, Ukraine’s ambassador to Lithuania, told Laisves TV, according to the Reuters news agency.

Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone pictured on an air strip
Ukraine has ordered more than 20 Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones in recent years [File: Birol Bebek/AFP]

Russian forces could struggle in Severodonetsk urban battle: ISW

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has released its latest assessment on the fighting in Ukraine.

It says Russia’s direct attacks on Severodonetsk began even before the city had been completely encircled, which could make it difficult for the military to advance quickly in the town.

“Russian forces have performed poorly in operations in built-up urban terrain throughout the war to date,” the think-tank said.

It also observed an increase in the activity of Ukrainian partisan forces in the south that have been occupied by Russian troops.


Satellite images show Russian manoeuvres, devastation

New satellite images have been released giving an insight into what’s happening in eastern Ukraine, and the scale of the devastation.

A satellite image shows a Russian armour unit and the aftermath of artillery bombardments, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Popasna, Luhansk region, Ukraine
A Russian armoured unit and the aftermath of artillery bombardments in Popasna in Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. The picture was taken May 25, 2022 [Satellite image 2022 Maxar Technologies via Reuters]
satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows towed artillery in firing position deployed in the north of Lyman, Ukraine
Towed artillery in firing position deployed to the north of Lyman in Ukraine [©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP Photo]
satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of artillery craters in fields and destroyed buildings from recent artillery shelling, in Lyman, Ukraine
This satellite image shows fields pockmarked by artillery craters and buildings destroyed by shelling in Lyman. Thursday, May 26, 2022 [©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP Photo]
satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies, Russian forces are deployed in the town of Kolodyazi, approximately 11 kilometers northeast of Lyman, Ukraine,
Russian forces deployed in the town of Kolodyazi, approximately 11 kilometres northeast of Lyman in Ukraine. Thursday, May 26, 2022. Vehicles are positioned near buildings throughout the town [©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP Photo]

US Army confirms buying more Stingers to help replenish stocks

The United States Army has said it has awarded a contract worth $625m to Raytheon Technologies Corp for anti-aircraft Stinger missiles to replenish stocks sent to Ukraine.

The shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft Stinger missiles made by Raytheon were in hot demand in Ukraine, where they have successfully stopped Russian assaults from the air, and in neighbouring European countries that fear they may also need to beat back Russian forces.

US troops have limited use for the current supply of Stingers, but the US needs to maintain its supply on hand while it develops the next generation of a “man-portable air defense system”.

Washington has shipped about 1,400 Stingers to Kyiv since February,


Putin has achieved ‘exactly zero’ of his objectives: US official

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has said Putin has “achieved exactly zero” of his objectives in Ukraine, despite intensifying fighting in the east.

“Our assessment is that the Russians continue to make some incremental gains in the Donbas. Not great magnitude – not leaps and bounds. They are facing and continue to face a stiff Ukrainian resistance,” Kirby told reporters during a news conference.

“We are almost 100 days into this, and Mr Putin has achieved exactly zero of his strategic objectives,” he said.


NATO talks with Sweden, Finland ‘will continue’: Turkish official

A senior Turkish official has told the Reuters news agency that talks with Sweden and Finland over the two countries’ efforts to join NATO are “not an easy process” but will continue.

Ankara has raised concerns over their recent bids to join the US-led alliance, accusing Sweden and Finland of harbouring “terrorists” while also criticising Stockholm for suspending weapons sales to Ankara in 2019 over its involvement in the war in Syria.

Swedish and Finnish diplomats met in Turkey on Wednesday to try to bridge their differences.

The Turkish official told Reuters that Sweden and Finland must take “difficult” steps to win Ankara’s support. “Further negotiations will continue. But a date doesn’t seem very close,” the official said.


Biden says Putin trying to erase Ukrainian culture and identity

United States President Joe Biden has accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of seeking to “wipe out” Ukrainian culture and identity.

“Not only is he trying to take over Ukraine, he’s literally trying to wipe out the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people,” Biden said in a speech at a US Naval Academy graduation ceremony.

He said Russian forces are “attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums with no other purpose than to eliminate a culture” and added that the war is “a direct assault on the fundamental tenets of rule-based international order”.


ICC prosecutor urges Russia to cooperate with war crimes probe

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has urged Russia to cooperate with the court’s investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Prosecutor Karim A A Khan said Russia, which is not a member of the Hague-based court, had declined to work with the ICC on Ukraine but added that his “door is open” if it wants to help.

“The invitation is there. My door is open, and I will also keep knocking on the door of the Russian Federation,” Khan said in an interview with the AFP news agency.

“If there are allegations that the Russian Federation have, if there’s information that they have, if they are conducting their own investigations or prosecutions or have information that’s relevant – share it with us.”


Russia expects $14.4bn in additional oil and gas revenue this year

Russia expects to receive $14.4bn (one trillion rubles) in additional oil and gas revenues this year, the country’s finance minister has said, adding that part of the windfall will be spent on the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

Anton Siluanov said in remarks broadcast on state television that Moscow planned to spend the additional revenue this year rather than put it aside.

He said the funds will be spent on “additional payments” to pensioners and families with children and conducting a “special operation” in Ukraine, the term Russia uses to refer to its ongoing invasion. “There are resources for this,” Siluanov added.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Friday, May 27 here.

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