Kharkiv governor says attacks on region have intensified

  • Kharkiv’s governor says Russia is intensifying attacks in the northeastern region, where Ukraine has reportedly clawed back territory.
  • Hungary rejects a proposed European Union embargo on Russian oil imports, warning it would destroy the country’s economy.
  • The US House of Representatives passes bill to provide Ukraine with $40bn in military and economic assistance.

Here are all the latest updates:

Russia’s Medvedev lashes out at US aid to Ukraine

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has accused the United States of waging a “proxy war” against Russia after legislators approved the $40bn aid package for Ukraine.

Medvedev said in a post on Telegram that the move was a bid “to deal a serious defeat to our country and limit its economic development and political influence in the world.”

“It won’t work. The printing press by which America is constantly increasing its already inflated government debt will break faster,” he added.

Medvedev, who has served as deputy chairman of Russia’s security council since resigning as prime minister in January 2020, also blamed “insane” prices for US fuel and groceries on what he called America’s “Russophobic authorities”.

Breakaway Georgian region awaits ‘signal’ before referendum on joining Russia

TBILISI, May 11 (Reuters) – The new leader of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia said on Wednesday it would wait for a signal from Moscow before holding a referendum on joining Russia.

Moscow recognised South Ossetia and the coastal region of Abkhazia as independent after fighting a brief war with Georgia in 2008. It has provided them with extensive financial support, offered Russian citizenship to their populations and stationed troops there.

In comments to TASS news agency, Alan Glagoev, who defeated incumbent Anatoly Bibilov in a presidential vote at the weekend, said South Ossetia needed for Russia to be on board with a referendum on joining the country if it were to be held.

Moscow’s treatment of South Ossetia and Abkhazia set a precedent for its more recent actions in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two regions of eastern Ukraine as independent on February 21, and invaded the country three days later on the pretext of protecting Russian-speakers there from alleged “genocide” by Ukrainian forces.

Russia downed satellite internet in Ukraine: Western officials

Russia was behind a massive cyberattack against a satellite internet network that took thousands of modems offline at the onset of the war in Ukraine, the US, the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union have said.

Read more here.

Hungary says EU’s oil embargo proposal still unacceptable

The European Union’s proposal on oil sanctions against Russia would destroy the Hungarian economy, the country’s foreign minister says.

Peter Szijjarto said in a video posted on his Facebook page that after talks conducted so far, the European Commission does not have a solution to the huge problems such a move would create for Hungary.

He added the only way Hungry could agree to such an embargo would be if it applied to maritime oil shipments, and all shipments of Russian oil via pipelines would be fully exempted.

Ukraine war speeds Greece’s transition to EU energy gateway

In about a month, Greece will finish building a pipeline to Bulgaria that will end Russia’s gas monopoly there and in southeast Europe.

Russia has supplied 90 percent of Bulgaria’s gas until now, but on April 27, it cut Bulgaria off after Sofia said it would not renew its contract with Gazprom at the end of the year.

Sofia is now looking to the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, as the new pipeline is called, to supply it with gas from Azerbaijan, which Greece receives via the Trans-Anatolian pipeline that traverses the Caucasus and Turkey.

Read more here.

Russian gas nominations for Slovakia drop, data shows

Daily nominations for Russian gas deliveries to Slovakia via Ukraine have fallen, according to data from Slovakian operator TSO Eustream.

Nominations via the Velke Kapusany border point were about 717,923 megawatt hours (MWh) per day, versus about 883,844 MWh per day on Tuesday, the data showed.

Ukraine said it would suspend gas flows through the transit point which it said delivered almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe via Ukraine, blaming Moscow for the move and saying it would move the flows elsewhere.

A worker at a Ukrainian gas station
A worker at a Ukrainian gas station in Volovets, western Ukraine [File: Pavlo Palamarchuk/Reuters]

Ukraine threatens to sue Russia’s Gazprom

A top Ukrainian energy official has threatened to sue Russia’s Gazprom if it does not pay for the transit of its natural gas via Ukraine.

Ukraine’s main gas operator said on Tuesday that it would stop the flow of Russian gas via its transit point in the southeastern Luhansk region under Russian control.

Yuri Vitrenko, the CEO of the state-controlled Naftogaz, said on Facebook that Gazprom would still have to pay for the transit.

“If there is no payment, it looks like there must be a new arbitration [trial],” he said referring to multi-billion court settlements his company received from Gazprom.

Russians resume attack on Azovstal

Russian forces have resumed their attempts to seize the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where hundreds of Ukrainian service members have been holed up for weeks, a Ukrainian official says.

“They tried to break through the bridge that served as a gate for the evacuation” of civilians from the sprawling plant, Petro Andriushchenko, an advisor to Mariupol’s mayor, said on Telegram.

“Unsuccessfully,” he concluded next to a video of what appears to be several Russian service members running under a bridge in thick smoke.

Reporting from Mansur Mirovalev in Kyiv.

An injured Ukrainian service member sits at a field hospital inside a bunker of the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, Ukraine, May 10, 2022
An injured Ukrainian service member sits at a field hospital inside a bunker of the Azovstal steelworks [Dmytro Orest Kozatskyi/Press service of Azov Regiment/Handout via AP]

US senators introduce resolution to list Russia as terror sponsor

Two US senators have introduced a resolution that would call on President Joe Biden’s administration to list Russia as a state sponsor of “terrorism”.

Republican Lindsey Graham and Democratic Richard Blumenthal cited actions during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and incidents where Russia supported fighters in Syria and Chechnya prior to the invasion.

Members of the Ukrainian parliament voted last week to urge the US to recognise Russia as a “terror” sponsor, citing atrocities committed in Bucha, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities. Zelenskyy asked Biden to name Russia last month.

Zelenskyy thanks US House for passing aid package

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress who voted in favour of a $40bn aid package for Ukraine.

“We are looking forward to consideration of this important document for us by the Senate,” he wrote in a tweet.

China government-backed trader secures rare Russian oil deal: Report

China’s Shandong Port International Trade Group, a provincial government-backed commodities and oil trader, has secured a rare shipment of Russian crude oil for arrival into east China this month, according to traders and a company statement.

The Reuters news agency reports that this marks the first such deal under which a Chinese firm other than Beijing’s national oil giants has directly bought oil from a Russian supplier.

Shandong Port group said in a statement that a 100,000 tonne (730,000 barrel) crude oil shipment was scheduled to arrive at Shandong province in the middle of this month.

Although it did not specify the origin of the shipment, trading sources who closely monitor Russian oil sales to China said the cargo size and the shipping voyage would indicate it is a cargo of ESPO blend, Russia’s flagship export grade from its Far East port Kozmino.

Russians shell special needs school in Luhansk, no casualties: Governor

Russian forces “opened fire 15 times” on residential areas and infrastructure in Luhansk on Tuesday, the region’s governor has said.

Serhiy Haidai said a school for children with special needs was hit by shelling. “Fortunately, we evacuated the pupils of the school in advance,” he wrote on Telegram.

Haidai added that the main gas pipeline in Severodonetsk was also damaged and there is “no light” in the city for a second day.

Ukraine ‘successfully’ struck Russian Black Sea defences and resupply vessels: UK

Ukraine has “successfully” struck Russian air defences and resupply vessels stationed in the western Black Sea with Bayraktar drones, the United Kingdom defence ministry reports.

“Russia’s resupply vessels have minimum protection in the western Black Sea, following the Russian Navy’s retreat to Crimea after the loss of the Moskva,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence briefing.

It added that fighting was continuing in Zmiinyi Island, known as Snake Island, as Russia was trying to “reinforce its exposed garrison located there”.

“If Russia consolidates its position on Zmiinyi Island with strategic air defence and coastal defence cruise missiles, they could dominate the north-western Black Sea,” the ministry said.

Occupied Ukraine regions to be part of Russia: Moscow official

Putin’s representative to the occupied region of Crimea has said that areas of southern Ukraine “liberated” by Moscow’s troops will become regions of Russia, state-owned RIA news reports.

“This, as we assess from our communication with the inhabitants of the region, is the will of the people themselves, most of whom lived for eight years under conditions of repression and bullying by the Ukronazis,” according to Georgy Muradov.

“Military-civilian administrations are being formed in these territories, Russian TV channels have come here, Russian textbooks have appeared in schools, the Russian ruble is successfully entering the economic life of the region,” Muradov told RIA.

Such “military-civilian administrations” have reportedly been set up in the regions of Kherson, Crimea and parts of Zaporizhzhia.

People shout at Russian soldiers during rally against the Russian occupation in Svobody (Freedom) Square in Kherson, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022
People shout at Russian soldiers during rally against the Russian occupation in Svobody (Freedom) Square in Kherson, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022 [Olexandr Chornyi/AP]

Russians allegedly stole valuable items from Zaporizhzhia museum

Ukraine’s security services are investigating the alleged theft by Russian occupiers of several historical items from the Melitopol Museum of Local History, the Zaporizhzhia regional prosecutor’s office has said.

The Interfax news agency reports that among the stolen items is a collection of Scythian gold found by archaeologists in the 1950s.

Russia says Ukraine’s army staged ‘provocation’ in Kharkiv

The head of Russia’s national defence control centre has said that Ukrainian soldiers have staged a “provocation” in Kharkiv by shooting six civilian vehicles, state news agency RIA has reported.

“According to the available reliable information, in the Kharkiv region, the Kyiv regime carried out another bloody action in accordance with the Bucha scenario. On the section of the road between the settlements of Stary and Novy Saltov, servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shot six civilian vehicles with white flags mounted on them,” Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said.

Mizintsev also said that Ukraine’s troops, positioned in private houses in Belaya Krinitsa in the Kherson region, attacked several Russian troops so they would return fire. In this way, Mizintsev said, Ukraine’s army used the residents of homes as human shields.

The governor of Kharkiv earlier reported that Russia had intensified shelling in the region.

Ukraine’s FM says Western weapons came too late

Ukraine’s foreign minister has lamented Western reluctance to send Kyiv weapons early in the conflict, saying had they done so, thousands of lives may have been saved.

“If we had been heard from the very beginning on all the weapons that we need to receive, if we didn’t have to spend hours and days explaining to partners in Europe and in the United States why we need specifically this weapon and not another one, we would have received all these weapons by now,” Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with Politico.

He added the US had spent weeks looking at stockpiles of old Soviet weapons around the world that it could send to Ukraine and then realised these were nearly empty before deciding to send Western weapons.

Kuleba said the turning point was the meeting at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base when US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark Milley convinced European allies to transition Ukraine from Soviet to NATO weapons.

Pelosi calls Putin a ‘coward’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Putin’s war against Ukraine “is not only an act of brutality, it’s an act of cowardice.”

“Who but a coward would pretend he’s going to war and bomb a maternity hospital?  Who but a coward would have his soldiers resort to the cruelty of the rape of children or their parents in front of them, boys and girls?  Who but a coward would pile these children in trains and take them to Russia?” Pelosi said in her speech before the House vote on new aid money for Ukraine.

“We should all be very proud that we had the opportunity – when Putin decided whatever he decided, to be brutal and cruel and a coward – that we were there to help.  It is about democracy versus a dictatorship. Democracy must prevail,” Pelosi added.

Congress passes $40bn Ukraine aid package

The US House has approved a $40bn aid package for Ukraine, the bill having sailed through by a 368-57 margin. The package was backed by every voting Democrat and by nearly three out of four Republicans.

The new funding is $7bn more than Biden’s $33bn request from two weeks ago. It would give Ukraine military and economic assistance, help regional allies, replenish weapons the Pentagon has shipped overseas and provide $5bn to address global food shortages caused by the war’s crippling of Ukraine’s normally robust production of many crops.

The new legislation would bring American support for Ukraine to nearly $54bn, including the $13.6bn in support Congress enacted in March.

The Senate seems certain to approve the legislation but it is unclear when it will act, and some changes are possible.


Reports of Moscow’s cyberattacks on Ukraine ‘absurd’: Russian diplomats

Russia’s embassy in the United States has labelled as “absurd” the US state department’s assertions that Moscow was involved in cyberattacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, state news agency TASS has reported.

“We paid attention to the State Department’s statement about Russia’s alleged involvement in cyber attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Such statements are absurd and out of touch with the real state of affairs. Our country has never engaged in cyber aggression. This contradicts Russia’s principled position,” a statement from the embassy said.

Diplomats also reportedly said Russia was “ready for an equal, professional and non-politicised dialogue with the United States on a wide range of topical issues of information security”.

Russian attacks on Kharkiv intensifying: Governor

The governor of the Kharkiv region has said that the intensity of Russian shelling, particularly on residential areas, increased on Tuesday.

“Today there are six wounded. In the Lozovsky and Izyum regions, another two have suffered. In the Kupyansk region, unfortunately, one person died. In Kharkiv, two people were hospitalised with injuries,” Oleg Sinegubov said on Telegram

He warned residents to stay in shelters as much as possible and not leave even in the absence of an alarm. “Do not rush to return to the liberated settlements. And those who are there, do not visit places that have not yet been checked the pyrotechnics. The enemy is cunning and is doing everything to hurt as many Ukrainian civilians as possible,” he added.

Damaged residential buildings in Saltivka neighbourhood in Kharkiv
Damaged residential buildings in Saltivka neighbourhood in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 10, 2022 [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]

Ukraine says Russia shelled Sumy and Chernihiv

Russian forces shelled the border regions of Sumy and Chernihiv on Tuesday evening, Ukraine’s state border service has said.

“Enemy planes twice launched unguided missiles at the border territories of the Sumy region. They also fired from mortars into the territory of Chernihiv from the Russian village of Novye Yurkovichi,” the service said on Telegram.

Olena Koptyl, 63, enters the basement of her destroyed home in the aftermath of a battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops on the outskirts of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, Saturday, April 23, 2022
Olena Koptyl, 63, enters the basement of her destroyed home following a battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops on the outskirts of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, on Saturday, April 23, 2022 [Francisco Seco/AP]

Private US group says it secured release of Russian-held American in Ukraine

A US citizen in Ukraine who had been accused of espionage and held by Russian forces was being evacuated to Poland with two family members after his release was secured by a private volunteer group from Florida, Reuters has reported the group as having said.

Kirillo Alexandrov, 27, was arrested with his spouse and mother-in-law in late March outside the city of Kherson as they were trying to flee the region following its occupation by Russian troops. This is according to Project Dynamo, a Tampa-based group first formed to rescue Americans and others from Afghanistan last year.

Dynamo said Russian forces held Alexandrov on nearly a dozen criminal charges related to allegations that he was spying for the US government, which Dynamo said were fabricated. He was interrogated and was destined for transfer to Moscow, “where he would presumably be leveraged for propaganda and then imprisoned,” the Florida-based group said in a statement.

Blinken in virtual meeting with Bulgarian PM on Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met virtually with Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, the state department’s spokesperson Ned Price has said.

“Secretary Blinken emphasised the importance of both a unified NATO and US-EU response to Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and said the United States would continue to support Bulgaria’s defence modernisation and energy security priorities,” Price said.

“The two affirmed a shared vision for our transatlantic relationship, and the secretary reaffirmed the importance of expeditious EU accession for qualified aspirants,” he added.

Canada gives UN $2.5m to investigate human rights violations in Ukraine

Canada says it has given $2.5m to the United Nations to report on human rights violations in Ukraine.

“This monitoring will contribute to future Ukrainian and international efforts to seek accountability for violations of international humanitarian law,” Canada’s global affairs office said in a tweet.

The funding is part of a $10m package Canada has pledged to support human rights, civil society and demining in Ukraine, which includes $1.5m for the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

Putin seeking goals beyond Ukraine’s east: US intelligence chief

Putin is still looking to achieve military objectives beyond eastern Ukraine after failing to capture Kyiv in the early stages of the war, the US intelligence chief has said.

Speaking to US lawmakers on Tuesday, Avril Haines, the US director of national intelligence, said the shifting of Russian military operations to Ukraine’s Donbas region in the east is only temporary.

“We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Haines said.

“We assess that Putin’s strategic goals have probably not changed, suggesting he regards the decision in late March to refocus Russian forces on the Donbas is only a temporary shift to regain the initiative after the Russian military’s failure to capture Kyiv.”

Read more here.

US legislators debate fresh Ukraine aid

Members of the US House of Representatives have started debating the $40bn aid bill to Ukraine, which is expected to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Still, some Republican lawmakers voiced concern about the massive allocation of funds – and what would happen after they run out.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, questioned why Washington is sending billions of dollars to Ukraine while the US is suffering from a baby formula shortage because of supply disruptions.

“Completely ignoring our own border crisis, our own baby formula crisis and brutal inflation, [a] skyrocketing, gas crisis that no one can afford. But $40 billion for Ukraine?” she said.

Jamie Raskin, a top Democrat, responded: “Here’s a formula for the destruction of democracy: repeating Putin’s propaganda and disinformation and appeasing imperialist assaults on sovereign nations.”

‘We will achieve our victory,’ Zelenskyy says in tribute to late president

Zelenskyy ended his nightly video address by paying tribute to Kravchuk, the first president of an independent Ukraine, who died on Tuesday at age 88.

“As a child he lived through World War II, lived through the occupation,” Zelenskyy said. “Leonid Makarovich [Kravchuk] knew the price of freedom and with all his heart wanted peace for Ukraine. I am sure that we will accomplish this. We will achieve our victory and our peace.”

Leonid Kravchuk
Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk died at age 88 [File: Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Nominee for US ambassador to Ukraine seeks quick embassy reopening

The Biden administration’s nominee for US ambassador to Ukraine has said she would work to make Russia’s invasion of the country a “strategic failure”.

Bridget Brink told senators she would push to fully reopen the US embassy in Kyiv and take up her work in the country, but said she could give no timeframe for that.

She noted that the outside of the embassy complex, which closed before the invasion, appeared to have what she called superficial damage. “What we are trying to do as an administration is move security items as fast as possible to Ukraine,” Brink said.

Ukraine to halt key Russian gas transit to Europe, use alternative

Ukraine has said it would suspend the flow of gas through a transit point that it said delivers almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe, blaming Moscow for the move and saying it would move the flows elsewhere.

GTSOU, which operates Ukraine’s gas system, said it would suspend flows via the Sokhranivka route from Wednesday, declaring “force majeure”, a clause invoked when a business is hit by something beyond its control.

The company said in a statement that it could not operate at the Novopskov gas compressor station due to “the interference of the occupying forces in technical processes”, adding that it could temporarily shift the affected flow elsewhere, to the Sudzha physical interconnection point located in territory controlled by Ukraine.

But Gazprom, which has a monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, said it was “technologically impossible” to shift all volumes to the Sudzha interconnection point, as GTSOU proposed.

Gas prices hit new record in US

US gas prices have reached a record high as Biden says fighting inflation is his top domestic priority.

The average price at the pump hit $4.37 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), surpassing the last record of $4.33 set on March 11. The average price per gallon a year ago was $2.97.

On Tuesday, Biden blamed what he called “Mr Putin’s war in Ukraine” and the COVID-19 pandemic for inflation, including increased gas prices.

Ukraine pushes back Russian troops near Kharkiv: Defence ministry

Ukraine says its forces have recaptured villages from Russian troops north and northeast of Kharkiv, in a counteroffensive that could signal a shift in the war’s momentum and jeopardise Russia’s main advance.

Ukrainian troops in recent days recaptured the settlements of Cherkaski Tyshky, Ruski Tyshki, Borshchova and Slobozhanske, north of Ukraine’s second-largest city, said Tetiana Apatchenko, a press officer with the main Ukrainian force in the area.

Defence ministry adviser Yuriy Saks also said Ukraine was pushing Russian forces out of range of the city of Kharkiv, which has been under perpetual bombardment since the war began.

“The military operations of the Ukrainian armed forces around Kharkiv, especially north and northeast of Kharkiv, are sort of a success story,” Saks told Reuters.

Leonid Kravchuk, independent Ukraine’s first president, dies

Leonid Kravchuk, who led Ukraine to independence amid the collapse of the Soviet Union and served as its first president, has died, Ukrainian officials have said. He was 88.

Andriy Yermak, head of Zelenskyy’s office, confirmed Kravchuk’s death on the social media app Telegram. Kravchuk had been in poor health and underwent a heart operation last year.

Kravchuk led Ukraine as its Communist Party boss in the waning years of the Soviet Union before holding the Ukrainian presidency from 1991 through 1994.

He was a driving force in Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and later that year joined leaders of Russia and Belarus to sign an agreement that formally declared that the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

Italy to take in dozens of Ukrainian orphans

The Italian foreign ministry has said 63 Ukrainian orphans will be flown from Krakow, Poland to Trapani, Sicily.

The transport was organised by the Pope John XXIII Community, along with Italian diplomats in Ukraine and Poland.

“This humanitarian evacuation confirms Italy’s commitment to assisting civilians hit by the conflict in Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.

US House to vote on $40bn Ukraine aid package: Pelosi

The US House of Representatives will vote on a $40bn military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said.

The legislation is expected to pass in the House and then the Senate within the coming days.

US President Joe Biden had asked Congress to approve an additional $33bn in aid for Ukraine, warning that previously authorised funds were running out, but US lawmakers decided to increase that total to $39.8bn.

“This package, which builds on the robust support already secured by Congress, will be pivotal in helping Ukraine defend not only its nation but democracy for the world,” Pelosi said in a letter to House members urging quick passage.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, of Calif., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says US aid will help Ukraine defend ‘democracy for the world’ [File: Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]

Zelenskyy asks for more weapons to unlock Mariupol siege

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told Maltese politicians that despite pleas, Ukraine has not received the amount of weapons it would need to unblock the siege of Mariupol and free the city.

But Zelenskyy said Ukrainian defenders “still continue their resistance in the plant of Azovstal”.

“We are using all possible diplomatic instruments to rescue them, but Russia doesn’t allow for any of the proposed options. We have asked our partners to provide weapons in order to unblock Mariupol and rescue both civilians and military personnel,” he said.

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

Read all the updates from Tuesday, May 10 here.

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