Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 97

As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 97th day, we take a look at the main developments.

Here are the key events so far on Tuesday, May 31.

Get the latest updates here.

Fighting

  • At least 16,000 city residents have been buried by Russian occupiers in mass graves near the villages of Staryi Krym, Manhush and Vynohradne since mid-April, the Ukrainian mayor of Mariupol said.
  • Russian troops have pushed further into the key city of Severodonetsk, in the Luhansk region and fought street by street with Kyiv’s forces, driving tens of thousands from their homes, the mayor said.
  • Russian forces control a third of Severodonetsk, a Russian separatist leader said.
  • Russian forces reportedly control the northeast and southeast outskirts of the city of Severodonetsk and are continuing to gain ground within the city, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said.
  • French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff was killed during a Russian bombardment that struck a vehicle evacuating civilians from eastern Ukraine, bringing the total number of media workers killed so far in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion to 32, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
  • France has announced the opening of a war crimes probe into the killing of Leclerc-Imhoff and the wounding of his colleague Maxime Brandstaetter, French media outlets reported.
  • Relatives of Ukrainian fighters from the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol said that they had received no news of the whereabouts of their loved ones since they were evacuated to Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine.
  • Belarus will conduct military mobilisation exercises in June and July in the Gomel region, which borders Ukraine to the south and Russia to the east, state news agency BelTA reported.
  • A ship left the port of Mariupol for the first time since Russia took the city and is headed east to Russia, Interfax reported, citing the Russian-backed separatist leader of Donetsk.

Diplomacy

  • European Union countries have agreed to ban 90 percent of Russian oil imports by the end of the year, “cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine”, Charles Michel, president of the European Council announced.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, including on international support for Ukraine, according to a statement from the state department.
  • EU members backed a package of loans worth 9 billion euros ($9.7bn), with a small component of grants to cover part of the interest, for Ukraine to keep its government going and pay wages for about two months.
  • Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov denied rumours that President Vladimir Putin is ill, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
  • The United States will not send Ukraine rocket systems that can reach Russia, President Joe Biden said on Monday.
  • Germany’s government and conservative opposition agreed on a deal that will release 100 billion euros ($107bn) to modernise the country’s army in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Basketball star Breanna Stewart called on Washington to bring home her fellow Women’s NBA player Brittney Griner who has been detained in Russia since February.
  • Lithuanians crowdfunded $5.4m to buy an advanced military drone in a show of solidarity for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

Economy

  • Zelenskyy said Russia is “deliberately” blocking Ukrainian ports, preventing the export of 22 million tonnes of grain “so that the whole of Europe struggles and so that Ukraine doesn’t earn billions of dollars from its exports”.
  • Russian forces have stolen “at least half a million tonnes of grain” from Ukraine, Zelenskyy said.
  • Moscow is ready to facilitate the unhindered export of grain from Ukrainian ports in coordination with Turkey, the Kremlin said Russia’s Vladimir Putin told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
  • Russian-controlled parts of Kherson and Zaporizhia regions switched over to using Russia’s mobile and internet network, state news agency RIA reported.
  • GasTerra will no longer receive gas from Russia’s Gazprom from May 31 after refusing to agree to Moscow’s demands for payment in roubles, the two companies said.

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