Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: List of key events, day 86

As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 86th day, we take a look at the main developments.

Here are the key events so far on Friday, May 20.

Get the latest updates here.

Fighting

  • Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region has been “completed destroyed” by Russian forces, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
  • Thirteen people died and more than 60 houses destroyed in Luhansk as Russian forces advanced towards the regional centre Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the governor said.
  • Russia’s siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol neared its end with Russia’s defence minister saying nearly 2,000 Ukrainian fighters surrendered at the Azovstal steel works.
  • Ukraine’s Azov Regiment said the military command had ordered an end to the defence of Mariupol to save lives.
  • In a sign of Russia’s urgent need to bolster its war effort, parliament will consider a bill to allow Russians over 40 and foreigners over 30 to sign up for the military.
  • Russian-backed proxy authorities in now occupied Mariupol are not collaborating and fighting with each other, which is likely exacerbated by the evacuation of Ukrainian fighters from Azovstal, the Institute for the Study of War said.
  • Russian forces are likely to shift focus to reinforcing their operations in the Donbas once they have secured Mariupol, the UK’s defence ministry said.
  • The White House is working to put advanced anti-ship missiles in the hands of Ukrainian fighters.
  • A Ukrainian state prosecutor asked a court to sentence a Russian soldier to life in prison for killing an unarmed civilian who pleaded guilty in the first war crimes trial since Russia’s invasion.

Diplomacy

  • The West should not expect Russia to continue food supplies if it slaps Moscow with devastating sanctions, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.
  • Top US General Mark Milley spoke by telephone with his Russian counterpart General Valery Gerasimov – their first discussion since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February.
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there can be “no shortcuts” to European Union membership for Ukraine. He is the second EU leader to quash Kyiv’s hope of fast-tracked membership.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is “determined” to block Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO, calling Stockholm in particular a “complete terror haven”.
  • Kherson will “soon become part” of the Russian Federation, the Russian-appointed head of the Kherson region said.
  • Russia will fight attempts to steal its assets abroad after discussions by EU leaders to use the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to fund the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war.
  • Sweden and Finland joining NATO membership will “strengthen collective security”, US President Joe Biden said after meeting the leaders of both countries in Washington, DC.
  • Finland said it opposes NATO deploying nuclear weapons or setting up military bases on its territory even if it succeeds in its bid to join the alliance, according to Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
  • Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called for an urgent ceasefire in Ukraine to enable a negotiated end to the war.

Aid

  • Biden applauded US Congress for approving a nearly $40bn military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine.
  • Washington announced an additional $100m in security assistance to Ukraine including artillery, radar, and other equipment.
  • The UK has provided more than four million doses of painkillers and antibiotics, as well as personal protective equipment and respirators to Ukraine.

Economy

  • China is quietly ramping up purchases of oil from Russia at bargain prices, according to shipping data and oil traders who spoke to the Reuters news agency.
  • Qatar hopes to start sending liquefied natural gas to Germany in 2024, the Gulf state’s deputy prime minister told the German daily Handelsblatt.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia at the United Nations Security Council of using food as a weapon in Ukraine by holding “hostage” the food supply for millions worldwide who rely on Ukrainian exports.
  • Moscow said sanctions on Russia would have to be reviewed if it were to open access to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports so grain could be exported.
  • Ukraine’s agriculture ministry announced grain exports are down 64 percent so far in May compared with the same time last year.
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he is in “intense contact” with Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, the United States and the EU to restore Ukrainian grain exports.
  • The International Monetary Fund’s deputy managing director said this year would be “challenging” for Asia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and tighter global financial conditions.
  • The UN food chief warned the war in Ukraine has created “an unprecedented crisis” of escalating food prices, with 49 million people in 43 countries already “knocking on famine’s door”.
  • Ukraine has exported 643,000 tonnes of grain since the start of May, considerably less than during the same period last year.
  • McDonald’s struck a deal to sell Russia’s 850 restaurants under a new name to its existing licensee Alexander Govor, who operates 25 restaurants in Siberia.

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