UN Security Council backs push for ‘peaceful solution’ in Ukraine

  • UN Security Council agrees to first joint statement since Ukraine war began, expressing “strong support” for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
  • US President Joe Biden announces new security aid to Ukraine and calls on US lawmakers to approve more funds for the country.
  • Ukraine says more civilians were evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. A further attempt is expected to be made on Saturday.
  • Ukrainian security official warns of “saboteurs and other criminal elements” ahead of Russia’s Victory Day.
[Al Jazeera]

Here are all the latest updates:

Biden and Trudeau discuss Ukraine in phone call

Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed security assistance to Ukraine, and their commitment to holding Russia accountable for its invasion of the country, in a phone call on Friday, the White House said in a statement.

Diplomatic efforts underway to save Azovstal fighters: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says diplomatic efforts are underway in order to save the Ukrainian soldiers defending the vast Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

“Influential intermediaries are involved, influential states,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. He did not go into detail.

Civilians evacuated from Azovstal escorted to buses by Russian servicemen and Red Cross volunteers
Some of the remaining civilians in Azovstal plant have been evacuated in recent days. Ukrainian troops are holding out in the vast steelworks in the southern city of Mariupol [Russian Defence Ministry Press Service via EPA]

ISW talks of ‘widespread civilian resistance’ in Mariupol

The Institute for the Study of War has given its latest assessment of the situation on the ground in Ukraine.

It says it can’t confirm any specific Russian advances on the assault on the Azovstal steel plant but on the city of Mariupol adds: “Likely widespread civilian resistance to the Russian occupation may additionally disrupt previously announced Russian plans to conduct a Victory Day exhibition in Mariupol.”

More details on their assessment in the Twitter thread below:

UK to send more mobile generators to Ukraine

The UK government, which has already donated nearly 600 mobile generators to Ukraine, is sending 287 more.

The new generators, which are enough to power nearly 8,000 homes, will be used for hospitals, shelters and other essential services in eastern Ukraine, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said in a statement.

Consortium wins bid to take over Chelsea: Report

A consortium led by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and backed by Clearlake Capital has won the bid to acquire Premier League club Chelsea in a deal worth up to $4.94bn (£4bn), Britain’s Telegraph newspaper has reported.

The proposal has now been sent to the government and Premier League for approval.

With just over three weeks remaining on the club’s current operating licence, which expires on May 31, Boehly is on course to complete his takeover by the end of this month, The Telegraph said.

Russian owner Roman Abramovich, now subject to sanctions by the UK government, put the London club up for sale in early March following the invasion of Ukraine.

US provided $3.8bn in military aid to Ukraine since invasion began: Blinken

With the latest $150m US security aid package to Ukraine, Washington’s military assistance to Kyiv since the Russian invasion began has reached around $3.8bn, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

“This brings total US security assistance to Ukraine to approximately $3.8 billion in arms and equipment since Russia launched its brutal and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24,” Blinken said in a statement announcing the additional aid.

“We will continue to provide Ukraine the arms its forces are effectively using to defend their country and the freedom of their fellow citizens.”

UN Security Council statement ‘initial step’ in right direction: Mexico

Juan Ramon de la Fuente, Mexico’s ambassador to the United Nations, has called the Security Council statement backing the push for peace in Ukraine “a very first initial step but it points on the right direction”.

“It’s encouraging to see diplomacy is getting its place at the council,” he said, adding that “quiet diplomacy is sometimes much more effective than when you have lots of statements.”

Mexico currently has a seat on the 15-member council.

Ukraine wheat production set to drop by third: Satellite imagery analysis

Ukraine’s wheat production is likely to be down by at least a third from last year due to the Russian invasion, a data analysis firm that uses satellite imagery has said.

Ukraine is a major producer and exporter of wheat, but the war has disrupted faming in the country.

The French firm Kayrros said near-infrared and infrared imagery allows it to determine crop coverage and accurately predict wheat production. “Production this year is expected to be at least 35 percent lower than last year,” an analysis of the latest data showed, Kayrros said.

UN chief welcomes Security Council statement

UN chief Guterres has welcomed the Security Council statement that backed his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine.

“Today, for the first time, the Security Council spoke with one voice for peace in Ukraine,” Guterres said in a statement. “The world must come together to silence the guns and uphold the values of the UN Charter.”

Guterres recently visited Moscow and Kyiv in a push for humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to evacuate areas facing heavy fighting.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference
‘The world must come together to silence the guns and uphold the values of the UN Charter,’ says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres [File: Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via Reuters]

Fresh US military aid package worth $150m: Official

The newest US military aid package to Ukraine, announced by Biden on Friday, is worth $150m, a US official has said.

The official said the latest tranche of assistance includes 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, as well as counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment, field equipment and spare parts.

Italy blocks Russia-linked mega-yacht from sailing

The Italian finance minister has announced a decree that will impede a mega-yacht from sailing away from a Tuscan port, after an investigation indicated the luxury vessel Scheherazade has links to “prominent elements of the Russian government”.

The finance ministry said in statement that the probe, carried out by Italy’s financial police corps, found the beneficial owner of the ship also had “significant economic business links” to other subjects included on a 2014 sanctions list.

That earlier blacklist was issued as part of European Union measures prompted by Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Biden renews call for US Congress to approve more funds for Ukraine

Biden has renewed his call for the US Congress to “quickly” authorise additional funding for aid to Ukraine. Late last month, Biden asked lawmakers for $33bn to keep the assistance flowing.

The US president said in a statement that the most recent aid package “nearly exhausted” his administration’s funding for Ukraine.

“Congress should quickly provide the requested funding to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table,” he said.

Biden announces fresh security aid to Ukraine

US President Biden has announced new security aid to Ukraine.

“I am announcing another package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment to Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement without specifying the amount of the aid.

“US support, together with the contributions of our Allies and partners, has been critical in helping Ukraine win the battle of Kyiv and hinder Putin’s war aims in Ukraine,” he added.

Ukraine warns of ‘saboteurs’ ahead of Russia’s Victory Day

A top official from Ukraine’s interior ministry has warned against “the activation of saboteurs and other criminal elements” in the lead-up to Russia’s Victory Day on Monday.

Speaking to Ukraine’s state-run Ukrinform agency, first deputy interior minister Yevhen Yenin said authorities were carrying out “special operations” in a number of Ukrainian cities to “prevent possible provocations”.

“We receive information about the potential shelling of peaceful territories, and therefore I appeal to every Ukrainian, especially these days, not to ignore air raid sirens,” he added.

Russian shelling kills one, injures three in Donbas: Governor

One person was reported dead and three more were injured as a result of Russian shelling in Lyman, a city in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, the governor has said.

“Russia is killing civilians! On May 6, as a result of Russian shelling, one civilian of the Donbas was killed in Lyman. Three more people were injured,” Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post.

The Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, encompasses the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Security Council unanimously backs UN chief’s push for ‘peaceful solution’

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted its first statement since Russia’s invasion began, expressing “strong support” for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to find a peaceful solution to the “dispute” in Ukraine.

The short statement adopted at a very brief meeting did not use the words “war”, “conflict” or “invasion”, as many council members call Russia’s continuing military action. Moscow has dubbed it a “special military operation”.

The permanent members of the council include Russia, the US, China, France and the UK.

“The Security Council expresses strong support for the efforts of the secretary-general in the search for a peaceful solution,” the statement said.

Ukraine official says 50 people evacuated from Azovstal plant

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said 50 women, children and elderly people were evacuated from the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol.

Vereshchuk accused Russia of constantly violating a local ceasefire, however, causing the effort to be “extremely slow”.

“Tomorrow morning we will continue the evacuation operation,” she said in an online post.

Ukrainian evacuees
Civilians evacuated from Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol arrive at a temporary accommodation centre in the village of Bezimenne, on May 6 [Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

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Read all the updates from Friday, May 6 here.

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