Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Moscow fires senior commanders for battlefield failures, UK government says

Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, pictured here with Vladimir Putin, likely retained his post but may have lost Putin’s trust, according to the British government

Sergei Guneyev | AFP | Getty Images

In recent weeks, Moscow has fired senior military commanders over Russia’s failed invasion of Ukraine.

The British Ministry of Defense pointed the finger at Lieutenant General Serhiy Kisel, whose forces failed to capture Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv. Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded the Black Sea Fleet until his flagship Moskva was sunk in April, was also suspended.

Valeriy Gerasimov, Russian Chief of Staff, “probably remains in his post”, but it is not known whether President Vladimir Putin still trusts him.

The Russian Defense Ministry‘s press service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an intelligence updatethe British Ministry has predicted that Russia will find it difficult to regain the initiative in its war against Ukraine, as generals and other officials will want to hedge by deferring to their superiors on key decisions.

“Many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine are likely to become increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal culpability for Russia’s operational setbacks,” the Defense Department said.

—Ted Kemp

Russia says it sent 900 Ukrainian troops to former penal colony

In this photo taken from a video released by the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, injured Ukrainian servicemen are seen on a bus as they are evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Russian Ministry of Defense | PA

Russia said 900 Ukrainian soldiers had been taken to a former penal colony in a Russian-controlled part of Donetsk.

Speaking on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, quoting the Russian Defense Ministry, that 959 Ukrainian fighters, including 51 seriously injured, “laid down their arms in two days”.

While the injured received medical treatment at a hospital in the pro-Russian ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, ‘the others were sent to a remand center “, she said, in Olenivka, where a former penal colony is located.

On Monday, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman said on Telegram that the Russian military was detaining more than 3,000 civilians from Mariupol in the former penal colony, with some being subjected to interrogation and torture, it said. she declared. However, the information is not verified.

The soldiers had been locked up in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and had been evacuated earlier this week and taken to Russian-held territory. It was expected that they could be exchanged for Russian soldiers under Ukrainian control, but this is uncertain.

Ukraine said more of its fighters remained in Azovstal steelworks, but did not say how many.

The complex was seen as the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the southern port city – one which Russia has sought to control since the start of its invasion on February 24 and which is considered a strategic objective for Moscow as it aims to create a land bridge linking Russia with Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

Ukraine said its soldiers had been “evacuated” while Russia claimed they had “surrendered”.

Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine’s presidential adviser says the war should not end in the fall

Local boys sit on a swing in the courtyard of a building destroyed by the Russian army‘s airstrike in Ukraine on May 13, 2022. The war in Ukraine is expected to continue through the summer and possibly into beyond that, said presidential adviser Oleksii Arestovych, quoted by NBC. News.

Maxym Marusenko | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The war in Ukraine is expected to continue through the summer and possibly beyond, despite signs that parts of the country are returning to some degree of normality, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksii Arestovych said, as quoted by NBC News. .

“It’s absolutely clear to me that this war probably won’t end in the fall,” Arestovich told Ukrainian television, according to NBC News.

It comes as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seeks to extend martial law for another 90 days, NBC News reported.

Since the start of the war on February 24, martial law has been extended twice, with the current order set to end on May 25.

—Chelsea Ong

Biden optimistic about Finland and Sweden joining NATO, despite Turkey concerns

US President Joe Biden has expressed optimism that Turkey can be persuaded to support Finland and Sweden in their bids to join NATO.

“I think everything will be fine,” Biden told reporters when asked if he could convince Turkey to change its mind.

Biden’s remark came two days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doubled down on his country’s opposition to the two new candidates for the international security alliance.

The White House nevertheless echoed Biden’s optimism during a press briefing.

“We are convinced that in the end Finland and Sweden will have an effective and efficient accession process, [and] that Turkey’s concerns can be addressed,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

He noted that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in talks with his Turkish counterpart. “We feel very good about where this is going,” Sullivan said.

Kevin Breuninger

US reopens embassy in Kyiv after closing for three months

Employees raise the flag outside the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv on May 18, 2022, as the embassy reopens after being closed for three months due to the Russian invasion.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

The United States has reopened its embassy in Kyiv after closing it for three months before and during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“When we suspended operations at the Embassy, ​​we made it clear that if we relocated US Embassy staff for their safety and security, this would in no way impede our engagement and support for the people of Ukraine, to government and civil society and to our allies and partners,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a statement.

By hoisting the American flag on the compound, the United States became the latest Western country to resume diplomatic operations in Kyiv.

Blinken said the United States had tightened security measures and protocols at the embassy ahead of the reopening and the return of American diplomats.

—Amanda Macias

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