Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Russia declares travel ban on 963 Americans, including Biden and Blinken

A view shows a tank, which was destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 20, 2022.

A view shows a tank, which was destroyed during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 20, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Russia claimed to have captured Mariupol on Friday in what would be its biggest victory yet in its war with Ukraine, after a nearly three-month siege that reduced much of the strategic port city to a smoking ruin, with over 20,000 civilians feared dead.

The Group of Seven leading economies and global financial institutions are providing $19.8 billion in aid to bolster Ukraine’s public finances, Germany’s finance minister said on May 20.

Poland and Portugal are trying to figure out ways of bringing Ukraine into the European Union even if some countries in the bloc balk at granting it speedy access.

The U.S. is spanning a sea bridge over the Atlantic to support Ukraine with crucial equipment in its war against Russia, a senior official said, as a huge cargo ship at the Belgian port of Antwerp got ready to set sail for Germany.

Read more news on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis here.

Here are the latest updates:

Russia

Russia declares travel ban on 963 Americans, including Biden and Blinken

Russia said on Saturday it had so far banned 963 Americans from entering the country - including previously announced moves against President Joe Biden and other top officials - and would continue to retaliate against what it called hostile U.S. actions.

The largely symbolic travel bans form part of a downward spiral in Russia's relations with the West since its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which prompted Washington and its allies to impose drastic sanctions on Moscow and step up arms supplies to Ukraine.

Separately, the Foreign Ministry said it had added 26 new names to a list of Canadians it has barred from travelling to Russia, including defence chiefs, defence industry executives and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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Seoul

Biden signs $40 billion for Ukraine assistance

President Biden on Saturday signed legislation to support Ukraine with another $40 billion in U.S. assistance as the Russian invasion approaches its fourth month.

The legislation, which was passed by Congress with bipartisan support, deepens the U.S. commitment to Ukraine at a time of uncertainty about the war's future. Ukraine has successfully defended Kyiv, and Russia has refocused its offensive on the country's east, but American officials warn of the potential for a prolonged conflict.

The funding is intended to support Ukraine through September, and it dwarfs an earlier emergency measure that provided $13.6 billion.

The new legislation will provide $20 billion in military assistance, ensuring a steady stream of advanced weapons that have been used to blunt Russia's advances. There's also $8 billion in general economic support, $5 billion to address global food shortages that could result from the collapse of Ukrainian agriculture and more than $1 billion to help refugees.

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KYIV

Zelensky says only 'diplomacy' can end Ukraine war

The Ukraine war can only be resolved through "diplomacy", Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday amid a deadlock in negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow.

"The end will be through diplomacy," he told a Ukrainian television channel. The war "will be bloody, there will be fighting but will only definitively end through diplomacy". - AFP

BANGKOK

U.S., others walk out of APEC talks over Russia's Ukraine invasion: Officials

Representatives of the United States and several other nations walked out of an Asia-Pacific trade ministers meeting in Bangkok on Saturday to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine, officials said.

Representatives from Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Australia joined the Americans in walking out of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, two Thai officials and two international diplomats told Reuters.

The walkout took place while the Russian representative was delivering remarks at the opening of the two-day meeting of the group of 21 economies. - Reuters

BAKHMUTSKE

Russia targets Ukraine's last link to besieged east

Ukraine's outgunned forces have been trying to keep the Russians from encircling the once-bustling cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk at the road's northeastern end.

The two ruined coal and chemical manufacturing centres form the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the smaller of the two regions comprising the Donbas war zone.

Russia is now trying and cut it off about 50 kilometres (30 miles) southwest of Lysychansk by first pounding it with artillery and then moving in with force. - AFP

MOSCOW

Russia's Gazprom confirms halting gas supplies to Finland

Russian energy giant Gazprom said Saturday it had stopped all natural gas supplies to Finland as it had not received payment in rubles.

Gazprom said it had "completely stopped gas deliveries" as it had not received ruble payments from Finland's state-owned energy company Gasum "by the end of the working day on May 20". - AFP

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LONDON

Russia likely facing Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles shortage, UK says

Russia is likely experiencing a shortage of appropriate reconnaissance Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which it has attempted to use to identify targets to be struck by combat jets or artillery, British Defence ministry said on Saturday.

Russia is likely experiencing a shortage of appropriate reconnaissance UAVs, which is exacerbated by limitations in its domestic manufacturing capacity resulting from sanctions, the report said. - Reuters

LEEDS

Adoptions another facet of life halted by war in Ukraine

he ripple effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine have been devastating for families of all kinds — including those who have seen their prospective adoptions put on hold.

Ukraine was once one of the U.S.'s most frequent partners on international adoptions, but the war changed all that: The embattled country has halted all international adoptions as the country copes with the turmoil unleashed on its courts and social services. Many children, including orphans, have also fled or been displaced. - PTI

HELSINKI

Russia halts gas supplies to Finland

A photo taken on May 12, 2022 shows pipes at the Gasum plant in Raikkola, Imatra, Finland.

A photo taken on May 12, 2022 shows pipes at the Gasum plant in Raikkola, Imatra, Finland. | Photo Credit: AFP

Russia on Saturday halted providing natural gas to neighbouring Finland, which has angered Moscow by applying for NATO membership, after the Nordic country refused to pay supplier Gazprom in rubles.

Natural gas accounts for about eight percent of Finland's energy consumption and most of it comes from Russia. - AFP

POKROVSK (UKRAINE)

Russia claims to have taken full control of Mariupol

Russia claimed to have captured Mariupol on Friday in what would be its biggest victory yet in its war with Ukraine, after a nearly three-month siege that reduced much of the strategic port city to a smoking ruin, with over 20,000 civilians feared dead.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin the "complete liberation" of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol — the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance — and the city as a whole, spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

There was no immediate confirmation from Ukraine. - AP

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SINGAPORE

China quietly increases purchases of low-priced Russian oil

China is quietly ramping up purchases of oil from Russia at bargain prices, according to shipping data and oil traders who spoke to Reuters, filling the vacuum left by Western buyers backing away from business with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in February.

The move by the world's biggest oil importer comes a month after it initially cut back on Russian supplies, for fear of appearing to openly support Moscow and potentially expose its state oil giants to sanctions.

China's seaborne Russian oil imports will jump to a near-record 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in May, up from 750,000 bpd in the first quarter and 800,000 bpd in 2021, according to an estimate by Vortexa Analytics. - Reuters

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COPENHAGEN

Finland says Russia suspending natural gas supplies

Russia will cut off natural gas to Finland after the Nordic country that applied for NATO membership this week refused President Vladimir Putin's demand to pay in rubles, the Finnish state-owned energy company said on Friday, the latest escalation over European energy amid the war in Ukraine.

Finland is the latest country to be cut off from an energy supply that is used to generate electricity and power industry after refusing Russia's decree.

Poland and Bulgaria were cut off late last month but had prepared for the loss of gas or are getting supplies from other countries. - AP

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MOSCOW

U. S. Embassy welcomes plan to name Moscow square 'Defenders of Donbas'

The U. S. Embassy in Moscow said on May 20 that it was surprised but not offended by a proposal to name a nearby intersection ‘Defenders of Donbas Square’, suggesting disingenuously that it was to honour Ukrainian soldiers fighting Russian aggression.

The Moscow city assembly said on Wednesday that its members were considering naming the intersection after soldiers fighting against alleged "Nazism" in the largely Russian-speaking Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. - Reuters

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MOSCOW

Russia says 'nearing' full control of Ukraine's Lugansk

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday Moscow was nearing full control of Ukraine's eastern separatist region of Lugansk.

"The liberation of the Lugansk People's Republic is nearing completion," Shoigu said at a televised ministry meeting.

Separately, Mr. Shoigu said 1,908 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol. - AFP

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 8:47:55 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-ukraine-crisis-live-updates-russia-claims-to-have-taken-full-control-of-mariupol/article65441917.ece