Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | EU makes eleventh-hour push to agree on Russia oil sanctions

This handout picture taken and released by the Ukrainian Presidential press-service on May 29, 2022, shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) talking with servicemen during his visit to the Kharkiv region.

This handout picture taken and released by the Ukrainian Presidential press-service on May 29, 2022, shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) talking with servicemen during his visit to the Kharkiv region. | Photo Credit: AFP

Russian and Ukrainian troops traded blows in fierce close-quarter combat on May 29 in an eastern Ukrainian city as Moscow’s soldiers, supported by intense shelling, attempted to gain a strategic foothold to conquer the region. Ukraine’s leader also made a rare frontline visit to Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, to assess the strength of the national defense.

In the east, Russian forces stormed Sievierodonetsk after trying unsuccessfully to encircle the strategic city, Ukrainian officials said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation there as “indescribably difficult,” with a relentless Russian artillery barrage destroying critical infrastructure and damaging 90% of the buildings.

Meanwhile, Germany’s government and conservative opposition have agreed on a deal that will release 100 billion euros ($107 billion) to modernise the army in the face of the Russian threat.

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

European Union

EU struggles to clear Hungary’s block on Russian oil ban

EU ambassadors made a final push to persuade Hungary to accept a watered-down oil embargo against Russia before a summit on May 30, as European unity over the war in Ukraine showed cracks.

Envoys from the 27 member states were meeting in an attempt to finalise a sixth package of sanctions against Moscow, but remain deadlocked over a proposed embargo on Russian oil.

The meeting was held just hours before the start of a two-day EU summit, where leaders hope to discuss ways to help Ukraine and how to beef-up European defence spending in the face of Russian aggression. - AFP

Russia

Russia says it struck shipyard in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv

Russia‘s defence ministry said on Monday that its forces had struck a shipbuilding facility in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv. Russian artillery struck a hangar in Mykolaiv’s Okean Shipyard, destroying vehicles and other equipment, the ministry said. - Reuters

Spain

Spain backs new sanctions against Russia, no EU agreement yet: Foreign Minister

Spain supports a new package of EU sanctions against Moscow but there is no agreement yet as some member states remain heavily dependent on Russian crude imports and are reluctant to block them, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Monday.

“There are two goals we have when approving a sanction package. One is not allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to finance his war effort with European capital and the other is not allowing Mr. Vladimir Putin’s war to destabilise the European Union,” Mr. Albares said in an interview with state broadcaster TVE. - Reuters

Ukraine

Russian forces advancing on centre of Sievierodonets

Russian forces were edging closer to the centre of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonets despite fierce resistance, Kyiv’s regional governor in the region said May 30.

“The Russians are advancing into the middle of Sievierodonets. The fighting continues. The situation is very difficult,” the Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in a statement on social media. - AFP

European Union

EU makes eleventh-hour push to agree on Russia oil sanctions

Top European Union diplomats meet on May 30 for a last-ditch attempt to agree on Russian oil import sanctions before their leaders meet later in the day, seeking to avoid a spectacle of disunity over the bloc’s response to the war in Ukraine.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell sounded a hopeful note ahead of the two-day summit in Brussels, where leaders of the 27 countries will have few concrete results if the impasse over an oil embargo holds up a wider package of sanctions on the table.

“I think that this afternoon, we will be able to offer to the heads of the member states an agreement,” Mr. Borrell told broadcaster France Info. - Reuters

France

French Foreign Minister to meet Ukraine President on May 30

French Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna will meet Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv later on May 30 to express France’s solidarity with Ukraine and offer more support for the country, said the French foreign affairs ministry.

Colonna’s trip to Ukraine comes amid criticism from some diplomats and political analysts that France is not doing enough to support Ukraine in its fight with Russia. - Reuters

European Union

EU to pledge support for Ukraine, but not ready with new Russia sanctions

European Union leaders will meet on Monday to declare continued support for Ukraine to help it fend off Russia’s assault, but the talks will be overshadowed by their failure to agree on a new sanctions package against Moscow.

Over two days, leaders of the 27-nation bloc are to discuss how best to aid Ukraine four months into Russia’s invasion and how to deal with the conflict’s impacts: high energy prices, an impending food shortage and the EU’s defence needs.

But draft conclusions of the meeting, seen by Reuters, showed that while the EU will be generous with verbal support for the government in Kyiv, there will be little in terms of new decisions on any of the main topics.

“After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, we saw what can happen when Europe stands united. With a view to the summit tomorrow, let’s hope it continues like this. But it is already starting to crumble and crumble again,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Sunday. - Reuters

Donbas

Ukrainian defenders hold out in Donbas

European Union leaders will meet on Monday to reiterate support for Ukraine as Russian forces intensified attacks to capture Sievierodonetsk, a key city in the southeastern Donbas region that Moscow has prioritised taking full control over.

Incessant shelling has left Ukrainian forces defending ruins in Sievierodonetsk, but their refusal to withdraw is stalling a massive Russian offensive across the Donbas.

“Some 90% of buildings are damaged. More than two-thirds of the city’s housing stock has been completely destroyed. There is no telecommunication,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised speech. - Reuters

Ukraine

Ukraine pushes back in Kherson

Ukrainian forces have counterattacked in the country’s south, claiming to have pushed back Russian troops near three villages in the Kherson region, as President Volodymyr Zelensky made his first visit to the embattled east since the start of the war.

Mr. Zelensky, who on Monday will press EU leaders to break a deadlock on a new round of sanctions against Russia, a day earlier walked the streets of the devastated Kharkiv region’s capital in a bullet-proof vest.

While one-third of the northeastern region remains under Russian control, “We will for sure liberate the entire area,” Mr. Zelensky said after the visit, also revealing he had fired the city’s security chief in a rare public rebuke. - AFP

Germany

Germany agrees $107 billion fund to modernise military in face of Russia threat

Germany’s government and conservative opposition have agreed on a deal that will release 100 billion euros ($107 billion) to modernise the army in the face of the Russian threat. An agreement was reached late Sunday to create a special fund for military procurement that will also allow Berlin to achieve NATO’s target of spending two percent of GDP on defence.

The deal, which involves amending budgetary rules in the national constitution, was struck after weeks of difficult negotiations between the parties in the governing coalition and the conservatives of former chancellor Angela Merkel, representatives of these groups told AFP.

Three days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged a special budget of 100 billion euros to rearm the German military and modernise its outdated equipment over the next few years. - AFP

Ukraine

Ukraine, Russia battle in the east as Zelensky visits front

Russian and Ukrainian troops traded blows in fierce close-quarter combat Sunday in an eastern Ukrainian city as Moscow’s soldiers, supported by intense shelling, attempted to gain a strategic foothold to conquer the region. Ukraine's leader also made a rare frontline visit to Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, to assess the strength of the national defense.

In the east, Russian forces stormed Sievierodonetsk after trying unsuccessfully to encircle the strategic city, Ukrainian officials said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation there as “indescribably difficult,” with a relentless Russian artillery barrage destroying critical infrastructure and damaging 90% of the buildings.

“Capturing Sievierodonetsk is a principal task for the occupation force,” Mr. Zelensky said, adding that the Russians don’t care about casualties. - AP

Ukraine

Russian forces ‘storm’ Sievierodonetsk amid eastern Ukraine bombardments

Russian and Ukrainian troops engaged in close-quarter combat in an eastern Ukraine city on May 29 as Moscow’s soldiers, supported by intense shelling, attempted to gain strategic footholds in the region while facing fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Ukrainian regional officials reported that Russian forces were “storming” the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, where the fighting has knocked out power and cellphone services and terrorised civilians who haven’t fled.

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Russia

Indians in Russia send relief supplies for Russian soldiers

Members of the Indian community in Russia are mobilising relief supplies to support Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

Earlier this in May, Abhay Singh, an Indian-origin Deputy of the Kursk City Assembly, handed over the first consignment of medicines to the local commander of the Russian forces in Kursk, near Ukraine-Russia border. So far, the Indian community has sent two consignments of medicines under the initiative of Disha: Russian-Indian Friendship Society.

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Ukraine

Ukraine says everything being done to defend Donbas from Russian onslaught

Ukraine has said it is doing “everything” to defend Donbas, where an intensifying Russian offensive is prompting Kyiv’s forces to consider a strategic retreat from some key areas to avoid being surrounded.

Russia is waging an all-out war for the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions that make up Donbas – Ukraine’s industrial heartland where President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Moscow of carrying out a “genocide”.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 5:27:14 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-ukraine-crisis-live-updates-ukraine-russia-battle-in-the-east-as-zelensky-visits-front/article65475108.ece