Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | May 14, 2022

Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict

Updated - May 15, 2022 09:17 am IST

Published - May 14, 2022 08:25 am IST

Relatives and friends attend the funeral of Melnyk Andriy, 23, a Ukrainian military servicemen who as killed in Kharkiv province, in Lviv, Ukraine, on May 14, 2022.

Relatives and friends attend the funeral of Melnyk Andriy, 23, a Ukrainian military servicemen who as killed in Kharkiv province, in Lviv, Ukraine, on May 14, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

The Indian embassy in Ukraine which was “temporarily” working out of Polish capital Warsaw will return to Kyiv from May 17, the Ministry of External Affairs announced in New Delhi on Friday. 

India abstained in the UN Human Rights Council on a resolution on the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression, in which the Council reiterated its demand for an immediate cessation of military hostilities.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday the bloc would provide a further 500 millions euros worth of military support to Ukraine and that he was confident a deal could be reached in the coming days to agree an embargo on Russian oil.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that he's ready to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that “we must find an agreement,'' but with no ultimatum as a condition.

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

Here are the latest updates:

Kyiv

Relatives of Ukraine’s trapped Azovstal soldiers ask China for help

Relatives of Ukrainian soldiers trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant called on China’s President Xi Jinping to “save” the encircled troops on Saturday, saying he was the last world leader that Moscow would listen to.

Five wives of the Ukrainian soldiers and one father gave a press conference in Kyiv, in another desperate appeal to help the soldiers, holed up in the underground tunnels of the huge factory that has been besieged by Russian forces for weeks.

“There is only one man left in the world that we can address, it is the Chinese leader,” said Stavr Vychniak, the father of one of the trapped soldiers.

“China has a big influence on Russia and on (Russian President Vladimir) Putin personally. We ask for him to intervene,” he said.

He called on Mr. Xi to “take necessary measures for the extraction” of the soldiers.

“They are in hell, under constant bombardment,” he said, calling on wounded soldiers and bodies of dead soldiers to be removed from the plant. - AFP

KYIV

Ukraine presses counteroffensive on key Russian line of assault - governor

Ukrainian forces are on the counteroffensive near the Russian-held town of Izyum, the governor of Kharkiv region said on Saturday, striking at a key axis of Russia’s assault on eastern Ukraine.

A major and successful counteroffensive on that Russian line of advance would deal a serious setback for Moscow in the Battle for the Donbas, a region in Ukraine’s east that Russia has said it wants to capture completely.

Moscow’s forces have been trying to fight their way south from the town of Izyum, the northern part of a Russian pincer movement aimed at outflanking battle-hardened Ukrainian forces dug in to defend the eastern front line.

“The hottest spot remains the Izyum direction,” regional governor Oleh Sinegubov said in comments aired on social media.

“Our armed forces have switched to a counteroffensive there. The enemy is retreating on some fronts and this is the result of the character of our armed forces,” he said. - Reuters

Helsinki

Finland’s president to Putin: we will apply to join NATO

 Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Saturday that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country that shares a long border and history with Russia “will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days”.

Mr. Niinisto’s office said in a statement that the Finnish head of state told Mr. Putin in a phone conversation how thoroughly Finland’s security environment had changed after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion on Ukraine, and pointed to Russia’s demands on Finland refraining from seeking membership in NATO, the 30-member Western military alliance.

“The discussion (with Putin) was straightforward and unambiguous and was held without exaggeration. Avoiding tensions was considered important,” said Mr. Niinisto, Finland’s president since 2012 and one of few Western leaders who has held regular dialogue with Putin over the past ten years.

Mr. Niinisto pointed out that had already told Putin at their first meeting in 2012 that “each independent nation would maximize its own security.”

“That is still the case. By joining NATO, Finland will strengthen its own security and assume its responsibilities. It is not something away from anybody,” Mr. Niinisto said. - AP

Germany

G7 warn of Ukraine grain crisis, ask China not to aid Russia

The Group of Seven leading economies warned Saturday that the war in Ukraine is stoking a global food and energy crisis that threatens poor countries, and urgent measures are needed to unblock stores of grain that Russia is preventing from leaving Ukraine.

Ukraine says Russia withdraws from Kharkiv

Russian troops are withdrawing from Ukraine’s second-largest city after weeks of heavy bombardment, the Ukrainian military said Saturday as Kyiv and Moscow’s forces engaged in a grinding battle for the country’s east.

Ukraine’s general staff said the Russians were pulling back from the northeastern city of Kharkiv and focusing on guarding supply routes, while launching mortar, artillery and airstrikes in the eastern Donetsk region in order to “deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications.” - AP

KYIV

Intense fighting in east Ukraine as Europe pledges more military aid

Intense fighting raged in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region where Russia has been concentrating its forces without making significant progress, while "very difficult negotiations" were under way over the fate of the last besieged defenders in the city of Mariupol.

Europe on Friday pledged another half a billion dollars in military support for Ukraine as it resists the Russian invasion that began on February 24, while Sweden and Finland's moves towards joining NATO hit multiple obstacles. - AFP

KYIV

Ukraine opens first war crimes trial of captured Russian

Journalists packed a small courtroom in Kyiv for the trial of a captured Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian in the early days of the war — the first of dozens of war crimes cases that Ukraine's top prosecutor said her office is pursuing.

As the trial of 21-year-old Russian Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin got underway in the capital, Russian forces suffered heavy losses in a Ukrainian attack that destroyed a pontoon bridge they were using to try to cross a river in the east, Ukrainian and British officials said in another sign of Moscow's struggle to salvage a war gone awry. - AP

A part of an apartment is seen at the side of damaged during a heavy fighting buildings in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, May 13, 2022.

A part of an apartment is seen at the side of damaged during a heavy fighting buildings in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, May 13, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

KYIV

Zelenskyy: No one can predict length of war

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said although Ukrainians are doing everything they can to drive out the Russians, “no one today can predict how long this war will last.”

“This will depend, unfortunately, not only on our people, who are already giving their maximum,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation. “This will depend on our partners, on European countries, on the entire free world.”

He said he was thankful to all those who are working to strengthen the sanctions on Russia and increase military and financial support to Ukraine. “This is the only recipe for protecting freedom in the face of the Russian invasion. And for Western countries, this is not simply an expense. This is not about accounting, it’s about the future.” - AP

KYIV

Russia takes losses in failed river crossing, officials say

Russian forces suffered heavy losses in a Ukrainian attack that destroyed a pontoon bridge they were using to try to cross a river in the east, Ukrainian and British officials said in another sign of Moscow's struggle to salvage a war gone awry. - AP

KYIV

EU hikes military aid for Ukraine as NATO expansion faces roadblocks

Europe pledged another half billion dollars in military support for Kyiv on Friday as Sweden and Finland's moves toward joining NATO hit multiple hurdles.

Moscow said it would cut off electricity to Helsinki, and the president of Turkey - a member of the Atlantic alliance whose approval is required to expand it - expressed opposition to the Scandinavian countries becoming part of NATO.

Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops continued along the long front in the Donbas with minor gains on both sides, and Ukrainian fighters under siege in a Mariupol steelworks pleaded for help. - AFP

WASHINGTON

US, Russian defense chiefs speak for 1st time since invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu | Photo Credit: AFP

Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu spoke with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday after months of refusing direct contact with his American counterpart. But officials said the call didn’t appear to signal any change in Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

A senior Defense Department official said Friday that while Austin believes the hour-long conversation was important in the effort to keep lines of communication open, it didn't resolve any “acute issues” or lead to any change in what the Russian are doing or saying as the war enters week 12. - AP

LONDON

U.K. sanctions Putin circle including alleged girlfriend

Britain on Friday sanctioned 12 members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "inner circle" accused of hiding corrupt riches in return for influential state positions.

They included his ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya and Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast who the U.K. government said was "alleged to have a close personal relationship with Mr. Putin".

"We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Mr. Putin's luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement. - AFP

UNITED NATIONS

India abstains in UNHRC resolution on deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine due to Russian aggression

India abstained in the UN Human Rights Council on a resolution on the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression, in which the Council reiterated its demand for an immediate cessation of military hostilities.

Since January this year, India has abstained on procedural votes and draft resolutions in the UN Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council that deplored Russian aggression against Ukraine.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, at the session said that India’s position on the Ukraine conflict has been steadfast and consistent. - PTI

MOSCOW

Putin, Scholz hold talks over phone

President Vladimir Putin on Friday insisted that Russia was fighting "Nazi ideology" in Ukraine in a phone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz .

The Russian President sent troops to the pro-Western country on February 24, saying Ukraine needed to be "demilitarised" and "de-Nazified."

Mr. Putin reiterated that Moscow's military operation was aimed at protecting the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine. - AFP

NEW DELHI

Indian embassy returning to Kyiv

The Indian embassy in Ukraine which was “temporarily” working out of Polish capital Warsaw will return to Kyiv from May 17, the Ministry of External Affairs announced in New Delhi on Friday. 

The embassy which played a leading role in evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine during February and March, was shifted to Warsaw on March 13. India is one of the several leading nations that have ordered their diplomatic teams to return to Kyiv. Last month, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a tour to India had announced that U.K. would reopen its embassy in Kyiv.

KYIV

Ukraine puts Russian soldier accused of war crime on trial

The trial of a Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian opened Friday, the first war crimes trial since Moscow's invasion of its neighbor.

Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, is accused of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka. He could get up to life in prison.

The killing occurred in the early days of the war, when Russian tanks advancing on Kyiv were unexpectedly routed and tank crew retreated. - AP

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