Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates | Russian soldier sentenced to life at Kyiv war crimes trial

Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin of the Russian army appears at a sentencing hearing on May 23, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. He pleaded guilty last week to killing a civilian, Oleksandr Shelipov, in a village in the Sumy region on February 28.

Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin of the Russian army appears at a sentencing hearing on May 23, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. He pleaded guilty last week to killing a civilian, Oleksandr Shelipov, in a village in the Sumy region on February 28. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Concern mounted on May 22 over the fate of the Ukrainian fighters who became Moscow’s prisoners as Russia claimed seizure of the steel plant-turned-fortress in Mariupol, capping a nearly three-month siege that left the strategic port city in ruins and more than 20,000 city residents feared dead.

The Russian Defence Ministry released a video of Ukrainian soldiers being taken into custody after announcing that its forces had removed the last holdouts from the plant’s miles of underground tunnels. The Azovstal steel plant became a symbol of Ukrainian tenacity, and its seizure delivers Russian President Vladimir Putin a badly wanted victory in the war he began in February.

President of the United States Joe Biden on May 21 signed legislation to support Ukraine with another $40 billion in U.S. assistance as the Russian-Ukraine crisis approaches its fourth month.


Russian soldier sentenced to life at Kyiv war crimes trial

A Ukrainian court sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison on Monday for killing a Ukrainian civilian, in the first war crimes trial held since Russia's invasion.

Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin was accused of shooting a Ukrainian civilian in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region in the early days of the war.

He pleaded guilty and testified that he shot the man after being ordered to do so. He told the court that an officer insisted that the Ukrainian man, who was speaking on his cellphone, could pinpoint their location to the Ukrainian forces.

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More than 100 million people forcibly displaced: UN

Russia‘s war in Ukraine has pushed the number of forcibly displaced people around the world above 100 million for the first time ever, the United Nations said on Monday.

“The number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution has now crossed the staggering milestone of 100 million for the first time on record, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts,” said UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. - AFP


New Zealand to train Ukrainian forces in artillery use

New Zealand’s government unveiled plans on Monday to train a small number of Ukrainian soldiers in using field artillery guns, deepening the country’s involvement in a conflict on the other side of the world.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her cabinet agreed to deploy up to 30 members of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to Britain to train Ukrainian forces in the use of L119 105mm howitzers.

“We have been clear throughout Russia‘s assault on Ukraine, that such a blatant attack on innocent lives and the sovereignty of another country is wrong,” said Ms. Ardern. - AFP


Poland to terminate agreement with Russia regarding Yamal gas pipeline, says minister

Poland has decided to terminate an intergovernmental agreement with Russia regarding the Yamal gas pipeline, Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskwa said on Twitter on Monday.

“Russia‘s aggression against Ukraine has confirmed the accuracy of the Polish Government’s determination to become completely independent from Russian gas. We always knew that Gazprom was not a reliable partner,” Moskwa said. - Reuters


Russian offensive turns to key Donbas city, heavy shelling

Ukrainians were digging in to defend the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk as it endured heavy bombardment from Russian forces trying to take the industrial area known as the Donbas.

In Tokyo on Monday, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida joined in condemning Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier on his trip to Asia, Mr. Biden signed legislation granting Ukraine $40 billion more in U.S. support for its defense against the Russian attack.

Shelling increased in ferocity as Russian and Ukrainian forces battled along a 551-kilometre (342-mile) wedge of Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, driving residents to flee. - AP

Service members of pro-Russian troops drive a tank during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine.

Service members of pro-Russian troops drive a tank during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine. | Photo Credit: Reuters


Joe Biden says U.S. recession not inevitable, pain to last ‘some time’

President Joe Biden says he does not believe a economic recession in the U.S. is inevitable despite record high inflation and supply shortages partly caused by Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday in Tokyo, Mr. Biden acknowledged that the American economy has “problems,” but said it was better positioned than other countries. - AP

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Russia presses Donbas attacks as Polish leader praises Kyiv

Russia pressed its offensive in eastern Ukraine as Poland’s President travelled to Kyiv to support the country’s European Union aspirations, becoming the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian Parliament since the start of the war.

Lawmakers gave a standing ovation to President Andrzej Duda, who thanked them for the honour of speaking where “the heart of a free, independent and democratic Ukraine beats.” Mr. Duda said that to end the conflict, Ukraine did not need to submit to conditions given by Russian President Vladimir Putin. - AP


Ukrainian MPs call for greater sanctions on Russia, want NATO-style weaponry

As the war in Ukraine emerges as the biggest talking point during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, a group of women parliamentarians from the war-hit country has called for greater sanctions on Russia and said the aim should be to win the war against what they described as ‘dictatorship’ of Vladimir Putin.

Addressing a group of journalists late on Sunday night, the five MPs also said that winning the war would mean getting back Cremia, which was annexed by Russia years ago. - PTI


War crimes verdict looms as Russian offensive intensifies

With a verdict due on May 23 in the conflict’s first war crimes trial, Moscow’s offensive in eastern Ukraine is only intensifying, with the city of Severodonetsk under “round-the-clock” bombardment as Russian troops attempt its encirclement.

The trial in Kyiv - seen as a public test of the Ukrainian judicial system’s independence - comes as international institutions conduct their own investigations into alleged abuses that have turned cities like Bucha and Mariupol into watchwords for destruction. - AFP


Ukraine rules out territorial concessions as Russia steps up attacks

Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Russia, and Poland’s President said any loss of Ukrainian territory would be a “huge blow” to the entire West as he warned against appeasing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Air raid sirens blared across Ukraine on Monday morning, sounding the daily alarm ahead of anticipated attacks by Russian forces in the east and south of the country.

Russia has stepped up its pounding of the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions with airstrikes and artillery fire, in what Ukraine has described as a “scorched-earth” strategy to win control of the eastern front. - Reuters


Russian soldiers start clearing mines from Ukraine’s Azovstal

Russian soldiers cleared mines and debris on the industrial grounds of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol on Sunday after hundreds of Ukrainian forces holed up in the vast plant for weeks were ordered to stand down.

Soldiers walked through the compound and swung mine detectors over roads littered with debris, while others checked under objects for the explosive devices, video footage showed.

“The task is huge, the enemy planted their own landmines, we had also planted anti-personnel mines while blocking the enemy. So we’ve got some two weeks of work ahead of us,” said a Russian soldier. - Reuters


Russia cuts off gas exports to Finland in symbolic move

Russia halted gas exports to neighboring Finland, a highly symbolic move that came just days after the Nordic country announced it wanted to join NATO and marked a likely end to Finland’s nearly 50 years of importing natural gas from Russia.

The measure taken by the Russian energy giant Gazprom was in line with an earlier announcement following Helsinki’s refusal to pay for the gas in rubles as Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded European countries do since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. - AP


Poles need EU funds as they help Ukrainians, ambassador says

Ukraine‘s ambassador to neighboring Poland says his nation is grateful for the welcome that Poles have given to millions of Ukrainian refugees, but he hopes the European Union will soon release billions of euros to Poland so that the assistance does not come “at the cost of the Polish people.”

Ambassador Andrii Deshchytsia said that while there have been no real social tensions in the three months since Ukrainians began crossing into Poland seeking safety, he worries they could appear in the future given the large extent of Polish help. - AP

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 4:04:02 pm |