Ukraine news – live: Russia’s Belgorod is ‘shot at’ as Kyiv issues ceasefire warning

President Zelensky meets US officials

Officials in Russia’s Belgorod border region have claimed the area has been under fire from Ukraine for the past week.

The governor of the region Vyacheslav Gladkov said the village of Solokhi had been shelled several times “from the Ukrainian side” over a period of days. On Telegram he said on Wednesday that a man had been wounded.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Mr Gladkov reported that the village of Bezimeno in Belgorod was also shelled “from the Ukrainian side” and that there was one person who suffered “minor injuries”.

On May 13, he said an 18-year-old man – Ruslan Nefedov – was buried after he “died during the shelling of our border village of Solokhi by Ukraine’s armed forces.”

The first suspected Ukrainian attack on Belgorod in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was reported on April 1 when two helicopters attacked an oil depot.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian government adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine should only be offered a ceasefire if Russian troops completely withdraw.

He added: “Ukraine is not interested in a new ‘Minsk (Protocol)’ and a restart of the war in a few years.”

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Ukraine seeks damages from Russia for environmental damage

Ukraine will seek compensation from Russia in international courts for environmental damage it has caused, a minister said.

Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, said Vladimir Putin’s war has destroyed ecosystems, deprived wildlife of their natural habitat and contaminated land in one of the world’s largest grain producers.

Dozens of destroyed Russian armored vehicles on the banks of the river Siverskyi Donets

(Armed Forces of Ukraine)

He told a press conference: “In the last 20 years, this is the first military conflict in the world that has caused such great environmental damage.

“Russian missiles hit our oil depots, thermal power plants, chemical plants – it definitely affects the environment. Forests burn, valuable protected things are destroyed.”

Fighting near the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant had caused fires on nearly 12,000 hectares of land, Mr Strilets said.

Kyiv has registered 1,500 cases of ecosystem destruction or land contamination, he added.

Lamiat SabinMay 19, 2022 5:20 p.m

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Russian Belgorod region “fired upon by Ukrainian side”

Officials in Russia’s Belgorod border region have claimed the area has been under fire from Ukraine for the past week.

The governor of the region Vyacheslav Gladkov said the village of Solokhi had been shelled several times “from the Ukrainian side” over a period of days. On Telegram he said on Wednesday that a man had been wounded.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Mr Gladkov reported that the village of Bezimeno in Belgorod was also shelled “from the Ukrainian side” and that there was one person who suffered “minor injuries”.

On May 13, he said an 18-year-old man – Ruslan Nefedov – was buried after he “died during the shelling of our border village of Solokhi by Ukraine’s armed forces.”

The Belgorod region, near Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine

(Google Maps)

The first suspected Ukrainian attack on Belgorod – amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – was reported on April 1 when two helicopters attacked an oil depot.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian government adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine should only be offered a ceasefire if Russian troops completely withdraw.

He added: “Ukraine is not interested in a new ‘Minsk (Protocol)’ and a restart of the war in a few years.”

Lamiat SabinMay 19, 2022 5:00 p.m

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Johnson and Zelenskyy discuss Ukraine’s security and exports

Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke on the phone today about long-term security proposals for Ukraine and opportunities to export Ukrainian grain.

Boris Johnson with Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his visit to Kyiv in April

(Government of Ukraine/PA)

A Downing Street spokesman said after the conference call: “Leaders discussed progress in the negotiations and agreed to intensify work with allies, including the US, France and Germany, to define the longer-term security architecture for Ukraine .

“They reviewed options to open critical sea and land supply routes for Ukrainian grain supplies and pledged to direct their teams to work urgently on next steps.”

Lamiat SabinMay 19, 2022 4:40 p.m

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Armistice ‘impossible’ without Russia’s full withdrawal

Ukraine should only be offered a ceasefire if Russian troops completely withdraw from the country, a government adviser said.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted: “Don’t offer us a ceasefire – it’s impossible without a full Russian troop withdrawal.”

“Ukraine is not interested in a new ‘Minsk (Protocol)’ and a restart of the war in a few years.

“Until Russia is ready to fully liberate the occupied territories, our negotiating team consists of arms, sanctions and money.”

Lamiat SabinMay 19, 2022 4:20 p.m

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McDonald’s sells Russian restaurants to Siberian oil tycoons

McDonald’s has announced it will sell its Russian restaurants to Siberian oil tycoon Alexander Govor – ending its 32-year presence in Russia.

The co-owner of the oil company Neftekhim-Servis already runs 25 McDonald’s restaurants in Russia.

Once the deal is approved by regulators, the businessman will run all 850 stores in Russia – albeit under a new brand, according to the Russian business daily Vedomosti.

A closed McDonald’s branch in Podolsk near Moscow

(EPA)

McDonald’s hasn’t disclosed the sale price, but the agreement ensures that the 62,000 Russian employees will keep their jobs for at least two years, while Mr. Govor assumes responsibility for existing supplies, rent and utilities.

Less than three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, McDonald’s temporarily closed its Russian stores.

However, 132 McDonald’s restaurants, operating semi-independently under franchises, continue to operate.

Lamiat SabinMay 19, 2022 4:00 p.m

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“Not unusual” for NATO members to disagree – Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it was not uncommon for NATO members to have different opinions.

He was referring to Turkey’s objection to Sweden and Finland joining the military alliance.

Stoltenberg during a ceremony to mark Sweden’s and Finland’s bids for membership

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

During a visit to Copenhagen, Mr Stoltenberg told reporters: “It is not uncommon for there to be differing opinions on important decisions in NATO.

“In NATO we have a lot of experience in getting together when there are differences of opinion and finding solutions.

“We are in close contact with Finland, Sweden and Turkey. We address the concerns raised by Turkey.”

Lamiat SabinMay 19, 2022 3:40 p.m

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Biden meets leaders of Finland and Sweden on NATO expansion

US-based Joe Biden met leaders of Sweden and Finland on Thursday after the nations gave up their longstanding neutrality and joined the NATO alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Hours before his first trip to Asia as president, Biden sat down with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House to discuss their NATO proposals.

“This is a historic event, a turning point in European security. Two nations with a long tradition of neutrality will join the most powerful defensive alliance in the world,” said Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser.

Matt MathersMay 19, 2022 3:11 p.m

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The UK says there is a way through Turkey’s concerns over Sweden and Finland joining NATO

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Thursday he believed there was a way to allay Turkey’s concerns about Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO on Wednesday, a decision spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but Turkey has objected, accusing the countries of supporting groups it believes are terrorists.

“I think there is a way through. I think we will get there in the end and it is very important that in this process we listen to all members and their concerns and we will certainly listen to Turkey,” Wallace told parliament, adding he would agree with his speak to Turkish counterparts.

Matt MathersMay 19, 2022 2:58 p.m

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ICYMI: Bush inadvertently condemns the “unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq” in a speech error in Ukraine

Former US President George W. Bush slipped on Wednesday and condemned the “brutal” “invasion of Iraq” before correcting himself and saying he condemned the invasion of Ukraine.

my colleague Alisha Rahaman Sarkar Reports:

Matt MathersMay 19, 2022 2:34 p.m

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Russian soldier in war crimes trial asks forgiveness of victim’s widow?

A Russian soldier facing the first war crimes trial since the war began in Ukraine said he shot dead a civilian on orders from two officers and asked his victim’s widow for forgiveness.

Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin told the court the officer insisted that the Ukrainian, who was on his cellphone, could pinpoint their location to Ukrainian forces.

The 21-year-old sergeant could face life in prison if he is convicted of shooting a Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window on February 28, four days after the start of the Russian invasion, in a village in the north-eastern Sumy region.

Looking subdued, Shishimarin said he initially disobeyed orders from his immediate commanding officer to shoot the unarmed civilian, but had no choice but to obey the order when it was forcefully repeated by another officer.

Shishimarin pleaded guilty to the charges during Wednesday’s hearing.

On Thursday he asked the victim’s widow, who also appeared at the trial, for forgiveness for his actions.

“I realize you cannot forgive me, but I ask your forgiveness,” Shishimarin said.

Matt MathersMay 19, 2022 2:10 p.m

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ukraine-russia-zelensky-war-putin-latest-news-b2082726.html Ukraine news – live: Russia’s Belgorod is ‘shot at’ as Kyiv issues ceasefire warning

Bobby Allyn

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