Ukraine war latest: Ukraine says giving up land to Russia would backfire

President Zelensky meets US officials

Ukraine’s lead negotiator has ruled out any ceasefire deal in which Kyiv would cede territory to Russia or allow Russian troops to remain on its land.

Such concessions would backfire as Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting, said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky who is leading talks with Moscow.

“The war will not stop. It will just be put on pause for some time,” Mr Podolyak said in an interview with Reuters in the presidential office in Kyiv.

“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”

A Kremlin minister today said that sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine have caused serious logistical problems in the country.

Vitaly Savelyev, the Russian transport minister, said Moscow had been forced to look for new trade corridors as sanctions have hit its operation on the standard shipping route to Asian partners.

Earlier, the Russian foreign ministry warned western sanctions would prove destabilising for the world economy.

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WHO assembly- what to expect for Ukraine

More than 100 world health ministers will meet in Geneva next week for the World Health Organization’s first in-person assembly in three years as the U.N. agency seeks to define its future role in global health policy.

The WHO’s Europe region passed a resolution against Russia this month and asked Tedros to prepare a report on Ukraine‘s health emergency.

Members are also preparing a resolution to be submitted to the assembly, although diplomats say it will stop short of suspending Russia‘s voting rights, as some initially sought.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 May 2022 03:00

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ICYMI – To circumvent Ukraine and bottlenecks, a controversial new trade route emerges: Iran

Newly emerging trade routes are slashing transport times between Europe, western Asia and the Middle East from upwards of six weeks to as little as six days, saving consumers and exporters shipping expenses, insurance fees, and refrigeration costs.

The truck routes, which were first launched last year with lorries travelling from the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan to Turkey, pass through Iran, further integrating Tehran into the global economy, adding to its coffers and increasing its clout despite years of efforts by the United States to isolate it.

International correspondent Borzou Daragahi reports:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 May 2022 02:30

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Ukraine rules out any ceasefire deal that would see land given to Russia

Ukraine’s lead negotiator has ruled out any ceasefire deal in which Kyiv would cede territory to Russia or allow Russian troops to remain on its land.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to president Volodymyr Zelensky, who is leading talks with Moscow said such concessions would backfire as Russia would hit back harder after any break in fighting.

“The war will not stop. It will just be put on pause for some time,” Mr Podolyak said in an interview with Reuters in the presidential office in Kyiv.

“They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 May 2022 02:00

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ICYMI – Kyiv rules out a ceasefire as Russia says its forces pummel Ukraine command centres

Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Moscow as Russia stepped up its attack in the country’s east and south, pounding the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions with air strikes and artillery fire.

Russia‘s defence ministry said its forces pummeled Ukrainian command centres, troops and ammunition depots in Donbas and the Mykolaiv region in the south with air strikes and artillery.

The heaviest fighting focused around the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Vadym Denysenko said.

The cities form the eastern part of a Ukrainian-held pocket that Russia has been trying to overrun since mid-April. *Reuters could not independently verify those battlefield reports.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 May 2022 01:30

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says his country is interested in a major gas exploitation project in Senegal

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country is interested in a major gas exploitation project in Senegal as he began a three-nation visit to Africa on Sunday that also is focused on the geopolitical consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Senegal is believed to have significant deposits of natural gas along its border with Mauritania at a time when Germany and other European countries are trying to reduce their dependence on importing Russian gas.

“We have begun exchanges and we will continue our efforts at the level of experts because it is our wish to achieve progress,” Scholz said at a joint news briefing with Senegalese President Macky Sall.

The gas project off the coast of Senegal is being led by BP, and the first barrels are not expected until next year.

This week’s trip marks Scholz’s first to Africa since becoming chancellor nearly six months ago.

Two of the countries he is visiting — Senegal and South Africa — have been invited to attend the Group of 7 summit in Germany at the end of June.

Participants there will try to find a common position toward Russia, which was kicked out of the then-Group of Eight following its 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain23 May 2022 01:00

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Ukraine parliament bans Russian war symbols

Ukraine‘s parliament on Sunday banned the symbols “Z” and “V”, used by Russia‘s military to promote its war in Ukraine but agreed to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s call to allow their use for educational or historic purposes.

Yaroslav Zheleznyak, an opposition member, announced the decision on the Telegram messaging app, saying 313 deputies had voted in favour in the 423-member Verkhovna Rada assembly.

Zelenskiy had vetoed an earlier version of the bill and called for the two symbols to be allowed in displays in museums, libraries, scientific works, re-enactments, textbooks and similar instances.

Neither of the two letters exists in the Russian alphabet. They have been widely used, particularly on Russian military vehicles and equipment, to promote the aims of the conflict.

Moscow calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbour and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

Over the weekend, Russia pummelled positions in the east of Ukraine, pounding the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions with air strikes and artillery fire.

The new bill bans the creation of non-governmental organisations using Russian war symbols or undermining Ukraine‘s sovereignty.

The Ukrainian parliament on Sunday also extended for another 90 days, or until Aug. 23, the period of martial law in the country.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain22 May 2022 23:58

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Russia presses Donbas attacks as Polish leader praises Kyiv

Russia pressed its offensive in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Poland’s president traveled 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 honor of speaking where “the heart of a free, independent and democratic Ukraine beats.”

Duda received more applause when he said that to end the conflict, Ukraine did not need to submit to conditions given by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Unfortunately, in Europe there have also been disturbing voices in recent times demanding that Ukraine yield to Putin’s demands,” he said.

“I want to say clearly: Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future. Only Ukraine has the right to decide for itself.”

Duda’s visit, his second to Kyiv since April, came as Russian and Ukrainian forces battled along a 551-kilometer (342-mile) wedge of the country’s eastern industrial heartland.

After declaring full control of a sprawling seaside steel plant that was the last defensive holdout in the port city of Mariupol, Russia launched artillery and missile attacks in the region, known as the Donbas, seeking to expand the territory that Moscow-backed separatists have held since 2014.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain22 May 2022 23:23

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ICYMI – Sanctions have ‘virtually wrecked all logistics’ in Russia, transport minister admits

Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev told state media that punitive measures had “virtually wrecked” Russian trade logistics, the Kremlin’s transport minister was quoted by Interfax as saying.

He said Russia was being forced to consider alternative trade routes, including the north-south corridor running from Moscow through central Asia to India.

My colleague Liam James has more:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain22 May 2022 23:09

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PM pens heartfelt letter to Ukrainian children

Boris Johnson has penned an emotive letter to the children of Ukraine, commending them for holding their heads high in the “toughest of times” and reassuring them they are not alone.

The Prime Minister said he was “very sad” to see youngsters absent from the streets and parks of Kyiv when he visited the Ukrainian capital last month, adding: “I cannot imagine how difficult this year must have been for you.”

But he said the children must bear two things in mind – that they should be “immensely proud” and they have “millions” of friends around the world.

In his letter to the Ukrainian children, Mr Johnson wrote: “When your president showed me around Kyiv last month, the absence of children and young people on the streets and in the parks made me feel very sad.

“Since the invasion many of you have been forced to flee your homes. You have left behind family, friends, pets, toys and all that is familiar, seeking refuge in underground stations, distant cities, even other countries. I cannot imagine how difficult this year must have been for you.”

Mr Johnson said the children should be proud of their country, their parents, their families, their soldiers, and “most of all” themselves.

“Many of you have seen or experienced things no child should have to witness,” he wrote.

“Yet, every day Ukrainian children are teaching all of us what it means to be strong and dignified, to hold your head high in even the toughest of times. I can think of no better role model for children and adults everywhere.”

The PM said the children may be separated from their friends at home but they have “millions of others all over the world”, including in the UK.

“We fly Ukrainian flags from our homes, offices, churches, shops and playgrounds, even from my own roof in Downing Street, where the windows are filled with sunflowers drawn by British children,” he wrote.

“Our young people are painting your flag in their classrooms and making blue and yellow bracelets in support of your country.”

He added: “I believe, like your president, that Ukraine is going to win this war. I hope with all my heart that, one day soon, you will be free to return to your homes, your schools, your families.

“And whatever happens, however long it takes, we in the UK will never forget you, and will always be proud to call you our friends.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain22 May 2022 22:38

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Prime minister promises to ‘redouble efforts’ to provide vital food and aid to Ukraine

Boris Johnson has resolved to “redouble efforts” to provide vital food and humanitarian aid to the Ukrainians, and ensure the country is able to export to the rest of the world.

The prime minister told Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky that Britons are “1000%” behind his people in a call on Sunday evening, No 10 has said.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister paid tribute to the incredible courage demonstrated by the president and his family in recent months. He expressed his profound hope that they would, along with all the people of Ukraine, be able to return to life as normal one day soon.

“President Zelensky thanked the Prime Minister for the UK’s ongoing support.

“The Prime Minister reiterated that the British people are 1000% behind the people of Ukraine. He outlined both the most recent defensive support the UK has sent to Ukraine and the further sanctions being imposed on (Vladimir) Putin and his supporters.

“The leaders discussed Putin’s despicable blockade of Odesa, Ukraine’s biggest shipping port. The Prime Minister resolved to redouble efforts to provide vital food and humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine and ensure that the country was able to export to the rest of the world.

“The leaders agreed on the need for the international community to remain united in its condemnation of Putin’s barbarism. The Prime Minister said that every country had a duty to help Ukraine in their struggle for freedom, both now and in the long-term.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain22 May 2022 22:18

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-ukraine-war-putin-generals-nuclear-weapons-latest-b2084920.html Ukraine war latest: Ukraine says giving up land to Russia would backfire

Bobby Allyn

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