Russia continues its offensive on eastern Ukraine’s industrial Donbass region, claiming to capture a railway hub while fears mount it will meet the same fate as Mariupol as the conflict enters the 94th day.

Putin said that the continuing arms supplies to Ukraine were
Putin said that the continuing arms supplies to Ukraine were "dangerous". (AFP Archive)

Saturday May 28, 2022

Putin warns Western leaders against arming Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the leaders of Germany and France against ramping up arms supplies to Ukraine, saying they could further destabilise the situation in the pro-Western country.

Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the continuing arms supplies to Ukraine were "dangerous".

He warned "of the risks of further destabilisation of the situation and aggravation of the humanitarian crisis," the Kremlin said.

Ukraine's former President blocked from leaving the country

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has been prevented from leaving Ukraine to take part in a meeting of a NATO body in Lithuania, his party's parliamentary faction has said.

Poroshenko was stopped twice at a border crossing with Poland while he was on his way to the meeting of NATO's Parliamentary Assembly, a consultative interparliamentary organisation, the statement said.

Ukrainian media reported Poroshenko could not cross the border due to "technical problems" with a permit allowing him to leave the country.

30,000 Russian troops killed since start of conflict: Kiev

At least 30,000 Russian soldiers have so far been killed during the conflict in Ukraine, the Ukrainian General Staff has said, adding that some 250 Russian troops have been killed over the past 24 hours.

It said Ukrainian forces have destroyed 207 planes, 174 helicopters, 1,330 tanks, 3,258 armoured vehicles, 628 artilleries, 203 rocket launchers, and 93 air-defence systems since the start of the war.

Russia has also lost 2,226 vehicles, 13 ships and light boats, and 503 unmanned aerial vehicles along with 116 cruise missiles, the statement added. Russian figures for its soldiers killed have been far lower than Ukrainian figures.

Macron, Scholz urge Putin to free 2,500 Azovstal fighters

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have asked Russia's Vladimir Putin to release 2,500 Ukrainian fighters who were holed up inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and who have been taken prisoner by Russia.

"The president of the Republic and the German chancellor asked for the release of some 2,500 defenders of Azovstal made prisoners of war by the Russian forces," the French presidency said after a telephone call between the three leaders.

Russian ex-president Medvedev calls for tougher ‘foreign agent’ law

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for Moscow to toughen its laws on "foreign agents" and prosecute individuals working for the interests of foreign states as Moscow carries out its offensive in Ukraine and finds itself under unprecedented sanctions from the West.

Medvedev, who now serves as deputy head of Russia's security council, said "If they (foreign agents) are carrying out activities aimed against our country -- especially during this tough period -- and receive money for it from our enemies, our response must be quick and harsh."

He added that the legislation should more precisely classify "foreign agents" and impose stricter consequences for their offences.

Moscow-led Ukrainian Orthodox Church breaks ties with Russia

A branch of Ukraine's Orthodox Church that remained loyal to Moscow after a 2019 schism has said it will break with the Russian church over the country's offensive in Ukraine.

Following a meeting of its leadership, the church announced that it would declare its "full independence" from Russia, condemning Russia's offensive and the support of Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia’s church, for what Moscow calls its "special military operation" to combat anti-Russian nationalists.

"The council has approved the corresponding additions and changes to the Statute on the Management of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, indicating the full autonomy and independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," it said in a statement.

Russia in 'full control' of eastern Ukraine's Lyman town

Russia's defence ministry has said that the Ukrainian town of Lyman had fallen under the full control of Russian and Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine.

The claim comes a day after pro-Russian separatists from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said they had fully captured the town, a railway hub west of Sievierodonetsk.

Ukraine said on Friday that Russia had captured most of Lyman but that its forces were blocking an advance to Sloviansk,a city a half-hour drive further southwest.

Ukrainian and Russian forces had been fighting for Lyman for several days.

Some 10,000 Russian troops in Ukraine's Luhansk region

There are some 10,000 Russian troops in Ukraine's Luhansk region, the governor of the eastern region, Serhiy Gaidai, has said.

"These are the (units) that are permanently in Luhansk region, that are trying to assault and are attempting to make gains in any direction they can," Gaidai said on Ukrainian television.

The report has not been independently verified.

Ukraine negotiator says not possible to negotiate with Russia 

Ukrainian presidential adviser and peace talks negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has said that any agreement with Russia cannot be trusted and Moscow can only be stopped by force.

"Any agreement with Russia isn't worth a broken penny, Podolyak wrote on the Telegram messaging app. "Is it possible to negotiate with a country that always lies cynically and propagandistically?"

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other after peace talks stalled, with the last known face-to-face negotiations on March 29. The Kremlin said earlier this month Ukraine was showing no willingness to continue peace talks, while officials in Kiev blamed Russia for the lack of progress.

Russia's Gazprom continues shipping gas to Europe via Ukraine

Russian gas producer Gazprom has said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point stood at 43.96 million cubic metres, slightly up from 43.6 on Friday.

An application to supply gas via another major entry point, Sokhranovka, was rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said.

Russia shows off hypersonic cruise missile in test-launch

Russia has successfully test-fired a hypersonic Zircon cruise missile over a distance of about 1,000 kilometres, the defence ministry has said.

The missile was fired from the Barents Sea and hit a target in the White Sea, it said. Video released by the ministry showed the missile being fired from a ship and blazing into the sky on a steep trajectory.

President Vladimir Putin has described the Zircon as part of a new generation of unrivalled arms systems. Hypersonic weapons can travel at nine times the speed of sound, and Russia has conducted previous test launches of the Zircon from warships and submarines in the past year.

Ukraine says 'everything' being done to defend Donbass

Ukraine has said it is doing "everything" to defend Donbass, where an intensifying Russian offensive is prompting Kiev's forces to consider a strategic retreat from some key areas to avoid being surrounded.

Russia is attacking the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions that make up Donbass, Ukraine's industrial heartland, where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Moscow of carrying out a "genocide".

In his daily address to Ukrainians, Zelenskyy said the Russians had "concentrated maximum artillery, maximum reserves in Donbass".

Zelenskyy: Russia aims to occupy entire Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy spoke defiantly in two speeches about his country’s ultimate victory over Russian forces in both the most pressing battle in eastern Ukraine and the war, generally.

“Ukraine is a country that has destroyed the myth about the extraordinary power of the Russian army — an army that supposedly, in a few days, could conquer anyone it wants,” he told Stanford University students by video. 

“Now Russia is trying to occupy the entire state but we feel strong enough to think about the future of Ukraine, which will be open to the world.”

Communist deputy demands Russian withdrawal

Breaking with the party line in a rare show of opposition to his country’s offensive on Ukraine, a Communist Party legislative deputy in Russia’s Far East demanded an end to the military operation and withdrawal of Russian forces.

“We understand that if our country doesn’t stop the military operation, we’ll have more orphans in our country,” Leonid Vasyukevich said at a meeting of the Primorsk regional Legislative Assembly in the Pacific port of Vladivostok.

Another deputy followed to support Vasyukevich’s views but the legislative assembly’s chairman issued a statement afterward calling the remarks a “political provocation” not supported by the majority of lawmakers.

For live updates from Friday (May 27), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies