Sunday May 15, 2022

Senate GOP delegation meets Zelensky in Ukraine

Russia has likely lost a third of its ground troops since the war in Ukraine, the ministry of defence said in its intelligence update Sunday.

It added that the Kremlin’s offensive in Ukraine’s Donbas region “has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule.”

“Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days,” the update stated, attributing the failures to a critical loss of equipment and intelligence as well as continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness.

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British intelligence predicted that due to these issues, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days.

It comes as president Zelensky declared Russian troops are retreating from Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, after bombarding it for weeks. Ukraine’s military said the Russian forces are now pulling back from the northeastern city to focus on guarding supply routes

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Germany says all ready for quick ratification of Finnish, Swedish Nato membership

Germany has taken all preparations for a quick ratification process should Finland and Sweden decide to apply for Nato membership, foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said on Sunday, while underlining both countries’ need for security guarantees.

“Germany has prepared everything to do a quick ratification process,” she told reporters on a second day of talks with her Nato counterparts in Berlin, adding that ministers had agreed at a dinner on Saturday that there should not be grey zone between the time they apply and the time they join.

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“If they decide to join they can join quickly…We must make sure that we will give them security guarantees, there must not be a transition period, a grey zone, where their status is unclear,” she said.

She was referring to the ratification period that can take as long as a year, during which the Nordic countries will not yet be protected by Nato’s article 5 which guarantees that an attack on one ally is an attack on all

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 08:40

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Italian police prevents pro-Russian hacker attacks during Eurovision contest

The Italian police thwarted hacker attacks by pro-Russian groups during the 10 May semi-final and Saturday final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, it said on Sunday.

During voting operations and contestants’ performances, police said it had mitigated several cyber attacks on network infrastructure by the hacker group “Killnet” and its affiliate “Legion”.

On 11 May, “Killnet” claimed an attack to the websites of several Italian institutions, including the Senate, Italy’s upper house of parliament, and the National Health Institute (ISS), ANSA news agency reported.

(Getty Images)

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 08:20

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‘Things are still not safe’: Locals fear returning to scarred villages of Kharkiv despite Russian retreat

Denis Kozmenko decided to flee his home with his young family after he saw a young mother, who had taken shelter in a school during airstrikes, being dragged off to be raped by a Russian soldier.

He was among the many Ukrainian men who decided to move their wives and daughters out of the village of Mala Rohan, which was under Russian occupation, after the horrific sexual assault on the 27-year-old woman.

“I saw what happened that night. This poor woman was taken away in front of her family, dozens of people, by this soldier. I realised then that there was no safety, no safety at all,” says Mr Kozmenko, who has returned to the village after it was recaptured by Ukrainian forces.

More on this from our defence and security editor in Ukraine, Kim Sengupta:

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 08:05

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Russian village bordering Ukraine shelled wounding one person, local official claims

One person was wounded when forces in Ukraine fired at a Russian village close to the border, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region, claimed in a post on the Telegram messaging app early on Sunday.

The governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov made the claim on Telegram.

“The village of Sereda, Shebekinsky urban district, was fired from the territory of Ukraine,” he wrote.

“The civilian was injured, received a shrapnel wound. He will receive all the necessary medical care.”

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 07:47

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Exclusive: Ukrainian refugees may be housed in B&Bs indefinitely under new laws quietly passed by government

Ukrainian and Afghan refugees in the UK could be housed in B&Bs indefinitely under new laws quietly pushed through by the government, prompting accusations of a “two-tier system” of housing support.

An amendment to homelessness laws on Wednesday states the six-week limit homeless families can spend in B&B accommodation will no longer apply to refugees who have fled from Ukraine and Afghanistan.

The changes also set out that councils can place these groups out of area – potentially hundreds of miles away – without taking into account the usual factors such as the disruption to employment and education and access to medical facilities or other support.

Our social affairs correspondent, May Bulman, has the full story below:

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 07:32

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Britain says Russia’s Donbas offensive ‘has lost momentum’

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine’s Donbas region “has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule”, British military intelligence said early on Sunday.

“Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days,” the British military said in a regular Twitter bulletin.

On Friday, Ukrainian forces prevented an attempted Russian river crossing in the Donbas, an eastern area comprising the Luhansk and Donetsk regions that has been a focus of the war.

Thomas Kingsley15 May 2022 07:14

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Russia missile hits military infrastructure in Lviv

Military structure in western Ukraine’s Lviv came under attack from a Russia missile strike on early Sunday, officials said.

The attack was confirmed by Lviv governor Maxim Kozitsky.

He added that there is no information about the dead or injured people in the attack.

“The extent of the destruction is being clarified,” the governor said.

Arpan Rai15 May 2022 06:51

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Locals fear returning to scarred villages of Kharkiv despite Russian retreat

Even as Russian forces have been forced out of Kharkiv, families who left the villages in the key Ukrainian city are finding it difficult to return amid threats of rape and death.

Like Denis Kozmenko who had leave within hours with his young family after he witnessed a young mother being dragged off to be raped by a Russian soldier. She had taken shelted in a school as airstrikes pounded the region.

Mr Kozmenko realised the worst could come for his family. So he decided to move his wife and daughter out of the village.

The Independent’s defence and security editor Kim Sengupta has the full report here:

Arpan Rai15 May 2022 06:51

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A Ukraine photographer’s battle against Russian propaganda

For photographers like Alina Smutko, the tough choice to flee homeland Ukraine or to stay back was not the scenario that they imagined would come to reality. But when it came to making a decision, it was not that difficult.

She decided she had to stay back and fight with what she had.

Alina is now documenting the crisis, herself in great danger but she hopes that photographing the war will tell the world what is happening in Ukraine and she said she wants her work to “win against Russian propaganda”.

Her world was different before Russia sent its troops on the night of 24 February. Earlier, her work focused on politics, sport and social justice. Her work has taken her to many areas of Ukraine including the disputed Russian-occupied territories of Crimea, Luhansk and the Donetsk.

Now, in the shoes of a war photographer, she spends her days recording stories of innocent people who have been hit by bombardments, refugees fleeing and charity workers attempting to provide aid.

Read the full story here:

Arpan Rai15 May 2022 06:09

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Eurovision: Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra wins song contest

Ukrainian band Kaulsh Orchestra won the Eurovision song championship for their song “Stefania” on Sunday in a popular vote for the country reeling under Russia-led invasion.

The band members, in their speech, urged millions of audience to help the country’s battle-hit regions.

“Help Azovstal, right now,? the band’s front man, Oleg Psiuk said as he implored people to free hundreds of Ukrainian fighters trapped in the the steel mill.

He also thanked the Ukrainian diaspora and “and everyone around the world who voted for Ukraine. … The victory is very important to Ukraine. Especially this year.”

Lauding the band’s victory, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said the country “we will do our best” to host next year’s contest in a battle-hit Mariupol.

“Ukrainian Mariupol,” he said, adding: “free, peaceful, rebuilt!”

“I am sure our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off,” Mr Zelenskyy said.

Arpan Rai15 May 2022 05:37

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