Ukraine news – live: Russia sacked top commanders over war failures, UK claims

·25 min read

Volodymyr Zelensky has submitted a bill to Ukraine’s parliament to extend martial law and military conscription by three months.

The text of the bill, which was submitted by the Ukrainian president, has yet to be published.

Martial law was first imposed on 24 February – the same day that Ukraine was invaded by Russia. It has since been extended for 30 days on two occasions, with the latest extension set to expire on 25 May.

The bill is reportedly expected to get the support of the parliament. When MPs approve the bill, martial law and conscription will be extended until 23 August, the day before Ukrainian independence day.

Last week, Ukraine's defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said he hoped to arm a million fighters as the country prepared for a “new, long phase of war.”

Key Points

  • George Bush says invasion of Iraq ‘unjustified’, later corrects to Ukraine

  • Russia fired senior commanders over Kharkiv failure, Moskva sinking, claims UK

  • Russian soldiers executed and tortured civilians: Human Rights Watch

  • Russian soldier pleads guilty to war crimes

  • Finland and Sweden ‘optimistic’ Turkey will approve Nato bids

Documentary: The true horror of Russia’s war in Ukraine

07:37 , Rory Sullivan

#icymi

Our international correspondent Bel Trew has crisscrossed Ukraine since the war began, finding a trail of destruction and grief.

Here’s the documentary she has made with Independent TV about the true horror of Vladimir Putin’s war:

Documentary: The true horror of Russia’s war in Ukraine | On The Ground

Russia fired senior commanders for failing to capture Kharkiv and over Moskva sinking, claims UK

07:00 , Arpan Rai

The British defence ministry said that Russia has fired its senior army commander over multiple failures and for performing poorly in the course of invading Ukraine.

“In recent weeks, Russia has fired senior commanders who are considered to have performed poorly during the opening stages of its invasion of Ukraine,” the MoD said in its latest intelligence update.

Citing the terminated officials, it added: “Lieutenant General Serhiy Kisel, who commanded the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, has been suspended for his failure to capture Kharkiv.”

“Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, has also likely been suspended following the sinking of the cruiser Moskva in April,” the ministry said.

“Russian Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov likely remains in post, but it is unclear whether he retains the confidence of President Putin,” officials said in the update.

A “culture of cover-ups and scape-goating is probably prevalent within the Russian military and security system”, the ministry said.

“Many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine will likely be increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal culpability for Russia’s operational set-backs,” it added.

This could likely add further strain on “Russia’s centralised model of command and control, as officers increasingly seek to defer key decisions to their superiors”.

It will be difficult for Russia to regain the initiative under these conditions, the ministry said.

Russia could conscript students in Donetsk, warns Ukraine

06:43 , Arpan Rai

Ukraine has claimed that Russia could call on university students in occupied territories to join the fighting, as it faces a lack of troops.

The Ukrainian military said that the “Russian enemy does not stop conducting offensive operations” in the direction of Donetsk, as it remains Moscow’s main focus.

“In the absence of mobilisation resources in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk oblast, the occupation military command plans to involve students of higher educational institutions in hostilities,” the officials said in a military update on Thursday.

They added that Ukrainian forces repulsed 16 enemy attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions last night and destroyed eight tanks, 17 units of armoured combat vehicles, four special armoured vehicles and six conventional enemy vehicles.

Russia says one killed after Ukraine shells village in Kursk

06:11 , Arpan Rai

At least one civilian was killed on early Thursday after Ukrainian forces shelled a village in Russia’s western frontier of Kursk, regional governor Roman Starovoit said.

The shelling targeted an alcohol factory in Tyotkino and several other buildings in the vicinity, Mr Starovoit said.

US resumes embassy functions in Kyiv

05:52 , Arpan Rai

The US will open its embassy and resume diplomatic functions from Kyiv today, almost three months after it was closed due to the Russian invasion.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken said: “We stand proudly with, and continue to support, the government and people of Ukraine as they defend their country.”

George Bush says invasion of Iraq ‘unjustified’, later corrects to Ukraine

05:26 , Arpan Rai

Former US president George W Bush condemned the invasion of Iraq by “one man” instead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in an awkward slip-up on Wednesday.

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq,” Mr Bush said, immediately correcting himself after realising the error. “I mean, of Ukraine.”

He followed it up with “Iraq too” in a subdued voice, adding “75” — a reference to his age.

The former US president, who led the invasion of Iraq in 2003 in response to the 9/11 terror attack, was addressing an event at the Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University.

Japan to boost financial aid to Ukraine to $600m, says PM Kishida

04:55 , Arpan Rai

Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida announced that the country will double fiscal aid for Ukraine to $600m (£484m) as it remains under Russian invasion for 85 days now.

The financial aid from Tokyo is in sync with the World Bank, and designed to help Ukraine as its near-term fiscal capacity has been hollowed out in the conflict.

The G7 nation had first announced help to Ukraine through loans worth $300m (£242m) in April, in addition to some military hardware.

Russian soldiers executed and tortured civilians: Human Rights Watch

04:28 , Arpan Rai

Russian troops who held Ukrainian territories in Kyiv and Chernihiv subjected civilians to executions, torture and other grave abuses which classify as war crimes, said Human Rights Watch on Wednesday.

The crimes were recorded from late February when Russia invaded Ukraine and through March.

“In 17 villages and small towns in Kyiv and Chernihiv regions visited in April, Human Rights Watch investigated 22 apparent summary executions, 9 other unlawful killings, 6 possible enforced disappearances, and 7 cases of torture,” the human rights collective said.

At least 21 civilians described unlawful confinement in inhuman and degrading conditions, the group which investigates human rights abuse said.

Civilians have detailed killings of their family members by Russian troops and being held by them “for days or weeks in dirty and suffocating conditions at sites such as a schoolhouse basement, a room in a window manufacturing plant, and a pit in a boiler room, with little or no food, inadequate water, and without access to toilets”.

Ukraine says Zaporizhzhia plant not supplying electricity to Russia

04:13 , Arpan Rai

Officials in Ukraine have junked the reports of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant supplying electricity to Russia as alleged by Moscow on Wednesday.

Ukrenergo, country’s state-run power grid operator, denied the claims and said: “Ukraine’s power system currently has no physical connections with Russia’s power system. Therefore, the supply of electricity from Ukrainian power plants to Russia is currently physically impossible.”

UN and Russia in ‘intense contact’ over Ukraine grain export

03:00 , Lamiat Sabin

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres said he is in “intense contact” with Russia and other countries hoping for an agreement to allow the export of grain stored in Ukrainian ports to help relieve global hunger.

He told a ministerial meeting on the escalating food security crisis, which he said is “at a new high” after it has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, that “there is still a long way to go.”

Displaced children receive food aid at a camp in the Hodeidah province of Yemen (Khaled Ziad /AFP/Getty)
Displaced children receive food aid at a camp in the Hodeidah province of Yemen (Khaled Ziad /AFP/Getty)

“The complex security, economic and financial implications require goodwill on all sides for a package deal to be reached,” he said.

“I will not go into details because public statements could undermine the chances of success.”

The number of people facing severe food insecurity doubled in just two years from 135 million before the pandemic to 276m today, Mr Guterres said.

More than 500,000 people are living in famine conditions – an increase of more than 500 per cent since 2016 – he added.

Ukraine - Russia war: Key points from Wednesday

02:00 , Lamiat Sabin

FIGHTING

* Russia said a total of 959 Ukrainian fighters, including 80 wounded, had surrendered from the bunkers and tunnels below Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks since Monday.

* Ukraine has said it ordered the Mariupol garrison to stand down but has declined to comment on the fate of the fighters.

* Russia said it was using a new generation of powerful laser weapons to burn up drones, seeking to counter a flood of Western arms supplied to Ukraine.

DIPLOMACY

* Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the Nato alliance, a decision spurred by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but face objections from Turkey.

* The United States said it was reopening its embassy in Kyiv.

* Russia said it was expelling embassy staff from France, Spain and Italy in retaliation for similar moves by those countries.

ECONOMY

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that Western sanctions against Russia have had an enormous impact but that the U.S. does not have the authority to seize Russian central bank assets as some have suggested.

* The European Commission unveiled a €210 billion plan for Europe to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, and quicken its transition to green energy.

* U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said he is in “intense contact” with Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, the U.S. and the EU with the aim of restoring Ukraine grain shipments and Russian fertilizer exports.

Watch: Russian soldier pleads guilty in war crimes trial

01:00 , Lamiat Sabin

A soldier has pleaded guilty to shooting a 62-year-old man dead in the first war crime trial to be held in Ukraine since its invasion by Russia.

Vadim Shishimarin, 20, gave the plea at the Solomyansky district court in Kyiv on Wednesday afternoon.

The murder took place on 28 February in the northeast Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka – four days after Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.

At least ‘15 civilians killed in Luhansk and Donetsk’ - Ukraine

Thursday 19 May 2022 00:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Russian troops have killed at least 15 Ukrainian civilians – including two families with small children – and injured seven on Wednesday, the Ukrainian military reportedly said.

A total of 46 settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, were shelled by Russia – the statement by the Joint Forces Task Force says on Facebook.

The 68 destroyed buildings include 43 residential houses, two schools, nursery school, clothing factory, railway station, cultural hall, boiler facility, and power substation – it said.

“All over the defence line, the enemy is using combat aviation, multiple launch rocket systems, cannon artillery, tanks, mortar systems, launching missile and air strikes on civil infrastructure facilities, peaceful residential areas,” the report states.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Ukrainian defenders from the Joint Forces Task Force repelled 16 enemy attacks – it said.

Putin’s troops still trying to find ‘wonder weapon’ - Zelensky

Wednesday 18 May 2022 23:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia is stalling in its invasion of Ukraine because it’s still trying to find its “wonder weapon”, Volodymyr Zelensky said.

It comes after Russia said it was using a new generation of powerful lasers in Ukraine to destroy drones.

In his nightly address, Ukrainian president Mr Zelensky said Russia’s fighting was done by “inexperienced conscripts, which it throws into battle like cannon fodder.”

He criticised Vladimir Putin’s troops for killing Ukrainians with “forbidden phosphorous bombs, which they use to burn schools and ordinary houses.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin (via REUTERS)
Russian president Vladimir Putin (via REUTERS)

Mr Zelensky continued: “Well, in the propaganda of Nazi Germany there was such a term as ‘wunderwaffe’. Wonder weapon. The clearer it became they had no chance in the war, the more propaganda there was about the wonder weapon, which would be so powerful that it would provide a turning point in the war.

“And here we see that in the third month of a full-scale war, Russia is trying to find its ‘wunderwaffe’. Allegedly laser. All this clearly indicates the complete failure of the invasion.

“But again, this also shows that they are afraid to admit that catastrophic mistakes have been made at the highest state and military levels in Russia. Therefore, they will come up with more and more ‘wunderwaffe’ as the Armed Forces of Ukraine and all our defenders liberate our land step by step.

“How long will it take? The answer to this question can only be given by the real situation on the battlefield. We are trying to do it as soon as possible. That’s for sure. We are obliged to drive out the occupiers and guarantee Ukraine real security.”

Village in Kharkiv region ‘liberated’ by Ukrainian troops

Wednesday 18 May 2022 22:40 , Lamiat Sabin

Ukrainian troops liberated the village of Dementiyivka in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine said.

Dementiivka in the Kharkiv region (Google)
Dementiivka in the Kharkiv region (Google)

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted on Facebook: “The enemy continues its offensive in the Eastern Operational Zone.

“It fires on the entire line of contact and into the depths of the defence of our troops in Donetsk operational area and in Slovyansk direction, takes measures to strengthen the offensive group.”

Pro-Ukraine ‘terrorists' could face death penalty in Belarus

Wednesday 18 May 2022 22:20 , Lamiat Sabin

A new law in Belarus could see citizens be killed by firing squad if they are convicted of assisting Ukraine in defending itself against Russia.

Today, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko – an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin – signed a law making people who attempt an act of terrorism eligible for the death penalty.

The new law will take effect on 29 May, according to the Kyiv Post. Previously, only those convicted of having committed a terror act could face a firing squad.

Vladimir Putin’s ally Alexander Lukashenko (AP)
Vladimir Putin’s ally Alexander Lukashenko (AP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “These are citizens of Belarus seeking to freely exercise their fundamental freedoms – peaceful protesters, civil society members, journalists, political opponents and those arrested for opposing Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine and Belarus’ enabling role in it.

“These citizens now also face the threat of the death penalty.”

Russia ‘tries to give press tour around Mariupol’ - Ukraine

Wednesday 18 May 2022 21:45 , Lamiat Sabin

Russian invaders has tried to conduct a press tour around the occupied Ukrainian city Mariupol, a minister said.

Oleksandr Tkachenko, culture and information policy minister, said Russia had been wanting to hold the tour for journalists to discredit Ukraine’s role in defending itself amid the invasion.

A Ukrainian serviceman guards his position in Mariupol (AP)
A Ukrainian serviceman guards his position in Mariupol (AP)

Mr Tkachenko wrote on Facebook, according to an online translation: “Russia’s fakes and disinformation have transformed into some incredible forms.

“This time the occupiers are trying to hold a press tour for foreign journalists to the occupied city of Mariupol. The enemy's primary goal is to discredit Ukraine's role in this war.

“Currently, special 'decorations' for the foreign media have already been brought in: the fragments of Ukrainian ammunition collected from the occupied areas of Donetsk Region, the crowd and actors who will be introduced as local eyewitnesses.”

Russia ‘kills at least 10 Ukrainian civilians in Donetsk'

Wednesday 18 May 2022 21:00 , Lamiat Sabin

At least 10 civilians, including two children, were killed by Russian forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine today.

This is according to regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, who posted about it on Telegram.

He wrote: “On May 18, the Russians killed 10 civilians in Donetsk: 7 in the Lyman and 3 in Bakhmut. Among the dead were 2 children: 1 in Lyman and 1 Bakhmut.”

Mr Kirilenko said a further seven people had been injured.

Volodymyr Zelensky proposes bill to extend martial law

Wednesday 18 May 2022 20:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Volodymyr Zelensky has submitted a bill to Ukraine’s parliament to extend martial law and military conscription by three months.

The text of the bill, which was submitted by the Ukrainian president, has yet to be published.

Martial law was first imposed on 24 February – the same day that Ukraine was invaded by Russia. It has since been extended for 30 days on two occasions, with the latest extension set to expire on 25 May.

The bill is reportedly expected to get the support of the parliament. When MPs approve the bill, martial law and conscription will be extended until 23 August, the day before Ukrainian independence day.

Last week, Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said he hoped to arm a million fighters as the country prepared for a “new, long phase of war.”

Nordic Nato bids will be ‘OK’, Biden says after Turkey dissent

Wednesday 18 May 2022 20:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Sweden and Finland’s bids to join Nato – in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – will be successful, according to Joe Biden.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REUTERS)
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REUTERS)

The US president’s comments came after Nato member Turkey raised objections to the two Nordic nations’ applications to join the military alliance.

In response to a reporter’s question on how he would convince Turkey to drop its opposition, Mr Biden said: “I think we’re going to be OK.”

US embassy reopens in Ukraine after three months

Wednesday 18 May 2022 19:30 , Lamiat Sabin

The US embassy in Kyiv reopened today after a three-month closure.

The embassy was closed soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

“We are officially reopening operations,” spokesperson Daniel Langenkamp told Reuters shortly before the US flag was raised above the embassy.

He said a small number of diplomats would return initially to staff the mission.

Biden says US to support Finland and Sweden against Russia

Wednesday 18 May 2022 19:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Joe Biden said the US will support Finland and Sweden staying vigilant of any Russian threats to their shared security while the two countries’ Nato membership is being considered.

The US president said in a statement that he strongly supports Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the military alliance.

US president Joe Biden (AP)
US president Joe Biden (AP)

Mr Biden said their membership would “further strengthen our defence cooperation and benefit the entire Transatlantic Alliance.”

Russia says it will rebuild ‘freed’ territories in Ukraine

Wednesday 18 May 2022 18:30 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia said it will fund the rebuilding of areas it has destroyed during its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian deputy PM Marat Khusnullin said that the Kremlin will pay for damaged roads – that lead to Russia – to be repaired.

A crater created by a Russian rocket attack in Dobropillya, in the Donetsk region (AP)
A crater created by a Russian rocket attack in Dobropillya, in the Donetsk region (AP)

He claimed, according to Russian state news agency RIA, that Russia had “freed” the territories.

Khusnullin also said the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe by capacity that has been seized by Russian troops, will supply energy to Russia and to Ukraine if the latter pays for it, RIA reported.

Russia expels 85 French, Spanish and Italian diplomats

Wednesday 18 May 2022 18:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Russia is expelling 85 embassy staff from France, Spain and Italy in response to similar moves by those countries, it said today.

The Foreign Ministry said it was ordering out 34 diplomatic staff from France, 27 from Spain and 24 from Italy.

The three countries are among European nations that have collectively thrown out more than 300 Russians since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

In many of the cases, the countries accused Russian diplomats of spying, which Moscow has denied.

Russia’s response has included sending home 45 Polish staff and 40 Germans last month. It has also announced retaliatory moves against Finland, Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Japan, among others.

Biden’s national security adviser speaks to Chinese diplomat

Wednesday 18 May 2022 17:30 , Lamiat Sabin

US president Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi on the phone today.

Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan (EPA)
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan (EPA)

The pair spoke about regional security issues, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the war in Ukraine, and specific issues related to US-China relations, the White House said in a statement.

Finland and Sweden to make joint purchases of weapons

Wednesday 18 May 2022 17:00 , Lamiat Sabin

Finland and Sweden will buy portable firearms and anti-tank weapons together, Finland’s defence ministry said.

It comes as the two Nordic countries handed in their applications to join the Western military alliance Nato, a move prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg during a ceremony to mark Sweden and Finland’s applications (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg during a ceremony to mark Sweden and Finland’s applications (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The two countries will step up their cooperation in defence procurement by Finland joining an agreement to acquire anti-tank weapons from Swedish weapons maker Saab Dynamics, a subsidiary of Saab, the ministry said.

Finland’s defence minister Antti Kaikkonen also authorised preparations for joint purchase of small firearms including assault rifles, shotguns and arms for personal protection, the ministry said.

Commission to spend £254bn to cut EU off Russian energy

Wednesday 18 May 2022 16:31 , Lamiat Sabin

The European Commission has proposed a package of nearly €300 billion (£254bn) to enable the EU to wean itself off Russian energy amid the war in Ukraine.

The investment initiative, dubbed REPowerEU, is meant to help the 27 EU countries start depriving Russia – the EU’s main supplier of oil, natural gas and coal – of tens of billions in revenue, as well as strengthen EU climate policies.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen (AFP via Getty Images)
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen (AFP via Getty Images)

“We are taking our ambition to yet another level to make sure that we become independent from Russian fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels when announcing the package.

Germany to give Czechs 15 tanks to help it arm Ukraine

Wednesday 18 May 2022 16:00 , Thomas Kingsley

Germany will give the Czech Republic 15 Leopard 2 tanks, the German defence ministry said, part of a "ring exchange" programme under which Berlin aims to help countries pass their stocks of Soviet weaponry to Ukraine to help it fight Russia.

The ministry said it would pay for the transaction and train the Czechs to use the Leopard 2 A4 tanks. The Czechs have existing stocks of old Soviet tanks with which Ukrainian soldiers are already familiar.

"The exchange is another good example of how we are helping Ukraine in its brave fight against Russian aggression," said Defence Minister Christine Lambert. "The Czechs deliver heavy weapons, and we fill the resulting holes with Leopard tanks."

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Russia showcases new generation of laser weapons that can blind satellites ‘1,500km above earth'

Wednesday 18 May 2022 15:45 , Thomas Kingsley

Russia on Wednesday said it was using a new generation of powerful laser weapons in Ukraine to burn up drones, deploying some of Moscow's secret weapons to counter a flood of Western arms supplied to its former Soviet neighbour.

Little is known about the specifics of the new laser weapons. Putin mentioned one called Peresvet, named after a medieval Orthodox warrior monk Alexander Peresvet who perished in mortal combat.

Yury Borisov, the deputy prime minister in charge of military development, told a conference in Moscow that Peresvet was already being widely deployed and it could blind satellites up to 1,500 km above Earth.

He said, though, that there were already more powerful Russian systems than Peresvet that could burn up drones and other equipment. Borisov cited a test on Tuesday which he said had burned up a drone 5 km away within five seconds.

Ex-German chancellor stripped of his office over Putin 'lobbying'

Wednesday 18 May 2022 15:30 , Thomas Kingsley

Gerhard Schroeder's publicly funded office is to be closed and its remaining staff reallocated amid mounting dismay at the former Germanchancellor's refusal to distance himself from Russian president Vladimir Putin.

It is custom for all Germany's leaders to get a state-funded office when they leave government, but the three parties that make up current chancellor Olaf Scholz's governing coalition have agreed a parliamentary motion to close Mr Schroeder's office.

They have taken the decision after his refusal to condemn Mr Putin, whom he still calls a close personal friend despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

German finance minister Christian Lindner said it was unthinkable that "a former chancellor who is now openly doing lobby work for the criminal rule of Vladimir Putin is still given an office by taxpayers," in an interview with Welt TV.

German media has reported that Schroeder, 78, earns sums from jobs at Russian state-owned energy companies that dwarf the 400,000 euros the German state spends on the office.

"The budgetary committee observes that former Chancellor Schroeder no longer carries out any duties that result from his former office," the parties' joint motion read.

"The office will therefore be closed."

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mary Dejevsky to host ‘Ask Me Anything’ about Ukraine war

Wednesday 18 May 2022 15:18 , Thomas Kingsley

So, how are things looking for Russia and Ukraine now? How could Finland and Sweden’s Nato bids affect Russia? What is going to happen next?

All of your questions and more are being answered now by The Independent’s columnist Mary Dejevsky.

Read more below for more details on how to join:

Mary Dejevsky to host ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Ukraine

Vladimir Putin loses 42nd colonel in war with Ukraine

Wednesday 18 May 2022 15:15 , Thomas Kingsley

In yet another setback for president Vladimir Putin, Russian troops have lost their 42nd colonel nearly three months into Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Denis Kozlov, 40, died on 11 May while guiding a pontoon ferry to make further advancement of the troops, according to a report by local Russian news outlet Vladimir News.

The colonel was posthumously awarded the Russian Order of Courage and buried in his hometown of Murom in Vladimir Oblast.

Read the full story below:

Vladimir Putin loses 42nd colonel in war with Ukraine

More than 20,000 Russian troops killed in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, says UK

Wednesday 18 May 2022 15:00 , Thomas Kingsley

More than 20,000 Russian military personnel have been killed in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Britain’s armed forces minister.

James Heappey said that the Russian president’s forces were suffering heavy losses in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defence estimated in late April that the Russian death toll in the Ukraine conflict was around 15,000.

This figure is believed to have gone up significantly and Mr Heappey told LBC Radio: “There are people in Moscow who know how badly the war is being managed.

“There is a growing realisation that tens of thousands of Russians soliders are losing their lives in an operation that is defined by hubris and political interference.”

 (AP)
(AP)

Germany received over 200 asylum applications from Russians in April - ministry

Wednesday 18 May 2022 14:45 , Thomas Kingsley

Germany has registered a slight increase in the number of Russian nationals applying for asylum since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.

In April, the second full month of the war, 222 people from Russia applied for asylum in Germany, the spokesperson said at a regular government news conference in Berlin.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

International efforts to restore wheat supply gather pace

Wednesday 18 May 2022 14:30 , Thomas Kingsley

International efforts to restore some of the world’s wheat supply currently stuck in Ukraine is gathering pace ahead of a United Nations meeting on conflict and food security.

On Wednesday, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres will reportedly announce that the United States and European Union will engage in talks with Russia and Ukraine to potentially unlock more than 20 million tonnes of wheat

Ukraine, the world’s sixth biggest wheat exporter, used to ship 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce through its ports per month, but the war waged by Russia has all but ceased shipments.

Read the full story below:

International efforts to restore Ukraine wheat supply gather pace

Watch: Google street view style tours take users through destroyed streets of Ukraine

Wednesday 18 May 2022 14:15 , Thomas Kingsley

Putin has ‘messianic obsession’ with Russian greatness, former Nato chief says

Wednesday 18 May 2022 14:00 , Thomas Kingsley

The West should avoid “provoking” Vladimir Putin into “even more reckless violence” in Ukraine, a former Nato secretary general has said as he warned the Russian president has developed a “messianic obsession” with his country’s greatness due to periods of isolation during the Covid pandemic.

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, who led the North Atlantic military alliance from 1999 to 2003, said that “words matter” when it comes to a “thin-skinned” Putin, who he said had developed a “dangerous mindset” over the past two years and could escalate his attacks in Ukraine in response to hostile rhetoric from western countries.

The Labour peer, who has met Putin on several occasions, made the comments in a lecture on the future of European security.

Read the full story here