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Ukraine LIVE: Putin backed into corner as mission wrecked – US orders immediate ceasefire

Putin says Poland ‘next in line for denazification’

A Russian official has proposed Poland to be the next country targeted after Ukraine for “denazification”.

Russia’s State Duma deputy proposed to put “Poland next in line for denazification after Ukraine” with a post on his Telegram account.

Oleg Morozov is a member of the Kremlin’s party United Russia’s Superior Council and Duma deputy.

It comes as the Russian authorities blocked the accounts of the Polish embassy in Moscow on Friday.

The high-level Russian official wrote that a potential military operation against Poland would be a response to Warsaw’s statement that Russia is a “cancerous tumour”.

Russians boobytrap 10-year-old girl piano with grenade

A Ukrainian mother was left horrified after Russian troops boobytrapped her award-winning 10-year-old daughter’s piano with a grenade.

Tatiana Monko and her daughter Daryna were forced to flee their home in Bucza in Ukraine’s Kyiv Oblast following the invasion by Russia but were able to return last week.

They found their home had been ransacked and despite Daryna’s prized autographed poster of her favourite band being torn to shreds, she quickly wanted to play her beloved piano again.

However, as the youngster sat down and started playing, Tatiana noticed her daughter’s trophies sitting on top of the piano had been moved.

When she lifted the lid of the instrument to look inside, the sickened mother was horrified to find a VOG-25P grenade attached to the piano’s hammers.

The explosive was removed by Ukrainian bomb disposal experts.

Olivia Stringer

Ukrainian servicemen load bodies of Russian soldiers into refrigerated rail cars

Ukrainian servicemen are loading the bodies of Russian soldiers collected following fighting in Kyiv and Chernihiv onto refrigerated rail cars 

Volodymr Lyamzin, the head of Ukraine’s civil-military cooperation, said Ukraine is ready to return to bodies to Russia.

He said: “According to the norms of international humanitarian law, and Ukraine is strictly following them, after the active phase of the conflict is over, sides have to return the bodies of the military of another country.

“Ukraine is ready to return the bodies to the aggressor.

Olivia Stringer

Putin backed into corner as mission wrecked – US orders immediate ceasefire

Vladimir Putin has been backed into a corner as his mission to take control of the Donbas has been wrecked while the US orders an immediate ceasefire.

According to a senior US defence official, Russia is two weeks or more behind schedule in its attack on the Donbas region.

This comes as US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin called for a ceasefire in Ukraine during his first talks with his Russian counterpart since February 18.

In a statement, The Pentagon said: “Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.”

Olivia Stringer

Ukrainian refugees given walking tour of Manchester by volunteers

Ukrainian refugees got to know their new homes after being given a tour of Manchester by a team of volunteers.

More than 70 Ukrainian refugees took part in the tour, which was organised by Ukrainian journalist Maria Romanenko and Meghan Marie Grittith who is a guide with Free Manchester Walking Tours.

During the tours, the Ukrainians learned about Manchester’s rich history, from the work of Alan Turing to the legacy of the Hacienda.

Ms Romanenko said she was “experimenting a bit” with the tour.

She said: “I don’t think this has been done before in the UK, or certainly in Manchester.

Ukrainian refugees given walking tour of Manchester by volunteers (Image: Maria Romanenko)

Olivia Stringer

Georgia breakaway region sets deadline for referendum on joining Russia

The president of South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia, said on Friday that the territory would hold a referendum on whether to become part of Russia on July 17. 

Russia recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent after fighting a war with Georgia in 2008.

Russia has provided extensive financial support to the region, offered Russian citizenship to their populations and stationed thousands of troops there.

Olivia Stringer

Ukraine’s offensive of Donbas unsuccessful, says General staff

Ukraine’s General Staff has said that Russia’s offensive on the Donbas has been unsuccessful.

It said specifically the Russian army has unsuccessfully tried to launch offensives towards Oleksandrivka and Bohorodychne in Donetsk Oblast, as well as towards Zolote and Komyshuvakha in Luhansk Oblast.

u26a1ufe0fUkraine’s General Staff: Russian offensives in Donbas unsuccessful.

Specifically, the Russian army has unsuccessfully tried to launch offensives towards Oleksandrivka and Bohorodychne in Donetsk Oblast, as well as towards Zolote and Komyshuvakha in Luhansk Oblast.

u2014 The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) May 13, 2022

Olivia Stringer

Ukrainian refugees meet PM at Downing Street

Ukrainian refugees residing in the UK have today met with Boris Johnson at Downing Street. 

Mr Johnson greeted around 10 refugees, both from the Homes for Ukraine scheme and the Ukraine family scheme.

Natalia Kogut, 40, told the PA news agency her family feel “safe” and are thankful to Mr Johnson for his report. 

She said: “We are very thankful to the Prime Minister because he is number one who helps Ukraine now and not just Ukrainian refugees here but Ukraine with weapons and I don’t know if Ukraine wouldn’t exist maybe any more so we are very thankful for that.”

Olivia Stringer

Ukraine begins first war crimes trial on Russian solider

Ukraine has begun its first war crimes trial on a Russian soldier. 

21 year-old Vadim Shishimarin is accused of killing an unarmed civilian with an AK74 in the village of Chupakhivka on February 28. 

If convicted, he faces life imprisonment. 

Writing on Twitter, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said “wheels of justice” have started turning.

Wheels of justice started turning and this process will yield results. Today the first RF sergeantu2013a commander of a Tank Div, appears before the court for his action. Serg.Shysimarin is accused of killed an unarmed civilian with an AK74 in the village of Chupakhivka on Feb28. 1/2

u2014 Iryna Venediktova (@VenediktovaIV) May 13, 2022

Olivia Stringer

Ukraine to arm ‘a million people’

Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said his country aims to arm “a million people” as it prepared for a “long phase of the war”.

In a Facebook post, he said: “We are entering a new, long phase of the war. To win it, we must plan resources carefully, avoid mistakes and project our strength in such a way that the enemy ultimately breaks.”

Mr Reznikov thanked UK defence secretary Ben Wallace and his US counterpart Lloyd Austin for their continued support. 

He added that Ukraine’s goal is to “restore our sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognised borders”

He thanked the British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, for his support to increase assistance for Kyiv, as well as American partners, including his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin.

Ukraine’s goal is to “restore our sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognised borders”, he said.

Reznikov added that he was “focusing on the need to provide for one million people who will be facing the enemy”.

He warned that “extremely tough weeks are ahead” and that Ukraine needed “unity, cohesion, will and patience” during this extremely difficult period.

Ukraine to arm ‘a million people’ (Image: Getty)

Olivia Stringer

Wounded Putin ‘more likely than not’ to push nuclear button after huge loss

Vladimir Putin would be “more likely than not” to use nuclear weapons following a devastating defeat, experts have said.

Keir Lieber, a nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Daryl Press an associate professor of government at Dartmouth College said that nuclear weapons are the “ultimate tools of last resort” and that any rational leader would consider using them if their “regime were on the line”.

They said: “Putin is more likely than not to use nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine if he faces devastating defeat.

“If Putin perceives an existential threat to his regime, then he will be compelled to prevent that outcome—even if that requires taking risky escalatory steps.”

This echoes comments made by US intelligence chief Avril Haines on Tuesday, who said that Putin could use nuclear weapons if he perceived an “existential threat” to his regime.

Olivia Stringer

Putin sends in ‘punisher’ General to scare reluctant troops into battle

Vladimir Putin has reportedly sent General Rustam Muradov, known as an “experienced punisher”, to lead reluctant Russian troops into combat in Ukraine.

General Mustov, the Deputy Commander of the Southern Military District, steered a joint Russian force in Syria. According to Ukraine’s SBU security service, he has been tasked with restoring order to Putin’s units after troops caused an uproar over their hesitance to fight Ukrainian defenders.

A message from the SBU on Telegram on Thursday, May 12, read: “Russian occupiers are afraid to clash with Ukrainian defenders, so riots in the enemy army are becoming widespread.

“In order to somehow curb them, Moscow is sending ‘experienced punishers’ to Ukraine.”

In an intercept of a conversation between a Russian soldier and his father disclosed by the agency, the soldier was cited as saying: “Well, Muradov came and arranged a show trial because no one wanted to advance.

“The company commanders did not want to send their soldiers to their deaths.

“And the guys themselves were not ready.

“He [Muradov] theatrically punished the company commanders yesterday, stripped them, they emptied their pockets, he tied their hands behind their backs, loaded them into trucks and took them away.”

Disproportionately large losses among Russia’s military and evidently slow advances in the country’s invasion of Ukraine call into question whether Putin has considered reassessing his war ambitions.

Olivia Stringer

Russian gains in Donbas quickly taken back by Ukrainian forces, say officials

Russian forces are struggling to make gains in the Donbas, Western officials have said, with any small gains being pushed back by Ukrainian forces. 

One official said: “Those gains that are being made are one or two kilometres at a time.

“And then the Ukrainians have been very effective at launching counter offensives almost immediately, so again we see the front line sort of oscillate.

“Those gains are small, they remain focused largely on villages and towns, achievable goals.

“And they will be facing harder challenges in the future.”

Russian gains in Donbas quickly taken back by Ukrainian forces, say officials (Image: Getty)

Olivia Stringer

Swedish PM has phone call with Biden and Finnish PM

The Swedish Prime Minster, Magdalena Andersson has spoken with president Biden and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö about Russian aggression against Ukraine and Sweden and Finland’s security policy. 

Ms Andersson thanked America for its respect for Sweden and Finland’s security. 

Important call with @POTUS Biden and President @niinisto on Russian aggression against Ukraine, and on ud83cuddf8ud83cuddea ud83cuddebud83cuddee security policy. Much appreciate ud83cuddfaud83cuddf8 support for our security and respective security policy choices.

u2014 SwedishPM (@SwedishPM) May 13, 2022

Olivia Stringer

US Defence Secretary speaks to Russian counterpart

US Defence Secretary has today spoken to his Russian counterpart for the first time since February 18. 

The Pentagon said: “Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in #Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.”

BREAKING: #US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Russian counterpart for the first time since Feb. 18 today, the Pentagon says. “Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in #Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.”

u2014 Joseph Haboush (@jhaboush) May 13, 2022

Olivia Stringer

Ukraine thanks US for weapons

Ukraine’s Defence Ministry has thanked the US for its donation of M777 howitzer. 

In a tweet, it said: “Special greetings and thanks from our artillerymen to the American people for the M777 howitzer. My guys know the price of artillery. First of all, they wanted to convey that this is a high-precision and very effective weapon. Together to Victory!”

ud83dudcacCinC AF of Ukraine:

Special greetings and thanks from our artillerymen to the American people for the M777 howitzer.

My guys know the price of artillery. First of all, they wanted to convey that this is a high-precision and very effective weapon.

Together to Victory! pic.twitter.com/x5mNB4YEmM

u2014 Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) May 13, 2022

Olivia Stringer

UK and US defence leaders discuss next steps for Ukraine

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and his US counterpart LLoyd Austin have discussed the next steps to help Ukraine, including military aid in talks held in the US this week, a statement from the Ministry of Defence has stated. 

Following the talks, Mr Wallace said in a statement: “We will continue to work with unity and resolve to provide Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

“We discussed the next steps to provide defensive support for Ukraine, as well as AUKUS (a defence pact between Australia, the United States and Britain), the future of NATO, and other aspects of our shared security.”

UK and US defence leaders discuss next steps for Ukraine (Image: Getty)

Olivia Stringer

Good afternoon

Good afternoon, I’m Olivia Stringer and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the conflict in Ukraine for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: olivia.stringer@reachplc.com 

Twitter: @Livstringer_

Turkey’s Erdogan opposes Sweden and Finland NATO plan

Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan said his country, a NATO member, does not support plans by Sweden and Finland to join the Western military alliance.

He argued Finland’s intention to apply, and the expectation that Sweden will follow, would bring about the expansion of the alliance that Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent from happening by invading Ukraine.

READ MORE

Russian soldier in the dock for first war crime trial of Ukraine invasion

A Russian commander has appeared in the dock in Kyiv at the first war crime trial of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, arrived at Kyiv’s small district court number 3 in a grey tracksuit and handcuffs.

He is accused of shooting a 62-year-old unarmed civilian in the head through an open car window in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka on February 28.

Shyshimarin’s attorney said he had confessed to the killing of the victim but that he had not yet discussed whether he would plead guilty.

It was a preliminary hearing and a first date for trial has been set for May 18.

READ MORE

Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin is the first soldier to stand trial over war crimes in Ukraine (Image: Reuters)

Tackling ‘Putin’s luxury lifestyle’ – NEW UK SANCTIONS

The UK has announced new sanctions targeting Vladimir Putin’s family and inner circle, meaning Britain’s sanctioned list now includes more than 1,000 individuals and 100 entities.

The new sanctions are aimed at the “shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle”, which does not match the president’s modest official assets, according to the Foreign Office.

Those newly placed on the sanctions list include the former first lady of the Russian Federation and ex-wife of Putin, Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

Mikhail Shelomov, a Russian business owner and Putin’s first cousin, once removed, has also been targeted.

A statement by Ms Truss read: “We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle.

“We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails.”

China ’embarrassed’ by messy and faltering invasion effort, says Wallace

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s isolation is reaching new heights, as even China’s Xi Jinping, who only in February declared a “no limits” friendship with him, seems to be taking some distance.

According to Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace, Beijing “is rather embarrassed” by the dictator’s latest moves. His thoughts are echoed by others.

In nearly three months of war, China has refused to condemn Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and fallen short of discrediting Russian disinformation.

Yet, it hasn’t shown direct support for the Kremlin’s war efforts, either.

Mr Wallace thinks the way the conflict is playing out for his autocratic counterpart goes against Beijing’s interests.

He said: “I think China views instability [as] bad for business.

“I think probably China is rather embarrassed by the behaviour of Putin. He’s a rather inconvenient friend, and … you don’t see a full-throated support.”

FULL STORY

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping: No longer a ‘no limits’ friendship? (Image: Getty) (Image: Getty)

Speculation about Putin’s health continues: ‘Very ill with blood cancer’

Speculation surrounding the Russian leader’s health has been widespread since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has attempted to bat away queries on the president’s health, saying he remains in “excellent” physical shape.

But in a recording obtained by New Lines Magazine, a high-profile Russian oligarch claimed Putin is “very ill with blood cancer”.

The outlet reported that it chose to keep the identity of the oligarch anonymous for his safety, and that he was unaware he was being recorded.

The conversation was taped in March, and the magazine said the identity and voice of the oligarch had been verified.

FULL ARTICLE

Putin warns Finland of ‘retaliation’ over move to join NATO

Finland, which shares an 810-mile border with Russia, has signalled it is ready to join NATO, with President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announcing yesterday that the country must apply for membership “without delay”.

In a joint statement, the leaders said: “We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

They added that membership of NATO would “strengthen Finland’s security” and, as a member of the military alliance, “Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance”.

Moscow was quick to warn it will be forced to take “retaliatory steps”, with its foreign ministry saying: “Finland’s accession to NATO will cause serious damage to bilateral Russian-Finnish relations and the maintaining of stability and security in the Northern European region.”

READ MORE

Ukraine: Sweden and Finland population swings towards NATO

Russia expected to increase bombardment of Mariupol steelworks

According to an update from Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Russia is continuing to launch artillery and airstrikes on Mariupol – particularly near the Azovstal steelworks, the last area of the port city not under Moscow’s control.

Military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said: “In order to establish full control over the city and suppress the resistance of Ukrainian defenders, it uses strategic aviation.”

The update added that it expected Russia to increase its bombardment of the steelworks, now that all civilians have been evacuated from it.

Mr Shtupun said: “Given the evacuation of the local residents, increase of the firing should be expected in the near future.”

Azovstal has been under constant shelling from Russian forces for about two months.

Although a Ukrainian officer inside the facility said all trapped civilians have likely been evacuated, Ukrainian fighters continue to hold out.

On Thursday, Kyiv called on the UN to ensure the evacuation of wounded soldiers from the plant.

Serhiy Kyslytsia, Ukraine’s representative to the intergovernmental organisation, said the defenders of Mariupol have contributed massively to halting the “Russian blitzkrieg”.

Ukrainian fighter walks through burning Azovstal steel plant

‘War will last’ – France warning

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned leaders they need to prepare for the war in Ukraine to last and consider its long-term effects.

Speaking as he arrived at the G7 summit in Germany, he said the conflict had to be dealt with as a long-lasting issue that will spark serious consequences around the world.

He said: “I’d also make the point that we now have to deal with a conflict that is going to last and therefore also to deal in the long term with the consequences of this conflict at the international level and particularly in the field of food security.”

On the food matter, the French foreign minister added that international conversations must focus on the increase in prices as a global crisis was underway as a result of the war.

Mr Le Drian also said G7 countries are not at war with Russia. Instead, he stressed, “there is an aggressor and a victim, and we are supporting the one being attacked”.

Truss: Let’s ‘keep up the pressure’

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has urged the West to send more weapons to Ukraine to help “keep up the pressure” on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking on her way into a G7 meeting in Germany, she said: ”It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine, by increasing the sanctions.”

The foreign minister said ”G7 unity has been vital during this crisis to protect freedom and democracy,” referring to ties between the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US.

Ms Truss is set to meet EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell as part of today’s G7 events.

€500million more for Ukraine as G7 aim to show ‘unity’

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said the bloc would provide another €500million worth of military support to Ukraine, and that he was confident a deal could be reached in the coming days to agree an embargo on Russian oil.

Mr Borrell is part of a group of G7 foreign ministers who are gathering today and tomorrow to discuss the war in Ukraine as they aim to give what Germany called a “powerful sign of unity”.

The meeting, at a 400-year-old castle estate in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus, is between top diplomats from the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the US and the EU.

G7 Foreign Ministers, including Liz Truss, in Weissenhaus (Image: Getty)

Russian invasion’s first war crime trial TODAY

A Russian commander is scheduled to go on trial today for war crimes in Kyiv.

Sergeant Vadim Shyshimarin is accused of shooting a 62-year-old man in the head through an open car window in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka on February 28.

The unarmed civilian was on a bicycle and speaking on his phone.

Shyshimarin and four other soldiers then drove the car away, seeking to flee Ukrainian fighters.

It is the first war crime trial since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

The defendant, a 21-year-old commander of the Kantemirovskaya tank division who is currently in Ukrainian custody, faces up to life in prison.

His attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, acknowledged the case against him is strong.

Today’s UK intelligence report: No ‘significant advances’ by Russia

Russian forces are putting “significant effort” into the area around Izium and Severodonetsk to finally break through to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said in this morning’s intelligence briefing.

The report read: “The primary objective on this axis is to envelop Ukrainian forces in the Joint Forces Operation area, isolating them from support or reinforcement by units in the west of the country.”

The MoD also said Ukrainian defenders successfully prevented a river crossing in the Donbas by the Russians, who lost some men during the attempt. READ MORE

It wrote in its briefing: “Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky manoeuvre and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine.”

The attempted crossing, the ministry added, is reflective of the pressure the Russians are under.

It said: “Russian forces have failed to make any significant advances despite concentrating forces in this area after withdrawing and redeploying units from the Kyiv and Chernihiv Oblasts.”

u2014 Ministry of Defence ud83cuddecud83cudde7 (@DefenceHQ) May 13, 2022

Hello!

Good morning, I’m Teresa Gottein Martinez and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the conflict in Ukraine. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: teresa.martinez@reachplc.com 

Twitter: @TGotteinM

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