US Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell made a surprise visit to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Thank you for your leadership in helping us in our struggle not only for our country, but also for democratic values and freedoms. We really appreciate it,” Mr Zelensky said. Mr McConnell was joined by three Republican senators.
Earlier, a Russian defence chief warned Britain and the US again of Moscow’s new arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The RS-28 Sarmat, or Satan-2, hypersonic nuclear missile could strike Britain in just “200 seconds”, said Russia’s defence committee deputy chair Aleksey Zhurvlyov.
Mr Zhurvlyov blamed the US and UK for provoking Finland to join Nato – a move considered in Moscow to be a risk to Russian security.
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:
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.
Indian embassy to resume in Kyiv after two months
Officials from the Indian ministry of external affairs said they are resuming the country’s embassy operations in Kyiv after more than two months.
“The Indian Embassy in Ukraine, which was temporarily operating out of Warsaw (Poland), would be resuming its operation in Kyiv w.e.f. 17 May 202,” the ministry said in a statement. India shut down its embassy in Kyiv as the Russian assault on Kyiv increased after invasion. India had temporarily relocated to Warsaw on 13 March.
Russian troops leave from around Kharkiv, pound Donetsk in east
Russian troops are exiting from around Kharkiv after bombarding the key and second-largest Ukrainian city for weeks, officials from the Ukraine military said on Saturday.
However, the assault has intensified in the eastern part of the country as Russia rearranges its military in the besieged country.
The forces are pulling back from the northeastern Kharkiv and instead are guarding supply routes, officials said.
Alongside, mortar, artillery and airstrikes continued in the eastern province of Donetsk in order to “deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications”.
Ukraine was “entering a new, long-term phase of the war”, warned defence minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Antony Blinken reaches Berlin to meet Nato partners
US secretary of state Antony Blinken reached Berlin on early Sunday ahead of his meeting with Nato partners over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“I have arrived in Berlin where I will informally meet with @NATO foreign ministers to discuss our alliance and sustained action to address Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine,” the top US official said on Twitter.
Zelensky calls for Russia’s recognition as ‘terrorist state’ with Mitchell McConnell
Volodymyr Zelensky said he has asked for the official recognition of Russia as a terrorist state, as Ukraine crossed 80th day of invasion by the Kremlin, in a meeting with US senators on Saturday.
“We discussed various areas of support for our state, including defensive and financial. As well as tightening sanctions on Russia. I expressed gratitude for the historic decision to renew the Lend Lease program. I called for the official recognition of Russia as a terrorist state,” Mr Zelensky said.
He added that the Ukraine-US talks led by Republican minority leader Mitchell McConnell in Kyiv demonstrated “the strength of bipartisan support for our state, the strength of ties between the Ukrainian and American nations.”
Among the topics in the talks was food security as wheat supply from Europe remains jeopardized due to the conflict.
“More and more countries around the world are realizing that Russia, by blocking the Black Sea for us and continuing this war, puts dozens of other countries at risk of a price crisis in the food market and even famine. This is another incentive for our anti-war coalition to act more decisively together,” the Ukrainian leader said.
He also sought more support for the besieged country “especially with weapons – means working to prevent global famine.”
The sooner we liberate our land and guarantee Ukraine’s security, the sooner the normal state of the food market can be restored, he said.
Marjorie Taylor Greene mocked for saying GOP visit to Kyiv proves Ukraine isn’t dangerous
Marjorie Taylor Greene is being slammed online for claiming that a video showing US lawmakers visiting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky proves the country is safe, because a Republican delegation wasn’t wearing bulletproof vests as they toured Kyiv.
“Notice U.S. elected politicians like [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] and [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] can go visit Zelensky in Ukraine without bullet proof vests/helmets or any fear from dangers of war, while they eagerly give billions to fund their proxy war w/ Russia,” the Georgia Republican wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
“If the conditions in Ukraine were so grave to warrant the U.S. sending $54 billion, then our highest ranking leaders would not be able to go,” she added.
The comments quickly came in for scrutiny and jokes on social media.
‘Things are still not safe’: Locals fear returning to scarred villages of Kharkiv despite Russian retreat
Though Russian forces have been pushed back from Kharkiv, families who fled their villages under threat of rape and death are yet to return, finds Kim Sengupta.
Senate GOP delegation meets Zelensky in Ukraine
ICYMI: Russian military leaders ‘sacked and arrested’ amid heavy battlefield losses
Chief of the Russian general staff, Valery Gerasimov, has been suspended amid the Kremlin’s faltering invasion, a senior Ukrainian official has claimed.
Oleksiy Arestovych, a military adviser to Ukraine‘s president, said “preliminary information” suggested Gen Gerasimov had been removed from his post while Vladimir Putin and his inner circle assessed whether he should be allowed to continue to lead the country’s armed forces.
There has been no official confirmation of the reported sacking, although speculation about a purge of senior military commanders increased after Gen Gerasimov was absent from Russia’s annual Victory Day parade on Monday.
Tom Batchelor reports.
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