Russia has demonstrated its readiness to leverage global food security for its own political purpose, then present itself as the reasonable actor and blame the West for any failures, according to the latest intelligence update of the British Ministry of Defence.
On May 25, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said Russia was ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for ships carrying food through the Black Sea in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
The minister also asked Ukraine to clear the area around the port of Odessa to allow the passage of ships. In this case, Ukraine deployed sea mines only because of the continuing credible threat of Russian amphibious assaults from the Black Sea.
Russia has demonstrated that it is ready to leverage global food security for its own political purpose, then present itself as the reasonable actor and blame the West for any failures.
Russia’s attempt to obtain a reduction in the severity of international sanctions also highlights the constraints the sanctions place on the regime.
A dispatch here from the Associated Press to Pokrovsk, where some civilians may have fled as Russian forces continued their offensive to take the eastern Ukrainian towns of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, the last major towns under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk region.
Bouncing her 18-month-old son on her lap, Yana Skakova fought back tears as she described living in a basement under relentless shelling and having to abandon her husband when she fled with her baby and 4-year-old son year.
In the beginning, after the outbreak of the war, there were quiet times when they could come out of the basement to cook in the street and let the children play outside. But about a week ago the shelling intensified. For the past five days, they hadn’t been able to venture out of the basement at all.
“Now the situation is bad, it’s scary to go out,” she said.
It was the police who came to evacuate them on Friday from the basement where 18 people, including nine children, had been living for two and a half months.
“We were sitting there, then the traffic police came and they said: you should evacuate as soon as possible, because it’s dangerous to stay in Lysychansk now,” Skakova said.
Despite the shelling and the lack of electricity, gas and water, no one really wanted to go there.
“None of us wanted to leave our hometown,” she said. “But for the sake of these little children, we decided to leave.”
he broke down in tears when she described how her husband had stayed behind to tend to their home and animals.
“Yehor is 1.5 years old, and now he is fatherless,” Skakova said.
More than 682 children have been injured or killed in Ukraine, according to a government statement. He said 242 people were dead and 440 injured, adding that the figures were not final as it was difficult to confirm reports of active fighting locations. The highest numbers were in Donetsk (153), Kyiv (116) and Kharkiv (108).
Ukraine’s armed forces have accused Russian authorities in Crimea of ordering hospitals to turn away civilian patients in order to free up beds for Russian soldiers. In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the forces said blood from donors was also being collected “intensively”.
Ukrainian President Zelenskiy has ruled out using force to win back all the land Ukraine has lost to Russia since 2014, including the southern Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow that year.
“I don’t believe we can restore all of our territory by military means. If we decide to go down this path, we will lose hundreds of thousands of people,” he said.
Fighting for the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine continues, with Russian forces carrying out assault operations on Saturday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Sunday.
“With the use of artillery, Russian forces conducted assault operations in the area of the city of Sievierodonetsk,” the General Staff said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
“The fighting continues.”
“There remains a threat of the task from the territory of the Republic of Belarus of rocket and aircraft strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure objects.”
Hello and welcome to today’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Below is a brief summary of the latest developments.
Ukraine is in a race against time to save the eastern region of Donbass as relentless Russian artillery and airstrikes threaten to turn the tide of the war, and support for continued defiance of Kyiv among some Russian allies. Western Europe seems to be collapsing. You can read our latest wrap here:
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a televised address on Saturday evening that conditions in Donbass were “indescribably difficult”, and thanked the Ukrainian defenders who stood up to the onslaught.
- Ukraine urgently requests heavy weapons to repel Russian forces in eastern Donbass regionas relentless Russian artillery and airstrikes threaten to turn the tide of the war and support for Kyiv’s continued defiance among some Western European allies appears to crumble.
- Zelenskiy has admitted that not all of the land Russia has seized since it annexed Crimea in 2014 can be taken back militarily. While his country is certain that his country will take back the territory claimed by Russia since its February 24 invasion, he said that other territories could not be regained by force.
- The Russian Defense Ministry claims to have captured the strategically important town of Lyman and several other smaller towns and encircle Sievierodonetsk, which Ukraine denies.
- At least six superyachts linked to UK-sanctioned Russian oligarchs have ‘gone dark’ on ocean tracking systemsdisappearing from global maps used to locate maritime traffic.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has removed the upper age limit for military recruits in the face of mounting losses in Ukraine, Tass reported. British intelligence estimated this month that Russia had lost around a third of its ground forces.
- Officials in the southeastern port city of Mykolaiv said at least one person had been killed and at least six injured, in the Russian bombardments. Two shells landed in the yards of high-rise buildings and one shell fell near a kindergarten, CNN reported.
- Boris Johnson and Zelenskiy discussed food supply concerns in a phone call. A Downing Street spokesman said Johnson told Zelenskiy that the UK continue to support the Ukrainian armed resistance, in particular by providing equipment.
- Putin spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and, according to the Kremlin, told them that continued arms deliveries were ‘dangerous’, warning “against the risks of further destabilization of the situation and aggravation of the humanitarian crisis”. Russia has said it is willing to discuss ways to allow Ukraine to resume grain shipments from Black Sea ports.
- Spain sends surface-to-air missile battery and 100 troops to NATO’s Forward Presence Mission in Latviajoining around 500 compatriots already in the Baltic state, El País reported.