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Russia Ukraine war live: Putin loses more than 1,500 soldiers in faltering Kharkiv offensive

Putin will be made to pay to rebuild Ukraine, says US secretary of state

Russia has lost more than 1,500 soldiers in the past week in the grinding war in Kharkiv even as Vladimir Putin claimed he has “no plans” to take Ukraine’s second largest city.

As of yesterday evening, Russia has lost 1,572 soldiers in just the last seven days and 263 units of military equipment, including 75 drones, 66 army vehicles and eight tanks, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.

In the past 24 hours, Russian troops have tried to break through Ukraine’s defences using aircraft and guided aerial bombs, and there have been around a dozen ground skirmishes.

Tens of thousands of Russian forces stormed across the border into the Kharkiv region last month to capture the city. But Mr Putin, speaking in Beijing last week, said his troops have “no plans as of today” to try and take control of Kharkiv city.

This comes as at least 11 people were killed and dozens were wounded after Russian forces struck a busy lakeside resort on the edge of Kharkiv and attacked villages in the surrounding region.

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Pentagon vows to keep weapons moving to Ukraine as Kyiv faces a renewed assault by Russia

Defence secretary Lloyd Austin committed to keeping US weapons moving to Ukraine as Kyiv faces one of its toughest moments against a renewed assault by Russia.

Mr Austin and as many as 50 defence leaders from Europe and around the world met yesterday to coordinate more military aid to Ukraine as it tries to hold off a Russian offensive in the northeast while launching its own massive assault on the Russia-occupied Crimean Peninsula.

“We’re meeting in a moment of challenge,” Mr Austin said, noting that Russia’s new onslaught on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, showed why the commitment was vital. Mr Austin vowed to keep US weapons moving “week after week”.

He told reporters the group spent a lot of time talking about Ukraine’s critical need for air defense systems, which he said are helping stave off the Russian attacks.“We’ll continue to push to ensure that Ukraine owns its skies and can defend its citizens and its civilian infrastructure far from the front lines,” he said after the meeting ended.

Namita Singh21 May 2024 06:00

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Zelensky pushes allies to step up aid

Western allies are taking too long to make key decisions on military support for Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelensky told Reuters.

He also said he was pushing partners to get more directly involved in the war by helping to intercept Russian missiles over Ukraine and allowing Kyiv to use Western weapons against enemy military equipment amassing near the border.

The call to accelerate aid and push so-called “red lines” of engagement in the conflict reflect the growing pressure Ukrainian forces are under along more than 1,000km of front lines in the northeast, east and south of the country.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during an interview with AFP at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, on 17 May 2024, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

He said the situation on the battlefield was “one of the most difficult” he had known since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

In recent weeks Moscow’s troops have made incursions into northeastern Ukraine, further testing Kyiv’s already stretched defences. At the same time, Russia has taken territory in the eastern Donbas region in sometimes fierce battles.

“A very powerful wave (of fighting) is going on in Donbas … No-one even notices that there are actually more battles in the east of the country, specifically in the Donbas direction: Kurakhove, Pokrovsk, Chasiv Yar.”

He added, however, that the situation north of Kharkiv was now “under control”, as he called again for faster military aid from the United States and other partners.

Namita Singh21 May 2024 05:45

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Russia claims control of Bilohorivka

The Russian military said yesterday that it had taken full control of the settlement of Bilohorivka in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, while Kyiv said fighting was going on in the area.

The Russian defence ministry said in a statement its forces had taken up better positions in the area.

Ukraine’s General Staff, in its late evening report on Facebook, did not directly deny the Russian report but said fighting was still going on around Bilohorivka, and added that Ukrainian forces had repelled three attacks in the nearby Siversk sector.

Earlier, the General Staff said Kyiv’s troops “have been holding back” Russian attacks near the village.

At least 5 people died and 16 injured following Russian shelling of a recreation center in Kharkiv region (EPA)

The Russian defence ministry added it had also been involved in fierce clashes in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region near Vovchansk, Starytsia and Hlyboke where it said troops had repelled two counter-attacks.

Russian forces earlier this month thrust into the Kharkiv region in what president Vladimir Putin said was an operation to create a buffer zone to protect Russian border regions.

President Volodymyr Zelensky told Reuters that the situation north of Kharkiv was now “under control”.

Namita Singh21 May 2024 05:30

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Ukraine war ‘needs to come to a stop’- Grant Shapps

Defence secretary Grant Shapps, speaking at defence questions, told the Commons: “We are very mindful of the situation in Ukraine and particularly in Kharkiv, where Russia are making, or trying to make, inroads.

“This is an existential battle for all civilised countries that believe in democracy and freedom and it is the case that we must ensure the world continues to keep up the efforts.

“It is not right for there to be pauses in our support and when there are, the sort of losses we’ve seen, I hope on a very temporary, and believe on a very temporary, basis, in Kharkiv around the villages to the north are an inevitable consequence of inaction.”

Mr Shapps later told MPs: “This bloody war is now killing up to 1,000 Russians a day, or causing casualties, and it needs to come to a stop.”

Alexander Butler21 May 2024 05:00

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Russian theatre director and playwright put on trial over play

A Russian court yesterday opened the trial of a theatre director and a playwright accused of advocating terrorism in a play, the latest step in an unrelenting crackdown on dissent in Russia that has reached new heights since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine.

Zhenya Berkovich, a prominent independent theatre director, and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk have been jailed for over a year. Authorities claim their play Finist, the Brave Falcon justifies terrorism, which is a criminal offence in Russia punishable by up to seven years in prison. Berkovich and Petriychuk have both repeatedly rejected the accusations against them.

Berkovich told the court that she staged the play in order to prevent terrorism, and Petriychuk echoed her sentiment, saying that she wrote it in order to prevent events like those depicted in the play.

Theater director Zhenya Berkovich, left, and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk are seen in a glass cage prior to a hearing in a court in Moscow, Russia, Monday, 20 May 2024 (AP)

The women’s lawyers have pointed out at court hearings before the trial that the play was supported by the Russian Culture Ministry and won the Golden Mask award, Russia’s most prestigious national theatre award. In 2019, the play was read to inmates of a women’s prison in Siberia, and Russia’s state penitentiary service praised it on its website, Petriychuk’s lawyer has said.

The case against Berkovich and Petriychuk elicited outrage in Russia. An open letter in support of the two artists, started by the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, has been signed by more than 16,000 people since their arrest. The play, the letter argued, “carries an absolutely clear anti-terrorist sentiment”.

Dozens of Russian actors, directors and journalists also signed affidavits urging the court to release the two from custody pending investigation and trial.

Namita Singh21 May 2024 04:26

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Watch: Tyson Fury clarifies claims judges sided with Oleksandr Usyk because of war in Ukraine

Tyson Fury clarifies claims judges sided with Oleksandr Usyk because of war in Ukraine

Alexander Butler21 May 2024 04:00

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US has no plan to send military trainers into Ukraine, top general says

The US is not planning to send military trainers into Ukraine and would likely do so only when the war there with Russia is over, Washington said.

More than two years into the war, Russian are slowly advancing in eastern Ukraine, exploiting Ukrainian shortages of manpower and months of delays in arms supplies from the West.

That has raised questions about what more the United States and its allies can do, beyond funneling billions of dollars in weaponry and providing intelligence and training to Ukrainian military forces from outside of the country.

“Right now, there are no plans to bring US trainers into Ukraine,” General Charles Q. Brown, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.

Alexander Butler21 May 2024 03:00

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Head of Russia-annexed Luhansk says Ukrainian shelling damages fuel depot

The head of Ukraine’s Russia-annexed Luhansk region said on Monday that Ukrainian shelling had damaged a fuel depot and triggered a fire in the town of Dovzhansk. It was the third such Ukrainian attack on depots in the region this month.

Leonid Pasechnik, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said Ukrainian forces had used cluster bombs in the attack on the town, called Sverdlovsk, its Soviet-era name, by the Russia-installed local administration.

Pasechnik said emergency services were at the scene to keep nearby buildings safe from the fire in the town, which lies south of the region’s main town, Luhansk.

Alexander Butler21 May 2024 02:00

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Russia is using more Iranian drones to bomb Ukrainian civilians, says US defense secretary

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said that the Russian army is intensifying its use of Iranian drones to target civilian areas.

“The Kremlin continues to intensify its bombardment of Ukraine, using Russian missiles and Iranian drones to strike more civilian targets across Ukraine’s territory and to put more innocent civilians — Ukrainians in the crosshairs,” Mr Austin said at the Pentagon during his opening remarks at the 22nd meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

This comes after the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in a helicopter crash in a rural part of the country as they returned from a meeting on the border with Azerbaijan.

Alexander Butler21 May 2024 01:00

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Zelensky says Western allies making decisions over Ukraine military aid ‘a year late’

Alexander Butler21 May 2024 00:01


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