Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 10
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For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.
Recap of May 10
* Russian forces used tanks and artillery in “storming operations” at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol Ukraine’s defense ministry said.
* Britain’s defense ministry said Russia likely based its invasion plan “on the mistaken assumption that it would encounter limited resistance.”
* Firefighters battled blazes in Odesa until early hours after Russian missiles pounded the Ukrainian port Monday.
* The head of the U.N. human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine said thousands more civilians had been killed in the country since the war began than its official toll of 3,381.
* U.S. lawmakers could vote on a bill authorizing at least $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
* Members of the World Health Organization’s European region passed a resolution that could result in the closure of Russia’s regional office and the suspension of meetings in the country in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
* President Joe Biden signed into law the Ukraine Lend-Lease Act, renewing a World War II-era program that will now allow Ukraine to more efficiently request weapons against Russia.
* Ukraine’s gas transmission operator says it will shut off almost a third of Russian gas transported through the country onward to Europe.
* U.S. President Joe Biden's nominee to be the next ambassador to Ukraine, veteran diplomat Bridget Brink, is expected to easily win confirmation to a crucial position that has been vacant for nearly three years.
* French President and German Chancellor visit Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate illuminated in Ukraine’s national colors.
* German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Bucha, the Kyiv suburb where Russian forces have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.
* French European Affairs Minister said EU members could reach a deal this week to ban all oil imports from Russia.
* Another Russian tycoon has died under strange circumstances, the latest in a series of mysterious deaths of Russian businessmen since Moscow launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
* Ukraine welcomed what it called an "historical turning point" as German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Kyiv backing Ukraine's bid for full European Union membership and cutting energy ties to Russia.
The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT.
8:02 p.m.: The Italian Foreign Ministry said 63 Ukrainian orphans would be flown on Wednesday from Krakow, Poland to Trapani, Sicily, The Associated Press reported. The transport was organized by the Pope John XXIII Community, along with Italian diplomats in Ukraine and Poland, the report said.
“This humanitarian evacuation confirms Italy’s commitment to assisting civilians hit by the conflict in Ukraine,” the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to AP.
7:09 p.m.: The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on an aid package worth more than $40 billion for Ukraine on Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
6:15 p.m.: U.S. Department of Defense officials said Russian efforts to halt the flow of supplies and munitions to the Ukrainian forces has had no impact. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters Tuesday, “We’re tracking no impact to the flow of a shipment of material into Ukraine either as a result of the strikes on Odessa or the strikes anywhere else. That stuff continues to flow every day.”
5:40 p.m.: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cited some good news Tuesday from the front, where he said the Ukrainian military was gradually pushing the Russian troops away from Kharkiv, The Associated Press reported. The Ukrainian General Staff said its forces drove the Russians out of four villages to the northeast of Kharkiv as it tries to push them back toward the Russian border.
4:23 p.m.: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a shipment of a multimillion-dollar aid package to Odesa, Ukraine, on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported. The Maryland Department of Health is donating more than 485,000 bandages and wound care supplies, 95 Eternity mechanical ventilators for intensive care units, and 50 Astral portable ventilators, the governor’s office said. The package also includes nearly 200 pieces of body armor, including tactical vests and shields, which have been donated by the Maryland State Police. Odesa is a sister city of Baltimore, Maryland. The governor was joined for the announcement at a warehouse in Hanover, Maryland, by Yaroslav Brisiuck, deputy chief of mission for the Embassy of Ukraine.
3:58 p.m.: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, has accepted an invitation to join top diplomats from the Group of Seven nations later this week, The Associated Press reported. Baerbock spoke during a visit Tuesday to Kyiv, where she met Kuleba and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The G-7 foreign ministers will meet at Schloss Wissenhaus, a luxury resort on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, from May 12-14. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is expected to be a major topic at the meeting.
3:15 p.m.: Leonid Kravchuk, who led Ukraine to independence during the collapse of the Soviet Union and served as its first president, died Tuesday, Ukrainian officials said, according to an Associated Press report. He was 88. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid tribute to Kravchuk, calling him not just a historical figure but "a man who knew how to find wise words and to say them so that all Ukrainians would hear them," AP reported.
2:30 p.m.: Ukraine welcomed what it called a "historical turning point" as German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Kyiv on Tuesday backing Ukraine's bid for full European Union membership and cutting energy ties to Russia. Germany has thrown its weight behind an embargo on Russian oil and Baerbock said it aimed to cut its imports of Russian energy to zero, adding "and that will stay that way forever." Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said,“The fact that Germany is standing up for peace, for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine - this is a big historical turning point and I am grateful to the German government for this position."
2:01 p.m.: Belarus will deploy special operations troops in three areas near its southern border with Ukraine, the armed forces said on Tuesday as President Alexander Lukashenko talked up the role of Russian-made missiles in boosting the country’s defenses. A close ally of Russia, Belarus said in March that its armed forces were not taking part in what Moscow calls its “special operation” in Ukraine, but it did serve as a launchpad for Russia to send thousands of troops across the border on February 24, Reuters reported.
1:39 p.m.: At least 112 soldiers from the Buryatia region in Russia's Far East have been killed in Ukraine since February, according to an anti-war group, the Free Buryatia Foundation. Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, looked into the stories of some of those who have died and spoke to people in the region, many of whom support the invasion of Ukraine. (WARNING: Viewers may find the content of this video disturbing).
12:45 p.m.: Zimbabwean security guard Edwin Dapi was already struggling to provide for his wife and four children before a conflict 6,800 miles away in Ukraine sent global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer soaring. At a supermarket in Mabvuku, one of the poorest neighborhoods of the capital Harare, the 46-year-old was fretting over his family's next meal. "I keep hearing it's because of Ukraine, but I don't know what that has to do with us," he said, scratching oil and flour from his grocery list.
12:26 p.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Tuesday discussed the war in Ukraine and the global food crisis arising from it, and called for an urgent ceasefire, the Elysee said after a phone call between the two leaders, Reuters reported. "The two heads of state reiterated their commitment to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine", the Elysee presidential office said.
12:04 p.m.: Ukraine’s gas transmission operator says it will shut off almost a third of Russian gas transported through the country onward to Europe, The Associated Press reported. The Ukrainian GTS made the announcement Tuesday in a statement posted to its website. It said that the war made it impossible to reach areas of its system to ensure its safety. The company said it would halt some 32.6 million cubic meters of gas per day with the decision. It said the shutoff would begin at 7 a.m. Wednesday and that it would offer Russia the chance to try to reroute gas through another crossing held by the Ukrainian government.
11:49 a.m.: Ukraine's emergency services said all fires resulting from Russia's Monday strikes on the Black Sea port of Odesa had been put out, Reuters reported.
11:43 a.m.: Ukrainian artillery crews aim to drive Russian forces from the Kharkiv region. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent Maryan Kushnir spent the day on May 7 with a Ukrainian self-propelled howitzer unit as they targeted Russian positions in the areas around Kharkiv.
11:16 a.m.: The World Health Organization's European chief said on Tuesday that at least 3,000 people had died in Ukraine since Russia's invasion in February because they had been unable to access treatments for chronic diseases, Reuters reported. So far, the U.N. health agency has documented some 200 attacks in Ukraine on healthcare facilities, and few hospitals are currently functioning, Hans Kluge told a regional meeting of WHO's 53 member states as well as senior agency colleagues. "Forty percent of households have at least one member in need of chronic treatment that they can no longer find, resulting in an estimated at least 3,000 premature avoidable deaths," he said in a speech, mentioning diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer.
10:47 a.m.: The U.N. General Assembly voted Tuesday to replace Russia on the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, VOA’s U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer reported. The move follows an April 7 assembly decision to suspend Moscow’s membership in the rights body for its invasion of Ukraine. Russia then resigned its seat the same day, opening the way for Tuesday’s by-election. The Czech Republic, which ran unopposed, received all 157 ballots cast. Twenty-three nations abstained. The Czech Republic begins its term immediately and it runs through December 31, 2023.
10:34 a.m.: The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on worldwide threats Tuesday, which included testimony from Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence, and Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The U.S. believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be content with a victory in just eastern Ukraine, according to Haines. “We assess President Putin is preparing for prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” she said. Haines also warned of “likely flashpoints” in the coming weeks as Russia tries to interdict Western security assistance to Ukraine. VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin monitored the hearing and shared more details on Twitter.
10:23 a.m.: Ahead of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Western intelligence agencies warned of potential cyberattacks which could spread elsewhere and cause "spillover" damage on global computer networks. While there has been little evidence of spillover to date, the cyberwar in Ukraine rages on. Reuters on Tuesday published a “Factbox” overview of how the conflict has unfolded in cyberspace.
10:01 a.m.: Lithuanian lawmakers on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution declaring Russia "a terrorist state" and calling Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine "genocide against the Ukrainian people." In their May 10 resolution, the lawmakers also called for the creation of an international court to prosecute Russian officials responsible for the war in Ukraine, similar to the Nuremberg trials held by the Allies against representatives of the defeated Nazi Germany for plotting and carrying out invasions of other countries and other crimes in World War II. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.
9:44 a.m.: Ukraine said on Tuesday its forces had recaptured villages from Russian troops, pressing a major counter-offensive in the northeast of the country that could signal a shift in the war’s momentum and jeopardize Russia’s main advance, Reuters reported. Tetiana Apatchenko, press officer for the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade, the main Ukrainian force near Kharkiv, confirmed that Ukrainian troops had recaptured the settlements of Cherkaski Tyshky, Ruski Tyshki, Borshchova and Slobozhanske, in a pocket north of Kharkiv in recent days. Yuriy Saks, an adviser to Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, said the successes were pushing Russian artillery out of range of parts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, which has been under bombardment since the war’s earliest days.
9:17 a.m.: Members of the World Health Organization’s European region passed a resolution on Tuesday that could result in the closure of Russia’s regional office and the suspension of meetings in the country in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. The special session of the European region passed the resolution, supported by Ukraine and the European Union, with 43 in favor and 3 against (Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan) and 2 abstentions. Backers consider it an important political step to isolate Moscow and said they were at pains to avoid any major impact on Russia’s health system.
8:39 a.m.: Retired Ukrainian Navy Captain Andriy Ryzhenko has returned to his home in the shattered town of Irpin to discover it was ransacked and looted by Russian troops. Ryzhenko, who had trained with NATO forces, fled with his family on February 24, worried that he could be targeted by invading Russian forces. Explosive experts hunted for booby traps in Ryzhenko’s house after grenades were found at a neighbor’s. Ryzhenko says thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry were stolen, along with food, underwear, and footwear. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this story.
8:27 a.m.: The Russian military's failure to seize the Ukrainian capital was inevitable because in the preceding years they had never directly faced a powerful enemy, according to a former mercenary with the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group who fought alongside the Russian army. Marat Gabidullin took part in Wagner Group missions on the Kremlin's behalf in Syria and in a previous conflict in Ukraine, before deciding to go public about his experience inside the secretive private military company, Reuters reported. He quit the Wagner group in 2019, but several months before Russia launched the invasion on February 24 Gabidullin, 55, said he received a call from a recruiter who invited him to go back to fighting as a mercenary in Ukraine. He refused, in part because, he said, he knew Russian forces were not up to the job.
8:09 a.m.: Ukraine’s foreign minister is suggesting that Kyiv’s goals in fighting the Russian invasion have expanded, The Associated Press reported. In an interview with The Financial Times published Tuesday, Dmytro Kuleba said “the picture of victory is an evolving concept.” Kuleba said, “In the first months of the war, the victory for us looked like withdrawal of Russian forces to the positions they occupied before February 24 and payment for inflicted damage.” He added, “Now if we are strong enough on the military front and we win the battle for Donbas, which will be crucial for the following dynamics of the war, of course the victory for us in this war will be the liberation of the rest of our territories,” the minister said.
7:41 a.m.: Joining NATO is the best option for Finland to guarantee its national security, the Finnish Parliament’s defense committee said on Tuesday, ahead of Finland’s official decision on whether or not to join the Western defense union in the coming days. Finland’s membership in NATO would significantly increase the deterrent for becoming a target of Russia’s aggression, the defense committee concluded in a statement, according to Reuters. Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto is expected to announce on Thursday his stance on joining NATO, a move that would mean a major shift of security policy for the Nordic country in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
7:14 a.m.: In the end, what was notable about Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech during Victory Day ceremonies was what he did not say. The 12-minute speech offered little or no clarity. It also offered no transformative policy shift on the biggest foreign policy crisis of Putin's leadership. Mike Eckel has this analysis of the significance of Putin’s speech on Monday, for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
6:57 a.m.: Another Russian tycoon has died under strange circumstances, the latest in a series of mysterious deaths of Russian businessmen since Moscow launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
6:46 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden's nominee to be the next ambassador to Ukraine, veteran diplomat Bridget Brink, is expected to easily win confirmation to a crucial position that has been vacant for nearly three years, Senate aides said, according to Reuters. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee scheduled Brink's confirmation hearing for Tuesday, just two weeks after Biden sent her nomination to the Senate. A Michigan native who speaks Russian, Brink is currently U.S. ambassador to Slovakia. She has been a career diplomat for 25 years and has worked in Uzbekistan and Georgia as well as in several senior positions across the State Department and White House National Security Council.
6:26 a.m.: Russian forces have escalated their attacks on a steel plant in the southern port of Mariupol where the last Ukrainian defenders, many of them wounded, and at least 100 civilians are still holed up, as missiles rained down on the strategically important Black Sea port of Odesa. Deputy Ukrainian Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Tuesday more than 1,000 Ukrainian fighters remained in the sprawling Azovstal steel plant, the last pocket of resistance after almost three months of heavy fighting that has leveled the city.
6:17 a.m.: Asked if Russia would rule out a pre-emptive tactical nuclear strike on Ukraine, Russia's deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday that a decision was clearly set out in Russia's military doctrine, RIA reported. "We have a military doctrine - everything is written there," Alexander Grushko was quoted by state news agency RIA as saying. Russia's official military deployment principles allow for the use of nuclear weapons if they - or other types of weapons of mass destruction - are used against it, or if the Russian state faces an existential threat from conventional weapons, Reuters reported. The decision rests with the Russian president, currently Vladimir Putin. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said on Saturday that Putin believes he cannot afford to lose in Ukraine and cautioned that the West could not ignore the risk of the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Moscow.
6:12 a.m.: Russia is not planning to proactively close its embassies in Europe in response to unfriendly measures by the West and expansion of sanctions against Moscow, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a deputy foreign minister. "This is not in our tradition," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told RIA, according to Reuters. "Therefore, we believe that the work of diplomatic representative offices is important."
6:07 a.m.: Firefighters battled blazes in Odesa until early hours on Tuesday after Russian missiles pounded the Ukrainian port Monday, Reuters reported. Air raid sirens could be heard across several regions of Ukraine early on Tuesday including Luhansk, Kharkiv and Dnipro. Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, said the region was attacked 22 times in the past 24 hours.
6:05 a.m.: Finland and Sweden are expected to formally apply to join NATO later this month. For VOA News, Henry Ridgwell reports from Helsinki that both countries say Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has changed the security dynamic in Europe, and that the Kremlin's nuclear threats require the collective self-defense the alliance can provide.
5:25 a.m.: The head of the U.N. human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine said on Tuesday that thousands more civilians had been killed in the country since the war began than its official toll of 3,381, Reuters reported.
“We have been working on estimates, but all I can say for now is that it is thousands higher than the numbers we have currently given to you,” Matilda Bogner, head of the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, told a press briefing in Geneva, when asked about the total number of deaths and injuries. “The big black hole is really Mariupol where it has been difficult for us to fully access and to get fully corroborated information,” Bogner said.
5:00 a.m.: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made an unannounced visit to Ukraine. She stopped in Bucha, the Kyiv suburb where Russian forces have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.
4:00 a.m.: A Ukrainian official said on Tuesday that the bodies of 44 civilians have been found in the rubble of a Izyum building destroyed by Russian forces in March, The Associated Press reported.
3:30 a.m.: Reuters reported that French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said European Union members could reach a deal this week on the EU Commission’s proposal to ban all oil imports from Russia.
“I think we could strike a deal this week,” Beaune told LCI television, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron was due to talk to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban later in the day. Hungary is the most vocal critic of this planned embargo on Russian oil, the Reuters report said. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday she had made progress in talks with Viktor Orban on this project. For VOA, Lisa Bryant has this story.
3:20 a.m.: At least 100 civilians remain in a steel works that is under heavy Russian fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Reuters reported citing an aide to the city’s mayor.
“In addition to the military, at least 100 civilians remain in the (Azovstal) shelters. However, this does not reduce the density of attacks by the occupiers,” mayoral aide Petro Andryushchenko wrote on Tuesday on the Telegram messaging app.
3:00 a.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visit Berlin's Brandenburg Gate illuminated in Ukraine's national colors. Elsewhere in the world, including in France and Greece, nations showed solidarity with Ukraine by bathing their landmarks in blue and yellow.
2:40 a.m.: Russian gas nominations via Ukraine to Europe stood at 97.5 million cubic meters (mcm) for Tuesday, down from 98.7 mcm the day before, Reuters reported citing the Interfax news agency drawing data from Ukraine's gas pipeline operator.
2:25 a.m.: Britain's defense ministry said Tuesday that Russia likely based its invasion plan "on the mistaken assumption that it would encounter limited resistance" and be able to encircle and bypass populated areas of Ukraine quickly.
1:30 a.m.: For VOA, Yan Boechat has this update from the frontline trenches near the city of Kamianske in Ukraine’s Donbass region.
1:07 a.m.: May 9 is known as “Victory Day” in much of Europe, a national holiday in Russia commemorating the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Both the Russian and Ukrainian presidents gave speeches marking the day, and President Joe Biden signed into law the Ukraine Lend-Lease Act, renewing a World War II-era program that will now allow Ukraine to more efficiently request weapons against Russia, just as the Lend-Lease Act of 1941 helped U.S. allies defeat Nazi Germany. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the details.
1:00 a.m.: U.S. lawmakers could vote as soon as Tuesday on a bill authorizing at least $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
Ahead of the possible vote in the House of Representatives, President Joe Biden said his administration has “nearly exhausted” his authority to send weapons and other military equipment from Pentagon stockpiles. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a similar appeal in a letter to lawmakers, urging them to act before May 19 when they expect the existing drawdown will run out. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that while the new measure under consideration “may adjust some in the process,” he is focused on “getting it done quickly.”
Biden signed separate legislation Monday giving him new power to expedite the shipment of military equipment and supplies to Ukraine under a program modeled after a World War II law that originally assisted European countries fighting Nazi Germany.
12:01 a.m.: Russian forces on Monday used tanks and artillery in “storming operations” at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where the city’s last defenders are holed up, Reuters reported citing Ukraine’s defense ministry. Russia has declared victory in Mariupol, a strategic city on the Sea of Azov, but the sprawling steel works remains in the hands of Ukrainian fighters.
Source: Voice of America