A building damaged by Russian shelling of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, May 18, 2022 (AFP)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE, 1748 GMT:
In northeast Ukraine, at least seven people, including an 11-year-old child, have been injured in a Russian missile attack on the town of Lozova in the Kharkiv region.
Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the missile struck the newly-renovated House of Culture: “The occupiers have identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies. And they do not spare missiles or bombs.”
Ukraine Culture and Information Policy Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko tweeted:
‼️‼️Today in the middle of the working day, during the session of the city council in Lozova in Kharkiv region, a russian missile hit the recently restored a House of culture. 7 people were injured, the youngest is 11 years old… pic.twitter.com/84I5AXc7I4
— Tkachenko Oleksandr (@otkachenkoua) May 20, 2022
UPDATE 1537 GMT:
Canada has sanctioned another 14 Russian individuals and banned the import and export of targeted luxury goods from Russia.
The 14 individuals include oligarchs, their family members, and close associates who “have directly enabled Vladimir Putin’s senseless war in Ukraine and bear responsibility for the pain and suffering of the people of Ukraine”.
The import ban covers alcoholic beverages, seafood, and non-industrial diamonds while the export ban is on goods such as footwear, luxury clothing, and jewellery.
UPDATE 1518 GMT:
Five foreign vice presidents of Russia’s energy giant Rosneft have resigned in the face of European Union sanctions forbidding European citizens or Russians living in the EU to work at the company, “six sources familiar with the matter” said.
Didier Casimiro, Eric Liron, Zeljko Runje, Avril Conroym and Otabek Karimov – left just before the EU sanctions took effect on May 15.
All five joined the company in 2012 or 2013. Casimiro and Runje were sanctioned by the UK at the end of March.
UPDATE 1515 GMT:
The European Union has suspended all import duties on Ukrainian products for a year.
The European Parliament adopted the measure by a vote of 515-32, with 11 abstentions.
UPDATE 1510 GMT:
McDonald’s is selling its business license in Russia to Alexander Govor, a current McDonald’s licensee.
Financial terms have not been disclosed, but Govor must retain employees for at least two years on equivalent terms and fund corporate salaries. His new company cannot use McDonald’s branding or menus.
McDonald’s announced earlier this week that it is fully withdrawing from Russia.
UPDATE 1500 GMT:
The Biden Administration is developing plans to limit Russia’s oil industry, depriving it of a global position, according to “current and former US officials”.
The Administration would imposing a price cap on Russian oil. Secondary sanctions would punish foreign buyers who exceed the cap, blocking them from business with companies of the US and its partners.
The US has already barred imports of Russian oil, and a ban on sales of critical technologies seeks to restrict the operations of Moscow’s oil companies.
The European Union is also seeking to end imports of Russian imports by the end of 2022, but is trying to overcome the objections of Hungary, whose President Viktor Orbán is close to Vladimir Putin.
UPDATE 1453 GMT:
Russian troops have killed three adults in an attack on a school in Severodonetsk in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, according to Luhansk military governor Serhiy Haidai.
More than 200 people, including children, were sheltering at the school when it was shelled on Thursday morning. Police are trying to transport the civilians to another shelter.
On Thursday, Russian forces killed 12 people in Severodonetsk, the easternmost city under Ukrainian control.
About 11,000 houses, including 3,000 high-rise buildings, have been “partially or completely destroyed” in the region, Haidai said.
UPDATE 1150 GMT:
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and businessman Matthias Warnig, have quit the board of directors of Russia energy giant Rosneft.
The announcement comes a day after German officials closed Schroeder’s office because of his links with Russia’s leading energy companies, and after the European Parliament urged that Schroeder be blacklisted if he did not step down from Rosneft.
UPDATE 1055 GMT:
Russia will cut gas supplies to Finland on Saturday morning, says Finnish state-owned gas wholesaler Gasum.
On the afternoon of Friday May 20, Gazprom Export informed Gasum that natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum’s supply contract will be cut on Saturday 21 May at 0400.
Gasum reassured customers that they will have enough gas in coming months, as it uses other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline. CEO Mika Wiljanen said:
We have been carefully preparing for this situation and provided that there will be no disruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply all our customers with gas in the coming months.
Earlier this month, Gazprom threatened to halt Finnish supplies as the country moved towards an application for NATO membership. The Finnish grid, which gets 10% of its power from Russia, said that it can cover the supply from other states and from domestic sources.
UPDATE 1028 GMT:
With Western companies leaving Russia, a local beverage maker is promoting alternatives — albeit with the same style in logos and labelling — to leading sodas.
Instead of Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Sprite, Russians will have CoolCola, Fancy, and Street, said Russian drink producer Ochakovo.
Ochakovo, founded in 1978 and a producer of Russian beverages such as kvass and low-alcohol honey drink medovukha, says its CoolCola has the “iconic taste of cola”.
It is hoping for more suceess than the Grink Cola of the Slavda Group, in Russia’s Far East, or the Komi Cola of northern Russia’s Syktyvkarpivo factory. Customers complained that neither was “sweet and sparkling”.
Photo: Denis Voronin/Moskva News Agency
UPDATE 1010 GMT:
A Siberian man has been found guilty of “Nazi propaganda” after he played the Ukrainian national anthem in public.
Vladimir Fofanov performed the anthem on a piano set up on an embankment in Tyumen.
Предприниматель из Тюмени Владимир Фофанов сыграл Гимн Украины на пианино ииии… был обвинен в пропаганде нацистской символики и арестован на 14 суток. 🤡🤡🤡 pic.twitter.com/uRaMXvZSQE
— О́са (@Oce4ka) May 19, 2022
The District Court accused Fofanov of “shouting slogans of the banned organizations UNA-UNSO and the Right Sector” — even though the video of his performance had no such slogans.
It said Fofanov pleaded guilty and will serve 14 days in prison.
UPDATE 1005 GMT:
With Russia suffering heavy losses but Vladimir Putin still unwilling to declare a general mobilization for his “special military operations”, the Russian Parliament has tabled a bill allowing Russians over 40 and foreigners over 30 to join the armed forces.
“For the use of high-precision weapons, the operation of weapons and military equipment, highly professional specialists are needed. Experience shows that they become such by the age of 40–45,” the measure declares.
UPDATE 0830 GMT:
The Ukraine General Staff claims 14 Russian attacks were repelled in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine over the past 24 hours, with the destruction of eight tanks, 14 other armored vehicles, and six vehicles as well as the downing of a Orlan-10 drone.
UPDATE 0727 GMT:
Footage obtained by The New York Times shows Russian paratroopers executing eight Ukrainian men on March 4 in Bucha, the town outside Kyiv where the occupying Russians killed hundreds of civilians.
The Times puts together the story from interviews with a survivor, witnesses, coroners, police and military officials, and family members of the victims.
New evidence — including three videos obtained by The New York Times — shows how Russian paratroopers rounded up and executed at least eight Ukrainian men in Bucha on March 4, a likely war crime. https://t.co/EnA2q943Ds pic.twitter.com/BRMDeGo0u6
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 19, 2022
UPDATE 0718 GMT:
UK military intelligence says that when Russia finally secures occupied Mariupol in southern Ukraine, it will likely redeploy forces to the struggling Donbas offensive.
However, the analysts say that given pressure on Russian commanders, they will probably put the units on the frontline “without adequate preparation”.
The Ukrainian defense of Mariupol, including in the Azovstal steel works, tied down 12 Russian battalion tactical groups for 12 weeks amid bombardment, siege, and ground assaults. The Russian units will need to be re-equipped and refurbished for further operations./p>
Matching Russian announcements, The UK report said up to 1,700 Ukrainian defenders in Azovstal have surrendered in recent days, with an unknown number still inside the complex.
UPDATE 0655 GMT:
A video, brought out of Ukraine by the Associated Press, vividly shows the first-hand effects of war through the eyes of a medic who is now held captive by Russian forces.
Yuliia Paievska, known within Ukraine as Taira, was given the camera in 2021 to film for a Netflix documentary series on inspirational figures. When Russia invaded Ukraine, she turned to documenting scenes of injured civilians and soldiers.
On March 15, she gave the camera’s data card to AP. The next day, she and her driver Serhiy were seized by Russian forces. She was last seen in a Russian news broadcast on March, reading a statement which calls for an end to fighting.
In one scene in the video, a Ukrainian soldier pulls two Russian POWs from an ambulance. Taira tells the soldier to stop cursing at the POWs, “Calm down, calm down.”
Asked by a woman, “Are you going to treat the Russians?”, she replies, “They will not be as kind to us. But I couldn’t do otherwise. They are prisoners of war.”
UPDATE 0640 GMT:
With 49 million people in 43 countries on the brink of famine — and At least 276 million facing acute food insecurity, up from 135 million before the pandemic — Russia has rejected an appeal by the UN’s World Food Program to lift blockades of Ukrainian ports.
The WFP’s executive director David Beasley addressed Vladimir Putin, “If you have any heart at all for the rest of the world, regardless of how you feel about Ukraine, you need to open up those ports.”
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former President and now Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, responded that Moscow will not allow export of food unless sanctions on Russia are lifted:
Things don’t work like that, we’re not idiots.
Countries importing our wheat and other food products will have a very difficult time without supplies from Russia. And on European and other fields, without our fertilisers, only juicy weeds will grow.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN Security Council, “The Russian government seems to think that using food as a weapon will help accomplish what its invasion has not – to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people. The food supply for millions of Ukrainians and millions more around the world has quite literally been held hostage by the Russian military.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres had appealed to Moscow during a food summit on Wednesday, “There is no effective solution to the food crisis without reintegrating Ukraine’s food production. Russia must permit the safe and secure export of grain stored in Ukrainian ports.”
Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, complained, “After the start of a special military operation in Ukraine, there has been almost a quantum acceleration in the promotion of ideas that Moscow is to blame for everything.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has spoken of Russia’s “deliberate and criminal attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible”, turning the Donbas region into “hell” in its attempt to occupy more of eastern Ukraine.
In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelenskiy noted the latest developments in the Donestsk and Luhansk oblasts as Russia — with its ground offensive struggling to make any progress stepped up the bombing and shelling of civilian areas.
In Donbas, the occupiers are trying to increase pressure. There’s hell, and that’s not an exaggeration.
The brutal and absolutely pointless bombing of Severodonetsk…12 dead and dozens wounded in just one day. The bombing and shelling of other cities, the air and missile strikes of the Russian army — all this is not just hostilities during the war….
Donbas is completely destroyed – all this doesn’t and cannot have any military explanation for Russia.
This is a deliberate and criminal attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible. Destroy as many houses, social facilities and enterprises as possible.
This is what will be qualified as the genocide of the Ukrainian people and for which the occupiers will definitely be brought to justice.
The Latest Killings of Civilians…But No Russian Advance
Earlier on Thursday, Luhansk military governor Serhiy Haidai announced the killings of civilians in Severodonetsk. Among the 12 victims were two women in an apartment hit by a missile.
“Mostly the Russians targeted hits on residential buildings,” Haidai noted. He said another civilian had been killed elsewhere in Luhansk.
The Russians are shelling Severodonetsk very powerfully. Up to 15,000 people remain in bomb shelters. Wells in the old districts of the city were preserved to provide people with water. All mobile towers are de-energized. 70% of high-rise buildings are destroyed or damaged, many of them need to be demolished and new ones built.
At least 10 civilians, including two children, were killed and seven were injured by Russian attacks in the Donetsk region on Wednesday, said governor Pavlo Kirilenko.
Haidai said the Russians had cut off power with the destruction of an important power substation in Lysychansk, but their ground assaults failed to succeed throughout the area. He said 16 attacks were repelled on Wednesday in Luhansk and Donetsk, with the destruction of eight tanks and 21 other armored vehicles and the downing of a Su-34 fighter-bomber.
The Ukraine General Staff said Russian forces failed to break through near the city of Slovyansk, suffering losses and retreating.
Aid From the US and G7
Zelenskiy opened his address with recognition of commitments on two fronts for a total of almost $60 billion in economic, humanitarian, and military aid.
The US Congress completed approval of $40 billion in assistance, with President Joe Biden expected to sign the bill soon.
Biden said in a statement, “The resources that I requested will allow us to send even more weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, replenish our own stockpile, and support U.S. troops stationed on NATO territory.”
The G7 nations — the US, Japan, Canada, Britain, Germany, France and Italy — authorized $18.4 billion in assistance to Ukraine and said it is “prepared to do more as needed”.
Zelenskiy expressed his gratitude to the US for the $40 billion package, “a manifestation of strong leadership and a necessary contribution to our common defense of freedom”, and noted the G7 meeting.
I always say frankly: the monthly budget deficit in Ukraine now is $5 billion. And to endure the war for freedom, we need quick and sufficient financial support.
And it’s not just expenditures or a gift from partners. This is their contribution to their own security.
Because the defense of Ukraine also means their defense from new wars and crises that Russia may provoke.if it succeeds in the war against Ukraine. That is why we must all work together to ensure that there is no success for Russia in its aggression against our state. Neither military, nor economic, nor any other.