Russia reports shelling of the Baerbock border region: Russia uses hunger as a weapon Selenskyj extends martial law by 90 days The developments in the Ukraine war in the stern ticker.
Day 85 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: In Ukraine, fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops continued on Thursday night. In Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy prepared the population for a long-lasting war and called for the extension of martial law by 90 days until August.
Meanwhile, efforts to get Sweden and Finland to join NATO continue. As a sign of support, US President Joe Biden will receive top officials from the two Nordic countries, which have so far been neutral. However, Turkey is still opposed and has reservations about admission. However, European and US diplomats expressed confidence that the problem could be solved.
News of the war in Ukraine for Thursday, May 19:
11:49 a.m.: The Red Cross registers prisoners of war from the Asovstal steelworks
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has registered several hundred Ukrainian fighters from the Azovstal Steelworks in the port city of Mariupol who are now in Russian captivity. For this purpose, their names and dates of birth as well as the names of their closest relatives were recorded, as reported by the ICRC in Geneva. According to the organization, which takes care of those affected by armed conflicts all over the world, it was not involved in the transport of the soldiers. She now wants to ensure that prisoners can get in touch with relatives.
Hundreds of soldiers had holed up in the steelworks for weeks. Hundreds of civilians also sought refuge there.
10.44 a.m .: Kyiv complains about “second-class treatment” by “certain” EU countries
The Ukrainian government has called for a clear prospect of EU accession and has clearly criticized the attitude of some EU countries in the process. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba complained about “second-class treatment” by “certain” EU countries in the online service Twitter. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had previously dampened expectations in a speech in the Bundestag that Ukraine could go through a faster EU accession process.
10:06 a.m.: According to Moscow, 1730 Ukrainian fighters surrendered in Mariupol
According to Russian information, most of the fighters from the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol have now surrendered. In the past 24 hours alone, more than 770 Ukrainians have been captured there, the Ministry of Defense in Moscow said. This would have surrendered 1730 fighters at the beginning of the week. It was unclear how many people were still on the factory premises. According to earlier Russian information, there should be a few hundred more.
The Ukrainian side did not initially confirm the numbers. At the beginning of the week, Kyiv spoke of a little more than 260 evacuated soldiers and then only announced that the “humanitarian operation” would continue. Looking at the numbers now published by Russia, a complete conquest of Mariupol could become apparent after almost three months of war.
9.35 a.m .: Scholz clearly rejects dictated peace in Ukraine
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has clearly rejected a dictated peace in Ukraine enforced militarily by Russia. “There will be no dictated peace because the Ukrainians don’t accept it and neither do we,” said Scholz in a government statement in the Bundestag.
“We all have one goal in common: Russia must not win this war, Ukraine must survive,” emphasized Scholz. Only when Russian President Vladimir Putin understands that he cannot break Ukraine’s defense capability will he “be ready to seriously negotiate peace,” said the Chancellor. For this it is important to strengthen the defense capability of Ukraine.
7.13 a.m .: Russian border region accuses Ukraine of shelling with one fatality
The governor of the western Russian region of Kursk has accused Ukraine of shelling a town near the border. A civilian was killed in the night in the village of Tyotkino, Governor Roman Starovoit wrote in the Telegram news service. A number of houses were also damaged. According to Russian sources, Tjotkino was attacked on Wednesday. The Belgorod region, which is also close to the border, had also reported shelling. Ukraine initially did not comment on the allegations, the Russian information could not initially be independently verified.
6.31 a.m .: The USA and Ukraine speak of looting and abuse in Mariupol
The US has accused Russian forces of severe abuse in the embattled port city of Mariupol. A US official said Wednesday that Russian soldiers “beat up” and “electrocuted” Ukrainian officials there. They would also “loot houses”. Russian officials are “concerned that these acts may further incite Mariupol residents to resist Russian occupation,” he said.
The Mariupol city government said on Telegram that the Russians were trying to “put the trading port back in order to export grain, metal goods and other products worth millions of dollars.” It’s “theft”.
5.37 a.m .: The United States has reopened the embassy in Kyiv
The US has reopened its embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv after a three-month closure. “We are officially resuming work at the US Embassy in Kyiv today,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday. The US flag was hoisted again at the embassy building. “The Ukrainian people, with our security support, defended their homeland against the ruthless Russian invasion, and as a result, the Stars and Stripes (US national flag) again flies over the embassy,” Blinken said. Washington had closed its embassy in Kyiv ten days before the start of the February 24 Russian attack on Ukraine, temporarily relocating embassy activities first to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and then to Poland.
2.08 a.m .: Baerbock: Russia uses hunger as a weapon of war
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has accused Russia of using the blockade of grain exports from Ukraine as a weapon of war. “Russia has started a grain war that is fueling a global food crisis,” Baerbock (Greens) said during a foreign ministers’ meeting at the United Nations in New York. Moscow does this by not only blockading Ukrainian ports, but also destroying silos, roads, railways and fields. According to information from the federal government, Russia is preventing the export of 20 million tons of grain in Ukraine, most of it in the port of Odessa.
“Russia is not only waging its brutal war with tanks, missiles and bombs,” Baerbock said. “Russia is waging this war with another terrible and quieter weapon: hunger and deprivation.” This is happening at a time when millions in the Middle East and Africa are already at risk of starvation.
1.15 a.m .: Selenskyj promises help to victims of the Russian occupation
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised special state aid to all victims of the Russian occupation in his country. He signed a corresponding law, said Zelenskyj in his evening video address. He did not give details. The aid also applies to “all prisoners of the Kremlin,” as he put it, in Crimea or in the Russian-occupied part of the Donbass.
1.07 a.m .: Melnyk: Ukraine’s NATO accession would reduce the risk of a nuclear war
In view of the planned NATO accession of Sweden and Finland, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, considers his country’s NATO accession to be feasible. “One thing is clear: we want to join NATO quickly. That can happen just as quickly as in the case of Sweden or Finland. It would only take a purely political decision to quickly integrate Ukraine into the alliance,” said Melnyk to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “If Ukraine were in the alliance, the risk of a nuclear war would decrease. Then Putin would know: If Ukraine were attacked with nuclear weapons, he would have to reckon with a nuclear retaliation. That would prevent him from doing so.” Melnyk also believes that Ukraine’s EU membership is possible within the next ten years.
12:00 a.m .: Zelenskyj prepares Ukrainians for a long war
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy prepares the population of his country, which has been attacked by Russia, for a longer war. In his video address on Wednesday evening, he gave hope to the people in the Russian-held areas in the south that Ukraine would liberate them. “Kherson, Melitopol, Berdyansk, Enerhodar, Mariupol and all our cities and towns that are under occupation, under temporary occupation, should know that Ukraine will return,” he said. How long this will take depends on the situation on the battlefield. “We’re trying to do it as soon as possible. We have an obligation to drive out the occupiers and to guarantee real security for Ukraine,” he said in Kyiv.
In this context he also put the announced extension of martial law and general mobilization by a further 90 days until August 23. “Our army and everyone defending the state must have all the legal means to act calmly,” said Zelenskyy.