Russia's War in Ukraine


Ukraine sends images of dead Russian soldiers to their families in Russia. Hear the responses they received back
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Ukraine sends images of dead Russian soldiers to their families in Russia. Hear the responses they received back03:54
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Russia's war in Ukraine
By Nectar Gan, Tara John, Sana Noor Haq, Adrienne Vogt and Joe Ruiz, CNN

Updated 4:20 p.m. ET, May 14, 2022
What we're covering
NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Germany while Finland and Sweden make moves to join the US-led military alliance. The Finnish president told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Nordic country will decide "to seek NATO membership in the next few days," which the Kremlin said "may have a negative impact" on the bordering countries' relationship. On Saturday, Russia cuts its electricity supply to Finland.
Ukrainian forces continue to press on with a counteroffensive in the northeastern region of Kharkiv. The pullback of Russian forces from areas around Ukraine’s second-largest city has revealed new evidence of atrocities.
Russians are adding combat power to their drive to take the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Ukrainians are continuing to push back a Russian advance across the Siverskyi Donets River near Bilohorivka. 
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with a delegation of Republican US senators in Kyiv led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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29 min ago
Russia must take responsibility for Ukraine war, German foreign minister says
From CNN’s Inke Kappeler in Berlin

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks at a press conference after the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin, on Saturday.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks at a press conference after the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin, on Saturday. (Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)
Russia has to take responsibility for the damages caused by its war in Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said during the concluding press conference following the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin Saturday. 

“Russia bears the responsibility for this massive damage, which goes hand in hand with this war," Baerbock said, adding that “Russia is solely responsible, not only for this war, which is contrary to international law, but also for all this massive damage, which is also massive in Russia itself."

Accessing Russian money frozen by sanctions to pay for damages incurred by the Russian war is legally possible in Canada, as the Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly pointed out on Saturday. Baerbock explained that Europe's legal framework made it more difficult to make use of the seized assets. 

“Access to frozen money is legally anything but simple," Baerbock said.  

“When we put people on sanctions lists, we have to and had to provide explanations for them, so that they are also valid before the European Court of Justice," she said. "And that applies all the more to this path, if we were to take it — for which there are some good reasons. It must of course be such that it stands up before our law; we are defending international law." 


1 hr 50 min ago
US and NATO forces using lessons from Ukraine in medical evacuation training drills
From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

A luminous dot approaches in the distance somewhere in the middle of Latvia.

It’s around midnight and it’s pitch black, but the special forces aircraft is going to attempt a landing in the darkness on a two-lane civilian road.

Equipped with night vision goggles, pilots and ground staff are able to coordinate and successfully land the aircraft.

It’s part of medical training that US and NATO special forces are doing in the Baltic region, implementing practices they have been learning from the conflict in Ukraine.

The main lesson they have learned is that air superiority may be a thing of the past, and air evacuations using fast-moving helicopters might not be possible.

“Look at the battlefield now, look at Ukraine. What’s flying? Not a lot reliably,” a member of NATO’s special forces told CNN, on condition that they remain anonymous for security reasons. “The assumption is, if the air is denied, where is that patient going to go? How are we going to transport him to the surgeon?”
That means it could take longer to get wounded soldiers to hospitals and operations may need to be performed on or near the front line. 

“The spirit of what we are doing is called prolonged casualty care, prolonged field care,” the special forces service member explained. “And the concept is identifying those strategies that will help us prolong life in order to bridge that and get that patient to the surgeon.”

Some of the lessons from the war in Ukraine have also been learned by watching how medics have been operating on the battlefield, sometimes still under heavy fire.

“The Ukrainians have been doing a phenomenal job of claiming the battlefield and of implementing some of these strategies, taking care of their patients en route,” the special forces service member said. “They are not just throwing a person in the back of a van and leaving them unattended. You’re putting somebody with medical capability in there with that patient while they are being transferred — that’s that concept of en-route care.”
As they watch events unfold nearby, they say it’s exactly the right time to prepare for the war of the future.

“There’s a sense of urgency, and I think, watching Ukraine right now, that is very prescient,” the member of the special forces said.

Watch more here:


100 miles from Ukraine, NATO special forces carry out training drills on the Black Sea
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100 miles from Ukraine, NATO special forces carry out training drills on the Black Sea

1 hr 45 min ago
Zelensky cheers on Ukraine's entry at Eurovision
From CNN's Tim Lister

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a short video message Saturday ahead of the final of the Eurovision song contest in Italy.

"Very soon in the Eurovision final, the continent and the whole world will hear our native word. I believe that, in the end, this word will be 'Victory'!," he said. "Europe, vote for Kalush Orchestra - № 12! Let’s support our fellow countrymen!"

Kalush Orchestra is a Ukrainian hip-hop band named after the city of Kalush, according to the group's bio on the Eurovision website. The winner of Eurovision is set to be named on Saturday evening ET.

Ukraine takes the Eurovision spotlight as the weirdest show on earth returns
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Ukraine takes the Eurovision spotlight as the weirdest show on earth returns

2 hr 23 min ago
Director of Odesa hotel struck by Russian missile laments pro-Russian past
From Sanyo Fylyppov

Odesa businessman Sergey Demidov used to be a prominent member of the pro-Russian Party of Regions, which was in power in Ukraine from 2010 to 2014.

Now, he prefers to forget that part of his life.

Demidov is apoplectic about Russia's invasion of Ukraine. As the director of the Grand Pettine hotel complex on the beach, that's perhaps inevitable — as a large section of it was demolished last week by a Russian cruise missile.

Demidov told CNN that the irony of the attack was not lost on him. Ten years ago, when pro-Russian factions in Ukraine were powerful, the Grand Pettine welcomed prominent Russian political figures and media personalities. When the pro-Russian movement in Odesa was at its peak during that time, the complex held conferences dedicated to the brotherhood of Ukraine and Russia. One was called "Challenges of the global crisis: the unity of Ukraine and Russia."

"Many Russian politicians, many famous Russian people came here, stayed here," he said. "Russian political scientists, Russian deputies, all these scoundrels came here."

"Everyone could see that the hotel did not have any ammunition or troops deployed there. This is a health-entertainment-tourist complex. Apparently, those who direct these missiles do not understand at all where they are sending them," Demidov said.
"This missile attack put us out of work for at least a year," he said. 
As for his current political outlook, Demidov said: "I am Ukrainian, I am a patriot of Odesa, I am 100% Ukrainian!"

The four-star hotel is owned by a German company.


2 hr 37 min ago
Swedish foreign minister to meet with Turkish counterpart about Ankara's reservations on NATO membership
From CNN’s Pierre Meilhan and Per Nyberg

Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde said Saturday she now expects to have a bilateral meeting with her Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday he is not looking at Finland's and Sweden's moves to join NATO "positively," accusing both counties of housing Kurdish "terrorist organizations."

Çavuşoğlu has said Ankara's stance is clear: "Those countries should not support PKK/YPG terrorist groups," according to the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu on Saturday.

The PKK, or Kurdistan Worker's Party, which seeks an independent state in Turkey, has been in an armed struggle with Turkey for decades and has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Following Saturday's informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, Linde said in comments to Swedish broadcaster SVT that "we have a very good and constructive relationship."

"We have met several times before, and we have never heard of any problems in case we were to apply for NATO membership. But now, there are new signals from the president. So I will try to get to the bottom of what this is about and if there are any misunderstandings," she said.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Saturday that he spoke with Linde, as well as Finland's President Sauli Niinistö and Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto, ahead of Sunday's formal NATO ministerial meeting in Berlin. Stoltenberg said via Twitter that "Finland and Sweden are our closest partners, and we discussed developments regarding their possible applications for membership. NATO enlargement has been a historic success."


2 hr 46 min ago
Ukrainian city of Odesa warns about a sea mine close to shore
From CNN's Julia Kesaieva

Restrictive tape blocks access to a beach in Odesa, Ukraine, on May 8. 
Restrictive tape blocks access to a beach in Odesa, Ukraine, on May 8. (Viacheslav Onyshchenko/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)
Odesa's city council warned residents about a sea mine floating just off one of the city's beaches.

"Being tens of meters from the shore, it does not pose a direct threat," the council said, "but once again it reminds of the dangers of swimming and other uses of coastal waters."

The Black Sea port city said the mine would be dealt with by disposal specialists but told residents that "for your own safety, you should not approach the beaches and the coast, go out on the water with the use of watercraft and even for swimming."

The council said the threat of missile strikes also remains.


3 hr 48 min ago
Finland wants to keep border with Russia "peaceful," foreign minister says at NATO meeting
From CNN's Amy Cassidy in London

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto speaks to reporters as he arrives for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on May 14, in Berlin, Germany. 
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto speaks to reporters as he arrives for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on May 14, in Berlin, Germany. (John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)
Finland wants to keep its border with Russia peaceful, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Saturday, affirming the need to maintain communication with the Kremlin as the Nordic nation inches closer to joining NATO.

“We have a 1,300-kilometer [about 800 miles] border with Russia,” he told reporters in Berlin, where he was invited to join a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. “The border is peaceful and we want to maintain that border peaceful. It’s very important that we communicate with our neighbor.” 

Asked about Turkey being against Finland joining NATO, Haavisto said he called Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Friday to “take the tensions down” and will continue discussions with him at the NATO meeting on Saturday. 

He conceded that any NATO member could “block the process,” therefore it is important to maintain “good contacts” with everyone. 

Turkey, which has presented itself as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, has signaled an unfavorable view on Finland and Sweden possibly joining NATO, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accusing the nations of housing Kurdish “terrorist organizations.”

Nevertheless, Haavisto said Saturday he is “confident that in the end, we will find a solution and Finland and Sweden will become members of NATO.” 

 

Previous reporting from CNN's Talia Kayali in Atlanta, Isil Sariyuce in Istanbul and Samantha Tapfumaneyi in London contributed to this post.


4 hr 10 min ago
Finland is moving toward a NATO bid. Catch up on the latest on those developments and the war in Ukraine
It's after 7:30 p.m. in Ukraine. Here's what's happened on Saturday so far.

Finland makes moves toward NATO: Finland's President Sauli Niinistö told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday that the Nordic nation will decide "to seek NATO membership in the next few days," Niinistö's office said in a statement.

Putin said it would be a "mistake," according to the Kremlin, adding "it may have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations." Russia previously warned Finland, which it shares an 800-mile border with, that it “will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security that arise in this regard,” according to its foreign ministry.


Russia also suspended power exports to Finland, Finnish operator Fingrid confirmed to CNN on Saturday. Fingrid brushed off the cut, as Russian electricity amounts to a small fraction of the country’s total consumption. 

Programming note: CNN's Dana Bash will interview the Finnish president on Sunday's "State of the Union" at 9 a.m. ET.

GOP senators in Kyiv: A delegation of Republican US senators, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Zelensky said on his Instagram account that the visit "is a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the United States Congress and the American people."

The visit comes as Congress has been trying to pass a roughly $40 billion aid bill that would provide Ukraine with military and humanitarian assistance.

Combat moves: The Ukrainian military said Russian forces are retreating from the northern Kharkiv region. A fierce counterattack has taken back a number of villages in the area east of Kharkiv. 

But a Ukrainian lawmaker called on the United States to provide air defense systems and fighter jets to Ukraine, saying that the situation on the battlefield is "far worse" than it was at the beginning of the war. 

Meanwhile, satellite imagery and firsthand testimony have provided a fuller picture of the multiple and disastrous efforts by Russian forces to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in eastern Ukraine over the past week. New video and analysis of drone and satellite imagery show that the Russians may have lost as many as 70 armored vehicles and other equipment in attempting to cross the river early this week. Their goal was to try to encircle Ukrainian defenses in the Luhansk region, but it failed. 


Azovstal families appeal for extraction: The relatives of Ukrainian soldiers still holed up in Mariupol's Azovstal plant are appealing to Chinese President Xi Jinping to act as a mediator to help extract their loved ones, following a similar plea to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

"Our children are in hell," one father said at a press conference in Kyiv.

A Ukrainian fighter inside the plant told Ukrainian TV about horrific conditions for the wounded, saying that "fighters are simply lying without limbs, without arms, without legs." Conditions are unsanitary and there is no medicine, the solider said.

Ukraine's deputy prime minister said the government would welcome the prospect of Turkish or Chinese mediation in helping to arrange the evacuation of wounded soldiers from the Azovstal complex in Mariupol.


4 hr 26 min ago
Ukraine welcomes possible Turkish role in evacuating wounded from Azovstal
From CNN's Tim Lister and Hande Atay Alam

People walk near the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. 
People walk near the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)
Ukraine's deputy prime minister said the government would welcome the prospect of Turkish or Chinese mediation in helping to arrange the evacuation of wounded soldiers from the Azovstal complex in Mariupol.

Iryna Vereshchuk said on Ukrainian television that "the Turkish side could really be a mediator in extraction issues. We are talking now about the seriously injured and this is a question to the ICRC [International Red Cross]. If Turkey can be a mediator in this matter as well, that would be good."

"If Xi Jinping can influence, that would be good too. We hope for the best," she said. 

Vereshchuk said that if Turkey or China were not involved, "at least a document should be signed by ICRC representatives who, under the Geneva Conventions, have the authority to monitor the process and moreover, to be leaders in this process."
"We want a document to be signed, how exactly the evacuation from Azovstal will take place," setting out a corridor that will operate and allow the severely wounded soldiers to be taken to Zaporizhizhia.
Vereshchuk spoke as Turkey's presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, was outlining one option for the evacuation.

"We have had a number of plans, proposals. The first one was to get the soldiers from Mariupol to Berdiansk, and from the Berdiansk port to the ship from Istanbul, bring them here to Turkey. That offer is still on the table," he said. Berdiansk is controlled by the Russians and is about 50 miles west of Mariupol. 

"The boat is still in Istanbul. It is ready to sail but we are waiting for final clearance from the Russian and the Ukrainian sides for it to go to Berdiansk and bring those injured soldiers to Turkey," Kalin said. 
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