EU prepares to discuss Russian oil embargo; Moscow says Ukraine’s Donbass region is an ‘unconditional priority’


Eurovision-winning Ukrainian band raises $900,000 for army by auctioning trophy

The Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine celebrates after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Palaolimpico, in Turin, Italy, on Saturday 14 May 2022.

Luca Bruno | AP

The PD-2 is made by Ukrainian unmanned aerial systems manufacturer Ukrspecsystems and has a range of more than 124 miles, according to the company. The auction was held on Facebook and hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Pritola.

The winning bid came from European cryptocurrency exchange WhiteBit, which bought 500 Ethers worth $900,000.

Eurovision is an international song competition held annually since 1956, where countries from Europe submit teams and songs to compete for the most votes from the audience and a panel of judges. Ukrainian folk hip-hop and orchestra “Kalush Orchestra” won an overwhelming hit with their song “Stefania”, a wonderful ode to Ukrainian mothers.

– Natasha Turak

After a failed attempt, the European Union continues to negotiate possible sanctions on Russian oil

The European Union will continue to work on Monday to reach a deal to ban Russian oil, after attempts to do so failed on Sunday.

Hungary, a major user of Russian oil, has largely stalled talks, whose leader Viktor Orban has friendly relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Budapest over the weekend signaled its support for the European Commission’s proposal to impose sanctions only on Russian oil brought by tankers into the EU, which would allow landlocked energy importers Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to continue receiving their Russian oil via pipeline until the alternative. Sources can be found. But the talks have been bogged down by Hungary’s demands for EU funding.

The proposed sanctions on oil imports would be part of the sixth EU sanctions package against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Approximately 36% of the EU’s oil imports come from Russia. Energy prices, already high at the beginning of this year, have risen since Putin launched war against Ukraine.

– Natasha Turak

A British ministry says Russian forces likely suffered “heavy losses” among officers

Russian soldiers patrol the devastated part of the Ilyich iron and steel works in the port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 18, 2022. It is possible that the Russian army has suffered “devastating losses” among its middle and lower-ranking officials in the conflict, which is likely to worsen, she said. The British Ministry of Defense says there are problems in modernizing its approach to command and control.

Olga Maltseva | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said the Russian military likely suffered “heavy losses” among its mid- and junior-ranking officials, which is likely to exacerbate problems in modernizing its command and control approach.

In an intelligence update, the department said junior officers are leading lower-level tactical operations because the military lacks the highly trained and empowered non-commissioned officers who perform this role in Western forces.

“Tactical groups of battalions that are being reconstituted in Ukraine from survivors of multiple units are likely to be less effective due to the lack of junior commanders,” the ministry added.

“It is more likely that brigade and battalion commanders will deploy forward into harm’s way because they bear an uncompromising level of responsibility for the performance of their units,” the ministry said.

The ministry added that the lack of experienced and credible commanders is likely to lead to a further decline in morale and persistent poor discipline following multiple credible reports of a localized insurgency among Russian forces.

– Chelsea Ong

The professor says the West waited too long to confront Putin, and now it has all the influence

The world, especially the West, should have been more vigilant about Putin’s actions in Georgia and Ukraine in previous years, and should have been more actively engaged with Russia at that time, says Angus Blair, a professor at the American University in Cairo.

Russia’s Lavrov says Donbass is an “unconditional priority” for Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Zhang Ming in Moscow, Russia on May 18, 2022.

Russian Foreign Ministry | Reuters

On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying that the “liberation” of Ukraine’s Donbass is an “unconditional priority” for Moscow, while other Ukrainian lands must decide their own future.

“The liberation of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are recognized by the Russian Federation as independent states, is an unconditional priority,” Lavrov said in an interview with French television channel TF1.

For the rest of Ukraine, he said, “people should decide their future in these regions.”


EU fails to reach agreement on Russian oil embargo

The flags of the European Union and Ukraine fly outside the European Parliament building, in Brussels, Belgium, February 28, 2022.

Eve Hermann | Reuters

The European Union failed to reach an agreement on a Russian oil embargo, A senior EU official told Reuters.

Officials told the news agency that diplomats would continue to try to make progress ahead of Monday and Tuesday’s summit on exempting pipeline deliveries to landlocked Central European countries.

The proposed sanctions, which would be the EU’s sixth package in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, face concerns about oil supplies from countries including landlocked Hungary.

Reuters said the talks have been going on for a month and will continue on Monday.

– Leslie Josephs

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