Ukraine says Russia is hitting several towns in Donbass; Moscow seems ready to cut ties with the West

Alliance chief says Putin is now getting ‘more NATO’ because of his invasion

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attends a ceremony marking Sweden and Finland’s application for membership in Brussels, Belgium, May 18, 2022.

Joanna Giron | Reuters

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Russian invasion of Ukraine had unintended consequences for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He wanted to reduce NATO on his borders, and now he’s getting more NATO,” Stoltenberg said in a special address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Stoltenberg’s comments come as relations between Russia and the western military alliance of NATO remained tense after Finland and Sweden announced applications to join the organization.

Although the application process takes time for it to be approved by all current NATO members, and Turkey’s objections have not yet been overcome, the expected expansion of NATO irritated Russia with President Putin calling it a “problem”, although his foreign minister tried Underestimating the importance of expansion.

Holly Eliat

UK looking at how to get grain out of Ukraine, warns of ‘starvation and starvation’ if this is not the case

Ears of wheat in a field near the village of Zhovtneve, Ukraine.

Valentin Ogirenko | Reuters

A British government minister said on Tuesday that the United Kingdom was in talks with Ukraine on how to get its grain out of the country.

Russia has closed Ukraine’s main seaports, blocked exports of grain from the country – seen as one of the world’s “bread baskets” as a formidable exporter of agricultural products, from wheat to sunflower oil – and pushed up global food prices in processing.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps He told Sky News That he was very concerned about the issue, saying that more lives could be lost as a result of starvation.

“What really worries me is that we have seen many more lives lost in Ukraine and we can see more lives lost elsewhere in the world due to the lack of grain and food that may be even greater than the lives lost in the war directly,” she said.

Shapps said he met Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kobrakov last week to discuss how to move grain out of the country, following reports that the UK and other willing allies could put up military escorts to ensure ships carry goods out of port. Odessa remained safe.

“We were discussing details that I can’t go into but about how to create the infrastructure to secure the grain leaves,” Shapps said on Tuesday. “We are looking at all the different options…there are a lot of different potential ways to get grain and other commodities out of the country,” he said.

Shapps warned that “there could be a lot of hunger and starvation” if Ukrainian agricultural products were not exported.

Holly Eliat

Moscow appears ready to cut ties with the West as the Chinese axis continues

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

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would “seriously consider” whether it needed to restore relations with the West.

Speaking at a question-and-answer session at an event in Moscow on Monday evening, Lavrov said
Western countries have embraced the “Fear of Russia” since the Kremlin launched what it called a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24. The West considers it an unjustified aggressive invasion.

“If they want to offer something in terms of resuming relations, we will seriously consider whether we need it or not,” he said, adding that Russia is developing its own system of import substitution due to international sanctions imposed on the country.

Lavrov added that Russia should not in any way depend on the supply of anything from the West to ensure the development of industries vital to the security, economy and social sphere of our motherland.

his comments, published on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs websiteHe also indicated that Russia’s axis toward China would continue.

“Now that the West is in a dictatorial position, our economic relations with China will grow faster,” Lavrov said, adding that this also represented an opportunity to develop Russia’s Far East and East Siberia.

– Holly Eliat

UK says Russia seeks to encircle Severodonetsk

Russia has increased the intensity of its operations in Donbass as it seeks to encircle Severodonetsk, Lyschansk and Rubezny, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence update on Tuesday.

“Currently, the northern and southern axes of this operation are separated by about 25 km from the territory controlled by Ukraine,” the ministry noted.

The United Kingdom noted that while there was strong Ukrainian resistance with troops occupying well-dug defensive positions, Russia had some local successes, in part due to the concentration of artillery units.

The capture of what the British army called the “Severodonetsk pocket” (area) is very important for Russia, because it “will see the placement of the entire Luhansk region under Russian occupation.”

However, while the main Russian effort is currently, this operation is only one part of Russia’s campaign to seize the Donbass.

“If the Donbass front line moves west, it will expand Russia’s lines of communication and will likely see its forces face more logistical difficulties in resupply,” the ministry noted.

Holly Eliat

Ukraine says Russia fired on 38 towns in Donetsk and Luhansk

Ukraine said that Russian forces bombed several towns in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, including civilian infrastructure.

“The occupiers shot 38 towns in Donetsk and Luhansk states”, the combined task force of the Ukrainian forces He said in a Facebook post on Tuesday“Destruction and damage of 62 civilian objects, including 53 homes, an agricultural project, a kindergarten, a bank branch, a pharmacy, and the National Police Administration building.”

The update indicated that as a result of these shells, at least seven civilians were killed and six others were wounded. CNBC was unable to verify the information.

Russian forces have intensified their attacks in the Donbass region in recent weeks, with heavy fighting raging around the city of Severodonetsk between Donetsk and Luhansk, the two most disputed areas currently in the Ukraine War.

A photo taken on May 22, 2022 shows the destroyed bridge linking the city of Lyschansk to the city of Severodonetsk in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Aris Messines | AFP | Getty Images

In a separate post on FacebookThe General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that Russian forces “are firing intense fire along the entire line of contact and in the depths of the defense of our forces in the Donetsk, Slobozansky and Pevdenobozhsky areas of operation.”

The “largest activity of hostilities” was observed in the Donetsk region of operations, the center noted, namely near Lyschansk and Severodonetsk.

Holly Eliat

Russian official says Kherson accepts both Russian rubles and Ukrainian hryvnia

A man holds Russian rubles and Ukrainian hryvnia coins on March 18, 2014.

Hannibal Hanschke | Photo Alliance | Getty Images

Moscow-appointed governor Vladimir Saldo in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region has said the region will formally accept both the Russian ruble and the Ukrainian hryvnia, the Associated Press reported.

The Associated Press reported that Saldo also said that an office of a Russian bank would open in the area.

Kherson was the first city to fall completely under Russian control. Earlier, a Russian official spoke of plans to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex the region and annex it to the Russian Federation.

– Chelsea Ong

Turkey urges Sweden to ease its security concerns over the country’s bid to join NATO

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a speech in Turkey on November 11, 2017. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Sweden to take “concrete steps” to ease Turkey’s security concerns regarding Sweden’s bid to join NATO, the Associated Press reported.

Turkish Presidency / Yassin Bulbul | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Sweden to take “concrete steps” to ease Turkey’s security concerns over Sweden’s bid to join NATO, the Associated Press reported.

“In no way can we ignore the fact that Sweden is imposing sanctions against us,” Erdogan was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. Turkey’s legitimate expectations regarding (ending) terrorism support and sanctions must be met.”

Turkey has said it opposes Sweden’s application to join NATO, saying the country supports the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party – a Marxist Kurdish separatist movement that has been fighting Turkish forces sporadically since the 1980s.

The PKK has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, as well as by the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union.

– Chelsea Ong

WFP chief presses billionaires to ‘intensify their efforts’

The head of the United Nations World Food Program told billionaires it was time to “step up” as the global threat to food insecurity grew with Russia’s war in Ukraine, saying he had seen encouraging signs from some of the world’s richest people, such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

The agency’s CEO, David Beasley, relied on social media back and forth with Musk last year, when the Tesla CEO challenged policy advocates to show how the $6 billion donation sought by the United Nations agency could solve world hunger.

Since then, Beasley told the Associated Press at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some of the world’s largest elites and billionaires have gathered.

“I don’t know what it will take,” he said of Musk. “We’re trying every angle, you know: Elon, we need your help, brother.”

Musk and Bezos did not immediately respond to emails or other messages seeking comment.

– News agency

Germany’s economy minister said the European Union is likely to reach an oil embargo deal for Russia “within days”.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told ZDF that the European Union is likely to agree to a ban on Russian oil imports “within days”.

However, Habek warned that the ban would not automatically weaken the Kremlin because higher prices enable it to generate more income while selling less oil.

Therefore, one consideration was not to pay “any price” for the oil, but to agree on caps, he said. But for that to work, many countries will have to join.

– Reuters

Russian diplomat resigns over Ukraine invasion: ‘I’ve never felt ashamed of my country’

Russian service personnel work to clear mines from the grounds of the Azovstal steel plant during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, May 22, 2022.

Alexander Armoshenko | Reuters

A Russian diplomat resigned over his country’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it “not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but perhaps the most serious crime against the people of Russia”.

“I’ve never been as ashamed of my country as it happened on February 24 this year,” Boris Bondarev, a counselor at Russia’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva, wrote in an email to other diplomats there.

Bondarev wrote: “Those who conceived this war want only one thing – to remain in power forever, to live in tasteless luxurious mansions, to sail on yachts similar in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian Navy, to enjoy unlimited power and complete impunity.”

Bondarev wrote that during his twenty years in the Russian Foreign Ministry, “the level of lies and unprofessionalism” has risen, but in recent years it has “become simply catastrophic.”

“Today, the State Department is not about diplomacy. It’s about stirring up wars, lies and hate.”

– Dan Mangan

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