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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 12


Workers clean rubbles atop a buidling destroyed by shelling a month ago in Cherkaske, eastern Ukraine on May 11, 2022.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

Recap of May 12
FIGHTING
* The governor of Ukraine's Luhansk region says Russia shelled the region 26 times Wednesday, including nine times in the city of Severdonetsk, Al Jazeera reported.
* The latest intelligence update from the U.K.'s defense ministry says Ukrainian forces have recaptured several towns north of Kharkiv.
HUMANITARIAN
* Canada plans to charter three flights to bring Ukrainian refugees from Poland to Canada, The Washington Post reports.
* Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised Germany's response to the war with Russia during his visit to Berlin, saying that the country had now taken a leading role following tensions in Berlin-Kyiv relations, Reuters reported.
ECONOMY
* Russia, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, will increase wheat exports this year due to a potentially record harvest, President Vladimir Putin said.
DIPLOMACY
* U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Germany on Saturday for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on their response to the war in Ukraine.

SANCTIONS
* Japan and the European Union demanded Russia immediately end its invasion of Ukraine and said they support "further expanding sanctions against Putin's Russia."
* Russian President Vladimir Putin says Western sanctions against Russia are provoking a global economic crisis.
MEDIA
* Beginning in June, YouTube will add auto translations to Ukrainian video, The Washington Post reports.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

8:53 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: "Russia's strategic defeat is already obvious to everyone in the world and even to those who still continue to communicate with them. Russia simply lacks courage to admit it so far. They are cowards. And they are trying to hide the truth behind missile, air and artillery strikes. Therefore, our task is to fight until we achieve our goals in this war. Free our land, our people and reliably ensure our security."

8:24 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, is defying leaders of both political parties and has single-handedly delayed until next week Senate approval of an additional $40 billion to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia, The Associated Press reported. The legislation was approved overwhelmingly by the House and has strong bipartisan support in the Senate. Final passage is not in doubt, AP reported.

8:02 p.m.: Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed by Russian forces in Ukraine last month, will have his last film -- “Mariupolis 2” -- shown at the Cannes Film Festival, organizers said, according to The Associated Press.

Kvedaravicius was shooting a follow-up to his documentary, "Mariupolis," which is about the conflict in the Donbas region, when he was reportedly captured and killed, AP reported. A special screening of “Mariupolis 2” will be held May 19 and 20 at Cannes.

6:18 p.m.: German industrial giant Siemens AG says it is exiting Russia, where it has operated for almost 170 years, according to The Associated Press. “We condemn the war in Ukraine and have decided to carry out an orderly process to wind down our industrial business activities in Russia,” Roland Busch, the Munich-based company’s CEO, said, AP reported.

Siemens, which said it has 3,000 employees in Russia, was among the first companies to put on hold all new business in the country once it invaded Ukraine, AP reported.

5:43 p.m.: The United States accused Russia of forcibly moving tens of thousands of Ukrainians – often singled out for their resistance to the invasion – to territory under Russian control, Agence France-Presse reported. The U.S. comments support allegations by the Ukrainian government which estimates nearly 1.2 million people have been deported into Russia or Russian-controlled territory and has denounced so-called "filtration camps" in which Moscow interrogates detained people, AFP reported.

4 p.m.: Ukraine has been forced to spend 245.1 billion hryvnia ($8.3 billion) on its war with Russia instead of development, the finance minister said on Thursday, providing a glimpse into the huge economic cost of Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion.

3:30 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that he’s ready to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that “we must find an agreement,” but with no ultimatum as a condition.

2:30 p.m.: The U.N.’s top human rights body has overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on its investigators to specifically look into possible rights abuses and violations in northern Ukraine shortly after Russia’s invasion.

2:20 p.m.:

1:31 p.m.: Between 8 and 12 Russian missiles hit the oil refinery and other infrastructure in the Ukrainian industrial hub of Kremenchuk Thursday, the acting governor of the central Poltava region said that same day.

1:20 p.m.: The U.N. children’s agency says the war in Ukraine is a “child rights crisis” where education is under attack and nearly 100 youngsters have been killed in just the last month.

1:10 p.m.: Talks are underway between Kyiv and Moscow on the possible evacuation of 38 “severely wounded” Ukrainian troops from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Ukraine’s deputy PM said Thursday afternoon.

12:20 p.m.:

12:15 p.m.:

11:20 a.m.: The number of people who have fled Ukraine to escape Russia's invasion has passed 6 million, in Europe's worst refugee crisis since the end of World War Two, a U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday.

11:05 a.m.: The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday passed a resolution by a strong majority, setting up an investigation into allegations of rights abuses by Russian troops in parts of Ukraine formerly under their control.

10:48 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Germany on Saturday for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on their response to the war in Ukraine, the State Department said on Thursday.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock last month invited the ministers to an unofficial meeting in Berlin. The meeting comes as Finland, worried by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, moves to join NATO.

10:30 a.m.: The Swiss government on Thursday reported 6.3 billion Swiss francs ($6.33 billion) worth of Russian assets frozen under sanctions to punish Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, a drop from early April as around 3.4 billion francs in provisionally blocked assets were released.

9:46 a.m.: Europe must end 'dependence' on Russian gas, 'switch off' Moscow's 'energy oxygen': Ukrainian foreign minister, AFP tweeted.

9:40 a.m.: Finland's entry into the NATO would be historic, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told MSNBC in a television interview on Thursday, adding it would not be difficult to integrate the country into the military alliance.

Russia said on Thursday that Finland's bid to join NATO was a hostile move that "definitely" posed a threat to its security.

9:35 a.m.: Russia, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, will increase wheat exports this year due to a potentially record harvest, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

9:26 a.m.: A top Russian official says that there is a growing threat of the fighting in Ukraine spilling into a direct conflict between Russia and NATO.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, said Thursday that growing Western arms supplies to Ukraine and training for its troops have “increase the probability that an ongoing proxy war will turn into an open and direct conflict between NATO and Russia.”

9:22 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin says Western sanctions against Russia are provoking a global economic crisis.

Speaking during a Thursday meeting on economic issues, Putin said Western nations were “driven by oversized political ambitions and Russophobia” to introduce sanctions that “hurt their own economies and well-being of their citizens.”

9:18 a.m.: The Associated Press reported that Russian forces pounded areas in Ukraine’s east on Thursday, including the last pocket of resistance in besieged Mariupol, as a war that is redrawing Europe’s security map pushed Russia’s neighbor Finland closer to joining NATO.

5:35 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that it could take up to 10 years to remove all the landmines Russian forces have left in Ukraine.

5 a.m.: Beginning in June, YouTube will add auto translations to Ukrainian video, The Washington Post reports.

The head of YouTube's parent company, Google, said the move is "part of our larger effort to increase access to accurate information about the war."

4:08 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv is cutting its "sister city" ties with a host of Russian cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.

3:33 a.m.: The Associated Press has the story of a 14-year-old Ukrainian boy who says Russian soldiers shot and killed his father and tried to kill him as well. His story comes out amid an investigation into possible war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine.

3:17 a.m.: Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin expressed their approval for joining NATO, a move that would complete a major policy shift for the country in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance," they said in a joint statement. "Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.

3:15 a.m.: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised Germany's response to the war with Russia during his visit to Berlin on Thursday, saying that the country had now taken a leading role following tensions in Berlin-Kyiv relations, Reuters reported.

In an interview with German broadcaster ARD, Kuleba said there had been positive changes, after Germany decided to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine and back a proposed EU embargo on Russian oil following pressure from its allies.

During the top Ukrainian diplomat’s visit, which will also include an appearance at the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting on the German Baltic Sea coast, Kuleba said he plans to lobby for Ukrainian EU membership, as well as further sanctions on Russia and a response to food scarcity threatened by the conflict, Reuters said.

2:48 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K.'s defense ministry says Ukrainian forces have recaptured several towns north of Kharkiv.

"Russia’s prioritisation of operations in the Donbas has left elements deployed in the Kharkiv Oblast vulnerable to the mobile, and highly motivated, Ukrainian counter-attacking force," the update notes.

Russia's next move, the update predicts, will be to target the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River in an attempt to protect the bulk of Russia's troops and its supply routes.

1:56 a.m.: The governor of Ukraine's Luhansk region says Russia shelled the region 26 times Wednesday, including nine times in the city of Severdonetsk, Al Jazeera reports.

1:23 a.m.: Reuters reports that Siemens will leave Russia because of the conflict in Ukraine.

"We join the international community in condemning the war in Ukraine and are focused on supporting our people and providing humanitarian aid," the company wrote on its website. "Siemens will exit the Russian market as a result of the Ukraine war. The company has started proceedings to wind down its industrial operations and all industrial business activities."

On its website, Siemens AG describes itself as a technology company focused on "industry, infrastructure, transport, and health care." In September 2021 it had some 303,000 employees worldwide. It has about 3,000 people in Russia, Reuters says.

1:03 a.m.: A Ukrainian serviceman at the besieged steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, turned to Twitter to ask Elon Musk for help, the BBC reports.

"People say you come from another planet to teach people to believe in the impossible," Serhiy Volyna tweeted. "Our planets are next to each other, as I live where it is nearly impossible to survive. Help us get out of Azovstal to a mediating country. If not you, then who?"

12:30 a.m.: Japan and the European Union demanded Russia immediately end its invasion of Ukraine and said they support "further expanding sanctions against Putin's Russia."

In a joint statement following talks among Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU and Japan said they would coordinate on political, financial and humanitarian support for Ukraine. They also pledged to mitigate other effects of the conflict, including working to stabilize world energy markets.

12:02 a.m.: Canada plans to charter three flights to bring Ukrainian refugees from Poland to Canada, The Washington Post reports.

The flights will be May 23, to Winnipeg, Manitoba; May 29 to Montreal and June 2 to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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