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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 13


Donetsk People Republic Emergency Situations Ministry employees clear rubble at the side of the damaged Mariupol theater building during heavy fighting in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, May 1

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

Recap of May 13
FIGHTING
* Russia has reportedly lost more than 650 tanks and about 3,000 armored vehicles and heavy equipment in the war so far.
* Russia suffered heavy losses when Ukraine destroyed a pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River.
* Ukraine puts a Russian soldier on trial today for alleged war crimes.
HUMANITARIAN
* Teachers in Ukraine are holding classes, sometimes underground, to give their students some sense of support.
* World Central Kitchen reports serving more than 23 million meals and delivering more than 11 million pounds of food.
* A 9-year-old girl is making a miraculous recovery in Lviv from a shrapnel wound to the head.
* Nearly 100 children were killed in Ukraine last month, according to UNICEF.
ECONOMY
* Russian ports have been busy since the invasion began as companies rush to fill orders before sanctions take full effect.
* EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell said Friday the bloc will provide an additional 500 million euros worth of military aid to Ukraine.
* Russian inflation topped 17% in April, thanks to its invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions.
DIPLOMACY
* US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to his Russian counterpart Friday, the first time since the invasion began.
* Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Turkey did not have a favorable opinion about Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
* Sweden issued a report Friday criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how it affected Sweden’s national security.
* Ukraine’s foreign minister asked G-7 foreign ministers to seize Russian assets and turn them over to Ukraine to help cover the costs of the war.

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

9:20 p.m.: In his nightly video address to his country, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said although Ukrainians are doing everything they can to drive out the Russians, “no one today can predict how long this war will last.”

“This will depend, unfortunately, not only on our people, who are already giving their maximum,” he said. “This will depend on our partners, on European countries, on the entire free world.”

He said he was thankful to all those who are working to strengthen the sanctions on Russia and increase military and financial support to Ukraine, according to excerpts of the video by The Associated Press.

“This is the only recipe for protecting freedom in the face of the Russian invasion. And for Western countries, this is not simply an expense. This is not about accounting, it’s about the future.”

8:50 p.m.: The United States again accused Russia of using the U.N. Security Council to spout disinformation and conspiracy theories about biological weapons in Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills called the Russian claims of alleged U.S. involvement in a biological weapons program “categorically false and ludicrous.”

He warned the council Friday that Moscow’s actions follow a pattern of accusing others of violations it has perpetrated or intends to perpetrate.

U.N. deputy disarmament chief Thomas Markram reiterated what his boss said at council meetings on March 11 and March 18: The United Nations is not aware of any biological weapons program in Ukraine.

8:15 p.m.: Russia's annual inflation jumped to a two-decade high of 17.8% in April, fueled by Western sanctions over Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine, the statistics agency said on Friday, Agence France-Presse reported.

Inflation of food prices, a huge concern for Russians on low incomes, has reached 20.5% year-on-year, according to Rosstat.

Pasta has gone up by 29.6%, butter by 26.1%, and fruit and vegetables by 33%.

Annual inflation could reach 23% this year before slowing next year and returning to the target of 4% in 2024, according to the Central Bank.

7:50 p.m.: Ukrainians loaded the bodies of Russian soldiers collected after fighting in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions onto refrigerated rail cars on Friday, Reuters reported

"According to the norms of international humanitarian law, and Ukraine is strictly following them, after the active phase of the conflict is over, sides have to return the bodies of the military of another country,” Volodymr Lyamzin, the head of Ukraine’s civil-military cooperation, said. "Ukraine is ready to return the bodies to the aggressor.”

Lyamzin said there were several refrigerator trains stationed in different regions across Ukraine where the bodies of Russian soldiers were being kept.

Several hundred bodies were being stored at a facility on the outskirts of Kyiv filmed by Reuters.

7:18 p.m.: Talks with Russia to bring wounded defenders out of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol are ongoing and very complex, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday said, Reuters reported.

Russia almost completely controls Mariupol and its forces have been bombarding the steelworks, where the last bastion of Ukrainian defenders remains.

Ukraine has proposed evacuating 38 of the most severely wounded defenders in exchange for a number of Russian prisoners of war.

"At the moment very complex negotiations are under way on the next phase of the evacuation mission – the removal of the badly wounded, medics. We are talking about a large number of people," Zelenskyy said in a late-night address.

6:42 p.m.: Ukraine’s Snake Island, made famous on the first day of Russia’s invasion, has a very important strategic significance: Without it, Ukraine cannot guarantee the freedom of the shipping lanes between Odesa and the world.

Whoever controls Snake Island controls "the surface and to some extent the air situation in southern Ukraine," Ukraine's defense intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, said Friday.

"Whoever controls the island can block the movement of civilian vessels in all directions to the south of Ukraine at any time," Budanov added. CNN has the full report.

6:05 p.m.: Renewed fighting in recent days around Snake Island, an outpost that Ukrainian military intelligence said allows control of civilian shipping, could help Ukraine resume grain exports vital to world supplies, some of which are now being shipped by rail, according to Reuters.

"There are 25 million [metric tons] of grain currently blocked in the Ukrainian port of Odesa, which means food for millions of people in the world that is urgently needed," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

Satellite imagery from Maxar, a private U.S.-based company, showed the aftermath of what it called probable missile attacks on a Russian landing craft near the island, which became famous for its Ukrainian defenders' expletive-filled defiance early in the war.

5:30 p.m.:

5:10 p.m.: The leader of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia on Friday set July 17 as a date for a referendum on joining Russia, Agence France-Presse reports.

South Ossetia was at the center of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 after which the Kremlin recognized the territory, along with another separatist region, Abkhazia, as an independent state and stationed military bases there.

The announcement came on the 79th day of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine, where the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have also expressed interest in joining Russia.

4:20 p.m.: As the war grinds on, teachers are trying to restore some sense of normalcy after the fighting shuttered Ukraine's schools and upended the lives of millions of children, The Associated Press reports.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, lessons are being given in a subway station that has become home for many families. Children joined their teacher Valeriy Leiko around a table to learn about history and art, with youngsters' drawings lining the walls.

"It helps to support them mentally. Because now there is a war, and many lost their homes. ... Some people's parents are fighting now," Leiko said. In part because of the lessons, he said, "they feel that someone loves them."

3:40 p.m.:

3:02p.m.: Russia ports have been busy since the Russian troops invaded Ukraine, as companies rush to fulfill orders before the international sanctions put in place to punish Russia go into full effects, according to the New York Times. Many of those sanctions included exceptions for energy products and consumer goods that might otherwise have created more pain for consumers amid global supply chain problems. But while a possible EU ban could further reduce Russian exports, data shows that, so far, commerce with Russia has been reduced but not crippled, the Times said.

1:30 p.m.: Nine-year-old Sofia Hurmaza is in hospital in Lviv, western Ukraine, after sustaining a shrapnel wound to the head that her doctor says would normally leave her in a "vegetative state." But after two days in a coma and a complex operation, her doctor says she's making a "miracle" recovery.

12:43 p.m.: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by telephone to his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Friday, Reuters reported. It was the first time the two defense chiefs have talked since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to the Pentagon. The report said Austin has tried multiple times to try and talk with Shoigu since the invasion started nearly three months ago, but officials said Moscow had appeared uninterested.

The Pentagon said Austin called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine during the call. Russia's TAS news agency reported the call covered "Topical issues of international security were discussed, including the situation in Ukraine," quoting the Russian defense ministry.

11:23 a.m.: A Ukrainian band is the oddsmaker’s favorite to win the Eurovision Song Contest, according to the Associated Press. Kalush Orchestra is one of 25 bands that will compete Saturday final of the annual songwriting contest in Turin, Italy. The band's song, "Stefania," was written as the frontman’s tribute to his mother but has become an anthem to the motherland since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The song is a mashup of traditional Ukrainian folk music and contemporary hip hop elements.

10:12 a.m.: Russia has reportedly lost more than 650 tanks and about 3,000 other armored vehicles and heavy equipment so far in its invasion of Ukraine. According to RFE/RL, advanced anti-tank weapons given to Ukraine by Western countries, poor strategy, low morale, and important design flaws in Russian equipment have all contributed to the losses.

10:06 a.m.: Ukraine on Friday accused Russia forcibly deporting more than 210,000 children since its invasion on Feb. 24, Reuters reports. Ukraine's human rights ombudswoman, Lyudmyla Denisova, said the children were among 1.2 million Ukrainians who Kyiv says have been deported against their will. Reuters said it could not independently verify the figure.

9:55 a.m.: Russia suffered heavy losses when Ukrainian forces destroyed the pontoon bridge enemy troops were using to try to cross a river in the east, the Associated Press reports, citing Ukrainian and British officials. Ukraine's military released photos and video of what it said was a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River and several destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby.

Smoke rises from what appears to be a makeshift bridge across the Siverskyi Donets River, eastern Ukraine, in this handout image uploaded on May 12, 2022. (Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command/Handout via REUTERS)
Smoke rises from what appears to be a makeshift bridge across the Siverskyi Donets River, eastern Ukraine, in this handout image uploaded on May 12, 2022. (Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command/Handout via REUTERS)

9:11 a.m.:

9:03 a.m.: Sweden on Friday issued a report criticizing Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "Russia’s actions give rise to a structural, long-term and significant deterioration of the security environment in Europe and globally, and raise questions about how Sweden can best guarantee its national security," the report said. The majority of the report analyzes Sweden's potential answer to those security questions: joining NATO.

8:50 a.m.: Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Friday asked the G7 foreign ministers to seize Russian assets and turn them over to Ukraine help cover the costs of repairing the destruction caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reports.

"Russia must pay," Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of the session.

Kuleba also said that there has been an improvement on weapons supplies coming into Ukraine, but more are needed, especially multiple rocket launch systems.

7:40 a.m.: EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell said Friday the bloc will provide an additional 500 million euros worth of military aid to Ukraine, RFE/RL reports. Borrell said the military support would be for heavy weapons such as tanks and artillery, and takes EU aid for Ukraine to about 2 billion euros.

7:33 a.m.: The top four clubs in the Russian soccer league say they have filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against being banned from next season’s European competitions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press reported Friday. Zenit St. Petersburg, Dynamo Moscow, FC Sochi and CSKA Moscow would all qualify for men’s European competitions based on their current league positions. They said they have asked for the case to be heard in an expedited procedure.

The new case joins legal bids by Russian teams and federations in a multitude of different sports.

5:53 a.m.: Ukraine puts a Russian soldier on trial today for alleged war crimes.

Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin, 21, is the first Russian to be tried for war crimes since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Prosecutors say Shyshimarin shot a Ukrainian civilian in the head, killing him. If convicted, he could get life in prison.

5:43 a.m.: Nearly 100 children were killed in Ukraine last month, The Washington Post reports, citing UNICEF.

“More children have been injured and faced grave violations of their rights, millions more have been displaced,” said Omar Abdi, UNICEF's deputy director.

5:07 a.m.: TV presenter Timur Miroshnychenko, who hosted the wildly popular Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine in 2019, will be chiming in on this year's competition -- from a bomb shelter, The Washington Post reports.

Eurovision is the world's longest-running televised music contest, the Post says. This year it's being held in Italy, and the grand finale is Saturday. The favorite to win this year is Ukrainian contestant Kalush Orchestra, whose song Stefania has become a tribute to Ukraine.

4:08 a.m.: The BBC reports that European Council President Charles Michel says that global security is "under threat."

"Russia, a nuclear armed state... is attacking the sovereign nation of Ukraine, while making shameful and unacceptable references to the use of nuclear weapons," he said.

Michel is currently in Japan, visiting Hiroshima, the city that was the target of the first atomic bombing.

3:04 a.m.: Al Jazeera, citing the U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War, reports that Russia likely controls the Ukrainian city of Rubizhne and probably the town of Voevodivka as well.

2:04 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry says Russia is attempting a breakthrough toward Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Its aim is to isolate Ukrainian forces from support or reinforcement. The Ukrainians, for their part, blocked a Russian attempt to cross the Donbas river.

"Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky manoeuvre and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine," the update says.

1 a.m.: The World Bank says that money transfers to Ukraine, the largest recipient in Europe and Central Asia, are expected to rise by more than 20% this year. That's because refugees and others are sending money to people still in the country.

12:02 a.m.: Al Jazeera, citing the U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War, reports that Russia likely controls the Ukrainian city of Rubizhne and probably the town of Voevodivka as well.

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

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