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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 22

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People pay respect next to graves at Lychakiv Cemetery where some people killed in Russia's invasion of Ukraine are buried as the Day of Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred is celebrated, in Lviv, Ukraine, May 22, 2022.

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

Recap of May 22
FIGHTING
* Ukrainian leaders are warning of an increasingly dire situation in Severodonetsk — one of the last major cities in eastern Luhansk province still in Kyiv’s control — with a high-ranking official saying it is becoming “a new Mariupol,” The Washington Post reports.
ECONOMY
* Germany wants to intensively pursue gas and renewable energy projects with Senegal, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and its impact on energy and food prices.

HUMANITARIAN
* U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Russia's blockade of Ukraine's shipping port Odesa.
* Ukraine extended martial law for three months, until August 23, as the war with Russia drags on.
DIPLOMACY
* Polish President Andrzej Duda visited Kyiv, meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and addressing the Ukraine parliament.
* U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna discussed the NATO alliance, including how best to support Finland and Sweden's membership bids, in a phone call.
NUCLEAR
* Senator Mitt Romney writes in a guest essay in The New York Times that the threat of a nuclear strike from Russia must be considered: "We should imagine the unimaginable, specifically how we would respond militarily and economically."

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

9:54 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, for his premiership since the Russian invasion of his country in February, The Associated Press reported.

8:25 p.m.: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Russia's blockade of Ukraine's shipping port Odesa, a Downing Street spokesperson said, according to Reuters. Johnson resolved to redouble efforts to provide vital food and humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine and ensure the country was able to export to the rest of the world, the spokesperson added, Reuters reported.

7:55 p.m.: On the day Polish President Andrzej Duda visited Kyiv, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address, “I am glad to note that Ukrainian-Polish relations are finally on a completely clean, sincere basis, without any quarrels and old conflict heritage. This is an achievement. The historical achievement of our nations. And I want the brotherhood between Ukrainians and Poles to be preserved forever. As I said about this today to the deputies: for our unity, the unity of Ukrainians and Poles, to be a constant value that no one will violate."

7:10 p.m.: Belarusians are among those who have answered a call by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for foreign fighters to go to Ukraine and join the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine, given the high stakes in a conflict which many see as a battle pitting dictatorship against freedom, The Associated Press reports.

6:27 p.m.: A bid by Ukraine to join the European Union would not be finalized for "15 or 20 years," France's Europe minister, Clement Beaune, said on Radio J, according to Agence France-Presse. He doused Kyiv's hopes for quick entry in the wake of Russia's invasion, it reported.

"We have to be honest. If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you're lying," Beaune said, in the AFP report. "It's probably in 15 or 20 years, it takes a long time."

"I don't want to offer Ukrainians any illusions or lies," he said, according to AFP, reiterating an offer by President Emmanuel Macron to create a looser "European political community" that could help integrate Ukraine with the bloc sooner.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday denounced "such compromises."

5:45 p.m.: Ukraine's parliament banned the symbols "Z" and "V," used by Russia's military to promote its war in Ukraine but agreed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's call to allow their use for educational or historic purposes, Reuters reported. Yaroslav Zheleznyak, an opposition member, announced the decision on the Telegram messaging app, saying 313 deputies had voted in favor in the 423-member Verkhovna Rada assembly. Neither of the two letters exists in the Russian alphabet. They have been widely used, particularly on Russian military vehicles and equipment, to promote the aims of the conflict, Reuters reported.

4:59 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and France's new foreign minister, Catherine Colonna, discussed the NATO alliance, including how best to support Finland and Sweden's membership bids in a call, the U.S. State Department said in a statement, according to Reuters. Blinken and Colonna also agreed on the importance of continuing support to Ukraine and maintaining "significant costs" on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in the statement. Russia calls its military action in Ukraine a "special operation,” Reuters reported.

3:20 p.m.: Ukrainian leaders are warning of an increasingly dire situation in Severodonetsk — one of the last major cities in eastern Luhansk region still under Kyiv’s control — with a high-ranking official saying it is becoming “a new Mariupol,” The Washington Post reports.

3:15 p.m.: Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Kyiv is waiting for a signal from the EU leadership that the bloc is open to welcoming Ukraine, The Kyiv Independent reports. Meanwhile, French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune told Radio J that it would take Ukraine 15 to 20 years to achieve this goal. “I don’t want to offer Ukrainians any illusions or lies,” he said.

2:40 p.m.: Ukraine ruled out a cease-fire or any territorial concessions to Moscow as Russia stepped up its attack in the country's east and south, pounding the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions with airstrikes and artillery fire, Reuters reports.

Kyiv's stance has become increasingly uncompromising in recent weeks as Russia experienced military setbacks while Ukrainian officials grew worried they might be pressured to sacrifice land for a peace deal.

"The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said in a Twitter post on Sunday.

Polish President Andrzej Duda offered Warsaw's backing, telling lawmakers during a visit to Kyiv on Sunday that the international community had to demand Russia's complete withdrawal and that sacrificing any of it would be a "huge blow" to the entire West.

2:10 p.m.: U.S. Senator Mitt Romney writes in a guest essay in The New York Times that the threat of a nuclear strike from Russia must be considered: "We should imagine the unimaginable, specifically how we would respond militarily and economically."

1:30 p.m.: Germany wants to intensively pursue gas and renewable energy projects with Senegal, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday during his first trip to Africa, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and its impact on energy and food prices, Reuters reports.

Scholz kicked off the three-day tour in Senegal, which has billions of cubic meters of gas reserves and is expected to become a major gas producer in the region.
Germany is seeking to reduce its heavy reliance on Russia for gas following the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine It has initiated talks with the Senegalese authorities about gas extraction and liquified natural gas, Scholz said.

1 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and France's new foreign minister Catherine Colonna discussed the NATO alliance including how best to support Finland and Sweden's membership bids in a call on Sunday, the U.S. State Department said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

Blinken and Colonna also agreed on the importance of continuing support to Ukraine and maintaining "significant costs" on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.

12 p.m.: Cannes Film Festival takes heat for inclusion of Russian film, The Washington Post reports.

Filmmaker Agnieszska Holland, president of the European Film Academy, criticized the festival for including Kirill Serebrennikov’s ‘Tchaikovsky’s Wife,’ calling for a boycott of all Russian cultural imports in response to the war in Ukraine.

11:55a.m.: Nearly three months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the country’s once booming tech community is trying to rebound back to life. According to The Washington Post, as the war continues, tech founders and their employees have settled into new routines, working amid bombs, gunshots, and air raid sirens.

11:50 a.m.: Ukraine bans medications produced in Russia, Belarus, The Kyiv Independent reports. The Ukrainian parliament approved changes to the country’s law on medicines on May 22, “restricting the flow” of those medications that have been at least partially produced by the enterprises located in Russia or Belarus.

11:45 a.m.: Russia shells border village in Chernihiv Oblast. According to the Northern Operational Command, the village of Senkivka was shelled from the Russian territory at around 3:45 p.m. on May 22. No casualties have been reported yet, The Kyiv Independent reports.

11:30 a.m.: Ukraine is top of the agenda for the four-day meeting of global business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, which kicks off on Monday with a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Reuters reports the main street in Davos has been transformed by Ukrainian artists into a "Russian War Crimes House," portraying images of misery and devastation. Russia has denied allegations of war crimes in the conflict.

11:25 a.m.: Senegalese President Macky Sall said he would visit Moscow and Kyiv in the coming weeks in his capacity as chairman of the African Union, which he said wanted to see de-escalation in Ukraine and peace through dialog between the two sides Reuters reports.

10:50 a.m.: German chancellor Olaf Scholz says will work actively to enable grain exports from Ukraine and to supply fertilizers to Ukraine, Reuters reports.

10:45 a.m.: Captive medic’s bodycam shows firsthand horror of Mariupol, AP reports.

10:40 a.m.: Polish citizens in Ukraine will be granted the same rights that Ukrainian refugees in Poland are currently receiving, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday during a visit to Kyiv by his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, Reuters reports.

Poland has granted the right to live and work and claim social security payments to over 3 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier on Sunday, a Ukrainian ruling party lawmaker said that Zelenskyy had announced the imminent tabling of a parliamentary bill to give Polish citizens "special legal status" in Ukraine.

10:30 a.m.: Ukraine’s natural environment is another casualty of war. The damage could be felt for decades, CNN reports.

10:25 a.m.: Amid a growing sense of guilt, Russian officer fighting Putin’s war against Ukraine resigned his commission, CNN reports.

10:20 a.m.: This Is Not Just 'Putin's War' And Russians Should '100 Percent' Feel Guilty: A Veteran Russian Analyst says in an interview with RFE/RL.

10 a.m.: Actor Morgan Freeman and actor/filmmaker Rob Reiner are among almost 1,000 Americans who have been "permanently banned" from entering Russia. The list also includes President Biden, Vice President Harris as well as deceased US senator John McCain. The Hill reports the bans announced by Moscow are the latest response to sanctions imposed on the country for invading Ukraine.

9:55a.m.: Martial law in Ukraine is extended for additional 90 days, until August 23. On August 24 Ukrainians are celebrating Independence Day. VOA’s Myroslava Gongadze reports.

9:30 a.m.: Polish president Duda told lawmakers in Kyiv he will not rest until Ukraine becomes a member of EU. Duda is the first foreign leader to give a speech in person to the Ukrainian parliament since Russia's Feb. 24 invasion. The Washington Post reports Kyiv has ruled out any peace deal that would involve it ceding territory and has dismissed calls for a ceasefire that would involve Russian forces remaining in territory they have occupied, saying this would simply give Moscow time to rebuild its forces. Duda said that the international community must demand that Russia completely withdraw from Ukrainian territory.

9:25 a.m.: According to Reuters, the Russian-appointed head of the occupied Ukrainian town next to Europe's largest nuclear power plant was injured in an explosion on Sunday, a Ukrainian official and a Russian news agency said.
Andrei Shevchuk, who was appointed mayor of Enerhodar following the Russian army's occupation of the town, was in intensive care following the attack, Russia's RIA news agency reported, citing a source in the emergency services.

9:05 a.m.: Belarusians are among the foreign fighters who have volunteered to take up arms in Ukraine against Russian forces. According to the Associated Press, Belarusians consider the Ukrainians defending their homeland to be their brethren. And by joining their resistance to Russia’s onslaught, they hope to weaken the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and ultimately that of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Some Russian troops were sent from Belarusian territory into Ukraine early in the war, and Lukashenko has publicly stood by long-time ally Putin, calling him his “big brother.” Weakening Putin, they believe, would create a window of opportunity to topple Lukashenko and bring democratic change to the nation of nearly 10 million people.

9 a.m.: Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska gives rare interview with husband Volodymyr Zelenskyy, BBC reports. This is only the second time the couple have been seen together since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

8:40 a.m.: Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Moscow while Russia intensified its attack in the eastern Donbas region and stopped sending gas to Finland in its latest response to Western sanctions and its deepening international isolation, Reuters reports.

Polish President Andrzej Duda told Ukraine's parliament that ceding even "one inch" of the country's territory would be a blow to the whole West and reassured Kyiv of Warsaw's strong backing for its European Union membership bid.

8:35 a.m.: Russia is bolstering its offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the outcome of the grueling conflict would determine whether his country’s fate lies with the West or under Moscow’s domination, Reuters reports.

8:04 a.m.: Only Ukraine has the right to decide its future, the Polish president told lawmakers in Kyiv on Sunday, as he became the first foreign leader to give a speech in person to the Ukrainian parliament since Russia's Feb. 24 invasion, Reuters reported.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda addresses lawmakers as he became the first foreign leader to give a speech in person to the Ukrainian parliament since Russia's February 24 invasion, in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2022.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda addresses lawmakers as he became the first foreign leader to give a speech in person to the Ukrainian parliament since Russia's February 24 invasion, in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2022.

5:47 a.m.: Russia has published a list of nearly 1,000 Americans who are permanently banned from entry into Russia because of their support for Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are among those on the list that also includes members of the president’s Cabinet.

5:07 a.m.: CNN reports that Polish President Andrzej Duda is in Ukraine and will address parliament. Al Jazeera reports that he'll speak Sunday.

4:04 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry says Russia has deployed Terminator tank support vehicles to the Severodonetsk area of the Donbas region. That area remains a key priority for Russia, the update says. However, it notes, "with a maximum of 10 Terminators deployed they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the campaign."

3:02 a.m.: The New York Times reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia's blockade of grain shipments “will create a food crisis if we do not unblock the routes for Ukraine." Appealing for weapons, he said a military solution was one way to unblock them.

2:04 a.m.: CNN, citing Russian state media, reports that Russia may swap Ukrainian prisoners for a pro-Russian politician and oligarch.

That man, Viktor Medvedchuk, has been in Ukrainian custody since April. Before the Russian invasion, CNN reports, he'd been accused of treason.

1:07 a.m.: International sanctions have "practically broken" logistics in Russia, Al Jazeera reports.

“The sanctions imposed on Russia… have practically broken all logistics in our country. And we have to look for new logistics corridors,” said Vitaly Savelyev, Russia's transport minister.

12:02 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that Russia has again accused Ukraine of attacking its settlements. Roman Starovoit, the governor of the Kursk region, said there were no casualties or damage to infrastructure.

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

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