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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 27

Children walk among buildings destroyed during fighting in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, May 25, 2022.

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

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

10:10 p.m.: VOA chief national correspondent Steve Herman tweeted that President Joe Biden has suspended “the tariffs set forth in Proclamation 9705 for the import of steel articles and derivative steel articles from Ukraine for 1 year,” in a proclamation.

9:37 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy spoke defiantly Friday in two speeches about his country’s ultimate victory over Russian forces, The Associated Press reported.

“Ukraine is a country that has destroyed the myth about the extraordinary power of the Russian army – an army that supposedly, in a few days, could conquer anyone it wants,” he told Stanford University students by video. “Now Russia is trying to occupy the entire state, but we feel strong enough to think about the future of Ukraine, which will be open to the world.”

Later, in his nightly video address, Zelenskyy reacted to Russians’ capture of the eastern city of Lyman, the Donetsk region’s large railway hub north of two more key cities still under Ukrainian control, and its attempt to encircle and seize the city of Sievierodonetsk, one of the last areas under Ukrainian control in Luhansk.

“If the occupiers think that Lyman or Sievierodonetsk will be theirs, they are wrong,” he said. “Donbas will be Ukrainian.”

8:50 p.m.:

8:22 p.m.: The owner of a rural weekly newspaper in southern Minnesota is looking to give his publication away so he can travel to Ukraine.

Minnesota Public Radio reported Thursday that Lafayette-Nicollet Ledger owner and publisher Lee Zion is willing to dig trenches, teach school or fight in Ukraine.

Zion produces the newspaper by himself for about 500 subscribers and wants to make sure a person committed to local journalism takes over.

Zion says several people have reached out to him and expressed interest in owning the weekly.

7:57 p.m.: Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, warns Poland that it could be next after Ukraine.

Kadyrov, who is famous for his bluster, said Ukraine was “a done deal” and that “if an order is given after Ukraine, we’ll show you (Poland) what you’re made of in six seconds.” The video was posted to his official Telegram page, The Associated Press reported.

Poland, which borders Ukraine, has provided its neighbor with weapons and other aid since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Kadyrov urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to “finally come to his senses and accept the conditions offered by our president (Vladimir Putin).”

7:12 p.m.: Russia expects to receive $14.4 billion in additional oil and gas revenues this year, the finance minister said Friday, adding that part of the windfall will be spent on Moscow's offensive in Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the government planned to spend the additional revenue this year on "additional payments" to pensioners and families with children and conducting a "special operation" in Ukraine, referring to Moscow's offensive in the pro-Western country.

6:27 p.m.: Kyrgyzstan's climbing federation said Friday that it has removed a Ukrainian flag from a mountain named after Russian President Vladimir Putin, following a police investigation of the stunt that put the flag there. They replaced it with the Kyrgyz flag.

A climber earlier this week posted a video of the Ukrainian flag on the mountain dubbed Putin Peak, which rises 4,446 meters (14,587 feet) above sea level.

5:47 p.m.: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is breaking ties with the Russia church over the war in Ukraine.

"Not only did he fail to condemn Russia's military aggression but he also failed to find words for the suffering Ukrainian people," church spokesman Archbishop Kliment told Agence France-Presse.

It is the second Orthodox schism in Ukraine in recent years, with part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church breaking away from Moscow in 2019 over Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in Donbas.

4:55 p.m.: The U.S. Army has awarded a contract worth up to $687 million to Raytheon Technologies for anti-aircraft Stinger missiles to U.S. replenish stocks sent to Ukraine, sources told Reuters on Friday.

The shoulder-fired missiles were in hot demand in Ukraine, where they have successfully stopped Russian assaults from the air.

U.S. troops have limited use for Stingers, which can be used against helicopters, airplanes, drones and even cruise missiles, but the U.S. needs to maintain its supply.

Since February, the U.S. has shipped about 1,400 Stingers to Ukraine. U.S. allies also want to restock the weapons they shipped to Ukraine in recent months.

4:01 p.m.: Teams from Belarus and Ukraine will be prevented from being drawn against each other in European competitions "until further notice," UEFA announced on Friday, Agence France-Presse reported.

The decision has been made to ensure the "safety and security of the teams" because of Belarus' support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russian clubs and its national side have been barred from all European competitions since March 1. Russia have also been banned from the 2022 World Cup by FIFA.

3:15 p.m.: The Ukrainian national guard said about 10 people have been killed in strikes on a military facility in the central city of Dnipro, which had so far been relatively spared by the fighting, Agence France-Presse reported.

Earlier this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy disclosed that 87 people had been killed in Russian strikes on a military base north of Kyiv on May 17.

In a sign that Kharkiv is not yet out of harm's way, nine people were killed in shelling of the northeastern city on Thursday.

2:34 p.m.: Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said Russian President Vladimir Putin told him on Friday that Moscow was ready to discuss a prisoner swap with Ukraine, Reuters reported.

After the 45-minute call, Nehammer said that while the Russian leader had expressed readiness to discuss prisoners, "Whether he is really ready to negotiate is a complex question," he added.

1:41 p.m.:

1:17 p.m.: The governor of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region, which has almost completely fallen under Russian control, on Friday said it was possible that Kyiv's forces would be forced to retreat from the final pocket of resistance to avoid being captured, Reuters reported.

"The Russians will not be able to capture Luhansk region in the coming days as analysts have predicted," Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said in a post on the Telegram messaging service, referring to the near-surrounded cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.

"We will have enough strength and resources to defend ourselves. However it is possible that in order not to be surrounded we will have to retreat," he said.

1:08 p.m.: Efforts to pursue "Russification" are gathering pace in areas of Ukraine that have been occupied by Russian forces. They include mobile TV units showing Russian news channels on big screens, summer schools to prepare children for the Russian school curriculum, plus a move to Russian rubles and Russian passports. Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, has this story.

12:54 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Ukraine should remove sea mines from areas near its ports to allow safe shipping, The Associated Press reported. Putin made the statement in Friday’s call with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, according to the Kremlin readout of the conversation. It said that Putin and Nehammer “had a detailed exchange of views on issues regarding food security” with Putin rejecting Western claims that Russia’s action that exacerbated a global food crisis.

The Kremlin noted that “Putin emphasized that attempts to blame Russia for difficulties regarding shipments of agricultural products to global markets are unfounded.” It added that the Russian leader “gave a detailed explanation of the real roots behind those problems that emerged, in particular, because of the U.S. and the EU sanctions against Russia.”

The U.S. and other Western allies have rejected the Russian demand for the sanctions to be lifted and accused Moscow of blocking grain supplies from Ukraine to global markets — accusations the Kremlin has denied.

12:35 p.m.: Russia needs huge financial resources for its military operation in Ukraine, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday, putting the amount of budget stimulus for the economy at 8 trillion rubles ($120 billion), Reuters reported.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, which prompted the West to impose sanctions against Moscow that have already fanned inflation to near 18% and pushed the country to the brink of recession.

"Money, huge resources are needed for the special operation," Siluanov said in a lecture at a Moscow financial university.

12:16 p.m.:

12:00 p.m.: The U.K.’s top diplomat says countries supporting Ukraine have to be “ready for the long haul” and there should be no talk of “appeasing” Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Associated Press reported.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said after meeting her Czech counterpart in Prague Friday that “we need to make sure that Ukraine wins and that Russia withdraws and that we never see this type of Russian aggression again.” She said that “there should be no talk of cease-fires, or appeasing Putin.”

Truss says that Ukraine needs to receive more heavy weapons and gradually get upgraded to get “NATO-standard equipment.” She said that “at the moment, they’re using a lot of ex-Soviet equipment. We need to make sure they’re able to defend themselves into the future.”

11:51 a.m.: Nicknamed the 'Deadly Fruit' Of Ukraine's battlefields, photographs of Russian artillery and rockets embedded in trees capture the intensity of fighting in Ukraine. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this photo essay.

11:34 a.m.:
A U.S. lawmaker is urging the Biden administration to consider imposing sanctions on some Hungarian companies in an effort to pressure Budapest to agree to a European Union embargo on Russian oil, The Associated Press reported.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi urged him to “consider all tools including sanctions” to ensure that Hungary - a member of the EU and NATO - gets on board with the proposal.

The EU has for weeks has sought to forge a consensus on a new sanctions package that would phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has held up negotiations and threatened a veto of the plan, arguing it would devastate Hungary’s economy and lead to energy insecurity.

11:23 a.m.: Ministers from the Group of Seven countries on Friday called on OPEC to act responsibly to ease a global energy crunch brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, even as they announced a breakthrough commitment to phase out coal-fueled power, Reuters reported.

The call, made at the end of three-day talks in Berlin focused on climate change, underscored that the world's major economies were grappling with how to contain inflation and higher energy prices while sticking to environmental goals.

11:08 a.m.: Russian forces have advanced deeper into Ukraine's eastern Donbas region amid heavy fighting as they attempt to capture the twin cities of Syevyerodonetsk and Lysychansk. The battle has "reached maximum intensity," according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has published this photo essay.

10:52 a.m.:
Russian forces in eastern Ukraine captured the centre of the railway hub town of Lyman and encircled most of Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian officials acknowledged on Friday, as Kyiv's forces fell back in the face of Moscow's biggest advance for weeks, though Ukraine insisted its forces were still holding firm at new defensive lines in the eastern Donbas region, Reuters reported.
Ukrainian officials acknowledged that Russia had captured most of Lyman. But the defense ministry said forces were still holding out in northeastern and southwestern districts, blocking the Russians from launching an advance towards Sloviansk, a major city a half-hour drive further southwest.

Further east, Russian forces had encircled two-thirds of the city of Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said. The city is the easternmost major population centre still held by Ukraine in the Donbas, and Russia has been trying to trap Ukraine's main fighting force inside it and its twin city Lysychansk across the Siverskiy Donets river. The advance has gained ground since Russian forces broke through Ukrainian lines south of Sievierodonetsk in the city of Popasna last week.

10:29 a.m.: When Alina Shabanova fled her home she was not only concerned about escaping bombs and bullets - her life depended on securing life-saving antiretroviral drugs. The war has disrupted supplies of the medication, vital for the 250,000 Ukrainians who have HIV. Correspondent Yuliia Zhukova with Current Time, a co-production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and VOA, has this report.

10:16 a.m.: European Union countries are negotiating a deal on Russian oil sanctions that would embargo shipment deliveries but exempt oil delivered by pipeline to win over Hungary and unblock a sixth package of measures against Moscow, officials said on Friday. An agreement could be reached by ambassadors of EU member states in Brussels on Sunday, on time for their leaders to agree at a May 30-31 summit, one of the officials said.

9:51 a.m.: More than 4,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia's invasion began on February 24, although the true number is likely much higher, the U.N. rights office (OHCHR) said in a statement on Friday. In total, 4,031 people have been killed, including nearly 200 children, according to OHCHR, which has dozens of monitors in the country. Most were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact such as shelling from heavy artillery or airstrikes. It did not attribute blame for the deaths. Russia has denied targeting civilians in the conflict.

9:32 a.m.: British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday it was legitimate for allies to send tanks and planes to Ukraine. "We are very clear it is completely legitimate to be supporting Ukraine with tanks, with planes and we're very supportive of the work that the Czech Republic has done sending tanks to Ukraine," she told a news conference, Reuters reported.

9:14 a.m.: In a rare display of political protest in Russia, a group of lawmakers representing the Communist Party in the Far Eastern region of Primorye have called on President Vladimir Putin to stop military operations in Ukraine and withdraw all troops from the country, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. Leonid Vasyukevich, a member of the regional Legislative Assembly, read out the statement at a session held by lawmakers on Friday. The statement said that as Russian troops are suffering significant losses in Ukraine, there is no way to get any success by military means.

9:01 a.m.: At least 10 people were killed and 35 injured in a Russian missile attack in Dnipropetrovsk region, the Kyiv Independent reported Friday. “Hennadiy Korban, head of the Territorial Defense Force center in Dnipro, said on May 27 that Russia fired three missiles at Dnipropetrovsk Oblast,” the news organization said.

8:57 a.m.: Ukrainian forces are engaged in a "fierce defence" of the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, which is two-thirds surrounded by Russian forces, the Luhansk region's governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Friday, citing the head of the city's administration, Oleksandr Stryuk. Shelling, which is "very strong," has damaged 90% of the housing in the city, Gaidai added, according to Reuters.

8:49 a.m.: Ukrainian troops are fighting to keep control of the northwestern and southeastern parts of the town of Lyman, the country's defense ministry said on Friday, as Russia's offensive in east Ukraine gathers pace. Ukrainian troops were "counteracting attempts" by Russia to push its offensive towards the key Ukrainian town of Sloviansk, defense ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said at a briefing, according to Reuters.

8:12 a.m.: Germany’s development minister has traveled to Ukraine to pledge further civilian support and discuss the country’s rebuilding, The Associated Press reported. Svenja Schulze is the second German minister to visit Ukraine since the Russian invasion started. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited on May 10 and reopened the country’s embassy in Kyiv.

Schulze’s ministry said she planned to meet Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and other senior officials in Kyiv on Friday. It said the talks will address immediate aid to address the problems Ukraine faces now and “strategic questions” related to rebuilding the country.

8:04 a.m.: Russian forces are fortifying their defensive positions in Ukraine’s Kherson region, which lies just north of Crimea, while shelling Ukraine-controlled areas on a daily basis, the region’s Ukrainian governor Hennadiy Laguta told a media briefing on Friday.

He said that the humanitarian situation was critical in some parts of the region and that people are finding it almost impossible to leave occupied territory, with the exception of a 200-car convoy that left on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

7:46 a.m.: The Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was hit by renewed shelling as Russian forces press ahead with their offensive in the Donbas region. Emergency crews raced to help victims on May 26 following the indiscriminate bombardment of the northeastern city. Ukrainian military officials said nine people were killed, including a 9-year-old child, and 19 were wounded. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report. (WARNING: some viewers may find content of this video disturbing).

7:31 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin is making slow but palpable progress in the Donbas in east Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday. "I'm afraid that Putin, at great cost to himself and to the Russian military, is continuing to chew through ground in Donbas," he told Bloomberg UK. "He's continuing to make gradual, slow, but I'm afraid palpable, progress and therefore it is absolutely vital that we continue to support the Ukrainians militarily."

7:18 a.m.: Turkey’s foreign minister says Sweden and Finland must now take “concrete steps” to alleviate his country’s security concerns to overcome Ankara’s objections to their NATO membership bid, The Associated Press reported. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that delegations from the two Nordic countries have returned home with Turkey’s demands after a visit this week and Ankara is awaiting their answers.

The countries’ membership bids require support from all NATO countries, but Turkey is objecting to them. It has cited alleged support for Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists and restrictions on weapons sales to Turkey.

7:01 a.m.: Russian-occupied parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts will switch to using Russian phone codes, the Kyiv Independent, quoting the Kremlin-controlled news agency RIA Novosti, reported Friday. It reported that a new mobile operator has begun working in the occupied territories.

6:46 a.m.: The Kremlin said on Friday that it blames Ukraine for the fact that peace talks between the two countries are frozen, saying it was unclear what Kyiv wanted, Reuters reported. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters: "The Ukrainian leadership constantly makes contradictory statements. This does not allow us to fully understand what the Ukrainian side wants."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier that he had tried repeatedly to organize a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war, but that Russia did not appear to be ready yet for serious peace talks.

6:34 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday said Ukraine was not eager to talk to Russia's Vladimir Putin but that it has to face the reality that this will likely be necessary to end the war, Reuters reported.

"There are things to discuss with the Russian leader. I'm not telling you that to me our people are eager to talk to him, but we have to face the realities of what we are living through," Zelenskyy said in an address to an Indonesian think tank.

6:12 a.m.: Russia's separatist proxies in eastern Ukraine claimed full control of the important battlefield town of Lyman on Friday, and Ukraine appeared to concede it, as Moscow presses its biggest advance for weeks, Reuters reported.

Lyman, site of a key railway hub, has been a major front line as Russian forces press down from the north, one of three directions from which they have been attacking Ukraine's industrial Donbas region. The pro-Russian Donetsk People's Republic separatists said they were now in full control of it.

5:53 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War shared its latest assessment and a map of the fighting in Ukraine on Twitter.

5:44 a.m.: The BBC reports that a former finance minister for Ukraine estimates that the country will need $757 billion to rebuild after the Russian invasion.

5:02 a.m.: CNN reports that a legal report by more than 30 experts accuses Russia of inciting genocide in Ukraine.

As evidence, the report mentions forced deportations and the mass killing of civilians.

4:02 a.m.: The BBC, citing an update from the Ukrainian military, reports that Russia is firing missiles in the Donetsk region. It's also hitting the eastern city of Lyman with artillery.

3:04 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that the Russian-occupied region of Zaporizhzhia has switched from Kyiv time to Moscow time. The move comes from the Russian military administration in the region, and it means an end to daylight saving changes in summer and winter.

2:02 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry says Russia continues to target the cities of Severodonetsk and Lyschansk.

Russia has likely pulled T-62 tanks out of storage to use, the update says. The 50-year-old tanks "will almost certainly be particularly vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and their presence on the battlefield highlights Russia's shortage of modern, combat-ready equipment," the update says.

1:04 a.m.: The New York Times reports that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy used his nightly address to express frustration that the European Union hasn't approved new sanctions against Russia.

The sanctions, which would be the sixth such package, would include an oil embargo.

12:02 a.m.: Al Jazeera, citing the mayor of Severodonetsk, reports that at least 1,500 people have been killed in the east Ukrainian city.

Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said only 12 people were evacuated Thursday and some 12,000-13,000 remained.