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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 28


A Ukrainian serviceman walks past a gypsum manufacturing plant destroyed in a Russian bombing in Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, May 28, 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:

9:30 p.m.: In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it’s “just a matter of time” before Ukraine takes back its territory.

“Ukraine will take everything back [from Russia]. This is an imperative,” he said. “Everything we do is for this.”

Zelensky said the situation in the Donbas remains difficult, but “Above all, in terms of weapons supply, every day we are getting closer to outnumbering our enemy,” he said.

“We will dominate the occupiers with technological and conventional striking power. A lot depends on our partners. They are ready to provide Ukraine with everything necessary to defend freedom. So I expect good news on this already, next week.”

8:55 p.m.: The U.S. Women’s National Basketball Players Association issued a statement Saturday calling for action on the release of Brittney Griner. The statement was released in a series of tweets.

Saturday marks 100 days that Griner has been detained in Russia.

8 p.m.: Russian forces stepped up their assault on the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk on Saturday after claiming to have captured the nearby rail hub of Lyman, Reuters reported.

"Sievierodonetsk is under constant enemy fire," Ukrainian police posted on social media on Saturday.

Sievierodonetsk is about 60 kilometers from Lyman on the eastern side of the Siverskyi Donets River and the largest Donbas city still held by Ukraine.

Russian artillery was also shelling the Lysychansk-Bakhmut road, which Russia must take to close a pincer movement and encircle Ukrainian forces.

7:25 p.m.: The Kyiv Independent reports on the cost of the war in Luhansk Oblast:

6:30 p.m.: Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was prevented from leaving Ukraine to take part in a meeting in Lithuania of a NATO consultive body, Reuters reported Saturday, citing a statement from his party's parliamentary faction.

Ukrainian media reported Poroshenko could not cross the border due to "technical problems" with a permit allowing him to leave the country.

In January, Poroshenko won a court ruling allowing him to remain at liberty while being investigated for treason in a probe he says was politically motivated.

Poroshenko is being investigated in connection with the financing of Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country through illegal coal sales in 2014-15.

5:48 p.m.:

5:10 p.m.: The U.S. won the latest round on Friday in a legal battle to seize a $325 million Russian-owned superyacht in Fiji, with the case now appearing headed for the Pacific nation's top court, The Associated Press reported.

Fiji's Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed an appeal by Feizal Haniff, who represents the company that legally owns the superyacht Amadea. Haniff had argued the U.S. had no jurisdiction under Fiji’s mutual assistance laws to seize the vessel, at least until a court sorted out who really owned the Amadea.

Haniff said he now plans to take the case to Fiji’s Supreme Court and will apply for a court order to stop U.S. agents sailing the Amadea from Fiji before the appeal is heard.

4:19 p.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call Saturday asked Russia's Vladimir Putin to release the 2,500 Ukrainian fighters who were holed up inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and who were taken prisoner by Russia.

They also urged Putin to accept a direct exchange with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Elysee Palace said.

3:17 p.m.: Reuters reports that Russian forces appear close to capturing all of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region, a Kremlin war goal after abandoning its plan to take Kyiv after encountering Ukrainian resistance.

2:43 p.m.: Russian forces are closing in on Severodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk in Lugansk province, two key cities still under Ukrainian control. Reuters reports there are conflicting reports about the extent of the Russian advance." A Ukrainian official denies claims that Severodonetsk is surrounded by Russian troops.

2:18 p.m.:

1:56 p.m.: A senior pro-Russian official in Kherson, an occupied area of southern Ukraine, tells Reuters that fighting nearby could impact its formal petition to join Russia, which could happen "towards next year." Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson Military-Civilian Administration, also said the process might involve a referendum, despite previous comments that a general vote of the electorate was unnecessary.

1:04 p.m.: Released Ukrainian POWs say Russian troops tortured them, according to reporting from "The Kyiv Independent," which quoted Ukraine's top human rights official. Lyudmyla Denisova said the former prisoners of war reported being detained in basements and outbuildings before being transferred to a Donetsk detention center. “During the transfer, Ukrainian soldiers were blindfolded, wearing a sack over their heads, and their hands were tied with ropes. They were tortured, threatened with murder, beaten and humiliated in captivity,”

12:33 p.m.: Ukraine is accusing Russia of stealing metal from the port city of Mariupol, "The Kyiv Independent" reports. Ukraine's top human rights official, Lyudmyla Denisova, says Russia has started shipping the stolen metal, transporting 3,000 tons on the first ship to Rostov-on-Don, a port city in southern Russia. About 200,000 tons of metal and cast iron worth $170 million were housed at the port before Russia occupied the city, Denisova said, according to the English-language newspaper.


12:20 p.m.:

12:03 p.m.: Russia is pounding the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk after announcing its capture of Lyman, a rail hub nearby, Reuters reported. The Russian gains signal a shift in momentum in the war, which is now in its fourth month. Russian forces appear closer to seizing all of the Luhansk region of Donbas, which is a major goal of the Kremlin. Sievierodonetsk is the largest Donbas city still held by Ukraine.

10:38 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin says he's willing to talk about resuming grain shipments from Ukraine. In a Saturday phone call, Putin told the leaders of France and Germany that shipments of grain might be able to leave Black Sea ports if sanctions against Russia are lifted, Reuters reported. Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies. The war in Ukraine, as well as Western sanctions against Russia, have disrupted supplies of wheat, fertilizer and other commodities from both countries, triggering concerns about world hunger.

10:06 a.m.: Ukraine's defense minister says his country has started receiving anti-ship missiles from Denmark and self-propelled howitzers from the United States. Oleksiy Reznikov said Saturday that the weapons will help Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion, Reuters reported.

9:29 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Germany and France Saturday that continuing weapons supplies to Ukraine is "dangerous." Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that sending arms to Ukraine could lead to the "further destabilization of the situation and aggravation of the humanitarian crisis," the Kremlin said, according to Agence France-Presse.

8:37 a.m.: Russia said it has successfully tested hypersonic missiles in the Arctic, according to Agence France-Presse. The defense ministry said the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile traveled 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) and "successfully hit" a target in the Arctic.

7:50 a.m.: Russia says it has seized Lyman, a strategic town in eastern Ukraine.

"Following the joint actions of the units of the militia of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Russian armed forces, the town of Krasny Liman has been entirely liberated from Ukrainian nationalists," the defense ministry said in a statement, Agence France-Presse reported. Lyman is a railway hub in the Donetsk region and its capture signals a potential momentum shift in the war, helping Russia prepare for the next phase of Moscow's offensive in the eastern Donbas, Reuters reported.

5:29 a.m.: In early May, VOA Eastern Europe bureau chief Myroslava Gongadze spoke with Mark Brzezinski, the U.S. ambassador to Poland. He says Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has united Europe.

"What’s happened in Ukraine alarms everyone — with the genocide that is occurring there, the attacks on civilians, the mass destruction of villages, apartments, old people’s homes, hospitals — it defies any kind of human belief. And I think there is unity among all the allies in Europe about how bad this is and that something needs to be done. ​So, I don’t want to assess who’s taking it most seriously, because I don’t know anyone who’s not taking this seriously."

4:15 a.m.: Reuters reports that Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian peace talks negotiator, said on Telegram that any agreement with Russia "isn't worth a broken penny."

"Is it possible to negotiate with a country that always lies cynically and propagandistically?" he wrote.

3:12 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry says most of the strategically important Ukrainian town of Lyman has likely fallen to the Russians. Lyman's the site of a major rail junction and offers access to rail and road bridges over the Siverskyy Donets River.

That'll be a key point as Russian troops aim to cross the river as part of the next stage of Russia's Donbas offensive.

2:20 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that the governor of Ukraine's Luhansk region insists that Russian forces have not surrounded the city of Severodonetsk.

They have, he says, taken control of a hotel and a bus station. He said it was still possible that Ukrainian forces would have to retreat from the area.

1:13 a.m.: The Associated Press reports that a Communist Party leader in Russia's Far East has called for an end to the war with Ukraine.

“We understand that if our country doesn’t stop the military operation, we’ll have more orphans in our country,” Legislative Deputy Leonid Vasyukevich said at a meeting of the Primorsk regional Legislative Assembly in the Pacific port of Vladivostok on Friday.

12:02 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that Lithuanians have raised more than $3 million to buy a military drone for Ukraine. They're aiming to raise a total of $5.4 million to purchase the Bayraktar TB2 armed drone.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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