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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 30


A local resident looks at a rocket launcher vehicle being transported, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, near Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, May 30, 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.

11:17 a.m. The Mayor of Mariupol — now under Russian control — says "the ‘occupiers’ have buried at least 16,000 residents in mass graves in nearby villages," according to a report by Al Jazeera.

10:13 p.m.: U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke by phone with his Turkish counterpart, Ibrahim Kalin, spokesperson and chief adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a White House statement said.

"They discussed their ongoing support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s continued aggression, as well as their respective efforts to enable Ukrainian agricultural exports to reach global markets," the statement said. "Mr. Sullivan expressed support for Turkey’s continued direct talks with Sweden and Finland to resolve concerns over their applications for NATO membership, which the U.S. strongly supports."

9:16 p.m.: Alan Gagloev, the leader of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, scrapped plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia that his predecessor had scheduled for July 17, Agence France-Presse reported. South Ossetia was at the center of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 after which the Kremlin recognized the territory as an independent state and stationed military bases there, AFP reported.

In a decree issued Monday, Gagloev invoked "uncertainty of the legal consequences of the issue submitted to a referendum,” AFP reported. He also ordered "to hold, without delay, consultations with the Russian side on the entire range of issues related to the further integration of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation.”

8:21 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Russian blockade of Ukrainian sea ports prevents Kyiv from exporting 22 million tons of grain, The Associated Press reported. Zelenskyy said the result is the threat of famine in countries dependent on the grain and could create a new migration crisis, AP reported. He charges that “this is something the Russian leadership clearly seeks.”

In the AP report, Zelenskyy accuses Moscow of “deliberately creating this problem so that the whole of Europe struggles and so that Ukraine doesn’t earn billions of dollars from its exports.”

7:46 p.m.: European Union leaders said they had agreed to cut 90% of oil imports from Russia by the end of this year, resolving an impasse over the bloc's toughest sanction yet on Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine three months ago, Reuters reported. Diplomats said the agreement would clear the way for other elements of a sixth package of EU sanctions on Russia to take effect, including cutting Russia's biggest bank, Sberbank, from the SWIFT messaging system, Reuters reported.

"Agreement to ban export of Russian oil to the EU," said European Council President Charles Michel in a tweet at the end of the first day of a two-day summit of the bloc's 27 leaders,accordign to Reuters. "This immediately covers more than 2/3 of oil imports from Russia, cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine. Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war.”

6:38 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States would not supply Ukraine with long-range rocket systems that can reach into Russia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. News reports last week said the Biden administration was leaning toward sending such systems, which Ukrainian government officials have sought for the fight against Russia.

"We're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia," Biden told reporters as he returned to Washington from his home in Delaware.

Two systems -- the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS -- were under consideration, according to CNN and The Washington Post on Saturday.

5:50 p.m.: In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed Europe and Russia oil sanctions. “The key point is, of course, the oil. I believe that Europe will have to give up Russian oil and oil products in any case. Because this is about the independence of Europeans themselves from Russian energy weapons. And the sooner this happens, the more complete the abandonment of Russian oil will be, the greater the benefit will be for Europe itself in the end,” Zelenskyy said.

4:20 p.m.: France called for an investigation after Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, 32, a French journalist, was killed in Ukraine when the vehicle he was traveling in, which was being used to evacuate civilians near the city of Sievierodonetsk, was hit by shelling, Reuters reported. "France demands that a probe be carried out as soon as possible and in transparency on the circumstances of this drama," Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who was in Ukraine on Monday, said in a statement.

3:30 p.m.:

2:55 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Monday denounced the lack of EU resolve to settle on a Russian oil import ban.

"Why are you dependent on Russia, on their pressure, and not vice-versa? Russia must be dependent on you. Why can Russia still earn almost a billion euros a day by selling energy?" Zelenskyy asked EU leaders.

"Why are terrorist banks still working with Europe and the global financial system? Serious questions," he said.

2:30 p.m.: Russian troops pushed farther into a key eastern Ukrainian city and fought street by street with Kyiv’s forces Monday in a battle the mayor said has left the city in ruins and driven tens of thousands of people from their homes. Military analysts painted the fight for Sievierodonetsk as part of a race against time for the Kremlin.

The city is key to Russian efforts to complete the capture of the eastern industrial region of the Donbas quickly — before more Western arms arrive to bolster Ukraine’s defenses.

“The Kremlin has reckoned that it can’t afford to waste time and should use the last chance to extend the separatist-controlled territory because the arrival of Western weapons in Ukraine could make it impossible,” Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said.

1:45 p.m.: Ukraine is fed up with "special solutions" and separate models for its integration into the European Union, the country's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday.

"We need a clear legal affirmation that Ukraine is a part of the European integration project, and such an affirmation would be the granting of candidate status," he said, speaking after a meeting with his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, in Kyiv.

1:15 p.m.: Belarusian military official Andrei Krivonosov said that starting on June 22, Belarus will hold military exercises in the Gomel Oblast, near the Ukrainian border, Kyiv Independent reports.

12:50 p.m.: France has called for an investigation after a French journalist was killed in Ukraine when shelling hit the vehicle in which he was traveling as part of efforts to evacuate civilians near the city of Sievierodonetsk.

Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff
Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff

"France demands that a probe be carried out as soon as possible and in transparency on the circumstances of this drama," Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who was in Ukraine on Monday, said in a statement.

Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, 32, the latest journalist killed since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, was on his second reporting trip for French television channel BFM in Ukraine, his employer said.

12:20 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree simplifying the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for Ukrainian children without parental care, the Kyiv Independent reports. Andriy Yermak, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, earlier said, citing Russian sources, that Russia forcibly deported 232,000 Ukrainian children onto its territory since the start of the full-scale invasion. Over 2,000 of the children are either orphaned or separated from their parents, he added.

11:45 a.m.: Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Washington's decision not to send Ukraine rocket systems that could reach into Russia was 'rational.'

President Joe Biden said earlier Monday that the United States will not send Ukraine rocket systems that can reach into Russia, after it was reported Washington was preparing to send advanced long-range rocket systems to Kyiv.

11:30 a.m.: According to the latest draft of the European Union summit's conclusions, the bloc's 27 leaders will agree that the next round of sanctions will include a temporary exemption for oil piped from Russia into the European Union, RFE/RL reports.

The text, which has been obtained by RFE/RL and is subject to further revision, states that "the European Council agrees that the sixth package of sanctions against Russia will cover crude oil, as well as petroleum products, delivered from Russian into member states, with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipelines."

Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, which receive Russian oil via the 4,000-kilometer Druzhba pipeline, would continue to receive oil piped in from Russia for now, although those supplies would be sanctioned at some point.

The statement confirms that the EU states would agree to a broader proposal to ban the import of Russian oil delivered to the bloc by sea by the end of the year and calls for "solidarity among member states in case of sudden interruptions of supply."

10 a.m.: The U.S. will not send Ukraine rocket systems that can reach into Russia, President Joe Biden said on Monday.

The comments followed reports that the Biden administration was preparing to send advanced long-range rocket systems to Kyiv for its fight against Russia.

"We're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems” that can reach into Russia, Biden told reporters after arriving back at the White House after a weekend in Delaware.

Ukrainian officials have sought a longer-range system called the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, that can fire a barrage of rockets hundreds of miles away.

9:55 a.m.: An explosion rocked the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol early on Monday, sending plumes of smoke into the sky just outside the office of the pro-Kremlin head of the region, the New York Times reports, citing Ukrainian and Russian officials.

It was unclear who was responsible for the blast, which both Ukrainian and Russian officials said appeared to target the proxy leader of the region, Yevgeny Balitsky. If Ukrainian partisans were behind the explosion, it would be one of the most brazen acts of insurgency since Russian forces occupied the southern Ukrainian city in the early days of the war.

9:20 a.m.: The Kyiv Independent quotes Luhansk Oblast governor Serhiy Haidai as saying French journalist Frederic Leclerc Imhoff was killed after Russian forces shelled an armored evacuation vehicle in which he was traveling. The evacuation has been suspended.

9 a.m.: EU officials representing 27 member states have settled on a preliminary text for leaders to review, but it remains unclear if Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban would accept the draft, the Wall Street Journal reports. The draft text, potentially for adoption at the summit, says leaders agree to a sixth package of sanctions, covering crude oil and petroleum products from Russia “with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address leaders by video and is expected to urge both greater support for his country and intensified efforts to punish Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

7:45 a.m.: NATO's support for Ukraine is unbreakable and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not achieve his objectives in the country his forces invaded on Feb. 24, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday. "Supporting Ukraine with determination is the only way to ensure that the Europe and the world we have built has a certain future," the prime minister told an event marking the 40th anniversary of Spain's NATO membership.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the same event that the "cold blast of conflict" would overshadow the historic summit.

7:30 a.m.: Russian forces stormed Sievierodonetsk after trying unsuccessfully to encircle it, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the situation as “indescribably difficult.” Power and communications have been cut and “the city has been completely ruined,” Mayor Oleksandr Striuk told the AP in a phone interview. The mayor has estimated that 1,500 civilians in the city have died since the war began, from Russian attacks as well as from a lack of medicine or treatment.

3:55 a.m.: The latest intelligence report from the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense says that the lack of "experienced and credible" platoon and company commanders will likely result in continued "poor discipline," and further erosion of moral.

3 a.m.: The New York Times looks at challenges Western leaders have had over the years reaching consensus with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. The West would like to see Finland and Sweden join NATO; this month, Erdogan said "it is not possible for us to be in favor."

1:45 a.m.: The European Council prepares for its May 30-31 meeting in Brussels during which council members will discuss Ukraine, energy food security, and defense.

"Ukraine is showing incredible courage and dignity in the face of the Russian aggression and atrocities," said Council President Charles Michel in his invitation to the meeting. "From the very first day, we have been unwavering in our humanitarian, financial, military and political support to the Ukrainian people and their leadership. We will continue putting pressure on Russia. Our unity has always been our strongest asset. It remains our guiding principle."

According to the council's website, the members of the European Council are the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member states, the European Council President, and the President of the European Commission.

12:52 a.m.: The wife of a Ukrainian soldier who fought at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol is concerned about her husband. Since Ukrainian forces lay down their arms as they declared their mission at the plant over, she has not heard what happened to him, CNN reports.

12:01 a.m.: In The Guardian, Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik said she is concerned the war in Ukraine will become "the new normal." She warns that, without more help from the west, her country could be defeated.

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