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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 6


Teenagers on bicycles pass a bridge destroyed by shelling near Orihiv, Ukraine, May 5, 2022.

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

Recap of May 6
FIGHTING
* Russian forces resumed their assault on a sprawling steel factory in the devastated Ukrainian port of Mariupol, using aircraft to pound Ukrainian fighters holding out there.
* Local authorities in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol accused Russian forces of opening fire on a car on its way to evacuate civilians from a vast steel works, killing a fighter and violating a cease-fire agreement.
HUMANITARIAN
* Twelve civilians, including children, have been evacuated by bus from the Azovstal complex in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the Russian state news agency RIA reported
* A second bus, carrying 13 civilians including one child, left the Azovstal complex in Mariupol, RIA reported.
* Ukraine has appealed to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to help evacuate fighters holed up in the vast Azovstal steel works in Mariupol that is surrounded by Russian forces.
* Amnesty International said othere was compelling evidence that Russian troops had committed war crimes, including extrajudicial executions of civilians, when they occupied an area outside Ukraine's capital in February and March.
ECONOMY
* The world's largest brewer launched production of a popular Ukrainian beer in Belgium and said all profits made from its global sales would go to humanitarian relief in Ukraine.
* Ukraine hopes to grow export capacity by 50% in the next few months by expanding facilities on its western border, but it will still be far short of pre-war levels.
* Nearly 25 million tons of grains are stuck in Ukraine and unable to leave the country due to infrastructure challenges and blocked Black Sea ports including Mariupol.
DIPLOMACY
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he is still open to negotiations with Russia, but he repeated his position that Moscow must withdraw its forces to their pre-invasion positions.
* Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted about a meeting with visiting European parliamentarians, during which Ukraine asked them to streamline Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.
* U.S. first lady Jill Biden is using her second solo overseas trip to get an up-close look at the Ukrainian refugee crisis by visiting Romania and Slovakia, where she will spend Mother’s Day meeting with displaced families.
SANCTIONS
* Hungary's prime minister has reiterated his government's stance that it will not back the European Union's new proposed sanctions package against Russia, which includes an embargo on oil imports.
* A meeting of European Union foreign ministers will be held next week should countries from the bloc fail to reach an agreement over an oil embargo against Russia by the weekend.
MEDIA
* A Moscow court ordered the arrest in absentia of Alexander Nevzorov, a prominent Russian journalist accused of spreading false information about what Moscow calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

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

9:31 p.m.: Leaders of the G-7 countries and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will meet virtually Sunday to discuss Western support for Ukraine's war against Russia, Agence France-Presse reported. The White House described the meeting as a demonstration that Moscow is failing, according to the AFP report. Officials in Germany, which currently chairs the group also including Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, gave little detail Friday, when it was reported, about the upcoming talks.

8:37 p.m.: VOA United Nations correspondent Margaret Besheer reports: The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted its first statement since Russia’s military action began on Feb. 24, expressing “strong support” for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to find a peaceful solution to the war.

7:06 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he invited German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz to visit Ukraine on Monday (May 9), the day Russia marks the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II, The Associated Press reported. There was no immediate word on whether the German politicians had agreed, AP reported.

6:26 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new weapons package worth $150 million for Ukraine, as it fights against Russian forces, who invaded the country on February 24.

"I am announcing another package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment to Ukraine," Biden said in a statement. However, he also warned that funding was close to running out and urging Congress to authorize more. "For Ukraine to succeed in this next phase of war its international partners, including the U.S., must continue to demonstrate our unity and our resolve to keep the weapons and ammunition flowing to Ukraine, without interruption. Congress should quickly provide the requested funding to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table."

5:09 p.m.: The U.S. Defense Department denied providing intelligence on the locations of Russian generals on the battlefield so that Ukrainian forces could kill them, Agence France-Presse reported. "We do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, AFP reported. Kirby was responding to an explosive New York Times report on U.S. support for Ukraine's military.

Separately, U.S. media reports had reported that Washington had shared intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Russian warship Moskva last month, AFP reported. But a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the United States does not "provide specific targeting information on ships.”

4:25 p.m.: Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said that, if the fighting in neighboring Ukraine spills over into her country, it would mean that a state, which never wanted to join NATO and did not make any efforts to do so, is drawn into the war. Speaking to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in the capital Chisinau on May 5, she said there were no imminent risks of the conflict spreading to Moldova but that, if it did, other countries would also then be drawn in.

3:28 p.m.: In the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv, a local Red Cross chapter has formed a group of volunteer cyclists to deliver essentials to vulnerable elderly people. The city is being shelled constantly by Russian forces and water supplies have been severed.

2:30 p.m.: President Joe Biden is expected to sign a new weapons package worth at least $100 million for Ukraine as soon as later on Friday or this weekend, four U.S. officials told Reuters.

2:04 p.m.: The U.N. Security Council, including Russia, has agreed to express "deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine" in the body's first statement since Russia invaded its neighbor ten weeks ago, diplomats said on Friday, according to Reuters. Statements of the Security Council are agreed by consensus. The brief text drafted by Norway and Mexico is due to be formally adopted at a meeting later on Friday, diplomats said.

1:46 p.m.: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted Friday about a meeting with visiting European parliamentarians, during which Ukraine asked them to streamline Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.

1:20 p.m.: On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will begin a two-day visit to the Republic of Moldova, VOA’s U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer reported. During his stay in the country, Guterres “will express his solidarity and thank Moldova for its steadfast support for peace, and for its people’s generosity in opening their hearts and homes to almost half a million Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war,” U.N. spokesman Stephan Dujarric said. In the capital Chișinău, the Secretary-General will meet with President Maia Sandu, as well as with Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita and with the Speaker of Parliament, Igor Grosu, Dujarric said. The Secretary-General will also visit a refugee center run with the support of UN agencies, Dujarric added.

1:09 p.m.:

12:43 p.m.: A second bus, carrying 13 civilians including one child, on Friday left the Azovstal complex in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which is besieged by Russian forces, the Russian state news agency RIA reported on Friday, citing its correspondent on site. Earlier on Friday, 12 people including children were brought from Azovstal to the Russian-controlled town of Bezimenne, hours after Ukraine had accused Russia of violating a ceasefire aimed at evacuating civilians trapped underground in the bombed-out steelworks, Reuters reported.

12:30 p.m.: U.N. spokesman Stephan Dujarric on Friday gave an update on the civilian evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s southern port city Mariupol, according to VOA’s U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer. “Our colleagues are currently on the ground supporting a third safe passage operation in coordination, hand in glove, with the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross),” Dujarric said. “We are in an extremely delicate phase of this operation, working in close coordination with both the Ukrainian authorities and the Russian authorities,” he said "As soon as we feel people are out and safe we will have a confirmation for you," Dujarric added.

12:24 p.m.: A Russian senator said Friday that Russia will remain “forever” in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, whose capital has been occupied by Moscow’s troops since early March, The Associated Press reported. Andrey Turchak from the ruling United Russia party visited Kherson on Friday, meeting with its Russian-appointed governor Volodymyr Saldo. “We will live together, develop this rich region, rich in historical heritage, rich thanks to the people who live here,” Turchak said in a video published by Russia’s state RIA Novosti agency. When asked about the future formal status of Kherson region, Turchak cautioned against “running too far ahead” and said that “in any case, the status is determined by the residents.”

12:19 p.m.:

12:05 p.m.: The world's largest brewer launched production of a popular Ukrainian beer in Belgium on Friday and said all profits made from its global sales would go to humanitarian relief in Ukraine following Russia's invasion, Reuters reported. Anheuser-Busch InBev has halted production of the Chernigivske lager and other beers at its three breweries in Ukraine because of the war, which began after Russia invaded on February 24. Ukraine's ambassador to Belgium, Oleg Shamshur, attended the roll-out of the first cans at AB InBev's large brewery in Leuven on Friday and welcomed the launch as a way of showcasing Ukrainian products to the world.

11:51 a.m.: U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said Friday that “Russia poses an acute threat to the international system,” VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin reported.

11:43 a.m.: A Moscow court on Friday ordered the arrest in absentia of Alexander Nevzorov, a prominent Russian journalist accused of spreading false information about what Moscow calls its special military operation in Ukraine according to Reuters. Investigators had opened a case against Nevzorov in March for posting on social media that Russia’s armed forces deliberately shelled a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Nevzorov, who has more than 1.8 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, called the investigation against him ridiculous and wrote an open letter to Russia’s top investigator calling on him to close the case.

11:37 a.m.:

11:34 a.m.: Twelve civilians, including children, have been evacuated by bus from the Azovstal complex in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which is besieged by Russian forces, the Russian state news agency RIA reported on Friday, citing its correspondent on site. Ukrainian officials had accused Russia of violating a ceasefire on Friday aimed at evacuating scores of civilians trapped underground in the bombed-out steelworks, after fighting thwarted efforts to rescue them the previous day, Reuters reported.

11:31 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders will hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a virtual meeting on Sunday, a spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council said on Friday.

11:28 a.m.:

11:26 a.m.: Police in the German capital are bracing for possible confrontations between pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine protesters around the anniversary of the end of World War II, The Associated Press reported. Berlin police said Friday that security around 15 memorial sites across the city will be stepped up on May 8 and 9, and officers will crack down on any attempts to glorify Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Berlin’s police chief Barbara Slowik said authorities have banned the use of Russian or Ukrainian flags, the playing of military music or the wearing of uniforms or the orange and black ribbon of St. George showing support for the Russian military anywhere near the memorial sites.

11:18 a.m.: When the war in Ukraine started, composer and cello player Ian Maksin immediately spoke up, condemning Russia’s aggression. Today, Maksin, who is of Russian descent, is touring the U.S., performing in a series of concerts to raise money to help Ukrainian children. From Los Angeles, VOA’s Angelina Bagdsarvan has the story.

Russian-Born Composer Gives Concerts to Raise Money for Ukraine's Children
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11:11 a.m.:

10:41 a.m.: "That's nonsense," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked whether President Vladimir Putin planned to announce a military mobilization during Russia's May 9 Victory Day celebrations. When asked whether Putin would formally declare war on Ukraine, Peskov's answer was the same: "That's nonsense." Speculation has been rife that Putin could use the highly charged commemoration to set a new direction for Russia's war in Ukraine. "I think Putin has to do something," Ukrainian military analyst Mykhaylo Samus said, adding that Putin's generals had promised him some significant success before the May 9 holiday. Robert Coalson has this report for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

10:34 a.m.:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he is still open to negotiations with Russia, but he repeated his position that Moscow must withdraw its forces to their pre-invasion positions, The Associated Press reported. Zelenskyy told a meeting at London’s Chatham House think-tank on Friday that “regaining the situation as of the 23rd of February” – the day before the invasion – is a prerequisite for talks. He said “in that situation we will be able to start discussing things normally,” and Ukraine could use “diplomatic channels” to regain its territory. Despite Russia’s intensified attack on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, Zelenskyy said there is still space for diplomacy. He said “not all bridges are yet destroyed,” figuratively speaking.

10:23 a.m.:

10:17 a.m.: President Vladimir Putin will send a "doomsday" warning to the West when he leads celebrations on Monday marking the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany, brandishing Russia's vast firepower while its forces fight on in Ukraine, Reuters reported. Defiant in the face of deep Western isolation since he ordered the invasion of Russia's neighbor, Putin will speak on Red Square before a parade of troops, tanks, rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles. A fly-past over St Basil's Cathedral will include supersonic fighters, Tu-160 strategic bombers and, for the first time since 2010, the Il-80 "doomsday" command plane, which would carry Russia's top brass in the event of a nuclear war, the Defense Ministry said.

9:53 a.m.: Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra’s upbeat, melodic entry for this month’s Eurovision Song Contest was written as a tribute to the frontman’s mother. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has become an anthem to the war-ravaged motherland, The Associated Press reported Friday. “Stefania” is the most-watched song on YouTube among the 35 national entries that are slated to compete when the Eurovision contest takes place next week in Turin, an industrial city in northern Italy. While some oddsmakers and data analysts have predicted other contestants will win, the song by Kalush Orchestra is quickly becoming a sentimental favorite.

9:28 a.m.: Ukraine hopes to grow export capacity by 50% in the next few months by expanding facilities on its western border, but it will still be far short of pre-war levels, the deputy infrastructure minister said on Friday. More than ten seaports carried 75% of Ukraine's foreign trade, but they were closed after the Russian invasion and the country was forced to trade through small Danube river ports and use railway terminals on its western border. "Western borders and Danube ports today is the only way to export and import. We have already quadrupled the volume of trade through the Danube ports," Yuri Vaskov told a news conference, according to Reuters.

9:13 a.m.: U.S. First Lady Jill Biden is using her second solo overseas trip to get an up-close look at the Ukrainian refugee crisis by visiting Romania and Slovakia, where she will spend Mother’s Day meeting with displaced families in a small Slovakian village on the border with Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. Biden, who opens the visit Friday in Romania, told reporters traveling with her, “It’s so important to the president and to me that the Ukrainian people know that we stand with them.” She said earlier in the week she wants the refugees to know “their resilience inspires me.” NATO allies Romania and Slovakia border Ukraine and have fled the war.

9:02 a.m.:

8:56 a.m.: Local authorities in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol accused Russian forces on Friday of opening fire on a car on its way to evacuate civilians from a vast steel works, killing a fighter and violating a ceasefire agreement, Reuters reported. "During the ceasefire on the territory of the Azovstal plant a car was hit by Russians using an anti-tank guided weapon. This car was moving towards civilians in order to evacuate them from the plant," Mariupol city council said in an online post. "As a result of the shelling, 1 fighter was killed and 6 were wounded. The enemy continues to violate all agreements and fails to adhere to security guarantees for the evacuation of civilians," it added. Russia did not immediately comment on the city council's statement. Reuters could not verify the city council's statement.

8:47 a.m.: The international sanctions imposed on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine have opened a new front in the Ukraine conflict, an economic one. Moscow is now trying to curb inflation and maintain the value of its currency, the ruble, while European countries are discussing the possibility of stopping their purchase of Russian hydrocarbons. VOA’s Moscow bureau has this story.

Russia Braces for Effects of Energy Export Losses
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8:23 a.m.: Amnesty International said on Friday there was compelling evidence that Russian troops had committed war crimes, including extrajudicial executions of civilians, when they occupied an area outside Ukraine's capital in February and March, Reuters reported. Civilians also suffered abuses such as "reckless shootings and torture" at the hands of Russian forces during their failed onslaught on Kyiv in the early stages of the invasion launched by the Kremlin on Feb. 24, the rights group said in a report. "These are not isolated incidents. These are very much part of a pattern wherever Russian forces were in control of a town or a village," Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's senior crisis response adviser, told a news conference in Kyiv.

8:04 a.m.: Two months of war in Ukraine is creating “a child protection crisis of extraordinary proportions, the likes of which we perhaps haven’t seen before,” according to an official with the U.N. Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF). Aaron Greenberg, UNICEF’s regional advisor for child protection for Europe and Central Asia, made his comments during a press briefing at the U.N.’s offices in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday. “The war has impacted all children’s psychosocial wellbeing. All of them. Children have been uprooted from their homes, separated from caregivers and directly exposed to war,” Greenberg said. “Children have been shaken by bomb explosions and the blaring sirens of missile alert systems. Nearly all children are coping with the absence of their fathers, older male siblings or uncles as nearly all men between the ages of 18-60 are mobilized for the war effort. And, most importantly, many children have witnessed or experienced physical and sexual violence,” he said in his press briefing.

7:59 a.m.:

7:56 a.m.: A meeting of European Union foreign ministers will be held next week should countries from the bloc fail to reach an agreement over an oil embargo against Russia by the weekend, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday, according to Reuters. The European Commission is proposing changes to its planned embargo on Russian oil in a bid to win over reluctant states, including Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event in Florence, Borrell reiterated he had faith in reaching “a solution that is shared, as not all countries are in the same situation,” adding a deal had to be found quickly.

7:42 a.m.:


7:33 a.m.: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will take part in a G7 virtual discussion on Sunday on the situation in Ukraine that will be attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a German government spokesperson said, according to Reuters. Scholz will also give a televised address to the German people on the evening of May 8, which marks the anniversary of the end of World War Two, the spokesperson added. The date takes on special meaning this year as two countries that were once victims of Nazi Germany are now at war, added the spokesperson, referring to Ukraine and Russia.

7:27 a.m.: More civilians have been rescued from the tunnels under a besieged steel plant in Mariupol, a Ukrainian official said Friday, even as fighters holed up at the sprawling complex made their last stand to prevent Moscow’s complete takeover of the strategic port city, The Associated Press reported. The fight in the last Ukrainian stronghold of a city reduced to ruins by the Russian onslaught appeared increasingly desperate. Some 2,000 Ukrainian fighters, by Russia’s most recent estimate, are holed up in a vast maze of tunnels and bunkers beneath Azovstal steelworks – and they have repeatedly refused to surrender.

7:10 a.m.: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that there was hostile rhetoric coming out of Poland, and that Warsaw could be "a source of threat," Reuters reported. Poland has led calls for the EU to toughen sanctions and for the Western NATO alliance to arm Ukraine as it tries to resist Russian forces that have poured into its east. Polish environment and climate minister Anna Moskwa said on Monday that "Poland is proud to be on Putin's list of unfriendly countries."

7:03 a.m.:

7:00 a.m.: Here are some of the key developments in Russia over the past week and some of the takeaways going forward. Steve Gutterman from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty recaps the events in this report headlined “The Week In Russia: Carnage and Celebration.”

6:53 a.m.:
Information that Russia is stealing grain from Ukraine is likely to be fake, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, after a U.N. food agency official said there were signs that Russia had been trucking grain out of occupied regions of its neighbor. "We have no information, it appears to be fake," Peskov said, according to Reuters.

6:42 a.m.: Nearly 25 million tons of grains are stuck in Ukraine and unable to leave the country due to infrastructure challenges and blocked Black Sea ports including Mariupol, Josef Schmidhuber, FAO Deputy Director, Markets and Trade Division told a Geneva press briefing via Zoom on Friday, Reuters reported. The blockages are seen as a factor behind high food prices. Ukraine had been the world’s fourth largest exporter of corn in the 2020/21 season and the number six wheat exporter, according to International Grains Council data.

6:38 a.m.: Ukraine received $6.5 billion in pledges at an international donors’ conference in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday. VOA Eastern Europe Bureau Chief Myroslava Gongadze discussed the outcomes from the conference and other issues with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in the Polish capital.

6:27 a.m.: Hungary's prime minister has reiterated his government's stance that it will not back the European Union's new proposed sanctions package against Russia, which includes an embargo on oil imports. Speaking on state radio on Friday, Viktor Orban said the embargo would be like dropping an “atomic bomb” on the Hungarian economy. But he also said Budapest was open to other proposals if they didn't harm Hungary's interests. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

6:21 a.m.:
Ukraine has appealed to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to help evacuate fighters holed up in the vast Azovstal steel works in Mariupol that is surrounded by Russian forces, Reuters reported. Ukraine's Ministry for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories posted details on its website on Friday of a letter to the medical charity in which Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk expressed concern about "deplorable conditions" at the plant. It quoted Vereshchuk as saying the MSF charter provided assistance to people in need or victims of armed conflict.

6:19 a.m.:

6:14 a.m.: Russian forces have resumed their assault on a sprawling steel factory in the devastated Ukrainian port of Mariupol, using aircraft to pound Ukrainian fighters holding out there. As many as 2,000 Ukrainian fighters, plus hundreds of civilians, were believed to remain on the grounds of the Azovstal plant, whose defenses were breached earlier this week by Russian forces. The United Nations said another evacuation effort was under way, and a top Ukrainian official said nearly 500 civilians had been evacuated so far. Ukraine's General Staff said in its daily assessment on Friday that Russians were using aircraft as part of the renewed assault on the plant. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.

6:10 a.m.:
Germany’s defense minister confirmed Friday that her country will supply Ukraine with seven powerful self-propelled howitzers to help defend itself against Russia, The Associated Press reported. Christine Lambrecht said Ukrainian soldiers will be trained in Germany to use the self-propelled Panzerhaubitze 2000 artillery, which is capable of firing precision ammunition at a distance of up to 25 miles. Germany has stepped up its material support for Ukraine in recent weeks, after the government’s initial reticence to provide heavy weapons drew widespread criticism.

6:07 a.m.:

6:03 a.m.: Russia will not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, foreign ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev said on Friday, according to Reuters. Zaitsev told reporters the use of nuclear weapons by Russia - a risk that Western officials have publicly discussed - was not applicable to what Moscow calls its special military operation in Ukraine. CIA director William Burns said on April 14 that given the setbacks Russia had suffered in Ukraine, "none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons."

5:58 a.m.:

5:52 a.m.: The New York Times reports that almost 500 civilians have been evacuated Mariupol and the Azovstal steel plant.

5:07 a.m.: Germany will supply Ukraine with seven self-propelled armored howitzers 2000, CNN reports. The artillery system resembles a tank and has a firing range of up to 40 kilometers.

4:02 a.m.: An adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, Ukraine, says that Russia's use of "filtration camp" detention centers has turned the city into a "concentration camp," Al Jazeera reports.

3:07 a.m.: The Pentagon says there are no indications Belarus plans to get involved in the conflict in Ukraine, Al Jazeera reports.

2:04 a.m.: CNN reports that the Pentagon denied news reports saying the U.S. provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Russian warship Moskva.

"We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement Thursday. "We were not involved in the Ukrainians' decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out. We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine's intent to target the ship."

1:02 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K.'s defense ministry says Russian efforts to complete the capture of Mariupol, including its Azovstal steel plant, are likely linked to Russia's plans to celebrate Victory Day on May 9. Victory Day marks the Soviet Union's 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. Putin, the update says, wants to have a symbolic success in Ukraine.

12:02 a.m.: The Washington Post reports that the western Ukraine city of Ivan-Frankivsk is warning its residents about possible shelling ahead of Russia's May 9 Victory Day celebration.

Russia uses Victory Day to celebrate the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany; it's a traditional celebration of national pride. Leaders in Ivano-Frankivsk fear that this year it'll lead to increased Russian attacks. They're telling residents to evacuate or to stay inside, and they've canceled all public events, the Post reports.

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

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