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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 9


A woman who fled from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol is helped from a bus upon her arrival at a reception center for displaced people in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, May 8, 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:

8:49 p.m.: Ukraine's president said on Monday that the country's ports are at a standstill and called ono the international community to take immediate steps to end a Russian blockade.

"For the first time in decades and decades, in Odesa there is no regular movement of the merchant fleet, there is no routine port work. This has probably never happened in Odesa since World War Two," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address.

"And this is a blow not only to Ukraine. Without our agricultural exports, dozens of countries in different parts of the world are already on the brink of food shortages. And over time, the situation can become, frankly, frightening."

Zelenskyy spoke as European Council President Charles Michel was visiting Odesa.

8:20 p.m.: President Joe Biden said on Monday he is worried Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have a way out of the Ukraine war, Reuters reported.

Speaking at a political fundraiser, Biden said Putin believed the invasion of Ukraine would break up NATO and the European Union. The opposite has happened.

Biden said Putin is a very calculating man and the problem he worries about now is that the Russian leader "doesn't have a way out right now, and I'm trying to figure out what we do about that."

7:43 p.m.:

7:15 p.m.: The first telephone call Jill Biden made from her black SUV Sunday after an unannounced meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart inside the embattled country was to her husband, President Joe Biden.

Olena Zelenska had not been seen in public since President Vladimir Putin sent Russia’s military into her country nearly 11 weeks ago.

The two first ladies spent about two hours together at a school in Uzhhorod in western Ukraine.

“Sometimes the first lady is able to do things and get into places where the president can’t,” said Myra Gutin, author of “The President’s Partner: The First Lady in the Twentieth Century.”

6:33 p.m.: U.S. congressional Democrats agreed to rush $39.8 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, two sources familiar with the proposal told Reuters Monday, easing fears a delayed vote could interrupt the flow of U.S. weapons to the Kyiv government.

The House of Representatives could pass the plan as soon as Tuesday, and Senate leaders said they were also prepared to move quickly.

On April 28, Biden had asked Congress for $33 billion for Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in military assistance.

The new proposal includes an additional $3.4 billion for military aid and $3.4 billion in humanitarian aid, the sources said.

5:55 p.m.: Global insurers are expected to receive multiple marine insurance claims from ships damaged or lost as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty said in a report Tuesday.

Two seafarers have been killed and six merchant vessels hit by projectiles, sinking two of them, around Ukraine's coast since the start of Russia's invasion of its neighbor on February 24, Reuters reported.

London marine insurers have deemed the Black Sea and Sea of Azov high risk areas, pushing the cost of insuring ships in the region to record levels with an additional premium added to cover war risks for every voyage.

5 p.m.: Hundreds of people marched Monday in Belgrade, Sofia and Vienna to mark the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Agency France-Presse reported.

Their Ukrainian peers did the same Sunday.

In Serbia, a traditional ally of Russia, about 200 people took part in the so-called "Immortal Regiment" march through downtown Belgrade. In neighboring Bulgaria, a similar number of people marched in the capital, Sofia. And in Austria, a few hundred people took part in a march in downtown Vienna to mark the Soviet victory, with several carrying Russian flags.

3:56 p.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bill that will make it easier for the U.S. to supply Ukraine with military equipment.

"I'm signing a bill that provides another important tool that directly supports the government of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and their fight to defend their country and their democracy against Putin's brutal war," Biden said from the Oval Office.

On Friday, the Biden administration announced a new weapons package for Ukraine worth $150 million.

3:36 p.m.: The United States has seen indications that some Ukrainians are being moved to Russia against their will, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday, calling the actions "unconscionable," according to Reuters.

3:15 p.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he was in favor of a new type of "political European community" that would allow countries outside the European Union, including Ukraine and Britain, to join the "European core values."

"Joining it would not necessarily prejudge future EU membership," he said. "Nor would it be closed to those who left it."

2:04 p.m.: Polish officials say the country is ready to increase its energy assistance to neighboring Ukraine and provide steady deliveries, The Associated Press reported.

Poland’s government ministers made the declaration Monday during a Polish-Ukrainian Energy Forum attended also by other countries and by the International Energy Agency.

1:55 p.m.: The Biden administration ramped up a national security probe into Russia's AO Kaspersky Lab antivirus software earlier this year amid heightened fears of Russian cyberattacks after Moscow invaded Ukraine, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

1:24 p.m.: On Monday, one of Russia's leading news websites, Lenta.ru, briefly posted about 12 articles critical of President Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL reported.

One report had the headline "Putin Has Turned Into a Miserable Dictator and Paranoiac."

The reports appeared at the same time Putin was using the commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union's role in the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 to justify Russia's war against Ukraine.

The reports were quickly replaced with regular stories

11:40 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo on Monday said the US will suspend 232 tariffs on Ukrainian steel for one year. The steel industry plays a crucial role in the Ukrainian economy, employing one in 13 Ukrainians.

11:10 a.m.: The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is loyal to the Moscow patriarch has made a personal and faith-based appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin for safe passage to Ukrainian soldiers defending the besieged port city of Mariupol, The Associated Press reported.

"We hope that you will Christianly agree to the extraction procedure for the Ukrainian garrison in Mariupol, and give the opportunity to surrounded civilians, police, border guards and the military to enter the territory controlled by Ukraine or the territory of third countries."

10:34 a.m.: The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Ukraine this week, an official said on Monday, after Kyiv called for a review of the situation there, including reports of mass casualties in Mariupol, Reuters reported. The meeting could lead to a resolution that would task the newly formed Commission of Inquiry into the war with providing a detailed report to the council later this year.

10:28 a.m.: The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, has lamented that “silos full” of food for export is blocked in the Black Sea port of Odesa, which he visited on Monday, The Associated Press reported.

The Ukrainian city has been the target of Russian missile attacks over recent days.

10:22 a.m.: The European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, in a Financial Times interview published Monday, says the bloc should consider seizing the frozen assets from Russia's foreign exchange reserves and using them to help fund postwar reconstruction efforts in Ukraine.

10:04 a.m.: EU chief Michel says Russia will fail to 'execute' Ukrainian 'spirit of freedom', on surprise visit to Odessa, AFP tweeted.

9:57 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy said on Monday that Kyiv would defeat Russia's invasion and not give up a single piece of land as he marked victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, Reuters reported. Zelenskiyy commemorated the deaths of more than eight million Ukrainians in World War Two and said that Kyiv would not allow Moscow to appropriate the victory over Nazism for itself.

9:06 a.m.: Russian forces stormed the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine's strategic port of Mariupol on Monday and stepped up missile strikes elsewhere, Ukrainian officials said, according to Reuters.

9:11 a.m.: UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Monday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of "mirroring fascism," as the country held an annual Victory Day parade on Moscow's Red Square, AFP tweeted.

9:14 a.m.: The European Commission will aim to deliver a first opinion in June on Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the European Union, The Associated Press reports. But leaders of the 27 EU nations are divided on how fast Brussels could move to accept Ukraine as a member.

6:35 a.m.: U.S. first lady Jill Biden met Monday with Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova to discuss what she said was “the support that the United States has for the people of Slovakia and Ukraine and how we stand together in helping the Ukrainian people.” Biden wrote in a guestbook that the United States and Slovakia share “a common devotion to helping those most in need.”

First lady Jill Biden signs a guest book during her visit with President of Slovakia Zuzana Caputova at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)
First lady Jill Biden signs a guest book during her visit with President of Slovakia Zuzana Caputova at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

6:05 a.m.: Reuters reported that the European Union is closing in on agreeing a sixth package of sanctions against Russia, a German foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

“Talks on the sixth sanctions package are ongoing, they are well advanced and from our point of view they could be concluded soon,” the spokesperson said during a press conference in Berlin.

5:30 a.m.: A Maltese-flagged ship carrying Russian coal and petroleum coke has docked in the northern Spanish port of Gijon, Reuters reported citing port authorities on Monday. Another ship, loaded with Russian crude, docked in Cartagena, southern Spain, on Friday, according to authorities the report added.

The European Union approved sanctions against imports of coal, wood, chemicals and other products such as vodka from Russia on April 8 in a bid to cut trade with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, though the sanctions are not yet fully enforced. A spokesperson at the Spanish Transports Ministry did not immediately answer to Reuters’ request for comment.

4:25 a.m.: British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his generals are “mirroring fascism and tyranny of 77 years ago” through the invasion of Ukraine and that Russia is “repeating the errors of the last century’s totalitarian regime,” during a speech coinciding with Russia’s Victory Day parade to mark World War II. Wallace added that Russian generals and their president should face court martial, Reuters reported.

4:00 a.m.: Ukraine’s military said on Monday that four high-precision Onyx missiles fired from the Russian-controlled Crimea peninsula had struck the Odesa area in southern Ukraine, but gave no other details, Reuters reported.

3:30 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin has cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies, The Associated Press reported.

Speaking at a military parade Monday marking the World War II victory over the Nazis, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fighting against Nazi troops and the Russian forces’ action in Ukraine. He said that the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to ward off a potential aggression. He added that the Russian troops were fighting for the country’s security in Ukraine and observed a minute of silence to honor the troops who fell in combat, the AP said.

2:30 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy said Monday that his country would win in its war with Russia and would not cede any territory, in a written address commemorating victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Reuters reported.

“On the Day of Victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory. The road to it is difficult, but we have no doubt that we will win,” Zelenskiyy said.

2:00 a.m.: A Fiji court has suspended the execution of a U.S. warrant to seize a $300 million superyacht Washington claims is owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, prosecutors said. Agence France-Presse has the story.

1:35 a.m.: Pictures from the Agence France-Presse as Victory Day parades begin in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to make an announcement during a speech to mark the day at 12 p.m. local time in Moscow.

1:15 a.m.: Britain’s defense ministry said Monday that Russia has likely heavily depleted its stockpile of precision-guided munitions, forcing it to rely on older munitions that are less reliable and less accurate. “Russia has subjected Ukraine's towns and cities to intense and indiscriminate bombardments with little or no regard for civilian casualties,” the British ministry said.

1:00 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to oversee a parade Monday in Moscow and give a speech that will be closely watched given his military’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Monday’s events commemorate the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Putin has characterized the Ukrainian invasion as an operation to “denazify” the country, while Ukraine and its Western allies say Putin launched an unjustified war and unprovoked war.

12:30 a.m.: In an interview with the Financial Times, European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said EU capitals should consider seizing frozen Russian foreign exchange reserves in order to assist in efforts to rebuild Ukraine post-war.

“This is one of the most important political questions on the table: who is going to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine?” Borrell told the Financial Times, adding that discussion over the money for “war compensations” should start and that it should come from Russia.

Borrell drew comparison to the U.S. seizure of Afghan assets following the Taliban’s takeover last year. “We have the money in our pockets, and someone has to explain to me why it is good for the Afghan money and not good for the Russian money,” Borrell said.

12:01 a.m.: About 10 buses slowly pulled into Zaporizhzhia’s deserted streets under darkness, carrying 174 evacuees from the Mariupol area. They included more than 30 of the 51 civilians evacuated in the last day from the Azovstal steel mill, where an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are making what appears to be their last stand. Both Ukrainian and Russian officials have said these civilians are the last non-combatants from the industrial complex. The Associated Press has the story.

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

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