Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine


Ukraine counteroffensive near Kharkiv starting to look similar to gains made in the west, think tank says

Civilians walk past an old checkpoint in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 12, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s counteroffensive near the northeastern city of Kharkiv “is starting to look very similar to the counteroffensive that ultimately drove Russian troops away from Kyiv and out of western Ukraine entirely,” the Institute for the Study of War has said in its latest assessment of the conflict.

The U.S. think tank said it is too soon to tell whether Russian forces will make a similar decision, however.

It added that Russian forces are likely to launch a ground offensive on or around Severodonetsk, an eastern city in the Luhansk Oblast, in the coming days.

— Sam Meredith

Russian soldier to go on trial in first war-crimes case

A Russian soldier is scheduled to go on trial Friday in the killing of an unarmed Ukrainian civilian, marking the first time since the start of the invasion that a member of the Russian military will be prosecuted for a war crime.

Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin stands accused of shooting the 62-year-old man in the head through an open car window in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka. He faces up to life in prison under the penalties spelled out in the section of the Ukrainian criminal code that addresses the laws and customs of war.

— Associated Press

Russia investing ‘significant effort’ in bid to achieve eastern Ukraine breakthrough, UK says

Ukrainian soldiers and their anti-aircraft missile system near Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, on May 11, 2022.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Russian forces are investing “significant effort” around the Ukrainian cities of Izium and Severodonetsk in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough toward the eastern regions of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence has said.

In its latest intelligence update, the U.K. ministry says the Kremlin’s primary objective is to envelop Ukrainian forces in the Joint Forces Operation area, referring to the eastern line of contact between the separatist-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.

It said Ukrainian forces had successfully prevented an attempted Russian river crossing in the Donbas, noting that such a maneuver is “highly risky” in a contested environment and speaks to the pressure Russian commanders are under to make progress in eastern Ukraine.

— Sam Meredith

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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says Russia lacks courage to admit ‘obvious’ strategic defeat

Zelenskyy said Russian forces are “trying to hide the truth behind missile, air and artillery strikes.”

Alexey Furman | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia’s strategic defeat is already obvious, saying in his nightly address that the Kremlin “simply lacks [the] courage to admit it.”

Zelenskyy accused Russian forces of being “cowards,” adding that they are seeking “to hide the truth behind missile, air and artillery strikes.”

Russia’s embassy in London was not immediately available to comment.

— Sam Meredith

G7 foreign ministers meet to discuss Ukraine war, impact

British Secretary for Foreign Affairs Elizabeth Truss (L) and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi chat during bilateral talks at the meeting of the G7 foreign ministers in Wangels, Northern Germany on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Marcus Brandt / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARCUS BRANDT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Marcus Brandt | Afp | Getty Images

Top diplomats from the Group of Seven wealthy nations gathered in northern Germany for a three-day meeting centered on Russia’s war against Ukraine and the wider impact it is having around the world, particularly on food and energy prices.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, the meeting’s host, said the conflict already had become a “global crisis” because shipments of staple crops are stuck in Ukraine, a major agricultural exporter.

“Twenty-five million tons (27.5 million U.S. tons) of grain are currently blocked in Ukrainian ports, particularly Odesa,” Baerbock said. “Grain that’s food for millions of people around the world, and which is needed particularly urgently in African countries and the Middle East.”

“That’s why we are discussing how the grain blockade exerted by Russia can be unblocked, how we can get the grain out to the world,” she added.

— Associated Press

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