27 Min Ago
Ukraine’s forces are gradually pushing Russians back from Kharkiv, officials say
Ukrainian soldiers next to a destroyed Russian tank on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 8 May 2022.
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian forces are recapturing territory in the region surrounding Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city which is located near the northeastern border with Russia, according to Ukrainian officials.
Ukrainian forces have managed to recapture four settlements north of Kharkiv, a press officer with the main Ukrainian force in the area said Tuesday, while Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address that Russian forces are “gradually being pushed back from Kharkiv.”
“I am grateful to all our defenders who are holding the line and demonstrating truly superhuman strength to drive out the army of invaders,” Zelenskyy said. But he added: “I also want to urge all our people, and especially those in the rear, not to spread excessive emotions. We shouldn’t create an atmosphere of specific moral pressure, when certain victories are expected weekly and even daily.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a spokesman for Ukraine’s armed forces said in a Facebook update that Russian forces were trying to prevent Ukrainian troops from moving further toward the border in the Kharkiv region and trying to fully capture the town of Rubizhne.
“The occupiers continue to focus their efforts on preventing the further advance of our troops towards the state border of Ukraine, conducting reconnaissance units of the Defence Forces north and north-east of the city of Kharkiv,” the spokesman noted.
— Holly Ellyatt
1 Hour Ago
Ukraine’s Eurovision lifts spirits and wins public affection
Ukraine’s entry in the annual Eurovision song contest this year is one of the favorites to win the competition amid a swell of global sympathy for the country after Russia’s invasion.
Ukrainians celebrated last night as the Kalush Orchestra, a folk-rap band that’s Ukraine’s entry for Eurovision, qualified for the final taking place in Turin, Italy, on Saturday night.
The Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine performs the song “Stefania” at the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest. The international music competition is taking place for the 66th time.
Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images
The band’s song, “Stefania,” has had mixed reviews from critics, but most say that doesn’t really matter this year.
With Eurovision’s global audience of millions of people (in 2016, the show’s semi-final and final drew 204 million viewers, according to its broadcaster, the European Broadcast Union) set to watch the contest, much of the global public is likely to vote for Ukraine if only to show support and solidarity for the country.
— Holly Ellyatt
2 Hours Ago
Fighting at ‘Snake Island’ could determine who controls chunk of Black Sea, UK says
Fighting continues at Zmiinyi Island, also known as “Snake Island,” with Russia repeatedly trying to reinforce its exposed garrison there, according to the British Ministry of Defence in its latest intelligence update.
“If Russia consolidates its position on Zmiinyi Island with strategic air defence and coastal defence cruise missiles, they could dominate the north-western Black Sea,” the ministry said on Twitter this morning.
“Russia’s current efforts to augment its forces on Zmiinyi Island offer Ukraine more opportunities to engage Russian troops and attrit materiel,” the ministry added, saying Ukraine has successfully struck Russian air defenses and resupply vessels with Bayraktar drones.
In addition, the ministry noted that Russia’s resupply vessels have minimum protection in the western Black Sea, following the Russian Navy’s retreat to Crimea after the loss of the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
— Holly Ellyatt
2 Hours Ago
Ukraine gas operator to stop transporting almost a third of Russian gas to Europe
Pipes, valves and tanks with liquefied petroleum gas are seen in Poland on April 28, 2022. Ukraine’s gas transmission operator says it will stop transporting almost a third of Russian gas to Europe.
Beata Zawrzel | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Ukraine’s gas transmission operator says it will stop transporting almost a third of Russian gas to Europe.
Moscow’s invasion has rendered the operator unable “to carry out operational and technological control” of its facilities to ensure their stability and safety, particularly in Russian-controlled territory such as the Luhansk region, Gas TSO of Ukraine said.
In a statement, GTSOU said it would stop transporting gas through its Novopskov hub from 7 a.m. on Wednesday. Almost a third of the natural gas coming from Russia to Europe (up to 32.6 million cubic meters per day) is transited through the hub.
The company claimed force majeure, which are unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.
GTSOU also said it is possible to temporarily reroute gas to another crossing in Ukrainian-controlled territory, but said Russia’s state-controlled gas giant Gazprom has ignored appeals to do so.
“The company repeatedly informed Gazprom about gas transit threats due to the actions of the Russian-controlled occupation forces and stressed stopping interference in the operation of the facilities, but these appeals were ignored,” GTSOU said.
Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Gazprom, said Ukraine’s request would be “technologically impossible” and that the company sees no grounds for the decision, the Associated Press reported.
— Chelsea Ong
5 Hours Ago
U.S. House passes $40 billion aid package to Ukraine
Rescue workers walk past debris and carsunder ruins in front of the shopping and entertainment center in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa on May 10, 2022, destroyed after Russian missiles strike late on May 9, 2022.
Oleksandr Gimanov | AFP | Getty Images
The U.S. House passed a bill that’s set to deliver $40 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, according to a NBC News report.
The House voted 368-57 after President Joe Biden urged quick congressional action in stepping up support for Kyiv in its war against Russia, the report said.
All 57 no votes came from Republicans, according to NBC News.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who opposed the measure, tweeted: “I oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but we can’t help Ukraine by spending money we don’t have.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised the largely bipartisan vote, saying on Twitter that the package would build “on robust support already secured by Congress” and “help Ukraine defend not only its nation but democracy for the world.”
— Weizhen Tan
6 Hours Ago
U.S. has committed more than $4.5 billion to Ukraine since Biden became president
Ukrainian servicemen unload missiles provided by U.S. to Ukraine as part of a military support on Feb. 11, 2022. The U.S. has committed more than $4.5 billion on security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.
Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images
13 Hours Ago
Russian forces are at least two weeks behind schedule in Donbas goals, U.S. Defense official says
A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Barvinkove, eastern Ukraine, on April 15, 2022. Fighting in the Donbas is “intensifying” and Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s eastern border continues to increase, the British defense ministry said
Ronaldo Schemidt | Afp | Getty Images
The Pentagon said Russian forces are about two weeks behind schedule in their assault of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “has not achieved any of the success that we believe he wanted to achieve, certainly not on a timeline,” a senior U.S. Defense official said on a call with reporters.
The official, who declined to be named per ground rules established by the Pentagon, said that the U.S. assesses Putin’s forces are “easily two weeks or even maybe more behind.”
“We would not assess that the Russians have made any appreciable or significant progress,” the official added.
— Amanda Macias
19 Hours Ago
US spy chief says Putin is preparing for prolonged war
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington May 10, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
The United States believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a long conflict in Ukraine, and a Russian victory in the Donbas in the east of the country might not end the war, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said.
“We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Haines told lawmakers.
She added that Putin was counting on the Western resolve to weaken over time.
4 Hours Ago