Russia and Ukraine live news: US supports Finland, Sweden to join NATO Russia-Ukraine war news

  • White House says U.S. ‘will support NATO bid’ Finland and/or Sweden should apply”.
  • More than 6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russian invasion began, UNHCR Data Display.
  • Russian media reported that Ukrainian shelling killed a student in a Russian village near the border.
  • The UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution investigating alleged human rights abuses by Russian forces in parts of Ukraine it controls.
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Russian army may have controlled the whole of Rubizhny: think tank

As of Thursday, Russian troops may have taken control of the entire Rubizhny and possibly captured the town of Vovadivka in the northern part of Severo Donetsk, the Institute for War Research said.

“In the next few days, they may launch a ground offensive in or around Severo Donetsk,” the institute said in its latest campaign assessment.

“The relative success of Russia’s operations in the region, combined with their failure to advance from Izm, and the significant drop in the energy they attempted to advance, suggest that they may be abandoning the Izm axis,” it added.

Finland and Sweden to be ‘targets’ for NATO members: Russian diplomat

Moscow’s representative to the United Nations said the membership of Sweden and Finland in NATO, as well as the deployment of allied forces on their soil, would make them a target for Russia.

“They know that once they become a NATO member, it means some mirror action from the Russian side,” Dmitry Polyansky said in a video interview with the online publication UnHerd.

“If there are NATO contingents on those territories, those territories will be targets — or possible targets.”

“For decades, they and us lived as normal neighbors; if they suddenly choose to join a very unfriendly group, it’s up to them,” Polyansky said.

Ukraine’s ‘unacceptable’ alternative to European integration: official

The head of Zelensky’s office said the proposal for an alternative to European integration was “unacceptable” for Ukraine.

Andriy Yermak told an online meeting with European officials that Ukraine’s cooperation with the EU during the Russian invasion proved that the country was already part of the European team. Ukraine is determined to continue the integration process, he said.

“Ukraine must become part of a unified Europe as soon as possible. It is a matter of mutual security,” he added.

Republican senators delay passage of $40 billion Ukraine aid bill

U.S. Republican Senator Rand Paul defied the leaders of both major parties by single-handedly delaying approval of an additional $40 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine.

As the Senate prepares to debate and vote on a package of military and economic aid, Paul denied leaders were unanimous that they needed to go ahead.

The legislation has passed by an overwhelming majority Passed by the House of Representatives without the participation of all 100 senators, the bill must go through a lengthy legislative process in the upper house.

Paul called for changes to the legislation to require the inspector general to monitor spending in Ukraine. “This is Ukraine’s second spending bill in two months. And this bill is three times bigger than the first,” Paul said before formally blocking the aid package. “Congress just wants to keep spending and spending.”

Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul single-handedly denies quick passage of $40 billion Ukraine aid bill [File: Shawn Thew/Pool via AP]

Zelensky accuses Russia of ‘barbarism’

Zelensky has said that Russian troops attacked schools in the Chernihiv region.

“Of course, the Russian state is in such a state that any education will only hinder it. But what can be achieved by destroying Ukrainian schools? All Russian commanders who give such orders are sick and incurable,” he said.

Zelensky added that since the invasion began, the Russian military has damaged 570 medical facilities and completely destroyed 101 hospitals.

“What is that? This is stupidity. This is barbarism. This is the self-destruction of Russia as a country that anyone in the world can consider a literate country,” he said.

Zelensky says ready for talks with Putin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was ready for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and “we have to make a deal”, but without an ultimatum as a condition.

In an interview scheduled to air Thursday night, Zelensky told Italy’s RAI state television that Ukraine would never recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

“Crimea has always been autonomous, it has its own parliament, but within Ukraine,” Zelensky said in excerpts from the interview published by RAI.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukraine’s Zelensky says Ukraine will never recognize Crimea as part of Russia [File: Efrem Lukatsky/AP Photo]

Rocket attacks intensify in central Poltava: governor

The regional governor said the rocket attack on the Poltava region in central Ukraine “could be the most intense during the war”.

“[Thursday’s] The shelling of the Poltava region is probably the biggest during this all-out war,” Dmitry Lunin wrote in a Telegram post. “12 Russian missiles hit Russian infrastructure [the city of] Kremenchuk; most of them hit an oil refinery that couldn’t operate anyway. “

Lunin added: “Rescue crews are fighting the fire at the refinery. Fortunately, no one was injured.”

Ukraine warns against involvement in sale of ‘stolen’ grain

Ukraine’s foreign minister has said that everyone involved in the transport and sale of food seized by Russia in the occupied parts of the country will face legal consequences.

“I would like to remind the participants of this transaction: the stolen things have never brought joy to anyone. Everyone involved in the sale, transportation or purchase of stolen food is an accomplice in the crime,” the ministry’s press service quoted Dmytro Kuleba’s words.

Ukrainian officials said earlier this week that a Russian ship carrying seized Ukrainian grain had arrived in the Mediterranean, with Syria as its likely destination.

Two civilians killed in attack near Kharkiv, local officials say

At least two civilians were killed in shelling on the outskirts of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, local authorities said.

“The shelling left two dead and four wounded, two of them doctors. All of them are civilians,” Vyacheslav Zadorenko, the mayor of the suburban town of Derhachi, wrote in a Telegram post.

The attack also damaged a building housing humanitarian aid units, municipal offices and hospital facilities, he added.

Student killed in shelling of Russian village: report

A student at an architecture school in Russia’s village of Soloki, near the Ukrainian border, was killed in a shelling, a teacher told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

Nikolai Ignatenko was quoted as saying: “Russian Nifochev died in the shelling of the peaceful village of Soloki by the Ukrainian armed forces.”

Earlier, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, where Soloki was based, said at least one civilian had been killed and six others were injured in the shelling. Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov similarly blamed the Kyiv army for the attack, but it was unclear whether the civilian he was referring to was Nifochev.

White House supports any move by Finland and Sweden to join NATO

The White House has said it would support any move by Finland and Sweden to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“If Finland and/or Sweden apply, we will support NATO’s application. We will respect any decision they make,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Ukraine says its forces damaged Russian navy ship in Black Sea

A spokesman for the Odessa Regional Military Administration in southern Ukraine said Ukrainian troops damaged a modern Russian naval logistics ship in the Black Sea and set it on fire.

Spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk posted online that the Vsevolod Bobrov was hit near Snake Island, the scene of renewed fighting in recent days, without providing details.

The small island is located near Ukraine’s maritime border with Romania.

UN says more than 6 million refugees have fled Ukraine

More than 6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia started its invasion on February 24, UNHCR data show.

As of May 11, a total of 6,029,705 people had fled the country, the agency said.

According to the agency’s dedicated website, many went to neighbouring countries, with Poland hosting the most.

Ukrainian refugees
An elderly Ukrainian woman in a facility for Ukrainian refugees in Chisinau, Moldova, May 10 [File: Aurel Obreja/AP Photo]

Canada to deploy military generals and officers to new NATO force in Latvia

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will deploy a general and six staff officers to a new NATO force in Latvia that will help plan, coordinate and integrate regional military activities.

Trudeau told reporters at a joint news conference with Latvian Prime Minister Chris Janis Karins that the general and staff would “be part of the first force of its kind”. “It will serve as an important part of our enhanced NATO defense and deterrence capabilities.”

Canada deploys nearly 700 members of its armed forces in Latvia, a small Baltic country bordering Russia. Cullins welcomed Canada’s participation in the new “multi-agency headquarters” there.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s ongoing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all updates for Thursday, May 12 here.

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