- The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian troops were withdrawing from the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin told Finland it would be a “mistake” to join NATO.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “very complex negotiations” were ongoing with Russia to get fighter jets out of the besieged Azov Starr factory in Mariupol.
- Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive near the Russian-held town of Izium, striking a key axis of Russia’s offensive in the east.
- Russia will suspend power supply to Finland from Saturday amid tensions over an expected Finnish bid for NATO, a supplier said.
Here are all the latest updates:
Ukraine wins Eurovision Song Contest with Kalush Orchestra’s “Stefania”
Ukraine has won the Eurovision Song Contest, garnering waves of public support for the troubled nation across Europe, buoyed by infectious folk hip-hop melodies.
Kalush Orchestra’s song “Stefania” beat 24 contestants in Saturday’s final round of the world’s biggest live music event. The winning song, sung in Ukrainian, blends rap with traditional folk music and is a tribute to the mother of the band’s lead singer Oleh Psiuk.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent a message of good luck earlier in the evening, saying it would be hugely symbolic if the Karush Orchestra wins.
“For us today, any victory is very important,” he said in an evening speech.
Russia was left out of the Turin match due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Large convoy from Mariupol arrives to safety, refugees talk of ‘devastating’ escape
A large convoy of cars and vans carrying refugees from the ruins of Mariupol arrived in the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporozhye after days of waiting for Russian troops to allow them to leave.
Refugees arriving on Saturday first had to leave Mariupol and then somehow make their way to Berdyansk (about 80 kilometers west of the coast) and other settlements, and then another 200 kilometers northwest to Zaporozhye.
Nikolai Pavlov, 74, said he lived in the basement for a month after his apartment was destroyed. A relative managed to take him from Mariupol to Berdyansk using a “secret detour”.
“We barely made it, there were a lot of old people among us… the trip was devastating. But it was worth it,” he said after the convoy arrived in the dark.
An aide to the mayor of Mariupol said earlier that the convoy, with 500 to 1,000 cars, was the largest evacuation of the city since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Ambassador says Russian diplomats in US threatened by FBI, CIA: TASS
Russian diplomats in Washington are being threatened with violence and U.S. intelligence services are trying to get in touch with them, Russia’s TASS news agency reported, citing Moscow’s ambassador to the United States.
“It’s like a besieged fortress. Basically, our embassy is operating in a hostile environment… embassy employees are being threatened, including threats of physical violence,” TASS quoted Anatoly The words of Ambassador Antonov on Saturday.
“U.S. security agents hang out outside the Russian embassy, handing out CIA and FBI phone numbers that can be called to establish contact,” the ambassador told TASS.
Russia and the United States have been at odds over the size and functioning of their respective diplomatic missions since before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell meets Zelensky
The top U.S. Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, and other Republican senators made an unannounced visit to Kyiv and met with the Ukrainian president for talks.
McConnell was accompanied by Senators Susan Collins, John Barrasso and John Cornyn.
Zelensky praised the visit as a strong signal of U.S. bipartisan support for Ukraine and a strengthening of relations between the two countries.
“We discussed many areas of support for our country, including defense and finance, as well as strengthening sanctions against Russia,” Zelensky said in a video address, adding that he stressed to senators the need to designate Russia for terrorist states.
McConnell is urging Republican Senator Rand Paul to end his opposition to a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, which has overwhelming support from both major U.S. political parties.
Ukrainian band pleads for Mariupol on Eurovision
Ukraine’s Karush Orchestra made a plea at the end of the Eurovision Song Contest for the city of Mariupol and the fighters who stood at the Azovstad steel plant.
“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal now,” frontman Oleh Psiuk shouted in front of the stage in the Italian city of Turin after the band sang “Stefania.”
Russian troops have bombed the steel mill in the southern port of Mariupol, the last bastion of hundreds of Ukrainian defenders in the city, which is almost completely under Russian control after a siege of more than two months.
In a video address released before the performance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he believed the Kalush Orchestra would win.
“Europe, vote for the Karush Orchestra, (song) No. 12! Let’s support our countrymen! Let’s support Ukraine!” he said, clenching his fists.
Putin tells Finnish president: Joining NATO would be a ‘mistake’
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart that it would be “a mistake” to join NATO after Moscow earlier cut power to the Nordic country.
“Putin stressed that ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake because Finland’s security is not at risk,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.
“This change in the country’s political orientation could have a negative impact on the Russian-Finnish relations that have developed over the years in a spirit of good-neighborliness and partnership,” it said.
read more here.
Russia denies Ukrainian forces damaged naval ships in Black Sea
Russia has dismissed Ukraine’s claims that it damaged a modern naval logistics ship in the Black Sea, showing pictures of what it said showed no signs of damage.
In an online post, the Russian Defense Ministry released pictures of the ship purportedly taken in the Crimean Black Sea port of Sevastopol.
“It is now clear from the photos that the ship was not damaged at all,” it said.
Military authorities in the southern region of Odessa said the Ukrainian navy attacked Vsevolod Bobrov, setting it on fire.
Medvedev refutes G7’s support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has dismissed a G7 statement that it would “forever” not recognize border changes brought about by Moscow’s war with Ukraine.
“To put it mildly, our country doesn’t care that the G7 doesn’t recognize the new border,” he said on a Telegram channel.
Medvedev believes that the will of the people living in a region is what counts, calling the G7 commitment to continue arms supplies to Ukraine a continuation of its “secret war against Russia.”
Situation in Donbas region still very difficult: Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in the Donbas region remained very difficult, adding that Russian troops were still trying to show some kind of victory.
“On the 80th day of the full-scale invasion, it seemed especially crazy, but they didn’t stop working,” he said in a late-night video address.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s ongoing coverage of the war in Ukraine.Read all updates for Saturday, May 14 here.