Zelensky says Ukraine war will only end with diplomacy

 Zelensky says Ukraine war will only end with diplomacy


The end of fighting in Mariupol, the biggest city Russia has captured, could be crucial to its ambitions in Donbas. It gives Russian President Vladimir Putin a rare victory after a series of setbacks in nearly three months of combat.

The last Ukrainian forces holed up Mariupol’s vast Azovstal steelworks surrendered on Friday, Russia said.

In an aerial view, uninhabitable apartment buildings stand in a former frontline neighborhood on May 21, 2022 in Kharkiv.

In an aerial view, uninhabitable apartment buildings stand in a former frontline neighborhood on May 21, 2022 in Kharkiv.Credit:Getty Images

Full control of Mariupol gives Russia command of a land route linking the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow seized in 2014, with mainland Russia and areas of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russia separatists.

Ukrainian forces in the separatist-controlled regions of Luhansk and Donetsk said on Saturday they had repelled nine attacks and destroyed five tanks and 10 other armored vehicles in the previous 24 hours.

Russian forces were using aircraft, artillery, tanks, rockets, mortars and missiles along the entire front line to attack civilian structures and residential areas, the Ukrainians said in a Facebook post. At least seven people were killed in the Donetsk region, they said.

Russian troops destroyed a bridge on the Siverskiy Donets River between Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said. There was fighting on the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk from morning through the night, he said on the Telegram messaging app.

Sievierodonetsk and its twin Lysychansk across the Siverskiy Donets River form the eastern part of a Ukrainian-held pocket that Russia has been trying to overrun since mid-April after failing to capture Kyiv.

Gas dispute

Russia’s state gas company, Gazprom, said it halted gas exports to Finland, which refused Moscow’s demands to pay in rubles for Russian gas after Western countries imposed sanctions on the invasion.

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Finland and Sweden applied this week to join the NATO military alliance.

Finnish state-owned gas wholesaler Gasum, the Finnish government and individual gas consuming companies in Finland have said they were prepared for a shutdown of Russian flows.

Most European supply contracts are denominated in euros or dollars. Last month, Moscow cut off gas to Bulgaria and Poland after they refused to comply with the new terms.

Western nations also have stepped up weapons supplies to Ukraine. On Saturday, Kyiv got another huge boost when US President Joe Biden signed a bill to provide nearly $ US40 billion in military, economic and humanitarian aid.

Moscow says Western sanctions, along with arms deliveries for Kyiv, amount to a “proxy war” by the United States and its allies.

The Russian military said it had destroyed a major consignment of Western arms in Ukraine’s Zhytomyr region, west of Kyiv, using sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles. Reuters could not independently verify the report.

Thousands of people in Ukraine have been killed in the war that has displaced millions and shattered cities.

Reuters



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