kyiv “will not accept” any ceasefire until Russian troops withdraw

Finland and Sweden are asking to join NATO, giving up generations of neutrality lest Russia stop in Ukraine, where the fighting stretches into their 85th day.

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that “until Russia is ready to completely liberate the occupied territories, our negotiating team is made up of weapons, sanctions and money.” (AP)

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ukraine: “Don’t offer us a ceasefire”

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country would not accept any ceasefire until all Russian troops had withdrawn.

“Don’t offer us a ceasefire – it’s impossible without a full Russian troop withdrawal,” Mykhailo Podolyak, who has been involved in several rounds of talks with Russia, wrote on Twitter. In a reference to a 2015 peace accord for eastern Ukraine brokered by France and Germany and signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk, Podolyak wrote: “Ukraine is not interested in the new ‘Minsk’ and the resumption of war in a few years”.

Several Ukrainian officials have recently issued similar statements. Podolyak did not specify what would constitute a “total” withdrawal. He added that “until Russia is ready to completely liberate the occupied territories, our negotiating team is made up of weapons, sanctions and money.”

‘No shortcuts’ to Ukraine’s EU membership: Scholz

Ukraine’s bid for EU membership cannot be fast-tracked despite Russian offensive, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says, adding bloc must find ‘quick and pragmatic’ way to help Kyiv .

“There are no shortcuts on the way to the EU,” Scholz said, adding that an exception for Ukraine would be unfair to Western Balkan countries that also want to join. “The accession process is not a matter of months or years,” he said.

Kyiv complains of ‘second-class treatment’ by ‘some EU capitals’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has criticized the “second-class treatment” of Kyiv by some EU countries, after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the war-torn country’s bid to join the block could not be accelerated.

“The strategic ambiguity over Ukraine’s European perspective practiced by some EU capitals over the past few years has failed and must end,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

He slammed Ukraine’s “second-class treatment” which he said “hurts the feelings of Ukrainians”.

Red Cross registers hundreds of Ukrainian POWs from Mariupol

The International Red Cross claims to have registered “hundreds” of Ukrainian prisoners of war who left the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

The Red Cross said in a statement that the operation continued on Wednesday and was still ongoing. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was not transporting them to the places where they are being held, which are in separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.

“The registration process facilitated by the ICRC involves the individual filling out a form with personal details such as name, date of birth and next of kin,” he said. “This information allows the ICRC to follow those captured and help them stay in touch with their families.

No nukes or NATO bases on Finnish soil, PM tells newspaper

Finland does not want NATO to deploy nuclear weapons or set up military bases on its territory even if Finland becomes a member, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told an Italian newspaper in an interview.

“I think at this stage it is important to remain calm, to have discussions with Turkey and all other member countries, to answer questions that may exist and to correct any misunderstandings,” Marin told the daily. Italian Corriere della Sera.

Marin also said the issue of NATO deploying nuclear weapons or opening bases in Finland was not part of the Helsinki membership talks with the Western military alliance. “I also don’t think there’s any point in deploying nuclear weapons or opening NATO bases in Finland,” she said.

Poland will help Sweden and Finland if they are attacked before joining NATO

Poland will help Sweden and Finland, if they are attacked before gaining NATO membership, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said.

“I consider the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO as an important signal of strengthening security in Europe,” he told a conference.

“I would like to make it clear that in the event of an attack on Sweden or Finland during their (process) of accession, Poland will come to their aid.”

Russia says 771 Ukrainian fighters surrendered from Azovstal plant in past 24 hours – RIA

The Russian Defense Ministry said 771 Ukrainian fighters surrendered from Azovstal steelworks to Mariupol in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,730 since Monday, RIA reports.

The ministry said 80 of them were injured, RIA reported.

Hundreds of Ukrainian fighters surrendered from the maze of bunkers and tunnels under the factory, although Moscow and kyiv gave different estimates of the numbers.

Japan to double aid to Ukraine to $600 million

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his country would double its financial aid to Ukraine to $600 million to support the country badly damaged by the Russian offensive.

Japan will provide the additional $300 million through the World Bank to help Ukraine’s financial difficulties due to the Russian offensive, Kishida said.

The announcement comes ahead of Japan hosting US President Joe Biden and two other leaders for a regional strategic framework known as the Quad Summit and bilateral meetings next week, when Kishida is expected to focus on the Japanese support for Ukraine.

Ukraine bombs Kursk village in Russia, killing one

Ukrainian forces shelled a border village in western Russia’s Kursk region at dawn, killing at least one civilian and wounding others, regional governor Roman Starovoit said.

Shells hit an alcohol factory in the village of Tyotkino and several other buildings, Starovoit wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“Another enemy attack on Tyotkino, which took place at dawn, unfortunately ended in tragedy. At the moment, we know of at least one civilian death,” Starovoit said, adding that others have been injured and are receiving medical treatment.

Zelenskyy: Russia made ‘catastrophic mistakes’ in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “catastrophic mistakes” were made by Russia in its military aggression against Ukraine.

Speaking during his nightly address from Kyiv, Zelenskyy said the Russian military may have started using laser weapon systems due to a lack of missiles.

“This clearly indicates the complete failure of the invasion,” he said, adding that the Russian military fired missiles at Mykolaiv and also at Dnipro on Wednesday.

Russia uses the prototype of a new laser weapon

Russia has started using the prototype of a new laser weapon in Ukraine capable of hitting a target 5 kilometers away, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.

State news agency Tass quoted Borisov as saying on state television that the prototype of a new laser weapon was tested against a drone on Tuesday and incinerated it in five seconds.

Borisov said a new generation of laser weapons will eventually allow Russia to retain its expensive long-range missiles.

Turkey: The conflict in Ukraine must end to prevent the hunger crisis from worsening

Türkiye called for international collaboration to ensure the fighting in Ukraine does not worsen the hunger crisis.

Speaking at a high-level ministerial meeting on “Global Food Security – Call for Action” at the United Nations, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine poses a challenge important “because both countries are the world’s main food suppliers and diminishing their ability to produce and export will have a direct impact on global food security.”

“We need international collaboration to ensure that this war does not aggravate the hunger crisis. This is yet another reason why we must end this war and we must work for the peaceful resolution of the conflicts,” Cavusoglu said.

For live updates from Wednesday, May 18, click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies