On the 85th day of the conflict, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers, who were entrenched in the Azovstal mineral complex in Mariupol, had surrendered. US President Joe Biden meets with Swedish and Finnish leaders after they formally applied for NATO membership. Kyiv announced Wednesday evening that the Russian bombing had caused the deaths of “at least 15 civilians,” and a new war crimes trial was opened. Here’s what to remember from the situation in Ukraine on Thursday.
- Moscow says 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers from Azovstal have surrendered
- A second trial for war crimes opened in Ukraine
- At least 15 civilians were killed in Russian bombing in the east of the country, according to Kyiv
- A meeting between Joe Biden and Swedish and Finnish leaders and NATO candidates
- 34 French diplomats expelled from Russia
- Listen to Radio France’s daily podcast, “War in Ukraine” here
The situation on the military front
Moscow says 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers from Azovstal have surrendered
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers holed up at the Azovstal steel site in Mariupol have surrendered since Monday. “Over the past 24 hours, 771 fighters of the Azov National Regiment went to the Azovstal steel site in Mariupol. In total since May 16, 1,730 fighters, including 80 wounded, have been capturedThe ministry said in a statement.
According to a pro-Russian separatist leader, “The commanders and high-ranking fighters of the Azov regiment are not out yet“From this last stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance Mariupol. According to him, there are still a thousand personnel of this integrated paramilitary unit of the Ukrainian army hiding there. A figure already announced by Kyiv last week. And on the streets of the Ukrainian capital, residents on Wednesday hailed “Superman“From this steel complex. But their fate is not settled: Ukraine wants to organize an exchange of prisoners of war, but Russia has repeatedly indicated that it considers at least some of them not soldiers, but neo-Nazi fighters.
The complete capture of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, would constitute an important advance for Russia. It would allow it to connect Crimea (in the south), which Moscow annexed in 2014, to parts of Donbass (in the east) already in the hands of pro-Russian separatists. “The Russians fly to Mariupol. The occupiers are now trying to put up the commercial port in order to export millions of dollars’ worth of grain and mineral products.“In particular, the Mariupol Municipal Council argued in Telegram.
According to a US official, he spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity.Russian officials admit that despite claiming to be the “liberators” of the Russian-speaking city of Mariupol, Russian forces are committing dangerous acts in the city, including beating and electrocuting city officials, and looting homes.“.”Russian officials are concerned that these actions may incite the residents of Mariupol to resist the Russian occupation‘, he completed.
At least 15 Ukrainian civilians killed in eastern explosions
in eastern UkraineThe occupiers bombed 43 towns in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions‘causing death’At least 15 civilians”, said the Ukrainian army in the evening. The Russians are trying to break through near Popasna and in the direction of Severodonetsk, one of the main cities in the hands of the Ukrainians in this region, a senior local official warned. The state – the Ukrainian major explained Thursday morning that “occupants“launched an attack and carried out assaults near Severodonetsk”But they did not succeed“.
The Russian army seeksCircle“and for”beats“Ukrainian units”For full control of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kherson regionsThe Ukrainian Defense Ministry has indicated that eastern Ukraine has been a priority target for Russian forces since their withdrawal from the vicinity of the Ukrainian capital at the end of March.
The diplomatic situation and international reactions
A meeting between Joe Biden and Swedish and Finnish leaders and NATO candidates
US President Joe Biden met Thursday with Swedish and Finnish leaders who are knocking on NATO’s door to protect themselves from Moscow. The Atlantic alliance has been on the list on both sides of the ocean since its Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is scheduled to discuss midday in Copenhagen with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, whose country has been a member of NATO since 1949.
“I warmly welcome and strongly support the historic nominations of Finland and SwedenUS President Joe Biden said, according to Executive spokeswoman Karen-Jean-Pierre, that he will receive Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the White House Thursday morning.
While waiting for this membership process to be completed—which can take several months and require member consensus—”The United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant to any threat to our common security and to deter and respond to any aggression or threat of aggression.‘ Hit the White House.
Kremlin expels 34 French diplomats
In response to France’s expulsion of 41 Russians in April, the Kremlin announced Wednesday the expulsion of 34 French diplomats. They have two weeks to leave Russia. The French Foreign Ministry condemned the Russian response, noting that Paris had been expelled.Several dozen Russian customers“, While “On the other hand, the work of diplomats and employees of our embassy in Russia falls fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.“.”The decision of the Russian authorities has no legal basisDenouncing French diplomacy.
Russian soldier on trial and asks for ‘pardon’, another war crimes trial begins
The first war crimes trial on Ukrainian soil, the trial of a Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian, resumed Thursday in Kyiv, after a first hearing the day before, during which Vadim Chichymarin, 21, pleaded guilty. On Thursday, he apologized to the wife of the 62-year-old who was shot dead in northeastern Ukraine on February 28 while pushing his bike while on the phone. “I know you won’t be able to forgive you, but I beg your pardon”The non-commissioned officer said during an exchange with Katerina Shelipova.
On Thursday, another trial for war crimes began in the northeast of the country: the trial of Two Russian soldiers accused of firing missiles at civilian infrastructure in the Kharkiv region, the second largest city in the country. On its website, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine said that it has already opened more than 12,000 war crimes investigations, while international institutions are conducting their own investigations into violations committed since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
G7 meeting to finance Ukraine
On the economic front, the G7 finance ministers meet in Germany on Thursday and Friday to monitor the Ukrainian economy and study the global consequences of the war. First emergency: to cover the Ukrainian budget for the current quarter to sustain the war effort. “I am very optimistic that we, together with the G7, will be able to raise the funds that will allow Ukraine to defend itself over the next few months,” Announced at the opening of the discussions Christian Lindner, German Finance Minister. In the long run, with the war continuing to destroy a large part of the Ukrainian lands, Thinking is already underway about aid to rebuild the country. Avenues of financing were mentioned, such as the use of Russian assets frozen under Western sanctions.
Humanitarian situation and solidarity with Ukrainians
More than six million refugees have left Ukraine
More than six million Ukrainians have fled their country since the start of the invasion launched by the Russian army on February 24, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in Geneva on Thursday. As of May 11, 6,029,705 Ukrainians had first sought asylum in neighboring countries before continuing their journey, according to the UNHCR website. Poland hosts by far the largest number of refugees (3,272,943 as of May 11).
Women and children represent 90% of these refugeesmen between the ages of 18 and 60, who are likely to be mustered, and have no right to leave.