Michael Novakhov’s favorite articles on Inoreader
NPR News: 05-13-2023 1PM EDT
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Russia’s defence ministry on Thursday denied reports that Ukrainian forces had broken through in various places along the front lines and said the military situation was under control.
Moscow reacted after Russian military bloggers, writing on Telegram, reported what they said were Ukrainian advances north and south of the city of Bakhmut, with some suggesting a long-awaited counter offensive by pro-Kyiv forces had started.
* President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion force had yet to start even as his generals claimed some of their biggest battlefield successes in months.
* A Ukrainian brigade commander fighting in the ruins of Bakhmut said Russian mercenary forces have stepped up shelling and artillery attacks in recent days and were not facing a munitions shortage, despite its chief’s claims to the contrary.
* Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Thursday that the situation on the flanks near the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut was unfolding in line with the “worst of all expected scenarios”.
* A Ukrainian drone attacked an oil storage depot in the Russian border region of Bryansk, the local governor said on Thursday. There were no casualties.
* Russia’s military operation against Ukraine is “very difficult” but certain goals have been achieved, Tass news agency cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.
* Officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations on Thursday discussed U.N. proposals on a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain, which Moscow has threatened to quit on May 18 over obstacles to its own grain and fertilizer exports.
* The United States envoy to South Africa said he was confident that a Russian ship had picked up weapons in South Africa, in a possible breach of Pretoria’s declared neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.
* South Africa has undertaken to institute an independent inquiry led by a retired judge into an alleged arms shipment to Russia, South Africa’s presidency said on Thursday.
* The United States has serious concerns about the docking of a sanctioned Russian cargo vessel at a South African naval port in December last year and has raised those concerns directly with multiple South African officials, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters.
* The European Union has not observed any significant smuggling of weapons into Europe from wartime Ukraine, the European Commission’s top internal affairs official said during a visit to Kyiv.
* Britain has supplied Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles, a Western official said, which would allow its forces to hit Russian troops and logistics hubs deep behind the front line.
* Ukraine has received $16.7 billion in financial aid from its Western partners so far this year, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said on Thursday.
* The EU is discussing its 11th package of sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine, meant to focus on those circumventing existing trade restrictions.
* Germany led calls urging caution against targeting China under new EU sanctions, five diplomatic sources said.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican on Saturday, diplomatic sources said.
* Lawmakers accused the Pentagon of effectively undermining war crimes prosecution of Russia by blocking the sharing of U.S. military intelligence with the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday said he had approved a plan to reform criminal and law enforcement systems, a key element in plans to secure quick membership of the European Union.
* Ukraine raised record proceeds from selling small state assets in the first quarter of this year despite Russia’s invasion and aims to privatise thousands more in an economic overhaul, the head of the State Property Fund said.
* Two Russian soldiers from Kamchatka in the far east have been sentenced to two-and-a-half years each in prison for refusing to fight in Ukraine, human rights group OVD-Info said.
* INSIGHT-Communities torn as Ukraine turns its back on Moscow-linked church.
* INSIGHT-How Russians end up in a far-right militia fighting in Ukraine.
* EXCLUSIVE-Turkey defers $600 mln Russian energy payment -sources
* EXCLUSIVE-Oilfield firm SLB retrenches as Russia sanctions squeeze
* FOCUS-Why eastern Europe’s grain producers face a perfect storm
* INSIGHT-Ukraine farms lose workers to war, complicating tough harvest
* ANALYSIS-Russia’s mercenary boss deepens fog of Ukraine war while deflecting blame
* COLUMN-Global ammunition race may decide Ukraine war
Sky News military analyst Michael Clarke takes a look at the latest skirmishes along the frontline in eastern Ukraine and asks whether they are probing attacks by Kyiv ahead of the much-anticipated offensive?
#ukrainescreen #stormshadow #ukrainemissile #bakhmut
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1. VIDEO NEWS from Michael_Novakhov (74 sites)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived at the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Francis on Saturday.
It was the first time Zelenskyy has met the Pope since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Pope Francis greeted Zelenskyy at the doorway to the Paul VI audience hall and walked with him into his study there. (AP)
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By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy held talks at the Vatican on Saturday with Pope Francis, who said in late April that the Holy See was involved in a peace mission to end the war with Russia.
“It is a great honour,” Zelenskiy told Francis, putting his hand to his heart and bowing his head as he greeted the 86-year-old pope, who stood with a cane, a brief video of the encounter seen by reporters showed.
Earlier on Saturday, Zelenskiy also met Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who promised full military and financial backing for Ukraine and reiterated support for its EU membership bid.
Zelenskiy, who was visiting Rome for the first time since the war began, spoke with the pope for 40 minutes and presented him with a bulletproof vest that had been used by a Ukrainian soldier and later painted with an image of the Madonna.
A Vatican statement about the meeting was due later.
Zelenskiy last met the pope at the Vatican in 2020 and the two have had several phone conversations since the war began.
At the start of the war, the pope tried to take a balanced approach in hopes of being a mediator but later began forcefully condemning Russia’s actions, comparing them to some of the worst crimes against Ukraine during the Soviet era.
Returning from a trip to Hungary on April 30, Francis made an intriguing but puzzling comment about the Vatican being involved in a mission to try to end the war. “There is a mission in course now but it is not yet public. When it is public, I will reveal it,” he told reporters during his flight home.
Francis met this week with Russia’s outgoing ambassador to the Vatican, Alexander Avdeyev, and the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported that the Vatican may have given the envoy a letter for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
PLEAS FOR PEACE
Francis has pleaded for peace practically on a weekly basis, and has repeatedly expressed a wish to act as a broker between Kyiv and Moscow. His offer has so far failed to produce any breakthrough.
The pope has a standing invitation from Zelenskiy to visit Kyiv but has said previously that he also wants to visit Moscow as part of the same peace mission.
Zelenskiy and his team have been vigorously promoting Kyiv’s 10-point peace plan and urging world leaders to hold a Global Peace Summit based on the proposals.
It calls for restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities, and the restoration of Ukraine’s state borders. Zelenskiy has repeatedly said the plan is not open to negotiations.
The pope has said the Vatican is willing to do “all that is humanly possible” to help the repatriation of Ukrainian children. Kyiv estimates nearly 19,500 children have been taken to Russia or Russian-occupied Crimea since February 2022, in what it condemns as illegal deportations.
Earlier, both Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella reiterated Italy’s full support for Ukraine in terms of military, financial, humanitarian and reconstruction aid in the short and long term.
At a news conference, Meloni condemned Russia’s “brutal and unjust aggression,” pledged Italy’s support for Ukraine for “as long as is necessary,” and urged Russia to immediately withdraw.
“You can’t achieve peace through a surrender,” she said. “It would be a very grave precedent for all nations of the world”.
She emphasised Italy’s support for Ukraine’s membership of the European Union and the “intensification” of a partnership with NATO.
As he headed to the presidential palace, Zelenskiy’s motorcade passed by small groups of people holding Ukrainian flags. One person held up a sign condemning Russia.
Zelenskiy flew to Rome on an Italian government plane that was escorted over Italian airspace by fighter jets. He was due to be received in Berlin on Sunday.
(Reporting by Philip PullellaAdditional reporting by Olena Harmash, Max Hunder, Gavin Jones and Giselda VagnoniEditing by Grant McCool, Frances Kerry and Helen Popper)
Disclaimer: This report is auto generated from the Reuters news service. ThePrint holds no responsibilty for its content.
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