Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 24

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Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 24

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For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

5:30 a.m.: In an interview with Deutsche Welle German, Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and called on Russian President to stop the war. 

 

Scholz also said the European Union and United States are trying to convince oil and gas-producing countries to increase their production to help lower global fuel prices, Reuters reported.  

“It is necessary that we start to increase the supply with gas, with fuel, with all the things to make it feasible for the countries to pay for their bill,” Scholz was quoted as saying, asked about an U.S.-EU initiative mentioned by his economy minister. “We are now discussing with all these countries that are exploring oil and gas and trying to convince them to increase their capacities, so this would help the world market.”  

Scholz began a three-nation visit to Africa on Sunday that also is focused on the geopolitical consequences of the war in Ukraine. The Associated Press has the story. 

5:20 a.m.: One of President Vladimir Putin’s top security officials said Tuesday that Russia would achieve its objectives in Ukraine without being constrained by deadlines, Reuters reported.

“All the goals set by the President will be fulfilled. It cannot be otherwise,” Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper. “We are not chasing deadlines,” Patrushev added. 

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a “special military operation” to “denazify” and “demilitarize” its neighbor. But Russian forces have encountered multiple setbacks and suffered significant losses during the three-month campaign. 

4:30 a.m.: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged other governments to send more weapons more quickly to aid Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces.

 

4:00 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden met with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, Tuesday and said the conflict in Ukraine “is more than just a European issue, it’s a global issue.”

Citing the widespread effects of the conflict, including on the global food supply, Biden pledged ongoing U.S. support, saying, “as long as Russia continues the war, the United States will work with our partners to help be the global response, because it’s going to affect all parts of the world.”

Biden said the conflict in Ukraine demonstrates the importance of international order, adding that, “international law, human rights must always be defended regardless of where they’re violated in the world.”

3:30 a.m.: Russian gas producer Gazprom GAZP.MM said it continues to supply gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point, with volumes on Tuesday seen at 46.1 million cubic meters (mcm), up from 43 mcm on Monday, Reuters reported.

An application to supply gas via the main Sokhranovka entry point was rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said. However, Ukraine’s state gas transit operator says Gazprom has reduced booked transit capacity for May 24 to 44.96 million cubic meters from 66.26 mcm booked earlier, Reuters said.

2:30 a.m.: Britain is in discussions with Ukraine about how to help get grain out of the country after Russia blocked its main sea ports, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Shapps said he was very concerned about the issue, which has seen global food prices soar as Ukraine is unable to export nearly 25 million tons of grains, and met Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksander Kubrakov last week. “We were discussing details which I can’t go into but about how infrastructure could be in place to ensure the grain leaves,” Shapps told Sky News.

“We’re looking at all the different options … there are lots of different potential ways to get grain and other goods out of the country,” he said. “It’s absolutely essential that we do, otherwise there could be a lot of hunger and indeed even famine.”

 

1:40 a.m.: Australia’s Prime Minister Antony Albanese said on Tuesday “strong views” were expressed on Russia in the Quad leaders meeting, Reuters reported.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Albanese said Russia’s “unilateral” attack on the people of Ukraine was an outrage. “Strong views were expressed in the meeting,” he added. “That was obviously discussed you will see the reference in the leaders’ statement,” Australia’s foreign affairs minister Penny Wong said.

Asked about U.S. President Joe Biden’s comments this week on Taiwan, Albanese said there was “no change” in Australia’s position on Taiwan. “There should be no unilateral change to the status quo,” he said.

Australia’s new prime minister was sworn in Monday before flying to Japan for talks with U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders. For VOA, Phil Mercer has the story.

1:10 a.m.: The British defense ministry said Tuesday that Russia has increased intensity of operations in Donbas as it seeks to encircle Severodonetsk, Lyschansk, and Rubizhne. “At present the northern and southern axes of this operation are separated by approximately 25 km of Ukrainian-held territory,” the ministry said in a daily report posted on Twitter.

 

1:00 a.m.: As Ukraine marks three months since the start of the Russian invasion, residents in the capital of Kyiv have commemorated those who have been lost since the start of the conflict, The Associated Press reported.

A lawn in a square in the capital has been strewn with small Ukrainian flags, put out in tribute to those who have lost their lives since the fighting broke out on February 24. A monument displays the message “Ukrainians killed by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin” with the number 7,463 written below.

Also in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in a ceremony to launch a series of anti-war postage stamps.

The first stamp depicts the sinking of a Russian warship in April. The stamps were put into circulation by the Ukrainian Post; there will be 5 million in all.

12:35 a.m.: Russian forces are stepping up their offensive on the last pocket of resistance around Lugansk in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, Agence France-Presse reported.

 

12:30 a.m.: Analyst APK-Inform, an information and analytical agency, raised its forecasts for Ukraine’s 2022/23 grain crop and exports because of a better-than-expected winter harvest on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Ukraine could harvest 48.3 million tons of grain in 2022, including almost 17.1 million tons of wheat and 25.2 million tons of corn, the consultancy agency said in a statement.

APK-Inform said 2022/23 exports could also rise to 39.4 million tons versus the previous outlook of 33.2 million tons.

The agency however revised down its forecast for Ukraine’s sunflower oil output by around 7% to 5.3 million tons despite the unchanged outlook of the 2022 sunflower harvest at 9.2 million tons. Ukraine harvested 16.6 million tons of sunflower seeds last year.

Ukraine is the world’s largest sunflower seed grower and sunflower oil exporter, but its invasion by Russia in February and the heavy fighting since have clouded the outlook for planting and exports.

12:15 a.m.: About 20 countries are sending new security assistance packages for Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said after concluding the second meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

“Many countries are donating critically needed artillery ammunition, coastal defense systems, tanks and other armored vehicles. Others came forward with new commitments for training Ukraine’s forces and sustaining its military systems,” Austin told reporters at the Pentagon Monday. VOA’s Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.

 

12:01 a.m.: Through photos, videos, charts, and analysis, The Guardian documents “Russia’s use of illegal weapons” during the invasion of Ukraine.

“The Guardian has visited the small towns and villages north of Kyiv razed to the ground during the Russian occupation and reviewed evidence found there — as well as other materials from Ukrainian prosecutors — of imprecise munitions such as the FAB-250, metal dart shells and cluster bombs whose use led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians.”

 

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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