- Ukraine says at least 14 civilians were killed and 15 others injured in Russian attacks in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
- The governor of Luhansk claims the situation there is getting “worse with every hour” amid increased Russian shelling.
- The head of Ukraine’s president’s office states Kyiv will not cede any territory to Russia and adds “there is only way to prevent the war in Ukraine from escalating into a continental and even world war – to help Ukraine win”.
- The United States declares joint Russia-China military exercises demonstrate Beijing is still committed to its partnership with Moscow despite the invasion of Ukraine.
- Washington will end an exemption allowing Moscow to pay its foreign debts with dollars held in Russia.
Here are all the latest updates:
Four missiles launched at Zaporizhzhia: Government
Four cruise missiles were launched at the region of Zaporizhzhia early on Wednesday morning, with one having been shot down by Ukraine’s air defences, the region’s military administration reports.
“Today, on May 25, at 05:13 the Russian troops launched four cruise missiles across Zaporizhzhia. One of them was shot down by our air defence. The affected area is currently being inspected and appropriate services are working at the scene,” the post on Telegram said.
An air raid siren was activated across the region in the morning and residents said they had heard explosions. One posted on Twitter that a missile had hit someone’s home.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify this information.
Ukraine Siren Alert [25/05/2022]
— Ukraine Siren Alerts (@UkraineAlert) May 25, 2022
India allows duty-free imports of crude soyoil, crude sunflower oil
India has allowed duty-free imports of 2 million tonnes each of crude soyoil and crude sunflower oil for the current and the next fiscal year to March 2024, a government order has said, as part of efforts to keep a lid on local prices.
India imports more than two-thirds of its edible oil needs and a sharp drop in the supplies of sunflower from the Black Sea region has stoked local prices.
The Black Sea accounts for around 60% of the world’s sunflower oil output and 76% of exports, while Argentina, Brazil and the United States are the key soyoil suppliers to India.
“India’s soyoil imports will rise in the coming months, but sunoil imports are unlikely to rise as Russia and Argentina have limited stocks,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm.
Russia shells Kherson, blames Ukraine: Army
Ukraine’s army says that Russian forces are regularly shelling areas in the now-occupied Kherson region while blaming Ukraine for the raids.
“The occupying authorities and the Russian army are trying to force local residents to cooperate or agree to the occupation,” Ukraine’s Operational Command South added about Kherson in a Facebook post Wednesday morning.
“According to reports, they intend to mobilise Ukrainians from the occupied territories of the Kherson region for a war against Ukraine. This is a gross violation of the Geneva Convention and qualifies as a war crime,” the army added.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify these claims.
Blinken criticises Moscow’s rejection of Navalny’s appeal
Antony Blinken has criticised a Moscow court for rejecting opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s appeal against a nine-year sentence, saying it was another example of the “Kremlin’s quest to suppress dissent and civil society”.
“We respect the brave citizens of Russia who protest their government’s brutal war and endemic corruption, despite threats, criminal charges, detentions and poisonings,” Blinken said in a tweet.
Navalny is serving nine years for alleged fraud and contempt of court – charges he denies as fabricated to thwart his political ambitions.
The denial of Navalny’s appeal is another example of the Kremlin’s quest to suppress dissent and civil society. We respect the brave citizens of Russia who protest their government’s brutal war and endemic corruption, despite threats, criminal charges, detentions and poisonings.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 24, 2022
Intercepted conversations show Russian soldiers think war futile: Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy has said that intercepted conversations of Russian soldiers in Donbas indicate they are aware of the senselessness of the war.
“Now the situation in Donbas is extremely difficult. In fact, all the strength the Russian army still has was thrown there to attack. Lyman, Popasna, Severodonetsk, Sloviansk,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime address.
“But in the interceptions of their conversations, we hear that they are well aware that this war does not make sense for Russia and that strategically their army stands no chance,” he added.
He said it would take time and “a lot of extraordinary efforts” for Ukraine to “break through” the superior equipment and weapons systems of Russia’s forces.
Russian forces making incremental gains in the east: Think tank
Russian forces have likely abandoned efforts for a single large encirclement of Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine and are instead attempting to secure smaller encirclements. This enables them to make incremental measured gains, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said.
“Russian forces are likely attempting to achieve several simultaneous encirclements of small pockets of Ukrainian forces in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts: the broader Severodonetsk area (including Rubizhne and Lysychansk), Bakhmut-Lysychansk, around Zolote (just northeast of Popasna), and around Ukrainian fortifications in Avdiivka,” the ISW said in its latest campaign analysis.
Although they begin advancing efforts in these different encirclements daily, Russian forces “haven’t achieved any major ‘breakthroughs’ or made major progress towards their stated objectives of securing the Donetsk Oblast borders or seizing all of Donbas,” the institute added.
Russian forces may have secured more terrain in the past week than earlier in May, but they have done so by reducing the scope of their objectives, the ISW said.
#Russian forces have likely abandoned efforts to complete a single large encirclement of #Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine and are instead attempting to secure smaller encirclements—enabling them to make incremental gains.
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) May 25, 2022
‘Last chance’ for foreign firms to leave Russia: Ukraine FM
Ukraine’s foreign minister has said Russia’s new law to allow the government to appoint new management of foreign companies that pulled out of Russia made it even more imperative for foreign companies remaining in the country to leave.
“It’s the last chance to save not only your reputation but your property,” Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement.
Russia works on law to allow new management for pulled-out foreign firms
The Russian parliament has given preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the government to appoint new management of foreign companies that pulled out of Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
According to state news agency Tass, the new law would transfer control over companies that left Russia because of “anti-Russian sentiment in Europe and the US”. Tass said foreign owners would still be able to resume operations in Russia or sell their shares.
The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, approved the bill in the first of three readings on Tuesday. After final approval, it would go to the upper house and then to the president for his signature.
Tennis player Saville says cannot go back to Russia after opposing Ukraine invasion
Australian tennis player Daria Saville says she can no longer return to Russia, the country of her birth, after protesting the military intervention in Ukraine.
Saville wore yellow and blue at the Paris Open in March and urged Putin to stop the war and the Russian army to return home in a post on social media.
“Already I can’t really go back to Russia, no,” she told Australian media at the French Open.
Saville, whose parents live in Moscow, represented Russia in tennis until emigrating to Australia seven years ago.
Russia. Stop this war 💔
— Daria Saville (@Daria_gav) February 26, 2022
Ukraine minister says only one way to prevent war from escalating: ‘Help Ukraine win’
The head of the office of Ukraine’s president has said that there is only one way to prevent the war in Ukraine from escalating: “Help Ukraine win.”
Andrii Yermak told a panel at Davos that Ukrainian leaders “keep hearing calls for capitulation for the sake of peace in Europe”.
But “history teaches us that pacifying an aggressor is futile. They always take peacefulness for weakness. They demand more with every next concession,” Yermak said.
“Therefore, there is only one way to prevent the war in Ukraine from escalating into a continental and even world war: Help Ukraine win. Now, you don’t have to wage this war. Just help us do it. Otherwise, you’ll have to. You’ll have to send your troops to the battles,” he added.
Ukraine’s first lady urges the world to keep speaking about her country
Ukraine’s first lady has urged the world not to become accustomed to what is happening in Ukraine and to continue to speak about it.
“We ask on behalf of the whole of Ukraine – do not to get used to the fact that somewhere in Europe children are bombed. Talk about it. Because as soon as we all get used to it, Putin will have a psychological victory,” Olena Zelenska said in a talk via video link to Ukraine House at Davos.
“Information warfare is also ongoing. And if you start to think that there may be some justification for attacking another country, that invasion may make some sense, it means that you are under the influence of the Russian media,” she added.
Swedish delegation arrives in Turkey to discuss NATO bid
A Swedish government delegation, including State Secretary with responsibility for Foreign Affairs Oscar Stenstrom, arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday evening.
Turkish officials will meet with Swedish and Finnish delegations in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss Stockholm and Helsinki’s applications to become members of NATO, the Turkish foreign ministry confirmed.
Woman dies from shelling in Kharkiv region, another person injured
Russian shelling continued around Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv on Tuesday, even after Russian troops withdrew from its surroundings last week.
Ukrainian regional officials said the city of Derhachi was hit and a 69-year-old woman died and another person was injured.
Derhachi is southwest of the city of Kharkiv and has previously come under Russian shelling.
Ukraine says Russia firing at border guards in Sumy
The Ukrainian military has said Russia fired at Ukrainian border guards in the northeastern Sumy region in the latest of a series of alleged cross-border attacks over the past few weeks.
Military officials say observers Tuesday night recorded seven shots from Russian territory towards the village of Boyaro-Lezhachi, most likely mortar fire.
The Ukrainian Operational Command North said on its Facebook post that eight other shots were heard Tuesday afternoon near a neighbouring village. There were no reports of any deaths.
US official heads to India to talk about US sanctions on Russia
A Biden administration official is travelling to India to talk with officials and private industry about US sanctions, the Treasury Department has said, as Washington seeks to keep India’s purchases of Russian oil from rising.
Elizabeth Rosenberg, the assistant secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, will visit New Delhi and Mumbai through Thursday, a Treasury spokesperson said.
The visit is part of a wider Biden administration effort to fan out to partners and allies around the world to talk with officials and industry about the implementation of US sanctions and export controls, the spokesperson said.
Zelenskyy says Russian defence minister’s comments are ‘pathetic’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy blasted comments made earlier by Russia’s Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, who said that Russia was deliberately slowing its offensive in Ukraine to allow civilians to evacuate.
“And they are trying to cover this up with lies about how they are supposedly not fighting at full strength? How pathetic – and the time will come when they will recognise this themselves,” Zelenskyy said in a late-night address.
Zelenskyy said Shoigu’s comments were “absolutely unreal”, given that Kyiv estimates Moscow has lost nearly 30,000 soldiers and thousands of tanks and other armoured vehicles.
Ukrainian refugee camp in Mexico City to close: Organisers
Organisers of a camp for Ukrainian refugees who had travelled to Mexico in hopes of reaching the US have said they will soon close it while discouraging Ukrainians still in Europe from travelling to Mexico.
“We are asking people from Europe, Ukrainians, to go through the programme from Europe, do not come to Mexico because it is much more expensive for them, it is a lot of travelling,” said Anastasiya Polo, spokeswoman for United with Ukraine.
The camp will close by June 1, but Ukrainians remaining in Mexico will continue receiving support.
Some 1,000 Ukrainians passed through the camp during the month that it was open on the east side of Mexico City. Now, only about 120 remain and 98 percent of those already have sponsors lined up in the US and expect to soon travel there, the organisation said.
Situation in Luhansk getting ‘worse with every hour’, governor says
The governor of Luhansk says the situation is getting “worse with every hour” as Russian attacks on the eastern Ukrainian region continue.
“The situation is very difficult and unfortunately it is only getting worse. It is getting worse with every day and even with every hour,” Governor Serhiy Haidai said in a video posted on Telegram.
“Shelling is increasing more and more. The Russian army has decided to completely destroy [key city] Severodonetsk.”
US criticises Russia-China military exercise
The US has criticised a joint military exercise between Russia and China, saying that it demonstrated that Beijing is still committed to its partnership with Moscow despite the invasion of Ukraine.
“This exercise was likely planned well in advance by both countries,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
“And Beijing’s decision to cooperate with Moscow in this way amid Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine and the Kremlin’s dangerous nuclear rhetoric demonstrates the ‘no limits partnerships’ that they talked about in their joint communique is quite alive and well.”
Early in February, before the Ukraine war, Russia and China released a lengthy joint statement that reaffirmed their alliance and expressed opposition to NATO expansion.
Ukraine post-war reconstruction, recovery to be key topics at int’l forum: Minister
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says the country’s “post-war reconstruction and recovery” will be key topics at an upcoming international forum in Switzerland.
The Ukraine Recovery Conference will take place in the town of Lugano on July 4 and 5, the Swiss government said earlier in a separate statement. Forty states and 18 international organisations have been invited.
“Switzerland is our trusted partner,” Kuleba tweeted alongside photos with Swiss Confederation President Ignazio Cassis at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “We focused on Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction and recovery, which will be the key topics of this year’s conference in Lugano.”
At the onset of my visit to Davos I was warmly welcomed by the President of the Swiss Confederation @ignaziocassis. Switzerland is our trusted partner. We focused on Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction and recovery, which will be the key topics of this year’s conference in Lugano. pic.twitter.com/qGVMoQrARm
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) May 24, 2022
Ukraine says 14 civilians killed in Russian attacks in Luhansk, Donetsk
Ukraine’s military has said Russian troops killed at least 14 civilians and injured 15 more on Tuesday during attacks in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
In a Facebook post, the military said Russian troops had used aircraft, multiple rocket launchers, artillery, tanks, mortars and missiles in their assault on the two regions.
Former German leader rejects Gazprom board nomination
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder has said he rejected his nomination to the supervisory board of Kremlin-controlled gas giant Gazprom.
“I gave up my nomination to Gazprom’s Supervisory Board a long time ago. I have reported this to the company as well,” Schroder wrote on his LinkedIn account.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to huge public pressure in Germany for Schroder to turn his back on President Vladimir Putin and to sever his ties with Russia’s biggest energy companies.
US will not extend key Russian debt payment waiver
The US will not extend a key waiver that allows Russia to pay US bondholders, which could push Moscow closer to the brink of default as Washington ramps up pressure on the country following its invasion of Ukraine.
The US Treasury Department said on its website it would not extend a license, set to expire at 12:01am local time in Washington, DC, (04:01 GMT) on Wednesday, allowing Russia to make payments on its sovereign debt to US persons.
The waiver had allowed Moscow to keep paying interest and principal and avert default on its government debt.
Read more here.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Tuesday, May 24 here.