- The US State Department says evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine continues to mount.
- The US, European Union and United Kingdom launch a new mechanism to help ensure accountability for abuses in Ukraine.
- “It’s hard right now to see how we avoid a recession,” says World Bank President David Malpass.
- Swedish and Finnish delegations hold talks in Ankara over Turkey’s concerns regarding the Nordic countries’ NATO bids.
Here are all the latest updates:
Putin announces minimum wage hike
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a 10 percent raise to the minimum wage rate and pensions in the coming weeks, as the Russian economy faces an unprecedented wave of international sanctions.
The bump will bring the minimum wage to about $250 per month and the average pension to $320, according to the Interfax news agency.
“Our key and unchanging priority is to increase the welfare and quality of life of citizens,” Putin said.
He also tasked government officials with increasing pay for Russian soldiers serving abroad as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its fourth month.
Evidence of Russian war crimes continues to mount, US says
The US State Department has said evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine continues to mount.
“In addition to continued bombardments and missile strikes hitting densely populated areas, causing thousands of civilian deaths, we continue to see credible reports of violence of a different order,” spokesman Ned Price said.
He said that includes reports of “unarmed civilians shot in the back; individuals killed execution-style with their hands bound; bodies showing signs of torture, and horrific accounts of sexual violence against women and girls”.
World Bank president says war in Ukraine may trigger global recession
World Bank President David Malpass has suggested that the war in Ukraine and its effects on food and energy prices could trigger a global recession.
Malpass told an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce that Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, has already seen a substantial economic slowdown due to higher energy prices. He also said limited access to fertiliser could worsen conditions elsewhere.
“As we look at the global GDP … it’s hard right now to see how we avoid a recession,” Malpass said.
US, EU, UK announce new war crimes accountability initiative
The United States, European Union and the United Kingdom have announced they are launching a new mechanism to help ensure accountability for war crimes in Ukraine.
Dubbed the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), the new initiative aims to support the office of the prosecutor general of Ukraine in its investigation of war-related crimes, the Western allies said in a joint statement.
“The ACA seeks to streamline coordination and communication efforts to ensure best practices, avoid duplication of efforts, and encourage the expeditious deployment of financial resources and skilled personnel to respond to the needs of the OPG,” the statement said.
Zelenskyy ends visa-free travel for Russians
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has ordered an end to visa-free travel to Ukraine for Russian citizens, citing the need to improve border security.
In an order posted on the presidential website, Zelenskyy said he backed a petition submitted by a citizen asking for this practice to end.
“Against the backdrop of full-scale Russian aggression, the issue raised is important and vital. I support the need to strengthen controls on the entry of Russian citizens,” he said.
With Russia in control of most of the border region, it is unclear whether Zelenskyy’s decision will have practical implications during the war.
Turkey demands ‘concrete steps’ from NATO hopefuls Sweden and Finland
A senior Turkish official has insisted after talks with Swedish and Finnish delegations that Turkey will not agree to the two Nordic countries joining NATO unless specific steps are taken to address Ankara’s objections.
“We have made it very clear that if Turkey’s security concerns are not met with concrete steps in a certain timeframe, the process will not progress,” Ibrahim Kalin said after talks in Ankara that lasted about five hours.
Turkey has accused the two European countries of harbouring “terrorists”, referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement.
Kalin said Ankara’s proposal for the two countries to lift their arms export limits to Turkey was met with a “positive attitude”. Turkey also expects the extradition of 28 “terrorism” suspects from Sweden and 12 from Finland, he added.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.
Read all the updates from Wednesday, May 25 here.