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Ukraine live news: Russia claims full control of Mariupol | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • Washington says it is “confident” that Turkey’s concerns about the admission of Sweden and Finland into NATO will be addressed.
  • Russia’s defence ministry says the last group of Ukrainian forces holed up in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks has surrendered.
  • A Russian missile hit a cultural centre in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian government says.
  • A US consular officer visited detained American basketball star Brittney Griner in Russia, the US Department of State confirms.
[Al Jazeera]

Here are all the latest updates:

Wimbledon relegated over ban on players from Russia, Belarus

Tennis’s governing agencies have said players who take part in Wimbledon won’t get ranking points because the UK tournament’s organisers banned athletes from Russia and Belarus.

The world’s most prestigious tennis tournament excluded Russian and Belarusian players after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, citing UK government guidance.

It’s the first time Wimbledon has excluded players on the grounds of nationality since the immediate post-World War Two era when German and Japanese players were banned.

Russia should pay for destruction, Zelenskyy says

Zelenskyy devoted his nightly video address to Ukraine’s demand that Russia be held financially responsible for the damage its forces are inflicting on Ukraine.

In the eastern Donbas, where the Russian attack has been fiercest, he said Russian troops turned the towns of Rubizhne and Volnovakha into ruins, just as they did with Mariupol, and were trying to do the same with Severodonetsk.

Zelenskyy said Russia should be made to pay for every home, school, hospital and business it destroys. He said a legal mechanism should be created through which everyone who suffered from Russia’s actions would be able to receive compensation.

Top EU official decries ‘unspeakable crimes’ by Russian forces

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has decried what he called “unspeakable crimes”, including sexual violence, by Russian forces being reported in areas recently recaptured by Ukraine.

“Perpetrators must be held accountable,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.

More than 2,400 Ukrainian fighters surrendered in Mariupol: Russia

Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti has quoted the country’s defence ministry as saying a total of 2,439 Ukrainian fighters who had been holed up at Mariupol’s steel plant had surrendered since Monday, including more than 500 on Friday.

Mariupol steel mill
A destroyed facility on the territory of Azovstal steel mill, May 20, 2022 [Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

Blinken to discuss Ukraine during Japan visit: Department of State

The Department of State has announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Japan to accompany Biden on his Asia trip.

“While in Tokyo, the Secretary will meet with Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and other senior Japanese officials,” the Department of State said in a statement.

“The Secretary and the Foreign Minister will discuss our global response to President Putin’s continued brutal war on Ukraine, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s increasingly destabilizing behavior, and US-Japan cooperation under the new Economic Policy Consultative Committee (EPCC), including on regional economic development.”

Zelenskyy says high-risk flights delivered supplies to besieged Azovstal

Zelenskyy has revealed a weeks-long mystery about the siege of the Azovstal in Mariupol: How were supplies delivered to fighters in the steel mill?

Ukrainian pilots risked Russian anti-aircraft fire to fly medicine, food and water to the steel mill on helicopters, suffering a large number of casualties, Zelenskyy said in an interview on the third anniversary of his inauguration as president.

He said the effort also included retrieval of bodies and picking up the wounded.

“They are absolutely heroic people, who knew that it would be difficult, knew that to fly would be almost impossible,” Zelenskyy said.

Russian missile hits cultural centre in Kharkiv region, Ukraine says

A Russian missile has struck a Ukrainian cultural centre in the Kharkiv region, injuring seven people, including an 11-year-old child, Kyiv has said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s social media channel released a video showing a large explosion hitting the newly renovated Palace of Culture in Lozova. The building was partly destroyed and the roof caught fire, Ukraine’s emergency services reported.

“The occupiers identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies,” Zelenskyy wrote. “What is in the minds of people who choose such targets? Absolute evil, absolute stupidity.”

US says basketball start detained in Russia received consular visit

A US consular official has visited detained basketball star Brittney Griner in Russia, US Department of State has said, while urging Moscow for more regular consular access.

Griner, 31, a two-time Olympic champion and member of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February on accusations of carrying vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil in her luggage.

“I can confirm that a Consular Officer visited Brittney Griner in detention yesterday on Thursday, May 19th. The consular officer found her continuing to do as well as could be expected under these exceedingly challenging circumstances,” Price said in a briefing.

“But again, our message is a clear and simple one. We continue to insist that Russia allow consistent and timely consular access to all US citizen detainees. One-off visits are not sufficient.”

Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February [File: Rick Scuteri/AP Photo]

Germany to ship anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine: Report

German news agency DPA has reported that the country will ship the first 15 Gepard anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine in July.

DPA reported that the delivery, which includes training and almost 60,000 rounds of ammunition, was agreed upon following talks between Germany’s defence minister and her Ukrainian counterpart.

Gepard — German for “cheetah” — is considered highly effective against low-flying aircraft and lightly armoured ground targets. It was decommissioned by the German military in 2012 but some 50 mothballed units are being restored by manufacturer KMW for use by Ukraine.

US ‘confident’ Turkey’s concerns on NATO expansion will be addressed

The US Department of State has said Washington is “confident” that Turkey’s concerns about the admission of Sweden and Finland into NATO will be addressed.

“Turkey is a longstanding, valued NATO ally,” said spokesperson Ned Price. “We understand Turkey’s longstanding concerns, and we’ll continue to work together in our efforts to end the scourge of terrorism.”

Turkey has accused Finland and Sweden of harbouring “terrorists”, referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement, the latter of which Ankara accuses of being behind a 2016 failed coup against the government.

Last Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol steel mill surrender: Russia

Russia’s defence ministry has said the last group of Ukrainian forces holed up in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks have surrendered, marking an end to a weeks-long siege.

“The territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant … has been completely liberated,” the ministry said in a statement.

A Russian soldier is seen on patrol in Mariupol
A Russian soldier patrolling a destroyed part of the steel plant in Mariupol, May 18 [AP Photo]

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Friday, May 20 here.

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