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Ukraine-Russia live news: Moscow seeks global food crisis – Kyiv | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has held talks with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, offering to facilitate the reopening of Ukrainian ports.
  • The Kremlin says Putin told Erdogan that Russia is ready to facilitate the unhindered export of grain from Ukrainian ports in coordination with Turkey.
  • France announces the opening of a war crimes probe into the killing of journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, French media outlets have reported.
  • Charles Michel, president of the European Council, announces an agreement among EU countries to ban most Russian oil imports.
[Al Jazeera]

Here are all the latest updates:

Zelenskyy says 32 media workers killed since invasion began

The killing of French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff brings the number of media workers killed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion to 32, Zelenskyy has said.

Zelenskyy said: “A little more than a month ago I gave an interview to this very TV channel. It was my first interview to the French media during the full-fledged war. My sincere condolences to colleagues and family of Frederic.”

Belarus to conduct military mobilisation exercises near Ukraine border

Belarus will conduct military mobilisation exercises in June and July in the Gomel region, which borders Ukraine to the south and Russia to the east, state news agency BelTA has reported.

“Events of this kind are traditionally held to increase the combat and mobilisation readiness of military commissariats, and improve military knowledge and practical skills of those liable for military service,” BelTA quoted Andrey Krivonosov, military commissar of the Gomel region, as saying.

European Union agrees to ban most Russian oil imports: Official

The president of the European Council has announced an agreement among EU countries to ban most Russian oil imports to the 27-nation bloc.

“This immediately covers more than 2/3 of oil imports from Russia, cutting a huge source of financing for its war machine,” Charles Michel wrote on Twitter.

It remains unclear when the ban will go into effect or whether countries heavily dependent on Russian energy exports, which previously opposed the embargo, will be exempt from the measure.

The ban would be part of a sixth EU sanction package against Moscow that Kyiv had been seeking. Michel said the measures also include blocking Russia’s largest bank Sberbank from the SWIFT financial messaging service, banning three Russian state-owned broadcasters and sanctions against individuals responsible for war crimes.

Russia ‘clearly’ seeking global food crisis, Zelenskyy says

Zelenskyy has said the Russian blockade of Ukrainian seaports prevents Kyiv from exporting 22 million tonnes of grain.

In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said the result is the threat of famine in countries dependent on the grain and could create a new migration crisis. “This is something the Russian leadership clearly seeks,” he said.

Zelenskyy accused Moscow of “deliberately creating this problem so that the whole of Europe struggles and so that Ukraine doesn’t earn billions of dollars from its exports.”

Moscow has blamed Western sanctions for the crisis – a claim Zelenskyy dismissed as “cynical”.

WNBA star calls for bringing Brittney Griner ‘home’

Basketball star Breanna Stewart has called on Washington to bring home her fellow Women’s NBA player Brittney Griner who has been detained in Russia since February.

“We are paying attention and we are counting on you,” Stewart said in a tweet addressing the White House.

France opens war crimes probe into killing of journalist: Reports

France has announced the opening of a war crimes probe into the killing of journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff and the wounding of his colleague Maxime Brandstaetter during Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine, French media outlets have reported.

The French journalist was working for the BFM television news channel, which said he was 32 years old and on his second Ukraine reporting trip since the war began on February 24.

France’s national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said it was also investigating five other incidents involving French citizens, AFP reported.

Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff
Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, 32, was killed in shelling in eastern Ukraine [BFM TV via Reuters]

Zelenskyy warns against succumbing to Russian ‘blackmail’ on food supplies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked France not to succumb to Russian “blackmail” over food supplies at a meeting with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, his office has said.

In its summary of the talks, the Ukrainian presidency accused Russia of using food security issues in an attempt to have international sanctions eased. Kyiv has said Moscow is looting grain and farm equipment from regions its troops hold in Ukraine and of obstructing Ukraine’s exports of grain.

Zelenskyy’s office said he and Colonna discussed sanctions, weapons supplies and Ukrainian aspirations to join the European Union.

The war in Ukraine has contributed to a global rise in food prices, raising fear of worsening the hunger crises in many places around the world.

German politicians agree to $107bn deal to boost military

Germany’s government and conservative opposition have agreed on a deal that will release 100bn euros ($107bn) to modernise the country’s army in response to Russia.

An agreement was reached to create a special fund for military procurement that will also allow Berlin to achieve NATO’s target spending of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence.

The deal, which involves amending budgetary rules in the national constitution, was struck after weeks of difficult negotiations between the parties in the governing coalition and the conservatives of former chancellor Angela Merkel, representatives of these groups told the AFP news agency.

Erdogan holds separate talks with Putin, Zelenskyy

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, offering to facilitate the reopening of Ukrainian ports.

“During the discussion of the situation in Ukraine, emphasis was placed on ensuring safe navigation in the Black and Azov seas and eliminating the mine threat in their waters,” the Kremlin said of Putin’s call with Erdogan.

For its part, Ankara said Erdogan told Putin that peace needed to be established as soon as possible and that Turkey was ready to take on a role in an “observation mechanism” between Moscow, Kyiv and the United Nations, if an agreement is reached.

Erdogan later said that he “especially valued the project to create a secure sea route for exporting Ukrainian agricultural products”, according to his office, adding the Turkish leader welcomed, in principle, the idea of making Istanbul a headquarters for the “observation mechanism”.

No EU agreement on Russian oil embargo

European Union countries meeting in Brussels to discuss more sanctions on Moscow have failed to agree on a ban on Russian oil imports, despite last-minute haggling before the two-day summit.

The EU has rolled out five packages of sanctions against Russia since its troops invaded Ukraine, but an agreement on an oil embargo has proved elusive because so many countries depend on Russian crude.

“There is no compromise for this moment at all,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country has been the main holdout for a deal.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Read all the updates from Monday, May 30 here.

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