War in Ukraine: Latest developments

AFP , Thursday 12 May 2022

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

A picture taken on May 12, 2022 shows a house destroyed by shelling in an empty settlement in Pylypchatyne, eastern Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. AFP


Finland seeks NATO membership

Finland's president and prime minister say they want their country to join NATO in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security," President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin say.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg promises that membership process -- which the US senate, Germany and France also say they back -- will be "smooth and swift".

Russian warning to Finland

Russia, which has been infuriated by NATO's expansion into eastern Europe, says it will be forced to take "military-technical" steps if Helsinki presses ahead with its NATO bid.

"Helsinki should be aware of its responsibility and the consequences of such a move," the foreign ministry says.

UN probing into alleged Russian atrocities

The UN Human Rights Council has voted overwhelmingly to launch an inquiry into alleged serious violations committed by Russian troops in Ukraine, heaping further diplomatic pressure on Moscow.

The council voted 33-2 in favour of a draft resolution brought by Ukraine to create an investigation into alleged violations in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions in late February and in March.

Ukraine to hold first war crimes trial

Ukraine says it will put a 21-year-old Russian soldier, accused of gunning down an unarmed civilian while he was riding his bike, on trial for war crimes, the first such case to go to court since the war began.

Vadim Shishimarin is accused of killing the 62-year-old man on February 28 near the central village of Chupakhiva, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova's office says.

Gas row escalates

Russian energy giant Gazprom says it will stop shipping gas to western Europe through Poland in line with Russian sanctions on more than 30 EU, US and Singaporean energy companies, imposed in retaliation for Western penalties over Ukraine.

The row has raised fears for the future of Europe's gas supplies and prompted German Economy Minister Robert Habeck to accuse Russia of using energy as a "weapon".

Europe must cut Russia's 'energy oxygen': Kyiv

Europe must end its reliance on Russian gas and cut off Moscow's "energy oxygen", says Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

"This energy oxygen for Russia must be turned off and that is especially important for Europe," Kuleba said during a visit to Berlin.

Sanctions worse for Europe: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says sanctions imposed on Moscow over Ukraine have hit Western countries worse than Russia, which he insists is resisting "external challenges".

Western countries have slapped Russia with unprecedented sanctions over the invasion. But Putin says Western governments "guided by short-sighted, inflated political ambitions and by Russophobia deal a much harder blow to their own national interests, their own economies and the well-being of their own citizens."

'Three killed' in strike on north Ukraine

Ukraine says three people were killed and 12 others wounded in a Russian strike in Ukraine's northern Chernigiv region overnight.

The attack comes nearly two months after Russian forces withdrew from the north to focus on the east and south.

It took place in the town of Novgorod-Siversky, according to the emergency services. Chernigiv governor Vyacheslav Chaus says "critical infrastructure", including a school, were hit.

Keep us a spot in EU: Ukraine

Ukraine asks Brussels to keep it a spot in the European Union, even if obtaining full membership takes time.

"It is not about the fastest possible membership for Ukraine in the EU. But what is very important for us is for this spot to be reserved for Ukraine," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tells German broadcaster ARD.

Ukraine asked Brussels in February to fast-track its EU membership bid amid French warnings the process will likely take "decades."

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