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UKRAINE WRAP | Consequences of Ukraine war to last next 100 years, Germany's Scholz says

12 May 2022 - 06:30 By TimesLIVE
An aerial view of destroyed buildings and burnt vehicles on the banks of Siverskyi Donets River, eastern Ukraine, in this handout image uploaded on May 12, 2022.
An aerial view of destroyed buildings and burnt vehicles on the banks of Siverskyi Donets River, eastern Ukraine, in this handout image uploaded on May 12, 2022.
Image: Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command/Handout via REUTERS

May 12 2022 - 20:05

US lawmakers ask tech companies to archive evidence of potential Russian war crimes, NBC reports

Four Democratic lawmakers have sent letters to the CEOs of YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook-owner Meta asking them to archive content that could be used as evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, NBC reported on Thursday.

The letters were signed by the leaders of the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, Carolyn Maloney and Gregory Meeks, and two subcommittee chairman, NBC reported.

-Reuters

May 12 2022 - 18:35

Naledi Pandor slams UN Security Council over Russia-Ukraine war

International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor has slammed the UN Security Council, saying it has failed the world in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Delivering her department's budget speech, Pandor tore into the Security Council, saying it had proved that it cannot be relied upon to preserve peace and security.

May 12 2022 - 15:13

Russia could cut gas supply to Finland on Friday -newspaper

 Key Finnish politicians have been warned that Russia could halt its gas supplies to neighbouring Finland on Friday, local newspaper Iltalehti reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

The paper did not specify where the warning would have come from and Reuters was not able to verify the information.Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday said Finland would apply to join the Western defence alliance NATO "without delay", prompting Russia to vow a response.

On May 5, the Finnish government said it was prepared for the possibility of its eastern neighbour cutting off gas delivery in response to Finland's refusal to abide by Russian demands for gas payments to be made in roubles. 

-Reuters

May 12 2022 - 13:45

In epic detour via Russia, Ukrainians skirt war front to flee to EU

When Pavel fled his home region of Kherson in southern Ukraine he set his sights on reaching Portugal, where his sister-in-law lives — but like increasing numbers of his compatriots escaping the war, he took the long way round.

Too frightened to head west out of the Russian-controlled region and across the conflict's front line, he and his wife and baby daughter skirted it by travelling east into Crimea and then north through Russia, eventually entering the EU via Estonia — a detour of more than 3,000km.

May 12 2022 - 13:14

Pentagon says it would not be hard to integrate Finland into NATO

Finland's entry into the NATO would be historic, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told MSNBC in an television interview on Thursday, adding it would not be difficult to integrate the country into the military alliance. 

Reuters 

May 12 2022 - 12:57

Ukraine tipped for emotional victory at Eurovision

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra looks set to ride a wave of public sympathy to win the Eurovision Song Contest when performers take to the stage in the Italian city of Turin on Saturday night.

Kalush Orchestra's entry "Stefania", sung in Ukrainian, fuses rap with traditional folk music and is a tribute to frontman Oleh Psiuk's mother.

The bookmakers have made it the clear favourite for the annual contest, which normally draws a television audience of close to 200 million, based on the plight of Ukraine following Russia's invasion in February.

"I would like to see Kalush Orchestra as winners but not because of the war," said Maryna Utkina, who was attending the semi-finals in Turin this week.

"I want to see Kalush Orchestra as winners because of the song, because the song is really beautiful, it's really special," added Utkina, who is from Ukraine but has lived in Italy for three years.

The band takes its name from the Western Ukrainian city of Kalush. It finished second in the country's national song contest but replaced winner Alina Pash after controversy over a visit she made to Crimea in 2015, a year after it was annexed by Russia.

Russia has been excluded from the contest this year.

Italy are hosting after winning last year with Maneskin's rocky "Zitti e Buoni" (Shut Up and Behave).The contest is decided by a combination of votes by the official jury and viewers from participating nations.

Eurovision fans, converging on Turin for an event that combines glitz, energy and a fair dollop of eccentricity, are not put off by the likely influence of politics on the outcome.

For the head of the French OGAE Eurovision fan club, it's part of a long tradition.

"Eurovision has always been political. There's always been a story between Eurovision and geopolitics in terms of votes," Stephane Chiffre said. "But it's also culture, sharing - those are the values of Eurovision which we love."

Reuters 

May 12 2022 - 12:24

NATO to welcome Nordic members as Ukraine pushes back Russian forces

Finland is expected to announce on Thursday its intention to join NATO with Sweden likely to follow soon after, diplomats and officials said, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine reshapes European security and the Atlantic military alliance.

NATO allies expect Finland and Sweden to be granted membership quickly, five diplomats and officials told Reuters, paving the way for increased troop presence in the Nordic region during the one-year ratification period.

In the wider Nordic region, Norway, Denmark and the three Baltic states are already NATO members, and the addition of Finland and Sweden would likely anger Moscow, which says NATO enlargement is a direct threat to its own security.

May 12 2022 - 11:46

Windfall tax on energy firms not the right way forward — UK's Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday he did not believe a windfall tax on global energy firms was the right way forward and he wanted to ensure the government did not deter investment by energy companies.

A spike in oil prices due to the war in Ukraine has helped major oil firms book billions of pounds in earnings this year, prompting calls from some politicians for a windfall tax to help families facing cost of living pressures.

“I don't like them. I didn't think they're the right thing. I don’t think they’re the right way forward,” LBC Radio quoted Johnson as saying when asked if he would rule out a windfall tax.

May 12 2022 - 11:41

Bottler Coca-Cola HBC mulls other options for Russian business

Soft drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC AG said on Thursday it will evaluate all options for its Russian operations and have a smaller presence in the country, focusing on local brands, after US beverage giant Coca-Cola suspended operations there.

The bottler, which counted Russia as one of its biggest markets, said it was still in the process of implementing the decision by Coca-Cola.

Hundreds of Western companies have either withdrawn or suspended operations in Russia since the country invaded Ukraine in February while Western governments have imposed sanctions.

May 12 2022 - 11:14

Ukraine grain exports halve so far in May - farm ministry

Ukraine's grain exports have more than halved so far in May from the same period a year ago, although at just under 300,000 tonnes they are similar to the whole of March, the first full month of Russia's invasion, agriculture ministry data shows.

Ukraine exported 667,000 tonnes in the same period of May 2021.

The country exported up to 6 million tonnes of grain a month before Russia invaded the country in February.

The ministry data showed on Thursday Ukraine has exported 46.17 million tonnes so far in the 2021/22 July-June season, versus 39.65 million a season earlier.

The ministry said May's volume included 284,000 tonnes of corn, 8,000 tonnes of barley and 6,000 tonnes of wheat. It did not say how grain was delivered.

Senior agriculture officials have said Ukraine exported up to 300,000 tonnes of grain in March and 1.09 million tonnes in April.

The ministry said 2021/22 export volumes included 18.53 million tonnes of wheat, 21.50 million tonnes of corn and 5.68 million tonnes of barley.

Ukraine, a major agricultural producer, used to export most of its goods through seaports but has been forced by Russia's invasion to export by train via its western border or via its small Danube River ports. 

Reuters

May 12 2022 - 11:00

Russian troops ill-prepared for Ukraine war, says ex-Kremlin mercenary

The Russian military's failure to seize the Ukrainian capital was inevitable because in the preceding years they had never directly faced a powerful enemy, according to a former mercenary with the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group who fought alongside the Russian army.

Marat Gabidullin took part in Wagner Group missions on the Kremlin's behalf in Syria and in a previous conflict in Ukraine, before deciding to go public about his experience inside the secretive private military company.

He quit the Wagner group in 2019, but several months before Russia launched the invasion on Feb. 24 Gabidullin, 55, said he received a call from a recruiter who invited him to go back to fighting as a mercenary in Ukraine.

He rejected the offer, because, he said, he did not agree on principle with the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.

May 12 2022 - 10:53

UN rights chief says many Ukraine abuses may amount to war crimes

The UN Human Rights chief said on Thursday that a thousand bodies had been recovered in the area of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in recent weeks, adding that many of the violations it is verifying since the Russian invasion may amount to war crimes.

"The scale of unlawful killings, including indicia of summary executions in areas to the north of Kyiv, is shocking," Michelle Bachelet told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council via a video address.

The Human Rights Council will decide on Thursday whether to task investigators with an official probe into the events that occurred in Kyiv and other regions in February and March.

Russia denies targeting civilians and calls its actions in Ukraine since Feb. 24 a "special military operation" to disarm the country and rid it of what the Kremlin calls anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

Reuters 

May 12 2022 - 08:50

Russian gas requests for Slovakia drop, operator data shows

Daily requests for Russian gas deliveries to Slovakia via Ukraine have fallen after rising earlier on Thursday, data from Slovakian operator TSO Eustream showed.

Requests via the Velke Kapusany border point were around 512,056 megawatt hours (MWh) per day, down from 856,922 MWh per day earlier on Thursday, the data showed.

Meanwhile, gas volumes from the west, via Lanzhot, rose to about 501,779 MWh per day from Wednesday's 310,952 MWh per day, according to the data. 

Reuters

May 12 2022 - 08:00

Ukraine keeps up counterattack to north of Kharkiv, Britain says

Ukrainian forces are keeping up a counterattack to the north of the second largest city of Kharkiv and recapturing several towns and villages toward the Russian border, Britain said on Thursday.

Russia has reportedly withdrawn units from the area and the forces are likely to redeploy after replenishing the losses to the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets river, the British defence ministry said in a regular Twitter bulletin.

On Wednesday, Ukraine said it had pushed back Russian forces in the east to recapture Pytomnyk, a village on the main highway north of Kharkiv, about halfway to the Russian border.

Reuters 

May 12 2022 - 07:00

Astronaut describes how ISS crew dealt with invasion

Four days after his return from the International Space Station, German astronaut Matthias Maurer described how he and the rest of the crew dealt with the news of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

May 12 2022 - 06:30

Inside the hospital on Ukraine's frontline

This hospital in the small Ukrainian town of Bakhmut receives queues of ambulances and treats those wounded in the conflict with Russia.

May 12 2022 - 06:00

Consequences of Ukraine war to last next 100 years, Germany's Scholz says

The consequences of the war in Ukraine will still be felt in 100 years, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

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