Live: Ukraine calls for help to unblock its ports to prevent global food crisis

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A military truck transports a platform with an Ukrainian self-propelled artillery vehicle in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Monday, May 9, 2022.

Evgeniy Maloletka/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

With no major announcements from Russian President Vladimir Putin during yesterday’s Victory Day parade in Moscow, the war in Ukraine looks set to continue on in its current state, at least for the time being.

US President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan measure on Monday to reboot the World War II-era “lend-lease” program, which could funnel billions of dollars of weaponry to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the international community to help unblock Ukrainian ports in order to prevent a global food crisis. 

Join us as we see how Tuesday unfolds in our live coverage below.


    Ukrainian President Zelenskyy urges international community to help unblock Ukrainian ports in order to prevent a global food crisis.

    Biden signs bipartisan measure to reboot World War II-era “lend-lease” program at a time when the US Congress is poised to unleash billions more to help fight the war in Ukraine.

    Lithuania foreign minister calls for regime change in Russia.

    Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmitry Kuleba, has said that rather than survival, victory for Ukraine could now involve regaining territories in its far east.

    Pulitzer committee honours Ukrainian journalists


100 civilians reportedly still in Azovstal steel works

At least 100 civilians remain in a steel works that is under heavy Russian fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, an aide to the city’s mayor said on Tuesday.

“In addition to the military, at least 100 civilians remain in the (Azovstal) shelters. However, this does not reduce the density of attacks by the occupiers,” mayoral aide Petro Andryushchenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app, according to Reuters.


Russia could target Ukraine’s chemical industries

The Ukrainian military is warning that Russia could target the country’s chemical industries.

The claim by Ukraine’s general staff wasn’t immediately explained in a report Tuesday. However, it comes after oil depots and other industrial sites have been targeted by Russian shelling in the war.

The military said, “The possibility of sabotage at the chemical industry of Ukraine with further accusations of units of the armed forces of Ukraine is not ruled out.”



Russian forces continue to face ‘widespread force generation challenges’

Russian forces continue to face widespread force generation challenges, according to the latest assessment by the Washington DC-based Institute for the Study of War.

On 9th May a senior US defense official stated that the US has not observed any indicators of a “new major Russian mobilization” and that members of the private military company Wagner Group “urgently” requested hundreds of thousands of additional troops to reinforce Russian efforts in Donbas, it said.

At the same time, Russian troops in Ukraine continue to display low morale and poor discipline as fighting in many areas has stalled out against Ukrainian resistance.


Germany quietly preparing for sudden halt in Russian gas supplies

According to Reuters, German officials are quietly preparing for any sudden halt in Russian gas supplies with an emergency package that could include taking control of critical firms, at least according to three people familiar with the matter.

Russian gas accounted for 55% of Germany’s imports last year, and Berlin has come under pressure to unwind a business relationship that critics says is helping to fund Russia’s war in Ukraine, reports the news agency.

Germany has said it wants to wean itself off Russian supplies but expects to be largely reliant on Moscow for gas until the middle of 2024.

It remains unclear whether an abrupt halt would happen, and the officials told Reuters that Germany wanted to avert an escalation, such as by backing a European gas embargo, having already supported sanctions against Moscow on coal and oil.

But they now fear Russia could cut off gas flows unilaterally and want to be able to cope if it does.

While a broad framework is in place, details of how the plan would put into action are now being thrashed out, the officials said.


EBRD predicts 30% contraction in Ukrainian economy in 2022, 10% in Russia

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is holding its annual general meeting this week, has sharply worsened its economic contraction forecast for Ukraine.

It now expects a brutal contraction of 30% of the Ukrainian economy this year, instead of 20% expected in March, at the beginning of the Russian offensive.

The international organisation anticipates a 10% contraction of the Russian economy, which has been hit by Western sanctions and the cost of its war in Ukraine.

For Ukraine, the contraction is “probably the worst since the Second World War”, noted Beata Javorcik, chief economist of the organisation, in an interview with AFP.

As for Russia, the expected contraction of 10% is equivalent to that observed by “Western countries at the height of the covid pandemic,” she added.

The organisation, which was founded in 1991 to help countries of the former Soviet bloc transition to a market economy, has since expanded its scope to include countries in the Middle East and North Africa.


Pulitzer committee honours Ukrainian journalists

The Pulitzer prizes honoured Ukrainian journalists with a special citation at its annual ceremony in New York on Monday evening, hailing the country’s reporters for the “courage, endurance and commitment to truthful reporting” they have shown since the start of the Russian invasion.

“Despite bombardment, abductions, occupation, and even deaths in their ranks, they have persisted in their effort to provide an accurate picture of a terrible reality, doing honour to Ukraine and to journalists around the world,” the Pulitzer board wrote.

At least seven journalists, including three from Ukraine, have been killed since fighting began on 24 February, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.


Russian ‘best case scenario’ planning led to demonstrable operational failings, says British defence ministry 

Russia’s underestimation of Ukrainian resistance and its ‘best case scenario’ planning have led to demonstrable operational failings, preventing President Putin from announcing significant military success in Ukraine at the May 9th Victory Day parade, according to the latest Defence Intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defence.

It added that Russia’s invasion plan is highly likely to have been based on the mistaken assumption that it would encounter limited resistance and would be able to encircle and bypass population centres rapidly.

This assumption led Russian forces to attempt to carry out the opening phase of the operation with a light, precise approach intended to achieve a rapid victory with minimal cost. This miscalculation led to unsustainable losses and a subsequent reduction in Russia’s operational focus.


Ukraine looks to regain territory in the east

In an interview with the Financial Times, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmitry Kuleba, said that rather than survival, victory for Ukraine could now involve regaining territories in its far east.

“In the first months of the war the victory for us looked like withdrawal of Russian forces to the positions they occupied before February 24 and payment for inflicted damage,” Kuleba told the newspaper.

“Now if we are strong enough on the military front and we win the battle for Donbas, which will be crucial for the following dynamics of the war, of course the victory for us in this war will be the liberation of the rest of our territories.”

Kuleba also said that only Russia’s defeat would allow Ukraine to reopen its Black Sea ports and revive its export economy, and that if Kyiv received “even more military support, we will be able to throw them back from the Kherson region [in southern Ukraine], to defeat the Black Sea fleet and unblock the passage”.

However, he also acknowledged that the bloodshed could be too great, and that Ukraine might ultimately have to negotiate a settlement. In that event, Kyiv would want to “approach the unavoidable moment with the strongest cards possible”, he said.


Lithuania foreign minister calls for regime change in Russia

Lithuania’s top diplomat said Monday that removing Russian President Vladimir Putin from power is the only way to protect the West and its allies from future threats from Moscow, urging an even tougher stance than the US and many NATO allies have been willing to pursue since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In an interview with The Associated Press in Washington, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said Putin’s annual Victory Day speech was “underwhelming” and that the “gloomy faces” of generals and others were signs of failing in the Ukraine war. Yet, he said a wounded Putin may be even more dangerous and that the only way to remove the threat is to remove him.

“From our standpoint, up until the point the current regime is not in power, the countries surrounding it will be, to some extent, in danger. Not just Putin but the whole regime because, you know, one might change Putin and might change his inner circle but another Putin might rise into his place,” Landsbergis said.

Lithuania is one of the three Baltic states that among NATO allies are particularly concerned about possible Russian designs on forcefully returning them to Moscow’s rule. Lithuanian officials, including Landsbergis have been especially outspoken about their fears but his overt calls for regime change go beyond what most NATO allies have been willing to express.


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