War in Ukraine: Latest developments

By: AFP
Published: 10:28 PM, 19 May, 2022
War in Ukraine: Latest developments
Caption: Ukrainian children play territorial defence fighters patrolling in the willage of Stoyanka, Kyiv region.
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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Russian soldier begs forgiveness-

The Russian soldier at the centre of the first war crimes trial held over the war asks the widow of the Ukrainian civilian he killed for forgiveness.

Vadim Shishimarin, 21, has admitted to shooting dead 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov near the central village of Chupakhivka on February 28 to stop him reporting a carjacking.

"I know that you will not be able to forgive me, but nevertheless I ask you for forgiveness," he says on the second day of the trial in Kyiv.

Ukrainian prosecutors have requested he be given a life sentence.

- 1,730 Mariupol fighters surrender -

Russia says the number of Ukrainian soldiers who have surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol has risen to 1,730.

In the past 24 hours, a further 771 emerged from the sprawling steel mill that has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance. 

Ukraine persuaded the men to stand down to save their lives after weeks spent in the underground complex, with dire shortages of food, water and medicine. 

Kyiv is hoping to exchange them for Russian prisoners but pro-Russian authorities in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region suggested some of them could be put on trial.

- 'No shortcuts' to EU -

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says there can be "no shortcuts" to European Union membership for Ukraine, the second EU leader to quash Kyiv's hope of fast-track membership in as many weeks.

Scholz says making an exception for Ukraine would be unfair to the Western Balkan countries also seeking membership. 

"The accession process is not a matter of a few months or years," he warns.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemns what he calls the "second-class treatment" of his country.

On May 9, France's President Emmanuel Macron warned it could take "decades" for Ukraine to join the bloc and suggested building a broader European club beyond the EU to accommodate aspiring members.

-  Turkey 'determined' to block NATO bids -

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is "determined" to block Sweden's and Finland's bids to join NATO, calling Stockholm in particular a "complete terror haven." 

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership on Wednesday, renouncing decades of military non-alignment, over fears they could be future targets of Russian aggression.

US President Joe Biden met Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Washington to tell them their countries "meet every NATO requirement."

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says the US is "confident" Turkey's concerns over their admission to the alliance "can be addressed".

- Russia threatens Ukraine power supply -

Russia warns it could cut off Ukraine from Europe's largest nuclear power plant unless Kyiv pays Moscow for electricity.

The Zaporizhzhia plant was captured by Russian troops in the early weeks of the invasion.

Russia's deputy prime minister Marat Khusnullin was quoted by Russian agencies as saying the plant would continue to "work for Ukraine" if Kyiv paid Russia for power and that if not, it "will work for Russia".

Ukrainian officials brushed off the threat, saying Russia did not have the know-how to reroute the country's energy supply.

- 12 killed in Severodonetsk -

The governor of the eastern Lugansk region says at least 12 people have been killed and 40 injured in Russian shelling of the city of Severodonetsk.

Severodonetsk has been the target of sustained bombardment in recent days as Russian forces attempt to capture the easternmost city still in Ukrainian hands.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.