War in Ukraine: Latest developments

By: AFP
Published: 10:38 PM, 31 May, 2022
War in Ukraine: Latest developments
Caption: A Ukrainian policeman helps evacuees to leave bus as they arrive to a small town, east of Kharkiv.
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Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

- Russians seize half of key eastern city -

Russian forces seize control of half of the eastern Ukraine city of Severodonetsk, a senior official says. 

"Unfortunately, the front line divides the city in half. But the city is still defending itself, the city is still Ukrainian, our soldiers are defending it," says Oleksandr Stryuk, the head of Severodonetsk's military and civil administration.

The industrial city is key to Russia's goal of capturing the Donbas region, where Moscow has shifted the bulk of its firepower since failing to seize Kyiv in the war's early stages.

- EU agrees ban on most Russian oil -

EU leaders agree to ban most Russian oil imports, after reaching a deal with Hungary that allows it to keep receiving Russian crude.

The deal bans oil imports delivered by tankers but exempts pipeline deliveries, a key demand of landlocked Hungary, whose leader Viktor Orban had warned that a full oil blockade would be an "atomic bomb" for his country's economy.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen says the accord will cut around 90 percent of the EU's Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

- 'Thousands' of alleged war crimes in Donbas -

Ukraine is investigating several thousand cases of suspected war crimes in the Donbas region, Kyiv's chief prosecutor says.

On a visit to The Hague, Ukraine's prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova says some 15,000 cases of alleged war crimes have been reported countrywide since Russia's invasion on February 24.

- Mariupol port resumes business - 

A cargo ship bound for Russia has set sail from occupied Mariupol, less than two weeks after the last Ukrainian defenders of the strategic port city surrendered, the city's new rulers say.

"Today 2,500 tonnes of sheet metal rolls left the port of Mariupol, the ship is heading to Rostov," Denis Pushilin, the pro-Kremlin separatist whose forces control the city writes on Telegram.

Russia last week said it had de-mined the port as a first step to resuming shipments from the key exit point for Ukrainian grain.

Dozens of container ships are blocked in Ukrainian ports which have been blockaded by Russian vessels. Russia is in talks with Turkey about creating a secure corridor for shipping companies.

- 'Banking sanctions hurt Africa'

The chairman of the African Union, Macky Sall, warns EU leaders their decision to expel Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system risks hurting Africa's food supplies by making it harder to import Russian grain.

On Monday, the EU barred Russia's largest bank Sberbank from SWIFT as part of a sixth round of sanctions on the Russian economy linked to the war in Ukraine.

The move makes it difficult for the bank to receive or make international payments but Sberbank says it is is operating "as normal".

- Two more Russian soldiers convicted -

Two Russian soldiers are sentenced to more than 11 years in jail in Ukraine for breaching the rules of war by shelling civilian areas in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Their convictions come a week after a Kyiv court sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for shooting dead an unarmed civilian on his bicycle.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.