The Ukrainian government in Kyiv has traded the trapped militants in Mariupol to Russia. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian soldiers in the south of the country are not giving up. What happened that night at a glance.
The Ukrainian leadership is proposing to the Russian military a trade for the last defenders of the port city entrenched in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol. “As a first step, we offered the Russians the following exchange: We transport our seriously wounded boys in a humanitarian corridor from Azovstal,” said Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk, according to Ukrajinska Pravda. At the same time, the Ukrainian military is releasing Russian prisoners of war “according to standard rules for their exchange”. The negotiations on this were still ongoing.
The Russian military is demanding that the defenders surrender, while the Ukrainian troops categorically refuse. The conditions in the besieged steelworks are said to be catastrophic.
Russian and Ukrainian troops have once again engaged in bitter fighting in the region between Cherson and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. The defenders gave the Russian attackers “no opportunity to advance,” according to the Ukrainian military leadership.
In the course of the fighting, at least 23 Russian soldiers were killed and two tanks were destroyed, as was an ammunition depot, the Unian agency quoted from the statement. The information could not be independently verified.
Regardless of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv area, Mayor Vitali Klitschko fears a new attack on the Ukrainian capital “at any time”. In a conversation with the US broadcaster CNN on Thursday night, Klitschko did not even rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
Kyiv remains the main target of the Russian military. “And as long as there is war in Ukraine, we cannot give a Ukrainian any guarantees,” said the former world boxing champion. “Right now, safety is our top priority,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sees significant progress in efforts to secure international security guarantees for his country. This could ensure the political neutrality of Ukraine demanded by Moscow in a post-war period. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk is negotiating an unusual swap deal with the Russian side – Russian prisoners of war for seriously wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
“We are negotiating with the world’s leading nations to give Ukraine confidence in security for decades to come,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Wednesday evening. Among other things, this topic was discussed at the G7 meeting on May 8, in which Ukraine took part for the first time.
“This is now the first time in the history of our state that such guarantees can be recorded,” said Zelenskyy. And not in any memoranda or unclear formulations, “but concrete guarantees”. These are also “not only legally valid, but also formulated in such a way that it is clear: What exactly, who specifically and how specifically (Ukraine) is guaranteed”.
Russia is demanding that Ukraine become politically neutral as a condition for an end to hostilities. Kyiv is looking for strong international security guarantees for this.
Probably to facilitate its own attacks, the Russian military has called on international organizations to evacuate places in eastern Ukraine. This was justified by Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev “with regard to the threatening catastrophic humanitarian situation of most civilians in Kramatorsk and Sloviansk”. The UN, OSCE, Red Cross and the world community should “immediately take all measures for the quick and safe evacuation of civilians from these cities under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces,” he was quoted as saying by the Russian agency Interfax.
According to Mizinzew, the Ukrainian troops have entrenched themselves in these places and are using their own civilian population as a living shield. Around 90,000 civilians were staying in Slowjansk and Kramatorsk. Kramatorsk and Sloviansk are considered the cornerstones of the Ukrainian defensive lines in eastern Ukraine.
From this Thursday onwards, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and her colleagues from the G7 group of leading democratic industrial nations will be discussing the effects of the Russian war of aggression in Wangels on the Baltic Sea (7:00 p.m.). The foreign ministers of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, Dmytro Kuleba and Nicu Popescu, are said to be present at the talks at times.
In Helsinki, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö wants to announce his position on his country’s possible NATO membership. The announcement is considered groundbreaking as to whether Finland will decide to apply to join the military alliance in the wake of the Russian war of aggression. Sweden is also considering joining NATO.
In Tokyo, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. At the 28th EU-Japan summit, the joint sanctions against Russia and aid for Kyiv will be discussed, among other things.
The UN Human Rights Council is holding a special session on Ukraine in Geneva.
Also Read: The Ukraine Update on May 11th