The Kremlin accuses the West of preventing a 'quick' end to Russia's military campaign in Ukraine

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The Kremlin accuses the West of preventing a ‘quick’ end to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine – Copyright AFP Yasuyoshi CHIBA

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

-Mariupol factory ceasefire in doubt –

The Russian military had announced a three-day ceasefire starting Thursday at the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the southern port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces are making a last stand.

But a commander of the Azov regiment which is defending it says in a video on Telegram that “heavy bloody fighting continues”, accusing Russia of violating its promise of a ceasefire.

President Vladimir Putin says the Russian army is “still ready” to give safe passage to civilians trapped at Azovstal.

“As for the militants remaining at Azovstal, the Kyiv authorities must give them an order to lay down their arms,” the Kremlin quotes Putin as saying.

– UN rescue convoy heads to Azovstal –

Despite the ceasefire uncertainty, a new UN convoy is expected in Mariupol on Friday to try to evacuate civilians from the factory.

“Today as we speak, a convoy is proceeding to get to Azovstal by tomorrow morning hopefully to receive those civilians remaining in that bleak hell … and take them back to safety,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths tells a Ukraine donors’ conference in Warsaw on Thursday.

– Pentagon denies helping target Russian generals –

The US Defense Department denies providing intelligence on the locations of Russian generals on the battlefield so that Ukrainian forces could kill them.

“We do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says, responding to an explosive New York Times report on US support for Ukraine’s military.

Separately, US media report Washington had shared intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Russian warship Moskva last month.

However, a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells AFP that the United States does not “provide specific targeting information on ships”.

– West slowing, not hindering operation: Kremlin –

The Kremlin accuses the West of preventing a quick end to Russia’s military campaign.

“The United States, Britain, NATO as a whole hand over intelligence… to Ukraine’s armed forces on a permanent basis,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters. 

“Coupled with the flow of weapons that these countries are sending to Ukraine, these are all actions that do not contribute to the quick completion of the operation.”

But Peskov says the West is “incapable of hindering the achievement” of the Russian operation’s goals.

– Donor conference, crowdfunding –

More than six billion euros ($6.3 billion) were collected at a Ukraine donors’ conference in Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says.

Separately, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launches a global crowdfunding platform — United24 — to help Kyiv win the war with Russia and rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

Ukraine’s government in April estimated the cost of rebuilding after the war to be at least $600 billion (570 billion euros).

– Fiji seizes oligarch’s yacht –

Authorities in Fiji seize the $300 million yacht of Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov after a US request to hold the vessel for violating sanctions and for alleged ties to corruption, the US Justice Department says.

The 348-foot (106-metre) “Amadea” was berthed in Lautoka, Fiji in the South Pacific when local authorities took control of it.

– Sell seized assets: EU chief –

The European Union should confiscate and sell Russian assets it has seized and use the proceeds to rebuild Ukraine, EU chief Charles Michel says, echoing an idea already floated in the United States. 

The EU said early last month it had frozen 30 billion euros ($31.5 billion) in assets linked to blacklisted Russian and Belarusian individuals.

– Eastern assault continues –

The governor of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region Pavlo Kyrylenko says at least 25 civilians were wounded in an overnight Russian strike on the city of Kramatorsk.

Moscow seeks to establish “full control” of the regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, and to maintain a land corridor to occupied Crimea.

The Ukrainian army meanwhile says it has retaken control of “several settlements on the border of Mykolaiv and Kherson regions”. 

– Russia, Israel and the Holocaust –

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says Putin has apologised for remarks made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who claimed Adolf Hitler may have had “Jewish blood”. 

The comments had sparked outrage in Israel.

A Kremlin summary of the Bennett-Putin call, which came as Israel marked 74 years since the creation of the Jewish state, made no mention of a Putin apology.

It did, however, note that the leaders discussed the “historic memory” of the Holocaust.

– Zelensky invites German leaders –

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is yet to commit to visiting Kyiv, even after Ukraine’s leader invited him and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier — three weeks after the German president was snubbed by Kyiv.

– NATO, Sweden and the Baltic Sea –

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance could heighten its presence around Sweden and the Baltic Sea to protect the country from Russian interference during a potential membership application.

burs-qan/mtp

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