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Ukraine sentences Russian to life for killing civilian

May 23, 2022

A 21-year-old Russian soldier was found guilty for killing a civilian. Ukraine's Zelenskyy opened the World Economic Forum in Davos. Follow DW for the latest.

Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin listens to his translator during a court hearing in Kyiv Monday
Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced to life in prison for killing an unarmed Ukrainian civilian, Oleksandr Shelipov, 62 in the first war crimes trial in UkraineImage: Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photo/picture alliance
  • US says 20 countries to offer more weapons to Ukraine
  • UK says Russian losses likely rival those of USSR in Afghanistan
  • Zelensky opens World Economic Forum calling for maximum sanctions on Russia
  • Ukraine sentences Russian to life in prison in first war crimes trial
  • Russian diplomat quits Geneva post, slams Sergey Lavrov and Ukraine war

This live updates article is now closed. For our latest from May 24, click here.

Zelenskyy says Ukrainians have no choice but to fight and win

In his late-night speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of difficult weeks of war ahead.

According to Zelenskyy, the most difficult military situation is currently in Donbass.

"Bakhmut, Popasna, Severodonetsk - in this direction the occupiers have concentrated the greatest activity so far. They organized a massacre there and are trying to destroy everything living there," he said.

Zelenskyy said the Russians were trying to demonstrate that they would not give up the occupied Ukrainian areas.

"Yet we have no alternative but to fight. Fight and win. Free our land and our people," he said.

Habeck says EU embargo on Russian oil is likely within days

The European Union will likely agree an embargo on Russian oil imports "within days," Germany's economy minister Robert Habeck said on Monday.

"We will reach a breakthrough within days," Habeck told German broadcaster ZDF when asked about an EU oil embargo in retaliation for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He warned, however, that an embargo would not automatically weaken the Kremlin. Rising global oil prices after the United States announced an embargo on Russian oil enabled it to rake in more income while selling lower volumes.

"So Putin has sold less oil in the last few weeks and had more income," concluded Habeck.

Therefore, the European Commission and United States were working on a proposal to no longer pay "any price" for oil, but to cap global prices, he said.

"There's the idea of talking to each other and saying we're not paying any price here anymore," Habeck said. However, this would only work if a large number of countries get on board.

Zelenskyy at Davos: Priorities include prisoners, Ukrainians in Russia, food exports

Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky called the exchange of prisoners, the return of deported Ukrainians from Russia and enabling Ukraine to export foodstuffs again some of the main humanitarian problems and priorities for his government.

Speaking via video in the Ukrainian House in Davos, Zelenskyy said that exchanging prisoners could ultimately require the support of one or more third-party states acting as intermediaries.

"People who are in captivity today. These are brave people. They have done a great job. Heroic and, I am sure, historic. We must exchange them," said Zelenskyy.

The Ukrainian president called the future global food crisis another humanitarian problem.

"There will be a shortage of food. Due to the blockade of all ports in our country. Today, Russia, which controls the Azov coast, has blocked 22 million tons of grain, sunflower seeds, etc. All political and business elites must take various measures to unblock this grain," he said.

Ukraine says Russia has deported 1.4 million Ukrainian citizens to its territory

Russia forcibly deported 1.4 million Ukrainian citizens, including more than 240,000 children, to its territory, Ukrainian Ombudsman Liudmyla Denisova said on Monday.

"About 1.4 million, including more than 240,000 children, were forcibly deported to its territory by the Russian Federation," Denisova told the World Economic Forum at the discussion "Protection of Human Rights During War" at the delayed Davos summit.

She did not provide supporting evidence, Russia has only spoken of "refugees" crossing the border to escape fighting.

She also said that Russia was preparing for forced deportation in advance and expected to bring out more than 2 million Ukrainian citizens.

Forced deportations of civilians in wartime to the territory of an occupying power contravene the Geneva Conventions.

Ukrainian court orders ex-president's arrest in absentia on treason charge

A court in Kyiv on Monday ordered the arrest in absentia of the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of treason over an agreement he signed in 2010 extending Russia's lease on naval facilities in Crimea.

The agreement, widely known in Ukraine as the Kharkiv Pact, allowed Russia to keep its Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in 2014 after mass protests, has already received in Ukraine a 13-year jail sentence in absentia for treason. That case was related to a letter he sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 1, 2014, asking him to use Russian army and police forces to restore order in Ukraine.

US says 20 countries to offer more weapons to Ukraine

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced on Monday that several US allies were preparing new security assistance packages to offer to Ukraine, following a virtual meeting aimed at coordinating the arms deliveries.

"Today was a very successful meeting," Austin said. "Many countries are donating critically needed artillery ammunition, coastal defense systems and tanks and other armored vehicles."

Among the 20 countries that are preparing new offers were Italy, Denmark, Greece, Norway and Poland, Austin said.

Ukraine reveals record military death toll from Russian strike

An attack on a Ukrainian barracks last week was the country's largest military death toll from a single attack since the war began, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The strike killed 87 people, he said.

It hit the training camp in the locality of Desna, north of Kyiv, on May 17. Authorities had first reported eight dead and 12 wounded in the attack.

"Today we have finished our clear-up work in Desna. Unfortunately, the numbers are as follows: 87 victims found under the debris," Zelenskyy said during the World Economic Forum at Davos.

War crimes verdict is 'first step' in seeking justice for victims, Ukrainian ministerial adviser tells DW

Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine's defense minister, spoke to DW on Monday about Monday's sentencing of the Russian soldier found guilty of shooting a Ukrainian civilian.

"What happened today is the first step in the logical commitment of Ukraine to seek justice for the victims of these war crimes," he said.

"Our general prosecutor's office, our Ministry of Internal Affairs, have been very carefully and meticulously collecting evidence of these war crimes since day one," he added.

Ukraine's Prosecutor General says it is investigating nearly 11,000 potential war crimes.

Starbucks set to close stores in Russia

US coffee chain giant Starbucks said in a memo to employees on Monday that it is planning on closing its 130 locations in Russia, news agencies have reported.

The company is planning to pay its almost 2,000 employees in Russia for another six months to help them transition.

Starbucks suspended its business in the country early on in the invasion but has now decided to withdraw all brand presence from the country, citing Russia's aggression.

The move comes after McDonald's decided to sell off its 850 restaurants in Russia last week.

A woman walks past a Starbucks coffee shop in Moscow
Starbucks stores in Russia have been run by the Kuwait-based franchise-operator Alshaya GroupImage: Alexander Shcherbak/dpa/TASS/picture alliance

Azovstal soldiers to stand trial in Donetsk, separatist leader says

The several hundred Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol will be tried in the breakaway Donetsk region, its Russian-backed leader Denis Pushilin said on Monday.

The soldiers surrendered on the orders of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after holding out in Azovstal steelworks for months.

"The prisoners from Azovstal are being held on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic," Russian news agency Interfax cited Pushilin as saying.

"Organizing an international tribunal on the republic's territory is also planned," he added.

The announcement followed the conviction and sentencing of a Russian soldier in Kyiv for the killing of an unarmed civilian during the early days of the invasion. Pushilin did not say which supposed crimes the Azovstal fighters would be charged with.

The Kremlin has not rejected the possibility of the captured soldiers — almost 2,500 according to recent claims — being exchanged for captured Russian troops.

Dangerous rescue in Mariupol

Lukashenko urges 'countries of the world' to prevent escalation in Ukraine

As Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko is meeting Russia's Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Belarusian state-run BelTA agency published a letter Lukashenko wrote to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week.

Lukashenko urged "countries of the world to unite and prevent the regional conflict in Europe from escalating into a full-scale world war." According to the report, the president also "assured the UN secretary-general that Belarus was ready for direct meetings and other steps in order to ensure peace and opportunities for life and development for future generations."

Minsk has so far not sent its forces into Ukraine to participate in Russia's invasion though it has permitted use of its territory for staging and exfiltration of Russian forces. But on Monday, Ukraine's General Staff reported that Belarus had amassed forces on its border with Ukraine.

Russian diplomat in Geneva resigns, becoming first due to the war

Boris Bondarev, Russia's Counsellor to the UN in Geneva, resigned from his post over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, becoming the first known Russian diplomat to do so.

"I have never been so ashamed of my country," he wrote on LinkedIn, explaining his actions.

Bondarev added, "Those who conceived this war want only one thing - to remain in power forever, live in pompous tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian Navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity."

He said he had served in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2002 and in his role in Geneva prior to his resignation since 2019.

Russian soldier sentenced to life in prison in first war crimes trial

A court in Ukraine has sentenced Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin to life in prison for the murder of an unarmed civilian.

It is the first war crimes trial in Ukraine resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

During the four-day trial, the 21-year-old tank commander testified to shooting a civilian in the Chupakhivka village in the northeastern Sumy region. The soldier said that he carried out the shooting on orders from his superiors.

"I regret it. I regret it very much. I did not refuse and I am ready to accept any measures imposed," he said ahead of the verdict.

Former Austrian foreign minister steps down from Rosneft board

Karin Kniessl, the former foreign minister of Austria who waltzed with Putin at her 2018 wedding, while she was in office, resigned from the board of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft on May 20, Russian state-run news agency RIA reports. She had joined the board last June.

News of her resignation from the board follows news of the departures of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Matthias Warnig, a former Dresden Stasi chief-turned-businessman and Nord Stream 2 head.

Zelenskyy speaks at World Economic Forum in Davos

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy opened the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"This year the words 'turning point' seem to have taken on more meaning," Zelenskyy said, pointing to this year's theme, "History at a turning point."

Zelenskyy pointed to Sarajevo in 1914 and Munich in 1938, the two historic events just ahead of the two world wars, comparing them to Russia's invasion of Ukraine this year.

"History remembers many moments when everything changed dramatically," the Ukrainian president pointed out.

He said the war and Ukraine's resistance showed "the understanding that you need to fight for the freedom."

Zelenskyy urged Western countries to employ maximum sanctions against Russia, called for an oil embargo, a halt to all trade with Russia and a full blockade on business with all Russian banks.

Russian military says it bombed rail station used by Ukraine's military near Kyiv

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Russian forces had successfully targeted a Ukrainian military transport rail station in the town of Malyn in the Zhytomyr region.

Ukrainian sources reported the bombing of the town Sunday night and said one person had been killed and several injured.

Visiting a Ukrainian village on the front line

Konashenkov added that Russian forces had shelled targets in the villages of Bachmut, Soldear, Berestowe, Lyman, Nyrkowe and Sakitne overnight as part of the country's "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Russia alleged that it had killed 230 Ukrainian soldiers, destroyed 33 military vehicles, shot down three fighter planes as well as 13 drones. None of the Russian figures could be independently verified.

Russian-appointed mayor of Enerhodar injured in blast

"The self-proclaimed head of the 'people's administration' of Enerhodar, Andrei Shevchik, has been injured by an explosion at the entrance to the apartment building where his mother lives," the Ukrainian military administration in the Zaporizhzhia region said on Telegram.

It added the attack targeted Shevchik for being a collaborator of the Russians. Media reports indicate Shevchik is in intensive care. His bodyguards were also injured in the attack.

Russian occupation forces were looking for two young men in a red Audi who they allege are responsible for the attack, Ukraines said.

Russia's Investigative Committee also said it had opened a criminal case "for the Ukrainian nationalists' crime."

Enerhodar is home to the most powerful nuclear plant in Europe.

Poland to terminate Yamal gas pipeline contract with Russia

Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskwa said her country has opted to terminate its intergovernmental contract with Russia for gas supplied through the Yamal pipeline. The 5,400 kilometer-long (3,355 mile-long) pipeline in Poland is one of four gas pipelines from Russia to western Europe. 

Moskwa wrote on Twitter, "Russia's aggression against Ukraine has confirmed the accuracy of the Polish government's determination to become completely independent from Russian gas."

She added, "We always knew that Gazprom was not a reliable partner."

Poland and the Baltic states have sought energy independence from Russia for years given their difficult history of domination and occupation by Moscow.

Ukraine says Belarus deploying forces on Ukraine border

The Ukrainian General Staff in its daily situation report said Belarus is amassing forces on its border with Ukraine.

"The Belarusian armed forces are carrying out increased reconnaissance and have have deployed additional units in the border area," the report said.

Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko did not order Belarusian troops to join Russia's invasion of Ukraine but he has permitted Russian forces the use of Belarusian territory as a staging ground and for treating the injured.

Lukashenko is in Sochi on Monday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Biden says Russia must pay 'long-term price'

Speaking in Tokyo, US President Joe Biden warned that Russia "has to pay a long-term price" for its "barbarism in Ukraine."

He said sanctions on Russia were necessary. Biden added that the sanctions should be continued "in many ways" even after any rapprochement in the future between Russia and Ukraine. Otherwise, "what signal does that send to China about the cost of attempting to take Taiwan by force?" Biden asked.

UK says Russian losses might already be equal to that of nine-year Afghan war

The UK Ministry of Defence said that Russia has likely lost as many soldiers during the first three months of the Ukraine war as the Soviet Union lost during its nine-year intervention in Afghanistan.

Soviet forces lost about 15,000 soldiers during the Afghan war. Some 9,500 fell in battle and the rest died due to wounds, diseases and accidents.

The UK attributed the staggering death toll to poor tactics, limited air cover, the lack of flexibility of Russian forces and a command structure more prone to reinforcing errors than adapting to circumstances.

Kyiv court to issue first war crimes verdict

 Ukraine is set to issue the country's first war crimes verdict since the start of Russia's invasion.

A 21-year-old Russian soldier testified to shooting a civilian in the Chupakhivka village in the northeastern Sumy region. The soldier said that he carried out the shooting on orders from his superiors.

The prosecution has asked for life imprisonment. The defense has argued for acquittal on the basis that the soldier was carrying out an order.

The soldier told the court that he was ready to face consequences.

"I regret it. I regret it very much. I did not refuse and I am ready to accept any measures imposed," he said in closing remarks at the trial.

Ukraine war pushes number of displaced people past 100 million — UN refugee chief

The number of displaced people in the world has surpassed 100 million for the first time, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said.

Russia's invasion has displaced 8 million people internally within Ukraine, and another 6 million have been registered as having left Ukraine.

UNHCR data shows that the number of displaced people reached around 90 million people in 2021.

"One hundred million is a stark figure — sobering and alarming in equal measure. It's a record that should never have been set," Grandi said.

"This must serve as a wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive conflicts, end persecution, and address the underlying causes that force innocent people to flee their homes."

"The international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive," Grandi said. "Compassion is alive and we need a similar mobilization for all crises around the world. But ultimately, humanitarian aid is a palliative, not a cure."

Ukraine, Poland agree to increase border cooperation

Ukraine and Poland have agreed to a joint border customs control and work on a shared railway company.

The cooperation was announced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda during a meeting in Kyiv on Sunday.

"The Polish-Ukrainian border should unite not divide," Duda told lawmakers in the Ukrainian parliament. Poland's president is the first foreign leader to give a speech in person in the Verkhovna Rada since the start of the invasion.

Zelenskyy called the establishment of joint border customs control "revolutionary."

"This will significantly speed up border procedures," Zelenskyy said following Duda's visit.

Ukraine's infrastructure minister, Oleksander Kubrakov, said that the two countries were working on easing transport of Ukraine's goods to the European Union.

"We are also working on the creation of a joint venture railway company to increase the export potential of the Ukrainian economy," Kubrakov said.

Also during his visit to Kyiv, Duda told lawmakers that Ukrainians who fled the war into Poland were "not refugees to us," instead saying they were Poland's "guests."

Duda also said Ukraine needed to be rebuilt "at the cost of the aggressor" and that he would not rest until Ukraine becomes an EU member.

World Economic forum president calls for Ukrainian 'Marshall Plan'

World Economic Forum president Borge Brende has called for a "Marshall Plan" to rebuild Ukraine just ahead of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

The Marshall Plan was a US initiative that supported the rebuilding of several European economies following World War II.

"Even without a peace agreement, which is currently not very likely, we must work on reconstruction, at least in those areas that are under Ukrainian control," Brende told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.

"We need a Marshall Plan for Ukraine."

Brende said that he would like to push for such a plan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which begins on Monday.

According to Brende, Ukraine is not the only worry the global economy is faced with.

"It is also climate change. It is also that the global growth is slowing," Brende told the Associated Press. "There's no business as usual."

Brende said that "we have to avoid that this very weak recovery ends with a new recession because we have very limited ammunition to fight a new recession."

"A new recession will lead to increased unemployment, increased poverty," he said.  "So much is at stake."

Originally scheduled to take place in late January, travel restrictions amid the emergence of the omicron COVID variant prompted organizers to delay the event.

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia conflict on Sunday

Moscow's lead negotiator said Russia is ready to resume peace talks with Ukraine but the initiative must come from Kyiv.

Ukraine ruled out for a second time a cease-fire or any territorial concessions to Moscow. Presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said that "the war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty."

Russia said it plans to put about 50 new nuclear-capable Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles into service by the end of the year.

France's State Secretary for European Affairs Clement Beaune said that Paris does not want to offer Ukrainians "any illusions or lies" about their way into the European Union. "[Ukrainian EU accession] is probably in 15 or 20 years, it takes a long time."

The crowd at a rock concert in St. Petersburg was recorded chanting an anti-war slogan on Friday. In a video that spread across social media, the crowd is heard chanting "f--- war!" during a concert of the Russian band Kiss Kiss.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, visiting Senegal as part of a tour of Africa, promised help to deal with rising food prices and missing deliveries from Ukraine, and said Europe would be a willing customer for the liquid natural gas reserves Senegal recently started trying to exploit. 

With the Ukraine war about to enter its fourth month, the country's parliament prolonged general mobilization for another 90 days.

You can read our live updates from Sunday, May 22 here.

ab, ar, sdi/dj, msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)