Here are the key events so far on Tuesday, May 17.
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- More than 260 Ukrainian fighters have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to Russian-held territories, and efforts to rescue the remaining ones are continuing, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said.
- Explosions rocked the western city of Lviv and a Russian attack hit a military base close to Poland’s border, Ukrainian officials said. The country’s air defence shot down three cruise missiles in the Lviv region, the air force said.
- Twenty civilians were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, according to Ukraine’s Joint Forces Task Force.
- A village in Russia’s western province of Kursk bordering Ukraine came under Ukrainian fire, regional governor Roman Starovoit said. No injuries were reported but three houses and a school were hit.
- Regional police in the Bucha region north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, said the bodies of three more civilians were found near a village. Ukraine has accused Russian forces of killing hundreds of civilians as they retreated from the area more than two months ago. Russia denies the allegations.
- Ukrainian troops shelled a residential area in the Petrovsky district, according to the Russian-backed administration of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, Russian state news agency RIA reported.
- A Russian missile attack struck “civilian targets” in the city of Okhtyrka, wounding at least five people, the governor of the Sumy region said.
- Sweden has joined neighbouring Finland in formally deciding to apply for NATO membership, a move that ends the country’s more than 200 years of military non-alignment.
- Turkey “cannot say ‘yes’” to Finland and Sweden’s NATO bid, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin, reversing previous statements, said Russia has no issue with Finland and Sweden joining the military alliance.
- Japan’s chief government spokesman said his country respected Sweden’s “serious decision” to apply for NATO membership.
Diplomacy and aid
- The US Senate has backed sending an additional $40bn to Ukraine as aid assistance. A possible vote on the bill is expected later this week.
- Red Cross head Francesco Rocca accused Europe of “double standards”, referring to countries swiftly accepting Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion but not welcoming people escaping violence in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere.
- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called on members of a Russian-led military alliance to unite and accused the West of supporting Nazi ideas and prolonging the conflict in Ukraine.
- European Union foreign ministers failed in their effort to pressure Hungary to lift its veto of a proposed oil embargo on Russia.
- Germany is open to the idea of seizing Russian state assets to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said.
- Poland’s agriculture minister suggested Ukraine’s grain exports that are stuck at Black Sea ports to be routed through Poland.
- US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will unveil an action plan on achieving global food security after the war in Ukraine interrupted the supply of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other staples and raised already high global food prices.
- The EU gave companies the green light to buy gas from Russia without breaching sanctions, demonstrating a softened stance in a standoff with Moscow over energy supplies.
- McDonald’s announced the sale of its business in Russia, saying the country “is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values”. The company has 850 restaurants and 62,000 employees in Russia.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies