Ukraine war: Kremlin calls NATO plans a ‘serious mistake’

Ukraine accuses Russia of phosphorus attack – attacks in Lviv region +++ Current developments War in Ukraine in back-Teleprinter.

As NATO’s northward expansion plans come to fruition, the Russian military has once again blasted the beleaguered steel mills in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. Fighting also continued in other parts of Ukraine.

News from the war in Ukraine from Monday, May 16:

11:27 a.m .: German gas storage tanks are more than 40% full

After the end of the winter heating phase, gas storage facilities in Germany are gradually filling up again. As can be seen on the website of the European gas infrastructure manager (GIE), the storage facilities are now 40.8% full. A month earlier, it was only 29.8%. At 39.5%, the current EU average is similar to the German figure.

It is normal for the reservoirs to refill in the spring and summer. When the radiators are switched off, the energy demand decreases. With an impending shutdown of Russian natural gas supplies, it is particularly important this year that storage facilities are well filled.

11:04 am: European Commission lowers economic growth forecast to 2.7%

The European Commission has drastically lowered its growth forecast for the European economy due to the war in Ukraine. The economy of the EU and eurozone countries will grow only 2.7% this year instead of the previously expected 4%, according to the authority’s spring forecast presented in Brussels.

10:59 am: Russian gas transit through Ukraine continues to decline

Transit of Russian gas through Ukraine continued to decline as a result of war and sanctions. According to Russian energy company Gazprom, only 46.8 million cubic meters of gas need to be pumped through Ukraine’s pipeline network to Europe today. The maximum contractually possible use is 109 million cubic meters per day. The gas can only be transported through the Sudscha point on Russian territory, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said, according to the Interfax agency.

10:46 am: Injured again after Russian rocket attack near Odessa

A tourist accommodation was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack near the port city of Odessa in southern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian military sources. The Southern Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported at least three injured civilians. In addition, a fire broke out. The target was therefore a previously attacked and damaged bridge over the mouth of the Dniester. There was initially no confirmation from the Russian side.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry in Moscow reported more than 100 airstrikes on military infrastructure in Ukraine on Monday evening. In addition, rockets were fired at more than 300 targets, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. The information could not initially be independently verified.

10:21 am: Renault completely stops activities in Russia

The French car manufacturer Renault completely ceased its activities in Russia because of the war in Ukraine and gave up all its shares in the company. As the group announced in Boulogne-Billancourt, Renault is selling all of its shares in Renault Russia to the city of Moscow and its stake in the manufacturer Avtovaz to the Central Institute for the Development of Automobiles and Engines (Nami). There is an option to buy back Avtovaz shares over the next six years.

10:15 a.m .: Moscow calls Finnish and Swedish NATO plans a big mistake

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO a “serious mistake with far-reaching consequences”. This would increase military tensions, Ryabkov warned, according to the Interfax news agency. Addressing the two Scandinavian countries, he added: “You shouldn’t have any illusions that we’re just going to put up with it.”

9:58 a.m .: British Secret Service – Belarus binds Ukrainian forces

According to estimates by the British secret service, Belarus will probably immobilize the military forces of the neighboring country by stationing troops on the border with Ukraine. According to a report from the Ministry of Defense in London, Minsk wants to send special forces, air defense, artillery units and rocket launchers to training areas in the west of the country. This “will probably tie up Ukrainian troops so that they cannot be deployed to support Donbass”.

Contrary to initial speculation, Belarusian troops have not yet been involved in combat operations, according to the report. However, the territory there was used as a staging point for Russian advances on kyiv and Chernihiv as well as airstrikes. President Alexander Lukashenko is weighing the balance between supporting Russia and avoiding direct military involvement. Such involvement could lead to further Western sanctions, retaliatory strikes from Ukraine and discontent within the country’s military.

9:50 a.m .: Moscow warns of “profound consequences” of Finland and Sweden joining NATO

Russia again strongly criticized Sweden’s and Finland’s efforts to join NATO. “This is another serious mistake with far-reaching consequences,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to Russian news agencies. In the context of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland are about to give up their decades of military neutrality to join the Western military alliance.

7:32 a.m .: Ukraine prepares for an upsurge in Russian attacks in the Donbass

Ukraine is preparing for a new Russian offensive in the east of the country. After the withdrawal of Russian units around Kharkiv, more soldiers are now being transferred to Donbass, said Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich. Ukraine is preparing for “further attempted attacks” by the Russian army in the Donbass, aimed at “increasing their movements in southern Ukraine”, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message Monday evening .

07:00: Ukrainian troops advance from Kharkiv towards the Russian border

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense released a video on Monday evening showing a dozen soldiers next to a border post in the national colors of blue and yellow. According to the information, they belong to a brigade of volunteers from the city of Kharkiv. Another video clip posted online shows the soldiers bringing the stake and placing it in front of a ditch with Russian border signs.

The Ukrainian army had already signaled in recent days that it was gradually pushing back Russian troops near Kharkiv. Russia had already withdrawn its troops to northern Ukraine after being stopped outside the capital, kyiv. Russia is currently focusing on the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where pro-Russian separatists, with help from Moscow, have controlled some areas since 2014.

06:33: According to the governor, Ukraine still controls ten percent of Lugansk

Despite heavy Russian attacks, the Ukrainian army still controls about 10% of the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, according to the regional governor. In particular, the Russians were unable to capture the outskirts of the cities of Rubishne, Sievjerodonetsk and Lysychansk, Serhiy Hajday stressed. In the Donetsk region, also in eastern Ukraine, three civilians were killed and 13 others injured in Russian attacks on Sunday, according to the regional administration.

5 a.m.: Ukraine accuses Russia of phosphorus attack – attacks in Lviv region

Fighting has continued in several parts of Ukraine following the Russian war of aggression which has lasted for more than two and a half months. For the first time in recent days, military infrastructure was also the target of fire in the west of the country. The site of the Azovstal steelworks, where the last Ukrainian fighters are entrenched, was attacked with phosphorus bombs, according to Ukraine’s allegations. Mariupol City Council deputy Petro Andryushchenko on Sunday accused Russia of using weapons whose use is prohibited against people. At first there was no evidence. Such incendiary bombs ignite on contact with oxygen and cause devastating damage.

After the attacks in western Ukraine, there was initially no known death or injury, as the head of Ukraine’s military administration Maxym Kosyzkyj told the Telegram news channel. The extent of the destruction is under investigation. An object near Jaworiv – presumably around the military training area there – was reportedly completely destroyed. It was therefore the first time in about a week that there was an air alert in the Lviv (Lemberg) region near the Polish border. In the situation report of the Russian army, there was initially no information about this.

00:00: Finnish and Swedish parliaments discuss NATO membership

Finland’s and Sweden’s plans to join NATO will be discussed in the parliaments of the two Nordic countries on Monday. The Social Democrats led by Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson voted on Sunday in favor of an application for membership. Before an official announcement of the application for admission, the Prime Minister wishes to consult Parliament. Finland’s membership application was officially approved on Sunday. However, it still needs to be approved by parliament, and a majority is expected.

Finland and Sweden are preparing to join NATO in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Admission to the alliance would be a historic turning point for both countries after decades of alliance neutrality. A unanimous NATO vote and ratification of the alliance’s enlargement by the parliaments of the previous 30 member states are also required for membership.

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ODA
AFP

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