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Zelenskyy says more than 300 civilians rescued from besieged steel plant, more evacuations planned – CNBC

UK to provide about $1.6 billion of further military support to Ukraine

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a news briefing, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 9, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Handout

Britain said it would provide a further 1.3 billion pounds (US$1.6 billion) in military support and aid to Ukraine, making the pledge ahead of a planned video call on Sunday by Group of Seven leaders with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Prime MinisteBoris Johnson has been one of the strongest supporters of Ukraine’s efforts to resist Russian forces since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on Feb. 24. Johnson’s government has sent anti-tank missiles, air defense systems and other weapons to Ukraine.

The new pledge almost doubles Britain’s previous spending commitments on Ukraine and the government said this is the highest rate of spending on a conflict since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although it did not give details of this calculation.

“Putin’s brutal attack is not only causing untold devastation in Ukraine — it is also threatening peace and security across Europe,” Johnson said in a statement. Last week he became the first Western leader to address Ukraine’s parliament since the start of the invasion.

The leaders of the G-7 countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — will hold their virtual meeting with Zelenskiy on Sunday, the day before Russia marks its Victory Day holiday, which marks the end of World War II in Europe.

Britain said the extra spending on Ukraine will come from a reserve used by the government for emergencies.


Austrian foreign minister says happy to engage with NATO, but neutrality is anchored in the public mind

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg says it is important not to forget about the Western Balkans when discussing Ukraine’s potential accession to the European Union. He also shares his views on the prospect of Sweden and Finland applying to join the U.S.-led military alliance of NATO.

Zelenskyy says more than 300 people evacuated from Mariupol steel plant

Smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, May 5, 2022.

AP Images

More than 300 civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“I am grateful to the teams of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Organization, who helped us organize the first phase of the evacuation missions from Azovstal,” Zelenskyy said in a video posted to Telegram.

Civilians and soldiers have been barricaded at the massive steel plant since mid-April

Zelenskyy says preparations are underway for the second phase of the evacuation mission, which includes rescuing the wounded and the doctors.

— MacKenzie Sigalos

Russia drops bomb school in eastern Ukraine, says local governor

A Russian airstrike hit a school sheltering 90 people in the eastern village of Bilohorivka, according to Luhansk Regional Governor Serhiy Haidai.

Haidai wrote in a Telegram post that about 30 people have already been saved from the rubble, and the rescue operation remains underway.

The village has become a hot spot during the conflict, according to Haidai, who went on to note that “Russian forces are trying to make a breakthrough there,” and “there are constant battles” in the small town.

“They dropped a bomb on a school where almost the entire village was hiding,” continued Haidai. “Everyone who did not have time to evacuate.”

— MacKenzie Sigalos

Ukraine’s foreign minister calls for a special tribunal to prosecute Russian leadership

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (not seen) give a press conference before a meeting of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters, in Brussels, on April 7, 2022.

Dursun Aydemir | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is calling for a special tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression committed against Ukraine.

“We need a special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine to hold Russian leadership to account,” Kuleba wrote in a tweet.

“Yesterday, I addressed the first International Conference on this issue in Vilnius. Grateful to organizers and reiterate my call to support the creation of the Tribunal,” continued the message.

— MacKenzie Sigalos

Senior Russian lawmaker says U.S. directly involved in Ukraine fighting

Russia’s most senior lawmaker on Saturday accused Washington of coordinating military operations in Ukraine, which he said amounted to direct U.S. involvement in military action against Russia.

“Washington is essentially coordinating and developing military operations, thereby directly participating in military actions against our country,” Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel.

Washington and European members of the transatlantic NATO alliance have supplied Kyiv with heavy weapons to help it resist a Russian offensive that has resulted in the occupation of parts of eastern and southern Ukraine but failed to take Kyiv.

However, the United States and its NATO allies have repeatedly said they will not take part in fighting themselves, in order to avoid becoming parties to the conflict.

U.S. officials have said the United States has provided intelligence to Ukraine to help counter the Russian assault, but have denied that this intelligence includes precise targeting data.

Volodin, speaker of the lower house of parliament, the Duma, is a prominent advocate of what Moscow calls its “special operation” in Ukraine to degrade its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and root out what it calls fascist elements holding sway over the government and military.

Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless, and that Russia has carried out an unprovoked act of aggression. The conflict has killed thousands in Ukraine, and more than five million people have fled the country.

Volodin said foreign advisers had been working in Ukraine since what he called the “coup d’etat”, in an apparent reference to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s democratic election in 2019.

— Reuters

WHO says it stands with people of Ukraine, urges Russia to end the war

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference on December 20, 2021 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

The chief of the World Health Organization is appealing to Russia to end its offensive on Ukraine.

“We continue to call on the Russian Federation to stop this war,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a live media briefing on Saturday.

Tedros said the WHO stands with “all the people of Ukraine” and vowed to support the government in its efforts to treat the injured, maintain health services, and repair and strengthen Ukraine’s health systems.

Thus far, the organization has verified 200 attacks on health-care facilities in Ukraine since the war began.

“These attacks must stop. Health care is never a target,” Tedros said.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the WHO has delivered trauma and emergency supplies, which they say have been put to use in over 15,000 surgeries. The medicines and health-care equipment donated to the cause have served 650,000 people, and the group will donate over 20 ambulances on Sunday, according to the WHO.

The organization has also provided 15 diesel generators to provide electricity to hospitals and health facilities, including in some of the newly accessible regions of the country, including Kyiv.

— MacKenzie Sigalos

Russia says its missiles hit airfields in Odesa region, U.S. equipment near Kharkiv

Russia’s defense ministry on Saturday said high-precision missiles had destroyed Ukrainian aircraft at airfields in the Artsyz, Odesa and Voznesensk regions, and that its Iskander missiles had hit U.S. and European equipment near Kharkiv.

Ukraine earlier said four missiles had hit the Odesa region on Saturday, without causing casualties.

Other missiles striking Odesa on Saturday had hit a furniture factory in a residential area, while the other two struck an already damaged runway strip, it said.

— Reuters

CIA director: Putin believes he can’t afford to lose, may double down to gain an edge in Ukraine war

CIA Director William Burns testifies during the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” on Thursday, March 10, 2022.

Bill Clark | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency warns that Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t want to lose — and he may dial up the offensive on Ukraine to tip the balance in his favor.

“He’s in a frame of mind in which he doesn’t believe he can afford to lose,” CIA chief William Burns said at a Financial Times event in Washington on Saturday.

“I think he’s convinced right now that doubling down still will enable him to make progress,” continued Burns.

— MacKenzie Sigalos

Ukraine says all women, children and elderly evacuated from Mariupol steel plant

Civilians evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol walk accompanied by a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and pro-Russian troops, as they arrive at a temporary accommodation center in the village of Bezimenne, during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine on May 6, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says all women, children and elderly have been evacuated from a Mariupol steel mill long besieged by Russian forces.

“The president’s order has been carried out: all women, children and the elderly have been evacuated from Azovstal. This part of the Mariupol humanitarian operation has been completed,” she said.

The Russian news agency Tass had reported that 50 civilians were evacuated from the plant on Saturday. A similar number left on Friday.

The civilians had been holding up in the plant with Ukrainian fighters making a final stand to prevent a complete takeover of Mariupol.

— Associated Press

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark says war in Ukraine will draw out over the summer

Wesley Clark

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark said the Biden administration isn’t moving fast enough to help Ukraine defeat Russia, threatening to prolong the conflict over the summer.

“The administration is saying the right things, but it’s not given the right equipment soon enough to the Ukrainians is my personal view,” Clark told CNN. Clark was NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 1997 to 2000, commanding Operation Allied Force during the Kosovo War.

Clark said there was “no long-war strategy possible for Ukraine.” He said the country has a window of opportunity over the summer to eject the Russians, he said.

If Ukraine doesn’t get the right support by that time, China will be freed up to do more to assist Russia after Chinese President Xi Jinping is approved for a third term.

“Missile strikes are bit by bit chewing up Ukraine’s infrastructure,” Clark said. “The United States need to redouble its efforts to get military equipment into Ukraine right now, the kind they can use to eject the Russians now, over the summer.”

— Annie Nova

Russian oligarch Abramovich reaches deal to sell Chelsea soccer club

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (R) and director Eugene Tenenbaum (L) celebrate a goal for Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers in Barclays Premier League February 25, 2012.

Jed Leicester | Action Images | Reuters

Chelsea soccer club will be sold to a consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly, ending 19 years of ownership and lavish investment by Roman Abramovich until the Russian oligarch was sanctioned and forced to offload the Premier League club over the war in Ukraine.

The sale price of 2.5 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) for the reigning FIFA Club World Cup winners and 2021 European champions is the most lucrative-ever for a sports team worldwide but Abramovich cannot receive the proceeds, which he hopes will go to a foundation for the victims of the war. A further 1.75 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) has been committed to invest in Chelsea’s teams and stadiums after two months of rapid negotiations to sell the west London club since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

After several rival bids were rejected, Chelsea said Saturday that buyout terms had been agreed with a consortium that features Boehly along with Dodgers principal owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and funding from private equity firm Clearlake Capital.

The Premier League must approve them as the new ownership and the government has to sign off under the terms of the license that allows Chelsea to continue operating as a business through May 31 while being one of Abramovich’s frozen assets.

— Associated Press

Jill Biden meets with U.S. troops, Ukranian refugees in Romania and Slovakia

US First Lady Jill Biden (L) comforts a woman during a visit of the “Uruguay Gymnasium School” in Bucharest to meet Ukrainian refugee pupils and Ukrainian refugee teachers, in Bucharest, on May 7, 2022.

Octav Ganea | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. first lady Jill Biden traveled to Romania and Slovakia, meeting with U.S. troops and Ukrainian refugees.

Biden made multiple stops with Romanian first lady Carmen Iohannis, who’s also an English teacher. Nearly 900,000 refugees have come through the nation so far, a UNICEF official told Biden, who praised the resilience of the women in fleeing Ukraine and appeared to get emotional listening to their accounts.

Anastasia Konovalvoa, a Ukrainian teacher who fled to Romania in March with her three-year-old son, was among those who shared her story with the first lady at a public school in Bucharest.

“Everything I was thinking about was how to save my child from a city that was bombed,” she said. “Thank god the Romanian people were here. I think even the Romanian didn’t expect that they could be so wonderful because you don’t expect that from people.”

Biden finished her first stop in Romania by dishing out mac & cheese and potatoes to U.S. service members and then mingling in the mess hall for about an hour. She endeared herself to troops by bringing 5 gallons of Heinz Ketchup on the plane after hearing there was a shortage on base.

— Annie Nova

More than 200 homes in Kyiv destroyed

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko stands in front of a damaged building following Russian strikes in Kyiv on April 29, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

More than 200 houses have been damaged in the Ukranian capital of Kyiv, according to the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Shelling in the capital has also destroyed 46 schools, 30 kindergartens and more than 70 urban infrastructure facilities, Klitschko said.

Officials are inspecting the damage and developing estimates to determine how much work will be needed and what it will cost to rebuild the city.

“We will rebuild everything!” the mayor said. “Kyiv will survive, Ukraine will win!”

— Annie Nova

West underestimated ‘brutality and ambitions’ of Russia’s Putin, former NATO chief says

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former NATO Secretary General, told CNBC that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the “big loser” from Moscow’s unprovoked onslaught in Ukraine and says the West made mistakes in the run-up to the Kremlin’s invasion.

Pro-Russian forces say 50 more people evacuated from besieged Azovstal plant

Several dozen Ukrainian civilians, who had been living in the bomb shelters of the Azovstal plant for more than a month, are seen being evacuated in Mariupol, Ukraine on May 06, 2022.

Leon Klein | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Pro-Russian forces said 50 more people were evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, where scores of civilians have been trapped for weeks alongside Ukrainian fighters holed up in the Soviet-era plant.

The territorial defense headquarters of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said on Telegram that a total of 176 civilians had now been evacuated from the steelworks.

“Today, May 7, 50 people were evacuated from the territory of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol,” the DPR said.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a late-night video address on Friday that Ukraine was working on a diplomatic effort to save defenders barricaded inside the steelworks. It was unclear how many Ukrainian fighters remained there.

“Influential intermediaries are involved, influential states,” he said, but provided no further details.

The defenders have vowed not to surrender. Ukrainian officials fear Russian forces want to wipe them out by Monday, in time for Moscow’s commemorations of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.


Images show Moscow’s dress rehearsal of ‘Victory Day’ parade

The Kremlin’s preparations are underway for the country’s annual “Victory Day” commemorations on May 9.

The 77th anniversary of the then-Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II comes more than two months after the Kremlin launched its unprovoked onslaught on Ukraine.

Russian soldiers walk to Red Square during the rehearsal of a “Victory Day” military parade. The commemoration marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian Sukhoi Su-25 jets release smoke in the colours of the Russian flag while flying over Red Square during the general rehearsal of the “Victory Day” military parade in central Moscow on May 7, 2022.

Yuri Kadobnov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian soldiers walk to Red Square by passing through Tverskaya street during the rehearsal of the Kremlin’s “Victory Day” military parade.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launcher parades through Red Square during the general rehearsal of the “Victory Day” military parade in central Moscow on May 7, 2022.

Kirill Kudryavtsev | Afp | Getty Images

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine’s counteroffensive around Kharkiv enters decisive phase, think tank says

A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard at an undisclosed location in Kharkiv Oblast, near the Russian-Ukrainian border, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine, on 2 May 2022.

Ceng Shou Yi | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Ukrainian forces have secured further gains north and east of the city of Kharkiv in the last 24 hours, according to the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War.

The respected think tank says the counteroffensive could soon see Ukrainian forces push Russian forces out of the artillery range of Kharkiv.

“This Ukrainian operation is developing into a successful, broader counteroffensive—as opposed to the more localized counterattacks that Ukrainian forces have conducted throughout the war to secure key terrain and disrupt Russian offensive operations,” the Institute for the Study of War said in an update.

— Sam Meredith

Russia claims it destroyed U.S., European military equipment in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

A man rides his bicycle next to a destroyed bridge in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on May 5, 2022.

Sergey Bobok | Afp | Getty Images

Russia’s Defense Ministry claims it destroyed a large stockpile of military equipment from the U.S. and European countries in Ukraine’s northeast Kharkiv region, according to Reuters.

The ministry reportedly said 18 military facilities had been struck overnight, including three ammunition depots.

CNBC has not been able to independently verify these claims.

— Sam Meredith

Ukraine conflict ‘taking a heavy toll’ on Russia’s most capable units, UK’s Defence Ministry says

The Ukraine conflict is heavily affecting some of Russia’s most capable units, said the U.K.’s Defence Ministry in its daily intelligence update.

“The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia’s most capable units and most advanced capabilities,” the ministry said in its update, posted on Twitter.

“It will take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces following this conflict,” it added.

At least one T-90M, Russia’s most advanced tank, has been destroyed in fighting, the update said.

“It will be particularly challenging to replace modernised and advanced equipment due to sanctions restricting Russia’s access to critical microelectronic components,” the ministry added.

— Weizhen Tan

Russia must pull back forces to pre-invasion position before any peace deal can happen, Zelenskyy says

Tanks of the DPR army move on the road during several dozen Ukrainian civilians, who had been living in the bomb shelters of the Azovstal plant for more than a month, being evacuated in Mariupol, Ukraine on May 06, 2022.

Leon Klein | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told London think-tank Chatham House that any peace deal with Moscow would be dependent on Russian forces pulling back to their positions before the war, the BBC reported.

Zelenskyy said that was the minimum that Ukraine could accept, according to the report. He added that there could be no question of Russia holding on to territory it has taken since the invasion started.

“I was elected by the people of Ukraine as president of Ukraine, not as president of a mini Ukraine of some kind. This is a very important point,” he said, according to the BBC report.

— Weizhen Tan

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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