The Russian military pounded pockets of resistance in parts of eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, while two American warriors captured by Russian forces waited to see if they faced the death penalty.
The besieged eastern city of Severodonetsk is one of the last areas of the Luhansk region that Russia has failed to conquer completely. District Governor Serhiy Hayday said that about 568 civilians, including 38 children, are still hiding with Ukrainian fighters at the Azot chemical plant. Hayday said the civilians are mainly company employees and their families and have refused to evacuate.
“Today, everything that can burn is burning,” said Heidi.
The Russian military controls about 95% of Luhansk, which together with Donetsk includes the Donbass region that the Kremlin has coveted since withdrawing from a failed attack on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in the early days of the four-month war.
The latest developments
A Moscow court has extended the detention of a local lawmaker on charges of defaming the army by criticizing the Russian invasion. Alexei Gourinov, who has been in prison since April, said he was only expressing his political views. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Polish and Ukrainian government officials say they plan to display burnt-out Russian tanks in Warsaw, which was captured by Ukrainian forces. Polish Prime Minister Michal Dorczyk’s office said the idea was to highlight Russian “atrocities” and the Ukrainian response.
The National Bank of Ukraine estimates that the destruction of businesses, housing and infrastructure has exceeded $100 billion, equivalent to 50% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2021.
“The Luxembourg government has provided 15% of its defense budget to support the Ukrainian army,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said after meeting with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in Kyiv on Tuesday.
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State Department announces second known US death: Steven Zabelsky
The US State Department confirmed Tuesday that Steven Zabelsky, 52, is the second US citizen known to have died in the war in Ukraine.
The State Department did not say exactly when or how he died, but An obituary published in The Recorder In his hometown of Amsterdam, New York, he says he died on May 15 “while going to war in the village of Doroghniank, Ukraine.”
Zabelsky is survived by his wife and five stepson children, according to the obituary.
His family said in early May that Willie Joseph Kansel, 22, was the first known American to be killed in Ukraine while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. Cancel, who was serving as a corrections officer in Tennessee, had joined a private military contracting company to fight Russian forces. He left behind a baby and a wife.
Russia says Americans detained in Ukraine could face the death penalty
Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov has warned that two US war veterans who independently support the Ukrainian army could face the death penalty. Peskov He told NBC News A Russian court will decide the fate of Andy Tay Ngoc Hoen, 27, and Alexander Druk, 39. They are “engaged in illegal activities … (and) they should be punished,” he said, adding that they were unlikely to be protected by the Geneva Conventions that grant prisoners of war because they were not part of Ukraine’s regular army.
Hoyen and Drwick traveled to Ukraine in April to help the Ukrainians repel Russian forces. The State Department issued a statement calling on “the Russian government – as well as its agents – to fulfill their international obligations in their treatment of any individual, including those captured fighting in Ukraine.”
Last week, two Britons and a Moroccan were sentenced to death by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. When asked whether the Americans would face the same fate, Petrov said that he “cannot guarantee anything. It depends on the investigation.”
“Hope for the good news”:A family of two American veterans talking about the missing men
Ben Stiller meets his “hero” in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky
Actor and director Ben Stiller, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Program, met with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday after visiting the devastated residential areas of Irpen and speaking to people who survived the occupation.
“It’s really cool, you’re my hero, you’re amazing,” Stiller said of Zelensky’s tribute. “What you did and the way you brought the country and…the world together, it’s really inspiring.”
Stiller deplored the devastation wrought by the war on Irbin – a city not far from the capital of Kyiv that the Russians had destroyed and then abandoned. Up close, he said, the devastation appears to be much worse than what happens on television or social media.
“What I saw in Irpen, of course,” replied Zelensky. “But what’s worse is just imagining what is happening in the settlements that are still under temporary occupation in the east,” he added.
Ukraine prepares for EU candidate status this week
European Union ministers said on Tuesday that EU ministers agreed in principle to a plan to give Ukraine the status of a candidate to join the bloc. Clement Bonn, after meeting with his counterparts, told FRANCE 24 that there is “complete consensus on moving these issues forward, and in particular for Ukraine, the possibility of confirming the candidate’s status as soon as possible”.
Bonn said EU leaders are expected to formally approve the Ukrainian candidate’s move later this week. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office said Orban told President Volodymyr Zelensky that he had called for “the removal of bureaucratic obstacles to Ukraine’s accession to the European Union”. Moldova and Georgia are also hoping for candidate status.
AG Merrick Garland visits Ukraine to meet the Prosecutor
Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Tuesday to meet with Attorney General Irina Venediktova to discuss ongoing efforts Identification and arrest of suspected war criminals, according to a Justice Department official, was unable to publicly discuss details of the trip and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Earlier this year, the attorney general pledged US support for an international campaign to hold war criminals accountable for the atrocities documented by Ukrainian authorities.
“Every day we see heartbreaking images and read horrific accounts of brutality…but there is no hiding place for war criminals.” Garland said during a virtual meeting last month with his Ukrainian counterpart and other allies.
– Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
Ukraine’s LGBT community struggles as war continues
The official Kyiv Pride Parade was canceled this year after a decade of painstaking efforts For more LGBTQ acceptance.
Before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine – a largely religious country with a long history of oppression against sexual and gender expression – had become a rare bright spot for LGBT rights and a sanctuary of sorts for Eastern Europe. Former Soviet LGBTQ people would travel to experience the gay nightclub scene, particularly in big cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odessa, where they could feel safe opening up.
Now, what would have been the 10th anniversary of the Kyiv Equality March this month has been carried over to Poland by the ongoing war.
We had a lot and I hope we can rebuild it,” said Yuriy Dvizhon, UKRAINEPRIDE Creative Director. Read more here.
— Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY
Estonia punishes Russia after helicopter creep
The Estonian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that a Russian military helicopter entered Estonian airspace without permission on Saturday and flew over the Koidula region along the Russian border for two minutes.
No flight plan was presented, the transponder was turned off and no two-way radio communications were made with Estonian Air Traffic Control, the ministry said.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador to Estonia, Vladimir Libagev. Today, Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Estonia considers this a very unfortunate and serious incident, which undoubtedly causes additional tensions, which is totally unacceptable.”
Estonia is a country of less than 3 million people that broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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