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In The News

Zelensky Reveals Why He Didn’t Warn Ukrainians About Russian Invasion

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed in an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday that although he knew about the likelihood of a Russian invasion, the Ukrainian government did not make the news public to avoid causing panic. “We knew about the war, but we could not warn the Ukrainians about it, otherwise, we would have lost immediately.”

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CIA Director William Burns had visited Zelensky in mid-January to warn of a planned Russian attack. But Zelensky stated that informing the Ukrainian public would have made a Russian victory more likely:

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“We Are Here” - Ukrainian Forces Reach Russian Border

After reseizing Kharkiv, Ukrainian soldiers reach the border with Russia. Meanwhile, Moscow continues its assault on Donbas, and has renewed missile strikes of the port city of Odesa.

Ukrainian forces continue to regain more territory in the northeast of the country, and by Monday morning had announced that a battalion had reached the Russian border.

This comes after having taken back control of Kharkiv, the second biggest Ukrainian city, as Russian troops appear to be making a hasty retreat. This latest development continues to indicate the inability of Russian troops to dominate Ukrainian forces.

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After this successful counter-offensive, Ukraine’s defense ministry posted a video showing soldiers gathered around a yellow and blue painted post upon arrival at the Russian border. “Today the 15th of May, Kharkiv's territorial defense forces of Ukraine - 227th battalion, 127th brigade - went to the border with the Russian Federation,” said one soldier. “We are here.”

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Russia Warns Finland Over Joining NATO

Sharing an 800-mile border with Russia, the Nordic country has seen public support for NATO membership skyrocket following the invasion of Ukraine. Neighboring Sweden also looks set to join the military alliance later this month. Both countries had for decades avoided NATO membership for fear of provoking Russia.

Finland looks certain to join NATO after the country’s president and prime minister released a joint statement saying they are in favor of joining the military alliance.

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“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance. Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” they said. NATO leaders indicated that the application would be approved rapidly.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned "corresponding symmetrical responses on our side," to Finland's accession to the military alliance.

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Is Odessa The Next Mariupol?

Other top news breaking: UN says civilian toll much higher, Moscow metro workers may be forced to fight, Lithuanian Parliament calls war "genocide", special Pulitzer for Ukrainian journalists, and more.

A new Russian overnight offensive aimed at the southern port city of Odessa may signal a new focus in the Ukraine war.

Ukrainian newspaper Pravda reports that at least one person was killed and five injured as Russian rockets pounded Ukraine’s third largest city, targeting a shopping center and a depot and leaving emergency services scrambling to put out fires and rescue civilians.

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These are not the first attacks by Russian missiles on the city, but officials imposed martial law for the first time yesterday.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino and Emma Albright

"Nazi," "Evil," "Victory" - Putin And Zelensky Face Off For May 9

Also making news: Russian parents search for soldier sons, school bombing toll rises, Bono, Justin Trudeau, Jill Biden visits, Mariupol 4--year-old separated from mother, hacking Russian TV...

Today’s date May 9, marked annually in both Russia and Ukraine to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi forces during World War II, has taken on additional meaning this year as the war in Ukraine rages on.

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While weeks of speculation fizzled that Russia would have used the date for a major announcement about the war, there was much to unpack from the occasion.

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In The News
Irene Caselli, Anne-Sophie Gominet, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

A Donbas Quagmire? Running Out Of Water, Supplies, Men

As Russian forces continue their offensive in Donbas without securing any significant territorial gains, the situation on the ground is growingly dire for civilians left behind.

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Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg reports on significant water, food and other supply shortages in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic. Tap water has been scarce since the beginning of Russian occupation on February 24, and it is now available only every three days. Residents collect rainwater or otherwise buy it when they can afford to.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Irene Caselli, Bertrand Hauger, Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

Major New EU Sanctions Against Russia Include Ban On Oil Imports

Testimonies are emerging of civilians being evacuated from Mariupol and Lyman, as Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities continue. Meanwhile, the EU has revealed plans to enforce its sixth package of sanctions against Moscow.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced a new package of sanctions against Russia. Speaking to the European Parliament on Wednesday morning, von der Leyen unveiled plans to ban Russian oil imports as well as a proposal to ban three banks, including Sberbank, the country’s biggest, from the SWIFT international payments networks.

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Von der Leyen also announced that three big Russian state-owned broadcasters “that amplify Putin's lies and propaganda aggressively” would be banned from EU airwaves. The proposal needs to be approved by all EU member states to become effective.

The ban on oil poses a serious risk to the European economy, and will require countries to seek other energy sources after having long been reliant on Russian supply.

"Let's be clear: It will not be easy,” said von der Leyen. “But we simply have to work on it. We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, to maximize pressure on Russia, while minimizing the impact on our own economies."

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Haugier, Emma Albright

Will Putin Declare War On May 9? Or Peace?

The annual May 9 commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany has extra significance this year with Russia in the full throes of the invasion of Ukraine. There are conflicting reports about how President Vladimir Putin may use the occasion.

There’s no doubt that next Monday, May 9, all eyes will be on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The annual commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, known in Moscow as “Victory Day,” has extra significance this year with Russia in the full throes of the invasion of Ukraine, which may indeed be the riskiest war since 1945.

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Of course, two months since the invasion, Putin hasn’t even acknowledged that Russia is at war, calling it a “special operation.” And some sources believe that he will use the May 9 occasion to officially declare war — again, against “Nazis,” as the Kremlin refers to the government in Kyiv.

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In The News
Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Lavrov Reveals Slow Pace Of Russian Advances

Also: First Mariupol evacuations, Biden visit "matter of time," Lavrov's Jewish Hitler, Chechnya’s TikTok Fighters ... and more.

May 9 has long been an important day in Moscow, commemorating the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. Most Kremlin observers believed that Vladimir Putin’s new all-out assault in the southeast Donbas region was aiming to bring home at least a symbolic victory in time for what Russians call “Victory Day.”

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But on Monday, Moscow-based daily Kommersant reports that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cautioned that Russia is not going to force a "victory" by May 9, which looks like a de facto admission that the assault has not progressed at the pace the Kremlin had hoped.

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In The News
Emma Albright, Anna Akage and Shaun Lavelle

Two Big Signs The Ukraine War Could Last "For Years"

Two key points in the past 24 hours offer a sense that the war in Ukraine won’t be ending anytime soon. From Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed an unprecedented $33-billion military and humanitarian aid package to Kyiv. Such a financial commitment, which Biden acknowledged was “not cheap,” is part of a shift from the U.S. over the past 10 days to massive support for President Volodomyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian military, in an effort to defeat Russia on the battlefield.

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“The high dollar amount requested also sends a signal to Russia that the United States intends to back Ukraine in the fight for the long run,” writes U.S. news site Politico. “It will also likely boost Ukrainians who say they want to defeat Russia, not merely settle for a long-term stalemate.”

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Geopolitics

UK-Russian Escalation As Ukraine Hits Targets On Russian Soil

As London and Moscow continue to exchange threats and accusations, targets in Russian territory were reported hit overnight.

Russia says that Ukraine was responsible for an explosion at an ammunition depot in Russia’s Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border, though Kyiv has yet to confirm. Moscow daily Kommersant also reports that Russian air defenses shot at unmanned aircraft in neighboring border regions Kursk and Voronezh.

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The Russian government has accused the UK of "provoking" Ukraine into attacking Russian territory, following the statement yesterday by a British cabinet member James Heappey that it was “legitimate” to strike targets in Russia. According to Russian state news agency TASS, Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Heappey’s declaration “a monstrous statement.”


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