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Russia-Ukraine War: Experts Warn Of ‘serious And Imminent’ Risk Of Ukraine Genocide – Live

‘Serious and imminent’ risk of genocide in Ukraine – reportThere is enough evidence to conclude that Russia is inciting genocide in Ukraine and committing atrocities intended to destroy the Ukrainian people, according to the first independent report into allegations of genocide committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.

More than 30 leading legal scholars and genocide experts have signed the report accusing the Russian state of violating several articles of the United Nations Genocide Convention, CNN reports.

The report warns there is a serious and imminent risk of genocide in Ukraine, accompanied by a long list of evidence including examples of mass killings of civilians, forced deportations and dehumanising anti-Ukrainian rhetoric used by top Russian officials.

It directly accuses Russian top officials of orchestrating incitement to genocide and laying the groundwork for future genocide by repeatedly denying the existence of a Ukrainian identity.

As examples, the report points to the dehumanising language used by Russian officials to describe Ukrainians, including words such as “bestial”, “subordinate” and “filth”, or Vladimir Putin’s statements that he believes Ukraine has no right to exist as an independent state.

A Ukrainian woman with tied up hands takes part in a silent protest against the mass killing of Ukrainian civilians by the Russian army in Krakow, Poland. Photograph: Omar Marques/Getty ImagesAzeem Ibrahim, a director at the US-based thinktank New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which put together the report, said:

What we have seen so far is that this war is genocidal in its nature, in terms of the language being used and the manner in which it is being executed. That’s very, very clear.

The experts also accused Russian forces of carrying out a “pattern of consistent and pervasive atrocities against Ukrainian civilians collectively” in the course of the invasion.

It said that well-documented massacres and summary executions in Bucha, Staryi Bykiv, and in Sumy and Chernihiv regions, Russia’s deliberate attacks on shelters, evacuation routes and healthcare facilities, as well the indiscriminate targeting and bombardment of residential areas, rapes, sieges, grain thefts and forced deportations to Russia all amount to “genocidal pattern of destruction”.

The report calls on the international community to act, warning that there is “no time at all”. Ibrahim said:

Every country that is a signatory to the Genocide convention, and that’s 151 countries including the Russian Federation, every country has to do whatever it can to put a stop to this, otherwise they will also be in breach of the convention.

Putin ‘prepared to discuss prisoner swap with Ukraine’, says AustriaAustria’s chancellor, Karl Nehammer, said Vladimir Putin told him that Moscow was ready to discuss a prisoner swap with Ukraine and “that there should be progress” on the matter.

During the 45-minute call between the two leaders, the Russian president had expressed readiness to discuss a prisoner swap with Ukraine, Nehammer told reporters.

Nehammer said:

The Russian president has assured us that the International Red Cross must and should have access to the prisoners of war. Of course, he is also demanding access to Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine.

He added:

If he is really ready to negotiate is a complex question.

In a separate statement, the Kremlin said Putin had accused Ukraine of “sabotaging” talks with Moscow during his call with the Austrian chancellor.

Putin also informed Nehammer that attempts to blame Russia for difficulties in shipping grain worldwide were “groundless”, pointing instead to western sanctions, the Kremlin said.

Nehammer said the Russian president had “given signals that he is quite willing to allow exports via the seaports”, adding:

The real willingness will only become apparent when it… is actually implemented.

A video appears to show a series of explosions near Novomykhailivka in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

Russian forces are close to encircling Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk region and have increased attacks in Donbas generally.

Ukraine video appears to show series of explosions in Donetsk region – videoToday so far…It’s 7pm in Kyiv. Here’s where we stand:

The besieged city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine appears to be almost completely surrounded by attacking Russian forces. Russia has continued to make incremental gains in its offensive in the Donbas region, backed by withering shell fire. The regional governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, said Russian forces have surrounded two-thirds of Sievierodonetsk. Ukrainian authorities have issued differing statements about their control over the strategic city of Lyman in the Donetsk region. A presidential adviser said he had unverified information that Ukraine had lost Lyman, while Ukraine’s armed forces said Russian troops were trying to strengthen their positions in the city. The governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said there was heavy fighting around the city after Ukrainian troops withdrew to a new line of defence. Russian media reported that pro-Russian separatists had seized the city. Ten people were killed and at least 35 were wounded after Russian missile strikes hit the Dnipropetrovsk region in central-eastern Ukraine on Friday morning, according to reports. Regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said rescuers were working in rubble to look for possible survivors in the aftermath of “an unquiet night and an unquiet morning”.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, accused the Kremlin of carrying out a “genocide” in the country’s east. He said Ukraine was not eager to talk to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, but that it had to face the reality it would probably be necessary to end the war. Russia did not appear to be ready for serious peace talks, he added. The Kremlin blamed Ukraine for frozen peace talks between the two countries , saying it was unclear what Kyiv wanted. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov accused the leadership in Kyiv of constantly making “contradictory statements” that do “not allow us to fully understand what the Ukrainian side wants”. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused western countries of waging a “total war” on Russia and its people and culture. Western allies are “cancelling Russia and everything connected” with it, including banning Russian writers, composers and other cultural figures, he said at a ministry meeting.

The UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, said Russia was making slow but “palpable progress” in Donbas. He said Ukraine should be supplied with long-range multiple launch rocket systems to help Kyiv’s embattled forces but stopped short of committing the UK to sending the powerful M270 rocket system, which Kyiv has been pleading for from Britain, the US and other Nato members for several weeks. Russia’s actions in Ukraine provide enough evidence to conclude that Moscow is inciting genocide and committing atrocities intended to destroy the Ukrainian people, experts say. The independent report warns there is a serious and imminent risk of genocide in Ukraine, and urged the international community to act quickly.

More than 100 Russian national guardsmen have been fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine, court documents show. The cases of the 115 national guardsmen, a force also known as Rosgvardia, appear to be the clearest indication yet of dissent among some parts of Russia’s security forces over the invasion of Ukraine. Talks between Turkish officials and delegations from Sweden and Finland have reportedly made little progress in overcoming Ankara’s opposition to the countries’ Nato membership bids. A senior Turkish official said it was not clear when further discussions will take place. Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said Ankara expects Sweden and Finland to stop what it says is their “support given to terrorism” in order for Ankara to lift its opposition. Hello everyone. I’m Léonie Chao-Fong, here to bring you all the latest developments from the war in Ukraine. I’m on Twitter or you can email me.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, spoke with Italy’s prime minister, Mario Draghi, to discuss unblocking wheat exports from Ukraine, Rome said.

In the phone call between the two leaders, Draghi assured Zelenskiy of the Italian government’s support for Ukraine, along with the rest of the EU countries, Draghi’s office said.

Zelenskiy said he raised the issue of fuel supply with Draghi and that he expected “further defence support from our partners”.

Had a phone conversation with 🇮🇹 Prime Minister #MarioDraghi. Informed about the situation on the frontline. We expect further defense support from our partners. Raised the issue of fuel supply. Ways to prevent the food crisis were discussed. We have to unblock 🇺🇦 ports together.

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) May 27, 2022

Dan Sabbagh

Boris Johnson said Ukraine should be supplied with long-range multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to help Kyiv’s embattled forces prevent Russian invaders from gaining ground in the Donbas.

But the prime minister stopped short of committing the UK to sending the powerful M270 rocket system, which Kyiv has been pleading for from Britain, the US and other Nato members for several weeks.

Johnson said the MLRS would enable Ukraine “to defend themselves against this very brutal Russian artillery, and that’s where the world needs to go”, in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

He added that Putin’s forces were “continuing to chew through ground” in the Donbas region, making “slow, but I’m afraid palpable, progress” as they close in on Sievierodonetsk, the easternmost city held by Ukraine.

Johnson’s comments appear to confirm there has been a significant change of stance over the weapons among western nations.

A rocket is launched from a truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher near Svyatohirsk, eastern Ukraine. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty ImagesThe US previously rejected Ukraine’s request for the long-range rockets but overnight briefings suggested the White House was now willing to supply them. An announcement could come next week, CNN reported, for a weapon that could have a significant impact on the fighting.

Far more powerful than conventional artillery, M270 MLRS rockets can have a range of more than 100 miles (165km) and up to 12 rockets a minute can be fired from an armoured vehicle. Their firepower goes far beyond the original commitment made by Nato members to send only “defensive systems” to Ukraine when the war began.

Ukrainian boy Valentyn, six, poses in the trench that he and his friend Andrii dug at their makeshift checkpoint in their village next to a school crossing in Stoyanka. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty ImagesValentyn poses with his friend Andrii, aged 12, at their makeshift checkpoint in their village next to a school crossing in Stoyanka. The two boys have become well-known to passing motorists. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty ImagesUkraine’s state gas company and operator have issued a request to the German government to either halt or severely curtail gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Reuters reports.

The request argues that the operation of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is allowed under German law on the basis that it contributes to the strengthening of the security of gas supplies to Europe. However, Russia had “violated these principles”, the head of Ukraine’s gas system operator, Serhiy Makogon, said.

Makogon said:

With Naftogaz we sent an appeal to the German economy ministry and the German regulator … on the suspension of Nord Stream 1.

Ukraine is willing and able to provide an alternate transport route to the pipeline, which runs under the Baltic, he said.

Patrick Wintour

Liz Truss, the UK foreign secretary, dismissed as completely unfounded reports emanating from Germany that an agreement exists preventing Nato members from delivering heavy weaponry to Ukraine.

Speaking in Prague, she said:

I want to be clear. Those rumours are completely untrue. We are very clear it is completely legitimate to be supporting Ukraine with tanks and planes and we are very supportive of the work Czech Republic has done sending tanks to Ukraine.

Some German defence ministers have claimed an informal agreement exists preventing Nato from sending high-quality heavy weapons to Ukraine, a claim that has been used to justify the slow pace of German arms support to Ukraine.

Truss dismissed this, adding the UK was helping Poland backfill its defence equipment as a result of Warsaw sending tanks to Ukraine.

The Czech foreign minister Jan Lipavsky (right) with the British foreign secretary Liz Truss (left) at the Czernin Palace in Prague, Czech Republic. Photograph: Milan Jaros/EPAShe added she wanted to see more heavy weaponry get to Ukraine, and to upgrade Ukraine’s armed forces to make sure they have got Nato standard equipment.

At the moment they are using a lot of ex-Soviet equipment. We need to make sure they are able to defend themselves in the future, that is the work we are doing with Poland and Ukraine.

She added she had proposed in her talks in Prague the Czech Republic join in this modernisation operation.

She said:

We have to be ready for the long haul because in supporting Ukraine because we are committed to freedom and democracy

Now is not the time to be complacent. There should be no talk of a ceasefire or appeasing Putin, We need to make sure that Ukraine wins, Russia withdraws and that we never see this kind of Russian aggression again.

Some German government members claim a Nato agreement existed not to deliver modern weapons to Ukraine fearing it might be seen as escalatory or allow Ukraine to attack Russia itself.

Siemtje Möller, Germany’s parliamentary state secretary in the defence ministry, was recently asked why Germany had not yet delivered any tanks of the Marder or Leopard type, the SPD politician replied that Germany “had firmly adhered to the Nato alliance with all western nations … that no armoured personnel carriers or battle tanks of western models were delivered”.

Moller subsequently revised the explanation, but there has been at best a communications failure by Germany over its efforts to help Ukraine.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has posted to Telegram a rather more upbeat assessment of the war than he gave in his overnight address for the domestic audience last night. He said:

Addressed the Indonesian people. Emphasised that the sooner our lands are liberated from the occupiers, the more reliably people everywhere in the world will be protected. Protected from the aggressive desires of those who want to pursue colonial policies, as in the old days.

If the world is truly united and honest about this Russian aggression against our sovereign state, the speed of ending this war will be measured in weeks.

Weeks, not even months.

Pjotr Sauer and Andrew Roth report for us that 115 Russian national guard soldiers have been sacked for refusing to fight in Ukraine:

More than 100 Russian national guardsmen have been fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine, court documents show, in what looks to be the clearest indication yet of dissent among some parts of security forces over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The cases of the 115 national guardsmen, a force also known as Rosgvardia, came to light on Wednesday, after a local Russian court rejected their collective lawsuit that challenged their earlier sacking.

According to the court’s decision published on its website, the lawsuit was dismissed after the judge determined that the soldiers had been rightfully fired for “refusing to perform an official assignment” to fight in Ukraine and instead returned to a duty station.

The appeal took place in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkarian republic in the Russian Caucasus, where the unit is based.

Since Moscow’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, its military has reportedly been plagued by poor morale, with reports of soldiers claiming they did not know they were going to war until they crossed into Ukraine. The Pentagon said this month that it has seen “anecdotal reports” that “mid-grade officers at various levels, even up to the battalion level”, have “either refused to obey orders” or were not obeying them with the expected measure of “alacrity”.

Andrei Sabinin, the lawyer who represented the 115 soldiers, said the court’s decision was “unprecedentedly quick” given the complexity of the case.

“I express doubts about the fairness of the process as a whole because my clients were denied to call up certain witnesses and several documents were rejected by the court.”

Read more here: 115 Russian national guard soldiers sacked for refusing to fight in Ukraine

Isobel Koshiw

Isobel Koshiw reports from Kyiv that Ukrainian authorities have issued differing statements about their control over the city of Lyman:

Last night, one of the president’s advisers, Oleksiy Arestovych, said he had unverified information that Ukraine had lost the city. This morning, Ukraine’s armed forces said Russian forces were trying to strengthen their positions in the city.

A few hours later, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk military administration, said most of Lyman was no longer controlled by Ukraine but that Ukrainian forces were still present around the city – from where, he said, they aim to contain a Russian advance and may launch a counteroffensive.

Lyman can be used by Russian forces to advance further and achieve their goal of controlling the Donbas region.

The Donetsk People’s Republic, a Russian-backed proxy administration for the Donetsk region, said it planned to rename the city Red Lyman, its Soviet name.

Just a further note on the difficulties between Turkey, Sweden and Finland over the proposal that the Baltic nations join Nato. [See 13.22]

Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde, has tweeted:

Incorrect information that Swedish politicians in democratic assemblies represent the terrorist organisation PKK. These are serious allegations that have no basis. Violence, terrorism and extremism have no place in our democratic society.

Turkey has cited Sweden and Finland supposedly tolerating PKK members as an issue it has with their accession.

Two-thirds of Sievierodonetsk surrounded by Russian forces, says governorRussian forces have surrounded two-thirds of the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to the regional governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai.

Ukrainian forces are engaged in a “fierce defence” of the eastern city, Reuters quotes Haidai as saying.

“Very strong” shelling has continued unabated for two days and damaged 90% of the housing in the city, Haidai cited the head of Sievierodonetsk’s administration, Oleksandr Stryuk, as saying.

Russian-backed forces have captured the eastern city of Lyman in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, officials from both sides have now appeared to confirm.

Earlier today, Russian media reported that pro-Russian separatists had seized Lyman, a major railway hub in the Donetsk region which has long been a target of pro-Russian forces.

An adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Oleksei Arestovych, said the attack on the city showed that “the Russian army has improved its tactical skills and operational management”.

His comments came as the governor of the Donetsk region of Donbas, Pavlo Kyrylenko, told Ukrainian broadcaster Hromadske that Lyman was “mainly controlled by Russian troops” but the Ukrainian military had taken up new fortified positions in the area.

Located in the north of the eastern Donetsk region, Lyman sits on a road leading to key eastern cities still under Kyiv’s control.

The capture of Lyman marks the second midsize Ukrainian city to fall under Russian hands this week, following the capture of Svitlodarsk earlier this week.

A local resident walks past an industrial building damaged by a Russian military strike in the town of Bakhmut, in Donetsk region, Ukraine. Photograph: Serhii Nuzhnenko/ReutersDebris is seen in a street after a Russian military strike in the town of Bakhmut, in Donetsk region, Ukraine. Photograph: Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

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