Breaking news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

According to the report, the EU is preparing a joint borrowing to help Ukraine

Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing two EU officials, that the European Commission was considering issuing new joint debt to bridge Ukraine’s liquidity gap.

The idea would be that Ukraine would get very cheap loans from the EU, with member states giving guarantees that the joint loans would be repaid.

The anonymous officials said the EU is expected to raise around 10 billion euros through the joint borrowing.

– Matt Clinch

Russian missiles hit the port city of Odessa, killing one and injuring others

A rescue worker gestures May 10, 2022 outside the shopping and entertainment center in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa, which was destroyed after Russian missiles struck late May 9, 2022.

Oleksandr Gimanov | AFP | Getty Images

The main Ukrainian port city of Odessa was hit by Russian missiles on Monday, killing one person and wounding five others, according to Ukrainian forces.

In an update on Telegram, the regional task force said the casualties occurred when seven rockets were fired at the city, hitting a mall and depot. The statement said that “rare Soviet-style missiles were clearly deployed”.

The attack came on the same day that European Council President Charles Michel visited Odessa. Meanwhile in Russia, President Putin and senior Kremlin officials oversaw the “Victory Day” parade in Moscow. The event marks the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Holly Ellyatt

Russia has no plans to close embassies of European countries, an official says

London Underground police officers stand guard outside the Russian Embassy in London.

Sopa Pictures | Light Rocket | Getty Images

Russia has no plans to close embassies of European countries, despite the very bad state of relations between Russia and its neighbors, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said, according to the state news agency Ria Novosti.

“It doesn’t correspond to our tradition,” said Grushko. “That’s why we consider the work of diplomatic missions to be important,” Grushko said when asked whether Russia could close European diplomatic missions in the region against the background of Western sanctions.

“We have not started a diplomatic war, we have not started an expulsion campaign,” claimed the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 after months of building up over 100,000 troops along the shared border. Moscow has tried to justify its invasion by protecting ethnic Russians in the country, falsely claiming that Kiev’s leadership is “Nazis.”

Ukraine and geopolitical experts say Russia created unfounded justifications for the invasion as it wants to stop Ukraine’s pro-Western trajectory and reassert its power and influence over the country.

Holly Ellyatt

Russia’s underestimation of Ukraine resulted in ‘unsustainable losses’, UK says

Russia’s underestimation of the Ukrainian resistance and its “best-case scenario” planning have led to demonstrable operational failures, Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

These omissions prevented President Vladimir Putin from announcing significant military achievements in Ukraine at Monday’s Victory Day Parade in Moscow.

“Russia’s invasion plan is most likely based on the mistaken assumption that it would meet limited resistance and be able to quickly encircle and bypass population centers,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update on Twitter.

This assumption prompted Russian forces to attempt to conduct the opening phase of the operation “with a light, precise approach” in order to achieve a quick victory at minimal cost.

“This miscalculation led to unsustainable losses and a subsequent reduction in Russia’s operational focus,” the ministry said.

Holly Ellyatt

Russia’s economy to shrink by 10% this year, Ukraine by 30%: report

Damaged buildings are seen as Russian attacks continue May 4, 2022 in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Leon Small | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The war in Ukraine is hitting both Russia’s and Kiev’s economies hard, with both expected to experience a sharp contraction in economic output, according to a study by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) released on Tuesday.

Russia’s economy, hit by international sanctions, is expected to shrink by 10% in 2022, while the invasion of Ukraine – which has caused significant damage to economic centers and agricultural producer production – is expected to shrink Ukraine’s economy by 30% this year said EBRD.

“With GDP growth of 3.4 per cent in 2021 a distant memory, the war is putting Ukraine’s economy under tremendous stress with severe destruction of infrastructure and productive capacity,” the EBRD said. It is estimated that between 30% and 50% of businesses in Ukraine have ceased operations entirely, resulting in around half of all workers losing their jobs and income.

This latest gross domestic product forecast for Ukraine is a downward revision of 10 percentage points from the bank’s forecast released in March.

Ukraine’s GDP is set to rise again to 25% next year, the EBRD said, but that assumes major reconstruction work is already underway by then.

Holly Ellyatt

At least 1 million Ukrainians have been “forcibly resettled” in Russia, says a human rights official

An elderly woman sits in Kharkiv after fleeing a war-torn village of Kutuzivka, Ukraine, April 29, 2022. At least a million Ukrainians were “forcibly relocated” and sent to Russia, Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsman said, NBC News reported.

Narciso Contreras | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

At least a million Ukrainians have been “forcibly relocated” and sent to Russia, according to a Ukrainian human rights official quoted by NBC News.

“The occupiers not only hide their crimes, but also transfer anyone they consider unreliable,” said Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman.

“We have evidence that the forced deportation was prepared in advance,” Denisova said, according to NBC News. “There are facts confirming that Russia had guidelines for its districts on how many Ukrainians should be deported and to where.”

NBC News and CNBC could not confirm these claims.

An estimated 20,000 Ukrainians are in “filtration camps,” most of whom are being sent to Russia while the fate of the rest remains unknown, Denisova added, telling NBC News.

Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine documented about 109 cases of alleged detention or enforced disappearance of civilians since the invasion began.

However, local officials said the number did not represent the tens of thousands of Ukrainians who were deported via “filtration camps”.

– Chelsea Ong

Ukraine’s prime minister said the suspension of US steel tariffs came within weeks

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured) at the State Department amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine April 22, 2022 in Washington.

Susan Walsh | swimming pool | Reuters

Just hours after the US announced it would suspend tariffs on Ukrainian steel for a year, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal expressed his appreciation for the speed with which the Biden administration has acted on the matter.

Shmyhal said he first spoke to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo about the tariffs when he visited Washington on April 21.

Less than three weeks later, the US announced that the current 25% tariff would not be levied on steel from war-torn Ukraine for at least a year.

The tariff suspension is the latest example of the White House and federal agencies cutting the red tape in Washington to get money, arms and humanitarian supplies into Ukraine.

— Christina Wilkie

Biden is changing course, urging Congress to pass standalone aid to Ukraine with no Covid funds

US President Joe Biden pauses during his speech in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday, May 9, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Samuel Korum | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden has very publicly changed course in his bid to pass a $33 billion emergency funding package for Ukraine through Congress.

“I previously recommended that Congress take overdue action to provide much-needed funding for COVID treatments, vaccines and testing as part of Ukraine’s by-law,” Biden said in a statement.

Recently, however, Biden said he was briefed that Republicans in Congress were not ready to vote to pass a Covid bill anytime soon.

In practice, given the reality of the situation, linking the two funding requests – as he initially suggested – would have meant slowing down much-needed money for Ukraine to give Congress time to debate Covid funding.

“We cannot afford to delay this vital war effort,” Biden said. “Therefore, I am willing to accept that these two measures will be carried out separately so that the Ukrainian aid law can land on my desk immediately.”

Biden’s shift in strategy has also been embraced by Democratic leaders in Congress, who have said they are ready to move quickly towards a standalone Ukrainian law. It is expected to be relatively easy to pass with bipartisan support.

– Christina Wilkie

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