Russia-Ukraine live: Russia warns Finland against NATO decision | Russo-Ukrainian War

  • The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian troops were withdrawing from the city of Kharkiv in the northeast of the country.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Finland joining NATO would be “a mistake”.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “very complex negotiations” with Russia were underway to get the fighters out of the beleaguered Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
  • Ukrainian forces are on a counter-offensive near the Russian town of Izium, striking a key axis of the Russian assault to the east.
  • Russia will suspend electricity supplies to Finland from Saturday, a supplier said, amid tensions over the European nation’s expected NATO bid.

Here are all the latest updates:

Ukraine wins Eurovision Song Contest with Kalush Orchestra’s ‘Stefania’

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest, riding a wave of public support across Europe for the beleaguered nation and buoyed by an infectious hip hop folk tune.

Kalush Orchestra’s song “Stefania” beat out 24 contestants in the finals of the world’s biggest live music event on Saturday. Sung in Ukrainian, the winning song fused rap with traditional folk music and was a tribute to the band’s frontman Oleh Psiuk’s mother.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent good luck wishes earlier in the night, saying if Kalush Orchestra were to win, it would have huge symbolic meaning.

“For us today, any victory is very important,” he said in his evening speech.

Russia had been excluded from the competition in Turin due to their invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra appears on stage after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, May 15, 2022 [Yara Nardi/Reuters]
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra appears on stage after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, May 15, 2022 [Yara Nardi/Reuters]
Ukrainian servicemen watch the performance of Kalush Orchestra during the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final on May 14, 2022 [Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]
Ukrainian servicemen watch the performance of Kalush Orchestra during the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 [Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]

Large convoy from Mariupol reaches safety, refugees speak of ‘devastating’ escape

A large convoy of cars and vans carrying refugees from the ruins of Mariupol arrived in the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia after waiting days for Russian troops to allow them to leave.

The refugees who arrived on Saturday had to leave Mariupol first, then somehow make their way to Berdyansk – some 80 km further west along the coast – and other settlements before the 200 km drive northwest to Zaporizhzhia.

Nikolai Pavlov, 74, said he lived in a basement for a month after his flat was destroyed. A relative using “secret detours” managed to get him out of Mariupol to Berdyansk.

“We barely got there, there were a lot of old people among us… the trip was devastating. But it was worth it,” he said after the convoy arrived in the dark.

An aide to the mayor of Mariupol earlier said the convoy had between 500 and 1,000 cars and it was the biggest evacuation of the city since Russia invaded Ukraine.


Ambassador says Russian diplomats in US are threatened and lured by FBI and CIA: Tass news agency

Russian diplomats in Washington are threatened with violence and US intelligence services are trying to get in touch with them, Russian news agency Tass reported, citing Moscow’s ambassador to the United States.

“It’s like a fortress under siege. Basically, our embassy is operating in a hostile environment…Embassy employees are receiving threats, including threats of physical violence,” Tass said on Saturday, quoting Ambassador Anatoly Antonov.

“US security agents hang around outside the Russian embassy, ​​handing out CIA and FBI phone numbers, which can be called to establish contact,” the ambassador told Tass.

Russia and the United States have been locked in a dispute over the size and operation of their respective diplomatic missions since before Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Russian Embassy in Washington DC in March 2022 [File photo: Susan Walsh/AP]
The Russian Embassy in Washington DC in March 2022 [File photo: Susan Walsh/AP] (AP Photo)

US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell meets with Zelenskyy

Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate, paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv with other Republican senators and met with the Ukrainian president for talks.

McConnell was accompanied by fellow senators Susan Collins, John Barrasso and John Cornyn.

Zelenskyy hailed the visit as a strong signal of bipartisan US support for Ukraine and the strength of the relationship between the two nations.

“We discussed many areas of support for our state, including in defense and finance, as well as the strengthening of sanctions against Russia,” Zelenskyy said in a video address, adding that he stressed to senators the need for Russia to be designated a terrorist state. .

McConnell is urging Republican Senator Rand Paul to end his opposition to a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, which has overwhelming support from both major parties in the United States.

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, shakes hands with Senator Mitch McConnell in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, May 14, 2022 [Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP]
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, shakes hands with Senator Mitch McConnell in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, May 14, 2022 [Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP]

A Ukrainian group pleads for Mariupol at Eurovision

The Ukrainian Orchestra Kalush launched a plea for the city of Mariupol and the fighters who resisted the Azovstal steelworks at the end of their appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest.

“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now,” vocalist Oleh Psiuk shouted from the front of the stage in the Italian city of Turin after the band performed their song “Stefania.”

Russian forces shelled steelworks in the southern port of Mariupol, the last stronghold of hundreds of Ukrainian defenders in a city almost entirely controlled by Russia after more than two months of siege.

In a video address released ahead of the performance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he believed Kalush’s orchestra would win.

“Europe, vote for Kalush Orchestra, (song) n° 12! Let’s support our compatriots! Support Ukraine! he said, clenching his fist.

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra performs during the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final in Turin, Italy, May 14, 2022 [Yara Nardi/Reuters]
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra performs during the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final in Turin, Italy, May 14, 2022 [Yara Nardi/Reuters]

Putin tells Finnish president: Joining NATO would be a ‘mistake’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his Finnish counterpart that joining NATO would be “a mistake” because Moscow cut off the Nordic country’s electricity supply earlier.

“Putin stressed that ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake because there is no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.

“Such a change in the political orientation of the country may have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed over the years in the spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation between partners,” he said.

Learn more here.


Russia denies Ukrainian forces damaged Navy vessel in Black Sea

Russia has dismissed Ukraine’s claim that it damaged a modern navy logistics vessel in the Black Sea and showed photos of what it said was the vessel with no signs of damage.

In an online post, the Russian Defense Ministry released photos it said were taken of the ship in the Crimean Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

“It is now clear from the photographs that the ship is not damaged at all,” he said.

Military authorities in the southern Odessa region said Ukrainian naval forces struck the Vsevolod Bobrov, setting it on fire.


Medvedev rejects G7 support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has rejected a statement by the Group of Seven to “never” recognize border changes prompted by Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

“To say the least, our country does not care about the non-recognition of the new borders by the G7,” he said on his Telegram channel.

Arguing that the will of a region’s inhabitants was all that mattered, Medvedev called the G7’s promise to continue supplying arms to Ukraine a continuation of his “secret war against Russia”.


Situation in Donbas region remains very difficult: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the situation in the Donbass region remained very difficult, adding that Russian forces were still trying to demonstrate some kind of victory.

“On the 80th day of a full-scale invasion, it seems particularly crazy, but they’re not stopping their efforts,” he said in a late-night video address.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Read all the updates from Saturday May 14 here.

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