May 2, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Helen Regan, Andrew Raine, Ben Church and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 0407 GMT (1207 HKT) May 3, 2022
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5:48 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022

US intel reports Russia will try to annex Donetsk and Luhansk regions by "mid-May," ambassador says

From CNN's Michael Conte and Jennifer Hansler

The US has “highly credible” intelligence reports that Russia will try to annex the separatist-occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk “some time in mid-May,” and that there are plans to create a similarly so-called “people’s republic” in Kherson to be annexed as well, the US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said.

“The reports state that Russia has plans to engineer referenda on joining Russia some time in mid-May, and that Moscow is considering a similar plan for Kherson,” said Ambassador Michael Carpenter at a news briefing at the State Department.

Carpenter added that Russia is reportedly abducting local officials in towns they hold in eastern and southern Ukraine to replace with “groups that are loyal to Moscow,” and are also disappearing “school directors, journalists, local activists, municipal officials.”

“More recently, there have been reports as well that Russian forces have cut off internet and some cellular phone access in these regions in order to disable the flow of reliable information,” said Carpenter, adding that in these towns, Russia “may try to hold sham referenda to try to add a veneer of democratic or electoral legitimacy.” 

2:51 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022

5 Russians were killed at Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant, Ukrainian soldiers say 

From CNN's Tim Lister

The Azov Regiment, whose soldiers continue to resist Russian forces at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, says five Russian soldiers were killed late Monday during an attempted assault on the plant.

"After the partial evacuation of civilians from the territory of Azovstal in Mariupol, the enemy continues to fire on the territory of the plant, including buildings where civilians are hiding from danger, to carry out air strikes, fire using naval artillery and tanks," it claimed on its Telegram channel, adding that five "enemy occupiers were destroyed" during an assault on the complex. 
2:35 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022

Casualties in missile attack against Odesa, military says

From Tim Lister and Julia Presniakova

A missile was fired Monday at "one of Odesa's infrastructure facilities," said Maksym Marchenko, head of the Odesa region military administration.

"Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded," he said.

Separately, the Ukrainian military's Command South reported, "Another missile strike in the Odesa region. There were hits to the city infrastructure. In particular, one of the religious buildings was damaged. Information about the victims is being clarified."

A journalist in Odesa told CNN an Orthodox church had been hit near the civilian airport. 

Cruise missiles were launched against Odesa's airport at the weekend, putting its runway out of action.

The press center of the Ukrainian military in the south has told CNN one person was killed in a missile strike that hit Odesa late Monday.

Natalia Humenuk, the press center director, said the missile hit a residential building, killing a 15-year-old boy. A child was also injured and was taken to hospital. 

2:38 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022

Officer at Azovstal steel plant says they are under "constant fire" on Monday

From Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard accompany people over debris at the Azovstal steel plant, in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard accompany people over debris at the Azovstal steel plant, in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard/AP

A commander among the Ukrainian soldiers at the besieged Azovstal steel plant says the complex has been under "constant fire" since early Monday.

Mykhailo Vershynin, chief of the Mariupol Patrol Police, told CNN that "after the Red Cross mission left, we have been under constant fire since the early morning. Artillery and naval artillery are firing non-stop. Air strikes are constantly being launched."

About 100 civilians were evacuated from the plant Sunday, but a further planned evacuation for Monday did not take place. 

"There are a large number of wounded here. Everything is going toward the destruction of the site. We are highly interested in getting out the wounded, we are highly interested in getting out civilians. We would like to consider the option of extraction for the military contingent," he said.

"When I see five or six people die every day under bombs and the wounded die because they can't get necessary medical care, and when I see what the soldiers eat — they're already starting to faint because of hunger, I think it is necessary to address the world community," Vershynin said.

"Today firstly there is no evacuation, and secondly there is a planned destruction. To say that an evacuation is underway is a cynical lie," he said.

2:01 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022

European football governing body bans Russian teams from competitions "until further notice"

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

On Monday, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) banned the Russian team and other from participating in UEFA competitions "until further notice," in light of the situation in Ukraine.
On Monday, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) banned the Russian team and other from participating in UEFA competitions "until further notice," in light of the situation in Ukraine. Oleg Nikishin/UEFA/Getty Images

Russian teams and clubs have been banned from participating in competitions of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) "until further notice," the European football governing body announced on Monday.

Portugal will replace Russia at the Women's EURO 2022 final tournament scheduled for England in July, UEFA said.  

Russia will not play their two matches scheduled in April for the European qualification to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023.

For the 2022-23 season, Russia will not have any clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, UEFA Women’s Champions League and UEFA Youth League.

UEFA also said Russia's bid to host EURO 2028 or EURO 2032 has been ruled ineligible.

12:58 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022

Ukraine claims more success in taking territory around Kharkiv

From Kostan Nechyporenko and Tim Lister

Ukrainian soldiers repair a tank at a position near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 1.
Ukrainian soldiers repair a tank at a position near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 1. (Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters)

The Ukrainian military has confirmed that its forces have won back control of several settlements to the north and east of Kharkiv, potentially making it more difficult for the Russians to launch missile and artillery attacks against the city.

Ruska Lozova — a village north of Kharkiv — "returned to our control despite aggravation and losses," the military said Monday.

The military also said the village of Verkhnya Rohanka in the east of Kharkiv was back in Ukrainian hands, and that the operation had been led by Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of land forces.

In the past two weeks, Ukraine has reclaimed about a half dozen villages in the area, bringing its forces slightly closer to Russian supply lines that run from the border to Izium.

Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian forces 40 kilometers (24 miles) to the east of Kharkiv over the last 24 to 48 hours, a senior US defense official told reporters Monday.

The official called it part of an “incredible effort” from the Ukrainian forces.

“It’s just another piece of the stiff Ukrainian resistance that they continue to demonstrate. And again to remind Kharkiv is important to the Russians because it sits at the very northwestern sort of lip or edge of that Donbas region,” the official said.

1:04 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022

More than 70 M777 Howitzers have arrived in Ukraine, senior US defense official says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

More than 70 M777 Howitzers have arrived in Ukraine — which is about 80% of the total 90 the US committed to giving the country, a senior US defense official told reporters Monday. 

“Over 200 Ukrainian artillerymen” have now been trained on the M777 Howitzers, including a group of 50 Ukrainians that are scheduled to graduate from the training today, the official added.

“More than 170 Ukrainian military soldiers have been trained at more than one location on the M777, and there’s another 50 plus that are scheduled to graduate today, so when they do graduate today — in fact they may have already graduated today — that puts us up over 200 Ukrainian artillerymen trained on the M777,” the official said.

“Another 50 plus” Ukrainians will be arriving at one of the training sites outside of Ukraine “later this week” to begin training on the M777 Howitzers. A group of 20 Ukrainian soldiers began a “week-long training course” on the Phoenix Ghost UAV systems on May 1, the official added.

Over the last 24 hours, 13 flights of US security assistance for Ukraine has arrived in the European region, and an additional 11 flights from the US will arrive in the region over the course of the next 24 hours, the official said. 

There have also been "23 deliveries via airlift” from five other nations received “again, at locations in the region outside Ukraine” of security assistance for the country, the official added.


11:39 a.m. ET, May 2, 2022

Civilians injured by Russian shelling in Kherson region, prosecutor's office says

From CNN's Katharina Krebs

Russian forces are shelling Kherson region with Grad rocket-propelled grenade launchers and several civilians have been injured as a result, the regional prosecutor's office said in a statement on Facebook on Monday.

According to the regional prosecutor's office, as a result of the attack, residents of the Novovorontsovka village suffered shrapnel wounds.

One man with a broken neck and a fractured skull was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Several civilian houses and a school were damaged.

2:04 p.m. ET, May 2, 2022

These Ukrainians are boarding trains to other cities with hope for a future

From CNN's Gustavo Valdes

Ukrainians Luba and Rodion walk through the Lviv train station.
Ukrainians Luba and Rodion walk through the Lviv train station. (Jaap Arriens for CNN)

Ukrainians Luba and Rodion rushed through the tunnel at the Lviv train station with all their belongings packed in a large suitcase and a couple of smaller bags. Their most precious cargo is their daughter, born a month and a half ago, riding in a comfortable stroller. They were headed to Zaporizhzhia after being evicted from their house in Uzhhorod, near the border with Slovakia.

“They raised the price and we couldn’t afford it,” said Luba struggling to hold back tears. 

Anecdotal reports indicate rents are rising in the safer parts of the country as more people flee the frontlines in the east and south.

Luba said this is the second time she has been forced to leave her home because of a foreign invasion — she was 17 when Russia invaded the Crimea region in 2014.

“It was horrible,” she said. As soon as she turned 18, she moved, leaving behind the horrors of that war. 

The young couple, both in their 20s, said their focus is to find a safe place to live, knowing that the Russian army is within striking distance of Zaporizhzhia and Rodion could be called to take arms in defense of his country.

“I have no military training,” he said. “But I will join the other men and protect our land.”

While they would soon board a train to an uncertain future, they go with hope — figuratively and literally. They named their daughter Nadiya, which in Ukrainian means hope. 

Nadiya sleeps in her stroller.
Nadiya sleeps in her stroller. (Jaap Arriens for CNN)

Waiting for a train to Kyiv, Volodymyr Symonenko and his wife were going home, or what is left of it. At the train station, they shared photographs of the heavily damaged building in Hostomel, where he used to live with his wife. 

It was Feb. 24, the first day of the invasion, when Symonenko said they saw the Russian helicopters fly overhead firing missiles. 

“I wish I had a Stinger missile with me so I could take down the helicopters,” he said.

But instead they had to seek shelter in the building’s cellar for 20 days with the other residents who survived the attack.  

The retired army soldier said he was part of the Soviet army and remained with the Ukrainian armed forces after the Kremlin lost its grip on this country. He admits that he always feared Russia might want to take back this land.

After spending time in Lviv, the couple will return to Hostomel to be with their children. Their son is a member of the army.

They know the walls and windows of their apartment are damaged, but he said the roof is still intact, and that’s enough to try to rebuild their home.