May 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Helen Regan, Andrew Raine, Jack Guy, George Ramsay, Ed Upright, Adrienne Vogt, Maureen Chowdhury, Aditi Sangal and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0554 GMT (1354 HKT) May 6, 2022
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9:20 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Ukraine's prosecutor general testified about alleged Russian war crimes at US Helsinki Commission hearing

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova speaks to the media next to a mass grave in the town of Bucha, Ukraine, on April 12.
Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova speaks to the media next to a mass grave in the town of Bucha, Ukraine, on April 12. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova testified at the hearings of the Helsinki Commission on alleged war crimes of Russia in Ukraine, Venediktova said in a Facebook statement on Thursday.

"The Helsinki Commission of the US Congress held a hearing on Russia's war crimes in Ukraine. I testified at the hearings about the horrific atrocities committed by the Russian army on our land: the deliberate bombing of civilian objects, killings and torture, the use of rape as a weapon," Venediktova said.

The Helsinki Commission is a US government commission that "promotes human rights, military security, and economic cooperation in 57 countries," according to its website. Commissioners include US Senate, House of Representatives and executive branch members.

The Ukrainian prosecutor general claimed that the Russian army had committed more than 9,800 war crimes in 70 days of war. She added that the unblocking of Mariupol and the end of the occupation of territories would open even more horrific cases for Ukraine to investigate.

She said that "the red lining at the hearings were signs of genocide of the Ukrainian people and the prosecution of the main serial war criminal of the 21st century." 

"The deportation of our children in order to erase their identity and bring them up as Russians is a direct proof of the plan to destroy Ukraine. The overriding task of the world community is to develop an effective international mechanism of justice and responsibility for Russia's crimes in Ukraine, which will become a tool now and a safeguard for the future," Venediktova said.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko has claimed that Russian forces deported almost 40,000 people from Mariupol to Russia or the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic.

Russia also said that it has "evacuated" over one million people to Russian territory since Feb. 24.

There is no way to verify the Russian data on evacuations. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that thousands of citizens are being deported to Russia forcibly.

8:43 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Ukrainian commander inside Azovstal plant says Russians violated truce pledge and fierce combat is ongoing

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva and Tim Lister

A Ukrainian commander inside the ruins of the Azovstal complex in Mariupol has recorded a video message saying that heavy fighting continues.

"It's been the third day that the enemy has broken through to the territory of Azovstal. Fierce bloody combat is ongoing," said Sviatoslav Palamar, the Azov regiment’s deputy commander.  

"The defenders of the city have been fighting alone for 71 days with the overwhelming forces of the enemy and show such endurance and heroism that the country must know what it means to be loyal to the motherland," Palamar said on Telegram.

He said the Russians had broken their pledge to allow civilians to leave through evacuation corridors Thursday.

"Once again, the Russians violated the promise of a truce and did not allow evacuation for civilians who continue to hide in the basements of the Azovstal plant. I call on the world community to evacuate civilians," Palamar said.

He also made an appeal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying: "I personally appeal to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief to take care of the wounded soldiers who are dying in terrible agony from improper treatment. Give the opportunity to pick up the bodies of soldiers so that Ukrainians can say goodbye to their heroes. Respond appropriately to a critical situation in which the enemy does not adhere to any ethical norms."

After about 100 civilians were able to leave the plant Sunday, none have emerged since. There are thought to be between 200 and 300 civilians still inside the plant, including 30 children. Since Sunday, it has been bombarded from land, sea and air.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed reports Thursday that the Russian army had broken into the territory of the plant, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to avoid storming of the plant was still in place.

8:16 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Russia expels Danish embassy employees

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

The Danish Embassy in Moscow, on March 29, 2018
The Danish Embassy in Moscow, on March 29, 2018 (Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia declared seven employees of the Danish embassy in Moscow "persona non grata," saying diplomats must leave the country within two weeks, according to a statement by the Russian foreign ministry published on Thursday.

"The ambassador was informed that, as a response, seven employees of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark in the Russian Federation were declared 'persona non grata.' They must leave the country within two weeks. A visa was also denied to a diplomat of the Danish diplomatic mission," the statement read.

According to the ministry, the reciprocal measure comes after Copenhagen declared 15 employees of the Russian Embassy in Denmark and the Russian Trade Representation in Copenhagen “persona non grata,” as well as the provision of military assistance by the Danish authorities to Kyiv.

The Russian side noted that the "openly anti-Russian policy" of the kingdom causes serious damage to bilateral relations.

The ministry added that the Russian side reserves the right to take additional retaliatory steps to the actions of Copenhagen, which will be reported to the Danish side at a later time.

8:12 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Russian attack on Azovstal "repelled," Ukrainian presidential adviser says

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

This image taken from a video released by the Internal Affairs ministry of the self-proclaimed pro-Russia Donetsk People's Republic on May 4 shows alleged shelling at the besieged Azovstal complex in Mariupol, Ukraine.
This image taken from a video released by the Internal Affairs ministry of the self-proclaimed pro-Russia Donetsk People's Republic on May 4 shows alleged shelling at the besieged Azovstal complex in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Eye Press/Reuters)

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych spoke about the latest situation in the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol, saying Ukrainian forces "repelled" Russian troops at the plant.

He told Ukrainian television that "we can say that yesterday Russian troops entered the territory of Azovstal and were repelled by our defenders."

He said a lot of contradictory information was circulating, but added: "We can say that there are ongoing combats. All other information is being clarified." 

"Negotiations with Russia are ongoing [on new evacuation corridors], and all the diplomatic authorities are involved," he said.

There is no sign that any civilians have been able to leave the ruins of the steel complex Thursday despite the Russian Ministry of Defense saying it would open evacuation corridors from the plant today.

CNN's efforts to reach commanders inside the Azovstal plant have been unsuccessful.

10:10 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

15 people injured in Mykolaiv region from Russian shelling

From CNN's Katharina Krebs

At least 15 people have been injured in Ukraine's southern Mykolaiv region in the past 24 hours as a result of Russian shelling, Hanna Zamazeeva, the head of the Mykolaiv Regional Council, said in a Telegram post on Thursday.

All the victims were taken to regional hospitals, where they are receiving necessary medical care.

According to Zamazeeva, as of Thursday morning there were 157 civilians in local hospitals who had suffered injuries from Russian attacks in the Mykolaiv region.

8:05 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

It's 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

Russian forces are carrying out intensive attacks on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, where some Ukrainian troops are holding out. Meanwhile, the Russians' offensive in eastern Ukraine has made no progress, according to the Ukrainian armed forces. Russian missile strikes have also hit the city of Kramatorsk for the first time in a month.

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

Ukraine says front lines are holding: The Ukrainian armed forces say the Russians have had "no success" with efforts to break through front lines in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions over the past 24 hours. In its operational update for Thursday, the General Staff said: "Lyman, Severodonetsk and Popasna areas. The enemy units are trying to conduct offensive operations; no success."

"Non-stop shelling" at Azovstal: Intense attacks continued on the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol overnight into Thursday, according to Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the Mariupol mayor. The Ukrainian armed forces said Russian soldiers were concentrating on wiping out Ukrainian units at the plant. "The Russian occupiers are focusing their efforts on blocking and trying to destroy our units in the Azovstal area," the military said in its latest update.

Russia says it will open evacuation corridors: The Russian Ministry of Defense said it expects to open evacuation corridors for civilians out of the Azovstal steel plant near Mariupol starting on Thursday. The evacuations are set to take place from May 5 to May 7 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Moscow time, the ministry said. CNN has seen no independent evidence that the corridors are operating.

Russia targets Kramatorsk again: Russian strikes hit the center of the eastern Ukrainian city for the first time in a month. At least six strikes devastated a residential area and a building just down the street from the administrative center. At least 25 people were wounded and six were taken to hospital after the strikes in the early hours of Thursday morning, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of Donetsk regional military administration.

Lula blames Zelensky for war: Two-time former Brazilian President Lula Inacio da Silva has told TIME magazine that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin share the blame for the war in Ukraine. "And now, sometimes I sit and watch the President of Ukraine speaking on television, being applauded, getting a standing ovation by all the [European] parliamentarians," said Da Silva. "This guy is as responsible as Putin for the war. Because in the war, there’s not just one person guilty."

7:58 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Finland’s decision on NATO membership expected to be "much clearer" by mid-May, says senior Western diplomat

 From CNN’s Lauren Kent and Nic Robertson in Finland and James Frater in London

Finish Prime Minister Sanna Marin talks to the media as she arrives at the EU Council headquarters for an EU Summit on the situation in Ukraine on February 24, in Brussels, Belgium.
Finish Prime Minister Sanna Marin talks to the media as she arrives at the EU Council headquarters for an EU Summit on the situation in Ukraine on February 24, in Brussels, Belgium. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Finland’s decision on NATO membership is expected to be “much clearer” before May 17 when the country’s president will visit Sweden, according to a senior Western diplomat with knowledge of Finland’s proceedings.

Following weeks of hearings from parliamentarians, the Finnish Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to draft a response on the Finnish government’s security report — which includes the option of joining NATO — as early as May 11, the diplomat said.

Following the publication of the committee response, Finland’s parliament will hold an extraordinary debate on whether to approve the security report recommendations. 

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin have not yet expressed a position on NATO membership, but both have promised to publicly express an opinion after the conclusion of Finland’s parliament debate, according to the diplomat.

They added that Finland is coordinating closely with Sweden as both countries would benefit from proceeding with NATO membership on the same schedule.

The diplomat also told journalists on Thursday that “the Russian Federation has a long-standing policy against the accession of new countries to NATO, especially those close to its borders,” and that Finland, in its security report, had laid out its “preparedness for hybrid and cyber influence activities.”

They said that, so far, Finland has “not seen active measures by Russia to contrary possible Finnish application to NATO” and explained that Finnish Defence Forces have said there is "no active military threat against Finland" at this point

Meanwhile, the source said they are convinced that Finland — which shares an 800-mile-long border with Russia — would "bring added value to NATO."

“Finland is already protecting the northern flank of the alliance and with a defence integrated into NATO's planning and command structures, Finland could do that even more effectively," they added, also noting that “immediately after the attack, support for NATO membership among the Finnish public increased dramatically.”

Citing multiple opinion polls, the source said that at least 60% of Finns are now in favor of NATO membership, which “are really historic numbers because for 30 years in Finland, the support for joining NATO has been between 20 and 30% at most.”

7:29 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Japan will use nuclear reactors and renewables to reduce dependence on Russian energy, PM says

From CNN’s Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gives a speech in the City of London financial district on May 5.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gives a speech in the City of London financial district on May 5. (Kyodo News/Getty Images)

Japan will diversify energy procurement, utilizing nuclear reactors and renewables to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in a speech Thursday in London's financial district.

Kishida promised to accelerate innovation and said 150 trillion yen (about $1.15 trillion USD) in investment would be raised in the next decade to meet energy needs and make the most of pro-growth carbon pricing.

Kishida said that Japan’s economy would continue to grow and urged people to invest in it. 

Later today, Kishida will meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson; the two are expected to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

7:20 a.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Drone footage shows how Russians destroyed one Ukrainian town in savage battle

From Tim Lister and Paul P. Murphy

A 22-minute video shot by a surveillance drone over the Ukrainian town of Popasna has illustrated the stunning destruction being inflicted on settlements across the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

It's also another insight into the importance of drones in modern warfare, as well as the Russian approach to combat and the last-ditch resistance of Ukrainian units.

The drone video shows that every property in the middle of the town is destroyed or damaged. Most appear to have been hit by Russian artillery or rocket fire.

"The Russians are not just destroying Popasna. They are removing it from the map of Luhansk region," according to the head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration Serhiy Hayday.

The drone video was originally posted by a pro-Russian Telegram channel and appears to have been taken by a Russian military drone.

The drone appears to have been used to assist Russian infantry in hunting down the last Ukrainian defenders of the area. Ultimately, it hovers over the location where the Ukrainians are cornered and surrender.

CNN has geolocated and verified the authenticity of the video. It's unclear exactly when the video was taken, but intense fighting has taken place in Popasna in recent days, as the Russian advance has clashed with Ukrainian defenses in the town.

Read the full story here: