May 6, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Brad Lendon, Nectar Gan, Jeevan Ravindran, George Ramsay, Meg Wagner, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 0409 GMT (1209 HKT) May 7, 2022
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10:21 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

UN World Food Programme calls for reopening of Odesa ports to help rein in global hunger crisis

From CNN’s Masha Angelova

Silos and containers on the dockside at the Port of Odesa on March 17.
Silos and containers on the dockside at the Port of Odesa on March 17. (Nathan Laine/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has called for the reopening of ports in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa to help rein in the global hunger crisis.

The ports in Odesa and other Ukrainian Black Sea ports have been blocked because of the war, leaving millions of metric tons of grain sitting in silos.

Ukraine is a major breadbasket for countries in the Middle East and North Africa that depend on imports; in the eight months before the war began, almost 51 million metric tons of grain transited through Ukraine's Black Sea ports, said the WFP in a news release on Friday.

If the ports don't reopen, “mountains of grain” will go to waste, while “WFP and the world struggle to deal with an already catastrophic global hunger crisis,” said the release.

“Right now, Ukraine’s grain silos are full. At the same time, 44 million people around the world are marching towards starvation. We have to open up these ports so that food can move in and out of Ukraine. The world demands it because hundreds of millions of people globally depend on these supplies,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

At the start of 2022, 276 million people were already facing acute hunger. That number is expected to rise by another 47 million people if the war in Ukraine continues, according to the agency’s analysis.

The United States and Europe will feel the pain, too, with increasing prices for important agricultural goods.

6:48 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

The US walks a fine line with intelligence sharing in Ukraine

From CNN's Katie Bo Lillis, Jeremy Herb and Zachary Cohen

Two months into Russia's war in Ukraine, the Biden administration has increased the amount of intelligence it shares with Kyiv, contributing to successful strikes against senior Russian leaders and the Russian Navy's flagship, the Moskva, sources familiar with the intelligence sharing tell CNN.

But the effort raises questions about how far the White House is willing to go to help Ukraine fight the Russians while also trying to avoid provoking Moscow and getting drawn into the conflict.

Administration officials insist there are clear limits on the intelligence it shares with Ukraine, including a ban against providing precision targeting intelligence for senior Russian leaders by name, part of a White House effort to avoid crossing a line that Moscow may view as too escalatory.

Yet some current and former officials have suggested that the limits the Biden administration have drawn are arbitrary, in part because the end result is the same -- Ukrainian strikes that kill senior Russian leaders. On top of that, any US assessment of what actions might provoke Moscow depends on the thinking of just one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"You're trying to put on your Vladimir Putin hat and try to see, what does he see as crossing a red line?" said retired Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. "That red line is one that probably exists only in Putin's head — and it may not be something that he's even thought his way through or conveyed."

Sources familiar with the administration's approach say the decisions to gradually broaden the intelligence it is willing to share have been primarily based on the judgments of Biden administration officials rather than any changing assessments about how escalatory Russia might view a given action.

Read the full report here.

10:34 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Zelensky working on diplomatic options to save military still in Azovstal

From CNN's Josh Pennington

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his nightly address on Friday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his nightly address on Friday. (Zelensky/Telegram)

In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine was able to evacuate women and children from Azovstal with the help of the UN and Red Cross.

He said he's also working on diplomatic options to help evacuate the remaining military in Azovstal.  

"We continue the evacuation mission from Mariupol, namely from Azovstal, with the mediation of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. During the day, our team organized rescue operations for more than 40 civilians, all women and children," the Ukrainian president said.

"We hope that soon they will be able to arrive in a safe area after two months of shelling, remaining underground in shelters. We are also working on diplomatic options to save our military, who still remain at Azovstal. Influential mediators are involved, including influential states," he added.
6:32 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Italian authorities seize superyacht believed to have links to Russian government

From Livia Borghese in Rome

An Italian police patrol boat is seen in front of the multimillion-dollar superyacht, The Scheherazade, docked at the Tuscan port of Marina di Carrara in Italy, on Friday.
An Italian police patrol boat is seen in front of the multimillion-dollar superyacht, The Scheherazade, docked at the Tuscan port of Marina di Carrara in Italy, on Friday. (Federico Scoppa/AFP/Getty Images)

Italian authorities have seized a superyacht believed to have links with the Russian government, according to a news release issued by the country’s financial police on Friday. 

The Scheherazade has been under scrutiny since March for possible connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The news release stated that investigations “highlighted the presence of significant economic and business connections" between the owner of the yacht and "prominent elements of the Russian government.”

The owner of the yacht — whose name was not disclosed — also has connections with other Russians included in the EU’s list of those sanctioned for “actions that compromise or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine,” according to police. 

“Based on these elements, the Financial Security Committee proposed to the Council of the European Union the inclusion of this person in the aforementioned list,” the news release continued. 

Italy’s Finance Minister Daniele Franco has ordered a decree to freeze the vessel which bears the flag of the Cayman Islands and is docked in the Italian port of Marina di Carrara.

5:33 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Biden announced additional US security assistance for Ukraine. Here's what is in the latest package.

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Nikki Carvajal

US President Joe Biden on Friday announced additional security assistance to Ukraine in the form of "additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment."

The latest package is for $150 million worth of equipment including 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment and field equipment and spare parts, a White House official said.

The new security assistance package follows the President's $33 billion proposal last week to Congress to support Ukraine amid Russia's invasion. The US has made it clear it intends to provide long-term support to Ukraine and has already provided the nation with billions of dollars in military and humanitarian assistance.

The proposed package last week was more than twice as much as the $13.6 billion infusion of military and humanitarian aid that Congress approved last month.

In a statement, Biden said the administration has nearly exhausted funding that can be used for security assurance and called on Congress to approve his request for additional money for Ukraine.

"With today's announcement, my Administration has nearly exhausted funding that can be used to send security assistance through drawdown authorities for Ukraine," the statement reads. "For Ukraine to succeed in this next phase of war its international partners, including the US, must continue to demonstrate our unity and our resolve to keep the weapons and ammunition flowing to Ukraine, without interruption."

"Congress should quickly provide the requested funding to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table," Biden added.

Read more about the assistance package here.

6:00 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Kyiv mayor warns citizens to be alert on Russia Victory Day

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv, stands in front of a damaged building following Russian strikes in Kyiv on April 29
Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv, stands in front of a damaged building following Russian strikes in Kyiv on April 29 (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko is urging citizens to stay inside from Sunday into Monday around Russia's annual Victory Day as Western officials have warned Russian President Vladimir Putin could formally declare war on Ukraine on May 9, a symbolic day for Russia, paving the way for Putin to step up his campaign.

Though the mayor is not formally imposing a curfew, events will not be held during that time, according to posts on his social media. He said there will be enhanced patrolling in the city.

"If anyone would like to go lay flowers, they can do so in private ... Pay attention and follow wartime security rules," Klitschko said.

"I also ask you not to ignore the air alarm signals and immediately take cover. In the coming days, there is a high likelihood of missile shelling in all regions of Ukraine. Be aware and take care of your own safety!" Klitschko warned.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated a curfew would be imposed in Kyiv Sunday and Monday. There will be no curfew on those days. 

7:28 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Ukraine says Russia is desperate to take city in Luhansk to declare a "grand victory"

From Olga Voitovych

Smoke rises at a warehouse after shelling in Severodonetsk, eastern Ukraine, on May 3.
Smoke rises at a warehouse after shelling in Severodonetsk, eastern Ukraine, on May 3. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

The Russians want to seize the city of Severodonetsk so "this can be sold to the Russian people as a grand victory," a senior official in eastern Ukraine says.

"Of course, they want Severodonetsk, because it is the city — the regional center. Of course, this can be sold to the people as a grand victory," Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk regional military administration said on Telegram.

Severodonetsk, which was an important industrial center in eastern Ukraine, has been shelled by Russian forces for weeks and is largely destroyed. But Ukrainian troops remain in and around the city.

"And of course another goal is to encircle our military and try to cut the road to Bakhmut where Popasna is. These are the main two directions," he said.

Hayday denied Russian claims that they'd taken the town of Rubizhne in the same area. 

"In fact they can't move any further and our National Guard is still there and repulses all enemy attacks," Hayday said.

7:12 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

UK sanctions could lead to "final destruction of bilateral ties," Russia warns British ambassador

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

Deborah Bronnert, British Ambassador to Moscow, takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin Wall in Moscow, Russia on February 10.
Deborah Bronnert, British Ambassador to Moscow, takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin Wall in Moscow, Russia on February 10. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

British Ambassador to Moscow Deborah Bronnert was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday over the latest sanctions against Russia, including sanctions against the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, according to the statement from the Russian foreign ministry.

“The Ambassador was told about the unacceptability of such destructive actions, the continuation of which will inevitably lead to the final destruction of bilateral ties and damage to relations between the peoples of Russia and the United Kingdom," the statement read.

The imposition of sanctions against the Russian media "only because their coverage and interpretation of events taking place in the world is not consistent with Western patterns, once again clearly confirms the duplicity and cynicism of British politicians, for whom such a thing as freedom of the media is nothing more than a tool for solving market problems," the statement added.

The ministry accused the UK and its officials for imposing sanctions and making statements with "threats" that are "interspersed with lies and outright rudeness" against Russia.

"Russian side will continue to respond harshly and decisively to all sanctions initiated by London and take retaliatory measures," the statement added.

3:01 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

At least 50 women, children and elderly people evacuated from Azovstal Friday, Ukrainian deputy PM says

From CNN's Jonny Hallam

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said at least 50 civilians were successfully evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol Friday.

"Today we managed to extract 50 women, children and the elderly from Azovstal. Tomorrow morning we will continue the evacuation operation," Vereshchuk said in a statement posted on her social media channels.

Ukrainian officials earlier had said that they couldn't comment on the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant being organized by the United Nations and the International Red Cross.

Russian state media on Friday said that 25 civilians were evacuated out of the plant on two buses.