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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12:28 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Russian forces have made "some small progress" in Donbas region of Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Thursday.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Thursday. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Russian forces have made “some small progress, particularly in the north part of the Donbas” region of Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing on Thursday.

This small progress is not the progress that the US believes Russian forces “expected to make at this point,” in the region, Kirby added.

“In the Donbas region, we would still assess that Ukrainians are putting up a very stiff resistance,” he said.

11:53 p.m. ET, May 5, 2022

United Nations and Red Cross launch third operation to evacuate citizens from Mariupol, secretary general says

From CNN's Samantha Beech

The International Committee of the Red Cross team participates in an ongoing operation to facilitate the safe passage of civilians out of the Azovstal plant and Mariupol on May 4.
The International Committee of the Red Cross team participates in an ongoing operation to facilitate the safe passage of civilians out of the Azovstal plant and Mariupol on May 4. (ICRC/EyePress/Reuters)

The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have launched a third operation to evacuate civilians from the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and the Azovstal steel plant, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the UN Security Council on Thursday.

Guterres said this is the third such operation to evacuate citizens from the area after two other operations. 

“So far, in total, nearly 500 civilians have found long-awaited relief after living under relentless shelling and scarce availability of water, food and sanitation,” Guterres told the UN Security Council.

“The evacuees have shared moving tales with UN staff — mothers, children and frail grandparents spoke of their trauma. Some were in urgent need of medical attention. I hope that the continued coordination with Moscow and Kyiv will lead to more humanitarian pauses to allow civilians safe passage from the fighting and aid to reach those in critical need," he said.

11:53 p.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Evacuations out of Mariupol continued Thursday with another round planned for Friday

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Josh Pennington

A local resident walks past houses destroyed in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 5.
A local resident walks past houses destroyed in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 5. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said evacuation operations out of the southern city of Mariupol continued Thursday. 

"The rescue operation from Mariupol continued today with the assistance of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. People are on their way to safe territory," Zelensky said during his nightly address on Thursday. 

The Ukrainian President did not give a figure for how many people were evacuated on Thursday alone, but said that more than 300 people from the Mariupol area and more than 150 people from the Azovstal steel plant are "already receiving all the help they need" after being evacuated over the last few days. 

This comes after he announced Wednesday that authorities had succeeded in evacuating 344 people from the Mariupol area earlier that day.

Ukrainian authorities have planned a further round of evacuations out of the besieged city on Friday, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

The Ukrainian government is also pushing ahead with separate efforts to evacuate civilians and soldiers still trapped in the Azovstal steel plant, which Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has hailed as a "the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol."

11:53 p.m. ET, May 5, 2022

Russian shelling of the Azovstal plant is "not stopping," Zelensky says

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London

(From Volodymyr Zelensky/Facebook)
(From Volodymyr Zelensky/Facebook)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the shelling of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol is "not stopping" even as "civilians still need to be taken out." 

"Women, many children remain there," he said during his nightly address on Thursday. "Just imagine the hell — more than two months of constant shelling, bombing, constant death nearby."

The Ukrainian authorities are "doing everything to find a solution to save our military heroes" defending Mariupol, Zelensky added. "There are different units. They have many wounded, but they do not give up. They hold position. And we too are trying to find solutions to find safety for these people."

On Sunday, over 100 civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant where they spent two months sheltering underground from Russian attacks.

It’s unclear how many civilians remain trapped in the plant, according to a spokesperson for the United Nations secretary-general.

11:53 p.m. ET, May 5, 2022

US provided intel that helped Ukraine target Russian warship, sources say

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Katie Bo Lillis 

When Ukraine successfully targeted Russia’s prized warship last month with anti-ship cruise missiles, they had some help from the United States.  

Ukrainian forces, having spotted a Russian warship in the Black Sea, called their American contacts for confirmation that it was in fact the Moskva, sources familiar with the events told CNN. The US responded that it was, and provided intelligence about its location.

It is not clear whether the US knew Ukraine would move to strike the ship, however, and the US was not involved in that decision, the sources said. 

The ship sank after it was struck by two Ukrainian cruise missiles on April 14, dealing a huge blow to the Russian military.

The episode, first reported by NBC News, reflects the Biden administration’s increasingly forward-leaning posture when it comes to sharing intelligence with Ukraine, part of a broader policy shift toward helping Ukraine defeat Russia decisively on the battlefield and significantly weaken its military. 

But it also raises questions about what both the US and Russia’s red lines are when it comes to US military support to Ukraine.  

The US has for months been providing Ukrainian forces with intelligence about Russian troop movements inside Ukraine, including intercepted communications about Russian military planning. It also provides Ukraine with maritime awareness information to allow them to better understand the threat posed by Russian ships in the Black Sea, many of which are firing missiles onto Ukrainian territory. 

There are also clear limits, however, to what the US will share, multiple sources told CNN. 

For example, the US has so far declined to provide information to Ukraine about potential targets inside Russia itself. And while the intelligence the US shares about Russian troop movements inside Ukraine can include details like vehicles and types of personnel at a particular location, the US has not provided Ukraine with intelligence about specific Russian military leaders’ whereabouts, officials have said.  

“We do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Thursday. Kirby added that “Ukraine combines information that we and other partners provide with the intelligence that they themselves are gathering on the battlefield, and then they make their own decisions, and they take their own actions.”