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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8:35 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Amnesty International says investigation reveals "pattern of crimes committed by Russian forces" in Ukraine

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

The exhumation of civilian bodies from a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 13.
The exhumation of civilian bodies from a mass grave in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 13. (Anatolii Siryk/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

Russian forces "must face justice for a series of war crimes" committed in the region northwest of Kyiv, Amnesty International said Friday at a press briefing in the Ukrainian capital following an investigation it conducted in the country.

The investigation, based "on dozens of interviews and extensive review of material evidence," has documented "unlawful air strikes on Borodyanka, and extrajudicial executions in other towns and villages including Bucha, Andriivka, Zdvyzhivka and Vorzel."

An Amnesty International delegation spoke with survivors, families of victims and senior Ukrainian officials, the watchdog said. 

“The pattern of crimes committed by Russian forces that we have documented includes both unlawful attacks and willful killings of civilians,” Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard said in a statement.

“We have met families whose loved ones were killed in horrific attacks, and whose lives have changed forever because of the Russian invasion. We support their demands for justice, and call on the Ukrainian authorities, the International Criminal Court and others to ensure evidence is preserved that could support future war crime prosecutions," she said. “It is vital that all those responsible, including up the chain of command, are brought to justice."

During 12 days of investigations, Amnesty researchers interviewed residents in Bucha, Borodianka, Novyi Korohod, Andriivka, Zdvyzhivka, Vorzel, Makariv and Dmytrivka, and "visited sites of numerous killings," Amnesty said.

In Borodianka, Amnesty International found that "at least 40 civilians were killed in disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks, which devastated an entire neighborhood and left thousands of people homeless."

In Bucha and several other towns and villages located northwest of Kyiv, Amnesty documented "22 cases of unlawful killings by Russian forces, most of which were apparent extrajudicial executions."

On March 1 and March 2, a series of Russian air strikes hit eight residential buildings in the town of Borodianka, which were home to more than 600 families, Amnesty said. 

"The strikes killed at least 40 residents and destroyed the buildings, as well as dozens of surrounding buildings and houses. Most of the victims were killed in the buildings’ basements, where they had sought shelter. Others died in their apartments," Amnesty said. 

Amnesty called for all those responsible for war crimes to be held criminally responsible for their actions. "Under the doctrine of command responsibility, hierarchal superiors – including commanders and civilian leaders, such as ministers and heads of state – who knew or had reason to know about war crimes committed by their forces, but did not attempt to stop them or punish those responsible, should also be held criminally responsible," Amnesty said.

8:14 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Russians accused by Ukrainians of breaching ceasefire at Azovstal plant, killing 1

From Julia Presniakova 

Service members of pro-Russian troops fire from a tank during fighting near the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 5.
Service members of pro-Russian troops fire from a tank during fighting near the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 5. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

The Azov Regiment has claimed that during a ceasefire "on the territory of the Azovstal plant" in Mariupol, Russian forces fired an anti-tank weapon at a car that was trying to assist in the evacuation of civilians.

CNN is unable to verify that a ceasefire was in effect and being observed around Azovstal Friday.

On its Telegram channel, the regiment said: "As the result of the shelling, one fighter was killed and 6 were wounded. The enemy continues to violate all agreements and fail to adhere to security guarantees of civilians' evacuation."

The Azov Regiment has dozens of fighters still trapped at the steel complex. 

8:10 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

G7 leaders will hold video conference with Zelensky on Sunday, German government says 

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a press conference at the Chancellery on May 4, in Berlin, Germany.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a press conference at the Chancellery on May 4, in Berlin, Germany. (Omer Messinger/Getty Images)

The Group of G7 leaders are set to hold a video conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, according to a German government spokesperson.

"The German chancellor (Olaf Scholz) will hold the third video conference since the start of the year with his G7 partners," Christiane Hoffmann told reporters at a regular press briefing in Berlin on Friday. Germany currently holds the G7 presidency.

Hoffman went on to say that May 8 is a "historic date marking the end of World War II in Europe."

"It will cover current issues, particularly the situation in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelensky will take part and report on the current situation in his country," she said. 

The German chancellor will also give a televised address to the German nation in the evening of May 8, Hoffmann said, adding that May 8 has a special meaning this year as the two countries that were once victims of Nazi Germany are now at war with each other.

8:39 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

It's 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here’s the latest on Russia’s invasion

Smoke rises above the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 5.
Smoke rises above the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 5. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

As the Russian siege of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant continues, here are the latest developments from Ukraine.

Constant shelling: 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." In an address on Thursday, he said: "Women, many children remain there. Just imagine the hell -- more than two months of constant shelling, bombing, constant death nearby."

“Bloody battles”: A Ukrainian commander at the steel plant said there are "bloody battles" unfolding inside the complex after Russian troops breached the perimeter. "I am proud of my soldiers who are making superhuman efforts to contain the enemy's onslaught,” said the commander of the Azov Regiment soldiers inside the Azovstal plant, Lt. Col. Denys Prokopenko.

Evacuation ongoing: The "next stage" of the evacuation of Ukrainian civilians from the steel plant is underway, according to Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president's office. The United Nations said it hoped that a joint convoy from the UN and the International Red Cross would be able to evacuate more civilians from Azovstal on Friday. 

Soviet-era symbols: Ukrainian officials have posted images from Mariupol showing continuing work by what they call "the occupiers" to restore monuments from the Soviet era. Petro Andrushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of the coastal city, distributed new photographs on Friday saying that, in recent days, all the monuments of the Soviet period have been "restored."

More sanctions: Alina Kabaeva, a woman romantically linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been included in the sixth proposed package of EU sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, according to two European diplomatic sources.

US assistance: US provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Moskva, a Russian guided-missile cruiser that was the flagship of Moscow's fleet in the Black Sea, sources familiar with the events told CNN. The Pentagon has denied providing "specific targeting information" to Ukraine.

8:11 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Almost 400 health facilities destroyed or damaged by Russian troops, Zelensky says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky address the nation on May 5.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky address the nation on May 5. (President of Ukraine)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said "Russian troops have destroyed or damaged almost 400 health facilities," during his address to Ukrainians on Thursday night.

He said this was based on "only the medical infrastructure," and that the facilities affected included "hospitals, maternity hospitals, outpatient clinics."

"In the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine -- in the east and south -- the situation with access to medical services and medicines is just catastrophic," Zelensky said, adding that "even the simplest medications are missing."

The President also highlighted the "complete lack of treatment for cancer patients," as well as "a lack of antibiotics" and "difficult or impossible" lack of access to insulin.

Russia's attack on a maternity and children's hospital in Mariupol on March 9 has been one of the most reported incidents to date during the ongoing invasion.

At least five people were killed and at least 17 were injured, including children.

Two hospitals in Zhytomyr, west of the capital, Kyiv, had their windows blown out in a Russian airstrike on a thermal power plant and civilian building in the city on the same day, the mayor said. One of them was a children's hospital.

The rules of war specify that civilians should not be targeted and that medical workers, medical vehicles and hospitals dedicated to humanitarian work cannot be attacked.

12:15 p.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Kremlin spokesperson twice ducks question of whether Putin apologized to Israel's PM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a press conference in Moscow, Russia, on April 27.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a press conference in Moscow, Russia, on April 27. (Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov twice declined to answer questions from journalists on Friday about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized to Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett over anti-Semitic remarks his foreign minister made this week.

An Israeli summary of a phone call between the two leaders on Thursday said Bennett accepted Putin’s apology; a Russian summary made no mention of any contrition.

“At the moment, we have nothing to add to what was said in the readout,” Peskov said on his regular press briefing call.

Israeli leaders responded with fury earlier in the week after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that Adolf Hitler had Jewish ancestry. The assertion has no basis in fact.

Asked on Friday by a journalist if Lavrov should apologize, Peskov replied: “I’m not sure I understand your question.”

Some context: On Sunday, Putin's top diplomat Lavrov sought to justify Moscow's absurd goal of "de-Nazifying" Ukraine -- a baseless portrayal of the country, which is led by a Jewish president -- by claiming Adolf Hitler had "Jewish blood" and that "the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews."

Bennett called the assertions "lies" and Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described them as "unforgiveable and outrageous," warning that Israel had "tried to maintain good relations with Russia, but there is a line, and this time the line has been crossed."

6:20 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Putin's reputed girlfriend Alina Kabaeva included in proposed EU sanctions list, sources say

From CNN's Luke McGee

Alina Kabaeva smiles as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers his speech at the congress of the United Russia Party on November, 27, 2011 in Moscow.
Alina Kabaeva smiles as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers his speech at the congress of the United Russia Party on November, 27, 2011 in Moscow. (Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Alina Kabaeva, a woman romantically linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been included in the sixth proposed package of EU sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, according to two European diplomatic sources.

At this stage names can be taken off or added at member state discretion, an EU Commission source said.

The EU has not officially signed off on the draft proposal but could do so as early as this morning at a meeting of EU ambassadors -- currently underway in Brussels. 

“Discussions are going on. It’s not a piece of cake, but we have to wait and see,” said one of the diplomatic sources.

Kabaeva was first linked to Putin more than a decade ago, while she was a medal-winning gymnast. Putin has denied a relationship with her.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that US officials had been debating whether or not to place sanctions on Kabaeva over concerns that the move might escalate tensions even more because it could be seen as an extreme personal blow to Putin.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, is also among the individuals who are included in the proposed sixth round of EU sanctions, according to two sources who have seen the full documents.

8:40 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

From medals to road signs, Russians try to put their stamp on Mariupol

From CNN's Tim Lister, Olga Voitovych and Julia Presniakova 

(andiyshTime/Telegram)
(andiyshTime/Telegram)

Medals, road-signs and statues have served as some of the early symbols of Russia's seizure of parts of southern Ukraine, and especially Mariupol

This week, medals were awarded "for the Liberation of Mariupol" by the leader of self-styled Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, and a senior official in Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, Andrei Turchak.  

The DPR has been hard at work changing road signs from Ukrainian into Russian -- especially those at the entrance to Mariupol.

The southeastern port city has been under siege for several weeks, with efforts now concentrated on the Avostal steel plant. On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces were "not stopping" their shelling of the plant.

The plant is now being evacuated as civilians and soldiers remain trapped inside, with the "next stage" underway, according to Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian President's office. More than 300 evacuees from the Mariupol area arrived in the city of Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Transport of the DPR promised Thursday that work on the replacement of road signs in what they call liberated territories will continue. A statue has also gone up in Mariupol, depicting an elderly woman grasping the Soviet flag.  

Petro Andrushchenko, an adviser to the elected mayor of Mariupol, spoke bitterly about the rising number of Russian officials visiting Mariupol, including the Sergey Kiriyenko, a senior official at the Kremlin -- describing them as "curators of Mariupol's integration into Russia." 

Referring to the new statue, Andrushcheko said the Russians had opened a monument "to an old lady with a flag on Warriors Liberators Square, which they stubbornly call the Leninist Komsomol." 

Andrushchenko also distributed new photographs Friday, saying that "in recent days, all the monuments of the Soviet period have been 'restored': the so-called 'fists' with eternal fire — and the signs that say 'To victims of Fascism' in the Russian language. [Also the] monument to 'Komsomol members and communists' in the Primorsky district."

Although he is not in Mariupol, Andruschenko maintains links with people still there and says the Russian flag has also gone up at the city hospital, and posted a photo.

"The occupiers allowed doctors to work for the people of Mariupol. Medical staff and doctors live directly in the hospital, there is only outpatient treatment. The hospital is provided with light through generators, water — by water carriers."

He also posted a brief video shot from a vehicle on Prospect Myru showing the collection of debris. Like other Ukrainian officials, Andrushchenko claimed that "the work of retrieving corpses from the rubble is entrusted to Mariupol residents. Their payment — food."

On the road to Zaporizhzhia from Mariupol, a road most of those trying to escape Mariupol must take, is the town of Tokmak, also under Russian occupation. The entrance sign to the town has been repainted in the Russian tricolor. 

Elsewhere in the south of Ukraine, the ruble is gradually being introduced, According to a community group on Facebook, government employees in the town of Yakymivka have been told that if they want to be paid in Ukrainian hryvnia "the occupiers will take two-thirds of the salary." 

5:24 a.m. ET, May 6, 2022

Kherson official claims Russians abusing civilians who want to leave

From Tim Lister in Lviv

Internally displaced people sit in a car after arriving from the Russian-occupied area in the Kherson region to the evacuation point in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on May 2.
Internally displaced people sit in a car after arriving from the Russian-occupied area in the Kherson region to the evacuation point in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on May 2. (Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Civilians trying to leave Russian-occupied Kherson are being harassed and blocked by Russian forces, according to Ukrainian officials.

Yurii Sobolevskyi, the deputy head of Kherson regional Council, told Ukrainian television Friday: "The way out of city has been complicated. There are some cases when people managed to get out, even by a bus, but most people get turned back. All the junctions are blocked."

Sobolevskyi claimed that "there are cases when they [Russian forces] commit abuses at the check-points: very thorough frisking, forcing men to undress, looking for tattoos."

Russian soldiers frequently check Ukrainian civilians for what they see as nationalist and neo-Nazi tattoos.

Sobolevskyi said that mobile connections and internet access had been restored so that people in Kherson could communicate with their families in other parts of Ukraine.

He said the Russians were trying to introduce the ruble on an experimental basis in some communities.

Some context: The southern city of Kherson was the first Ukrainian city to fall under Russian control, and since then scores of people have been trying to flee. Over the past weeks, harrowing allegations of rape and brutality at the hands of Russian forces have emerged in the Kherson region.