May 11, 2022: Russia-Ukraine news

By Ben Church, Joshua Berlinger, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 0418 GMT (1218 HKT) May 12, 2022
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10:35 a.m. ET, May 11, 2022

First Russian soldier will stand trial in death of Ukrainian man, prosecutor says

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

Ukraine has announced the first Russian soldier set to stand trial in the death of a 62-year-old man in Ukraine’s Sumy region, according to a statement published by the country's prosecutor general's office on Wednesday.

The prosecutor general's office said it has filed an indictment against Vadim Shishimarin, commander of the military unit 32010 of the 4th Tank Kantemirov Division of Moscow region.

The investigation alleges the 21-year-old Russian killed an unarmed 62-year-old resident who was riding a bicycle along the roadside in the village of Chupakhivka in Sumy region on Feb. 28.

According to the statement, the Russian forces drove into the village in a stolen car with punctured wheels. 

On the way, they saw a man returning home and talking on the phone, according to the statement. One of the Russians ordered a sergeant to kill a civilian so that he would not report them to the Ukrainian army. Shishimarin fired several shots through the open window of a car from a Kalashnikov rifle at the head of the resident, prosecutors allege.

"Shishimarin is currently in custody. Prosecutors and SBU investigators have gathered enough evidence of his involvement in violating the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder (Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). He faces between 10 and 15 years in prison or life in prison," Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said in a statement on Facebook. 

CNN has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.

10:18 a.m. ET, May 11, 2022

UN chief defends Putin meeting, saying it's important to speak to those who "cause or can solve the problem"

From CNN’s Benjamin Brown in London

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, right, meet in Moscow, Russia, on April 26.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, right, meet in Moscow, Russia, on April 26. (Kremlin Press Service/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said it was right to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin and that one needed “to deal with those that cause the problem or that can solve the problem” to find solutions.

“It makes full sense to talk to the leader of the Russian Federation; it makes full sense to talk to any other relevant actors in the present crisis," he said at a press conference in Vienna.

Guterres met Putin in Moscow in late April before making his way to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky. His itinerary had received a lot of criticism.

The UN chief said the Putin meeting had produced “concrete results” and resulted in the evacuation of civilians trapped in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

“I think the lives that were rescued of civilians that were in the bunkers of Mariupol deserve that I meet anybody in any part of the world without having any doubt that that is the right thing to do,” Guterres said when asked by reporters whether his Moscow visit had been the right thing to do.

Guterres was at the news conference with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg Wednesday,

Nehammer, who in April became the first European Union leader to meet with Putin since the invasion of Ukraine, also defended his decision to travel to Moscow, saying, “there cannot be one talk too many, only one too few.”

9:31 a.m. ET, May 11, 2022

Kremlin says there are no plans to declare martial law in Russia

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov waits to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, on May 9.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov waits to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, on May 9. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday the internal political situation in the country is stable and dismissed allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to declare martial law.

When asked whether Putin is planning to introduce martial law in Russia, Peskov said, “No, this is not in the plans.” 

US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Tuesday that the current trend in Ukraine increased chances that Putin would turn to more drastic means, including “imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military actions to free up the resources needed to achieve his objectives as the conflict drags on.”

 

9:24 a.m. ET, May 11, 2022

Pope Francis meets with wives of Ukrainian soldiers defending Azovstal steel plant

From CNN’s Livia Borghese in Rome 

Wives of Ukrainian Azov soldiers currently trapped inside the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, Ukraine, meet with Pope Francis as they attend the weekly general audience at the Vatican, on May 11.
Wives of Ukrainian Azov soldiers currently trapped inside the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, Ukraine, meet with Pope Francis as they attend the weekly general audience at the Vatican, on May 11. (Vatican Media/­Reuters)

Pope Francis on Wednesday met the wives of two Ukrainian soldiers holed up inside Mariupol's besieged Azovstal steel plant.  

The two women, Yulia Fedosiuk and Kateryna Prokopenko, confirmed the meeting with the Pope at the Vatican to CNN.  

The two said their husbands are soldiers of the Azov regiment and are currently inside the steel plant defending it against Russian attacks.  

They said they had written to the Pope in recent days through the Ukrainian ambassador in Rome and were surprised when they received an invitation for the Pope's weekly general audience.  

“We told the Pope about our husbands, about the injured soldiers, the dead that cannot be buried. We asked him for help, to be a third party in this war, and help us to guarantee a humanitarian corridor,” Fedosiuk said.   

She said that they also told the Pope about the desperate and unhealthy conditions inside the plant.    

Fedosiuk added that the Pope seemed very well-informed of the situation in Ukraine, and he said that he will pray for them.  

9:22 a.m. ET, May 11, 2022

Nearly 5 million Ukrainians have lost their jobs since Russian invasion began, UN agency report says

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam 

An estimated 4.8 million people in Ukraine have lost their jobs since the Russian invasion began in February, according to a new brief by the International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN agency.

"If hostilities were to escalate, employment losses would increase to seven million," the report estimated, emphasizing that "if the fighting were to cease immediately, then a rapid recovery would be possible, with the return of 3.4 million jobs. This would reduce employment losses to 8.9 percent."

The ILO report also pointed out that the Ukrainian government has made considerable efforts to keep the national social protection system operational by guaranteeing the payment of benefits, including to internally displaced persons, through the utilization of digital technologies.

Out of 4.8 million people who lost their jobs, a total of 1.2 million of them are refugees who fled to neighboring countries and 3.6 million of them are unemployed living in Ukraine, according to the ILO report. 

More than 5.23 million refugees who are mainly women, children, and people over the age of 60 have fled to neighboring countries since Feb. 24, the report said Wednesday.

The crisis in Ukraine may also create labor disruption in neighboring countries, mainly Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, the report added.

"If the hostilities continue, Ukrainian refugees would be forced to remain in exile longer, putting further pressure on the labor market and social protection systems in these neighboring states and increasing unemployment in many of them," it said.

12:08 p.m. ET, May 11, 2022

Ukraine suspends the flow of some Russian gas exports headed to Europe

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh and Nathan Hodge

The factory chimneys of the Ukrainian Gas Transmission System Operator (GTSOU) in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 11.
The factory chimneys of the Ukrainian Gas Transmission System Operator (GTSOU) in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 11. (Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ukraine will suspend some of the Russian gas exports to Europe that flow in pipelines through the country due to interruptions at key transit points, the country's gas transmission system operator (GSTOU) said in a statement Tuesday. 

Amid Russia's invasion, Ukraine has continued its operations transporting Russian gas through the country. 

But GSTOU said it's currently "impossible to fulfill obligations" to European partners due to "the interference of the occupying forces." It said Russia's interference, including the unauthorized gas offtakes, had "endangered the stability and safety" of the Ukrainian gas transportation system.

As a result, it had decided to suspend operations from 7 a.m. local time on Wednesday at the entry point gas measuring station Sokhranivka and border compressor station Novopskov through which almost a third of gas from Russia to Europe — up to 32.6 million cubic meters per day — is transited.

Ukraine said it could possibly transfer temporarily unavailable capacity from Sokhranivka to the Sudzha point located in the territory controlled by Ukraine. 

However, Russia's state energy company Gazprom said it was "technologically impossible" to switch gas transfers to Ukraine to a new entry point, the agency said in a statement.

The Kremlin's response: The Russian government responded Wednesday to Ukraine’s suspension of some Russian gas exports to Europe, saying Russia always fulfilled and plans to fulfill its contractual obligations on gas supplies. 

“Russia has always reliably fulfilled and intends to fulfill its contractual obligations,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. 

Peskov reiterated Russia's state gas company Gazprom’s official line claiming there were no “force majeure” events that could affect its gas supplies.

Force majeure is "a provision in a contract that frees both parties from obligation if an extraordinary event directly prevents one or both parties from performing," according to Cornell Law.

“The Ukrainian side reported certain conditions of force majeure. We’ve heard statements from Gazprom that there were no explanations for force majeure,” he added.

 

CNN’s Anna Chernova contributed reporting to this post.

8:45 a.m. ET, May 11, 2022

Here's what's in the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill that passed in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday

From CNN's Clare Foran, Annie Grayer and Ellie Kaufman

The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted 368-57 on Tuesday evening to pass a roughly $40 billion bill to deliver aid to Ukraine as it continues to face Russia's brutal assault. All 57 votes in opposition were from Republicans.

The measure will next need to be passed by the Senate before it can go to US President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

The legislation the House approved provides funding for a long list of priorities, including military and humanitarian assistance. Here's a breakdown:

  • An increase in presidential drawdown authority funding from the originally requested $5 billion to $11 billion: It allows the administration to send military equipment and weapons from US stocks, and has been critical in providing Ukrainians with military equipment quickly over the past 75 days of the conflict.
  • $6 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding: It allows the US to buy weapons from contractors and then provide those weapons to Ukraine, so this method does not draw directly from US stocks. It's another way the US has been providing Ukraine with military assistance.
  • Roughly $9 billion to help restock US equipment that has been sent to Ukraine: Many lawmakers have raised concerns about replacing US stocks of weapons the US is giving to Ukraine, especially stingers and javelin missiles.
  • Refugee assistance with $900 million: This includes housing, trauma support, and English language instruction for Ukrainians fleeing the country. An additional $54 million that will be used for public health and medical support for Ukrainian refugees.

CNN's Kristin Wilson, Donald Judd and Ali Zaslav contributed reporting to this post.

Read more about the bill here.

8:37 a.m. ET, May 11, 2022

If Finland applies to join NATO, it will be "for the security" of its citizens, prime minister says

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London and Nic Robertson and Lauren Kent in Helsinki

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin, left, speaks next to Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a joint press annoucement at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on May 11.
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin, left, speaks next to Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a joint press annoucement at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on May 11. (Franck Robichon/AFP/Getty Images)

If Finland applies to join NATO it will be "for the security" of its citizens, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Wednesday.

Speaking during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Marin said she had talked to her Japanese counterpart about Finland's "plans to possibly apply for NATO membership."

"If Finland makes this historical step, it is for the security of our own citizens. Joining NATO would strengthen the whole international community that stands for our common values," Marin said.

On Tuesday, Finland's Parliamentary Defense Committee told the Finnish Foreign Affairs Committee that it is in favor of applying for NATO membership, according to Finnish state media YLE.

The defense committee stated its belief that NATO membership would be the best solution for Finnish security.

Finnish Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen for European Affairs told CNN Tuesday that it is "highly likely" that the country will apply for NATO membership.

She hopes that if Finland does apply to join the alliance “the ratification process would be as brief as possible.”

Russia's response: Russia is closely monitoring NATO configuration close to its borders, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday, commenting on the prospect of Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.

“We are watching everything that is connected with actions that are capable of changing the configuration of the Alliance near our borders in one way or another,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call. 

“This is the subject of a very, very thorough analysis,” he added.

Read more about how Finland joining NATO could impact Russia:

CNN's Anna Chernova contributed reporting to this post.

9:14 a.m. ET, May 11, 2022

Ukraine's desire to negotiate declines "with each new Bucha, with each new Mariupol," Zelensky says

From CNN’s Xiaofei Xu and Camille Knight in Paris

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to students of the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Paris, France, on May 11.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to students of the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Paris, France, on May 11. (Thibault Camus/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Kyiv’s patience is running out for negotiations with Russia, given mounting evidence of atrocities committed by the Russian army, in a virtual address to French university students on Wednesday.

“We are ready to conduct these negotiations, these talks, as long as it is not too late,” Zelensky said.

“With each new Bucha, with each new Mariupol, with each new city where there are dozens of dead people, cases of rape, with each new atrocity, the desire and the possibility to negotiate disappears, as well as the possibility of resolving this issue in a diplomatic manner,” he added.

Zelensky also expressed his determination that Kyiv will win the war and take back all territories that belong to Ukraine. 

He reiterated the need for Ukraine to join the European Union, calling for meaningful steps to include Ukraine into the union.

“Ukraine will only strengthen other states, our army has demonstrated its capabilities. Our people have proven themselves,” Zelensky said.