May 12, 2022: Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Jessie Yeung, Travis Caldwell, Adrienne Vogt, Seán Federico O'Murchú, George Ramsay, Jack Guy and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 3:21 p.m. ET, May 16, 2022
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12:05 a.m. ET, May 12, 2022

Kyiv mayor says he can't guarantee safety of returning residents

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko speaks with CNN on Wednesday May 11.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko speaks with CNN on Wednesday May 11. (CNN)

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko tells CNN's Erin Burnett he worries about the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin using a tactical nuclear weapon on Kyiv.

"Safety is the main priority right now ...Yes of course we worry, and we hope our warriors defend us, but the risk is still there and without our partners, without United States and European countries we can't survive," Klitschko said.

He also said there is "no doubt" the capital of Ukraine is still Russia's "main target."

The mayor warns residents coming back to Kyiv to be cautious saying, "... as mayor of Kyiv I tell to anyone, sorry, it's your personal risk, but we can't give you guarantee ... So long as there's war in Ukraine we can't give the guarantee for any Ukrainian."

He said Russian attacks could happen "any second."

Klitschko added that war "changed life for everyone" and he says he is keeping his fingers crossed to "stop this senseless war as soon as possible."

3:21 p.m. ET, May 16, 2022

Ukrainians eliminate at least 2 pontoon bridges near Bilohorivka, satellite and drone images show

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Tim Lister, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Katie Polglase


The Ukrainians have — twice in the last 24 hours — stopped Russian efforts to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in the Luhansk region, blowing up two pontoon bridges near Bilohorivka.

A satellite image collected by geospatial intelligence firm BlackSky shows a Russian pontoon bridge crossing the river on May 10 shortly after a Ukrainian artillery barrage hit the surrounding area.

Smoke is seen rising from the western shore of the Siverskyi Donets River at one end of the bridge. On the eastern bank, craters and smoke are also seen on the eastern shore, including around Russian military vehicles that crossed over.

(From Telegram)
(From Telegram)

(From Telegram)
(From Telegram)

Grainy drone video circulating on social media, geolocated and its authenticity verified by CNN, shows the aftermath of the strikes. The military strikes destroyed the bridge, which is seen half-sunk in the river. 

Additional photos circulating on social media, also taken by a drone, show the Russians tried to erect a second pontoon bridge across the river. That bridge, too, was blown up by the Ukrainians in addition to a number of military vehicles.  

(From Telegram)
(From Telegram)

Traversing Ukraine's topography — specifically its rivers — has repeatedly proven a logistical nightmare that's hampered Russian military advances for weeks, across numerous parts of Ukraine. In more remote areas, or in places that bridges have been blown up, they have resorted to utilizing pontoon bridges.

These bridges have repeatedly been targeted and blown up by Ukrainian forces. 

CNN has previously reported the bridge first appeared on May 8.

Serhiy Hayday, the Luhansk regional military administrator, said on Wednesday that the Russians are continuing to try to construct bridges across the Siverskyi Donets River. He also said that the Ukrainians have repeatedly blown them up.  

11:57 p.m. ET, May 11, 2022

Russian civilian reported killed in shelling of Belgorod

From CNN's Tim Lister and Mariya Knight

For the first time, a civilian in Russia has reportedly died as a result of cross-border shelling from Ukraine, according to Russian authorities.

The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that "one person was killed during shelling of the village of Solokhi."

Solokhi is a village 10 kilometers (about 6.2 miles) from the Ukrainian border. 

"The population of the village of Solokhi will be taken to a safe place under the leadership of the head of the district, Vladimir Pertsev, and the head of the regional Ministry of Emergency Situations, Sergey Potapov," Gladkov said.

Some context: Belgorod region has seen several explosions in recent weeks that appear to have been caused by missiles and bombs. Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied being responsible for the blasts. 

Last week, Gladkov said five houses had been destroyed in another village, Nekhoteevka.

"Today there are just under 30 people left in the settlement," he said. "We have already evacuated most of the people to safety."

11:56 p.m. ET, May 11, 2022

Ukraine offers Russia an exchange of Russian prisoners of war for injured Ukrainians in Azovstal 

From CNN's Hira Humayun

Ukraine has offered Russia to release Russian prisoners of war in exchange for the evacuation of injured Ukrainian soldiers from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk on Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, Vereshchuk said there is no agreement yet and negotiations are underway regarding the proposal.

"As of now, it is impossible to raise the blockade of Azovstal by military means. Azovstal defenders shall not yield themselves prisoners. It is worthy of respect. Russians won't hear of the extraction. This is a reality but coming from the Russians, it is not surprising," she wrote.

She said the government is working out different options to get Ukrainian soldiers out of Azovstal but that none of the options are "ideal."

"We are not looking for an ideal option, but a working one," Vereshchuk said.