May 13, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Helen Regan, George Ramsay, Lianne Kolirin, Hannah Strange and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 0417 GMT (1217 HKT) May 14, 2022
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3:23 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

US Congress must pass Ukraine aid supplemental by May 19 to ensure no interruptions, Pentagon says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby speaks during a news briefing in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby speaks during a news briefing in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

If Congress does not pass the $40 billion Ukraine aid supplemental by May 19, "it'll start impacting" the United States' ability to provide Ukraine military aid "uninterrupted," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a briefing at the Pentagon on Friday.

"May 19 is the day we really, without additional authorities, we begin to not have the ability to send new stuff in," Kirby said. "By the 19th of May, it’ll start impacting our ability to provide aid uninterrupted."

The House of Representatives passed the $40 billion supplemental this week, but the Senate failed to pass the bill after Sen. Rand Paul blocked its passage. Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, wanted more oversight of how the funds will be spent before agreeing to let the bill go to the Senate floor for a vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has started procedural steps to override Paul's objection, but the bill likely won't pass until next week at the earliest.

There is still "about $100 million dollars left in current" presidential drawdown authority funding, Kirby said. That funding has not been "allocated or announced" yet, he added.

"We would like to get approval for additional authorities before the third week of this month so that we could continue uninterrupted the flow of aid and assistance into Ukraine, so obviously we continue to urge the Senate to act as quickly as possible so we don’t get to the end of May and not have any additional authorities to draw back, to draw upon," Kirby said.

4:09 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Russian General implicated in crimes against civilians in Ukraine and Syria met with UK counterpart in 2017

From CNN's Tamara Qiblawi , Nima Elbagir and Niamh Kennedy 

A Russian General, identified in a CNN investigation as responsible for targeting civilians in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and his role as the architect of the siege of Aleppo, was involved in high-level defense talks with his UK counterpart in 2017 after receiving Russia's highest military honor for his role in its war in Syria.

Col-General Alexander Zhuravlyov, in his capacity as then Deputy Chief of General Staff, met with the UK's then Vice Chief of Defence Staff General Messenger for high-level talks, during a trip to Moscow in 2017 in what was characterized by the UK's Ministry of Defence as "military to military dialogue." Zhuravlyov discussed with Messenger "a restart of military interaction," Russian state news agency TASS reported on February 28, 2017, quoting Russia's Ministry of Defense.

CNN's investigation found that Zhuravlyov's leadership in 2016 catalyzed the assault on eastern Aleppo. After he took the reins, the Russian military rapidly ramped up its attacks on the rebel-held territory and completed the siege of the densely populated city, exacting a large death toll and setting the wheels in motion for a tactic that has defined Russia's intervention in Syria: besiege, starve, bombard and grind into submission.

His period of command also saw a dramatic increase in documented cluster munition attacks in Aleppo.

European intelligence agency analysts who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity said the pattern of Zhuravlyov's behavior in Syria and Ukraine is the same, subjugating cities through terror. "Zhuravlyov was brought in with the purpose of bringing about a swift capitulation of Aleppo. He did that using much of the same methodology we see in Ukraine. Ordering the indiscriminate use of cluster munitions against dense civilian infrastructure and populations," the analyst said.

Syrian human rights activists have long called for Russia's General to be held accountable, and a leading UK human rights lawyer at the law firm Payne Hicks Beach, Matthew Ingham, told CNN: "Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlyov should have been sanctioned for his actions in Syria" adding, "It is a shame that there was not a stronger response to alleged war crimes at that stage, because that may have affected Putin's Ukrainian strategic calculations from the outset. 

Neither the US nor the UK have taken public action against Zhuravlyov or other key Russian generals implicated in war crimes. The US State Department wouldn't comment on the specific findings of CNN's investigation but said they continued to track and assess war crimes and reports of ongoing violence and abuses. 

In a statement to CNN, the UK Ministry of Defense said a previous statement issued in 2017 "made it clear" that they supported military to military dialogue to minimize risk and miscalculation

"We stand by that principle, which is why we gave Russia every opportunity to engage in dialogue this year over Ukraine before they launched their reprehensible and unprovoked invasion," an MOD spokesperson said. 

CNN's Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report

2:18 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

What Russian troops left behind on the outskirts of Kharkiv show brutality of war

From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Natalie Gallón, Brice Laine and Denis Lapin

Convoys of vehicles were trying to leave Staryi Saltiv when they were shot up by Russian troops, according to Ukrainian officials.
Convoys of vehicles were trying to leave Staryi Saltiv when they were shot up by Russian troops, according to Ukrainian officials. (Natalie Gallon/CNN)

Two convoys of civilian cars in one northeastern Ukrainian village speak of Russia's retreat from the area and the brutality it left behind.

The first — three cars, laden with a priest, dogs and troubled frowns — is headed hurriedly through the village of Staryi Saltiv from the north, fleeing the violence as Ukraine pushes Russian forces out of Rubizhne.

"We don't even know what's happening," one driver said. "We didn't stick around to find out."

Ukrainian officials said this week that they continue to push toward the Russian border, liberating tiny villages on the outskirts of Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city before the invasion began. The Ukrainian advances threaten the symbolic embarrassment of expelling the Kremlin's forces back to their own border while posing the strategic threat of cutting Russia's supply lines into Ukraine and its forces further south in the Donbas region. The advances have been swift over the past weeks.

The second convoy speaks of what Ukraine has found in Russia's wake — five vehicles riddled with bullets, two torched to cinders.

On May 4, Ukrainian officials have said, this convoy was trying to leave the town when it was shot up by Russian troops. The bullet holes concentrate on some of the drivers' doors. Children's clothes and toys litter the area around the vehicles. Ukrainian officials said that four civilians, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed when Russian troops opened fire on this convoy.

CNN's escorts from the Kharkiv city territorial defense force say a tank shell hit one of the cars, explaining how its front section is twisted beyond recognition.

Moscow says its forces don't target civilians, a claim contradicted by evidence of apparent atrocities witnessed by CNN here and elsewhere in Ukraine.

Continue reading here:

1:57 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Magnets, T-shirts and chocolate show off Ukrainian pride and defiance in Lviv tourist shops

From CNN's Gustavo Vadés in Lviv

Signs of Ukrainian pride are on display all over downtown Lviv, in everything from the blue and yellow flags hanging on walls to billboards condemning the Russian invasion and celebrating Ukrainian soldiers.

In tourist shops in and around the historic downtown of the western Ukrainian city, the national colors are printed on a bevy of items.

CNN spoke to Oksana Gordiychiek who works in one of those shops. Before the war, tourists would buy souvenirs featuring the city’s historic architecture or other local symbols, she said. But since March, her shop began selling products that reference the conflict.

“We used to sell our city’s image, now we sell our country’s,” Gordiychiek said.
Shirts at a tourist shop in Lviv.
Shirts at a tourist shop in Lviv. (Gustavo Vadés/CNN)

Some T-shirts tout Ukrainian greatness, while others call for peace. Stickers feature a cartoon couple filling Molotov cocktails together or killing a Russian soldier.

Chocolate with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's image, a T-shirt featuring the Snake Island postage stamp and cards with a couple making a Molotov cocktail are available in a Lviv tourist shop.
Chocolate with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's image, a T-shirt featuring the Snake Island postage stamp and cards with a couple making a Molotov cocktail are available in a Lviv tourist shop. (Gustavo Vadés/CNN)

The more popular items include words straight from the battlefield, including the now-famous line “Russian warship, go f*** yourself,” said by a Ukrainian soldier at Snake Island. The defiant statement is printed on coffee mugs and hats in both English and Ukrainian. The print of the postage stamp celebrating those words, which features a soldier giving the middle finger to a Russian warship, is one of the best-selling T-shirts, according to Gordiychiek.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky is also showcased on chocolate wrappers, pillows and stickers.

Magnets for sale in a Lviv tourist shop display Ukrainian pride.
Magnets for sale in a Lviv tourist shop display Ukrainian pride. (Gustavo Vadés/CNN)

While Gordiychiek is grateful these items are good for business, she said it's "also sad" as it serves as a reminder of the reality of war in the country.

Gordiychiek said her shop used to sell to tourists who came every year to admire the city. Now, they sell to volunteers coming to help with the war efforts, journalists or locals sending souvenirs to friends and relatives abroad.

Gordiychiek said that they are also benefiting from patriotism and nostalgia among Ukrainians living abroad who want traditional clothing, shirts and and blouses embroidered with colorful colors.

“Ukrainians who live in other countries are asking for these shirts," she said.

These types of purchases have helped keep businesses like these afloat. Numbers from the Center for Tourism Development of Lviv show the city welcomed 1.5 million visitors in 2021 — up from 2020 at the height of the pandemic — but still short of the 2.2 million who visited in 2018.

4:04 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Russia will cut electricity to Finland starting on Saturday, Finnish transmission system operator says

From CNN’s Chris Liakos in Helsinki

Russia will suspend power exports to Finland starting Saturday due to problems in receiving payments, Finland’s transmission system operator Fingrid said in a statement on Friday.

“RAO Nordic Oy, a subsidiary of the Russian entity Inter RAO, which trades electricity over the 400 kV interconnectors, will suspend imports of electricity to Finland at 1 am on Saturday 14 May 2022,” according to Fingrid.

The subsidiary said that it has not received payments for the volumes sold since May 6 and that this is the first time it has happened in over 20 years of its trading history.

“Unfortunately, in the current situation of lack of cash income, RAO Nordic is not able to make payments for the imported electricity from Russia. Therefore we are forced to suspend the electricity import starting from 14th of May,” RAO Nordic Oy said.

According to Fingrid, the adequacy of electricity in Finland is not under threat, with Russian imports in recent years covering 10% of Finland’s total consumption.

“The lack of electricity import from Russia will be compensated by importing more electricity from Sweden and by generating more electricity in Finland,” said Reima Päivinen, senior vice president of power system operations at Fingrid.  

Some context: The Finnish government is planning to issue a second white paper on Sunday proposing that the country joins NATO, Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters on Thursday. The proposal would then be put into a parliamentary vote with a plenary scheduled for Monday morning.

Russia's foreign ministry said Finland's possible accession to NATO marked a "radical change in the country's foreign policy" and warned of countermeasures.

"Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security that arise in this regard," it said.

In late April, Gazprom said it fully halted supplies to Polish gas company PGNiG and Bulgaria's Bulgargaz after they refused to meet a demand by Moscow to pay in rubles rather than euros or dollars.

CNN's Luke McGee contributed reporting to this post. 

2:54 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Hungary must "play its part" and decide if it wants to join EU in Russia sanctions, senior EU diplomat says

From CNN's James Frater and Zahid Mahmood in London

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó gives a press conference after meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, Turkey, on April 19.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó gives a press conference after meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, Turkey, on April 19. (Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images)

Hungary still has to “play its part” and decide whether it wants to display unity with the European Union in sanctioning Russia as the bloc works on its sixth round of proposals, a senior EU diplomat said on Friday.

Speaking during a news briefing in Brussels to journalists, the diplomat said the proposed sixth round of sanctions would include an oil embargo with the purpose of “having a lasting impact on Russia’s capacity to earn money and to inflict the heavy costs.” 

The diplomat said the proposal still needed to be fine-tuned, as most European countries “need to phase out from oil, and obviously there are realistic economic considerations that should be taken into account and the availability of alternatives are obviously different from member state to member state.”

“So, we need to solve ... these concerns one way or the other,” the diplomat added.

The diplomat said they understood that there is an “existential oil dependency on Russia as far as Hungary is concerned.”

“The commission is coming up with proposals, and at a certain point, you have to bite the bullet, you know, and see where you want to be in this, and we hope Hungary will be more forthcoming,” the diplomat said.

Hungary has been offered “reasonable proposals,” the diplomat said, adding that the country will have to decide where it stands “so that we can continue to have this important EU unity and send out the same signals to Russia that it should stop the war effort,” the diplomat said. 

“Negotiations are ongoing every day, including the weekends. So I don’t know where this will end,” the diplomat said. 

On Wednesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said Hungary will only vote for EU sanctions on Russian oil if the bloc comes up with solutions to issues it would start.

“We have made it clear to the European Commission that we can only vote for this proposal if Brussels offers a solution for the problems Brussels would create,” Szijjártó said in a video posted on Facebook Wednesday.

“We are expecting a solution not only relating to the transformation of our refineries that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, not only relating to the capacity increase of the oil pipeline [that runs] across Croatia to Hungary that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars but also with regard to the future of the Hungarian economy, as, like I said before, this current proposal is like ‘an atomic bomb’ for the Hungarian economy,” Szijjártó continued.


CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Boglarka Kosztolanyi in London and Mayumi Maruyama in Tokyo contributed previous reporting to this post.

1:38 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Ukrainian prosecutor general is investigating more than 11,000 alleged war crimes by Russia

From Saskya Vandoorne and Daria Markina in Kyiv

The office of Ukraine's prosecutor general told CNN that a total of 11,239 alleged war crimes by Russian soldiers are being investigated, involving some 8,000 prosecutors nationwide.

The prosecutor general's office said the vast majority of crimes involve breaking the laws and customs of war.

On May 5, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova claimed that the Russian army had committed more than 9,800 war crimes in 70 days of war while testifying to the Helsinki Commission.

Today, a 21-year-old Russian soldier appeared in court for the first war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine back in February. He is accused of killing an unarmed 62-year-old man in Ukraine’s Sumy region, according to the prosecutor general's office.

1:31 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Turkish president is not looking "positively" at Finland and Sweden potentially joining NATO

From CNN's Talia Kayali in Atlanta, Isil Sariyuce in Istanbul and Samantha Tapfumaneyi in London 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on May 11.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on May 11. (Mustafa Kamaci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he is not looking at Finland and Sweden joining NATO "positively," accusing both counties of housing Kurdish "terrorist organizations."

"We are following the developments but do not view it positively," Erdoğan said in a presser following Friday prayers in Istanbul.

"Unfortunately, Scandinavian countries are like guesthouses of terror organizations," Erdoğan alleged. "PKK and DHKP-C have taken shelter in Sweden and Netherlands. They have even taken place in their parliaments. At this stage, it is not possible for us to see this positively." 

The PKK, or Kurdistan Worker's Party, which seeks an independent state in Turkey, has been in an armed struggle with Turkey for decades and has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU.

DHKP-C is an extreme left organization hostile to the Turkish state, the United States and NATO. 

Sweden's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde responded, saying that "the Turkish government has not delivered this kind of message directly to us."

"My Turkish foreign minister colleague, with whom I have a very good and constructive relationship, is coming to this weekend's informal NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Berlin, where both Sweden and Finland have been invited," Linde said.

"We will then have the opportunity to talk to each other about a possible Swedish NATO application, and I hope that we will continue to receive positive messages from all 30 NATO countries. Many of the 30 allies have publicly expressed very strong support for Sweden and Finland," she added.

NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Germany on Saturday, and Finnish, Swedish, and Turkish ministers of foreign affairs will have the opportunity to discuss Turkey's reaction. 

CNN has reached out to the Netherlands for comment, and it has yet to respond.

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday, according to Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu. 

2:22 p.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Ukrainian military says Russian retreat in Kharkiv continues

From CNN's Tim Lister

A Ukrainian soldier sits inside a tank at a position near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Monday, May 9.
A Ukrainian soldier sits inside a tank at a position near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Monday, May 9. (Felipe Dana/AP)

In a brief update late Friday, the Ukrainian armed forces said that Russian forces are focused on ensuring the withdrawal of troops from the Kharkiv region.

Those troops have come under growing pressure from Ukrainian counter-attacks along a wide front to the west of their supply lines.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said there had been more artillery shelling of Ukrainian held territory as the Russians tried to make progress towards Sloviansk, a key objective. The village of Nova Dmytrivka had come under fire, it said, as it has done since late April. 

It also said that there had been airstrikes around Dolyna, which is 20 kilometers (more than 12 miles) north of Sloviansk and nearby Adamivka. Airstrikes in the area earlier this week damaged two religious' sites, according to Ukrainian authorities.

In the Luhansk region, a Russian attack on the town of Zolote had been repulsed, the General Staff said, adding that more cross-border shelling was reported far from the current area of hostilities in the northeastern region of Sumy as well as an airstrike against a village in the region.