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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6:07 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

China complains of UN "double standards" over Ukraine war

From CNN’s Beijing Bureau

Overview of the Human Rights Council special session on the human rights situation in Ukraine, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 12.
Overview of the Human Rights Council special session on the human rights situation in Ukraine, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 12. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

China’s Foreign Ministry has criticized the UN Human Rights Council after it adopted a resolution on Russian abuses in Ukraine, saying the body portrays “double standards.”

Speaking at a regular press briefing on Friday, spokesman Zhao Lijan accused the council of tolerating aggression by some nations while condemning others.

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution on Thursday for an investigation into alleged human rights abuses by Russian troops in Ukraine. All members except China and Eritrea voted in favor of the resolution.

“Politicized double standards and selective practices are on the rise in the Human Rights Council. The reason why China voted against Ukraine is based on China's principled position on the Ukrainian issue,” Zhao said.

“The Human Rights Council held special meetings frequently in some countries, but it has not been able to take actions against some other countries," added Zhao, who questioned the UN’s record on unrelated issues including disinformation, racism, gun violence and migrant abuse.

11:11 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

First Ukraine war crimes trial for Russian soldier opens in Kyiv

From CNN's Saskya Vandoorne, Melissa Bell, Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova

Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, 21, suspected of violations of the laws and norms of war, sits inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 13.
Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, 21, suspected of violations of the laws and norms of war, sits inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 13. (Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters)

A 21-year-old soldier is to become the first Russian to be tried for war crimes at a trial in Kyiv on Friday.

Vadim Shishimarin will appear before the first war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine back in February. He is accused of killing a 62-year-old man in Ukraine’s Sumy region, according to the country's prosecutor general's office.

The investigation alleges that Shishimarin fatally shot an unarmed civilian who was riding a bicycle along the roadside in the village of Chupakhivka on February 28. According to the prosecutor, Russian troops drove into the village in a stolen car with punctured wheels, after their convoy came under attack by Ukrainian forces.

When they saw a man cycling home while on the phone, one of the group ordered the sergeant to kill him so he would not report them to the Ukrainian army. Shishimarin allegedly fired a Kalashnikov several times through an open window at the civilian’s head, prosecutors say.

“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,” Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said in a statement on Facebook.

If found guilty, Shishimarin faces from ten years to life in prison.

When asked to comment on the trial, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday he has "no information" about the case. 

"I have no information about this court session or about this case. I don't know if this is true. I have no information at all on this," Peskov said during a daily call with journalists. 

See the defendant's appearance in court:

5:55 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Russia continues excavating site of heavily bombed drama theater in Mariupol, new satellite images show

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

Satellite image showing cranes and vehicles at Mariupol Theater, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12.
Satellite image showing cranes and vehicles at Mariupol Theater, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (Maxar Technologies)

An extensive excavation of the bombed Mariupol drama theater remains ongoing, new satellite images from Maxar Technologies show.

The area is now under Russian control, and the clearance of debris from the fighting is underway in several parts of the city. The site was bombed on March 16 and Ukrainian officials believe at least 300 people who were taking shelter in the building were killed.

On April 29, a satellite image showed a crane at the side of the building. The sidewalks on the northern and southern side of the drama theater, which had been covered in debris from the bombing, were by then cleared.

This satellite image shows Mariupol Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 29.
This satellite image shows Mariupol Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 29. (Maxar Technologies)

In a May 2 satellite image, the crane was behind the drama theater. Trucks were parked at the front, but it's unclear from the image what their purpose was.

Then in a satellite image taken on May 6, even more activity is seen at the theater. The crane is seen sitting next to the large hole in the theater's roof, the likely epicenter of the explosion that tore the building apart.

More trucks are seen outside and around the building. Some trucks are parked on top of the large sign that said children in Cyrillic, written before the bombing to deter Russian attacks.

Donetsk People Republic Emergency Situations Ministry employees clear rubble at the side of the damaged Mariupol Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12.
Donetsk People Republic Emergency Situations Ministry employees clear rubble at the side of the damaged Mariupol Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (AP)

CNN has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment about the excavations.

When it was bombed, the drama theater was being used as a shelter by women, children, and the elderly.

The Ukrainian government has accused the Russians of conducting an airstrike on the theater. Russia has repeatedly denied that it hit the theater and has claimed without offering evidence that the Azov Regiment -- one of the Ukrainian army’s units in Mariupol -- blew it up.

4:52 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

EU to provide $521 million in military support to Ukraine 

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

Josep Borrell makes a statement at the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Weissenhaus, Germany, on May 13.
Josep Borrell makes a statement at the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Weissenhaus, Germany, on May 13. (Chris Emil Janssen/IMAGO/Reuters)

The European Union will provide $521 million (€500 million) in military support to Ukraine, according to the bloc's chief diplomat Josep Borrell. 

''We will provide a new tranche of 500 more millions in military support to Ukraine," the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy told reporters on his way into a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Weissenhaus in Germany on Friday. 

The G7 will also ''put more pressure on Russia'' in terms of economic sanctions, according to Borrell. The diplomat said he was ''optimistic" that a deal can be reached on an EU embargo on Russian oil imports, stressing the need to "get rid of the oil dependency on Russia.''

The group of the world's richest nations are also set to discuss wartime disinformation and rising energy and food prices, Borrell said.

He added that when it comes to dealing with Russia, the G7 will ''present a united front'' and "come out with a strong message.''

4:51 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

More weapons needed for Ukraine to keep pressure on Putin: UK foreign minister

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

Josep Borrell, left, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, meets Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on May 13, in Weissenhaus, Germany.
Josep Borrell, left, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, meets Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on May 13, in Weissenhaus, Germany. (Thomas Imo/Photothek/Getty Images)

More weapons need to be sent to Ukraine to help "keep up the pressure" on Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday.

''It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine, by increasing the sanctions," Truss said, speaking on her way into a meeting of The Group of Seven (G7) Foreign Ministers in Weissenhaus, Germany.

The foreign minister said ''G7 unity has been vital during this crisis to protect freedom and democracy," referring to relations between, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

Truss is set to meet the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell as part of Friday's G7 events. 

3:20 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Russia using "strategic aviation" and reinforcing units in the south: Ukrainian military

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

The heavily damaged Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12.
The heavily damaged Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukraine's General Staff said Russian forces are continuing to "launch artillery and air strikes on Mariupol" while blocking Ukrainian units near the Azovstal plant.

Azovstal has been under constant shelling from Russian forces for about two months and while a Ukrainian officer inside the facility said that all trapped civilians have likely been evacuated, Ukrainian fighters continue to hold out.

"In order to establish full control over the city and suppress the resistance of Ukrainian defenders, it uses strategic aviation. Given the evacuation of the local residents, increase of the firing should be expected in the near future," the General Staff said. 

Zaporizhzhia: In the south, the regional administration in Zaporizhzhia said there are signs the Russians are trying to reinforce their units by bringing in more equipment and troops. It said a new Russian contingent had arrived in Mykhailivka, just south of current frontlines. 

Enerhodar: In the nearby city of Enerhodar, occupied by Russian forces since early March, the regional administration reported on Friday that, "The city is almost out of medicine, and humanitarian aid is not always available." Enerhodar residents, it said, are "already afraid to go to protests and organize rallies" because of constant patrols and intimidation by Russian soldiers.

In his daily address on Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russian offensive was hiding behind missile, air and artillery strikes. 

"Russia's strategic defeat is already obvious to everyone in the world and even to those who still continue to communicate with them. Russia simply lacks courage to admit it so far. They are cowards," Zelensky said.
"Therefore, our task is to fight until we achieve our goals in this war. "

9:50 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Ukrainian forces press on with counteroffensive in Kharkiv

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

Damaged houses are seen after shelling in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on May 12.
Damaged houses are seen after shelling in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on May 12. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A Ukrainian counterattack in the north continues to disrupt Russian supply lines.

Russian forces "did not conduct offensive operations in the Kharkiv direction. The main efforts were focused on preventing the advance of our troops in the area of ​​the settlement of Vesele," the Ukrainian General Staff said on Friday.

The Ukrainians have taken a number of villages in this area east of Kharkiv. 

CNN reported early on Friday that at least three bridges in the area had been demolished, according to satellite imagery. It seems likely that Russian units destroyed the bridges in an effort to protect their supply lines from further Ukrainian advances.

Elsewhere in Kharkiv region, the Russians appear to be using artillery sporadically but with deadly effect.

On Thursday, shelling of the town of Derhachi killed two people, according to the local administration, and destroyed the humanitarian center and medical facilities.

Derhachi is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Kharkiv, which is Ukraine's second-largest city.

2:55 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Ukrainian forces lose foothold in eastern town

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

Smoke rises across the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on May 12.
Smoke rises across the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on May 12. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

After weeks of resistance, Ukrainian troops have pulled back from the city of Rubizhne in Luhansk region, according to multiple reports from the area.

Video from the city shows intense fighting in its industrial outskirts on Thursday.

A bridge linking Rubizhne with neighboring Severodonetsk has been destroyed, suggesting the Ukrainians are taking up new defensive lines.

There has been no official confirmation from the Ukrainian General Staff that Ukrainian troops have left the outskirts of Rubizhne. 

The General Staff reported on Friday only that "the enemy continues to focus its efforts on establishing full control over the settlement of Rubizhne," a description repeated by the regional military administration.

Ukrainian officials reported earlier on Thursday that a nearby town had fallen to advancing Russian forces. And in its latest analysis, the Institute for the Study of War said that "Russian forces likely control almost all of Rubizhne as of May 12, and have likely seized the town of Voevodivka, north of Severdonetsk."

Ukrainian troops continue to defend Severodonetsk, which has been pummelled by Russian shelling and air attacks for weeks. Some 15,000 civilians are still thought to be in Severodonetsk, out of a pre-war population of 100,000. The city is more than 70% destroyed according to the local government.

"Evacuation is suspended because it is impossible to drive on a road that is constantly being shelled. As soon as the situation stabilizes, the evacuation will resume," said the head of the Severodonetsk Military-Civil Administration Oleksandr Stryuk on Thursday.
2:30 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Satellite images show extensive destruction at Azovstal steel plant

This satellite image shows the Azovstal steel plant seen from above in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12.
This satellite image shows the Azovstal steel plant seen from above in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (Maxar Technologies)

Satellite images of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol show the extent of the destruction the Russian bombardment has had on the complex.

The images from Maxar Technologies, taken on May 12, show the heavily damaged plant from above.

Azovstal has been under constant shelling from Russian forces for about two months.

A closer lo Azovstal steel plant seen from above in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12.
A closer lo Azovstal steel plant seen from above in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (Maxar Technologies)

Prior to evacuation efforts, hundreds of civilians had been sheltering in the complex along with the last remaining Ukrainian defenders of the city.

A Ukrainian officer inside the facility said on Thursday that all the trapped civilians have likely been evacuated, though he added it was difficult to make a full assessment of the situation across the plant given the constant shelling.

This satellite image shows from April 9 shows the Azovstal steel plant before the Russian bombardment began.
This satellite image shows from April 9 shows the Azovstal steel plant before the Russian bombardment began. (Maxar Technologies)

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Thursday that "very difficult negotiations" are ongoing on the evacuation of seriously wounded fighters from the plant in exchange for Russian prisoners of war.

There are thought to be several hundred soldiers still at Mariupol’s last Ukrainian stronghold.

Their families have sent an emotional appeal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging him to "be a hero" and initiate an extraction procedure for all remaining fighters at the plant.