May 22, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Nectar Gan, Andrew Raine, Luke McGee, Joe Ruiz, Mike Hayes, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, May 23, 2022
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2:48 p.m. ET, May 22, 2022

Russia fires missiles into Zhytomyr region, says Ukraine's Air Command Center

From CNN's Saskya Vandoorne and Mariya Knight

Ukraine’s Air Command Center said Russian forces fired missiles at infrastructure facilities in the Zhytomyr region on Sunday.

The Zhytomyr region was attacked from “the south-eastern direction” by “naval-based cruise missiles” according to Ukraine’s Air Command Center on Facebook.

The center added, “four Russian cruise missiles were destroyed by the Center's air defense units.”

Three missiles were destroyed by aircraft, and one by an anti-aircraft missile unit of the Ukrainian air force, they added.

The Zhytomyr region sits to the west of Kyiv.

5:00 p.m. ET, May 22, 2022

Venue usually used by Russia to promote itself in Davos has been rebranded as the Russian War Crimes House

From CNN's Chris Liakos in Davos, Switzerland

A security personnel walks next to the entrance of Russia House, now rebranded as the Russian War Crimes House, in Davos, on Sunday.
A security personnel walks next to the entrance of Russia House, now rebranded as the Russian War Crimes House, in Davos, on Sunday. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

The venue typically used by Russia to promote itself at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos has been rebranded as the Russian War Crimes House. 

Russia House was used to host events at WEF by Russians for many years. A Ukrainian businessman, working with WEF, has turned the venue into an exhibition depicting the devastation and destruction of the war in Ukraine. 

Organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and PinchukArtCentre, an international centre for contemporary art based in Kyiv, “the exhibition aims to inform about the main facts, share faces, names and dates and provide at least some of the victims a platform from which to tell their real story,” the foundation said in a press release.

Björn Geldhof, the exhibition's curator, told CNN that the process of collecting and verifying the images took about one-and-a-half weeks, collecting more than 4,600 images showing “overwhelming amount of evidence of war crimes.”

“An exhibition as this, is one of the steps to raise awareness for the absolute necessity of bringing war criminals to justice and this is not exclusively the task of Ukraine, this is a common task, this is a task for all countries in the world to say this cannot be,” Geldhof told CNN.

He added that this project is “about people” who have been attacked and killed. “And we need to honor them, we need to give them a voice and we need to give them a face,” he said.

Russian politicians and businessmen were not invited to this year’s World Economic Forum after Russia invaded Ukraine.

“As Russia is not here, we had the opportunity to speak about Russia but about a different reality of Russia, about the war crimes that Russia is committing in Ukraine,” Geldhof said adding that “it is incredibly important to show what Russia is really doing in Ukraine which is proactively and consciously targeting civilians, killing, raping civilians in a way to try to exterminate Ukraine as a nation.”

The initiative was supported by the City Council and the World Economic Forum.

11:20 a.m. ET, May 22, 2022

EU membership for Ukraine would take “15 or 20 years,” French minister says

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau in London 

France’s European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune speaks during a press conference in Paris on March 30.
France’s European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune speaks during a press conference in Paris on March 30. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union would take at least “15 or 20 years" to complete, France’s European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said on Sunday, while promoting President Emmanuel Macron’s alternative proposal of creating a new “European political community” including Ukraine.

“If we say that Ukraine will join the European Union in 6 months, one year, two years, we are lying. It is not true,” Beaune told Jewish community radio station Radio J. “It is probably maybe 15 or 20 years. No matter what, it’s very long,” he added.

“It takes a very long time and I don't want us to sell illusions and lies. If we tell Ukrainians ‘welcome to the European Union, but you didn’t fully read the contract, the footnote says: hey it will be in 15 years,’ then I think we are setting the ground for the disappointment of a whole generation of Ukrainians,” Beaune said. 

The French minister went on to say that Macron’s recent proposal to create a new European political community outside the EU, including Ukraine, was “not an alternative” to any EU membership for Ukraine and “did not prevent its future EU membership.”

“It is a complementary project to the European Union, which can offer a concrete political project to countries that are not in the heart of the European Union but that want to get closer to the Union,” the minister said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech on Saturday that any alternative to Ukraine's bid to join the European Union would be a “compromise” with Russia, in response to the project proposed by Macron.

Beaune said that “any accession to the European Union, let's be honest, it takes time.” “And while waiting for this membership, we cannot simply say ‘it is this or nothing’,” he added. 

“It is a quick and useful complement to protect Ukraine politically, economically and energetically and to tell Ukraine ‘you are already in a project and a European political family’,” Beaune told the radio.

3:37 p.m. ET, May 22, 2022

Russians introduce new controls on Mariupol movement, mayor’s adviser says

From CNN's Julia Presniakova in Lviv

A convoy of Russian armored vehicles drives along a road near Mariupol, Ukraine on May 20.
A convoy of Russian armored vehicles drives along a road near Mariupol, Ukraine on May 20. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

The Russian forces that control Mariupol have started requiring permits for cars entering and exiting the occupied Ukrainian city, an adviser to the city’s Ukrainian mayor said Sunday.

Petro Andrushchenko, the adviser, also warned that deportations of Ukrainians from the region were increasing.

Under the restrictions introduced Saturday, cars and passengers entering the city need single-use passes issued by a Russian commandant in Manhush or Vynohradne, towns to the west and east of the occupied city, Andrushchenko said.

Passes to leave the city must be obtained from the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk People’s Republic Ministry of Internal Affairs.

There is already a wait of several weeks for a pass, he said, and traveling within the district without entering the city also requires a pass.

“For those who are going to visit Mariupol, remember, for now, it's a one-way trip,” he warned.
A man pushes a stalled car past a damaged tram in Mariupol on May 21.
A man pushes a stalled car past a damaged tram in Mariupol on May 21. (Alexei Alexandrov/AP)

Mariupol, a strategically important port city on the Azov sea, fell under complete Russian control last week with the surrender of the Azovstal steel works, the last stronghold of Ukrainians defending the city.

The Russians are also setting up more checkpoints to control travel in the district, Andrushchenko said.

“Today it is almost impossible to leave the city, even to Berdyansk,” another Russian-controlled city southwest of Mariupol. “As new checkpoints appear, all roads, both official and unofficial, are blocked. Today, it is impossible to bypass the filtration procedure or obtain a pass from the occupying authorities.”

Nearly 50,000 people have been deported from Mariupol by the Russians, he said, adding that Ukrainian authorities are trying to find out where they have been sent.

“The situation is very complicated,” he said. “Most people leave without documents at all…. But there are lucky cases. Not so long ago, 56 Mariupol residents were deported from Penza. And they are already in the Baltic countries.
A resident walks near a damaged building in Mariupol on May 20.
A resident walks near a damaged building in Mariupol on May 20. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

“We hope that we will be able to get at least some of our people back to Ukraine or to free countries," Andrushchenko said.

He said that 313 people, including 55 children, were deported from Mariupol to the Bezimenne filtration camp on Saturday.

Some 175 people, including 17 children, were deported from Bezimenne to Russia on Saturday, he said, and 70 people, including 12 children, were deported from the filtration point in the village of Nikolske to Russia.

He said it was the first time Ukraine had seen direct deportations from Nikolske to Russia.

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

Ukraine's parliament votes to extend martial law for 90 more days

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a parliament session in Kyiv, Ukraine on May 22.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a parliament session in Kyiv, Ukraine on May 22. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout/Reuters)

Ukraine’s parliament voted Sunday to extend martial law in the country for another 90 days, until August 23, the legislature announced on Telegram.

There were 320 votes in favor of the measure, the Verkhovna Rada said. The body has 450 members.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to sign the measure into law.

8:17 a.m. ET, May 22, 2022

"Free world has the face of Ukraine," says Polish president in Kyiv

From CNN’s Antonia Mortensen

Polish President Andrzej Duda addresses lawmakers during a Ukrainian parliament session in Kyiv on May 22.
Polish President Andrzej Duda addresses lawmakers during a Ukrainian parliament session in Kyiv on May 22. (Stringer/Reuters)

Polish President Andrzej Duda told Ukrainian lawmakers Sunday that the "free world today has the face of Ukraine,” according to a Ukrainian member of parliament.

Roman Hryshchuk tweeted a photo of Duda addressing the chamber with lawmakers holding up a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag.

“Dear Ukrainians, your relatives — wives, parents, children — who were forced to leave for Poland, are not refugees in our country. They are our guests,” Hryshchuk tweeted in English, quoting Duda.

Nearly 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees have entered Poland since the Russian invasion in February, making it by far the single largest host nation for people fleeing the country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Duda also told Volodymyr Zelensky that "no one can break our unity” during the address, as he became the first foreign leader since the Russian invasion to address Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, in Kyiv.

Duda’s office tweeted the message. 

7:21 a.m. ET, May 22, 2022

It's 2 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accuses Russia of blocking 22 million tons of food and warns that countries will face crises if ports are not unblocked. "Russia has blocked almost all ports and all, so to speak, maritime opportunities to export food -- our grain, barley, sunflower and more," Zelensky said in a meeting with media on Saturday.

Here are the latest updates in the war in Ukraine:

Russian forces pushed back from strategically important city: Russia attacked Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine from several directions overnight but were repelled to previous positions, President Zelensky's office said on Sunday.

Seven houses in Severodonetsk and at least 27 houses in surrounding towns and villages were damaged, according to the statement from the office.

The attack on Severodonetsk was part of a broader assault along the line of contact between Russian and Ukrainian forces, the Ukrainian military general staff said. 

“The enemy forces are preparing to resume the offensive in the Sloviansk direction,” the Ukrainian general staff said, referring to another key city in the area.

Severodonetsk and Sloviansk are key to controlling Ukraine’s Luhansk region. Parts of Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk have been controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

Lithuania cuts Russian energy imports: Lithuania will have completely cut imports of Russian energy supplies including oil, electricity and natural gas from Sunday.

The country’s Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Friday that the pan-European power exchange Nord Pool had decided to stop trading Russian electricity with its only importer in the Baltic States, Russian utility Inter RAO – meaning the country would no longer be importing any Russian energy. 

"Not only it is an extremely important milestone for Lithuania in its journey towards energy independence, but it is also an expression of our solidarity with Ukraine,” Lithuanian Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said. “We must stop financing Russian war machine.”

Biden to meet Modi: President Joe Biden will meet one-on-one this week with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Japan as the US works to convince India to join western punishment of Russia.

They will meet on the sidelines of the Quad summit, where security in the Indo-Pacific is expected to be a central issue. The Quad is an informal alliance between the US, India, Japan, and Australia.

When Biden and Modi meet separately, their talks will be "constructive and straightforward," national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters as the US President flew from South Korea to Japan.

India is a major purchaser of Russian arms, and has been wary of distancing itself from Moscow amid the war in Ukraine.

Polish President addresses Ukrainian Parliament: Andrzej Duda is in Ukraine today and is the first foreign head of state to address the council since the war began.

5:51 a.m. ET, May 22, 2022

Russian officer reveals why he risked it all to quit Putin's war

Exclusive by CNN's Uliana Pavlova

It took a few weeks of sleeping on crates of grenades for a bed and hiding his face from Ukrainians amid a growing sense of guilt, for the Russian junior officer to come to his conclusion: This wasn't his battle to fight.

"We were dirty and tired. People around us were dying. I didn't want to feel like I was part of it, but I was a part of it," the officer told CNN.

He said he went to find his commander and resigned his commission on the spot. CNN is not naming the officer or including personal details that would help to identify him for his security.

His story is remarkable, but it could also be one of many, according to opponents of the war in Russia as well as in Ukraine who say they have heard of a lot of cases of soldiers -- both professional and conscript -- refusing to fight.

Russian troops have been struggling with low morale and heavy losses in Ukraine, according to the assessments by Western officials including the Pentagon.

The UK's Intelligence, Cyber and Security Agency says some have even refused to carry out orders.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has not responded to a CNN request for comment.

The officer who spoke to CNN says he was part of the massive troop build-up in the west of Russia that triggered global fears for Ukraine.

But he said he did not think much about it, even on February 22 this year when he and the rest of his battalion were asked to hand over their mobile phones while stationed in Krasnodar, southern Russia, without any explanation.

That night they spent hours painting white stripes on their military vehicles. Then they were told to wash those off, he said. "The order has changed, draw the letter Z, as in Zorro," he remembered being told.

Read more here:

5:52 a.m. ET, May 22, 2022

Biden will meet individually with Modi as India resists pressure to isolate Russia

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden arrives in Japan on May 22. He will have a separate one-on-one meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Quad summit.
US President Joe Biden arrives in Japan on May 22. He will have a separate one-on-one meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Quad summit. (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Joe Biden will meet one-on-one this week with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Japan as the US works to convince India to join western punishment of Russia.

They will meet on the sidelines of the Quad summit, where security in the Indo-Pacific is expected to be a central issue. The Quad is an informal alliance between the US, India, Japan, and Australia

When Biden and Modi meet separately, their talks will be "constructive and straightforward," national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters as the US President flew from South Korea to Japan.

Sullivan said it wouldn't be a "new conversation," since Biden and Modi have spoken by phone about the issue, but rather a continuation of that conversation.

"They’ll talk all of that through," added Sullivan.

India is a major purchaser of Russian arms, and has been wary of distancing itself from Moscow amid the war in Ukraine.

At the larger Quad summit -- which will include Australia's freshly elected prime minister Anthony Albanese -- leaders will discuss security issues, including Taiwan, according to Sullivan.

He declined to preview the Quad leaders statement, but said no member wants to see military aggression.