May 24, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Travis Caldwell, Seán Federico-O'Murchú, Jack Guy, Sana Noor Haq, Hafsa Khalil and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, May 25, 2022
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11:59 p.m. ET, May 23, 2022

Top US general: Reintroduction of US forces in Ukraine would be a "presidential decision"

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Planning efforts to bring US troops back into Ukraine in any capacity — like to protect the recently reopened US embassy in Kyiv — are “underway at a relatively low level,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said during a press conference at the Pentagon on Monday after the conclusion of the second Ukraine Contact Group meeting.

Those plans “have not made it to the [Defense] Secretary or myself for that matter for refinement of courses of action and what’s needed,” Milley added. 

“At the end of the day any reintroduction of US forces into Ukraine would require presidential decision,” Milley said. 

“We’re a ways away from anything like that, we’re still developing courses of action and none of that’s been presented yet to the Secretary,” he added.

12:22 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Kharkiv subway will resume operations after months of serving as a shelter, mayor says

From CNN's Julia Presniakova 

People displaced by Russian shelling remain in an underground subway station where they have been sheltering for months on May 19 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. 
People displaced by Russian shelling remain in an underground subway station where they have been sheltering for months on May 19 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.  (John Moore/Getty Images)

Ihor Terekhov, the mayor of the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, said the city's subway system would resume operations Tuesday, after months of serving as a shelter for citizens looking to escape Russian bombardment. 

"Tomorrow, on May 24, we will open the subway," Terekhov said in remarks on television. "All lines will be launched. Subway traffic will be from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. The intervals won't be the same as in peacetime. The subway depot was damaged during the bombing and shelling, so the intervals will be longer."

During the height of the Russian bombardment of Kharkiv — Ukraine's second-largest city — many residents of Kharkiv took refuge in the city's metro system. Terekhov said many of those who remained underground had been relocated in dormitories, in areas further away from shelling. 

"If necessary, people can use the subway as a bomb shelter, especially subway underpasses," Terekhov said. 

The subway in Kharkiv became a shelter in the opening hours of Russia's invasion on Feb. 24. Residents occupied benches, steps, and station floors, as well as subway cars.

12:23 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Veteran Russian diplomat resigns in protest of Moscow's "aggressive war" in Ukraine 

From CNN's Nathan Hodge, Vasco Cotovio, Radina Gigova, Anna Chernova and Jennifer Hansler

The United Nation flag waves in the wind on the top of an UN building in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, June 14, 2021. A veteran Russian diplomat to the UN Office at Geneva says he handed in his resignation before sending out a scathing letter to foreign colleagues inveighing against the “aggressive war unleashed” by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. Boris Bondarev, 41, confirmed his resignation in a letter delivered Monday morning at the Russian diplomatic mission after a diplomatic official passed on his English-language statement to The Associated Press.
The United Nation flag waves in the wind on the top of an UN building in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, June 14, 2021. A veteran Russian diplomat to the UN Office at Geneva says he handed in his resignation before sending out a scathing letter to foreign colleagues inveighing against the “aggressive war unleashed” by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. Boris Bondarev, 41, confirmed his resignation in a letter delivered Monday morning at the Russian diplomatic mission after a diplomatic official passed on his English-language statement to The Associated Press. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

A 20-year veteran of Russia's diplomatic service announced his resignation Monday in protest of his country's war on Ukraine, multiple media outlets reported.  

In a rare public protest by a Russian official, Boris Bondarev, a diplomat posted to Russia's mission to the United Nations in Geneva, posted a statement on a LinkedIn account condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and criticizing the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for complicity in what he described as an an "aggressive war" — language that is proscribed in Russia under wartime censorship laws. 

"For twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen different turns of our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year," Bondarev wrote, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine. "The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia, with a bold letter Z crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country."

The respected Russian business newspaper Kommersant reached out to Bondarev, who confirmed the authenticity of the post. The New York Times confirmed the receipt of a resignation sent by email to diplomats in Geneva.

The Russian mission to the UN in Geneva declined to comment on the matter to CNN, and Bondarev did not respond to messages sent to the LinkedIn account. 

The post on LinkedIn lambasted Russia's leadership for corruption, saying, "Those who conceived this war want only one thing - to remain in power forever, live in pompous tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian Navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity. To achieve that they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes. Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians have already died just for this."

It also singled out the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for harsh criticism. 

"I regret to admit that over all these twenty years the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the Foreign Ministry has been increasing all the time. However, in most recent years, this has become simply catastrophic. Instead of unbiased information, impartial analysis and sober forecasting, there are propaganda clichés in the spirit of Soviet newspapers of the 1930s," the post read.

"Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred. It serves interests of few, the very few people thus contributing to further isolation and degradation of my country. Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy," the post continued.

The LinkedIn profile describes Bondarev as a veteran of Russian diplomatic service, with expertise in arms control and nonproliferation. The picture on the profile now has the hashtag #opentowork. 

The US State Department said Monday that Bondarev's resignation shows that “despite the Kremlin’s propaganda, there are Russians who profoundly disagree with what President Putin is doing in Ukraine and share our concern about the danger he is creating for the entire global community.”

A State Department spokesperson said it was encouraging that “many are willing to stand up to” Putin and noted that “it takes immense bravery to stand up to an oppressor, and it requires courage to speak truth to power, especially given the Russian government’s long and terrible track record of attempting to silence legitimate and peaceful protests and dissent.” 

“Plummeting morale is clearly not limited to Russia’s military forces fighting in Ukraine,” they said. 

“Boris Bondarev’s statement underscores that people around the world, including in Russia and even within the Russian government, are recognizing the brutality of the Kremlin’s assault on the Ukrainian people,” the spokesperson said. “They are doing so despite the Kremlin’s best efforts to manufacture and perpetuate disinformation.”

12:24 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

"We’re navigating a dark hour in our shared history," Biden tells Quad Summit

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Pesident Joe Biden made opening remarks to the Quad Summit on Tuesday in Tokyo, addressing the importance of the alliance amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“We’re navigating a dark hour in our shared history,” Biden said as he sat facing the leaders of India, Australia and Japan.
“The Russian brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe. And the innocent civilians have been killed in the streets and millions of refugees are internally displaced, as well as exiled. And this is more than just a European issue, it’s a global issue.”

Biden warned that President Vladimir Putin is “trying to extinguish a culture,” pointing to Russia’s targeting of Ukrainian schools, churches and museums.

The US, he said, will continue its work with partners to “lead a global response.”

Russia’s invasion, Biden later added, “only heightens the importance” of the Quad’s goals and shared values.

“Fundamental principles of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty, international law, human rights must always be defended, regardless of where they’re violated. So the Quad has a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.

The comments come as the White House has said Biden intends to speak during the summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- who has resisted US pressure to punish Russia -- about how to strengthen US-India ties, a suggestion he hopes to wean Delhi off its reliance on Russian-made arms.

Biden reiterated his belief that the world is at a “transformative moment” and a question of whether democracies can prevail over autocracies.

He commended Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s “extraordinary leadership” as he thanked his host.

Biden also welcomed and congratulated Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese -- who was sworn into office this week -- into the group of world leaders, joking that it was “okay” if he fell asleep during the summit.

“We greatly appreciate your commitment to being here so soon after taking office,” Biden said.

Follow CNN's live coverage of the Quad Summit here.