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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4:56 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Moscow will deepen its ties with China, says Russian foreign minister 

From CNN's Irina Morgan, Alex Stambaugh and Nathan Hodge

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, greets Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, during their bilateral meeting on November 13, 2019 in Brasilia, Brazil.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, greets Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, during their bilateral meeting on November 13, 2019 in Brasilia, Brazil. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow must cease any dependency on the West and that it is instead strengthening ties with China. 

"Now that the West has taken a 'dictator’s position,' our economic ties with China will grow even faster," Lavrov told an audience at a question and answer session in Moscow on Monday, according to a transcript from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

He said China has "highly developed" information and communications technologies that are in "no way inferior to the West," which "ensure mutual benefits."

The foreign minister said if the West wants to resume relations, then Moscow would consider if the country needed it or not.

He added that Russia needed to stop being dependent "in any way" on supplies from the West for the development of "security, the economy or our homeland’s social sphere."

"When we can finally count only on ourselves and on countries which have proven themselves reliable and do not dance to someone else’s tune, then if Western countries come to their senses and begin to propose some form of cooperation, it will be up to us to decide," he added. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have cultivated close ties, with China currently buying record amounts of Russian coal, but the two countries have shared historical rivalries.

Read more here:

4:26 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Pro-Moscow authorities in Ukraine's Kherson region call for Russian military base

From CNN's Nathan Hodge and Olga Voitovych

An aerial view shows the city of Kherson, Ukraine, on May 20.
An aerial view shows the city of Kherson, Ukraine, on May 20. (Andrey Borodulin/AFP/Getty Images)

The pro-Moscow authorities of Ukraine's Kherson region will request a Russian military base in the region, Russian state news agencies reported Tuesday. 

Russian state news agencies RIA-Novosti and TASS quoted Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-installed administration of Kherson region, as saying, "there should be a military base of the Russian Federation in the Kherson region. We will ask for this, and the entire population is interested in this."

The Russian military took control of parts of the Kherson region in mid-March, and Russian-backed officials claim to have occupied a series of government posts. 

Ukrainian officials estimate around half the population of Kherson has now left the region, many of whom say they have fled heavy-handed Russian rule. 

Russian efforts to advance a referendum on a so-called "Kherson People's Republic" that would mirror the emergence of Russian-backed separatist statelets in eastern Ukraine appeared to have been put on hold. 

4:01 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Colombia to train Ukrainian soldiers in de-mining operations

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio and Alex Stambaugh

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, CE meets Minister of National Defense of Republic of Colombia Diego Andrés Molano Aponte at the Pentagon, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, CE meets Minister of National Defense of Republic of Colombia Diego Andrés Molano Aponte at the Pentagon, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/ (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The Colombian armed forces are sending a team to Ukraine to train its military on landmine removal operations, the Colombian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Monday.

The 11 military engineers will be deployed to an unnamed neighboring NATO country where the training will be carried out, according to the statement. 

"Colombia is as always committed to the values of freedom and human rights and, in this case, making a concrete contribution as a member and global partner country of NATO," Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano Aponte said.

Some context: In March, US President Joe Biden announced Colombia would be designated as a major non-NATO ally, strengthening security and economic ties between the pair.

As of this year, there are more than 15 nations that are designated as major non-NATO allies to the US, including Australia, Japan, Israel, the Philippines and Qatar.

Read more about forests littered with mines and unexploded ammunition here:

3:36 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Biden talks Ukraine with Australia PM Albanese at Quad Summit

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, left, and US President Joe Biden hold a meeting during the Quad Leaders Summit at Kantei in Tokyo, Japan, on May 24.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, left, and US President Joe Biden hold a meeting during the Quad Leaders Summit at Kantei in Tokyo, Japan, on May 24. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden's first meeting with his new Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, focused in part on the war in Ukraine, according to a US statement.

Biden "commended Australia’s strong support for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and the leaders agreed on the importance of continued solidarity, including to ensure that no such event is ever repeated in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said in a readout.

Albanese was sworn in on Monday before departing for the Quad Summit in Tokyo, joining leaders from the US, India and Japan.

US-India discussions: Biden also "condemned Russia’s unjustifiable war against Ukraine" in his meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a White House statement.

"The leaders’ committed to continue providing humanitarian assistance, and discussed how to cooperate to manage disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine, in particular the rise in energy and food prices, to protect their respective citizens and the world," the statement said.

Modi has been reluctant to condemn Russia's invasion due to ties between the two nations.

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

3:09 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Russia withdraws its bid to host Expo 2030

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh, Sophie Jeong and Josh Pennington

Russia has withdrawn its bid to host Expo 2030 because its bid would not be evaluated "fairly and impartially" under the current "anti-Russian campaign" waged by Western countries, the country’s foreign ministry said. 

“It is clear that Moscow's bid to host Expo 2030, faced with competition from the other four candidates, will not be evaluated fairly and impartially,” the ministry said in a statement Monday.

World Expos have become another victim of a "large-scale anti-Russian campaign" waged by Western countries aimed at expelling Russia from all areas of cooperation, the statement said.

The ministry notified the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) of its decision on Monday, it said.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, pictured here at the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9, hopes Russia will be considered by the Bureau International des Expositions as a future host.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, pictured here at the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9, hopes Russia will be considered by the Bureau International des Expositions as a future host. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

The BIE confirmed it received notification of Russia's decision and said in a statement that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin expressed hope that the country will be a candidate "in the foreseeable future."

Ukraine also bid to host: The host country of World Expo 2030 will be chosen by the 170 member states of the BIE in late 2023.

Odesa, the southern port city in Ukraine, is one of the four remaining cities that had bid for the hosting rights. The others are Rome, Busan in South Korea and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

2:47 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Zelensky: Kyiv ready for prisoner exchange with Russia

From CNN's Josh Pennington and Alex Stambaugh

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen on a giant screen during his address by video conference as part of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen on a giant screen during his address by video conference as part of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Kyiv is ready for a prisoner exchange with Russia "even tomorrow," as he called on allies to continue to put pressure on Moscow.  

"The exchange of people — this is a humanitarian matter today and a very political decision that depends on the support of many states," Zelensky said Monday via videoconference to an audience in Davos.

"It is really important, that the whole world does not beg Russia, no matter the circumstance, or to make concessions to Russia," he said.
"[They must] keep the political pressure on any way they can, through powerful business connections, through the closure of businesses, oil embargo, and through threats, real threats of sanctions, thwarting business, we can actively intensify the exchange of our people for Russian servicemen."

"We do not need the Russian servicemen, we only need ours. We are ready for an exchange even tomorrow," Zelensky said. 

Ukrainians have also filled "tens of thousands" of black body bags with the remains of Russian soldiers left behind, he added.

2:26 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Biden: US and India will "continue consulting closely" on Ukraine

From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Jessie Yeung and Steve George

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and US President Joe Biden hold a meeting during the Quad Leaders Summit at Kantei in Tokyo, Japan, on May 24.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and US President Joe Biden hold a meeting during the Quad Leaders Summit at Kantei in Tokyo, Japan, on May 24. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden says he and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who has been reluctant to condemn Russia's war in Ukraine — would discuss the "brutal and unjustified" conflict on Tuesday.

Biden and Modi are meeting on the sidelines of the Quad Summit, which is taking place in Tokyo and includes their counterparts from Japan and Australia.

Speaking to reporters, Biden raised the effect the war has had "on the entire global world order."

"The US and India are going to continue consulting closely on how to mitigate these negative effects," Biden said.
"There is so much that our countries can and will do together, and I'm committed to making the US-India partnership among the closest we have on Earth."

India is the only Quad member yet to condemn Russia's actions or impose sanctions on Moscow.

Modi delivered his remarks next, calling Quad meetings "very positive and productive." He praised the US-India relationship as "a partnership of trust" and force for global good, highlighting their "common interests and shared values" as well as economic cooperation.

He did not mention the war in Ukraine.

A quip from Biden: After the two leaders spoke, they continued sitting for a moment to allow press photos — a brief silence broken almost immediately by reporters shouting questions about Russia.

"Will you push Prime Minister Modi to take a tougher stance on Russia?" one journalist said. Another asked, "Did you ask Prime Minister Modi to wean himself off of Russian oil?"

Neither leader answered — but Biden gave Modi a wry look, raised his eyebrows, and said: "Welcome to the American press."

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

12:37 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

Analysis: Biden finds unity abroad. He's losing it at home

Analysis from CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

US President Joe Biden's greatest success has been to marshal most of the world against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Standing up to authoritarian aggressors for democracies is turning into the main theme of Biden's presidency. He wants to show the world that the US form of government is better than the authoritarian version, where presidents change the rules to give themselves power for decades or for life and where they plot to seize land.

But at home, he faces an arduous task.

He's bent on ensuring that the Ukrainian and Taiwanese people can choose their own leaders in free elections, but a shocking number of Republicans continue to reject his own election victory.

The Senate is so paralyzed by the filibuster, which gives a minority the ability to squash legislation, that no elected leaders seem to be seriously talking about federal legislation to deal with some of the largest American problems.

Read the full analysis here:

12:41 a.m. ET, May 24, 2022

It's 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

US President Joe Biden said during opening remarks at the Quad Summit with leaders of Australia, India and Japan that “we’re navigating a dark hour in our shared history,” in reference to the war in Ukraine. He described the conflict as “a global issue” and said the US and partners will “lead a global response.”

US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the Quad Summit Tuesday, May 24, in Tokyo, Japan.
US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the Quad Summit Tuesday, May 24, in Tokyo, Japan. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool/AP)

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials reported Russian aerial strikes in east-central Ukraine and heavy fighting" in the eastern Donetsk region where Russian forces are trying to advance.

Here are more of the latest headlines from Russia's war in Ukraine:

  • Theft of Ukrainian grain appears to be ramping up: New satellite photos of the Crimean port of Sevastopol show two Russia-flagged bulk carrier ships docking and loading up with what is believed to be stolen Ukrainian grain. Ukrainian officials and industry sources have told CNN that Russian forces in occupied areas have emptied several silos and trucked the grain south. 
  • Veteran Russian diplomat resigns in protest of war: In a rare public protest by a Russian official, a diplomat posted to the UN in Geneva resigned and condemned Russia's foreign ministry as little more than a propaganda machine. "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," Boris Bondarev wrote on a social media post, referencing the starting date of the invasion.

  • Selling continues in central and eastern Ukrainian towns, officials say: Russian missiles inflicted serious damage to railway infrastructure in the Dnipropetrovsk region Monday evening, according to the head of the regional military administration. Several towns in Donetsk also were shelled or bombed, one top official said, which killed one civilian and injured four others.
  • Subway reopens after serving as bomlters: he subway system of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine will resume operations after months of being used as a shelter by residents trying to escape bombardments. Russian forces have recently vacated areas around Ukraine’s second-largest city, revealing additional evidence of atrocities.
  • Former US soldier recounts fierce defense of Kyiv: A former US soldier said he faced the most intense fighting of his life while serving as part of a group of elieign special forces veterans — primarily American and British — who have enlisted to help the Ukrainian cause. Once a top-level US counter-terrorism operative who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, he says his team uses decentralized, “small group tactics” to fight Russian forces and were among the first to witness Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilians.