May 27, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Brad Lendon, Jeevan Ravindran, Laura Smith-Spark, Aditi Sangal and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, May 28, 2022
17 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:25 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

"Fierce defense" of Severodonetsk underway with 90% of housing damaged, local military official says

From CNN's Nathan Hodge

Smoke and dirt rise from the city of Severodonetsk, during shelling in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, on May 26.
Smoke and dirt rise from the city of Severodonetsk, during shelling in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, on May 26. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

About 90% of the city's housing stock had been damaged amid a "fierce defense" of the town, a local military official in the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk said Friday.

The city "held out through the night" under heavy Russian attack, Oleksandr Striuk, the head of the Severodonetsk military administration, said in a radio interview. But he acknowledged that Russian forces were continuing to press the offensive.

"Yesterday the fighting took place at the entrance to the city," he said. "Our military managed to stop the vanguard of the Orcs [a pejorative Ukrainian term for Russian troops] who were trying to break into the city. Severodonetsk is in fierce defense. The enemy is located on two-thirds of the city's perimeter, but the city is not surrounded."

The city had seen widespread destruction, Striuk said. 

"The Azot (Nitrogen) chemical plant is being shelled," he said. "There are dead among the civilian population and among employees of the enterprise. Ninety percent of the housing stock is damaged, 60% will have to be rebuilt."

Striuk said a Russian force that entered a hotel on the north of the city was expelled by Ukrainian forces, a claim that could not be immediately verified. Ukrainian officials previously said the hotel was not under their control. 

8:07 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

It's 3 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Russian forces are intensifying attacks in eastern Ukraine as they try to break down stubborn Ukrainian defenses — which Ukrainian officials admit are outnumbered and outgunned. Meanwhile, in a new report, legal experts accuse Russia of inciting genocide and intending to "destroy" Ukrainian people.

Here's the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine:

  • Frozen negotiations: Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are currently frozen, the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday, as he accused Kyiv of making “contradictory” statements that Moscow does not understand.
  • Report accuses Russia of genocide: Russia's actions in Ukraine provide enough evidence to conclude that Moscow is inciting genocide and committing atrocities intended to destroy the Ukrainian people, according to an independent legal report, signed by more than 30 leading legal scholars and genocide experts.
  • UK calls for more military support: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was making "slow" but "palpable" progress in the Donbas and urged more military support for Ukraine, such as the provision of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.
  • No agreement on maritime corridors: A Ukrainian official said that "maritime humanitarian corridors" announced earlier this week by the Russian military had not been agreed by Ukraine and accused Russia of trying to shift blame on Ukraine for a global food crisis in "another lie."
  • Heavy fighting in Luhansk: Ukrainian officials reported continued heavy fighting in the Luhansk region, with a local military chief describing "fierce battles" for the city of Severodonetsk. Officials also described heavy shelling around Severodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk, saying Russian forces had set the police station in Lysychansk on fire and damaged about 50 buildings in the area.
  • Russian bombardment: Ukraine's armed forces on Thursday acknowledged that Russian troops have made further advances in the eastern Donetsk region — capturing one district within 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) of the important town of Bakhmut. Ukrainian officials say that in recent days, the Russians have combined short-range ballistic missiles, multiple launch rocket systems, heavy artillery and tanks in a remorseless bombardment of towns and cities in Luhansk and Donetsk regions still under Ukrainian control. Several officials describe the situation as "very difficult" and admit Ukrainian units may have to fall back in some places.
  • Deadly attacks: Nine people were killed and 19 others injured in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday amid "dense shelling" of residential areas, according to a Ukrainian military official. Ukrainian forces were "holding their positions firmly and there is no question about possible seizure of Kharkiv city," the official said.
  • Removed to Russia: Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been processed through a series of Russian "filtration camps" in eastern Ukraine and sent into Russia as part of a systemized program of forced removal, according to four sources familiar with the latest Western intelligence — an estimate far higher than US officials have publicly disclosed.
8:03 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Putin says his government continues to implement measures to stabilize economy and tackle Western sanctions

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio in Lisbon

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his government is continuing to implement measures to tackle the sanctions imposed on Moscow by “unfriendly countries.”

“The government of Russia is taking prompt decisions to ensure stable functioning of the market and financial sector,” he told the Eurasian leaders during a virtual meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on Friday. “We’re working on increasing access to finance, to support working capital and liquidity.” 

Russia had begun asking countries to pay for oil and gas shipments in rubles, but Putin says that policy will be reversed for some partners.

“We are extending the practice of payments in the national currencies for those countries that have proven themselves as reliable partners for Russia,” he said. 

The Russian president went on to address the issue of food insecurity, which has come to the fore because Russia invaded Ukraine, one of the Europe’s largest grain producers. 

“Russia and other members of our organization are behaving most responsibly,” he said, adding that Eurasian countries were fully self-sufficient when it came to these products. 

Putin went on to say that interest in the Eurasian Economic Union was on the rise “despite the complex international situation, unleashed by the so-called collective West, with its confrontation.”

“To Russia, deepening relations with all Eurasian partners is very important,” he said. 

The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting took place on the second day of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) forum held in Kyrgyzstan.

7:36 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Maritime "corridors" not agreed with Russia, Ukrainian official says, amid warnings on global food crisis

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Anna Chernova

A Ukrainian official said Friday that "maritime humanitarian corridors" announced earlier this week by the Russian military had not been agreed by Ukraine and accused Russia of trying to shift blame on Ukraine for a global food crisis.

Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman for the Operational Staff of the Odesa regional administration, said an announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defense of safe lanes for ships were "attempts to create an informational alibi for Russia."

"So this is just another lie of Russia and an attempt to blame Ukraine in creating a food crisis," he said.

Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports has contributed to global grain shortages. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi discussed the global food security issue in a phone call Thursday, according to readouts of the call from both governments.

A satellite image shows an overview of bulk carrier ship loading grain at the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, on May 19.
A satellite image shows an overview of bulk carrier ship loading grain at the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, on May 19. (Maxar Technologies/Reuters)

According to the Kremlin, Putin said Russia was ready to take steps to mitigate the crisis by allowing export of grain and fertilizers if the West lifts what Russia calls "politically motivated" sanctions.

Earlier this week, the Russian military claimed it would open two "maritime humanitarian corridors" -- one from the direction of the Ukrainian ports of Kherson, Mykolaiv, Chornomorsk, Ochakiv, Odesa and Pivdennyi (Yuzhny) and another from the port of Mariupol on the Azov Sea. In his call with Draghi, Putin claimed the operation of those corridors was "hindered by the Ukrainian side," the Kremlin said.

Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the nominee to be the next top US general overseeing the US military presence in Europe, told lawmakers Thursday that grain shortages were “being felt on the African continent." UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Thursday that Putin is "weaponizing hunger and lack of food amongst the poorest people around the world."

7:10 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Kremlin says negotiations with Ukraine frozen, accuses Kyiv of giving "contradictory" statements

From CNN's Anna Chernova

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine. (President of Ukraine)

Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are currently frozen, the Kremlin said Friday, as it accused Kyiv of making “contradictory” statements that Moscow does not understand.

“The negotiations are frozen by the decision of the Ukrainian side,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a regular conference call.

“In general, the leadership of Ukraine constantly makes statements that contradict each other. This does not allow us to fully understand what the Ukrainian side wants,” Peskov added.

On Thursday, Peskov said Moscow expects Kyiv to accept the status quo and meet its territorial demands, following remarks by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that appeared to suggest Ukraine has to agree to give up Crimea and much of the Donbas region to Russia.

In an interview last week with Reuters, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak ruled out agreeing to a ceasefire with Russia and said Kyiv would not accept any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has compared Kissinger's statements to appeasement of Nazi Germany in 1938. 

7:52 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

UK PM says Russia making slow gains in Donbas, calls for Ukraine to be given advanced long-range weapons

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a press conference at Downing Street, London, England, on May 25.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a press conference at Downing Street, London, England, on May 25. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was making "slow" but "palpable" progress in the Donbas and urged more military support for Ukraine, such as the provision of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

“I think it’s very, very important that we do not get lulled because of the incredible heroism of the Ukrainians in pushing the Russians back from the gates of Kyiv," Johnson said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“I’m afraid that Putin at great cost to himself and to (the) Russian military is continuing to chew through ground in Donbas, he’s continuing to make gradual, slow but I’m afraid palpable progress," he added.

Johnson stressed that therefore "it is absolutely vital" to continue to support the Ukrainians militarily.

"What they need now is the type of rocketry, a Multiple Launch Rocket System, MLRS, that will enable them to defend themselves against this very brutal Russian artillery, and that's where the world needs to go now," he said.

Johnson also warned of the dangers of negotiating with Putin, and compared him to a crocodile.

"How can you deal with a crocodile when it's in the middle of eating your left leg?" Johnson told Bloomberg TV. "[Putin] will try to freeze the conflict. He will try and call for a ceasefire while he remains in possession of substantial parts of Ukraine."

6:07 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

It's 1 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

Russian forces are intensifying attacks in eastern Ukraine as they try to break down stubborn Ukrainian defenses — which Ukrainian officials admit are outnumbered and outgunned.

Here's the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine:

  • Report accuses Russia of genocide: Russia's actions in Ukraine provide enough evidence to conclude that Moscow is inciting genocide and committing atrocities intended to destroy the Ukrainian people, according to an independent legal report, signed by more than 30 leading legal scholars and genocide experts.
  • Heavy fighting in Luhansk: Ukrainian officials reported continued heavy fighting in the Luhansk region, with a local military chief describing "fierce battles" for the city of Severodonetsk. Officials also described heavy shelling around Severodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk, saying Russian forces had set the police station in Lysychansk on fire and damaged about 50 buildings in the area.
  • Russian bombardment: Ukraine's armed forces on Thursday acknowledged that Russian troops have made further advances in the eastern Donetsk region — capturing one district within 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) of the important town of Bakhmut. Ukrainian officials say that in recent days, the Russians have combined short-range ballistic missiles, multiple-launch rocket systems, heavy artillery and tanks in a remorseless bombardment of towns and cities in Luhansk and Donetsk regions still under Ukrainian control. Several officials describe the situation as "very difficult" and admit Ukrainian units may have to fall back in some places.
  • Deadly attacks: Nine people were killed and 19 others injured in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday amid "dense shelling" of residential areas, according to a Ukrainian military official. Ukrainian forces were "holding their positions firmly and there is no question about possible seizure of Kharkiv city," the official said.
  • Removed to Russia: Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been processed through a series of Russian "filtration camps" in eastern Ukraine and sent into Russia as part of a systemized program of forced removal, according to four sources familiar with the latest Western intelligence — an estimate far higher than US officials have publicly disclosed.
  • US weapons supplies: The Biden administration is preparing to step up the kind of weaponry it is offering Ukraine by sending advanced, long-range rocket systems that are now the top request from Ukrainian officials, multiple officials say. The White House is leaning toward sending the systems as part of a larger package of military and security assistance, which could be announced as soon as next week.
  • War crimes trial: Two captured Russian soldiers pleaded guilty in a court in central Ukraine on Thursday to "violating laws and customs of war conducted with preliminary group conspiracy." Oleksandr Bobykin and Oleksandr Ivanov are accused of firing rockets from Russia’s Belgorod region toward Kharkiv on Feb. 24.
  • Oil price spikes: Brent crude oil climbed on Thursday to more than $117 a barrel — the highest level since late March — signaling more pain for drivers. Investors are watching nervously as European officials attempt to reach an agreement on phasing out Russian oil, a step that would further scramble energy flows.
5:01 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Continued heavy fighting in Ukraine's Luhansk region, officials say

From CNN's Nathan Hodge

Pro-Russian troops drive an armored vehicle past destroyed residential buildings in the town of Popasna in Luhansk region, Ukraine, on May 26.
Pro-Russian troops drive an armored vehicle past destroyed residential buildings in the town of Popasna in Luhansk region, Ukraine, on May 26. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukrainian officials on Friday reported continued heavy fighting in the Luhansk region, with a local military chief describing "fierce battles" for the city of Severodonetsk.

In televised remarks, Oleksandr Striuk, head of the Severodonetsk city military administration, said: "There have been fierce battles for the city. We have a hot spot, the Mir hotel. On May 26 [Thursday], an enemy sabotage and reconnaissance group entered the Mir Hotel. The [Ukrainian] Armed Forces resisted."

A pro-Russian Telegram channel said Russian forces had entered the hotel, which is in the north of Severodonetsk, and that street fighting was underway.

Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said a Ukrainian operation to retake the hotel was underway on Friday, but added: "We are not yet in control of the hotel. But we are working to drive out the ruscists [Russian fascists]."

Hayday also described heavy shelling around Severodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk as Russian forces pushed from the direction of the towns of Purdivka and Shchedryshchevo, saying it had set the police station in Lysychansk on fire and damaged about 50 buildings in the area.

A man walks near the remains of a missile in the city of Lysychansk, in eastern Ukraine, on May 26.
A man walks near the remains of a missile in the city of Lysychansk, in eastern Ukraine, on May 26. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

"Residents of Severodonetsk have already forgotten what it is like when the city is silent for at least half an hour," Hayday said.

"Russians are harassing residential neighborhoods continuously. On May 26, four residents of Severodonetsk were killed by enemy shells in the old districts of the city. Two of them died at the same time near one high-rise building. There is damage to the housing stock; 11 apartment buildings and one private house damaged."

2:26 a.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Leading experts accuse Russia of inciting genocide in Ukraine and intending to "destroy" Ukrainian people

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

Russia's actions in Ukraine provide enough evidence to conclude that Moscow is inciting genocide and committing atrocities intended to destroy the Ukrainian people, according to the first independent report into allegations of genocide in that country.

The legal report, signed by more than 30 leading legal scholars and genocide experts, accuses the Russian state of violating several articles of the United Nations Genocide Convention. It warns there is a serious and imminent risk of genocide in Ukraine, backing the accusations with a long list of evidence including examples of mass killings of civilians, forced deportations and dehumanizing anti-Ukrainian rhetoric used by top Russian officials.

The report was put together by New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, a US-based think tank, and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights which is based in Canada, and is set to release on Friday, with the authors sending copies to parliaments, governments and international organizations around the world. An advance copy of the report has been shared exclusively with CNN.

"We assembled top legal experts from around the globe who then examined all the evidence and they came to the conclusion that the Russian Federation bears responsibility for breaches of the Genocide Convention in Ukraine," Azeem Ibrahim of the New Lines Institute told CNN. Ibrahim visited Ukraine in March to gather evidence for the report.
"This is a very thorough and detailed examination of extensive evidence," he said. "What we have seen so far is that this war is genocidal in its nature, in terms of the language being used and the manner in which it is being executed. That's very, very clear."

Read more: