May 30, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Andrew Raine, Brad Lendon, Rob Picheta and Hafsa Khalil, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, May 31, 2022
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6:56 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

White House expressed support for Turkey's continued talks with Sweden and Finland over NATO membership

From CNN's DJ Judd

In a readout Monday, the White House said US President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke by phone with Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson and chief adviser to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to the White House, Sullivan “expressed support for Turkey’s continued direct talks with Sweden and Finland to resolve concerns over their applications for NATO membership, which the U.S. strongly supports,” while the two “discussed their ongoing support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s continued aggression, as well as their respective efforts to enable Ukrainian agricultural exports to reach global markets."

Some more context: Finland and Sweden's decision to apply for NATO was a major shift prompted by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Last week, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto expressed optimism that “sooner or later, Finland and Sweden will be members of NATO” and said discussions with the Turkish government would continue as Ankara threatens to block the two nations from joining the defensive alliance.

In an interview with CNN in Washington, DC, last Friday, Haavisto said he expected that the topic of Finland’s NATO membership and overcoming Turkey’s current opposition would come up in his conversations with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his meeting later in the day, adding he was “quite confident” that other NATO countries had spoken with Turkey as well.

At a news conference following the meeting between the top US and Finnish diplomats, Blinken said the US is engaged directly with Turkey “but the focus is on the work that Finland, Sweden and Turkey are doing together to address the concerns.”

CNN's Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.

5:14 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

Zelensky sends condolences to the family of French journalist killed in Ukraine 

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London

French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff pictured on April 23.
French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff pictured on April 23. (Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff/BFMTV)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sent his condolences to the family of French journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff who was killed in Ukraine on Monday. 

Speaking during his nightly address on Monday, Zelensky said he wanted to pay his "condolences to the relatives of this journalist."

"He is the 32nd journalist killed in the war and the situation remains very hard," the Ukrainian President remarked. 

Leclerc-Imhoff, a 32-year-old journalist with French news channel BFMTV, was shot and killed "onboard a humanitarian bus, alongside civilians forced to flee to escape the Russian bombs," French President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet earlier on Monday. 

4:52 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

Russian energy giant Gazprom will halt gas supplies to Dutch gas trader GasTerra starting Tuesday

From CNN’s Anna Chernova 

Russian state energy giant Gazprom confirmed Monday that it will cut off natural gas supply to Dutch gas trading firm GasTerra starting Tuesday, May 31. 

“Gazprom Export has notified GasTerra of the suspension of gas supplies from May 31, 2022 until payment is made in accordance with the procedure established by the aforementioned Decree,” a statement on Gazprom’s Telegram channel read, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree stating gas payments should be made in rubles. 

On Monday, Danish energy company Ørsted and Dutch gas trading firm GasTerra warned Russia could turn off the taps as soon as Tuesday because they had refused to make payments in rubles — just weeks after Moscow did the same to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland.

Gazprom so far hasn’t said anything officially about cutting gas supplies to Denmark's Ørsted.   

5:07 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

Erdogan tells Zelensky that Turkey values efforts to establish safe sea corridor for agriculture exports

From CNN's Isil Sariyuce in Istanbul 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara on May 18.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara on May 18. (Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images/File)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during a call on Monday that Ankara places “particular importance” on efforts to establish a safe corridor to export Ukrainian agricultural products by sea, a Turkish readout of the call said. 

On Friday, Zelensky said that 22 million tons of grain, accounting for nearly half of Ukraine’s grain export supply, is being held up by Russia's blockade of the main export routes through the Black Sea and Azov Sea.  

Erdogan told Zelensky, according to the readout, that Turkey made every effort to continue negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv and is ready to provide more support, including mediation.

Erdogan also told the Ukrainian leader that Turkey would welcome — in principle — joining a possible Istanbul-based monitoring center with the participation of Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations. 

Erdogan also spoke to Putin on Monday: According to a Kremlin readout of a Monday call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan, Russia's leader said Moscow would support an "unimpeded" export of Ukrainian grain from Ukrainian ports.

The two leaders had a "thorough" discussion on "the subject of bilateral cooperation, primarily in the trade and economic sphere," the Kremlin said.  

"When discussing the situation in Ukraine, emphasis was placed on the issues of ensuring safe navigation in the Black and Azov Seas," it added.  

According to the Kremlin, Putin conveyed Russia's "readiness" to "facilitate the unimpeded maritime transit of goods in coordination with Turkish partners," adding that this position "applies to the export of grain from Ukrainian ports."

Russia is also ready to "export significant volumes of fertilizers and agricultural products" if the sanctions placed on the country "are lifted," Putin added, according to the Kremlin readout of Monday’s call.  

According to a Turkish readout of the call between both leaders, Erdogan offered to host talks between Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations in Istanbul.

CNN's Anna Chernova and Niamh Kennedy contributed reporting to this post.

5:51 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

It's Monday night in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN Staff

The Ukrainian military has reported advances during its counteroffensive in the south and continuing efforts to hold off Russian advances in the eastern Donbas region.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported Monday additional Russian efforts to degrade Ukrainian defenses in Luhansk and Donetsk, saying that artillery, airstrikes and missiles had been used in several places — including Lysychansk and Soledar.

Meanwhile, Russian pressure on Severodonetsk, a city where two-thirds of properties have been reported as destroyed, continues — with the General Staff saying that hostilities persist in and around the city. 

As the Russians attack Ukrainian lines in Donbas from the south, east and north, there are conflicting claims about their progress. 

The General Staff said that fighting continues around the village of Komyshuvakha, to the southwest of Severodonetsk. Social media video geolocated by CNN appears to show a Chechen unit in the village, with drone footage suggesting Ukrainian soldiers retreating from the area. "This locality is now under our control, and we will begin storming all fronts. We have seized, completely — you could say — Komyshuvakha," a Chechen commander said.

Ukraine has claimed some success in its offensive in the south, which began during the weekend. "The enemy suffered losses and withdrew from the village of Mykolaivka, Kherson region, which led to panic among servicemen of other units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation," the General Staff said.

Here are more of the latest headlines from the Russia-Ukraine war:

  • Biden says Ukraine's battle against Russia is "part of a larger fight that unites all people": US President Joe Biden took the opportunity to tie the solemnity of the US Memorial Day holiday Monday to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “In this moment, when a war of aggression is once more be waged by Russia to snuff out the freedom and democracy the very culture and identity of neighboring Ukraine, see so clearly all that's at stake – freedom has never been free, democracy has always required champions," Biden said during remarks from the Arlington National Cemetery.
  • EU "cannot afford" for no agreement to be reached on new round of Russian sanctions, parliament chief says: The European Union "cannot afford" for no agreement to be reached on the bloc's proposed sixth round of sanctions against Russia, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said Monday.  "I really hope there will be an agreement. We cannot afford there not to be," Metsola told a news conference in Brussels after meeting with the heads of EU member states. "While I understand the realities facing different countries, there is a limit as to how much flexibility we can allow without losing credibility vis vie our populations," she stressed. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday called on the EU to put aside internal disputes and push on with plans to approve the bloc's proposed new round of sanctions.
  • Biden says he won't send rockets to Ukraine that could reach Russia: The US President said he doesn't plan to ship any rockets to Ukraine that could reach Russian territory. "I won't send anything that can fire into Russia," Biden said at the White House on Monday when asked whether he was planning to send long-range rockets to Ukraine. CNN reported last week 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.
  • Ukrainian official claims military victory against Russia "unlikely" if US holds back long-range artillery: A military victory against Russia is “unlikely” if the United States holds back supplies of long-range artillery, a senior Ukrainian official tells CNN. Alexey Arestovych, a Ukrainian presidential advisor, told CNN the weapons are “essential for (the) fate of Ukraine and its independence.” 
  • Turkey offers to host talks between Russia, Ukraine and the UN: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, offered to host talks between Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations in Istanbul, according to a Turkish readout of the call. Erdogan stressed to Putin the "need for steps that will minimize the negative effects of the war" and reestablish peace between Russia and Ukraine "as soon as possible," according to the readout. Russian and Ukrainian delegations last met for talks in Istanbul on March 29.
  • French journalist killed in Ukraine: French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that a French journalist had been shot and killed in Ukraine. “Journalist, Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff was in Ukraine to show the reality of the war. On board a humanitarian bus, alongside civilians forced to flee to escape the Russian bombs, he was fatally shot,” the French president tweeted. “I share the grief of the family, friends and colleagues of Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, to whom I send my condolences. To those who carry out the difficult mission of providing information in theaters of operation, I want to reiterate France's unconditional support,” Macron added.
  • Russian shelling continues in Ukraine's northeast and south, says Ukrainian military: Russia "does not stop conducting offensive operations" in the eastern areas of Ukraine, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in its daily update on Monday. In the Kharkiv region in the northeast, Russia fired on the areas north and northeast of the city, Ukraine’s military said.
  • Eurovision winners sell trophy to buy drones for Ukraine’s military: The Ukrainian winners of this year's Eurovision Song Contest — Kalush Orchestra— announced Monday that they sold their trophy for $900,000, with funds going toward buying drones for their country’s military. The group was presented with the crystal microphone trophy earlier this month after winning this year’s contest, beating competition from main rivals the United Kingdom and Spain.

Here's a look at the Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine:

6:47 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

Zelensky calls on EU to approve sixth package of sanctions against Russia

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in London

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on screen, speaks during a special meeting of the European Council at The European Council Building in Brussels on May 30.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on screen, speaks during a special meeting of the European Council at The European Council Building in Brussels on May 30. (Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday called on the European Union to put aside internal disputes and push on with plans to approve the bloc's proposed sixth package of sanctions against Russia.  

Addressing EU leaders attending the European Council summit in Brussels on Monday, Zelensky called on the bloc to maintain a sense of unity in the face of Russian aggression.  

"This is time for you to become not separate but one whole. Ukraine has demonstrated why everyone has to be united. We are all working for one purpose,” he told the summit via video link.  

"You have managed to stop the invaders and more unity is the basis of the success. All the disputes within the European Union must stop because they give incentives for Russia to carry on," Zelensky urged EU leaders.  

The Ukrainian leader stressed that although he is "grateful" for efforts being made "to advance the sixth sanction package," the bloc must push on with plans to approve the sanctions.  

"Unfortunately for some reason it is still not in place. And for some reason, you are dependent on the Russian pressure. And it should be the opposite. Russia should depend on you. Why is Russia still able to earn $1 billion per day selling oil?" he asked EU leaders.  

"There should be an oil embargo so that Russia understands the price of its actions," Zelensky continued.   

3:28 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

Biden: Ukraine's battle against Russia is "part of a larger fight that unites all people"

From CNN's DJ Judd

US President Joe Biden speaks at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 30.
US President Joe Biden speaks at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 30. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden took the opportunity to tie the solemnity of the US Memorial Day holiday on Monday to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“In this moment, when a war of aggression is once more be waged by Russia to snuff out the freedom and democracy the very culture and identity of neighboring Ukraine, see so clearly all that's at stake – freedom has never been free, democracy has always required champions," Biden said during remarks from the Arlington National Cemetery.

He continued: “Today, in the perennial struggle for democracy and freedom, Ukraine and its people are on the front lines fighting to save their nation. But their fight is part of a larger fight that unites all people, it’s a fight that so many of the patriots whose eternal rest is here on these hallowed grounds were part of – a battle between democracy and autocracy; between liberty and repression; between appetites and ambitions of a few, who forever seek to dominate the lives and liberties of many; a battle for essential democratic principles, for rule of law, free and fair elections, freedom to speak and write and assemble, freedom to worship as one chooses, freedom of the press – principles that are essential for a free society.”

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who introduced Biden, echoed the President's sentiment, highlighting in his speech the “power of democratic citizens and soldiers to defy tyranny, cruelty and oppression,” in Ukraine as Russia’s invasion of the country continues.

6:47 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

European Council aims to reach political agreement on Russian oil embargo on Monday, EU official says

From CNN's James Frater in London 

The PCK oil refinery, which is majority owned by Russian energy company Rosneft, stands on April 30, in Schwedt, Germany.
The PCK oil refinery, which is majority owned by Russian energy company Rosneft, stands on April 30, in Schwedt, Germany. (Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images/File)

The European Council aims to reach a political agreement on an embargo on Russian oil on Monday, a European Union official told CNN. 

This embargo will cover more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, which covers all seaborne oil from Russia, the official said. 

European Union diplomats failed to reach consensus Sunday on the terms of the embargo, but held further talks Monday in a bid to present a deal for approval by EU leaders at a summit later in the day.

Some temporary exceptions have been granted to ensure security of supply for certain member states, the official said, adding the council will come back to these exceptions “as soon as possible.” 

In addition to the oil embargo, the new sanctions package against Russia will include other substantial measures, including de-SWIFTing of the largest Russian bank Sberbank, a ban on further three Russian state-owned broadcasters, listing of individuals who have committed war crimes in Ukraine, according to the official. 

1:40 p.m. ET, May 30, 2022

US defense secretary highlights the "power of democratic citizens and soldiers" in Ukraine

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30. (Pool)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin marked the annual US Memorial Day holiday in a short speech highlighting the “power of democratic citizens and soldiers to defy tyranny, cruelty and oppression,” in Ukraine as Russia’s invasion of the country continues. Austin made the brief remarks to introduce President Joe Biden at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday.

“Today, on the battlefields of Ukraine, the world again sees the power of democratic citizens and soldiers to defy tyranny, cruelty, and oppression. Their freedom is under attack, and so is the international order rooted in the rules that we have built since World War II at such terrible costs,” Austin said.

Austin said the US understands “the challenge” posed by the threat in Ukraine. “We’re determined to meet it,” he added.

“As the President says, in the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment. We draw inspiration from the unity of our allies and partners and we draw strength from the men and women of the United States military,” Austin said.