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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11:56 p.m. ET, May 29, 2022

Zelensky visits Kharkiv's front line, in northeast Ukraine

From CNN's Victoria Butenko in Kyiv and Bex Wright in Hong Kong

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the "front line positions" of the Ukrainian military and met with soldiers during a trip to the Kharkiv region, his office announced on Sunday.

"I want to thank each of you for your service. You risk your life for all of us and our state. Thank you for defending Ukraine's independence. Take care of yourself," he said.

During the visit, Zelensky got an operational update on the situation there, and visited destroyed administrative and residential buildings in the city.

He also chaired a meeting with regional officials, including military leaders and the Kharkiv mayor.

The head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, Oleg Synegubov, said that 31% of the region's territory is currently occupied, and 5% has been "liberated" back into Ukrainian hands.

"We are not yet able to fully inspect some of the liberated settlements, conduct full-fledged demining and begin rebuilding critical infrastructure, as shelling continues. Where we can do it remotely, we do it," Synegubov said.

Synegubov added that 2,229 high-rise buildings have been damaged in Kharkiv, including 225 which were completely destroyed. In the northern and eastern districts of Kharkiv, 30.2% of the total housing stock has been damaged or destroyed.

Zelensky discussed plans for reconstructing the city, by building modern housing equipped with bomb shelters.                                                     

"We have to find funds, credit lines. The state must ensure this in terms of guarantees, and the leaders of cities and regions must find great projects and money," Zelensky said.

11:56 p.m. ET, May 29, 2022

Turkey's President says talks with Sweden and Finland on NATO bids did not happen "at the desired level"

From Yusuf Gezer in Istanbul

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a ceremony in Ankara, Turkey on May 16.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a ceremony in Ankara, Turkey on May 16. (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that talks last week with Sweden and Finland regarding their NATO membership did not happen "at the desired level."

"Unfortunately, the talks held by our delegation with Finland and Sweden were not at the desired level," Erdogan said while speaking to reporters on his plane following a trip to Azerbaijan, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency. 

Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Erdogan, said on Friday after meeting with Swedish and Finnish delegations that Turkey is "not under time pressure to solve this issue until that summit."

"We are determined to ensure that the process moves forward on a solid basis and that it progresses depending on the steps taken to meet Turkey's security concerns," Kalin said.

Some background: Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO earlier this month, driven by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The decision represents a setback for Moscow, with the war in Ukraine triggering the kind of enlargement of the alliance that it invaded Ukraine to prevent.

Accession of new states, however, requires consensus among existing members -- and that's where Ankara comes in.

Turkey, which joined the alliance three years after it was established in 1949 and has the group's second largest army, has said it won't support the bids unless its demands are met.

Erdogan accused the two countries of harboring members of the separatist militant Kurdistan's Workers Party, also known as PKK. The PKK, which seeks an independent state in Turkey, has been in an armed struggle with that country for decades and has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Erdogan has repeatedly asserted that both countries are effectively supporting terrorists.

"We cannot say 'yes' to the countries supporting terrorism to join NATO," Erdogan said in remarks published by the Turkish government.

Erdogan to speak with Putin and Zelensky on Monday: Meanwhile, the Turkish government said Erdogan will hold separate phone calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on Monday to encourage the parties to maintain channels of dialogue and diplomacy to bring peace to Ukraine.

"I will have phone calls with both Russia and Ukraine on Monday. We will continue to encourage the parties to use the channels of dialogue and diplomacy," Erdogan told reporters.