As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 87th day, we take a look at the main developments.
Against an already turbulent backdrop of global inflationary pressures amid rising food and energy prices and disrupted supply chains following the coronavirus pandemic, the war between Russia and Ukraine is exacerbating supply and demand tensions, damaging consumer sentiment and is threatening global economic growth.
Here are the key events so far on Saturday, May 21.
- Russia’s defence ministry said the last group of Ukrainian forces holed up in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks had surrendered, marking an end to a weeks-long attack that left the city in ruins.
- The defence ministry said at Azovstal, 2,439 Ukrainian fighters had surrendered in the past few days, including 531 in the final group. Ukraine did not comment on the figures.
- The commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment said in a video that civilians and heavily wounded fighters had been evacuated from Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks, giving no further clue about the fate of the rest of its defenders.
- A Russian missile has struck a Ukrainian cultural centre in the eastern Kharkiv region, injuring seven people, including an 11-year-old child, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
- The Institute for the Study of War says Russian forces appear to be “digging in” around Kharkiv and along the southern axis in preparation for Ukrainian counteroffensives and a protracted war.
- The Pentagon said there were no indications Russia had used laser weaponry in Ukraine, following claims by Moscow that it was fielding a new generation of powerful lasers there to strike enemy drones.
- Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said the number of cyberattacks on Russia by foreign “state structures” had increased several times over and Russia must bolster its cyberdefences.
- Zelenskyy proposed a formal deal with the country’s allies to secure Russian compensation for the damage its forces have caused during the war.
- Finance ministers and central bank governors of the G7 wealthy democracies said they have mobilised $19.8bn for Ukraine and pledged to give more if needed.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would speak to Finland on Saturday, while maintaining his opposition to Finnish and Swedish NATO membership bids over their history of hosting members of groups that Ankara deems “terrorists”.
- Russia’s Gazprom halted gas exports to neighbouring Finland, the Finnish gas system operator said, after the Nordic country refused to pay the supplier in roubles.
- Russia rushed forward two payments on its international debt in its latest attempt to stave off a default that has looked likely since its invasion of Ukraine.
- Seizing Russian state assets to help finance the rebuilding of Ukraine remains a possibility, Germany’s finance minister said, but he added that no decision had been taken at a meeting with his G7 counterparts.