Russia-Ukraine live news: US House approves $40bn in Kyiv aid | Russia-Ukraine war News

  • The US House of Representatives passes bill to provide Ukraine with $40bn in military and economic assistance, $7bn more than President Joe Biden requested in April.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for more weapons to break Mariupol siege.
  • Ukrainian officials say the country’s forces have recaptured villages from Russian troops north and northeast of Kharkiv.
  • Ukraine’s gas system operator says it will declare force majeure on the transportation of gas through the Sokhranivka entry point, with flows stopping on Wednesday.
  • US director of national intelligence says Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a long conflict in Ukraine and cautions a Russian victory in the country’s eastern Donbas region may not end the war.
INTERACTIVE_UKRAINE_CONTROL MAP DAY76_May 10_Who controls what in Donbas DAY 76
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Congress passes $40b Ukraine aid package

The US House has approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, the bill having sailed through by a 368-57 margin. The package was backed by every voting Democrat and by nearly three out of four Republicans.

The new funding is $7 billion more than Biden’s $33 billion request from two weeks ago. It would give Ukraine military and economic assistance, help regional allies, replenish weapons the Pentagon has shipped overseas and provide $5 billion to address global food shortages caused by the war’s crippling of Ukraine’s normally robust production of many crops.

The new legislation would bring American support for Ukraine to nearly $54 billion, including the $13.6 billion in support Congress enacted in March.

The Senate seems certain to approve the legislation but it is unclear when it will act, and some changes are possible.


Reports of Moscow’s cyber attacks on Ukraine ‘absurd’: Russian diplomats

Russia’s embassy in the United States has labelled as “absurd” the US state department’s assertions that Moscow was involved in cyber attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, state news agency TASS has reported.

“We paid attention to the State Department’s statement about Russia’s alleged involvement in cyber attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Such statements are absurd and out of touch with the real state of affairs. Our country has never engaged in cyber aggression. This contradicts Russia’s principled position,” a statement from the embassy said.

Diplomats also reportedly said Russia was “ready for an equal, professional and non-politicised dialogue with the United States on a wide range of topical issues of information security”.

Russian attacks on Kharkiv intensifying: Governor

The governor of the Kharkiv region has said that the intensity of Russian shelling, particularly on the residential areas, increased on Tuesday.

“Today there are six wounded. In the Lozovsky and Izyum regions, another two have suffered. In the Kupyansk region, unfortunately, one person died. In Kharkiv, two people were hospitalised with injuries,” Oleg Sinegubov said on Telegram

He warned residents to stay in shelters as much as possible and not leave even in the absence of an alarm. “Do not rush to return to the liberated settlements. And those who are there, do not visit places that have not yet been checked the pyrotechnics. The enemy is cunning and is doing everything to hurt as many Ukrainian civilians as possible,” he added.

Damaged residential buildings in Saltivka neighbourhood in Kharkiv
Damaged residential buildings in Saltivka neighbourhood in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 10, 2022 [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]

Ukraine says Russia shelled Sumy and Chernihiv

Russian forces shelled the border regions of Sumy and Chernihiv on Tuesday evening, Ukraine’s state border service has said.

“Enemy planes twice launched unguided missiles at the border territories of the Sumy region. They also fired from mortars into the territory of Chernihiv from the Russian village of Novye Yurkovichi,” the service said on Telegram.

Olena Koptyl, 63, enters the basement of her destroyed home in the aftermath of a battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops on the outskirts of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, Saturday, April 23, 2022
Olena Koptyl, 63, enters the basement of her destroyed home in the aftermath of a battle between Russian and Ukrainian troops on the outskirts of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, Saturday, April 23, 2022 [Francisco Seco/AP]

Private US group says it secured release of Russian-held American in Ukraine

A US citizen in Ukraine who had been accused of espionage and held by Russian forces was being evacuated to Poland with two family members after his release was secured by a private volunteer group from Florida, Reuters has reported the group as having said.

Kirillo Alexandrov, 27, was arrested with his spouse and mother-in-law in late March outside the city of Kherson as they were trying to flee the region following its occupation by Russian troops. This is according to Project Dynamo, a Tampa-based group first formed to rescue Americans and others from Afghanistan last year.

Dynamo said Russian forces held Alexandrov on nearly a dozen criminal charges related to allegations that he was spying for the US government, which Dynamo said were fabricated. He was interrogated and was destined for transfer to Moscow, “where he would presumably be leveraged for propaganda and then imprisoned,” the Florida-based group said in a statement.

Blinken in virtual meeting with Bulgarian PM on Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met virtually with Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, the state department’s spokesperson Ned Price has said.

“Secretary Blinken emphasised the importance of both a unified NATO and US-EU response to Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and said the United States would continue to support Bulgaria’s defence modernisation and energy security priorities,” Price said.

“The two affirmed a shared vision for our transatlantic relationship, and the secretary reaffirmed the importance of expeditious EU accession for qualified aspirants,” he added.

Canada gives UN $2.5m to investigate human rights violations in Ukraine

Canada says it has given $2.5 million to the United Nations to report on human rights violations in Ukraine.

“This monitoring will contribute to future Ukrainian and international efforts to seek accountability for violations of international humanitarian law,” Canada’s global affairs office said in a tweet.

The funding is part of a $10 million package Canada has pledged to support human rights, civil society and demining in Ukraine, which includes $1.5 million for the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

Putin seeking goals beyond Ukraine’s east: US intelligence chief

Putin is still looking to achieve military objectives beyond eastern Ukraine after failing to capture Kyiv in the early stages of the war, the US intelligence chief has said.

Speaking to US lawmakers on Tuesday, Avril Haines, the US director of national intelligence, said the shifting of Russian military operations to Ukraine’s Donbas region in the east is only temporary.

“We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Haines said.

“We assess that Putin’s strategic goals have probably not changed, suggesting he regards the decision in late March to refocus Russian forces on the Donbas is only a temporary shift to regain the initiative after the Russian military’s failure to capture Kyiv.”

Read more here.

US legislators debate fresh Ukraine aid

Members of the US House of Representatives have started debating the $40bn aid bill to Ukraine, which is expected to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Still, some Republican lawmakers voiced concern about the massive allocation of funds – and what would happen after they run out.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, questioned why Washington is sending billions of dollars to Ukraine while the US is suffering from a baby formula shortage because of supply disruptions.

“Completely ignoring our own border crisis, our own baby formula crisis and brutal inflation, [a] skyrocketing, gas crisis that no one can afford. But $40 billion for Ukraine?” she said.

Jamie Raskin, a top Democrat, responded: “Here’s a formula for the destruction of democracy: repeating Putin’s propaganda and disinformation and appeasing imperialist assaults on sovereign nations.”

‘We will achieve our victory,’ Zelenskyy says in tribute to late president

Zelenskyy ended his nightly video address by paying tribute to Kravchuk, the first president of an independent Ukraine, who died on Tuesday at age 88.

“As a child he lived through World War II, lived through the occupation,” Zelenskyy said. “Leonid Makarovich [Kravchuk] knew the price of freedom and with all his heart wanted peace for Ukraine. I am sure that we will accomplish this. We will achieve our victory and our peace.”

Leonid Kravchuk
Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk died at age 88 [File: Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Nominee for US ambassador to Ukraine seeks quick embassy reopening

The Biden administration’s nominee for US ambassador to Ukraine has said she would work to make Russia’s invasion of the country a “strategic failure”.

Bridget Brink told senators she would push to fully reopen the US embassy in Kyiv and take up her work in the country, but said she could give no timeframe for that.

She noted that the outside of the embassy complex, which closed before the invasion, appeared to have what she called superficial damage. “What we are trying to do as an administration is move security items as fast as possible to Ukraine,” Brink said.

Ukraine to halt key Russian gas transit to Europe, use alternative

Ukraine has said it would suspend the flow of gas through a transit point that it said delivers almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe, blaming Moscow for the move and saying it would move the flows elsewhere.

GTSOU, which operates Ukraine’s gas system, said it would suspend flows via the Sokhranivka route from Wednesday, declaring “force majeure”, a clause invoked when a business is hit by something beyond its control.

The company said in a statement that it could not operate at the Novopskov gas compressor station due to “the interference of the occupying forces in technical processes”, adding that it could temporarily shift the affected flow elsewhere, to the Sudzha physical interconnection point located in territory controlled by Ukraine.

But Gazprom, which has a monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, said it was “technologically impossible” to shift all volumes to the Sudzha interconnection point, as GTSOU proposed.

Gas prices hit new record in US

US gas prices have reached a record high as Biden says fighting inflation is his top domestic priority.

The average price at the pump hit $4.37 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), surpassing the last record of $4.33 set on March 11. The average price per gallon a year ago was $2.97.

On Tuesday, Biden blamed what he called “Mr Putin’s war in Ukraine” and the COVID-19 pandemic for inflation, including increased gas prices.

Ukraine pushes back Russian troops near Kharkiv: Defence ministry

Ukraine has its forces recaptured villages from Russian troops north and northeast of Kharkiv, in a counteroffensive that could signal a shift in the war’s momentum and jeopardise Russia’s main advance.

Ukrainian troops in recent days recaptured the settlements of Cherkaski Tyshky, Ruski Tyshki, Borshchova and Slobozhanske, north of Ukraine’s second-largest city, said Tetiana Apatchenko, a press officer with the main Ukrainian force in the area.

Defence ministry adviser Yuriy Saks also said Ukraine was pushing Russian forces out of range of Kharkiv, located in the country’s northeast, which has been under perpetual bombardment since the war began.

“The military operations of the Ukrainian armed forces around Kharkiv, especially north and northeast of Kharkiv, are sort of a success story,” Saks told the Reuters news agency.

Leonid Kravchuk, independent Ukraine’s first president, dies

Leonid Kravchuk, who led Ukraine to independence amid the collapse of the Soviet Union and served as its first president, has died, Ukrainian officials have said. He was 88.

Andriy Yermak, head of Zelenskyy’s office, confirmed Kravchuk’s death on the social media app Telegram. Kravchuk had been in poor health and underwent a heart operation last year.

Kravchuk led Ukraine as its Communist Party boss in the waning years of the Soviet Union before holding the Ukrainian presidency from 1991 through 1994.

He was a driving force in Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and later that year joined leaders of Russia and Belarus to sign an agreement that formally declared that the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

Italy to take in dozens of Ukrainian orphans

The Italian foreign ministry has said 63 Ukrainian orphans will be flown from Krakow, Poland to Trapani, Sicily.

The transport was organised by the Pope John XXIII Community, along with Italian diplomats in Ukraine and Poland.

“This humanitarian evacuation confirms Italy’s commitment to assisting civilians hit by the conflict in Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.

US House to vote on $40bn Ukraine aid package: Pelosi

The US House of Representatives will vote on a $40bn military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said.

The legislation is expected to pass in the House and then the Senate within the coming days.

US President Joe Biden had asked Congress to approve an additional $33bn in aid for Ukraine, warning that previously authorised funds were running out, but US lawmakers decided to increase that total to $39.8bn.

“This package, which builds on the robust support already secured by Congress, will be pivotal in helping Ukraine defend not only its nation but democracy for the world,” Pelosi said in a letter to House members urging quick passage.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, of Calif., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says US aid will help Ukraine defend ‘democracy for the world’ [File: Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]

Zelenskyy asks for more weapons to unlock Mariupol siege

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told Maltese politicians that despite pleas, Ukraine has not received the amount of weapons it would need to unblock the siege of Mariupol and free the city.

But Zelenskyy said Ukrainian defenders “still continue their resistance in the plant of Azovstal”.

“We are using all possible diplomatic instruments to rescue them, but Russia doesn’t allow for any of the proposed options. We have asked our partners to provide weapons in order to unblock Mariupol and rescue both civilians and military personnel,” he said.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Tuesday, May 10 here.

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