Russia-Ukraine live news: Moscow warns Finland about NATO move | Russian-Ukrainian War News

  • Ukraine’s general staff says Russian troops were withdrawing from the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin tells Finland that joining NATO would be “a mistake”.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says “very complex negotiations” are taking place with Russia to remove fighters from the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
  • Ukrainian forces are on a counteroffensive near the Russian-held city of Izium, attacking a key axis of Russia’s assault in the east.
    INTERACTIVE map Russia-Ukraine Who controls what in Donbas DAY 80

Here are all the latest updates:


Mitch McConnell assures Ukraine of “sustained support”

The Republican leader of the US Senate has reaffirmed Washington’s support for Ukraine during a surprise visit to kyiv.

In a statement, Mitch McConnel said he assured Zelenskyy that the United States “strongly stands behind Ukraine and will continue to support us until Ukraine wins this war.”


Ukraine wins the Eurovision Song Contest

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest, riding a wave of public support across Europe for the beleaguered nation and buoyed by an infectious folk hip hop tune.

Kalush Orchestra’s song “Stefania” beat out 24 competitors in the final of the world’s largest live music event on Saturday. Sung in Ukrainian, the winning song fused rap with traditional folk music and was a tribute to the mother of the band’s leader, Oleh Psiuk.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent out good luck wishes earlier in the evening, saying that if the Kalush Orchestra were to win, it would have great symbolic meaning.

“For us today, any victory is very important,” he said in his late-night address.

Russia had been excluded from the competition in Turin due to its invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra appears on stage after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, on May 15, 2022. [Yara Nardi/Reuters]
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra appears on stage after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, on May 15, 2022. [Yara Nardi/Reuters]
Ukrainian service members watch the Kalush Orchestra perform during the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final on May 14, 2022 [Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]
Ukrainian service members watch the Kalush Orchestra perform during the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final [Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]

Mariupol convoy reaches safety, refugees recount ‘devastating’ escape

A large convoy of cars and trucks carrying refugees from the ruins of Mariupol has arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia after waiting days for Russian troops to allow them to leave.

The refugees who arrived on Saturday first had to leave Mariupol and then somehow make their way to Berdyansk, some 80km further west along the coast, and other settlements before driving 200km northwest to Zaporizhzhia.

Nikolai Pavlov, 74, said he had lived in a basement for a month after his apartment was destroyed. A relative using “secret detours” managed to get him out of Mariupol to Berdyansk.

“We barely made it, there were a lot of older people among us… the journey was devastating. But it was worth it,” he said after the convoy arrived in the dark.

An aide to the mayor of Mariupol earlier said the convoy numbered between 500 and 1,000 cars and was the largest single evacuation of the city since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Envoy Says Russian Diplomats in US Threatened, Seduced by FBI, CIA

Russia’s envoy to the United States says Russian diplomats in Washington are being threatened with violence and US intelligence services are trying to contact them, according to the TASS news agency.

“It’s like a besieged fortress. Basically, our embassy is operating in a hostile environment… Embassy employees are receiving threats, including threats of physical violence,” Ambassador Anatoly Antonov was quoted by TASS as saying on Saturday.

“Agents from the US security services are hanging around outside the Russian embassy, ​​giving out CIA and FBI phone numbers, which can be called for contact,” the ambassador told TASS.

Russia and the US have been locked in a dispute over the size and operation of their respective diplomatic missions since before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian Embassy in Washington DC in March 2022 [File photo: Susan Walsh/AP]
The Russian Embassy in Washington DC in March 2022 [File photo: Susan Walsh/AP] (AP Photo)

American Mitch McConnell meets Zelenskyy in kyiv

Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate, made an unannounced visit to kyiv with other Republican senators and met with the Ukrainian president for talks.

McConnell was joined by Senators Susan Collins, John Barrasso and John Cornyn.

Zelenskyy hailed the visit as a powerful sign of the United States’ bipartisan support for Ukraine and the strength of relations between the two nations.

“We discussed many areas of support for our state, including defense and finance, as well as strengthening sanctions against Russia,” Zelenskyy said in a video address, adding that he emphasized to senators the need for Russia to be designated as terrorist state. .

McConnell is pressing Republican Sen. Rand Paul to end his opposition to a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, which has overwhelming support from both major US parties.

In this photo provided by the Presidential Press Office of Ukraine, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, shakes hands with Senator Mitch McConnell in kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, May 14, 2022. [Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP]
In this photo provided by the Presidential Press Office of Ukraine, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, shakes hands with Senator Mitch McConnell in kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, May 14, 2022. [Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP]

Ukrainian band advocates for Mariupol in Eurovision

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra called for the city of Mariupol and the fighters who resisted at the Azovstal steel plant at the end of their appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest.

“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now,” shouted lead singer Oleh Psiuk from the front of the stage in the Italian city of Turin after the band performed their song “Stefania.”

Russian forces have shelled the steel mill in the southern port of Mariupol, the last bastion of hundreds of Ukrainian defenders in a city that is almost completely controlled by Russia after more than two months of siege.

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra performs during the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final in Turin, Italy, on May 14, 2022. [Yara Nardi/Reuters]
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra performs during the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 final in Turin, Italy, on May 14, 2022. [Yara Nardi/Reuters]

Putin tells Finnish president: Joining NATO would be a ‘mistake’

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart that joining NATO would be “a mistake” as Moscow earlier cut off electricity supplies to the Nordic country.

“Putin emphasized that ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake as there is no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.

“Such a change in the political orientation of the country may have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed for years in a spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation between partners,” he said.

Read more here.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Read all the updates for Saturday May 14th here.

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