- Russian President Vladimir Putin warns that Finland’s accession to NATO would be “a mistake” as Moscow stopped power supplies to the Nordic country.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says “very complex negotiations” are taking place with Russia to remove fighters from the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
- Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate, makes a surprise visit to kyiv and assures Ukraine of sustained support.
- A convoy of hundreds of cars that left Mariupol arrives at a safe place in Zaporizhzhia of Ukraine.
- The Kalusch Orchestra of Ukraine wins Eurovision with the folk hip hop song, “Stefania”.
Here are all the latest updates:
Turkey offers sea evacuation for wounded fighters from Mariupol: Erdogan aide
A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara has proposed carrying out an evacuation by sea of wounded fighters hiding in a steel plant in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
Ibrahim Kalin told the Reuters news agency that he personally discussed the proposal with Ukraine’s Zelenskyy in kyiv two weeks ago and that it remains “on the table”, although Moscow has not accepted it.
Under the plan, people evacuated from the large Azovstal steel plant would be taken overland to the port of Berdyansk, which like Mariupol is on the Sea of Azov, and a Turkish ship would take them across the Black Sea to Istanbul, he said. .
“If it can be done that way, we’re happy to do it. We are ready. In fact, our ship is ready to go and bring the wounded soldiers and other civilians to Turkey,” said Kalin, who is also Erdogan’s top foreign policy adviser.
In #mariupolthe russian army continues to raid #Azovstal plant. Russian troops drop bombs, use heavy artillery, tanks and large numbers of infantry to attempt to assault #Ukrainian positions, – #Azov special unit said.
There are Ukrainian soldiers in “Azovstal” in the photos. pic.twitter.com/ucNuK97dSD
— SUSPILNE NEWS 📰 (@suspilne_news) May 14, 2022
Zelenskyy praises Ukraine’s victory at Eurovision and promises to host the contest in Mariupol one day
The President of Ukraine praised the victory of the Kalush Orchestra in the Eurovision Song Contest.
“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post.
As this year’s Eurovision winners, Ukraine will host next year’s contest. Zelenskyy said he hoped one day to host Eurovision contestants and guests in a “free, peaceful and reconstructed” Mariupol.
Blinken arrives in Germany for NATO meeting
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Germany ahead of an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin.
The meeting will consider moves by Finland and Sweden to join the military alliance, as well as ways NATO can support Ukraine without getting drawn into the conflict with Russia.
I have arrived in Berlin where I will meet informally with @NATO Foreign Ministers to discuss our alliance and sustained action to address Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 14, 2022
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.”
A Senate Republican delegation has just left Ukraine after visiting kyiv and meeting with President Zelenskyy. We saw firsthand the courage, unity and determination of the Ukrainian people. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/bsgCMLiZ6M
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) May 14, 2022
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.
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.
A convoy of cars with #mariupol Residents (500 to 1,000 cars), who had been waiting for more than three days, were allowed to enter Zaporizhzhia, Mariupol Mayor’s Adviser Petro Andryushchenko said. #UkraineRussiaWar #Ukraine️ pic.twitter.com/5JE0y3Nnz1
— SUSPILNE NEWS 📰 (@suspilne_news) May 14, 2022
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.
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.
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.
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.