Ukraine says it damaged a Russian ship and calls for the evacuation of wounded fighters from Mariupol

Ukraine says it damaged a Russian ship and calls for the evacuation of wounded fighters from Mariupol

  • Ukraine says it damaged Russian tanker in Black Sea
  • Relatives of Mariupol fighters plead for rescue
  • Finland wants security after Russian invasion of Ukraine
  • Sweden should follow suit to join the alliance

KHARKIV, Ukraine, May 13 (Reuters) – Ukraine said it damaged a Russian navy logistics vessel near Snake Island, a small but strategic outpost in the Black Sea, while relatives of Ukrainian soldiers locked in the beleaguered steel mills of Mariupol pleaded for them to be registered.

The renewed fighting around Snake Island in recent days could become a battle for control of the western Black Sea coast, some defense officials say, as Russian forces struggle to advance in the north and east of Ukraine.

“Thanks to the actions of our sailors, the support ship Vsevolod Bobrov caught fire – it is one of the newest in the Russian fleet,” said Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odessa regional military administration. .

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Reuters could not independently verify the details. The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Satellite images provided by Maxar, a private US-based company, showed the aftermath of what it said were likely missile attacks on a Russian Serna-class landing craft near the island, near the maritime border between Ukraine and Romania.

The footage also showed recent damage to buildings on the island, which became famous for the rude defiance of its Ukrainian defenders at the start of the invasion. Read more

Russia faced further setbacks on the battlefield as Ukraine drove its troops from the region around the second-largest city of Kharkiv, the fastest advance since it forced forces of the Kremlin from Kyiv and the northeast more than a month ago.

Reuters reporters have confirmed that Ukraine now controls territory stretching to the banks of the Siverskiy Donets River, about 40 km (25 miles) east of Kharkiv.

Footage released by the Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command appeared to show several burnt-out military vehicles and segments of a bridge apparently destroyed and partially submerged in the river.

Regional authorities reported ongoing missile strikes around Poltava and shelling in Dergach, near Kharkiv, which killed two people.

In the capital kyiv, wives and relatives of Ukrainian fighters locked up in the Azovstal steelworks in the southern port of Mariupol marched and chanted for their rescue. Russian forces shelled the steel mills, the last stronghold of Ukrainian defenders in a city almost entirely controlled by Russia after a siege lasting more than two months.

“I want all the defenders who are there to go home so they can live a normal life with their children and loved ones,” said Maria Zimareva, whose brother is inside the steelworks. “They deserved it. Why can others walk down the street with their loved ones and they can’t? Why isn’t anyone helping them?”

kyiv said it was working on rescuing servicemen, many of them seriously injured.

“We have started a new round of negotiations around a roadmap for an (evacuation) operation. And we will start with those who are seriously injured,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told 1+ TV. 1.

NATO EXPANSION

As fighting continued across the country, wider diplomatic moves increased pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Finland’s plan to seek NATO membership, announced on Thursday, and the expectation that Sweden will follow suit, would lead to the expansion of the Western military alliance that Putin aimed to prevent.

Abandoning the neutrality they maintained throughout the Cold War would be one of the biggest shifts in European security in decades.

Moscow called Finland’s announcement hostile and threatened retaliation, including unspecified “military-technical” measures.

“Helsinki must be aware of the responsibility and the consequences of such a decision,” the foreign ministry said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Finns would be “warmly welcomed” and promised a “simple and fast” membership process. Read more

The White House supported such a decision.

“We would support a NATO application from Finland and/or Sweden if they applied,” said press officer Jen Psaki.

Finland’s 1,300 km (800 mile) border will more than double the length of the border between the US-led alliance and Russia, putting NATO guards within hours’ drive of the northern outskirts from Saint Petersburg.

Putin cited potential NATO expansion as one of the main reasons he launched what he called a “special military operation” in Ukraine in February.

Thursday also saw an escalation in disputes over Russian energy supplies to Europe – still Moscow’s biggest source of funds and Europe’s biggest source of heat and power.

Moscow said it would halt gas flows to Germany via the main pipeline over Poland, while Kyiv said it would not reopen a pipeline route it closed this week unless that he regains control of the areas of pro-Russian fighters. Gas prices in Europe have jumped. Read more

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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Lincoln Feast and Stephen Coates; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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