Russia–Ukraine War (May 5): Russian Fighting Destroys, Damages Nearly 400 Hospitals, Medical Centers: Zelenskyy

NTD Staff
By NTD Staff
May 5, 2022Worldshare
Russia–Ukraine War (May 5): Russian Fighting Destroys, Damages Nearly 400 Hospitals, Medical Centers: Zelenskyy
Doctors and nurses perform a caesarian on Elyzaveta in the maternity hospital on March 30, 2022 in Kyiv area, Ukraine. (Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images)

The latest on the Russia–Ukraine crisis, May 5. Click here for updates from May 4.

Russian Fighting Destroys, Damages Nearly 400 Hospitals, Medical Centers: Zelenskyy

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has devastated hundreds of hospitals and other medical institutions and left doctors without drugs to tackle cancer or the ability to perform surgery, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy said many places lacked even basic antibiotics in eastern and southern Ukraine, the main battlefields.

“If you consider just medical infrastructure, as of today Russian troops have destroyed or damaged nearly 400 health care institutions: hospitals, maternity wards, outpatient clinics,” Zelenskyy said in a video address to a medical charity group on Thursday.

In areas occupied by Russian forces the situation was catastrophic, he said.

“This amounts to a complete lack of medication for cancer patients. It means extreme difficulties or a complete lack of insulin for diabetes. It is impossible to carry out surgery. It even means, quite simply, a lack of antibiotics.”

In one of the most widely denounced acts of the war, a maternity hospital was all but destroyed on March 9 in the besieged port city of Mariupol. Russia alleged pictures of the attack were staged and said the site had been used by armed Ukrainian groups.

The Kremlin says it targets only military or strategic sites and does not target civilians. Ukraine daily reports civilian casualties from Russian shelling and fighting, and accuses Russia of war crimes. Russia denies the allegations.

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Pentagon: Most Russian Forces Left Mariupol

The Pentagon says the majority of Russian forces that had been around the port city of Mariupol have left and headed north, leaving roughly the equivalent of two battalion tactical groups there, or about 2,000 troops.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that even as Russian airstrikes continue to bombard Mariupol, Moscow’s forces are still making only “plodding” and incremental progress as the main fight presses on in the eastern Donbass region.

He said he has seen no change in Russian behavior or momentum as May 9 draws near.

Russia celebrates Victory Day on May 9, the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. There have been suggestions that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to tout a major victory in Ukraine when he makes his address during the traditional military parade on Red Square.

Kirby said the United States still assesses that Russia is behind schedule and not making the progress in the Donbass that it expected.

Spain Frees Ukrainian Politician Facing Alleged Treason

A court in Spain on Thursday ordered the provisional release of Anatoly Shariy, a Ukrainian politician and blogger who was arrested after being accused of treason in his home country.

Shariy was arrested on Wednesday near the coastal city of Tarragona under an international arrest warrant issued by Ukraine, according to Spain’s National Court. Court documents said Shariy is accused of “high treason and incitement of hatred.”

Citing the “circumstances of the case” and Shariy’s connections to Spain, the judge declined to keep him in custody. Instead Shariy was ordered to surrender his passport, report regularly to authorities and remain in Spain, where he has reportedly lived since 2019.

The court said the measures would remain in place for 40 days in order to allow Ukraine to formally request Shariy’s extradition.

His arrest in Spain was announced by Ukraine’s security services on Thursday, who said there was reason to believe Shariy “was acting on behalf of foreign entities.”

Shariy, the founder of a political party considered by many in Ukraine to be pro-Russian, has been a vocal critic of Ukraine’s government. As recently as Tuesday he tweeted that he had been warned that Ukrainian intelligence was trying to track him down.

Ukrainian media reported that a member of Shariy’s political party said in February, prior to the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that Shariy had been granted asylum in the European Union. It was not immediately possible to confirm that report.

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UN: Operation Underway to Evacuate Civilians

The United Nations says a third operation is underway to evacuate civilians from Mariupol’s besieged steel plant and the city, which is surrounded by Russian forces.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that a third evacuation is taking place and U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said its aim is to evacuate more civilians from Mariupol and the sprawling Azovstal steel plant.

Guterres said 101 civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal plant along with 59 more from a neighboring area in the first operation that ended Tuesday. He said that in the second operation, which was completed Wednesday night, more than 320 civilians were evacuated from the city of Mariupol and surrounding areas.

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Ukraine Governor Says a Missile Attack Ukraine’s Eastern Donetsk Region Injured 25 People

The regional governor says a missile attack on the city of Kramatorsk in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region injured 25 people and inflicted wide-ranging damage.

In a Telegram post, Pavlo Kyrylenko says 810 apartments in 32 high-rise buildings sustained damage as the result of an airstrike Thursday morning. The post featured photos of multiple buildings reduced to rubble.

Kyrylenko added that six private houses, two schools, a kindergarten, and a medical institution were also damaged. He said he had not received reports of any fatalities.

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Ukraine: Russia Made Failed Advance Attempts

The Ukrainian army says Russian troops made “unsuccessful” attempts to advance in the eastern Kharkiv and Donetsk regions.

A Facebook post published Thursday afternoon on the official profile of the Ukrainian General Staff says the Russians also continue to launch missile strikes on transport facilities in order to prevent the movement of humanitarian cargo and military-technical assistance.

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Russia: Air Force Destroys 45 Ukraine Targets

The Russian military says its air force has destroyed 45 Ukrainian military facilities in the latest series of strikes.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the targets hit Thursday by the Russian air force included Ukrainian troops and weapons concentrations and an ammunition depot in the eastern Luhansk region.

Konashenkov said the Russian missile units hit a Ukrainian artillery battery at its firing positions near the settlement of Zarozhne, a battery of Uragan multiple rocket launchers near Mykolaiv, and four other areas of concentration of military personnel and military hardware. He said the Russian artillery hit 152 Ukrainian troops’ strongholds and 38 artillery firing positions.

Konashenkov’s claims could not be independently confirmed.

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UN Says a New Safe Passage Operation Underway Around Mariupol

The United Nations says a new “safe passage operation” is underway in and around the bombarded Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

Humanitarian spokesman Saviano Abreu tells The Associated Press the U.N. is working in coordination with the parties to the conflict and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

He says they will “share more information when the situation allows.” It is not clear how many people are part of the evacuation and Abreu would not say whether people at the Azovstal steel plant are involved.

A similar joint evacuation effort brought 101 civilians out of the plant over the weekend. Another brought out people from Mariupol and other communities on Wednesday.

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Olaf Scholz Says German Foreign Minister Will Soon Travel to Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says the nation’s foreign minister will soon travel to Ukraine on an official visit after the two countries resolved a diplomatic spat Thursday.

The German government had traded barbs with Ukraine’s ambassador in Berlin after Kyiv appeared to snub an offer to visit by Germany’s president.

It was unclear when exactly Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will visit Kyiv, and whether she would meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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A 500-Million-Euro Lithuanian–Polish Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline Inaugurated

A 500-million-euro ($530 million) Lithuanian–Polish natural gas transmission pipeline was inaugurated Thursday, completing another stage of regional independence from Russian energy sources.

The Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania pipeline that runs more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) comes “at a time when Russia has once again tried to blackmail us using gas,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said at the inauguration.

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingridas Simonyte added that “any reduction or disappearance of this source of funding would have a very significant impact on the Russian economy and the ability to continue financing the war in Ukraine.”

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Top Putin Ally Says Ukraine–Russia Conflict Has ‘Dragged On’

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko admitted in a Thursday interview that the Russia–Ukraine conflict is dragging on longer than expected, although he defended Moscow’s incursion.

Asserting that the Kyiv government was “provoking Russia,” Lukashenko told The Associated Press he is “not immersed in this problem enough to say whether it goes according to plan, like the Russians say, or like I feel it.”

“I want to stress one more time: I feel like this operation has dragged on,” he told the outlet, describing the conflict as a “war” several times in his interview. Russian President Vladimir Putin, he added, is not trying to seek a conflict with NATO and said it is Washington that is fueling the conflict.

Read the full article here
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US Gives Sweden Security Assurances If It Submits NATO Application

The U.S. government on Wednesday reaffirmed to Sweden its commitment to NATO’s “open-door policy” and will support the Nordic country during the period of a potential NATO application.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Washington on May 4 and discussed NATO’s commitment to welcoming new members and assuring European security, among other issues.

“Blinken underscored the importance of the Transatlantic relationship to European security and reaffirmed our commitment to NATO’s Open Door policy,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a press release.

Read the full article here
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UN Agency: Reopen Ukraine Ports to Ship Food

The United Nations’ food aid agency is appealing for Black Sea ports in Ukraine to be open again to permit shipping of wheat and corn exports, which many poor nations depend on.

The Rome-based World Food Program noted in its appeal Thursday that before the war launched by Russia, 98 percent of Ukraine’s grain exports had moved through those ports.

It said in a statement that a month after the war began on Feb. 24, export prices for wheat had risen by 22 percent and maize by 20 percent—that’s on top of already steep rises in 2021 and earlier this year.

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Israel Says Putin Apologized for Foreign Minister’s Hitler Remarks

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had apologized for his foreign minister’s comments claiming Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins.

Bennett, after a call with the Russian leader, said he accepted the apology and thanked Putin for clarifying his position.

Bennett also said he asked Putin to consider allowing the evacuation of the besieged Azovstal steel works in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Bennett said he made that request following an earlier conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and that Putin promised to set up a corridor for civilian evacuation.

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Russia Still Ready to Provide Safe Passage From Azovstal, Putin Tells Israel’s Bennett

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a phone call on Thursday that Russia was still ready to provide safe passage for civilians from the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, the Kremlin said.

It said Putin told Bennett in a “thorough exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine” that Kyiv should order Ukrainian fighters holed up in the vast Azovstal plant to put down their weapons.

Ukrainian defenders trapped at the site have clung on desperately for weeks, while some civilians have made it to safety through humanitarian corridors but others remain inside.

The Kremlin earlier denied that Russian forces were storming the plant, referring to an April 21 order from Putin that they should seal it off but not venture inside its labyrinth of underground tunnels.

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Bulgaria Seeks Exemption to Russia Oil Embargo

In anticipation of a European Union embargo on Russian crude oil Bulgaria says it’s looking for an exemption due to its dependence on supplies from Russia.

Bulgaria’s only oil refinery near the Black Sea port of Burgas is owned by Russia’s oil giant LUKOIL and is the main fuel supplier in the country.

Still, Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev told reporters that the refinery is already processing up to 50 percent non-Russian crude and theoretically should be able to fully eliminate Russian crude.

“Bulgaria, technologically, can do without Russian crude oil, but this would significantly increase fuel prices,” Vassilev said. “In case the European Commission weighs some exemptions, we would like to take advantage of it, because it will be in the best interest of Bulgarian consumers.”

Slovakia and Hungary have already asked for such exemptions.

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German President Called Zelenskyy to Resolve Diplomatic Spat Between Two Countries

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday in an effort to resolve a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

German government officials, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz, had expressed annoyance after Ukraine made clear last month it didn’t want Steinmeier to visit because of his past dealings with Russia. Ukraine’s ambassador in Berlin, in turn, branded Scholz an “offended liverwurst” for saying the incident was “a problem” in the countries’ relations.

Steinmeier’s office said the two presidents “resolved irritations of the past” during their call. Steinmeier expressed his “solidarity, respect and support for the brave fight by the Ukrainian people against the Russian aggressor,” it said.

It was unclear whether Steinmeier, whose position as head of state is largely ceremonial, would visit Kyiv soon. The President of parliament, Baerbel Bas, who is ranked after Steinmeier but before Scholz according to German political protocol, is expected to visit Ukraine on Sunday.

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Ukrainian Officer Urges Evacuation of Wounded

Heavy fighting raged Thursday at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, as Russian forces attempted to finish off the city’s last-ditch defenders and complete the capture of the strategically vital port.

Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers are holed up in the steel mill’s underground bunkers, many of them wounded. Some civilians are with them, too.

Capt. Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Regiment, said in a video statement from the steel mill’s bunkers Thursday that the “wounded soldiers are dying in agony due to the lack of proper treatment.”

He urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to help ensure the evacuation of the wounded and civilians still in the bunkers.

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Spanish Judge Orders Release of Ukrainian Politician-Blogger Accused of Treason

A judge in Spain on Thursday ordered the provisional release of Anatoly Shariy, a Ukrainian politician-blogger accused of treason in his home country.

Shariy was arrested on Wednesday in the coastal city of Tarragona on an international arrest warrant issued by Ukraine, according to Spain’s National Court. Court documents said Shariy is accused of “high treason and incitement of hatred.”

Shariy, who has reportedly lived in Spain since 2019, was ordered to turn in his passport and remain in the country. The court said officials in Ukraine now have 40 days to formally present a request for Shariy’s extradition.

His arrest was announced by Ukraine’s security services on Thursday, who said there was reason to believe Shariy “was acting on behalf of foreign entities.”

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Russia Says Western Intelligence to Ukraine Won’t Thwart Its Goals

The Kremlin said on Thursday that the United States, Britain, and other NATO countries were “constantly” feeding intelligence to Ukraine but this would not stop Russia from achieving its military objectives there.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was responding to a New York Times report that the United States had provided intelligence that helped Ukrainian forces kill a dozen Russian generals.

“Our military is well aware that the United States, Britain, and NATO as a whole are constantly transmitting intelligence and other parameters to the Ukrainian armed forces,” he told reporters.

He said this, and the supply of Western weapons, “do not contribute to the quick completion of the (Russian) operation, but at the same time are not capable of hindering the achievement of the goals set.”

Asked what measures Russia might take in response, he said: “Of course, the Russian military is doing whatever is necessary in this situation.”

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Danish Foreign Minister: Russia Expels Four Diplomats With Denmark’s Embassy in Moscow

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said Thursday that Russia has decided to expel four diplomats with Denmark’s Embassy in Moscow.

“They have wrongfully become pieces in Putin’s cynical power play,” Kofod said. “It is a completely unjustified and deeply problematic decision, which underscores that Russia no longer wants real dialogue and diplomacy.”

Moscow said seven Danish diplomats were expelled. Danish media said that those expelled included four diplomats and three others without diplomatic status. They must leave within two weeks.

Moscow’s tit-for-tat decision came after Denmark last month expelled 15 Russian intelligence officers who worked at Russia’s Embassy in Copenhagen. Several other European countries also expelled Russian intelligence officers.

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Japan to Add 140 Individuals to Russian Sanction List: PM Kishida

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday that 140 individuals would be added to a Russian asset freeze list while an export ban will be expanded to Russian military firms.

Kishida, speaking in London via a translator after a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, added that now was the time for the Group of Seven leading nations to solidify its unity.

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Russia Denies Troops Storming Azovstal, Says Putin Order Still Stands

The Kremlin denied that Russian troops were storming the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s southern port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters and civilians are trapped, and said humanitarian corridors were operating there on Thursday.

Asked if a claim by a senior Ukrainian official that Russian troops had broken into the plant’s territory was true, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred reporters to President Vladimir Putin’s previous order not to storm it.

Putin was shown on television on April 21 telling his defense minister instead to seal off the vast complex so “a fly can’t pass through.”

“You were witnesses, the president gave the order to refrain from an assault. No other orders were announced and the [humanitarian] corridors are working today,” Peskov said.

On Thursday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for a prolonged ceasefire to evacuate civilians including women and children from bunkers under the Azovstal steel plant.

Russia’s military said it would pause military activity at the steelworks during Thursday daytime and the following two days to allow civilians to leave.

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Russia Says It Killed Over 600 Ukrainian Fighters in Artillery Strikes

Russia said on Thursday that its artillery had targeted multiple Ukrainian positions and strongholds overnight, killing over 600 fighters.

“The armed forces of the Russian Federation continue their special military operation in Ukraine,” the defense ministry said.

“Over 600 nationalists and 61 units of weapons and military equipment were destroyed,” it added.

The defense ministry also said its missiles had destroyed aviation equipment at the Kanatovo airfield in Ukraine’s central Kirovohrad region and a large ammunition depot in the southern city of Mykolaiv.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a “special military operation” to degrade its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.

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$6.5 Billion Raised at Donors’ Conference for Ukraine

Ukraine received pledges for $6.5 billion more in humanitarian aid Thursday at an international donor’s conference in Warsaw that sought to get Ukrainians urgent help while still planning for the country’s post-war reconstruction.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, a co-host of the conference, announced that $6.5 billion was raised in donations, eliciting applause from leaders and other officials attending the one-day meeting, including representatives from the United Nations and companies such as Google.

The pledges came from countries and businesses, many of whom attended the conference at Warsaw’s National Stadium in person and others who made their pledges remotely. His co-host, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, said the sum exceeded their expectations.

Morawiecki said Ukraine needs over 12,000 tons of humanitarian aid every day, but that only 3,000 tons are getting through. He said the conference shows that the world is not indifferent to Russia’s “genocidal war.”

Andersson said the aim was to help Ukraine both now and later.

“Ukraine will win this war and we will stand by your side,” she said.

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Russian Governor Reassures Residents After New Explosions in Area Near Ukraine

Two explosions took place in the early hours on Monday in Belgorod, a Russian region bordering Ukraine, but there was no damage or security threat, the top official in the area said.

Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said he “wanted to dispel apprehensions among inhabitants of the region that someone or something flew in from the territory of Ukraine.

“That is not the case. Our military aviation was performing combat tasks as part of the special military operation,” he added, using the official term by which Russia refers to the war in Ukraine.

The fact that he felt the need to reassure residents suggested a degree of nervousness among the population after a spate of fires and explosions in recent weeks at ammunition stores and fuel depots in Belgorod and other southern regions.

Ukraine has not directly accepted responsibility but has described the incidents as payback and “karma” for Russia‘s invasion.

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UN: More Than 300 Evacuated From Mariupol

The United Nations says more than 300 civilians from the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol and four other towns have been evacuated to Ukrainian-held Zaporizhzhia in a second successful operation to get civilians out of areas subject to Russian shelling and attacks.

Osnat Lubrani, the U.N. humanitarian chief in Ukraine, said in a statement that many of the civilians from Mariupol, Manhush, Berdiansk, Tokmak, and Vasylivka came Wednesday with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and are now getting humanitarian assistance. She said they’ll also receive “much-needed psychological support.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the 344 evacuated Wednesday are in addition to the more than 150 people who were evacuated earlier this week from the bunkers under the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, which is surrounded by Russian troops and reportedly came under renewed fire on Wednesday.

No civilians were reported evacuated from the plant on Wednesday. Zelenskyy said they are trying to reach an agreement to save those remaining at Azovstal, including women and children.

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Air Raid Sirens, Missile Fire in Ukraine

Air raid sirens sounded in cities across Ukraine on Wednesday night and missile fire followed shortly after in the cities of Cherkasy, Dnipro, and Zaporizhzhia.

In Dnipro, Mayor Borys Filatov said one strike hit the center of the city. The strikes in Dnipro also hit a railroad facility, authorities initially said, without elaborating. Ukrainian Railways said none of its staff were injured in the Dnipro attack.

Complaining that the West is “stuffing Ukraine with weapons,” Russia bombarded railroad stations and other supply-line points across the country. Meanwhile, the European Union moved to further punish Moscow for the war by proposing a ban on oil imports, a crucial source of revenue for Russia.

Jack Phillips, Lorenz Duchamps, The Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report.

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