Elizabeth Warren

Senator from Massachusetts
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Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the presidential race on March 5, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Warren is campaigning on the promise she will push sweeping changes that address economic inequality and root out corruption. The former Harvard law professor was a prominent voice for stricter oversight following the 2008 financial crisis before being elected to the US Senate in 2012.
University of Houston B.S., 1970; Rutgers University, J.D., 1976
June 22, 1949
Bruce Mann; divorced from Jim Warren
Methodist
Amelia, Alexander (with Jim Warren)
Professor, Harvard Law School, 1995-2012;
Visiting professor, Harvard Law School, 1992-1993;
Law professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1987-1995;
Professor of law, University of Texas Law School in Austin, 1983-1987;
Assistant and later associate professor at the University of Houston Law Center, 1978-1983;
Law lecturer at Rutgers School of Law, 1977-1978;
Speech pathologist at a New Jersey elementary school, early 1970s

WARREN IN THE NEWS

Elizabeth Warren is 'just plain wrong' to blame corporations for high inflation, Chamber of Commerce CEO says
Updated 8:16 AM ET, Tue May 10, 2022
US Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark is pushing back against Senator Elizabeth Warren and others who blame high inflation on dominant corporations. "They're just plain wrong," Clark told CNN in a rare interview. "We've had decades of low inflation. There wasn't some magic burst of consolidation in the last month or the last quarter. That's not what's going on." Clark, the first woman to lead America's largest business lobbying group, instead blames the 40-year high in inflation on a series of other forces unrelated to corporate concentration. "We know what's happening. We know there's a worker shortage driving wages up. We know there's an energy shortage. There's a housing shortage," Clark said. The Chamber of Commerce CEO argued there are meaningful steps that could be taken to help ease the pressure on prices, including lifting tariffs, boosting legal immigration and focusing on domestic energy production. "There's real work we could do, or we could keep politicizing it," Clark said. Of course, the Chamber of Commerce represents some major businesses that have benefited from the same corporate power issues that Warren has flagged. Elizabeth Warren responds Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, has repeatedly warned that concentrated corporate power has helped create conditions for price gouging. Warren responded to the Chamber of Commerce CEO's comments by pointing out that more than 75% of US industries, from agriculture to healthcare, have less competition than 20 years ago. "Giant corporations are taking advantage of supply chain challenges to jack up prices and pad their profits," Warren told CNN through a spokesperson. The Democrat cited a study from progressive think tank Economic Policy Institute that found fatter corporate profit margins have driven more than half of price increases since 2020. "The American people know that big businesses and Washington lobbyists are putting profits above families," Warren said, "and I'm fighting every day to lower costs for working people by cracking down on price gouging and breaking up corporate monopolies." A White House official told CNN that corporate concentration is a "decades-old issue" and no one in the administration is saying it is the central driver of today's inflation. The official said President Joe Biden plans to say in a speech on Tuesday the two central causes of inflation are the pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine. "But that doesn't mean that large corporations should be let off the hook for anti-competitive practices that have driven prices up over a long period of time," the White House official said, pointing specifically to prescription drugs, hearing aids, internet bills and shipping costs. "At the very least, corporations earning record profits while raising prices should pay their fair share in taxes." Pricey childcare and the worker shortage Meanwhile, the shortage of workers continues to be a major concern for both business leaders and politicians. The Labor Department said last week that the number of job openings in the United States rose to 11.5 million in March, the highest level since tracking began in December 2000. "This is the key issue that every CEO in America is talking about," Clark said, adding that the worker shortage is at the heart of inflation and the supply chain mess. The worker shortage is being driven by a confluence of factors, including Covid-related problems, early retirements and high childcare costs. The Chamber of Commerce has called for states to use American Rescue Plan funds to help parents with childcare costs. "It's a really complicated issue that is keeping moms and dads out of the market. And too often, that burden falls to the women," Clark said. "We have got to do everything we can to get people off the sidelines and working again." Build Back Better and Roe v. Wade The Biden administration's stalled Build Back Better Plan calls for the largest investment in childcare in US history. The plan's framework proposed ensuring that middle-class families pay no more than 7% of their income on childcare. The Chamber of Commerce helped lead the fight against passage of Build Back Better, warning tax hikes would hurt the economy. Asked if the Chamber would support Build Back Better's childcare proposals on a standalone basis, Clark was noncommittal. "We would look at it," she said. "We don't like the big reconciliation tax-and-spending spree, everything in the Christmas tree, packages. But no doubt there are some proposals in there that are worthy of real debate and real discussion." Beyond childcare, Clark called for the United States to ramp up legal immigration to provide an influx of workers that companies need right now. "We can secure our borders, like every great nation does, and increase legal immigration," she said. "The loud voices that are pretending in this debate that these are binary choices are just not right." However, Clark declined to weigh in on another issue facing the workforce: a potential abortion ban if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. "It's not something we've ever taken a position on," Clark said, adding that she does not have a personal view on the controversial issue. Asked about pledges from Amazon, Salesforce, Uber and other companies to cover employees' travel costs to seek abortion care, Clark simply said, "Every company's got to make their own decisions." Biden's 'mixed' economic track record The economy continues to drag down President Joe Biden's poll numbers. Just 34% of Americans approve of Biden's handling of the economy, according to a CNN poll released last week. Clark declined to give Biden a letter grade on the economy, instead describing his impact as a "mixed bag." On the positive side, Clark praised the Biden's efforts to enact bipartisan infrastructure legislation, an achievement former President Donald Trump tried and failed to attain. And she spoke highly of the open dialogue between the US Chamber and the White House. "We have a respectful relationship. They call us, we call them. We meet with them a great deal," Clark said. "When we disagree, we don't surprise each other. We're pretty upfront about what's working and what isn't." Clark singled out Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and National Economic Council director Brian Deese as Biden officials who have been very open to conversations, even when they don't agree. 'That's scary' However, Clark expressed concern about what she described as the Biden administration's "overregulation." She specifically flagged comments from Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, who in September said her agency's job is to "shape the distribution of power and opportunity across our economy." "That's scary. We believe in the free market, not government-driven solutions," Clark said. And Clark urged the Biden administration to pursue a "bolder" trade agenda. "The fact that we can't get a US-UK trade deal done seems silly," she said. "It just puts our families and our communities at a disadvantage and it doesn't help our allies." Despite his attacks on big business, January 6th insurrection and the US-China trade war, Clark said Trump was "largely" pro-business. "There's a lot of credit to be given on deregulation and the tax agenda. Those are always very high on job creators' minds," Clark said. Lawsuits to block Biden? Looking ahead, the Chamber of Commerce CEO signaled the group is preparing for further battles with the White House in case the midterm election brings gridlock back to Washington. Clark suggested that if Republicans retake one or both chambers of Congress, the Biden administration may be tempted to lean more into executive orders. "Business has to be ready to use litigation and other means to reign them in," Clark said, "to make sure they're not exceeding their constitutional authority."
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STANCES ON THE ISSUES

climate crisis
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A backer of the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Warren has set out one of the most detailed proposals for making it happen. In June 2019, she introduced a suite of industrial proposals with names like the “Green Apollo Program” and “Green Marshall Plan.” Her Green Industrial Mobilization is the most ambitious – and expensive, with a $1.5 trillion price tag over 10 years – for spending on “American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products for federal, state, and local use, and for export.” The “Green Apollo” plan would invest in scientific innovation and the “Green Marshall Plan” would facilitate the sales of new green technologies to foreign markets. In September 2019, Warren announced she would adopt the climate change proposals championed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who bowed out of his climate change-focused candidacy in August 2019. That includes a 10-year plan for moving to 100% clean energy and emissions-free vehicles, as well as zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings by 2028. Warren says achieving those goals would take another $1 trillion in investment on top of her existing proposals, which she says would be covered by reversing the 2017 Republican tax cuts. Warren said in October 2019 that, if elected president, she would mandate all federal agencies to consider climate impacts in their permitting and rulemaking processes. When tribal nations are involved, Warren wrote in a Medium post, projects would not proceed unless “developers have obtained the free, prior and informed consent of the tribal governments concerned.” She said a Warren administration would aggressively pursue cases of environmental discrimination, and would fully fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s environmental health programs. Warren told The Washington Post she would recommit the US to the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. More on Warren’s climate crisis policy
economy
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Warren says she’s a capitalist but wants regulation. “I believe in markets,” she said in a March 2019 CNN town hall, following up with a focus on rules and regulation. “Market without rules is theft.” The senator has released a tax plan that would impose a 2% tax on households with net worths of more than $50 million and an additional 1% levy on wealth above $1 billion. This tax would cover, according to Warren, a universal child care program she announced in February 2019. Warren has staked out her claim as an opposition leader against what she sees as big business overreach. Also in February 2019, she criticized Amazon for “walk[ing] away from billions in taxpayer bribes, all because some elected officials in New York aren’t sucking up to them enough. How long will we allow giant corporations to hold our democracy hostage?” She was opposed to the recent deregulation efforts around banks. Warren is calling for the breakup of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon and advocated legislation that would make Amazon Marketplace and Google search into utilities. In July 2019, Warren released a plan aimed at Wall Street and private equity that would reinstate a modern Glass-Steagall Act, which would wall off commercial banks from investment banks, place new restrictions on the private equity industry and propose legislative action to more closely tie bank executives’ pay to their companies’ performance. She also released a set of trade policy changes that would seek to defend American jobs by negotiating to raise global labor and environmental standards. The senator wrote that she would not strike any trade deals unless partner countries meet a series of ambitious preconditions regarding human rights, religious freedom, and labor and environmental practices, among other issues. She said she would renegotiate existing trade agreements to ensure other countries meet the higher standards, and she pledged to push for a new “non-sustainable economy” designation to give her the ability to penalize countries with poor labor and environmental practices. Warren said in October 2019 that she would extend labor rights to all workers, protect pensions and strengthen workers’ rights to organize, bargain collectively and strike. More on Warren’s economic policy
education
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Warren has released a plan to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt for tens of millions of Americans. The amount of relief would be tied to income, with those households making $250,000 or more shut out of the program. Households earning less than $250,000 would be eligible for relief on a sliding scale, with those reporting less than $100,000 a year eligible for the maximum. Warren unveiled the proposal as part of a larger program that would supercharge federal spending on higher education, including eliminating tuition and fees for college students at two- and four-year public institutions. It would also ask states to pay a share of the costs. Warren would expand grants for low-income and minority students to help with costs like housing, food, books and child care. Her campaign has priced the plan at $1.25 trillion over 10 years and says it would be paid for by her wealth tax. The plan would also establish a $50 billion fund for historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions. More on Warren’s education policy
gun violence
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During the first Democratic debate, Warren called gun violence “a national health emergency” that should be treated like a “virus that’s killing our children” – and called for robust new restrictions and new investment in research. “We can do the universal background checks, we can ban the weapons of war,” Warren added, “but we can also double down on the research and find out what really works.” Though her campaign has not yet released a gun control plan, Warren has been active on the issue as a senator. In February 2018, less than two weeks after the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, she sent letters to nine major gun company shareholders, asking that they use their influence to pressure the industry to take steps to reduce gun violence. She supports bans on so-called assault weapons and legislation prohibiting high-capacity magazines, and has voted to expand background checks for gun buyers.
healthcare
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Warren has endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill, which would create a national government-run health care program and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry. In a plan released in November 2019, Warren said she would implement Medicare for All in two phases that would be complete by the end of her first term. Warren proposed a plan in April 2019 to drive down the maternal mortality rate among African American women. Warren has also co-sponsored legislation in the Senate aimed at lowering the price of prescription drugs that includes allowing the federal government to manufacture generic medications if their prices spike. More on Warren’s health care policy
immigration
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Warren unveiled a plan in July 2019 to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, pledging to reverse a series of Trump administration policies and authorize her Justice Department to review allegations of abuse against detained migrants. The proposal would decriminalize crossing the border into the United States without authorization, a step first championed by former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, and separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement. If elected, Warren said, she would first seek to pursue her agenda through legislation, but “move forward with executive action if Congress refuses to act.” Warren also said she supports legislation that would provide a path to legal status and citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Her plan would end privately contracted detention facilities and she promises that she would “issue guidance ensuring that detention is only used where it is actually necessary because an individual poses a flight or safety risk.” Warren backs expanding legal immigration, raising the refugee cap and making “it easier for those eligible for citizenship to naturalize.” She would reduce “the family reunification backlog” and provide “a fair and achievable pathway to citizenship.” More on Warren’s immigration policy

LATEST POLITICAL NEWS

May 27, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news
Updated 12:01 AM ET, Sat May 28, 2022
Our live coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine has moved here. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in Donbas is "very difficult" as Russia ramps up firepower and manpower, and makes incremental gains in the southeastern region. But he vowed Donbas would be "Ukrainian again." Here's the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine: Fighting in Severodonetsk: Ukrainian officials have denied claims the city in the embattled Luhansk region is surrounded by Russian forces, but acknowledged Russia holds one part of the city and further enemy gains were possible. About 90% of Severodonetsk's housing had been damaged amid a "fierce defense" of the city, a local military official said Friday. Supply lines: Ukraine's military said the Russians are mobilizing railway brigades with special machinery to repair damaged railway lines inside northern Ukraine to sustain supply routes. The railway from Russia into the Kharkiv region and south to Izium is a critical supply line for the Russian offensive. Weapons aid: US defense officials said they were "mindful and aware" of Ukraine's request for advanced, multiple-launch rocket systems, but decisions were yet to be made. CNN reported Thursday that the Biden administration is preparing to send MLRS systems as part of a larger package of military and security assistance to Ukraine, which could be announced as soon as next week. Food security: Zelensky said nearly half of Ukraine’s grain export supply, some 22 million tons, is currently held up as Russia continues to block the country’s main export routes through the Black Sea and Azov Sea. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba discussed efforts to resolve the global food security crisis in a call Friday. Prisoner exchange: Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer that an exchange of prisoners will take place between Russia and Ukraine, according to a statement from the Austrian Chancellery following a 45-minute call between the two leaders. Putin also told Nehammer that the International Committee of the Red Cross will "have free access to prisoners of war," and asked for the same to be granted to Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine.  NATO membership: Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto expressed optimism that "sooner or later, Finland and Sweden will be members of NATO" and said discussions with the Turkish government would continue as Ankara threatens to block the two nations from joining the defensive alliance. Both formally applied for NATO membership last week. ##Catch Up## The US Defense Department awarded a top defense contractor a $624 million contract to replenish Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, one of the key systems the US has provided to Ukraine as Russia's war continues. The department announced the contract to Raytheon on Friday afternoon, though it was officially awarded on Wednesday. The contract is "for the procurement of Stinger missiles and associated equipment." There is no timeline listed for completion of the work.  The US has sent more than 1,400 Stinger systems, including missiles and launchers, to Ukraine to help them challenge Russia's attempt to control the skies. Stingers are short-range anti-aircraft missiles with a range of about 3 miles (nearly 5 kilometers).   Though their range is too short to allow them to target high-flying aircraft, they can effectively shoot down drones and low-flying aircraft and helicopters. The US has little use for Stingers, but they have been in high demand in Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion.   Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has promised that Donbas will be "Ukrainian again," as Russian forces continue to make incremental gains in the southeastern region.  Speaking during his nightly address Friday, Zelensky called the current situation in Donbas "very difficult," referencing Russia's ramping up of firepower and manpower in the region.  "That's why we have to increase our defense, increase our resistance, and Donbas will be Ukrainian again. Even if Russia will bring all suffering and ruination to Donbas, we will rebuild every town, every community. There's no real alternative," Zelensky stressed.  The US Defense Department maintained during a press briefing Friday that Russia is continuing to make "incremental gains" in Donbas.  Ukraine continues to call on international partners, including the UK, to provide it with multiple launch rocket systems to counter the Russian offensive.  While acknowledging Ukraine's request, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby stressed during Friday's briefing that “decisions… haven’t been made yet.”  The US Defense Department said it is “mindful and aware” of Ukraine’s request for multiple-launch rocket systems, but that “decisions … haven’t been made yet.” “Our goal from the very beginning has been to try to help them in the fight that they’re in today,” said outgoing Pentagon press secretary John Kirby at a briefing with reporters. “I won't go so far as to say it's too late to provide the Ukrainians with any system or capability that they might need because they are very active in the fight and they have pushed back the Russians up near Kharkiv,” Kirby said. However, Kirby said the Defense Department is “mindful of the clock” when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “We are ever mindful as we have been since the beginning, mindful of the clock here, mindful of this sense of urgency, mindful that time is not our friend,” said Kirby, “which is why we have been continuing to move equipment literally every day for the last 90 plus days of this war.” CNN reported Thursday that the Biden administration is preparing to send MLRS systems as part of a larger package of military and security assistance to Ukraine, which could be announced as soon as next week. The MLRS and its lighter-weight version, the HIMARS, can launch as far as 300 kilometers (186 miles), depending on the type of munition. Ukrainian officials are denying that the city of Severodonetsk in Luhansk is surrounded, but have acknowledged that Russian forces hold one part of the city. "The city is not cut off, and it is not surrounded. The fighting continues," said Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk region's military administration, in a radio interview. The Russian army has "only entered the outskirts of the city," he claimed. "This is a war, a war against a very powerful enemy, and in theory anything is possible," Hayday said when asked about the possibility of Russian troops gaining further ground in the city. "The higher military command sees this situation. But so far I can't say that in a day, two, three they will completely take over the area. No, most likely they won't." "We have enough strength," he continued, while also cautioning that, "Maybe there will be a command to our troops even to retreat." Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto expressed optimism that “sooner or later, Finland and Sweden will be members of NATO” and said discussions with the Turkish government would continue as Ankara threatens to block the two nations from joining the defensive alliance. In an interview with CNN in Washington, DC, Friday, Haavisto said he expected that the topic of Finland’s NATO membership and overcoming Turkey’s current opposition would come up in his conversations with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his meeting later in the day, adding he was “quite confident” that other NATO countries had spoken with Turkey as well. Delegations from Finland and Sweden – which both formally applied for NATO membership last week – traveled to Turkey earlier this week for talks on NATO accession. All current NATO members must approve new members. Haavisto, who did not attend the talks, called it a “good meeting,” and said it lasted for five hours. Haavisto indicated that there are European and Finnish laws and policies in place that guide Finland’s actions on Turkey’s main demands – the designation the PKK as a terrorist organization, lifting arms export controls, the extradition of Kurdish militants that Turkey sees as terrorists. However, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said following the delegation’s visit that “if Turkey’s security concerns are not met with concrete steps, the process cannot progress.” Haavisto said “there was an agreement to continue those discussions,” but a next round of talks has not yet been arranged. “From our perspective, the time frame is essential, because we are, of course, looking forward to NATO Summit in Madrid,” which is at the end of June, “and we hope that during the NATO Summit, the new members would be welcomed, at least, and the NATO ‘Open Door Policy’ would be confirmed, but of course, this is up to each and every member state that they can also influence the process,” he said. The decisions by Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO was a major shift prompted by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Read more: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Friday with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba "to discuss continued U.S. security assistance to Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war," according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.  "The Secretary and Foreign Minister Kuleba shared updates on efforts to resolve the global food security crisis caused by President Putin’s invasion, noting that the Kremlin continues to weaponize food and spread false claims about US sanctions," according to a statement from Price. This was their second call this week after speaking on Tuesday.  Kuleba said on Twitter that he and Blinken discussed Ukraine's urgent need for supplies of heavy weaponry as well. "I value his personal efforts to ensure a sustained U.S. and global support for Ukraine. Heavy weapons on top of our agenda, and more are coming our way. Ukraine and the U.S. work hand in hand to deliver our food exports despite Russia’s reckless blockade," Kuleba tweeted. Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer that an exchange of prisoners will take place between Russia and Ukraine.  The two leaders discussed the possibilities for prisoner exchanges during a 45-minute phone call on Friday, according to a statement of the call from the Austrian Chancellery.  According to the chancellery, Putin "assured" the Austrian leader "that the efforts towards a prisoner of war exchange will be intensified," adding that he was "optimistic that such an exchange would be possible again soon." Putin also told Nehammer that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will "have free access to prisoners of war," asking for this access to also be granted to Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine.  The Russian leader provided his Austrian counterpart with "an assessment of the situation the context of the ongoing special military operation to protect Donbas," the Kremlin said in a readout of the call, using a standard euphemism to refer to the invasion of Ukraine.  They also discussed efforts to "ensure the safety of navigation in the waters of the Azov and Black Seas," the Kremlin said.  "A thorough exchange of views was held on issues related to global food security. Vladimir Putin emphasized that attempts to make Russia responsible for the difficulties with the supply of agricultural products to world markets are groundless," according to the Kremlin.  The Austrian Chancellery added that Nehammer did receive "positive signals" from Putin that a solution will be found to allow the export of Ukrainian goods through the seaports of the Black Sea.  During the call, Russia's "commitment to comply with contractual obligations on natural gas supplies to Austria was reaffirmed," the Kremlin said.  Ukraine's military said the Russians are trying to repair damaged railway lines inside northern Ukraine to sustain their supply routes. In an update posted Friday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that "in order to improve the logistics of its troops, the enemy is trying to restore the damaged railway.  "In particular, in the temporarily occupied territories of Kharkiv region, the occupiers are involving units of 29 separate railway brigades from Smolensk with special machinery and equipment for the repair of railway infrastructure," the update said. The railway from Russia into the Kharkiv region and south to Izium is a critical supply line for the Russian offensive. Elsewhere, the General Staff reported further heavy fire by Russian forces as they try to develop an offensive on Sloviansk, a city in Donetsk region, the update said. Russian assault operations were underway in several settlements around the city of Severodonetsk, where Ukrainian defenses have been under constant bombardment. The updated added that Russian forces were also trying to disrupt Ukrainian supply lines from Bakhmut that support front-line troops in the Severodonetsk area but that their assaults on three settlements had been unsuccessful. The Ukrainian air force says one of its planes shot down a Russian Su-35 fighter over the southern region of Kherson on Friday. It posted on Facebook that "at about 2 pm, a MiG-29 fighter of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shot down a Russian Su-35 fighter in the sky over Kherson region." While the Ukrainian air force contingent of Mig-29 fighters is aging, the arrival of spare parts from other countries allowed it to field more of the combat jets than it had before the Russian invasion, according to US officials.  The Russian Ministry of Defense regularly claims that Ukrainian combat planes have been shot down, and the Ukrainian air force's current combat capability is difficult to gauge. The Su-35 is a more capable and modern aircraft but the Russian air force has suffered some attrition of its fleet since the invasion began.  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said nearly half of Ukraine’s grain export supply is currently held up as Russia continues to block the country’s main export routes through the Black Sea and Azov Sea, calling the situation a potential “catastrophe” for global food security. Addressing an Indonesian foreign policy think tank in an online forum Friday, Zelensky said, “22 million tons of grain are kept in silos today. We cannot supply them to international markets where they are needed at this very point in time." The Ukrainian president also said the UN estimates that famine might affect additional 50 million people this year were a “conservative” estimate, implying that the number of those affected will be greater.  “Famine doesn’t come alone, it is always accompanied by political chaos that exacerbates the situation, ruins people’s lives, creating unsafe conditions for ordinary people," he said. "In July, when many countries will exhaust their stock of last year’s harvest, it will become obvious the catastrophe is truly coming." The Ukrainian president also accepted an invitation to attend G20 Summit in Indonesia in November. He urged the hosts to include “only friendly nations,” implying Russia should be excluded from the summit in Bali. About 90% of the city's housing stock had been damaged amid a "fierce defense" of the town, a local military official in the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk said Friday. The city "held out through the night" under heavy Russian attack, Oleksandr Striuk, the head of the Severodonetsk military administration, said in a radio interview. But he acknowledged that Russian forces were continuing to press the offensive. "Yesterday the fighting took place at the entrance to the city," he said. "Our military managed to stop the vanguard of the Orcs [a pejorative Ukrainian term for Russian troops] who were trying to break into the city. Severodonetsk is in fierce defense. The enemy is located on two-thirds of the city's perimeter, but the city is not surrounded." The city had seen widespread destruction, Striuk said.  "The Azot (Nitrogen) chemical plant is being shelled," he said. "There are dead among the civilian population and among employees of the enterprise. Ninety percent of the housing stock is damaged, 60% will have to be rebuilt." Striuk said a Russian force that entered a hotel on the north of the city was expelled by Ukrainian forces, a claim that could not be immediately verified. Ukrainian officials previously said the hotel was not under their control.  Russian forces are intensifying attacks in eastern Ukraine as they try to break down stubborn Ukrainian defenses — which Ukrainian officials admit are outnumbered and outgunned. Meanwhile, in a new report, legal experts accuse Russia of inciting genocide and intending to "destroy" Ukrainian people. Here's the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine: Frozen negotiations: Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are currently frozen, the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday, as he accused Kyiv of making “contradictory” statements that Moscow does not understand. Report accuses Russia of genocide: Russia's actions in Ukraine provide enough evidence to conclude that Moscow is inciting genocide and committing atrocities intended to destroy the Ukrainian people, according to an independent legal report, signed by more than 30 leading legal scholars and genocide experts. UK calls for more military support: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was making "slow" but "palpable" progress in the Donbas and urged more military support for Ukraine, such as the provision of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. No agreement on maritime corridors: A Ukrainian official said that "maritime humanitarian corridors" announced earlier this week by the Russian military had not been agreed by Ukraine and accused Russia of trying to shift blame on Ukraine for a global food crisis in "another lie." Heavy fighting in Luhansk: Ukrainian officials reported continued heavy fighting in the Luhansk region, with a local military chief describing "fierce battles" for the city of Severodonetsk. Officials also described heavy shelling around Severodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk, saying Russian forces had set the police station in Lysychansk on fire and damaged about 50 buildings in the area. Russian bombardment: Ukraine's armed forces on Thursday acknowledged that Russian troops have made further advances in the eastern Donetsk region — capturing one district within 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) of the important town of Bakhmut. Ukrainian officials say that in recent days, the Russians have combined short-range ballistic missiles, multiple launch rocket systems, heavy artillery and tanks in a remorseless bombardment of towns and cities in Luhansk and Donetsk regions still under Ukrainian control. Several officials describe the situation as "very difficult" and admit Ukrainian units may have to fall back in some places. Deadly attacks: Nine people were killed and 19 others injured in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday amid "dense shelling" of residential areas, according to a Ukrainian military official. Ukrainian forces were "holding their positions firmly and there is no question about possible seizure of Kharkiv city," the official said. Removed to Russia: Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been processed through a series of Russian "filtration camps" in eastern Ukraine and sent into Russia as part of a systemized program of forced removal, according to four sources familiar with the latest Western intelligence — an estimate far higher than US officials have publicly disclosed. ##Catch Up## Russian President Vladimir Putin says his government is continuing to implement measures to tackle the sanctions imposed on Moscow by “unfriendly countries.” “The government of Russia is taking prompt decisions to ensure stable functioning of the market and financial sector,” he told the Eurasian leaders during a virtual meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on Friday. “We’re working on increasing access to finance, to support working capital and liquidity.”  Russia had begun asking countries to pay for oil and gas shipments in rubles, but Putin says that policy will be reversed for some partners. “We are extending the practice of payments in the national currencies for those countries that have proven themselves as reliable partners for Russia,” he said.  The Russian president went on to address the issue of food insecurity, which has come to the fore because Russia invaded Ukraine, one of the Europe’s largest grain producers.  “Russia and other members of our organization are behaving most responsibly,” he said, adding that Eurasian countries were fully self-sufficient when it came to these products.  Putin went on to say that interest in the Eurasian Economic Union was on the rise “despite the complex international situation, unleashed by the so-called collective West, with its confrontation.” “To Russia, deepening relations with all Eurasian partners is very important,” he said.  The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting took place on the second day of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) forum held in Kyrgyzstan. A Ukrainian official said Friday that "maritime humanitarian corridors" announced earlier this week by the Russian military had not been agreed by Ukraine and accused Russia of trying to shift blame on Ukraine for a global food crisis. Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman for the Operational Staff of the Odesa regional administration, said an announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defense of safe lanes for ships were "attempts to create an informational alibi for Russia." "So this is just another lie of Russia and an attempt to blame Ukraine in creating a food crisis," he said. Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports has contributed to global grain shortages. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi discussed the global food security issue in a phone call Thursday, according to readouts of the call from both governments. According to the Kremlin, Putin said Russia was ready to take steps to mitigate the crisis by allowing export of grain and fertilizers if the West lifts what Russia calls "politically motivated" sanctions. Earlier this week, the Russian military claimed it would open two "maritime humanitarian corridors" -- one from the direction of the Ukrainian ports of Kherson, Mykolaiv, Chornomorsk, Ochakiv, Odesa and Pivdennyi (Yuzhny) and another from the port of Mariupol on the Azov Sea. In his call with Draghi, Putin claimed the operation of those corridors was "hindered by the Ukrainian side," the Kremlin said. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the nominee to be the next top US general overseeing the US military presence in Europe, told lawmakers Thursday that grain shortages were “being felt on the African continent." UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Thursday that Putin is "weaponizing hunger and lack of food amongst the poorest people around the world." Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are currently frozen, the Kremlin said Friday, as it accused Kyiv of making “contradictory” statements that Moscow does not understand. “The negotiations are frozen by the decision of the Ukrainian side,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a regular conference call. “In general, the leadership of Ukraine constantly makes statements that contradict each other. This does not allow us to fully understand what the Ukrainian side wants,” Peskov added. On Thursday, Peskov said Moscow expects Kyiv to accept the status quo and meet its territorial demands, following remarks by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that appeared to suggest Ukraine has to agree to give up Crimea and much of the Donbas region to Russia. In an interview last week with Reuters, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak ruled out agreeing to a ceasefire with Russia and said Kyiv would not accept any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has compared Kissinger's statements to appeasement of Nazi Germany in 1938.  UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was making "slow" but "palpable" progress in the Donbas and urged more military support for Ukraine, such as the provision of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. “I think it’s very, very important that we do not get lulled because of the incredible heroism of the Ukrainians in pushing the Russians back from the gates of Kyiv," Johnson said in an interview with Bloomberg. “I’m afraid that Putin at great cost to himself and to (the) Russian military is continuing to chew through ground in Donbas, he’s continuing to make gradual, slow but I’m afraid palpable progress," he added. Johnson stressed that therefore "it is absolutely vital" to continue to support the Ukrainians militarily. "What they need now is the type of rocketry, a Multiple Launch Rocket System, MLRS, that will enable them to defend themselves against this very brutal Russian artillery, and that's where the world needs to go now," he said. Johnson also warned of the dangers of negotiating with Putin, and compared him to a crocodile. "How can you deal with a crocodile when it's in the middle of eating your left leg?" Johnson told Bloomberg TV. "[Putin] will try to freeze the conflict. He will try and call for a ceasefire while he remains in possession of substantial parts of Ukraine." Russian forces are intensifying attacks in eastern Ukraine as they try to break down stubborn Ukrainian defenses — which Ukrainian officials admit are outnumbered and outgunned. Here's the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine: Report accuses Russia of genocide: Russia's actions in Ukraine provide enough evidence to conclude that Moscow is inciting genocide and committing atrocities intended to destroy the Ukrainian people, according to an independent legal report, signed by more than 30 leading legal scholars and genocide experts. Heavy fighting in Luhansk: Ukrainian officials reported continued heavy fighting in the Luhansk region, with a local military chief describing "fierce battles" for the city of Severodonetsk. Officials also described heavy shelling around Severodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk, saying Russian forces had set the police station in Lysychansk on fire and damaged about 50 buildings in the area. Russian bombardment: Ukraine's armed forces on Thursday acknowledged that Russian troops have made further advances in the eastern Donetsk region — capturing one district within 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) of the important town of Bakhmut. Ukrainian officials say that in recent days, the Russians have combined short-range ballistic missiles, multiple-launch rocket systems, heavy artillery and tanks in a remorseless bombardment of towns and cities in Luhansk and Donetsk regions still under Ukrainian control. Several officials describe the situation as "very difficult" and admit Ukrainian units may have to fall back in some places. Deadly attacks: Nine people were killed and 19 others injured in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday amid "dense shelling" of residential areas, according to a Ukrainian military official. Ukrainian forces were "holding their positions firmly and there is no question about possible seizure of Kharkiv city," the official said. Removed to Russia: Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been processed through a series of Russian "filtration camps" in eastern Ukraine and sent into Russia as part of a systemized program of forced removal, according to four sources familiar with the latest Western intelligence — an estimate far higher than US officials have publicly disclosed. US weapons supplies: The Biden administration is preparing to step up the kind of weaponry it is offering Ukraine by sending advanced, long-range rocket systems that are now the top request from Ukrainian officials, multiple officials say. The White House is leaning toward sending the systems as part of a larger package of military and security assistance, which could be announced as soon as next week. War crimes trial: Two captured Russian soldiers pleaded guilty in a court in central Ukraine on Thursday to "violating laws and customs of war conducted with preliminary group conspiracy." Oleksandr Bobykin and Oleksandr Ivanov are accused of firing rockets from Russia’s Belgorod region toward Kharkiv on Feb. 24. Oil price spikes: Brent crude oil climbed on Thursday to more than $117 a barrel — the highest level since late March — signaling more pain for drivers. Investors are watching nervously as European officials attempt to reach an agreement on phasing out Russian oil, a step that would further scramble energy flows. ##Catch Up## Ukrainian officials on Friday reported continued heavy fighting in the Luhansk region, with a local military chief describing "fierce battles" for the city of Severodonetsk. In televised remarks, Oleksandr Striuk, head of the Severodonetsk city military administration, said: "There have been fierce battles for the city. We have a hot spot, the Mir hotel. On May 26 [Thursday], an enemy sabotage and reconnaissance group entered the Mir Hotel. The [Ukrainian] Armed Forces resisted." A pro-Russian Telegram channel said Russian forces had entered the hotel, which is in the north of Severodonetsk, and that street fighting was underway. Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said a Ukrainian operation to retake the hotel was underway on Friday, but added: "We are not yet in control of the hotel. But we are working to drive out the ruscists [Russian fascists]." Hayday also described heavy shelling around Severodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk as Russian forces pushed from the direction of the towns of Purdivka and Shchedryshchevo, saying it had set the police station in Lysychansk on fire and damaged about 50 buildings in the area. "Residents of Severodonetsk have already forgotten what it is like when the city is silent for at least half an hour," Hayday said. "Russians are harassing residential neighborhoods continuously. On May 26, four residents of Severodonetsk were killed by enemy shells in the old districts of the city. Two of them died at the same time near one high-rise building. There is damage to the housing stock; 11 apartment buildings and one private house damaged." Russia's actions in Ukraine provide enough evidence to conclude that Moscow is inciting genocide and committing atrocities intended to destroy the Ukrainian people, according to the first independent report into allegations of genocide in that country. The legal report, signed by more than 30 leading legal scholars and genocide experts, accuses the Russian state of violating several articles of the United Nations Genocide Convention. It warns there is a serious and imminent risk of genocide in Ukraine, backing the accusations with a long list of evidence including examples of mass killings of civilians, forced deportations and dehumanizing anti-Ukrainian rhetoric used by top Russian officials. The report was put together by New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, a US-based think tank, and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights which is based in Canada, and is set to release on Friday, with the authors sending copies to parliaments, governments and international organizations around the world. An advance copy of the report has been shared exclusively with CNN. "We assembled top legal experts from around the globe who then examined all the evidence and they came to the conclusion that the Russian Federation bears responsibility for breaches of the Genocide Convention in Ukraine," Azeem Ibrahim of the New Lines Institute told CNN. Ibrahim visited Ukraine in March to gather evidence for the report. "This is a very thorough and detailed examination of extensive evidence," he said. "What we have seen so far is that this war is genocidal in its nature, in terms of the language being used and the manner in which it is being executed. That's very, very clear." Read more: Russian forces are intensifying attacks in eastern Ukraine as they try to break down stubborn Ukrainian defenses — which Ukrainian officials admit are outnumbered and outgunned. Here's the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine: Russian bombardment: Ukraine's armed forces on Thursday acknowledged that Russian troops have made further advances in the eastern Donetsk region — capturing one district within 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) of the important town of Bakhmut. Ukrainian officials say that in recent days, the Russians have combined short-range ballistic missiles, multiple-launch rocket systems, heavy artillery and tanks in a remorseless bombardment of towns and cities in Luhansk and Donetsk regions still under Ukrainian control. Several officials describe the situation as "very difficult" and admit Ukrainian units may have to fall back in some places. Deadly attacks: Nine people were killed and 19 others injured in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday amid "dense shelling" of residential areas, according to a Ukrainian military official. Ukrainian forces were "holding their positions firmly and there is no question about possible seizure of Kharkiv city," the official said. Removed to Russia: Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been processed through a series of Russian "filtration camps" in eastern Ukraine and sent into Russia as part of a systemized program of forced removal, according to four sources familiar with the latest Western intelligence — an estimate far higher than US officials have publicly disclosed. Genocide claims: Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine reflect "an obvious policy of genocide," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday. "The current offensive of the occupiers in Donbas can make the region uninhabited," he said. US weapons supplies: The Biden administration is preparing to step up the kind of weaponry it is offering Ukraine by sending advanced, long-range rocket systems that are now the top request from Ukrainian officials, multiple officials say. The White House is leaning toward sending the systems as part of a larger package of military and security assistance, which could be announced as soon as next week. War crimes trial: Two captured Russian soldiers pleaded guilty in a court in central Ukraine on Thursday to "violating laws and customs of war conducted with preliminary group conspiracy." Oleksandr Bobykin and Oleksandr Ivanov are accused of firing rockets from Russia’s Belgorod region toward Kharkiv on Feb. 24. Oil price spikes: Brent crude oil climbed on Thursday to more than $117 a barrel — the highest level since late March — signaling more pain for drivers. Investors are watching nervously as European officials attempt to reach an agreement on phasing out Russian oil, a step that would further scramble energy flows. Germany's gas pledge: Germany is working "flat out" to end its reliance on Russian gas imports, the country's Chancellor said Thursday, adding there was "no doubt" that both Berlin and the EU would end their dependence on energy imports from Moscow. ##Catch Up## Russia's intensified offensive in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region reflects "an obvious policy of genocide," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Thursday. "The current offensive of the occupiers in Donbas can make the region uninhabited," Zelensky said. "They want to burn Popasna, Bakhmut, Lyman, Lysychansk and Severodonetsk to ashes. Like Volnovakha, like Mariupol." In cities closer to the Russian border like Donetsk and Luhansk, Russian forces "gather everyone they can to fill the place of those killed and wounded in the occupation contingent," Zelensky said. "All this, including the deportation of our people and the mass killings of civilians, is an obvious policy of genocide pursued by Russia." Zelensky said putting pressure on Russia "is literally a matter of saving lives" and that every delay, dispute or proposal to "appease" Russia leads to "new killed Ukrainians" and new threats to everyone on the continent. Nine people, including a 5-month-old baby, were killed in Kharkiv on Thursday amid "dense shelling" on residential areas near the city center, according to Oleh Synyehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration. Among those killed was “a family who was simply walking down the street — a man was holding his five-month-old baby in his hands, whom he died holding. (The) mother of this baby is severely wounded and is now in the hospital,” Synyehubov said. He also described the artillery used, and said the targeting of residential areas in Ukraine's second-largest city could only be for the purpose of “terrorizing” local residents. "The enemy shelled with MLRS SMERCH and URAGAN and with artillery, modification of which is being established now by our military experts. According to the available data. the shelling was conducted from the North of the oblast, where our troops are holding their positions and slowly pushing the enemy away to the borders. This was a solely residential area, so the aim of this shelling could only be terrorizing the local residents," he said.  The official added it was the Shevchenkivskyi and Kyivskyi districts of Kharkiv that were “densely shelled.” He said in addition to those killed, 19 were injured, among them a 9-year-old child. “As of now our armed forces holding their positions firmly and there is no question about possible seizure of Kharkiv city,” he said. The Biden administration is preparing to step up the kind of weaponry it is offering Ukraine by sending advanced, long-range rocket systems that are now the top request from Ukrainian officials, multiple officials say. The administration is leaning toward sending the systems as part of a larger package of military and security assistance to Ukraine, which could be announced as soon as next week. Senior Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have pleaded in recent weeks for the US and its allies to provide the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS. The US-made weapon systems can fire a barrage of rockets hundreds of kilometers — much farther than any of the systems Ukraine already has — which the Ukrainians argue could be a gamechanger in their war against Russia. Another system Ukraine has asked for is the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS, a lighter wheeled system capable of firing many of the same types of ammunition as MLRS. Russia has in recent weeks pummeled Ukraine in the east, where Ukraine is outmanned and outgunned, Ukrainian officials have said. The Biden administration waivered for weeks, however, on whether to send the systems, amid concerns raised within the National Security Council that Ukraine could use the systems to carry out offensive attacks inside Russia, officials said. Read more: Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been processed through a series of Russian "filtration camps" in Eastern Ukraine and sent into Russia as part of a systemized program of forced removal, according to four sources familiar with the latest Western intelligence —  an estimate far higher than US officials have publicly disclosed. After being detained in camps operated by Russian intelligence officials, many Ukrainians are then forcibly relocated to economically depressed areas in Russia, in some cases thousands of miles from their homes, and often left with no means of returning, sources said. Although some Ukrainians have voluntarily entered filtration camps to try to escape the fighting by entering Russia, many have been picked up against their will at check points and in bomb shelters. After spending an average of around three weeks at the camps —  where sources and eyewitnesses say they are held in inhuman conditions, interrogated and sometimes tortured — some are sent across the border into Russia and given state documentation. Read more: Ukraine's armed forces have acknowledged that Russian forces have made further advances in the Donetsk region — capturing one district within 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) of the important town of Bakhmut. In an operational update Thursday, the armed forces' general staff said that while several Russian efforts to advance had been thwarted, "in the directions of Pokrovsky and Klynove, the enemy has partial success, capturing the village of Midna Ruda." Midna Ruda is some 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) southeast of Bakhmut, which has come under heavier artillery fire in the last week. Bakhmut is on a key resupply route for Ukrainian units on the frontlines, which would potentially be cut off by further Russian advances.  "In the Donetsk direction, the enemy is shelling our troops, launching missile strikes, conducting surveillance, and increasing air support," the general staff said. The general staff also said that other Russian efforts to push west towards the Donetsk region border had been repulsed. It said the Russians continued to bombard Ukrainian troops south of the town of Lyman, much of which fell into Russian hands Tuesday. Video Wednesday showed the Russian flag flying above the town's municipal offices.  Meanwhile, in the south: The general staff said that Russian units in the Zaporizhzhia region were being reinforced by Soviet-era T62 tanks, which appear to have been brought out of storage. Separately, the Ukrainian military released video and quotes from soldiers operating the US M777 howitzers. They praise its accuracy and range, with one saying, "The enemy feels the effectiveness of our artillery every day and every hour. We are doing everything possible and impossible to suppress and eliminate the enemy and give our infantry a chance for a counteroffensive to liberate our territories." CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko contributed reporting to this post. Russian forces are applying a wide array of weapons across several fronts in eastern Ukraine as they try to break down stubborn Ukrainian defenses, which are outnumbered and outgunned, according to Ukrainian officials. Several of those officials describe the situation as "very difficult" and admit Ukrainian units may have to fall back in some places. In recent days, Ukrainian officials say, the Russians have combined short-range ballistic missiles, multiple-launch rocket systems, heavy artillery and tanks in a remorseless bombardment of towns and cities in Luhansk and Donetsk regions still under Ukrainian control. The National Police of Ukraine said that civilians were killed in attacks on 13 settlements in Donetsk, with several towns not previously targeted suffering damage. Russian forces seem to be broadening the number of towns they are shelling as they try to destroy Ukrainian defenses and supply lines.  Their chief objective appears to be taking Sloviansk, which has seen an increase in shelling in recent days. Mayor Vadym Liakh said half the city is now without water, and there will be "no gas supply until the heating season." A growing number of Ukrainian officials describe the military situation in dire terms, although Russian advances on the ground have been modest. Fedir Venislavskyi, a member of Ukraine's parliament who is on the National Security Committee, described the situation as "difficult." He told Ukrainian television that "the hottest spots are Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The enemy is trying to encircle our troops."   The twin cities in Luhansk are almost entirely destroyed, but Ukrainian troops are still present. Nearly 15,000 civilians are estimated still to be in Severodonetsk. Two captured Russian soldiers pleaded guilty in Kotelevsky court in Ukraine’s Poltava region on Thursday to “violating laws and customs of war conducted with preliminary group conspiracy.” Oleksandr Bobykin and Oleksandr Ivanov are accused of firing Grad rockets from Russia’s Belgorod region towards Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Feb. 24. According to the case details made public on the court website, the men fired artillery and damaged “objects of civil and critical infrastructure, including private homes” in Kazacha Lopan and Veterynrne in the Kharkiv region. The soldiers were captured by Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region, according to the court memos.  The court is due to deliver a verdict on May 31.
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