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The United Kingdom announced Saturday it will bolster its humanitarian aid to Ukraine by sending more essential equipment to relief centers and hospitals.
In a statement, the British government said it will deliver an extra 287 generators that will help to run relief centers, hospitals, phone masts and water pumping stations. The new generators are enough to power the equivalent of around 8,000 homes and will be used for essential services in the face of the ongoing destruction in Eastern Ukraine.
“Hospitals, shelters and other essential services will be given more power to operate in the face of ongoing Russian attacks with a further 287 mobile generators donated from the UK government,” according to the statement.
In total, the UK will have delivered 856 generators.
“Putin’s atrocities have continued to escalate, and so we are ramping up our support to the Ukrainian people in their time of need. Our donation of a further 287 generators will ensure more essential services in Ukraine can keep running,” Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.
Britain’s decision follows a request from Ukrainian Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko, who welcomed the previous shipment of generators by saying ‘the light will always win over darkness’,” the government said.
The generators will be delivered to a Polish government hub. From there, the Ukrainian government and the country’s energy networks will distribute the generators across the country to where they are needed most.
Fossil fuel rules: The UK government also said it is relaxing rules on support for overseas fossil fuels to boost supply of vital energy to Ukraine.
The policy typically prevents the UK from providing any new direct support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas -- but the government will introduce two exemptions for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, to allow the UK to support Ukraine's energy and fuel needs, the government said.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has called for the reopening of ports in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa to help rein in the global hunger crisis.
The ports in Odesa and other Ukrainian Black Sea ports have been blocked because of the war, leaving millions of metric tons of grain sitting in silos.
Ukraine is a major breadbasket for countries in the Middle East and North Africa that depend on imports; in the eight months before the war began, almost 51 million metric tons of grain transited through Ukraine's Black Sea ports, said the WFP in a news release on Friday.
If the ports don't reopen, “mountains of grain” will go to waste, while “WFP and the world struggle to deal with an already catastrophic global hunger crisis,” said the release.
“Right now, Ukraine’s grain silos are full. At the same time, 44 million people around the world are marching towards starvation. We have to open up these ports so that food can move in and out of Ukraine. The world demands it because hundreds of millions of people globally depend on these supplies,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
At the start of 2022, 276 million people were already facing acute hunger. That number is expected to rise by another 47 million people if the war in Ukraine continues, according to the agency’s analysis.
The United States and Europe will feel the pain, too, with increasing prices for important agricultural goods.
Two months into Russia's war in Ukraine, the Biden administration has increased the amount of intelligence it shares with Kyiv, contributing to successful strikes against senior Russian leaders and the Russian Navy's flagship, the Moskva, sources familiar with the intelligence sharing tell CNN.
But the effort raises questions about how far the White House is willing to go to help Ukraine fight the Russians while also trying to avoid provoking Moscow and getting drawn into the conflict.
Administration officials insist there are clear limits on the intelligence it shares with Ukraine, including a ban against providing precision targeting intelligence for senior Russian leaders by name, part of a White House effort to avoid crossing a line that Moscow may view as too escalatory.
Yet some current and former officials have suggested that the limits the Biden administration have drawn are arbitrary, in part because the end result is the same -- Ukrainian strikes that kill senior Russian leaders. On top of that, any US assessment of what actions might provoke Moscow depends on the thinking of just one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"You're trying to put on your Vladimir Putin hat and try to see, what does he see as crossing a red line?" said retired Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. "That red line is one that probably exists only in Putin's head — and it may not be something that he's even thought his way through or conveyed."
Sources familiar with the administration's approach say the decisions to gradually broaden the intelligence it is willing to share have been primarily based on the judgments of Biden administration officials rather than any changing assessments about how escalatory Russia might view a given action.
Read the full report here.
In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine was able to evacuate women and children from Azovstal with the help of the UN and Red Cross.
He said he's also working on diplomatic options to help evacuate the remaining military in Azovstal.
"We continue the evacuation mission from Mariupol, namely from Azovstal, with the mediation of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. During the day, our team organized rescue operations for more than 40 civilians, all women and children," the Ukrainian president said.
"We hope that soon they will be able to arrive in a safe area after two months of shelling, remaining underground in shelters. We are also working on diplomatic options to save our military, who still remain at Azovstal. Influential mediators are involved, including influential states," he added.
Italian authorities have seized a superyacht believed to have links with the Russian government, according to a news release issued by the country’s financial police on Friday.
The Scheherazade has been under scrutiny since March for possible connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The news release stated that investigations “highlighted the presence of significant economic and business connections" between the owner of the yacht and "prominent elements of the Russian government.”
The owner of the yacht — whose name was not disclosed — also has connections with other Russians included in the EU’s list of those sanctioned for “actions that compromise or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of Ukraine,” according to police.
“Based on these elements, the Financial Security Committee proposed to the Council of the European Union the inclusion of this person in the aforementioned list,” the news release continued.
Italy’s Finance Minister Daniele Franco has ordered a decree to freeze the vessel which bears the flag of the Cayman Islands and is docked in the Italian port of Marina di Carrara.
The latest package is for $150 million worth of equipment including 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment and field equipment and spare parts, a White House official said.
The new security assistance package follows the President's $33 billion proposal last week to Congress to support Ukraine amid Russia's invasion. The US has made it clear it intends to provide long-term support to Ukraine and has already provided the nation with billions of dollars in military and humanitarian assistance.
The proposed package last week was more than twice as much as the $13.6 billion infusion of military and humanitarian aid that Congress approved last month.
In a statement, Biden said the administration has nearly exhausted funding that can be used for security assurance and called on Congress to approve his request for additional money for Ukraine.
"With today's announcement, my Administration has nearly exhausted funding that can be used to send security assistance through drawdown authorities for Ukraine," the statement reads. "For Ukraine to succeed in this next phase of war its international partners, including the US, must continue to demonstrate our unity and our resolve to keep the weapons and ammunition flowing to Ukraine, without interruption."
"Congress should quickly provide the requested funding to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table," Biden added.
Read more about the assistance package here.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko is urging citizens to stay inside from Sunday into Monday around Russia's annual Victory Day as Western officials have warned Russian President Vladimir Putin could formally declare war on Ukraine on May 9, a symbolic day for Russia, paving the way for Putin to step up his campaign.
Though the mayor is not formally imposing a curfew, events will not be held during that time, according to posts on his social media. He said there will be enhanced patrolling in the city.
"If anyone would like to go lay flowers, they can do so in private ... Pay attention and follow wartime security rules," Klitschko said.
"I also ask you not to ignore the air alarm signals and immediately take cover. In the coming days, there is a high likelihood of missile shelling in all regions of Ukraine. Be aware and take care of your own safety!" Klitschko warned.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated a curfew would be imposed in Kyiv Sunday and Monday. There will be no curfew on those days.
The Russians want to seize the city of Severodonetsk so "this can be sold to the Russian people as a grand victory," a senior official in eastern Ukraine says.
"Of course, they want Severodonetsk, because it is the city — the regional center. Of course, this can be sold to the people as a grand victory," Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk regional military administration said on Telegram.
Severodonetsk, which was an important industrial center in eastern Ukraine, has been shelled by Russian forces for weeks and is largely destroyed. But Ukrainian troops remain in and around the city.
"And of course another goal is to encircle our military and try to cut the road to Bakhmut where Popasna is. These are the main two directions," he said.
Hayday denied Russian claims that they'd taken the town of Rubizhne in the same area.
"In fact they can't move any further and our National Guard is still there and repulses all enemy attacks," Hayday said.