May 8, 2022: Russia-Ukraine news

By Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Helen Regan and Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 1:28 AM ET, Mon May 9, 2022
24 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:42 p.m. ET, May 8, 2022

US ambassador to UN on Victory Day celebrations in Russia: "They have nothing to celebrate tomorrow."

From CNN's Sam Fossum

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks with CNN on Sunday.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks with CNN on Sunday. (CNN)

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Sunday that the Kremlin has "nothing to celebrate" on May 9, Russian Victory Day, and that reports of the Russian bombing of a Ukrainian school overnight can be added to the "long list" of war crimes. 

"They have nothing to celebrate tomorrow. They have not succeeded in defeating the Ukrainians they've not succeeded in dividing the world or dividing NATO," Thomas-Greenfield said on "State of the Union." 

She added: "We have called out the Russians very early on for committing war crimes. And this contributes to that. We're going to continue to work with the Ukrainian prosecutors and others to document evidence of their war crimes so that they can be held accountable. This just adds to the long list that we already have."

Asked about where the line is with US intelligence sharing with Ukraine, Thomas-Greenfield said that the US will continue to provide aid to Ukraine but that the Ukrainians "make the decisions on what they will target."

On whether Russia should be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, Thomas-Greenfield did not answer if the US had plans to add them to the list but that Russia certainly "deserve to be called out for the acts of terror that they are committing."

And reacting to the breaking news that First Lady Jill Biden crossed into Ukraine on Sunday, Thomas-Greenfield said:  "For her to go there on Mother's Day to meet with the Ukrainian first lady, I think sends a very strong a very strong, a very positive message."

11:03 a.m. ET, May 8, 2022

U2 performs inside a Ukraine train station

U2’s Bono sings with Taras Topolia, the singer of Ukrainian pop-rock band Antytila, inside a metro station in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, May 8.
U2’s Bono sings with Taras Topolia, the singer of Ukrainian pop-rock band Antytila, inside a metro station in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, May 8. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

U2 singer Bono and guitarist, The Edge, gave a surprise performance at the Khreschatyk metro station in Kyiv on Sunday.

The band said in a tweet on Sunday that President Zelensky "invited us to perform in Kyiv as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people and so that’s what we’ve come to do."

U2 singer Bono and guitarist, The Edge, perform at a metro station in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 8.
U2 singer Bono and guitarist, The Edge, perform at a metro station in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 8. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

View the tweet here:

Watch video of the performance here:

1:01 p.m. ET, May 8, 2022

UK foreign secretary “horrified” by Luhansk deadly school bombing

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau in London

Firefighters work the site of a school that was bombed in Luhansk, Ukraine, on May 7.
Firefighters work the site of a school that was bombed in Luhansk, Ukraine, on May 7. (From Luhansk Regional Governor Serhiy Haidai)

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Sunday she was “horrified” by Russia’s bombing of a school in Luhansk, Ukraine, “resulting in the deaths of innocent people sheltering from Russian bombardment.”

“Deliberate targeting of civilians & civilian infrastructure amounts to war crimes. We will ensure Putin’s regime is held accountable,” she tweeted

Ukrainian authorities in Luhansk said on Sunday that 60 people were “most likely dead” after a Russian aircraft dropped a bomb on the school where civilians were sheltering on Saturday.

See the tweet:

11:08 a.m. ET, May 8, 2022

First Lady Jill Biden makes unannounced trip to Ukraine

From CNN's Kate Bennett

US first lady Jill Biden receives flowers from Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, on May 8.
US first lady Jill Biden receives flowers from Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, on May 8. (Susan Walsh/AP)

US First Lady Jill Biden made an unannounced trip on Sunday to Uzhhorod, Ukraine, a small city in the far southwestern corner of Ukraine. 

At a converted school that now serves as temporary housing for displaced citizens, Biden met with Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska, who has not been seen in public since the start of the war on Feb. 24.

The first lady is the latest high profile American to visit the war torn country in recent weeks. 

US first lady Jill Biden and Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska make Mother’s Day crafts with children at a school in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, on May 8.
US first lady Jill Biden and Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska make Mother’s Day crafts with children at a school in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, on May 8. (Susan Walsh/AP)

“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” said Biden to her Ukrainian counterpart, the two women seated at a small table in a classroom of a former school that is now a source of temporary housing for displaced Ukrainians, including 48 children.

“We thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people this war has to stop. And this war has been brutal.” Biden added, “The people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”

Zelenska, who early on in the Russian invasion sent a letter to Biden, has exchanged correspondence in recent weeks, US officials tell CNN.

View video from the first lady's visit here:

9:25 a.m. ET, May 8, 2022

15-year-old Ukrainian drove herself and others through battlefield to safety, despite leg wounds

From CNN's Maryna Marukhnych and Tim Lister

In the midst of fierce shelling by Russian forces, a 15-year-old drove several people who had been injured out of the frontline town of Popasna in Luhansk. 

During the journey, the car was shot at and she was wounded in the legs, but she kept driving.  

The girl's first name is Anastasia; as she is a minor CNN is not giving her full name. One of her teachers confirmed her identity to CNN.

Not only did Anastasia have to drive through a battlefield; there were mines and bodies on the road out of the town, which was on the verge of falling to Russian forces.

She was among the last civilians to try to escape Popasna, much of which has been destroyed in weeks of fighting.   

Anastasia said she wanted to help evacuate two men who had been wounded. Two other people were also in the car.

“And I had to get behind the wheel and drive to Bakhmut,” she said — a journey of some 20 miles through countryside that is often under fire by Russian artillery and planes. 

She had driven before; her deceased mother had taught her, she said. But it was hardly any preparation for the escape from the hellish situation in Popasna. 

“We have a bridge, then you go down, and then up. And there were mines there in a checkerboard pattern. There was no way to get through,” she said. 

“But I somehow drove through. Further along there was the corpse of a woman,” she said in an interview conducted in by the Lviv hospital and provided to CNN. 

Anastasia added, “And then there was a turn to the right and we were fired upon, my feet [were hit]. There was almost nothing I could do, the car stalled.” 

“When they started shooting, the car stopped and they fired. Then I started the car and we drove on again," she said.

The car staggered forward a short distance but then stalled again because the battery had been shot through by a bullet. 

The teenl and the other occupants of the car were picked up by the Ukrainian military and taken to the hospital in Bakhmut. 

She said she had two bullet wounds to her knee and foot. 

9:16 a.m. ET, May 8, 2022

First Lady Jill Biden marks Mother's Day by visiting with Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia

From CNN's Sam Fossum

US first lady Jill Biden meets with Ukrainian refugees in Kosice, Slovakia, on Sunday, May 8.
US first lady Jill Biden meets with Ukrainian refugees in Kosice, Slovakia, on Sunday, May 8. (Susan Walsh/AP)

First Lady of the US Jill Biden visited the Tomasikova Street School in Slovakia on Sunday to mark Mother's Day and meet with students and teachers. 

Dr. Biden was met with bread in salt, a welcome tradition in Slovakia and other Slavic countries.

Students can be seen making art projects for Mother's Day and one student gave Dr. Biden what he made. Biden then stopped by different tables around the classroom, meeting with the children and their mothers.  

"The hearts of the American people are with the mothers of Ukraine," Biden said, according to the pool, as she wished one table a happy Mother's Day. 

The First Lady asked the mothers if they had support, to which one woman responded, per the pool (which was translated): "We have the support of Slovakia. Slovakia helped us a lot.”

Jill Biden visits Slovak and Ukrainian mothers and their children in Kosice, Slovakia, on Sunday.
Jill Biden visits Slovak and Ukrainian mothers and their children in Kosice, Slovakia, on Sunday. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Reporters, after being invited to ask questions, asked what they tell their children about what is going on.  

“They need to understand why we are here and why we receive help — why are we separated from our husbands. They need to understand what is going on," one woman said through a translator, according to the pool. 

Asked what it means to them to have the first lady of the US visiting, one woman said, per the pool, with the help of a translator: "It means support for us."

She added: "We are very tired. This is emotional support for us.”

Prior to her visit to the school, Dr. Biden visited the Kosice Aid Center where she met with Ukrainian refugees and volunteers. 

8:53 a.m. ET, May 8, 2022

Workers get Ukraine's railways running again after Russian forces destroyed bridges

From CNN's Scott McLean and Daria Tarasova

The first electric train in weeks arrived at the Irpin railway station from Kyiv on Saturday, after crossing a newly rebuilt bridge that was destroyed in the war.

The bridge, destroyed during the Russian occupation, was one of many key links between Kyiv and western Ukraine — its destruction forced trains to take a longer detour. The steel bridge was rebuilt in a matter of weeks, a process that would have taken months before the urgency of war. Hundreds of railway workers and military worked on the restoration.

(CNN)
(CNN)

The restored span is only wide enough for one set of tracks. A second bridge next to the newly-rebuilt one is still under construction. Workers told CNN they worked for 25 days, with crews on site virtually around the clock.

The inaugural train across the span carried the infrastructure minister, the mayor of Irpin and a senior rail executive on a 25-minute journey from Kyiv. According to Oleksandr Kubrakov, minister of infrastructure of Ukraine, more than 300 rail and road bridges across the country have been destroyed since the war began.

Work is currently underway to rebuild at least 50 of them. Ukrainian Railways has been indispensable during the war — shuttling supplies in, and civilians out of the more dangerous parts of Ukraine. It has taken an enormous effort to keep trains on the tracks; the railway says that 20% of the system is either no longer controlled by Ukraine, or cut off by bombing.

Among the workers are not only railway workers from Kyiv and Irpin, but also workers from Lviv, who came to help their colleagues.

"These are not someone’s bridges, they are all Ukrainian and we have to restore them all," said one worker.

Almost everyone CNN spoke to knows of railroad workers who died during the occupation. During the war, 118 employees of Ukrzaliznytsia were killed — some while fighting on the front lines, others were just showing up for their regular jobs.

One worker, Vadim Levitsky, 45, hardly held back tears while explaining that many of his colleagues were under occupation.

"We tried to help them at every opportunity. We were very glad that they survived. I’m happy that these days I can meet with them and talk to them," Levitsky said.

"We carried out surveys of stakes under shelling and more than once heard explosions not far from them," Levitsky added.

8:52 a.m. ET, May 8, 2022

UK prime minister pays tribute to victims in Ukraine on Victory in Europe Day

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent his thoughts to Ukrainians in a video message published on the occasion of Victory in Europe day on Sunday. 

Dedicated to “those who’ve died and suffered in Russia’s illegal invasion,” Johnson sent his “respect and gratitude” to those who have fought in previous conflicts which “strengthens our determination to support the people of Ukraine in their struggle.”

“We won’t forget the sacrifices that have been made over the generations to ensure peace and freedom in Europe,” his message concluded.

Victory in Europe (VE) Day is observed by several European states on May 8 of each year, marking the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s capitulation, on May 8, 1945.

8:36 a.m. ET, May 8, 2022

Ukrainian fighters vow to keep fighting at besieged steel plant

From CNN's Anastasia Graham Yooll in London

Ukrainian fighters battling Russian armed forces at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol have vowed to continue fighting.

"Surrender is not an option," members of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment said, speaking at an online news conference.

The fighters called on the international community to help evacuate injured soldiers from the plant, which is the last holdout from Russian forces in the port city. 

Reportedly speaking from a hideout location within the Azovstal premises, Azov soldier Illia Samoilenko, said “surrendering is unacceptable for us. And chances of surviving for us if surrender to Russians tends to zero.” 

He said that there are “dozens” of civilians still inside the plant.