May 13, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Helen Regan, George Ramsay, Lianne Kolirin, Hannah Strange and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 12:17 AM ET, Sat May 14, 2022
20 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:18 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Sweden says NATO membership would increase regional deterrence in security policy review

From Amy Cassidy in London and Chris Liakos in Helsinki

Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist, left, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde present a security policy analysis during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, Friday, on May 13.
Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist, left, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde present a security policy analysis during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, Friday, on May 13. (Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency/AP)

Joining NATO would enhance deterrence across northern Europe, according to a cross-party review published by the government on Friday. 

The review assessed the changed security environment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and what NATO membership would mean for the Nordic country. It concluded that “Swedish NATO membership would raise the threshold for military conflicts and thus have a deterrent effect in northern Europe.”

Sweden is expected to decide on whether it intends to join NATO soon, after the leaders of neighboring Finland announced its support for membership on Thursday.

The report, presented in Stockholm by Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist alongside party representatives, states that “Russian provocation and retaliatory measures against Sweden cannot be ruled out during a transition period in connection with a Swedish application for NATO membership.”

“There is a readiness to respond to Russian threats, but it is not possible to eliminate with certainty all the risks of Russian retaliatory measures,” it added.

The report added: “If both Sweden and Finland were NATO members, all Nordic and Baltic countries would be covered by collective defence guarantees. The current uncertainty as to what form collective action would take if a security crisis or armed attack occurred would decrease.”

8:19 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Putin's reputed girlfriend and ex-wife sanctioned by UK government

From CNN's George Ramsey and Niamh Kennedy

Russian politician and former Olympic Champion, Alina Kabaeva, smiles as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the congress of the United Russia Party, on November, 27, 2011 in Moscow, Russia.
Russian politician and former Olympic Champion, Alina Kabaeva, smiles as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the congress of the United Russia Party, on November, 27, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. (Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Alina Kabaeva, a woman who has been romantically linked to Vladimir Putin, and the Russian leader's ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya have been included in the latest list of UK government sanctions against Russia.

In a press release published on Friday, the UK government said the sanctions were intended to target "Putin’s financial network, tightening the vice on the President and his inner circle."

The UK has now sanctioned more than 1,000 individuals and 100 entities from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, according to the release.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle ... We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails."

Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast who was first linked to Putin more than a decade ago, was also included in the sixth proposed package of European Union sanctions, according to two European diplomatic sources. Putin has denied he has or had a personal relationship with her.

The UK Foreign Office said Kabaeva "has risen to become Chair of the Board of the National Media Group, reportedly the largest private Russian media company" and "previously sat as a Deputy in the Duma for Putin’s United Russia."

Ocheretnaya, who divorced from Putin in 2014, has been included in the latest UK sanctions as she has "benefited from preferential business relationships with state-owned entities" since the divorce, according to the government press release.

Others included in the UK's latest sanctions include Putin's first cousins Igor Putin and Mikhail Shelomov and the President's first cousin once removed, Roman Putin.

"Today’s sanctions isolate the family members and financiers deep within Putin’s inner circle, compounding the pressure on Putin as he continues his senseless invasion into Ukraine," the press release said.

7:50 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Putin and Scholz discussed Ukraine and Azovstal evacuation over phone, says Kremlin

From CNN's Anna Chernova

Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz pictured during a visit to the Bundeskanzleramt in Berlin, Germany, on 10 May
Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz pictured during a visit to the Bundeskanzleramt in Berlin, Germany, on 10 May (James Arthur Gekiere/Belga/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in Ukraine and the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday, the Kremlin has said.

Putin told Scholz that civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal plant, according to a readout of the call issued by Moscow.

“It was also mentioned that, with the participation of representatives of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, civilians were evacuated, who were held by the Ukrainian security forces at the Mariupol Azovstal plant,” the statement said. Ukraine rejects Russia's claim that civilians were held in the besieged plant, and had repeatedly called for the evacuation of the hundreds trapped there while sheltering from the Russian assault.

Putin also shared his view of the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, suggesting they were blocked by Kyiv.

“A fundamental assessment of the state of affairs in the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, which are essentially blocked by Kyiv, was given,” the readout went on to say.

Putin and Scholz agreed to continue their contacts through various channels, according to the Kremlin. 

6:07 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

China complains of UN "double standards" over Ukraine war

From CNN’s Beijing Bureau

Overview of the Human Rights Council special session on the human rights situation in Ukraine, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 12.
Overview of the Human Rights Council special session on the human rights situation in Ukraine, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 12. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

China’s Foreign Ministry has criticized the UN Human Rights Council after it adopted a resolution on Russian abuses in Ukraine, saying the body portrays “double standards.”

Speaking at a regular press briefing on Friday, spokesman Zhao Lijan accused the council of tolerating aggression by some nations while condemning others.

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution on Thursday for an investigation into alleged human rights abuses by Russian troops in Ukraine. All members except China and Eritrea voted in favor of the resolution.

“Politicized double standards and selective practices are on the rise in the Human Rights Council. The reason why China voted against Ukraine is based on China's principled position on the Ukrainian issue,” Zhao said.

“The Human Rights Council held special meetings frequently in some countries, but it has not been able to take actions against some other countries," added Zhao, who questioned the UN’s record on unrelated issues including disinformation, racism, gun violence and migrant abuse.

11:11 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

First Ukraine war crimes trial for Russian soldier opens in Kyiv

From CNN's Saskya Vandoorne, Melissa Bell, Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova

Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, 21, suspected of violations of the laws and norms of war, sits inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 13.
Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, 21, suspected of violations of the laws and norms of war, sits inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 13. (Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters)

A 21-year-old soldier is to become the first Russian to be tried for war crimes at a trial in Kyiv on Friday.

Vadim Shishimarin will appear before the first war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine back in February. He is accused of killing a 62-year-old man in Ukraine’s Sumy region, according to the country's prosecutor general's office.

The investigation alleges that Shishimarin fatally shot an unarmed civilian who was riding a bicycle along the roadside in the village of Chupakhivka on February 28. According to the prosecutor, Russian troops drove into the village in a stolen car with punctured wheels, after their convoy came under attack by Ukrainian forces.

When they saw a man cycling home while on the phone, one of the group ordered the sergeant to kill him so he would not report them to the Ukrainian army. Shishimarin allegedly fired a Kalashnikov several times through an open window at the civilian’s head, prosecutors say.

“Shishimarin is currently in custody. Prosecutors and SBU investigators have gathered enough evidence of his involvement in violating the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder,” Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said in a statement on Facebook.

If found guilty, Shishimarin faces from ten years to life in prison.

When asked to comment on the trial, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday he has "no information" about the case. 

"I have no information about this court session or about this case. I don't know if this is true. I have no information at all on this," Peskov said during a daily call with journalists. 

See the defendant's appearance in court:

5:55 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Russia continues excavating site of heavily bombed drama theater in Mariupol, new satellite images show

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy, Katie Polglase, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Tim Lister

Satellite image showing cranes and vehicles at Mariupol Theater, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12.
Satellite image showing cranes and vehicles at Mariupol Theater, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (Maxar Technologies)

An extensive excavation of the bombed Mariupol drama theater remains ongoing, new satellite images from Maxar Technologies show.

The area is now under Russian control, and the clearance of debris from the fighting is underway in several parts of the city. The site was bombed on March 16 and Ukrainian officials believe at least 300 people who were taking shelter in the building were killed.

On April 29, a satellite image showed a crane at the side of the building. The sidewalks on the northern and southern side of the drama theater, which had been covered in debris from the bombing, were by then cleared.

This satellite image shows Mariupol Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 29.
This satellite image shows Mariupol Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 29. (Maxar Technologies)

In a May 2 satellite image, the crane was behind the drama theater. Trucks were parked at the front, but it's unclear from the image what their purpose was.

Then in a satellite image taken on May 6, even more activity is seen at the theater. The crane is seen sitting next to the large hole in the theater's roof, the likely epicenter of the explosion that tore the building apart.

More trucks are seen outside and around the building. Some trucks are parked on top of the large sign that said children in Cyrillic, written before the bombing to deter Russian attacks.

Donetsk People Republic Emergency Situations Ministry employees clear rubble at the side of the damaged Mariupol Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12.
Donetsk People Republic Emergency Situations Ministry employees clear rubble at the side of the damaged Mariupol Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (AP)

CNN has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment about the excavations.

When it was bombed, the drama theater was being used as a shelter by women, children, and the elderly.

The Ukrainian government has accused the Russians of conducting an airstrike on the theater. Russia has repeatedly denied that it hit the theater and has claimed without offering evidence that the Azov Regiment -- one of the Ukrainian army’s units in Mariupol -- blew it up.

4:52 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

EU to provide $521 million in military support to Ukraine 

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

Josep Borrell makes a statement at the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Weissenhaus, Germany, on May 13.
Josep Borrell makes a statement at the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Weissenhaus, Germany, on May 13. (Chris Emil Janssen/IMAGO/Reuters)

The European Union will provide $521 million (€500 million) in military support to Ukraine, according to the bloc's chief diplomat Josep Borrell. 

''We will provide a new tranche of 500 more millions in military support to Ukraine," the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy told reporters on his way into a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Weissenhaus in Germany on Friday. 

The G7 will also ''put more pressure on Russia'' in terms of economic sanctions, according to Borrell. The diplomat said he was ''optimistic" that a deal can be reached on an EU embargo on Russian oil imports, stressing the need to "get rid of the oil dependency on Russia.''

The group of the world's richest nations are also set to discuss wartime disinformation and rising energy and food prices, Borrell said.

He added that when it comes to dealing with Russia, the G7 will ''present a united front'' and "come out with a strong message.''

4:51 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

More weapons needed for Ukraine to keep pressure on Putin: UK foreign minister

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt

Josep Borrell, left, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, meets Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on May 13, in Weissenhaus, Germany.
Josep Borrell, left, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, meets Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on May 13, in Weissenhaus, Germany. (Thomas Imo/Photothek/Getty Images)

More weapons need to be sent to Ukraine to help "keep up the pressure" on Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday.

''It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine, by increasing the sanctions," Truss said, speaking on her way into a meeting of The Group of Seven (G7) Foreign Ministers in Weissenhaus, Germany.

The foreign minister said ''G7 unity has been vital during this crisis to protect freedom and democracy," referring to relations between, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

Truss is set to meet the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell as part of Friday's G7 events. 

3:20 a.m. ET, May 13, 2022

Russia using "strategic aviation" and reinforcing units in the south: Ukrainian military

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

The heavily damaged Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12.
The heavily damaged Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 12. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukraine's General Staff said Russian forces are continuing to "launch artillery and air strikes on Mariupol" while blocking Ukrainian units near the Azovstal plant.

Azovstal has been under constant shelling from Russian forces for about two months and while a Ukrainian officer inside the facility said that all trapped civilians have likely been evacuated, Ukrainian fighters continue to hold out.

"In order to establish full control over the city and suppress the resistance of Ukrainian defenders, it uses strategic aviation. Given the evacuation of the local residents, increase of the firing should be expected in the near future," the General Staff said. 

Zaporizhzhia: In the south, the regional administration in Zaporizhzhia said there are signs the Russians are trying to reinforce their units by bringing in more equipment and troops. It said a new Russian contingent had arrived in Mykhailivka, just south of current frontlines. 

Enerhodar: In the nearby city of Enerhodar, occupied by Russian forces since early March, the regional administration reported on Friday that, "The city is almost out of medicine, and humanitarian aid is not always available." Enerhodar residents, it said, are "already afraid to go to protests and organize rallies" because of constant patrols and intimidation by Russian soldiers.

In his daily address on Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russian offensive was hiding behind missile, air and artillery strikes. 

"Russia's strategic defeat is already obvious to everyone in the world and even to those who still continue to communicate with them. Russia simply lacks courage to admit it so far. They are cowards," Zelensky said.
"Therefore, our task is to fight until we achieve our goals in this war. "