May 29, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Nectar Gan, Andrew Raine, Joshua Berlinger, Hannah Ryan and Kathryn Snowdon, CNN

Updated 12:11 AM ET, Mon May 30, 2022
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11:57 p.m. ET, May 28, 2022

Putin signs law scrapping upper age limit to enlist in Russian military, says Russian state media

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9.
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to watch the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images/File)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law scrapping the upper age limit for Russians and foreigners to join the military as contract service members, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

Russia’s State Duma passed the bill on Wednesday but Putin's signature was needed for it to become law.

Previously, citizens aged 18 to 40 and foreigners aged 18 to 30 could enlist in the Russian military.

The changes were drafted by the head of the State Duma Defense Committee, Andrei Kartapolov, and his first deputy, Andrei Krasov. According to TASS, they believe the abolition of an upper age limit will attract specialists in areas such as medical support, engineering and communications.

The explanatory note to the draft law also notes that the use of high-precision weapons and military equipment requires specialists and they gain the experience by the age of 40 to 45.

The changes in law come amid serious Russian casualties in Ukraine, where Moscow is waging what it euphemistically calls a "special military operation."

Russia also has a system of military conscription. The Kremlin initially said draftees would not serve in Ukraine but subsequently acknowledged they were serving in combat

11:57 p.m. ET, May 28, 2022

1 dead in Mykolaiv shelling, according to Ukrainian regional administration

From CNN's Nathan Hodge

At least one person is dead after shelling in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv, the regional state administration said Saturday. 

Mykolaiv is under Ukrainian government control, but is not far from the front lines of fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces. It is about 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from Kherson, which has been under Russian control since the early days of the invasion.

"On Saturday morning, May 28, occupying troops of Russia once again fired at the city of Mykolaiv," according to a statement. "And again the blow fell on residential areas. One person died on the spot. At least 6 civilians are also known to be injured."

The statement said at least two rounds landed in the courtyards of residential high-rises, damaging several buildings.

"Mykolayiv city was shelled again this morning," according to a previous statement. "The Russians hit the yard of a residential area, 20 meters away from a kindergarten. There are injured people due to the shelling."

11:57 p.m. ET, May 28, 2022

Ukrainian Orthodox Church breaks ties with Moscow's Patriarch Kirill over his support for war

From CNN's Nathan Hodge, Oleksandra Ochman and Josh Pennington

A branch of Ukraine's Orthodox church has broken ties with Russia's Patriarch Kirill over the Russian spiritual leader's support for the war in Ukraine, deepening a rift between the Moscow church and other Orthodox believers.

Leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which had been formally subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, held a council Friday in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In a statement, the council said it "condemns the war as a violation of God's commandment 'Thou shalt not kill!'" and urged the governments of Ukraine and Russia to pursue a path of negotiation.

But the council also had criticism for Patriarch Kirill -- who has given his support to the invasion of Ukraine and has put his church firmly behind Russian President Vladimir Putin -- and said it had opted for the "full independence and autonomy" of the Ukrainian church.

A large part of the Orthodox community in Ukraine has already moved to establish independence from Moscow. That movement took on further momentum in 2018, after Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople -- a Greek cleric who is considered the spiritual leader of Orthodox believers worldwide -- endorsed the establishment of an independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The Russian Orthodox Church and the Moscow Patriarchate, which has become closely entwined with the Russian state under Putin's rule, responded by cutting ties with Bartholomew.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which has allegiance to Bartholomew, is separate from the UOC, which made its announcement Friday. But the emergence of a church independent of Moscow has also infuriated Putin, who has made restoration of the so-called "Russian world" a centerpiece of his foreign policy and has dismissed Ukrainian national identity as illegitimate.

The UOC council's statement on Friday said the war had been devastating for members of the church.

"During the three months of the war, more than 6 million citizens of Ukraine were forced to leave the country. These were mainly Ukrainians from the southern, eastern, and central regions of Ukraine. A large majority of them are faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the statement read. "It is necessary to further develop the mission abroad among Orthodox Ukrainians to preserve their faith, culture, language and Orthodox identity."