- Ukraine’s general staff said Russian troops were withdrawing from the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
- Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says Finland’s NATO entry is ‘a mistake’
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “very complex negotiations” were underway with Russia to extract militants from the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
- Ukrainian forces are counter-offensive near the Russian-held town of Izium, attacking a key axis of the Russian attack to the east.
- Russia will cut off power supplies to Finland from Saturday, a supplier says, amid tensions over the European nation’s expected NATO bid.
Here are all the news:
Ukraine wins Eurovision Song Contest with Kalush Orchestra’s “Stefania”.
Ukraine has won the Eurovision Song Contest, is riding a wave of public support across Europe for the embattled nation and is being carried by an infectious folk-hip-hop tune.
The song “Stefania” by the Kalush Orchestra prevailed against 24 competitors in the final of the world’s largest live music event on Saturday. The winning song, sung in Ukrainian, combined rap with traditional folk music and was a tribute to the mother of band frontman Oleh Psiuk.
Earlier in the night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent congratulations, saying a victory for the Kalush Orchestra would have great symbolic significance.
“Every win is very important for us today,” he said in his nightly speech.
Russia had been excluded from the competition in Turin because of its invasion of Ukraine.
Large convoy from Mariupol reaches safety, refugees speak of “devastating” flight
A large convoy of cars and vans carrying refugees from the ruins of Mariupol has arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhia after waiting days for Russian troops to allow them to leave.
The refugees, who arrived on Saturday, first had to leave Mariupol and then somehow make their way to Berdyansk – some 80 km further west along the coast – and other settlements before heading 200 km northwest to Zaporizhia.
Nikolai Pavlov, 74, said he lived in a basement for a month after his apartment was vandalized. A relative managed to get him from Mariupol to Berdyansk by “secret detours”.
“We barely made it, there were many elderly people among us… the journey was devastating. But it was worth it,” he said after the convoy had arrived in the dark.
An aide to the Mariupol mayor previously said the convoy numbered between 500 and 1,000 cars and was the largest single evacuation from the city since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Ambassador says Russian diplomats in US threatened, lured by FBI, CIA: Tass Agency
Russian diplomats in Washington are being threatened with violence and US secret services are trying to contact them, the Russian news agency TASS reported, citing Moscow’s ambassador to the US.
“It’s like a fortress under siege. Basically, our embassy operates in a hostile environment…embassy staff receive threats, including threats of physical violence,” Tass Ambassador Anatoly Antonov quoted as saying on Saturday.
“Agents from US security services are hanging around outside the Russian embassy handing out CIA and FBI phone numbers that can be called to contact them,” the ambassador told TASS.
Russia and the US have been locked in a dispute over the size and functioning of their respective diplomatic missions since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell meets Zelenskyy
Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate, paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv along with other Republican senators and met the Ukrainian president for talks.
McConnell was joined by fellow senators Susan Collins, John Barrasso and John Cornyn.
Zelenskyi hailed the visit as a strong signal of bipartisan US support for Ukraine and the strength of ties between the two nations.
“We discussed many areas of support for our state, including defense and finance, as well as tightening sanctions against Russia,” Zelenskyy said in a video address, adding that he had stressed to senators that Russia must be designated as a terrorist state .
McConnell is urging Republican Sen. Rand Paul to end his opposition to a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine that has been overwhelmed by both major parties in the US.
Ukrainian band advocates Mariupol at the Eurovision Song Contest
At the end of their performance at the Eurovision Song Contest, the Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine made a plea for the city of Mariupol and the fighters at the Azovstal Steel Works.
“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal immediately,” lead singer Oleh Psiuk shouted from the front of the stage in Turin, Italy, after the band performed their song “Stefania”.
Russian forces have bombed the steelworks in Mariupol’s southern port, the last bastion of hundreds of Ukrainian defenders in a city almost completely controlled by Russia after more than two months of siege.
In a video address released ahead of the performance, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he believed the Kalush Orchestra would win.
“Europe, vote for Kalush Orchestra, (song) No. 12! Let’s support our compatriots! Let’s support Ukraine!” he said clenching his fist.
Putin tells Finnish President joining NATO would be a ‘mistake’
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has told his Finnish counterpart that joining NATO would be “a mistake” as Moscow previously cut off its electricity supply to the Nordic country.
“Putin stressed that ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake as there was no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.
“Such a change in the country’s political orientation may adversely affect Russian-Finnish relations, which have been developing over the years in the spirit of good neighborliness and partnership-based cooperation,” it said.
Read more here.
Russia denies Ukrainian forces damaged a naval vessel in the Black Sea
Russia has dismissed Ukraine’s claim that it damaged a modern naval logistics ship in the Black Sea and has shown photos of the ship, which it said showed no signs of damage.
In an online post, the Russian Defense Ministry published photos taken by the ship in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea.
“The photos now show that the ship is not damaged at all,” it said.
Military authorities in the southern Odessa region said that Ukrainian naval forces attacked and set fire to the Vsevolod Bobrov.
Medvedev dismisses G7 support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has dismissed a statement by the Group of Seven that it would “never” recognize border changes caused by Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
“To put it mildly, our country doesn’t care about the G7’s non-recognition of the new borders,” he said on his Telegram channel.
Arguing that only the will of the people of a region counted, Medvedev described the G7’s pledge to continue supplying arms to Ukraine as a continuation of their “covert war against Russia”.
The situation in the Donbass region remains very difficult: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the situation in the Donbass region remained very difficult, adding that Russian forces were still trying to demonstrate some kind of victory.
“On the 80th day of a full-scale invasion, this seems particularly insane, but they’re not stopping their efforts,” he said in a late-night video address.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s ongoing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Read all the updates from Saturday May 14 here.