A large convoy of hundreds of cars and vans with refugees from the ruins of Mariupol arrived in a city controlled by Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia on Saturday night after several days of waiting for Russian troops to allow them to leave, Reuters reports. Ukraine has been gradually evacuating civilians from the devastated city for more than two months.
Ukraine has ridden a wave of emotional support from Europeans to win the 66th Eurovision Song Contest, which was held on Saturday night in Turin, Italy. Stefania bi Kalush Orchestra finished first after strong performances by the United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden in the early voting. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky he welcomed the victory and promised to one day hold the finals in “free, renewed” Mariupol.
U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has joined a growing list of U.S. politicians visiting Kiev. Zelenski welcomed McConnell’s visit as a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine.
Zelenski also thanked President Joe Biden for signing the World War II-era Lend-Lease Law this week. which enables faster production and delivery of US weapons and ammunition to allies involved in conflicts in which it is not a direct participant.
Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, says US intelligence is threatening and harassing his country’s diplomats in Washington. Reuters reports referring to the Russian news agency Tass.
President of Finland, Sauli Niiniste told Vladimir Putin that Helsinki plans to join NATO. Niiniste conveyed the news during a telephone conversation with the Russian leader.
Putin said that leaving neutrality would be a mistake and that there are no threats to Finland’s security at the moment. Russia has described Helsinki’s attempt to join NATO as a hostile move that would “definitely” pose a threat – to which Moscow will respond.
Ukraine says Moscow plans to hold a referendum, perhaps as early as Sunday, on whether Mariupol wants to become part of Russia. Following is the news of a similar poll in the breakaway region of Georgia South Ossetia and allegations by Western allies that Russia is planning fake referendums to justify military action.
Russian troops withdrew from the area of the city of Kharkov, said Mayor Ihor Terekhov. He said that “due to the efforts of the territorial defense of Kharkiv and the Ukrainian armed forces, the Russians withdrew far from the city area in the direction of the Russian border.”
The war will be over by the end of 2022, said the head of the Ukrainian military intelligence service. Major General Kirilo Budanov claimed that Moscow had heavy losses and predicted a turning point by mid-August – adding the belief that “most active combat operations will be completed by the end of this year.”
Moscow is failing to achieve its political goals in Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defense (MO) announced. The fact that Russia only managed to impose a pro-Russian local leadership in the city of Kherson “emphasizes the failure of the Russian invasion to advance towards its political goals,” according to the latest intelligence update.
“Very difficult negotiations” on the next phase of the evacuation from Mariupol are underway, Zelenski said. The last remaining Ukrainian defenders of the city are hidden in the Azovstal steel plant.