Over a million Ukrainians deported to Russia, says Ukraine human rights official

Smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal in Mariupol during shelling, in Mariupol, in territory under control of the Donetsk People's Republic. May 7, 2022
Smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal in Mariupol during shelling, in Mariupol, in territory under control of the Donetsk People's Republic. May 7, 2022   -  Copyright  Alexei Alexandrov/AP Photo
By Euronews  with AP, AFP

Ukraine's human rights commissioner Lyudmila Denisova said around 1,185,000 Ukrainians have been forcibly removed to Russia while the US said they had "indications that Ukrainians are being taken against their will into Russia."

Vladimir Putin blamed the West for "forcing" Russia to take military action in Ukraine, at Moscow's annual Victory Day parade commemorating the World War II victory over Nazi Germany. 

But the Russian leader made no major announcement in his speech. President Zelenskyy, meanwhile, said Ukraine would not let Russia "own the victory over Nazism" in 1945, highlighting his own country's role in it.

Meanwhile the US have claimed they have "indications that Ukrainians are being taken against their will into Russia" after a Ukrainian official said more than one million Ukrainians were deported there.

See how Monday unfolded in the blog below.

  • Russia celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany with a large-scale military parade in Moscow's Red Square earlier today. 
  • President Vladimir Putin cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies in a speech at the parade. However, despite some fears, he didn't announce a scaling up of Russian military operations or a general mobilisation. 

  • Ukraine will not let Russia "own the victory over Nazism" in 1945, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said, highlighting Ukraine's own role in the victory. "We won then, we will win now," he added.

  • The Ukrainian Parliament's Commissioner for Human Rights, Lyudmila Denisova, has said over a million Ukrainian citizens have been deported to Russia.

  • Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the US has "indications that Ukrainians are being taken against their will into Russia."

  • Russian forces stormed the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine's strategic port of Mariupol on Monday and stepped up missile strikes elsewhere, Ukrainian officials said.

  • Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel was forced to seek shelter during a surprise visit to Odesa, as missiles hit the nearby area.

  • Talks aiming at agreeing an EU-wide ban on Russian oil imports have gone into a sixth day. Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria are resisting approval, demanding special dispensations.

  • Anti-war protesters hit Russia's ambassador to Poland with red paint as he went to lay flowers at a cemetery in Warsaw where Red Army soldiers killed during WWII are buried.

  • The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special meeting later this week on the situation in Ukraine, including "mass casualties" in Mariupol, as dozens of countries backed a Ukrainian move for the session.

  • Russia has been criticised for the bombing of a school used as shelter in eastern Ukraine, which has left more than 60 feared dead.


That's all for our live blog tonight. We'll be back at 6:00 am CET with the latest updates on the war in Ukraine.


Macron and Scholz offer support to Ukraine in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz declared their "full support" for Ukraine on Monday evening by going together under the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, a symbol of the Cold War.

The gate was illuminated in the colours of the Ukrainian flag on May 9.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and French President Emmanuel Macron stand in front of the Brandenburg Gate after a meeting in Berlin, Monday, May 9 2022. Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP


Ukrainians being taken 'against their will' into Russia: Pentagon

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby tells reporters that the US has "indications that Ukrainians are being taken against their will into Russia," adding that Russian forces are making "incremental" gains but are coming up against "very stiff Ukrainian resistance."

Kirby said that the US assesses "that the Russians continue to make incremental progress, moving down from the north, pushing down into the Donbas area."

He said however that it is "slow and it's uneven, and they continue to meet a very stiff Ukrainian resistance."


Greece reopens its embassy in Kyiv

Greece reopened its embassy in Kyiv on Monday, "in a highly symbolic gesture" to support "Ukrainians and the Greek community" living in the country, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias announced.

The minister underlined that Athens "does everything to contribute to the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis", and "commits to actively participate in the reconstruction of the country".



UN chief in Moldova amid Transnistria tension

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during an official visit to non-NATO member Moldova on Monday that the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine escalating are “too frightening to contemplate.”

Guterres, who arrived in Moldova’s capital Chisinau on Monday, said in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita, that the impact of Russia’s war in neighbouring Ukraine “is profound and far-reaching.”

The UN chief’s visit to Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries, which has a population of about 2.6 million people, follows a series of unsettling incidents that have rocked Moldova’s pro-Russia breakaway region of Transnistria, which has put officials in Chisinau on high alert.

In late April, three men launched grenades at the region’s state security office, and two large broadcast antennas were downed a day later. On Friday, Police in Transnistria said explosive devices were dropped from a drone leaving 1-metre-deep craters near a village.

“I am deeply concerned about the continuation and possible spread of the war Russia is waging in Ukraine,” Guterres said, adding that Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity “must not be threatened or undermined.”

Transnistria, a small strip of land with a population of about 470,000, has been under the control of separatist authorities since a 1992 war with Moldova. Russia bases about 1,500 troops in the breakaway region, ostensibly as peacekeepers. No casualties were reported in the incidents.



Lithuania FM calls for regime change in Russia

Lithuania’s foreign minister said on Monday that removing Russian President Vladimir Putin from power would be the only way to protect the West and its allies from future threats from Moscow.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said Putin’s Victory Day speech was “underwhelming” and that the “gloomy faces” of generals and others were signs of failing in the Ukraine war in an interview with the AP.

He said a wounded Putin may be even more dangerous and that the only way to remove the threat is to remove him.

“From our standpoint, up until the point the current regime is not in power, the countries surrounding it will be, to some extent, in danger," Landsbergis said.

"Not just Putin but the whole regime because, you know, one might change Putin and might change his inner circle but another Putin might rise into his place."



Ship loaded with Russian coal docks in Spanish port of Gijon

A Maltese-flagged ship carrying Russian coal and petroleum coke has docked in the northern Spanish port of Gijon, port authorities said on Monday.

Another Maltese-flagged ship, loaded with Russian crude, docked in Cartagena, southern Spain, on Friday, authorities confirmed.

The European Union approved sanctions against imports of coal, wood, chemicals and other products such as vodka from Russia on April 8 in a bid to cut trade after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, although the sanctions are not yet fully enforced.

Russian ships are banned from calling in Spanish ports, a transport ministry spokesperson said on Monday, but the EU ban on vessels from other countries loaded with Russian goods is not in force yet, she added.



Macron says Ukraine's process of joining EU could take 'decades'

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the process of joining the European Union is likely to take several years, if not several decades.

"Even if we grant Ukraine candidate status tomorrow...and I hope that we will quickly, for membership in our European Union, we all know perfectly well that the process allowing them to join will take several years, in truth probably several decades," Macron said.

He suggested the creation of a European community for greater cooperation on a host of topics that would include Ukraine.


Macron warns Russia's 'humiliation' won't bring peace

French President Emmanuel Macron says that Russia and Ukraine would have to come to a negotiated truce and that peace efforts would not be served by Russia's "humiliation". 

"Tomorrow we'll have a peace to build, let's never forget that," he told reporters. "We will have to do this with Ukraine and Russia around the table. 


Additional sources • Reuters

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