Russia’s defense ministry says it will let foreign ships leave Black Sea ports
Workers assist the loading of corn on to a ship in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania on May 3, 2022. Russia’s defense ministry is promising a safe corridor to let foreign ships leave Black Sea ports, the Associated Press reported.
Daniel Mihailescu | AFP | Getty Images
Russia’s defense ministry said it would open a safe corridor to let foreign ships leave Black Sea ports, Russian state news agency Interfax reported Wednesday.
The Russian defense ministry has reportedly announced that it is opening two safety corridors for the exit of foreign ships from ports on the Black and Azov Seas between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Moscow time.
The head of the National Defense Control Center Mikhail Mizintsev said at a briefing that these lanes would provide for the safe movement of ships from ports including Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny on the Black Sea, as well as Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov.
“In six ports – Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny, 70 foreign ships from 16 states remain blocked,” Mizintsev said. He claimed that Ukraine posed a threat in terms of shelling, and that mines had not allowed “ships to go to the open sea without hindrance.”
Russian forces have for weeks blocked Ukrainian ports, contributing to a global food security crisis. Ukraine is a leading global producer of both wheat and sunflower seeds, which are used for oil.
Russia has said the ports and the water area near them are mined and merchant ships could be vulnerable.
— Holly Ellyatt and Chelsea Ong
Russia fast tracks citizenship for Ukraine residents
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia May 20, 2022.
Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters
President Vladimir Putin issued an order to fast track Russian citizenship for residents in parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army.
Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to strengthen its hold on territory that lies between eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists occupy some areas, and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014.
The Russian army is engaged in an intense battle for Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, known as the Donbas. In a sign that the Kremlin is trying to bolster its stretched military machine, Russian lawmakers agreed to scrap the age limit of 40 for individuals signing their first voluntary military contracts.
A description of the bill on the parliament website indicated older recruits would be allowed to operate precision weapons or serve in engineering or medical roles. The chair of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, Andrei Kartapolov, said the measure would make it easier to hire people with “in-demand” skills.
— Associated Press
U.S., EU and UK announce new initiative to support war crime investigations
War crime prosecutor’s team member speaks on the phone next to buildings that were destroyed by Russian…