Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 16

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

4:20 a.m.: Ukraine said Monday its forces had pushed back Russian troops in the Kharkiv region in a counter-offensive that allowed the Ukrainians to reach the Russian border. 

The Ukrainian defense ministry posted a video showing what it said were its troops at the border, with one soldier telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, “We are here.” 

There was no immediate confirmation of the development. 

3:45 a.m.: Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said the European Union will impose a sixth sanctions package on Russia as he arrived in Brussels for a meeting Monday, Reuters reported.

“There really is no excuse not to get the package done,” Asselborn said, speaking to reporters.

3:30 a.m.: Russian forces focused their latest attacks in Ukraine on the Donetsk region in the east, targeting civilian and military sites in multiple towns, the Ukrainian military said Monday, The Associated Press reported.

3:00 a.m.: The European Union’s foreign ministers cannot be sure of reaching an agreement on an oil embargo on Russia on Monday, in response to its invasion of Ukraine, the EU’s top diplomat said according to Reuters. There were some “strong positions from some member states,” he said.

2:00 a.m.: The U.K. ministry of defense said Monday “Belarusian territory was used as a staging post for Russia’s initial advance on Kyiv and Chernihiv” in its daily battleground intelligence update.

“Russia has also launched air sorties and missile strikes from Belarus,” the ministry said.


1:42 a.m.: Reuters reported that Sweden and Finland joining NATO would increase the security of the Baltic region, Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said.

“When we see that in our neighborhood also other democratic countries belong to NATO, it would mean that we could have broader joint exercises and also … more defense cooperation,” Liimets told Reuters in Berlin where she joined a meeting with other NATO counterparts on Saturday.

Liimets said she hoped Sweden, Finland and Turkey would overcome differences on the Nordic states joining the alliance, adding that the Berlin meeting atmosphere was very supportive. “We have seen some differences, but we have also seen a willingness of those countries to overcome the differences,” she said.

Estonia appreciates NATO enforcing its presence in the Baltic region but would like the allies to move from enhancing their presence to enhancing their defense. “It would mean that we would have more robust presence of land forces, but also air and maritime defense,” she added.

1:00 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, issued a map showing Russian advances around Izium, Konstiantynivka and Donbas regions.

Russian troops have “likely abandoned the objective of completing a large-scale encirclement of Ukrainian units from Donetsk City to Izyum in favor of completing the seizure of Luhansk Oblast,” the institute said in a Twitter post Sunday.



12:45 a.m.: CNN reports that, in areas of Ukraine that Russia has occupied, educators are being intimidated and threatened into changing their curriculum “to align with pro-Russian rhetoric.”

12:01 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the United States supports Finland and Sweden applying for NATO membership. This follows statements from those countries’ leaders in the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Leaders say the war has them rethinking their own security. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi has more.

(A warning: some viewers may find images in this report disturbing.)


Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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