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In this Aug. 18, 2021, photo, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pauses while speaking during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. - Sputnik International

LIVE UPDATE: Austin Speaks to Shoigu for First Time Since Russia Began Operation in Ukraine

Moscow launched the military operation in Ukraine on 24 February to defend the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which were suffering from intensifying attacks by Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin slammed Kiev for 8-year-long war in Donbass, calling it a genocide, and said that Russia's goal is the "demilitarisation and denazification" of Ukraine.
Russian forces and Donbass militias continue to advance amid the special operation in Ukraine. In total, since the beginning of the op, the Russian military has destroyed 164 Ukrainian warplanes, 827 drones, 366 rocket launchers, 304 air defence missile systems, and 3,022 tanks and other armoured vehicles.
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Table of contents
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03:32 GMT 14.05.2022
US, ASEAN Supporting UN Secretary-General's Peace-Seeking Efforts on Ukraine - Statement
The United States and the ASEAN nations have voiced support for the efforts of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres aimed at looking for a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, the joint statement of the US-ASEAN Summit said.

"With regard to Ukraine, as for all nations, we continue to reaffirm our respect for sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity. We reiterate our call for compliance with the UN Charter and international law. We underline the importance of an immediate cessation of hostilities and creating an enabling environment for peaceful resolution. We support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General in the search for a peaceful solution," the statement said.

The parties also pointed out the need to facilitate rapid, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance for those in need in Ukraine, as well as to ensure the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and vulnerable people.
23:10 GMT 13.05.2022
Zelensky: 37 Foreign Embassies Resumed Work in Kiev
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed in an Telegram post that 37 foreign embassies had resumed their work in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.

In February, many embassies suspended the work in Ukraine amid the threat of a Russian military offensive.
23:09 GMT 13.05.2022
Sounds of Explosions Sounding Over Russia's Belgorod, Surrounding Areas
Sounds of explosions are sounding over the city of Belgorod and the region, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

Local residents are also reporting about the loud sounds. There are no comments of the regional officials.

The Russian territories bordering Ukraine regularly come under attacks from Ukraine since the withdrawal of the Russian troops from the Kiev and Chernihiv regions in early April.
21:33 GMT 13.05.2022
Senator Paul Says Sympathetic to Ukraine, But Does Not Want to Bankrupt US With Funding
US Senator Rand Paul said after delaying the passage of a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine that although he is sympathetic to the country’s situation, he does not want to bankrupt the United States by overspending on foreign causes.

"I have great sympathy for [Ukraine]. I want them to succeed. But I don’t want them to succeed in the process of bankrupting our country," Paul said on Friday in an interview on WMAL.

Passing the legislation would bring the total amount sent by the US to Ukraine over the last two months to nearly $54 billion. That level of spending on a foreign issue while taxpayers struggle to buy gas, groceries and baby formula is a "slap in the face," Paul said on Thursday via Twitter.

Paul also said that his oath of office is to the US Constitution and not any foreign nation.
18:26 GMT 13.05.2022
Pentagon: Austin Orders Deployment of 10,500 US Troops to Replace Units in European Theatre
US Secretary of Defense ordered the deployment of 10,500 American troops to replace previously deployed troops in the European theater amid Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said on Friday.
"Secretary Austin has ordered the deployment of approximately 10,500 personnel in the coming months to replace previously deployed US Army units, serving in the European Theater of operation," Kirby said during a press briefing.
Kirby added that these deployments are not permanent and these forces are not going to fight in Ukraine.
18:21 GMT 13.05.2022
Zelensky Says Macron Mediating Between Russia, Ukraine 'in Vain'
Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that French President Emmanuel Macron has been mediating between Moscow and Kiev "in vain," since the Ukrainian authorities would never make certain concessions to Russia.
"We shouldn't look for a way out for Russia. Macron is doing it in vain… Macron's mediation between us was aimed at a certain result but it fell short of it," Zelenskyy told Italian broadcaster Rai 1.
He also said Ukraine had been offered to compromise its sovereignty to "save Putin's face," but Kiev would never recognize the Russian ownership of Crimea or the independence of the Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics.
In addition, Zelenskyy urged Rome to stop issuing visas to Russian tourists in a show of "cultural resistance, so that they know they are not welcome."
18:00 GMT 13.05.2022
White House: Biden Relays to Swedish, Finnish Leaders US Support for NATO Open Door Policy
US President Joe Biden spoke by telephone with the leaders of Sweden and Finland and emphasized the United States' support for NATO's Open Door policy and for the right of each country to decide whether to join the military alliance, the White House said on Friday.
"President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinisto of Finland to discuss the close defense and security cooperation between our countries as well as our respective efforts aimed at strengthening Transatlantic security," the White House said in a press release. "President Biden underscored his support for NATO’s Open Door policy and for the right of Finland and Sweden to decide their own future, foreign policy and security arrangements."
16:38 GMT 13.05.2022
RT Says Filming Crew Caught Under Ukrainian Fire Near Dokuchaevsk, Two Operators Injured
wo cameramen of an RT filming crew have been wounded by shrapnel after being caught under fire by the Ukrainian military near the city of Dokuchaevsk in the Donetsk People's Republic, RT said on Friday.
"Military correspondent Valentin Gorshenin has come under rocket fire from Ukrainian forces near Dokuchaievsk, in the Donetsk People's Republic - two RT colleagues were wounded. Gorshenin himself was not injured, but cameramen Vladimir Batalin and Viktor Miroshnikov were hospitalized with shrapnel wounds to their legs and backs," RT said on Telegram.
Cameramen are currently being transported to a hospital, RT said.
15:37 GMT 13.05.2022
Biden Speaks to Swedish, Finnish Leaders Amid Push to Join NATO
US President Joe Biden spoke with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Friday, the White House said, as cited in a pool report.
"President Biden held a secure call this morning with Prime Minister Andersson of Sweden and President Niinistö of Finland from 9:50 AM– 10:27 AM EDT [13:50-14:27 GMT]," the White House said.
15:15 GMT 13.05.2022
Austin Speaks to Shoigu for First Time Since Russia Began Operation in Ukraine
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin spoke on Friday with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for the first time since February 18 and called for a ceasefire in Ukraine, spokesman John Kirby said.
"On May 13, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu for the first time since February 18," Kirby said in a statement. "Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication."
14:43 GMT 13.05.2022
UN Suggests Activating Bio Weapons Convention to Address Russia Concerns Over Ukraine Labs
UN deputy arms chief Thomas Markram suggested on Friday activating the Biological Weapons Convention mechanisms to address Russia's concerns over bio labs in Ukraine.
"I would encourage any parties with compliance concerning to use the procedures available under the Convention," he told a UN Security Council.
14:29 GMT 13.05.2022
US Ambassador Says Vital to Keep Russia Mission Open Despite 'Not Overly Friendly' Ties
US Ambassador in Moscow John Sullivan said on Friday it is vital to keep the American diplomatic mission in Russia open and maintain professional engagements.
On Wednesday, Sullivan met with Russian officials to discuss a narrow set of bilateral issues, including the operation of the US embassy in the country, according to the State Department.
"We think it is important that the United States continues to have an embassy here in Moscow. We have to be engaged with the Foreign Ministry," Sullivan told CNN.
The diplomat described his contacts with Russian officials as always being professional.
"My engagements across the Russian government, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries, have been nothing but professional, not overly friendly sometimes. We obviously have deep and significant disagreements, but discussions are always professional," he said.
Sullivan stressed that diplomats from both sides are trying to keep relations at a professional level, despite differences.
14:16 GMT 13.05.2022
Interior Ministers of Baltic States, Poland Urge EU to Fund Demining Activities in Ukraine
The interior ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland have urged the European Commission and the Council to send demining specialists to Ukraine and also consider financing these efforts from the EU budget, Lithuanian interior ministry said on Friday.
"The joint letter of the Ministers of the Interior of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland, initiated by Minister A. Bilotaite, calls on the European Commission to coordinate the provision of support for demining of the Ukrainian territories and asks to assess the possibilities of financing these activities with EU funds," the statement said.
The letter was sent to the European Commission, France, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the Czech Republic as its successor, inviting them to "coordinate the mobilization of demining experts in Ukraine."
However, the statement failed to mention that a substantial part of those explosive devices have been planted by Ukrainian forces and nationalist battalions, who have been mining critical infrastructure facilities, civilian buildings and the waters of ports, preventing ships from delivering supplies to other countries.
14:15 GMT 13.05.2022
WATCH LIVE: UNSC Discusses Int'l Peace and Security
14:14 GMT 13.05.2022
Russia to Present UNSC With New Evidence on US Military Bio Activity in Ukraine, Nebenzia Says
Russia will present the UN Security Council with new evidence on US military biological activity in Ukraine, Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said on Friday.
"Since the previous meeting two months have passed and we've received new evidence. All of these materials we have presented to the Security Council," he said.
13:24 GMT 13.05.2022
G7 Intends to Allocate Some $31.1Bln in Large-Scale Assistance to Ukraine - Reports
G7 coutnries intend to provide large-scale financial support to Ukraine in the amount of about 30 billion euros ($31.1 billion), Germany's magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday, citing sources.
The group is expected initiate this assistance at the meeting of G7 finance ministers in Germany's Petersberg next week, the news outlet added.
This amount of funds is calculated provided for that the hostilities will be completed within a year, Der Spiegel said.
13:09 GMT 13.05.2022
Ankara Says Zelensky Ready to Meet With Putin Through Mediation of Erdogan

"During our visit to Kiev, I also had a meeting with Zelenskyy. He thanked Turkey for its constructive and balanced attitude, as well as support that Turkey provides to Ukraine. Zelensky stressed that they have full confidence in Turkey. In addition, Zelensky confirmed that he is ready to meet with Putin through the mediation of our president", Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in an interview with Turkiye Gazetesi newspaper.

11:37 GMT 13.05.2022
Turkey Cannot Assess Positively Plans for Finland, Sweden to Join NATO Yet - Erdogan

"We are following the process. But we do not have a positive opinion on this matter. Because before that, there was a mistake in connection with Greece. You are aware of Greece's behavior in the alliance towards Turkey ... The Scandinavian countries have a habit of showing 'hospitality' to terrorists, letting them into parliament. Therefore, we cannot look positively at this yet", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters.

10:38 GMT 13.05.2022
Russian President Putin, German Chancellor Scholz Discuss Situation in Ukraine in Phone Call, Kremlin Says
09:30 GMT 13.05.2022
Kremlin Denies Reports About Stopping Gas Deliveries to Finland

"Gazprom supplies natural gas to various consumers in Europe, including countries that are NATO members. And Gazprom has repeatedly demonstrated its reliability as a company that supplies energy resources to the European continent. Therefore, most likely, these reports are just another media hoax", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

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