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Ukraine's first lady speaks out and diplomacy call - round-up

BBC News logo BBC News 5/21/2022
For weeks, the bombed-out Azovstal steel mill was the last remaining site in Mariupol not under Russian control © Reuters For weeks, the bombed-out Azovstal steel mill was the last remaining site in Mariupol not under Russian control

There is still no end in sight to the fighting in Ukraine - but according to the country's President, Volodymyr Zelensky, the conflict can only be resolved through diplomacy.

Speaking on Ukrainian television, he suggested his country could be victorious on the battlefield - but that the war could only come to a conclusive halt "at the negotiating table".

But he indicated this would not be easy, as neither side wanted to give anything up - and negotiations between the two sides have stalled.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Russia's military said Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks had been "completely liberated", with the last Ukrainian defenders surrendering.

However, the exact number of fighters who are now in Russian hands is still not clear.

Russia claims more than 2,000 have surrendered, a number that hasn't been confirmed by Ukraine.

But the end of fighting in Mariupol has freed up Russian troops for redeployment elsewhere - with fierce fighting reported around the city of Severodonetsk as Russia steps up its attempt to capture the whole eastern region of Luhansk.

Ukraine's First Lady speaks out

Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska has given a rare interview with her husband.

This is only the second time the couple have been seen together since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

She said that even though she hadn't seen her husband for two and a half months, not even the war could take him away from her.

The volunteer drivers risking their lives to save others

Getting out of Kherson means uncertainty at Russian checkpoints or the risk of attack on back roads © Reuters Getting out of Kherson means uncertainty at Russian checkpoints or the risk of attack on back roads

Kherson was the first city in Ukraine to be occupied by Russia. But in the past few weeks, more people have been seeking to leave the city as Russia tightens its grip on occupied territory.

Escapees tell stories of intimidation by Russian police, soaring food prices and fear of kidnap by the authorities. Despite the risks, they say, many still want to make the journey out.

The BBC spoke to Alexander, one of a number of volunteer drivers crossing the front line to evacuate civilians from Kherson and other Russian-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine.


Video: Ukrainian Azovstal forces arrive in Olenivka (Reuters)

Quietly spoken, in his early twenties, he used to work in advocacy before the war.

"We can go along one road on the way in, but by the time we go back there's a crater from an explosion," he says.

"Then we know that the enemy shells have arrived. Then we pray, you can shell a little to the left, a little to the right. Just leave us a corridor in the middle so we can get people out."

Read the full report by the BBC's Carrie Davies here.

Moldova should be equipped to Nato standard, says UK's Truss

© EPA

Moldova should be "equipped to Nato standard" to help it guard against the threat of a Russian invasion, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said.

Ms Truss told the Telegraph that talks were under way with allies about how to help smaller nations defend themselves.

She said it was clear that, despite limited success in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin retained "ambitions to create a greater Russia".

Moldova, once a Soviet republic, sits on Ukraine's south-western border.

It does not share a border with Russia, but is close to some of the regions currently occupied by Russian forces in Ukraine's south.

Read the full story here.

Ukrainian mother and six sons get keys to new UK home

The family have been welcomed by members of their new community © PA Media The family have been welcomed by members of their new community

A Ukrainian mother and her six children who fled Russian bombing have been handed the keys to their new home in the UK.

Lilia Onopa, 43, and her children received an official welcome in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, on Friday.

She tearfully described seeing her hometown destroyed, people killed, and wanting to save her sons.

Having fled their home north of Dnipro, where military strikes began in early March, Ms Onopa and her boys travelled to Bucharest, Romania.

This was after attacks on the port city of Odesa made other methods of travel impossible.

Read the full story here.

War in Ukraine: More coverage

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