Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Germany to send seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine

Germany will deliver seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, on top of five such artillery systems the Dutch government already pledged, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Friday.

Germany reversed its long-held policy of not sending heavy weapons to war zones last week following pressure at home and abroad for it to help Ukraine fend off Russian attacks.

The heavy weapons will come out of the Bundeswehr inventories and be delivered as soon as they emerge from maintenance over the next weeks, Lambrecht and her chief of defence, general Eberhard Zorn, told reporters in the Slovak town of Sliac.

—Reuters

Another effort to evacuate civilians from Mariupol’s steel plant underway, Ukraine says

Ukraine’s head of presidential office says a new attempt to evacuate people from Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant is underway.

“The next stage of rescuing our people from Azovstal is underway at the moment,” Andriy Yermak said via Telegram, according to a translation. “Information about the results will be provided later.”

—Sam Meredith

Russia continues assault on Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, UK says

People hold banners and shout slogans during a demonstration in support of Mariupol defenders on May 3, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Alexey Furman | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian forces in the besieged coastal city of Mariupol have continued their ground assault on the Azovstal steel plant for a second day, according to the UK Defense Ministry, despite Russian statements claiming they would only seek to seal it off.

The renewed effort to secure Azovstal and complete the capture of Mariupol is likely linked to Russia’s annual “Victory Day” commemorations on May 9, the UK said, and President Vladimir Putin’s desire to have a “symbolic success” in Ukraine.

This sustained effort “has come at personnel, equipment and ammunition cost to Russia,” the UK ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

—Sam Meredith

George W. Bush and Zelenskyy meet virtually

Former President George W. Bush delivers a speech on Sept. 11, 2021. Bush met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy virtually via an online video conference, where Zelenskyy invited Bush to visit Ukraine at his convenience.

Noah Riffe | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Former US President George W. Bush and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met via an online video conference, where Zelenskyy invited Bush to visit Ukraine.

Bush in turn conveyed his support for the president and the people of Ukraine.

“Your courage is very important for further success. If you continue to do what you do, you will always have our support if you continue to fight as you do now,” he said, according to the Ukrainian president’s office.

Bush also called Zelenskyy “the Winston Churchill of our time,” according to a statment from the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Zelenskyy expressed his appreciation for support from the US and Americans.

“Americans are sincere, open-minded people, and I feel it. We have common values. I feel that it is from the heart,” Zelenskyy said, according to the president’s office.

—Chelsea Ong

Russia’s war ‘must end,’ UN chief says he told Putin and Zelenskyy

“I was moved by the resilience and bravery of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is simple: We will not give up,” tweeted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, after he returned from a visit to Ukraine earlier this week, where he visited the Kyiv suburbs of Borodianka, Bucha and Irpin.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he told both Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Kremlin’s invasion must end for the sake of the entire world.

“Throughout my travels, I did not mince words,” Guterres told the United Nations Security Council, following separate trips to the capitals of Russia and Ukraine.

“I said the same thing in Moscow as I did in Kyiv which is exactly what I have repeatedly expressed in New York. Namely that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of its territorial integrity and of the charter of the United Nations. It must end for the sake of the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the entire world,” he said.

Guterres said that one goal of his trip was to broker the safe passageway of Ukrainians trapped in a steel plant in Mariupol. He said that so far, nearly 500 civilians have been evacuated after living under relentless shelling and scarce availability of food and water.

Guterres said that a third evacuation was underway but declined to elaborate in order to “avoid undermining possible success.”

—Amanda Macias

US intel helped Ukraine sink Russian flagship Moskva, officials say

The Russian missile cruiser Moskva was set afire and evacuated after a Ukrainian attack on the ship. Here the Moskva is shown off the coast of Syria in 2015.

Max Delany | AFP | Getty Images

Intelligence shared by the US helped Ukraine sink the Russian cruiser Moskva, US officials told NBC News, confirming an American role in perhaps the most embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin’s troubled invasion of Ukraine.

A guided-missile cruiser carrying a crew of 510, the Moskva was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. It sank on April 14 after being struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti ship missile, US officials said. Moscow said the vessel sank after a fire.

The attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa, US officials told NBC News. The US identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.

The US did not know in advance that Ukraine was going to target the Moskva, officials said, and was not involved in the decision to strike. Maritime intelligence is shared with Ukraine to help it defend against attack from Russian ships, officials added.

Read the full story here.

—Ken Dilanian, Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee, NBC News

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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