Live Updates | Russian diplomat resigns over war in Ukraine

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A painting of Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, is surrounded by antiques at a stall at the flea market in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

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DAVOS, Switzerland — A veteran Russian diplomat in Geneva said he tendered his resignation before sending a scathing letter to foreign colleagues denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war of aggression unleashed” in Ukraine.

Boris Bondarev, 41, confirmed his resignation in a letter on Monday after a diplomatic official released his statement in English to The Associated Press.

“During twenty years of my diplomatic career, I have seen different turning points in our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year,” he wrote, alluding on the date of the Russian invasion.

Reached by phone, Bondarev – a diplomatic adviser who focused on Russia’s role in the Disarmament Conference in Geneva after serving in places like Cambodia and Mongolia – confirmed he had handed over his resignation in a letter addressed to Amb. Gennady Gatilov.

“Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not a diplomat. It’s a matter of warmongering, lies and hatred,” he said, telling the AP that he had no intention of leaving Geneva.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

— Russian sentenced to life in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial

—’They ruined everything’: Fleeing devastation in Ukraine

– The Russian offensive turns to the key city of Donbass, intensive shelling

— “A long journey”: Belarusian volunteers fight for Ukraine

— After 3 months of war, life in Russia has changed profoundly

– Russia’s claim of Mariupol capture stokes POW concerns

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin has said Russia’s economy is “withstanding the blow” of international sanctions well, although it is “not easy”.

Putin welcomed his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday.

“The Russian economy is resisting the blow of the sanctions, it is resisting it with great dignity,” Putin said as he opened the talks. “All the main macroeconomic indicators are talking about it.”

At the same time, the Russian leader noted that “not everything is easy, everything that is happening requires special attention and special efforts from the government’s economic bloc.”

Putin has repeatedly assured the public that Russia is doing well under pressure, which many experts describe as unprecedented. However, the ruble briefly lost half of its value at one point, prices for food and other goods soared, and even temporary shortages of sugar, sanitary products and some medicines were reported.

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country has opposed Sweden and Finland joining NATO, on Monday called on Stockholm to take “concrete steps” that would ease the problems of Turkey’s security.

Turkey has said it opposes the two Nordic states joining the alliance, citing their alleged support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other groups that Turkey considers to be terrorists. The country is also calling for the lifting of military export bans on Ankara.

“We can’t ignore the fact that Sweden imposes sanctions on us in any way,” Erdogan said Monday at a ceremony marking the docking of a submarine. “Turkey’s legitimate expectations regarding (an end to) support for terrorism and sanctions must be met.”

In his speech, Erdogan made no reference to Finland while most of Turkey’s grievances are directed against Sweden, which has a large Kurdish exile community.

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A Russian-installed governor in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine said that from Monday the region will officially become a dual-currency zone – Russian rubles and Ukrainian hryvnyas.

Vladimir Saldo also said that an office of a Russian bank would open in the region, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

Russian forces took control of the Kherson region, which borders Donetsk region to the east and Crimea to the south, early in the war and set up a pro-Kremlin administration there. An administration official has announced plans to appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to incorporate the region into Russia.

Putin has previously said Russia has no plans to occupy Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said people in Ukrainian regions must “determine how and with whom they want to live”.

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KYIV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian court on Monday sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison for killing a Ukrainian civilian, in the first war crimes trial held since the invasion of Russia.

sergeant. Vadim Shishimarin was accused of shooting a Ukrainian civilian in the head in a village in the northeast region of Sumy at the start of the war.

He pleaded guilty and said he shot the man after being ordered to. He told the court that an officer insisted that the Ukrainian man, who was talking on his mobile phone, be able to report their location to Ukrainian forces.

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KYIV, Ukraine — A Mariupol official on Monday sounded the alarm over the growing threat of an outbreak in the ravaged port city captured by the Russians, pointing to unsanitary conditions made worse by weather.

Mayor’s adviser Petro Andryushchenko said on Telegram that storm drains and sewers cause rainwater to spill into the city “along with rotten garbage and poison from corpses”.

“The threat of an epidemic becomes a reality with every thunderstorm,” Andryushchenko wrote, adding that Russian forces in the city “continue to ignore health issues and are only busy arranging ‘good photos’ depicting fictional “life improvements”.

The official said Mariupol “desperately needs a new wave of evacuations”.

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Head of Russian-backed separatist region in eastern Ukraine says Ukrainian fighters from Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol who were captured by Russian forces are being held in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic and will face an “international tribunal”.

“The plan is to organize the international tribunal on the territory of the republic as well,” said Denis Pushilin, quoted by the Interfax news agency. Pushilin added that “at the moment the court’s charter is being worked out.”

Pushilin said earlier that 2,439 people from Azovstal were in custody, including some foreign citizens, although he did not provide details.

Family members of steel mill fighters, who hailed from various military and law enforcement units, pleaded for them to be granted rights as POWs and eventually returned to Ukraine .

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MOSCOW — The Russian military released footage on Monday of demining specialists working at the recently overwhelmed Azostal steelworks in the captured port city of Mariupol.

According to the official RIA Novosti news agency, the Russian Defense Ministry said that over the past two days more than 100 explosives have been destroyed.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Russian forces shelled the Dnipropetrovsk region in southeastern Ukraine overnight, its governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Monday morning.

The Dnipropetrovsk region borders the Donetsk region, which remains the center of the Russian offensive in the east.

According to Reznichenko, the Russians used the Uragan or “Hurricane” multiple rocket launch system and the shelling struck “between the two settlements”. No one was injured, he added.

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LONDON — British military officials say Russian forces in Ukraine suffered a death rate similar to that suffered by the Soviet Union during its nine-year war in Afghanistan.

The British Ministry of Defence, in a briefing released Monday morning, says the high casualty rate in the first three months of the war was due to poor tactics, limited air cover, a lack of flexibility and a command approach that reinforces failure and repeats mistakes. .

The ministry says the death toll could weaken support for the war among the Russian public, which has been sensitive to losses from past wars.

“As the losses suffered in Ukraine continue to mount, they will become more apparent, and public dissatisfaction with the war and the will to express it may increase,” the ministry said.

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