Ukraine-Russia War: Russian forces retreat from Kharkiv

Turkey has proposed carrying out a sea evacuation of trapped fighters at Azovstal * Russian forces retreat from Kharkiv due to Ukrainian pushback

 Burnt cars are pictured through the glass of a damaged car in Saltivka neighbourhood, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 10, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/RICARDO MORAES)
Burnt cars are pictured through the glass of a damaged car in Saltivka neighbourhood, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 10, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/RICARDO MORAES)

The Russian village of Sereda in the Belgorod region came under fire from Ukrainian shelling, TASS reported citing the regional governor's statements on Telegram Sunday morning.

At least one person is injured.

The latest developments in Ukraine have shown that Russian forces have been retreating from Kharkiv due to Ukrainian pushback, but Russian forces in Mariupol still have many Ukrainians trapped at the Azovstal steel plant. The Institute for the Study of War published on Saturday that Ukraine appears to have won the battle of Kharkiv.

The institute states they have done so by preventing Russian forces from encircling or seizing the city, similar to what Ukrainian forces have done in Kyiv. The Russian military "has likely decided to withdraw fully" from its positions around the city, their report states.

After weeks of Russian siege and bombardment, Mariupol is in Russian hands, but hundreds of Ukrainian fighters are holding out under heavy fire at the steelworks.

About 600 wounded people still remain at Azovstal as of Saturday, Pravda reported citing a police officer from the factory told.

He continued to explain the poor conditions at the steel plant, where there are "complete unsanitary conditions" and that there are "injured soldiers without limbs that are lying next to each other, without arms, without legs" With no medicine, the operating room is just a table against a wall where operations are performed on injured soldiers, without anesthesia. Soldiers are dying in large numbers at the steel plant because of the lack of medical care.

 A blast this week in the southern port city of Mariupol in Ukraine. Will the world soon accuse Israel of being like Russia? (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters) A blast this week in the southern port city of Mariupol in Ukraine. Will the world soon accuse Israel of being like Russia? (credit: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Zelensky has said complex talks are underway to evacuate a large number of wounded soldiers from the steelworks in return for the release of Russian prisoners of war.

Turkey's involvement

NATO member Turkey has proposed carrying out a sea evacuation of wounded fighters holed up in a steelworks in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Saturday.

Kalin told Reuters in an interview that he had personally discussed the proposal with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv two weeks ago and that it remains "on the table," although Moscow has not agreed to it.

Under the plan, people evacuated from the vast Azovstal steel plant would be taken by land to the port of Berdyansk, which like Mariupol is on the Sea of Azov, and a Turkish vessel would take them across the Black Sea to Istanbul, he said.

"If it can be done that way, we are happy to do it. We are ready. In fact, our ship is ready to go and bring the injured soldiers and other civilians to Turkey," said Kalin, who is also Erdogan's top foreign policy adviser.

Ukraine and Russia did not immediately comment on the possibility of an evacuation by sea.

However, Russian forces shelled Bleshnia village in the Chernihiv Oblast on Saturday, Ukrainian forces reported, though no casualties have been reported.

Russian forces have also set up anti-aircraft systems on Snake Island in the Black Sea on the same day, Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reports, stating that the Russians are "trying to provide cover from possible damage to its fleet."

Russian shelling destroys approximately 50 houses per day in the Luhansk Oblast, the regional governor wrote on Telegram on Saturday. 

Ukraine wages counteroffensive in east

Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive near the Russian-held town of Izium in eastern Ukraine, a regional governor said on Saturday, in what could prove a serious setback for Moscow's plans to capture the entire Donbas region.

Russian forces have focused much of their firepower on the Donbas in a "second phase" of their invasion announced on April 19, after they failed to reach the capital Kyiv from the north in the early weeks of the war. Keeping up the pressure on Izium and Russian supply lines will make it harder for Moscow to encircle battle-hardened Ukrainian troops on the eastern front in the Donbas. 

Russia forges new partnerships in face of West's 'total hybrid war'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that Moscow was the target of a "total hybrid war" by the West but would withstand sanctions by forging deeper partnerships with China, India and others.

In a speech on the 80th day since Russia invaded Ukraine, Lavrov pointed to the barrage of sanctions imposed by the West in an effort to portray Russia as the target, not the perpetrator, of aggression.

"The collective West has declared total hybrid war on us and it is hard to predict how long all this will last but it is clear the consequences will be felt by everyone, without exception," he said.

"We did everything to avoid a direct clash - but now that the challenge has been thrown down, we of course accept it. We are no strangers to sanctions: they were almost always there in one form or another."

Evacuations

A convoy of 500-1,000 cars has evacuated people from Mariupol to the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhya on Saturday, Petro Andryushchenko, aide to Mariupol's mayor, wrote on Telegram.

Casualties

Russian casualties as of Saturday include 27,200 personnel, 1,218 tanks, 2,059 vehicles and fuel tanks, 551 artillery systems, 88 anti-aircraft defense systems, 163 helicopters, 200 aircraft and 13 boats.

A deputy commander from the Azov regiment stated that Russian forces lost 6,000 in Mariupol alone.

Russian forces have killed 227 children since the invasion began, according to Ukrainian military reports. The report also states that since late February, Russia has committed 11,439 crimes of aggression or war crimes as of Saturday.

More than 120 Russian households in the Belgorod region have been restored following Ukrainian shelling, according to a report by TASS.