Ukraine, Briefly

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin commemorated the Soviet Union’s World War Two victory over Nazi Germany on Monday with a dramatic display of military force and an address from Moscow’s Red Square, NBC News reported. In the speech, the Russian leader tied the war in Ukraine to that historic fight and blamed the West for the violence. He did not make any fresh threats. Elsewhere, pro-Russian marches took place in Serbia and the Serb-run region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Associated Press noted. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid tribute to the 8 million Ukrainians who died in World War II, saying, “They fought for freedom for us and won (and now) we are fighting for freedom for our children, and we will win, too.”
  • Sergey Andreev, Russia’s ambassador to Poland, was pelted with red paint in Warsaw on Monday amid protests against the invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg wrote. As part of Russia’s May 9 Victory Day commemorations, the envoy led a Russian team to lay flowers at a memorial to Soviet Red Army troops who beat Nazi Germany in WWII.
  • Bulgaria will not accept the European Union’s new sanctions against Russia unless it is exempted from the proposed ban on purchasing Russian oil, according to Reuters. The Balkan country’s move comes as the EU plans new sanctions against Russia and a six-month phase-out period from Russian oil. Hungary remains a vocal opponent of the oil ban, leading to an impasse in the bloc, CNBC added. Meanwhile, the leaders of the Group of Seven developed economies pledged to phase out or restrict Russian oil imports, Euronews wrote.
  • China’s monthly imports of Russian goods, especially energy, reached a new high in April, despite rising Western pressure on the country to distance itself from Moscow in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine, according to the South China Morning Post. Imports from Russia reached $8.9 billion in April, up 56.6 percent from the previous year and 13.3 percent from March.
  • Sweden’s ruling party will vote on May 15 on whether to reverse decades of opposition to NATO membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Al Jazeera said. Meanwhile, the European Commission will officially react to Ukraine’s EU membership bid next month, a critical step before the issue is taken up by the bloc’s 27 member states, Radio Free Europe reported.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded a medal to a mine-sniffing dog that has detected more than 200 explosives since the war began in February, the Guardian noted. Patron, a two-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, has sniffed out Russian explosives in Chernihiv and serves as the country’s emergency service’s mascot.

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