Ukraine live news: Zelensky: Russia seeks global food crisis | war news between russia and ukraine

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, offering to facilitate the reopening of Ukrainian ports.
  • The Kremlin says Putin told Erdogan that Russia is ready to facilitate unhindered grain exports from Ukrainian ports in coordination with Turkey.
  • French media reported that France announced the opening of a war crimes investigation into the murder of journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff.
  • European Union countries met in Brussels to discuss imposing more sanctions on Moscow and did not agree to ban Russian oil imports.
[Al Jazeera]

Here are the latest updates:

EU agrees to partial ban on Russian oil imports: official

The President of the European Council announced an agreement between the countries of the European Union to impose a partial ban on imports of Russian oil to the 27-nation bloc.

“This immediately covers more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, cutting off a huge source of financing for its war machine,” Charles Michel wrote on Twitter.

It remains unclear when the ban will take effect or whether countries that rely heavily on Russian energy exports, which have previously opposed the ban, will be exempted from the measure.

The ban will be part of the sixth EU sanctions package against Moscow that Kyiv has been seeking. Michel said the measures also include banning Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, from its financial messaging service SWIFT, banning three Russian state-owned radio stations and imposing sanctions on individuals responsible for war crimes.

Zelensky says Russia is “clearly” seeking a global food crisis

Zelensky said that the Russian blockade of Ukrainian seaports prevents Kyiv from exporting 22 million tons of grain.

In his evening speech, Zelensky said that the result is the risk of starvation in countries that depend on grain and could create a new migration crisis. “This is something the Russian leadership is clearly seeking,” he said.

Zelensky accused Moscow of “deliberately creating this problem so that the whole of Europe would struggle and so that Ukraine would not earn billions of dollars from its exports.”

Moscow blamed Western sanctions for the crisis – a claim Zelensky dismissed as “cynical”.

WNBA star calls for Britney Grenier to be brought home

Basketball star Britney Stewart has called back from fellow NBA teammate Britney Greiner who has been detained in Russia since February.

“We care and are counting on you,” Stewart said in a tweet to the White House.

France opens war crimes investigation into journalist’s killing: Reports

France has announced the opening of a war crimes investigation into the killing of journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff and the wounding of his colleague Maxime Brandsteiter during a Russian bombing of eastern Ukraine, French media reported.

The French journalist was working for the BFM TV news channel, which said he was 32, on his second trip to Ukraine since the war began on February 24.

The National Counter-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office said it was also investigating five other incidents involving French nationals, AFP reported.

Frederic Leclerc Imhof
Martyr Frederic Leclerc-Imhof in eastern Ukraine, 32 years old [BFM TV via Reuters]

Zelensky warns against succumbing to Russian “blackmail” of food supplies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked France not to give in to Russian “blackmail” over food supplies during a meeting with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, his office said.

In summarizing the talks, the Ukrainian presidency accused Russia of using food security issues to try to ease international sanctions. Kyiv said Moscow was looting grain and agricultural equipment from its forces-controlled areas of Ukraine and impeding Ukraine’s grain exports.

Zelensky’s office said he and Kolona discussed sanctions, arms supplies and Ukraine’s aspirations to join the European Union.

The war in Ukraine has contributed to rising food prices globally, raising fears of exacerbating hunger crises in many places around the world.

German politicians agree to $107 billion deal to bolster the army

The German government and the conservative opposition agreed to a deal that would release 100 billion euros ($107 billion) to modernize the country’s military in response to Russia.

An agreement was reached to create a special fund for military procurement that will also allow Berlin to meet the NATO target of spending 2% of GDP on defence.

Representatives of these groups told AFP that the agreement, which includes amending budget rules in the national constitution, was struck after weeks of difficult negotiations between parties in the ruling coalition and former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

Erdogan holds separate talks with Putin Zelensky

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, offering to facilitate the reopening of Ukrainian ports.

“During the discussion of the situation in Ukraine, the focus was placed on ensuring the safety of navigation in the Black and Azov seas and eliminating the threat of mines in their waters,” the Kremlin said of Putin’s call with Erdogan.

For its part, Ankara said that Erdogan told Putin that peace should take place as soon as possible and that Turkey is ready to play a role in the “monitoring mechanism” between Moscow, Kiev and the United Nations, if an agreement is reached.

Erdogan later said that he “especially appreciates the project to establish a safe sea route for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products,” according to his office, adding that the Turkish leader welcomed, in principle, the idea of ​​making Istanbul the headquarters of the “monitoring mechanism.” .

No EU agreement to ban Russian oil

A meeting of European Union countries in Brussels to discuss further sanctions on Moscow failed to agree on a ban on Russian oil imports, despite last-minute bargaining ahead of the two-day summit.

The European Union has imposed five rounds of sanctions against Russia since its forces invaded Ukraine, but an agreement on an oil embargo has proven elusive as many countries depend on Russian crude.

“There is absolutely no compromise at this moment,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country has been the main opponent of a deal.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s ongoing coverage of the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Read all the updates from Monday, May 30th here.

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