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Live blog: Ukraine extends martial law as conflict with Russia drags on

  • 22 May 2022

Ukraine has said only a diplomatic solution can put an end to the military confrontation while Russia hasn't given a signal to stop its offensive as the armed conflict enters into the 88th day.

Ukraine's parliament voted by an absolute majority for the third extension of the martial law decree. ( AFP )

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Ukraine extends martial law for three months

Ukraine has extended martial law for three months through to August 23 as the conflict with Russia drags on.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy first signed the decree along with a general military mobilisation call on February 24 when Russian forces attacked the country.

Ukraine's parliament voted by an absolute majority for the third extension of the decree as Russia pursues its offensive targeting the eastern Donbass region. After failing to take control of the capital Kiev, Moscow has since March switched its focus to the east of Ukraine.

France sees EU membership for Ukraine in '15 or 20 years': minister

A bid by Ukraine to join the European Union could not be finalised for "15 or 20 years," France's Europe minister has said, pouring cold water on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's hopes for a quick entry in the wake of Russian onslaught.

"We have to be honest. If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you're lying," Clement Beaune told Radio J. 

"It's probably in 15 or 20 years, it takes a long time."

Ukraine must decide its own future: Duda

Only Ukraine has the right to decide its future, the Polish president told lawmakers in Kiev, as he became the first foreign leader to give a speech in person to the Ukrainian parliament since the start of the conflict.

"Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin's demands," Andrzej Duda said. "Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future... nothing about you without you," he added, to a standing ovation in the chamber.

"I will not rest until Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union," he said.

If Ukraine is sacrificed for... economic reasons or political ambitions - even a centimetre of its territory - it will be a huge blow not only for the Ukrainian nation, but for the entire Western world.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda

Nine Russian attacks repulsed in Donetsk, Luhansk

The Ukrainian military has said it has repulsed nine Russian attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk over the past day.

Five Russian tanks, four artillery systems, 10 armored combat vehicles, two military vehicles and a drone were also destroyed, according to the Ukrainian General Staff’s latest update.

Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile units also shot down two cruise missiles, while 12 units of Russian military equipment were destroyed in airstrikes, it added.

Russia pounds Ukraine's Donbass and Mykolaiv regions

Russia has pounded Ukrainian forces with air strikes and artillery in the east and the south, targeting command centres, troops, and ammunition depots, the Russian defence ministry has said.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the defence ministry, said air-launched missiles hit three command points, 13 areas where troops and Ukrainian military equipment amassed, as well as four ammunition depots in the Donbass.

In Ukraine's southern region of Mykolaiv, Russian rockets hit a mobile anti-drone system near the settlement of Hannivka, around 100 km northeast of Mykolaiv city, Konashenkov said.

Ukraine rejects concessions amid Russian attacks in Donbass

Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or concessions to Russia while the latter intensified an offensive in the eastern Donbass region and stopped providing gas to Finland, as Polish President Andrzej Duda prepared to address the Ukrainian parliament on Sunday.

After ending weeks of resistance by the last Ukrainian fighters in the strategic southeastern city of Mariupol, Russia is waging a major offensive in Luhansk, one of two provinces in Donbass.

Russian-backed separatists already controlled swathes of territory in Luhansk and the neighbouring Donetsk province before the Feb. 24 assault, but Moscow wants to seize the last remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Donbass.

"The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. The Russian army was trying to attack the cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces were holding off their advance, he said.

For live updates from Saturday (May 21), click here

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