Mariupol officials say new mass grave found | News

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MARIUPOL, Ukraine — Officials in the embattled Ukrainian city of Mariupol say a new mass grave has been identified north of the city.

Mayor Vadym Boychenko said authorities are trying to estimate the number of victims in the grave about about 6 miles north of Mariupol.

Satellite photos released over the past several days have shown what appear to be images of other mass graves.

Mariupol has been decimated by fierce fighting over the past two months. The capture of the city would deprive Ukraine of a vital port and allow Moscow to establish a land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Moscow mad at Croatia

ZAGREB, Croatia — Moscow is accusing Croatia of having an anti-Russian policy for failing to provide “humanitarian” passage for 24 Russian diplomats and embassy staff who were expelled from the country over the war in Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Monday that the government of Croatia is “systematically destroying bilateral relations,” according to the Russian TASS news agency.

“The inhumane, cynical attitude towards our fellow countrymen won’t go without an answer,” she added.

Croatia has followed several other European Union states in expelling Russian diplomats for the bloody Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday that Zakharova’s claims are Russian propaganda and that the expelled Russians already left the country, probably via neighboring Serbia. He added that Russia “attacked Ukraine, which is our friendly country, killed women and children and we responded to it like most other countries.”

Urgent need for corridors

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are stressing the urgent need for “effective access through humanitarian corridors” to evacuate Ukrainian civilians and deliver humanitarian aid to communities impacted by the war.

Guterres met Erdogan on Monday in Ankara and expressed support for Turkey’s ongoing diplomatic efforts to end the war, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding that they “agreed to stay in contact to follow up on ongoing initiatives.”

The U.N. chief and the Turkish president “reaffirmed that their common objective is to end to the war as soon as possible and to create conditions to end the suffering of civilians,” Dujarric said.

During the meeting, Erdogan also said Turkey would continue to work closely with the U.N. to end the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and to help in the evacuation of civilians, .

Guterres is scheduled to travel to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday and will then head to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday. The Ukrainian leader has criticized the secretary-general for visiting Moscow before going to Kyiv.

Brits: 15,000 Russians killed

LONDON — The British government says it believes 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine since Moscow launched its invasion two months ago.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said 25% of the Russian combat units sent to Ukraine “have been rendered not combat effective,” and Russia had lost more than 2,000 armored vehicles and more than 60 helicopters and fighter planes.

Russia has acknowledged 1,351 military casualties.

Wallace said Russia had failed in most of its military objectives so far. He told British lawmakers that “we anticipate this next phase of the invasion will be an attempt by Russia to occupy further the Donbas in order to connect it via Mariupol” to Russian-controlled Crimea. He said international aid and weapons are crucial to help Ukraine withstand the anticipated onslaught.

Wallace said Britain had sent more than 5,000 antitank missiles, as well as air-defense systems and anti-air missiles, and would soon send “a small number” of Stormer armored vehicles equipped with missile launchers.

2 ask to join NATO

STOCKHOLM — Two newspapers – one Swedish, the other one Finnish – are reporting that the governments of Sweden and Finland have agreed to submit NATO applications at the same time and that it will happen in the middle of next month.

The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti said that the Swedish government has expressed a wish to Finland that they apply together in the week ending May 22, and Swedish government sources confirmed the information to Sweden’s Expressen tabloid.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to growing support in Sweden and Finland, a Russian neighbor, for joining NATO.

Though not members, both Nordic countries closely cooperate with NATO, allowing, among other things, the alliance’s troops to exercise on their soil. Helsinki and Stockholm have also substantially intensified their bilateral defense cooperation in the past years.

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