The first trial for war crimes opens this Wednesday in kyiv, while fighting rages in the east of the country. Launched earlier this week, the evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers from the Azovstal factory in Mariupol continues. And if the combatants remain for the moment in the hands of the Russians, an exchange of prisoners is envisaged by the Ukrainian authorities.
The evacuation mission of the soldiers present inside the huge steel complex of Azovstal, in Mariupol, “continues”, wrote on his website the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. On Tuesday May 17, Russia announced that 265 Ukrainian fighters entrenched in the steelworks had surrendered, 51 of them seriously injured.
Ukraine estimated last week that more than 1,000 fighters were in the factory. An exchange of prisoners is envisaged, so that the soldiers return to the country “as quickly as possible”, in the words of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
Nearly three months after the start of the Russian invasion, a Russian soldier accused of having killed an unarmed civilian is appearing before the Ukrainian justice, this Wednesday, May 18, for war crime. A first since the outbreak of the conflict. The suspect, a 21-year-old Russian, allegedly killed a man riding a bicycle a few meters from his home from his car.
While several investigations for violations of the laws of war committed by Russia are in progress, emanating from the UN, the ICC, national governments or NGOs, Ukraine declared, through the voice of its prosecutor of justice, Irina Venediktova, “to work so that each responsible is brought to justice”. To date, over 10,000 war crimes involving 622 suspects have been reported.
In addition, the United States announced the creation of a “conflict observatory”, endowed with six million dollars, whose mission will be to “collect, analyze and widely share evidence of war crimes” attributed to Russia. .
The official candidacies of Finland and Sweden to join NATO were submitted this Wednesday, May 18 at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Alliance, based in Brussels. Earlier this week, the Finnish and Swedish parliaments voted overwhelmingly in favor of membership, ending decades of non-alignment. “This is a historic moment at a critical time for our security,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “We hope to quickly conclude” the process, he added.
An obstacle nevertheless remains: Turkey, whose ratification is necessary, opposes the integration of the two countries into NATO. She accuses them of “supporting terrorism”, in particular by harboring members of the Kurdish organization of the PKK and sympathizers of its main adversary, the preacher Fethullah Gulen.
Regarding military operations, eight people died and twelve were injured in a Russian bombardment on Desna, a village located about sixty kilometers north of kyiv, known to house a large military training camp. Another attack hit a Ukrainian military base located in Lviv, near the Polish border.
However, the priority of Vladimir Putin’s army remains the control of eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian Defense Minister announced that Russian troops were seeking to “encircle and destroy the consolidation of Ukrainian armed forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions”. This Tuesday, seven civilians were killed and six others injured in the Donetsk region, its governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said on Telegram.
In a video message broadcast at the opening gala of the Cannes Film Festival, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he needed “a new Chaplin who will prove that cinema is not silent” in the face of war. “I am convinced that the dictator will lose,” he added, referring to the Russian president and Charlie Chaplin’s film, The Dictator.
To help Ukraine resist, France has declared, through its President Emmanuel Macron, the forthcoming intensification of arms deliveries.