Biden accuses Putin of seeking to ‘wipe out’ Ukrainian culture

As Russia advances in eastern Ukraine, Joe Biden accuses Vladimir Putin of trying to ‘eliminate a culture’.

  • US President Joe Biden says his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin is trying to “wipe out” Ukrainian culture and identity.
  • Russia’s finance minister says he expects to receive $14.4bn in additional energy revenues this year, part of which will go to fund the country’s offensive in Ukraine.
  • The ICC prosecutor urges Russia to cooperate with investigation into alleged war crimes.
  • A Turkish official says discussions on Finland and Sweden’s efforts to join NATO are “not an easy process” but will continue, the Reuters news agency has reported.
INTERACTIVE_UKRAINE_CONTROL MAP DAY93_May27_INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Donbas DAY 93
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Zelenskyy: Situation in east ‘extremely difficult’

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that the situation in the country’s east was extremely difficult, as Russian forces continued to concentrate maximum efforts in the Donbas.

“As expected, the situation (in the Donbas) is extremely difficult,” Zelenskyy said during his night address.

“The occupiers are trying to achieve the goals they hoped to achieve in the first days of the war after February 24, at least before the 100th day of the war. That’s why they have concentrated maximum artillery and reserves. They are using both missile and airstrikes.”

He also said that two key cities in Luhansk region, Lyman and Sievierodonetsk will never be Russian, amid reports that Russian forces had captured Lyman and encircled Sievierodonetsk.

NATO talks with Sweden, Finland ‘will continue’: Turkish official

A senior Turkish official has told the Reuters news agency that talks with Sweden and Finland over the two countries’ efforts to join NATO are “not an easy process” but will continue.

Ankara has raised concerns over their recent bids to join the US-led alliance, accusing Sweden and Finland of harbouring “terrorists” while also criticising Stockholm for suspending weapons sales to Ankara in 2019 over its involvement in the war in Syria.

Swedish and Finnish diplomats met in Turkey on Wednesday to try to bridge their differences.

The Turkish official told Reuters that Sweden and Finland must take “difficult” steps to win Ankara’s support. “Further negotiations will continue. But a date doesn’t seem very close,” the official said.

Biden says Putin trying to erase Ukrainian culture and identity

US President Joe Biden has accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of seeking to “wipe out” Ukrainian culture and identity.

“Not only is he trying to take over Ukraine, he’s literally trying to wipe out the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people,” Biden said in a speech at a US Naval Academy graduation ceremony.

He said Russian forces are “attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums with no other purpose than to eliminate a culture” and added that the war is “a direct assault on the fundamental tenets of rule-based international order”.

ICC prosecutor urges Russia to cooperate with war crimes probe

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has urged Russia to cooperate with the court’s investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Prosecutor Karim A A Khan said Russia, which is not a member of the Hague-based court, had declined to work with the ICC on Ukraine but added that his “door is open” if it wants to help.

“The invitation is there. My door is open, and I will also keep knocking on the door of the Russian Federation,” Khan said in an interview with the AFP news agency.

“If there are allegations that the Russian Federation have, if there’s information that they have, if they are conducting their own investigations or prosecutions or have information that’s relevant – share it with us.”

Russia expects $14.4bn in additional oil and gas revenue this year

Russia expects to receive $14.4bn (one trillion rubles) in additional oil and gas revenues this year, the country’s finance minister has said, adding that part of the windfall will be spent on the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

Anton Siluanov said in remarks broadcast on state television that Moscow planned to spend the additional revenue this year rather than put it aside.

He said the funds will be spent on “additional payments” to pensioners and families with children and conducting a “special operation” in Ukraine, the term Russia uses to refer to its ongoing invasion. “There are resources for this,” Siluanov added.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Friday, May 27 here.

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