Ukraine War: 8 Million Internally Displaced in Need of Financial Support

Live Updates
  • As the war in Ukraine continues, counterattacks from Ukrainian forces are pushing Russia back in Kharkiv.
  • Russia suffered significant losses when Ukraine forces stopped an attempt to cross a river in the east, according to U.K. intelligence.
  • Ukraine began its first war crimes trial against a Russian solider Friday. The young solider is accused of shooting and killing an unarmed civilians in the Sumy region.
  • Sweden has joined Finland in announcing support for joining NATO. Russian threatened to take "retaliatory steps" if the Nordic countries become members of the western military alliance.
Odessa strike aftermath
A man sweeps rubble next to a shopping and entertainment mall destroyed after a Russian missiles strike in Odessa, Ukraine on May 13, 2022. Francisco Seco/AP Photo

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8M Internally Displaced in Need of Financial Support

More than 8 million people are internally displaced in Ukraine, according to the latest report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Financial support was identified as an "overwhelming need" among those internally displaced, a recent IOM survey shows. Shelter was identified as another need. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed said their homes were damaged or destroyed amid the invasion.

''The needs of those internally displaced and all affected by the war in Ukraine are growing by the hour," IOM Director General António Vitorino said. "Access to populations in need of aid remains a challenge amid active hostilities, but our teams are committed to continue delivering urgent assistance inside Ukraine and in neighboring countries."

Kharkiv house
A destroyed house is seen in Malaya Rohan, a village retaken by Ukrainian forces on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine on May 8, 2022. Felipe Dana/AP Photo

More than 6 million have fled Ukraine:

Another six million have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries since Russia began its invasion on February 24, according to U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

Where refugees are going, by country:

  • Poland: 3.29 million
  • Romania: 901,696
  • Russia: 800,104
  • Hungary: 588,736
  • Moldova: 460,782
  • Slovakia: 412,345
  • Belarus: 27,308

*Estimates above provided by UNHCR as of 5/12

Ukraine Prepares to Mobilize One Million People

Ukraine is bolstering its defense capabilities as it seeks to mobilize some one million people against Russia, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Friday.

"We are focusing on the need to provide for one million people who will be facing the enemy," Reznikov said.

Ukrainian soldiers have been training in recent weeks on various systems and equipment and will return to Ukraine to train fellow fighters. Reznikov said more than 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers are "already training or will start mastering the equipment of our partners in the coming days."

The United States began training Ukrainian armed forces in Germany and other locations in Europe, the Pentagon said April 29. The training includes howitzers, radar systems and armored vehicles announced in recent U.S. security assistance packages.

Reznikov said the manufacturers who provide gear such as body armor, helmets and uniforms to Ukraine are "loaded with orders by the end of the year." Ukraine is now seeking defense materials internationally.

"For example, the Ministry of Defense found a consignment of bulletproof vests in Turkey, which was paid for by the Government of Japan to help our country," Reznikov said. "We are already talking to our partners not only about imports, but also about repairing our equipment and building joint production chains. We are investing in modern Ukrainian weapons. We are rebuilding all processes to increase our capabilities."

He said ensuring a consistent and stable supply is the main priority, as the war stretches into its 79th day.

"Extremely tough weeks are ahead," he added. "No one can say for sure how many of them there will be."

Ukraine defense
Zhenia, a member of the Ukrainian territorial defence force, guards a position near Kutuzivka, east Ukraine on May 13, 2022. Bernat Armangue/AP Photo

Russian Media Praises Rand Paul for Blocking Ukraine Aid Bill

Russian state media praised Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky for blocking the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill.

"In Washington, politicians are becoming more vocal and they are beginning to understand what can come of the uncontrolled armament of the Kiev regime," Russia's state TV Channel One said, according to a translation form NewsGuard.

The report said Paul "is not primarily worried about the difficult situation in Ukraine and the fate of Ukrainians."

Rather, Paul is more concerned about "the situation in America itself."

Paul was quoted saying the biggest threat to the U.S. is public debt, inflation and the collapse of the dollar.

"We cannot save Ukraine by killing our economy," Paul said. "We don't have to be Uncle Sam saving the world, especially with borrowed money. With a debt of 30 trillion U.S. dollars, it is not affordable to play the role of the world's policeman."

Without $40B Aid Bill, U.S. Shipments Impacted by May 19

U.S. deliveries of military aid to Ukraine will begin to be impacted by Thursday, May 19 if a $40 billion Ukraine aid bill doesn't pass the U.S. Senate, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Friday.

"Something like May 19 is the day we really, without additional authorities, we'd begin to not have the ability to send stuff in," Kirby said during Friday's briefing.

There's approximately $100 million dollars left in the current presidential drawdown authority funding that has yet to be allocated or announced, Kirby explained. The Pentagon "would like" approval for additional authority before the third week of May to ensure aid is delivered "uninterrupted," Kirby said. He expects a decision on the $100 million "soon."

"We continue to urge the Senate to act as quickly as possible so that we don't get to the end of May and not have any additional authorities to draw upon," Kirby said.

"Doesn't mean that on May 20 nothing goes in [to Ukraine], because we're still filling out the last package. But we'd like to have the cushion of being able to fill out additional packages in a completely uninterrupted way."

Russia Still Facing Unit Cohesion, Morale Issues:

Russia continues to face a stiff resistance from Ukrainian troops amid its concentrated efforts in the Donbas and in the south, the Pentagon assesses.

"They [Ukraine] have prevented the Russians from achieving virtually any of their strategic objectives thus far in the war," Kirby said. "[Ukrainians are] absolutely are mounting a stiff and effective resistance to the Russians."

The Pentagon says there are indications that Russians have not overcome their "unit cohesive issues" and ongoing morale issues inside certain units.

However, Kirby said Russia still has "an awful lot of firepower and forces available to them" which is why ensuring continuous U.S. aid to Ukraine is critical.

Kirby presser
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaks during a news briefing on May 13, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Finland Urges 'Patience' Amid Turkey Opposition to NATO

Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto urges "patience" after Turkey expressed opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

Haavisto said he has been in regular contact with his Turkish colleague, including two visits to Turkey.

"I think we need some patience in this type of process and it's not happening in one day," he said.

Haavisto also called for a "step-by-step" approach in response to Turkey's resistance to Finnish and Swedish NATO membership.

Earlier this week, Haavisto announced Finland's plan to apply for NATO membership, saying roughly 70 percent of Finnish people support joining the western military alliance.

U.S. Says There is 'Broad Support' of Finland, Sweden NATO Application

The United States is working to "clarify" Turkey's position on Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

During her final daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there is "no question" that there is "broad support" among NATO members of Finland and Sweden's expressed interested to join the alliance.

President Biden will meet with ASEAN leaders later this afternoon and is expected to lay out the U.S. approach to Russia's war in Ukraine.

While Ukraine has not typically been a major topic of discussion with Asian leaders, Psaki said, a statement on that meeting will include Russia and Ukraine.

As the war in Ukraine continues, Psaki said Biden is continuing to tackle high costs Americans are facing at home, including food and gas.

"Our focus right now is taking every step possible to address those issues," she said.

Psaki said the pandemic was a "big driver" of inflation, as it impacted the supply chain. Now, Psaki said Russia's invasion of Ukraine "drove up energy prices" and "is the biggest drive of inflationary costs at this time."

When asked about Britney Griner's extended detention, Psaki reiterated that the U.S. State Department re-categorized Griner a "wrongfully detained," the Special Envoy of Hostage Affairs Rodger Carsten will oversee the case.

She said the U.S. takes its responsibility to assist U.S. citizens "seriously" and will continue to press for "fair and transparent" treatment of all U.S. citizens facing legal processes overseas.

While Biden is in contact with Griner's family, there is no plan to meet with her family in person.

Jen Psaki Press Briefing
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during her last briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, May 13, 2022. Susan Walsh/AP Photo

Pentagon to Rotate 10,500 U.S. Troops in Europe

The Pentagon will soon begin the process of rotating the more than 10,000 U.S. troops deployed to Europe earlier this year amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Press Secretary John Kirby said Friday.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin authorized the deployment of approximately 10,500 personnel in the "coming months" to replace previously deployed U.S. army units serving in the European theatre, Kirby said during Friday's briefing.

"These deployments are 1-for-1 unit replacements," Kirby said. "Which will leave our overall force posture in the region, approximately 100,000, unchanged."

Servicemembers will be deployed from Fort Campbell, KY, Fort Hood, TX and Fort Bliss TX into the European theatre, including Poland and Germany.

The "turnover" process will occur over time, beginning in the coming weeks and into the summer, Kirby said. Those returning will go back to their home stations. Kirby reiterated that these troops will not fight inside of Ukraine and the moves are "not permanent."

Moldova on Alert of Fighting Moving Into Country

Moldova is on "high alert" amid concerns that Russia's war in Ukraine could move into its country, Moldova Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said Friday.

"The situation is of course fragile, but it is nonetheless relatively calm," Popescu said on the sidelines of the G7 meeting in Germany, according to the Associated Press. "We do not face an acute military crisis today."

Moldova was invited to participate in some talks during the three-day meeting of top diplomats representing the G7 in Germany this week.

The concern stems from the presence of Russian troops in Transnistria, a separatist region in Moldova. Popescu said the Moldovan government is preparing for "the full spectrum of options," AP reports.

"Our interior ministry, defense ministry, intelligence services are on high alert," Popescu said, adding that government officials are in contact with Transnistria officials.

"We all have a commitment and an obligation and a duty to keep peace in the entire Moldova, which includes the Transnistrian region," Popescu said, the outlet adds.

The small country of Moldova, located between Ukraine and Romania, has been a refuge for Ukrainians fleeing the war. More than 460,000 refugees have entered the country since Russia began its invasion on February 24, according to data from U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

Moldova at G7
Dmytro Kuleba, left, foreign minister of Ukraine and Nicu Popescu, right, foreign minister of Moldova, during the G7 meeting in Weissenhaeuser Strand, Germany, Friday May 13, 2022. Kay Nietfeld/DPA via AP, Pool

Biden Expected to Push Asian Leaders on Criticism of Russia

President Joe Biden is expected to push South Asian leaders to speak out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) came to the White House Thursday for a two-day U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit. Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Asian leaders Friday.

In addition to reaffirming partnerships and discussing climate, maritime and public health infrastructure, Ukraine will be on the agenda for the summit, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

"I will say that a number of the ASEAN participants have been important partners in calling out the aggressive action of Russia," she said, and "in participating and in supporting sanctions and, certainly, abiding by them."

Psaki said there will be a "broad discussion" on Ukraine as the U.S. will lay out its approach to Russia's War.

She added that the White House believe the ASEAN leaders want to hear about the U.S. plan and will send out a statement later Friday afternoon.

With the exception of Singapore, who imposed direct sanctions against Moscow, the other nine ASEAN members have not publicly criticized President Vladimir Putin or Russia's actions in Ukraine.

"Our hope is to see the war in Ukraine stop as soon as possible, and we give the peaceful resolution of a conflict a chance to succeed," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters ahead of a meeting with Secretary Blinken Friday. "Because we know that if the war continues, all of us will suffer."

This summit comes before Biden's trip to South Korea and Japan next week, his first Asia visit as president.

Biden and ASEASN Leaders
US President Joe Biden (C) and leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pose for a group photo on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, May 12, 2022. - Posing (from L), Secretary-General of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Biden, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Laos Prime Minister Phankham Viphavan, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob and Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. NICHOLAS KAMM//AFP via Getty Images

Secretary Austin Spoke with Russia for First Time Since February

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Russian counterpart Friday.

This was the first time Austin and Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu spoke since February 18.

According to a readout from the Pentagon, Secretary Austin "urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine" and expressed the importance of maintaining lines of communication.

The tone of the hour-long phone call was "professional," a senior U.S. defense official told reporters on a background briefing.

The official added that the U.S. has been trying to get in touch with senior Russian officials, but Russia repeatedly rebuffed those efforts to keep lines of communications open.

The phone call today "didn't solve any acute issue" or change Russian's behavior, the official added.

Austin Call with Russia
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during testimony on May 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Defense Subcommittee hearing was to debate the "FY2023 Department of Defense spending in the upcoming year Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

New U.K. Sanctions Include Putin's Rumored Mistress

The U.K. announced new sanctions against Russia Friday, targeting President Vladimir Putin's financial network and inner circle, including his rumored girlfriend.

"We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin's luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle," U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said. "We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin's aggression until Ukraine prevails."

Friday's sanctions list includes Putin's rumored mistress Alina Kabaeva. The 39-year-old is a former Olympic gymnast and currently chairs the National Media Group, a large Russia media company, the U.K. sanctions list notes.

Putin, Kabayeva
President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with gymnast Alina Kabaeva at a Kremlin banquet in Moscow, Russia on Nov. 4, 2004. AP Photo

Putin's ex-wife and cousins were also among those sanctioned.

The office calls Putin's "official" assets modest, which include a small flat in St. Petersburg, two 1950s Soviet-era cars, a trailer and small garage. Those listed on Friday's sanctions support Putin's "lavish" lifestyle, the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office explained.

"In reality, Putin relies on his network of family, childhood friends, and selected elite who have benefited from his rule and in turn support his lifestyle," the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said Friday. "Their reward is influence over the affairs of the Russian state that goes far beyond their formal positions."

Brittney Griner's Detention Extended One Month

Brittney Griner's pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month, the WNBA star's lawyer said Friday.

Griner made a court appearance in Khimki, outside of Moscow Friday, handcuffed and wearing a red sweatshirt. The 31-year-old has been in detention for about three months. Griner's lawyer Alexander Boykov believes the case will go to trial soon, citing the short detention extension, according to the Associated Press.

"We did not receive any complaints about the detention conditions from our client," Boykov told the AP.

Brittney Griner
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 13, 2022. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo

The two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist's detention period was scheduled to end on May 19. Griner was detained at the Moscow airport on February 17 on drug charges. Russian officials say cannabis oil was allegedly found in her luggage.

The Biden administration has said Griner is being wrongfully detained.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom after a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 13, 2022. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo

G7 Leaders Pledge More Support for Ukraine's Military

At the G7 meeting Thursday, Ukraine asked leaders for more weapons to help support their efforts against Russian forces.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmyto Kuleba said his G7 counterparts have been "helpful, fruitful, very honest and result-oriented" and thanked them for their financial and military support thus far.

Kuleba asked for more weapons, including multiple launch rocket systems and military planes, and for more pressure on Russia's economy by stepping up sanctions.

He also asked G7 leaders to adopt legislation and put in place necessary procedures to seize Russian sovereign assets and give that money to Ukraine to rebuild and reconstruct.

"Russia must pay," he told reporters. "Politically and economically."

Kuleba added that Ukraine has received "no positive feedback" from Russia.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the G7 were "very strongly united" in their plan to "continue in the long term to support Ukraine's fight for its sovereignty until Ukraine's victory."

Josep Borell, the European Union's high representative for foreign policy, pledged 500 million Euros ($520 million) to support the Ukrainian military purchase heavy weapons.

These funds will take Europe's total financial support for Ukraine to 2 billion Euros ($2.1 billion).

Turkey Opposes Finland, Sweden NATO Membership

Turkey's president said he does not support Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is "not favorable" towards their membership into the alliance.

"We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion," Erdogan told reporters.

He said he opposed the membership because Scandinavian countries are "guesthouses for terrorist organizations." Erdogan said Sweden and other Scandinavian countries allegedly support Kurdish militants and others Turkey considers to be terrorists.

"They are even members of the parliament in some countries," he added. "It is not possible for us to be in favor."

Turkey, a member of NATO, can veto the admission of the two countries. NATO requires unanimous consensus from all 30 members to admit new members.

Erdogan added that he does not want to repeat the past "mistake" of agreeing to readmit Greece into NATO's military wing in 1980.

He said this allowed Greece "to take an attitude against Turkey by taking NATO behind it."

The United States is "working to clarify Turkey's position" on Finland and Sweden's NATO membership, according to top U.S. diplomat for Europe Karen Donfried.

She reiterated that the U.S. "strongly" supports NATO's open-door policy and said it is "not clear" whether Turkey will ultimately oppose the application from Finland or Sweden.

Turkey Opposes Finland, Sweden in NATO
In this photo made available by the Turkish Presidency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media after Friday prayers, in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 13, 2022. Erdogan said Friday that his country is "not favorable" toward Finland and Sweden joining NATO, indicating that Turkey could use its status as a member of the Western military alliance to veto moves to admit the two countries. Turkish Presidency via AP

Russia Takes Losses After Bridge, Equipment Destroyed

Ukrainian forces destroyed a pontoon bridge in eastern Ukraine, resulting in "significant" losses of at least one Russian Battalion Tactical Group and other equipment, according to British intelligence released Friday.

The U.K. Ministry of Defence said Ukrainians "successfully prevented an attempted Russian river crossing in the Donbas" as Russians attempted to use the bridge to cross the Siverskyi Donets River.

"Images indicate that during the crossing of the Siverskyi Donets river west of Severodonetsk, Russia lost significant armored maneuver elements of at least one Battalion Tactical Group as well as the deployed pontoon bridging equipment," the ministry said Friday.

Russia has failed to make "significant advances" as its shifted troops from other parts of Ukraine to concentrate in the Donbas region, the latest British intelligence asserts.

"Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine," the U.K. Ministry of Defence said.

Images released from Ukraine's Ministry of Defense reportedly show the destroyed bridge and other equipment on the Siverskyi Donets River.

Siverskyi Donets River
Siverskyi Donets River, as shared by the Ukraine Ministry of Defense Defence of Ukraine/Twitter
Siverskyi Donets River
Defence of Ukraine/Twitter

Russian Solider on Trial for Killing Ukrainian Man

Ukraine is holding its first war crimes trial against a Russian solider Friday.

The 21-year-old Russian Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin is accused of shooting and killing a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head in the town of Chupakhivka during the early days of the war.

The man was reportedly shot while riding a bicycle along the road and died on the spot, only meters from his home.

Under a section of Ukrainian criminal code that deals with laws and customs of war, Shishimarin faces life in prison if he is found guilty.

Iryna Venediktova, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, said the "wheels of justice started turning and this process will yield results."

"This is the just a beginning in the long and complex process of bringing perpetrators before the courts and restoring justice to victims," she said in a tweet. "We will leave no stone unturned to document and investigate every crime committed against people of Ukraine."

Defense attorney Victor Ovsyanikov said that the case against the soldier is strong, according to the Associated Press. He said the court will decide what evidence is allowed in this case. Ovsyanikov added that he and his client had not yet decided how he will plead.

Russian Solider on Trial in Ukraine
Russian army Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, is seen behind a glass during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, May 13, 2022. The trial of a Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian opened Friday, the first war crimes trial since Moscow's invasion of its neighbor. Efrem Lukatsky/AP Photo