The pontoon bridge over the river Siversky Donets, eastern Ukraine, has collapsed – Photo: AP
* May 13 US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin calls for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine when he called his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu for the first time since Moscow launched a special operation in Ukraine.
According to Reuters, the Pentagon said Austin had repeatedly tried to speak to Shoigu over the past three months, but Moscow officials didn’t seem interested. During the call, which lasted about an hour, Mr. Austin emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.
Meanwhile, the TASS news agency quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that the call was made on “the initiative of the American side”. “Issues related to international security were discussed, including the situation in Ukraine,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Washington and Moscow have set up a hotline since Russia launched the operation in Ukraine to avoid miscalculations or unwanted clashes.
* The government of the “Republic of South Ossetia” – a breakaway region of the Republic of Georgia – announced that it would hold a referendum on July 17. about joining Russia.
A statement released on the evening of May 13 said Anatoly Bibilov, who called himself “President” of South Ossetia, had signed a decree to hold a referendum. The statement also said that this represents the historical aspirations of the people in the territory bordering the Russian Federation.
Ukrainian troops in the city of Kharkov on May 13 – Photo: REUTERS
* Video released by the Ukrainian military on May 13 shows Ukrainian forces destroying a Russian-built pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian army expelled Russian troops from the city of Kharkov.
A Reuters reporter confirmed that Ukraine now controls an area stretching to the Siversky Donets River, about 40 km to the east, including the city of Kharkov. Despite this, Russia bombed the villages north of the city.
Kharkov is the second largest city in Ukraine. It is the administrative center of Kharkov Oblast. KYHarkov has about 1.4 million people, just 40 km from the Russian border, was one of the targets first attacked by Russia on February 24, 2022. Kharkov is the residence of a large number of Vietnamese in Ukraine (about 3,000 – 5,000 people) as it is a good trading area.
The British side also confirmed that Ukraine prevented Russian troops from crossing the Siversky Donets River. Images from the video above show several military vehicles on fire near a submerged pontoon bridge and many damaged or abandoned vehicles, including tanks, nearby. Reuters could not verify the information or the time or location in the video.
* On May 13, the statistics agency Rosstat released data showing this Russia’s annual inflation rate rose to 17.8% in Aprila record high in two decades.
Food prices, a top concern for low-income Russians, rose an average of 20.5% in April compared to the same period last year, according to Rosstat. Some groceries recorded strong price increases such as fruit and vegetables (33%), pasta (29.6%), butter (26.1%).
The Central Bank of Russia forecasts that inflation could reach 23% throughout 2022 before gradually declining next year and returning to 4% in 2024.
Ukrainian infantrymen during an exercise near the town of Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine – Photo: GETTY IMAGES
* The UK MoD says Russia is concentrating its military efforts near Severodonetsk and Isiumwhile attempting to advance into Sloviansk and Kramatorsk in a bid to complete control of Ukraine’s industrial Donbass region, according to Reuters.
Russian-backed separatists say they have captured the Zarya chemical plant near Severodonetsk.
Meanwhile, south of the port city of Mariupol, Russia continues to bomb the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, the last stronghold of the Ukrainian army in that city.
* The RIA news agency quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that on May 13 the Russian Air Force attacked an arms depot in the Kharkov region of Ukraine.
* The subsidiary of the Russian energy group Inter RAO announced that it would stop exporting electricity to Finland from May 14 because the payment was not received in May, according to Reuters.
Fingrid, the operator of Finland’s electricity transmission system, said that stopping electricity imports from Russia does not threaten the country’s market. “The deficit can be made good by importing more from Sweden and partly from domestic production,” said Reimy Paivinen, Vice President of Fingrid.
A woman tries to clean a bomb-hit house in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv – Photo: GETTY IMAGES
* According to AFP news agency, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in an online post May 13 that Ukraine is conducting “very difficult” negotiations with Russia over the deployment of Ukrainian soldiers holed up at the site of the Azovstal Metallurgical Plant would have, but gave no details.
* May 13 First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Julia Svyrydenko announced that Ukraine has signed contracts for the import of 300,000 tons of diesel and 120,000 tons of gasoline. to meet consumption demand in May as Russia targeted its fuel infrastructure, according to Reuters. Russia has destroyed 27 fuel depots and the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine since Moscow launched a special military operation on February 24.