May 19, 2023 – Russia-Ukraine News

Russia bans “500 Americans” from entering the country.

This decision responds to the “regularly anti-Russian sanctions” imposed by the American administration, according to a press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday.

The rambling, blind list of names includes former President Barack Obama, former U.S. Ambassador John Huntsman, several U.S. Senators, and the expected next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Charles Q. Brown Jr. CNN anchor, Erin Burnett, is also included.

Hours earlier, at the Group of Seven summit, the Biden administration unveiled new sanctions targeting Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

Here are some other titles to know:

Zelensky goes to Japan: President Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to Japan in person for the G7 summit, officials familiar with the planning say, a show of confidence and Western solidarity as Ukraine’s warlord tries to maintain crucial support from nations allies. The surprise trip – which would be the Ukrainian president’s first visit to Asia since Moscow invaded his country last February – comes as Kiev plots a much-anticipated counter-offensive against Russia and pressures partner governments for more military aid in a context of intensified air attacks.

Arab League meeting: Zelensky told Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia on Friday that “here among you” are people who “turn a blind eye” to Ukraine’s suffering, urging them to “take an honest look”. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended the Arab League summit for the first time in a decade and was filmed in the conference room minutes before Zelensky’s speech. Syria was only one of only two countries in the world (along with North Korea) to recognize Russia’s claimed annexations last year of four Ukrainian regions.

On the ground: There were at least two explosions on Friday evening in the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol, according to video on social media and accounts from residents on community channels. An adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, says the explosions took place at a Moscow forces base. CNN cannot independently verify the officials’ claims, and the Russian-installed local administration has yet to comment on the explosions or what caused them.

Meanwhile, the pace of Ukrainian counterattacks around Bakhmut slowed on Friday, but “very fierce fighting continues” in the east of the city, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar. Ukrainian forces have claimed advances in several areas in recent days, despite heavy fire from Russian troops. But Maliar acknowledged that Russian forces had made progress within the city limits.

US Diplomatic Appointment: US President Joe Biden has officially named James O’Brien as the State Department’s top official for European affairs – a key role in guiding Washington’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

CNN’s Kylie Atwood first reported that O’Brien was to be cast for the role. He currently heads the Office of Sanctions Coordination at the State Department.

Secret shipments: Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group is working to obfuscate its efforts to acquire military hardware for use in Ukraine, including trying to source supplies from Mali, where the group has a strong presence, a US official told CNN . There are no signs yet that Wagner has managed to procure the equipment, but the group has continued to work to procure mines, drones, radars and counter-battery systems from contacts in Mali. for use in Ukraine, the official said.

US Pilot Support: President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that the United States would support an effort to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced aircraft, including F-16s, a senior administration official told CNN. The joint training effort is not expected to take place in the United States, the official said, and will likely take place entirely in Europe. But US personnel will participate in the training alongside allies and partners, the official said. Its realization should take several months.

NATO developments: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told CNN he was still not ready to support Sweden’s NATO membership, reiterating his claim that Stockholm had allowed terrorist organizations into the country . “As long as Sweden continues to allow the offshoots of terrorist groups in Turkey to roam freely in Sweden, on the streets of Stockholm, we cannot look favorably on Swedish membership in NATO,” Erdogan said.


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