- Ukraine’s general staff says Russian troops withdrew from the northeastern city of Kharkov.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin says Finland joining NATO would be ‘a mistake’.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says “very complex negotiations” are underway with Russia to get fighters out of the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
- Ukrainian forces are on the counteroffensive near the Russian-occupied city of Izium, striking a key axis of the Russian attack in the east.
- Russia will suspend electricity supplies to Finland from Saturday, a supplier says, amid tensions over the European nation’s expected NATO bid.
Here are all the latest updates:
Ukraine wins Eurovision Song Contest with “Stefania” by Kalush Orchestra
Ukraine has won the Eurovision Song Contest on a wave of public support across Europe for the warring nation and buoyed by a catchy folk-hip-hop melody.
Kalush Orchestra’s song “Stefania” defeated 24 participants in the final of the world’s largest live music event on Saturday. The winning song, sung in Ukrainian, blended rap with traditional folk music and paid tribute to band frontman Oleh Psiuk’s mother.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent congratulations earlier in the evening and said that if Kalush Orchestra were to win, it would have huge symbolic significance.
“For us today every victory is very important,” he said in his late night speech.
Russia was excluded from the competition in Turin because of the invasion of Ukraine.
Large convoy from Mariupol reaches safety, refugees speak of ‘devastating’ escape
A large convoy of cars and vans carrying refugees from the ruins of Mariupol has arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhya after waiting days for Russian troops to let them go.
The refugees arriving on Saturday had to get out of Mariupol first and then somehow get to Berdyansk – some 80km further west along the coast – and other settlements before driving 200km northwest to Zaporizhzhia.
Nikolai Pavlov, 74, said he lived in a basement for a month after his apartment was destroyed. A relative managed to get him from Mariupol to Berdyansk via “secret detours”.
“We barely made it, there were a lot of elderly among us… the journey was devastating. But it was worth it,” he said after the convoy arrived in the dark.
An aide to the mayor of Mariupol previously said the convoy numbered between 500 and 1,000 cars and was the largest evacuation from the city since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ambassador says Russian diplomats in US threatened, seduced by FBI, CIA: Tass news agency
Russian diplomats in Washington are being threatened with violence and US intelligence agencies are trying to contact them, Russia’s Tass news agency reported, citing Moscow’s ambassador to the US.
“It’s like a besieged fortress. In short, our embassy operates in a hostile environment… Embassy employees are threatened, including threats of physical violence,” Tass quoted Ambassador Anatoly Antonov as saying on Saturday.
“U.S. security agents are loitering outside the Russian embassy, handing out CIA and FBI phone numbers that can be called to make contact,” the ambassador told Tass.
Russia and the US have been embroiled in a dispute over the size and functioning of their respective diplomatic missions since before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Top US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell Meets Zelenskyy
Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the US Senate, paid an unannounced visit to Kiev with other Republican senators and met the Ukrainian president for talks.
McConnell was joined by fellow Senators Susan Collins, John Barrasso and John Cornyn.
Zelenskyy praised the visit as a strong signal of US bipartisan support for Ukraine and strong relations between the two nations.
“We discussed many areas of support for our state, including defense and finance, as well as strengthening sanctions against Russia,” Zelenskyy said in a video address, adding that he emphasized to senators that Russia should be classified as a terrorist state.
McConnell is urging Republican Senator Rand Paul to end his opposition to a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, which has overwhelming support from both major US parties.
Ukrainian band calls for Mariupol in Eurovision Song Contest
The Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra made a plea for the city of Mariupol and fighters holding out in the Azovstal steel factory at the end of their performance in the Eurovision Song Contest.
“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now,” vocalist Oleh Psiuk shouted from the front of the stage in the Italian city of Turin after the band performed the song “Stefania.”
Russian forces have bombed the steelworks in the southern port of Mariupol, the last bastion of hundreds of Ukrainian defenders in a city almost completely controlled by Russia after more than two months of siege.
In a video speech released ahead of the performance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he believed the Kalush Orchestra would win.
“Europe, vote for Kalush Orchestra, (song) No 12! Let’s support our compatriots! Let’s support Ukraine!” he said, clenching his fist.
Putin tells Finnish president: joining NATO would be ‘wrong’
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his Finnish counterpart that joining NATO would be “a mistake” as Moscow had previously cut off electricity supplies to the Scandinavian country.
“Putin stressed that ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake as there is no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.
“Such a change in the country’s political orientation could have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed over the years in a spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation between partners,” it said.
Read more here.
Russia denies Ukrainian troops damaged naval vessel in Black Sea
Russia has rejected Ukraine’s claim that it damaged a modern naval logistics vessel in the Black Sea and showed photos of what it believes was the ship with no signs of damage.
In an online post, the Russian Defense Ministry released photos it said were taken of the ship in the Crimean Black Sea port of Sevastopol.
“It is now clear from the photos that the ship was not damaged at all,” it said.
Military authorities in the southern region of Odessa said Ukrainian naval forces had attacked and set fire to the Vsevolod Bobrov.
Medvedev rejects G7 support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has rejected a statement by the Group of Seven to “never” recognize border changes brought about by Moscow’s war against Ukraine.
“To put it mildly, our country doesn’t care if the G7 doesn’t recognize the new frontiers,” he said on his Telegram channel.
Arguing that the will of the people living in a region was all that mattered, Medvedev called the G7’s promise to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons as a continuation of his “secret war against Russia.”
The situation in the Donbas region remains very difficult: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the situation in the Donbas region remained very difficult, adding that Russian troops were still trying to demonstrate some sort of victory.
“On the 80th day of a large-scale invasion, this seems particularly crazy, but they are not stopping their efforts,” he said in a video address late at night.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s ongoing coverage of the war in Ukraine. Read all updates from Saturday 14 May here.