Ukraine: Top US, Russian generals talk for first time since war | Key points

Ukraine war: The telephonic conversation between the two generals comes on a day when a Kremlin official said that Moscow wants to take the entire Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine, which Putin recognised as independent days before the invasion began.
Police officers help rescue people from the rubble after an air strike, during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Bakhmut, Donetsk Region, Ukraine.(Reuters)
Police officers help rescue people from the rubble after an air strike, during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Bakhmut, Donetsk Region, Ukraine.(Reuters)
Published on May 19, 2022 10:51 PM IST
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By | Written by Aryan Prakash

The fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continues for nearly three months, with no peace in sight. On Thursday, top US and Russian generals spoke on telephone for the first time since the Ukraine invasion began. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke to his Russian counterpart General Valery Gerasimov and discussed security-related issues, AFP reported.

The telephonic conversation between the two generals comes on a day when a Kremlin official said that Moscow wants to take the entire Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine, which it had recognised as independent days before the invasion began. This on a day when 12 people have been killed and 40 injured in Russian shelling in Severodonetsk in Luhank region, AFP reported.

Here are the top developments that unfolded in battleground Ukraine.

1. The United States is working to arm the Ukrainian fighters with advanced anti-ship missiles to help them defeat Russia's naval blockade, Reuters quoted White House officials. There are concerns that more powerful weapons which could sink Russian warships can intensify the conflict. The agency reported that three U.S. officials and two congressional sources said two types of powerful anti-ship missiles, the Harpoon made by Boeing and the Naval Strike Missile made by Kongsberg and Raytheon Technologies were in active consideration for either direct shipment to Ukraine, or through a transfer from a European ally that has the missiles.

ALSO READ: ‘Shot him at short range’: Russian soldier during first war crime trial

2. US President Joe Biden has offered his support to the bids by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. NATO's secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said he was hopeful that the applications could be soon accepted despite initial opposition by Turkey. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blocked the bids, saying he’s frustrated with the approach of some members of the alliance towards Kurdish groups he considers terrorists.

3. Germany has pledged 1 billion euros in grants to Ukraine during the meeting of finance officials from the G7 economic powers. "I have just declared for Germany in the meeting that we want to participate to the tune of 1 billion euros in grants," German finance minister Christian Lindner was quoted by Reuters.

4. China is seeking to replenish its crude stockpiles with cheap Russian oil, Bloomberg reported. The move is being seen as Beijing's strategy to strengthen its energy ties with Moscow. The crude would be used to fill China’s strategic petroleum reserves, and talks are being conducted at a government level with little direct involvement from oil companies.

5. European Council chief Charles Michel has said that the European Union would support a speedier accession of Serbia into the bloc and help it to diversify its energy supplies, Reuters reported. "We need to speed up EU integration and we must create incentive for reforms," Michel said in Belgrade.

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