For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.
The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:
4:08 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv is cutting its “sister city” ties with a host of Russian cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.
3:33 a.m.: The Associated Press has the story of a 14-year-old Ukrainian boy who says Russian soldiers shot and killed his father and tried to kill him as well. His story comes out amid an investigation into possible war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine.
3:17 a.m.: Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin expressed their approval for joining NATO, a move that would complete a major policy shift for the country in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance,” they said in a joint statement. “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.
3:15 a.m.: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised Germany’s response to the war with Russia during his visit to Berlin on Thursday, saying that the country had now taken a leading role following tensions in Berlin-Kyiv relations, Reuters reported.
In an interview with German broadcaster ARD, Kuleba said there had been positive changes, after Germany decided to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine and back a proposed EU embargo on Russian oil following pressure from its allies.
During the top Ukrainian diplomat’s visit, which will also include an appearance at the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting on the German Baltic Sea coast, Kuleba said he plans to lobby for Ukrainian EU membership, as well as further sanctions on Russia and a response to food scarcity threatened by the conflict, Reuters said.
2:48 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K.’s defense ministry says Ukrainian forces have recaptured several towns north of Kharkiv.
“Russia’s prioritisation of operations in the Donbas has left elements deployed in the Kharkiv Oblast vulnerable to the mobile, and highly motivated, Ukrainian counter-attacking force,” the update notes.
Russia’s next move, the update predicts, will be to target the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River in an attempt to protect the bulk of Russia’s troops and its supply routes.
1:56 a.m.: The governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region says Russia shelled the region 26 times Wednesday, including nine times in the city of Severdonetsk, Al Jazeera reports.
1:23 a.m.: Reuters reports that Siemens will leave Russia because of the conflict in Ukraine.
“We join the international community in condemning the war in Ukraine and are focused on supporting our people and providing humanitarian aid,” the company wrote on its website. “Siemens will exit the Russian market as a result of the Ukraine war. The company has started proceedings to wind down its industrial operations and all industrial business activities.”
On its website, Siemens AG describes itself as a technology company focused on “industry, infrastructure, transport, and health care.” In September 2021 it had some 303,000 employees worldwide. It has about 3,000 people in Russia, Reuters says.
1:03 a.m.: A Ukrainian serviceman at the besieged steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, turned to Twitter to ask Elon Musk for help, the BBC reports.
“People say you come from another planet to teach people to believe in the impossible,” Serhiy Volyna tweeted. “Our planets are next to each other, as I live where it is nearly impossible to survive. Help us get out of Azovstal to a mediating country. If not you, then who?”
12:30 a.m.: Japan and the European Union demanded Russia immediately end its invasion of Ukraine and said they support “further expanding sanctions against Putin’s Russia.”
In a joint statement following talks among Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU and Japan said they would coordinate on political, financial and humanitarian support for Ukraine. They also pledged to mitigate other effects of the conflict, including working to stabilize world energy markets.
12:02 a.m.: Canada plans to charter three flights to bring Ukrainian refugees from Poland to Canada, The Washington Post reports.
The flights will be May 23, to Winnipeg, Manitoba; May 29 to Montreal and June 2 to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.