02:22 12 May

Russian war bloggers write about the beginning of the Ukrainian offensive in Kharkiv and Donbass

During the evening of May 11, Russian pro-war Telegram channels began reporting that the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun. War blogger Evgeny Poddubny reported that Ukrainian troops "began their operation to encircle" Russian forces near Bakhmut. According to Poddubny, the Ukrainian armed forces managed to break through the front lines in the Soledar region. Alexander Kots, another war blogger, writes that Ukrainian tanks were spotted on the road that runs along Kharkiv, heading towards the Russian border. Kots suggested that the maneuver could be aimed at increasing Russian resources used to "stop the threat in the Belgorod region." Poddubny also reported Ukrainian military activity near Kharkiv. At the same time, Igor Strelkov, the former head of the Ministry of Defense of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said that "so far we are talking about local (albeit successful) counterattacks." The Telegram channel Grey Zone, which is close to Wagner Group, called war bloggers' reports of a Ukrainian offensive "panicked." Kiev did not comment on possible movements of Ukrainian troops. Yesterday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky told BBC News Russian that the Ukrainian armed forces needed "a little more time" to prepare a counteroffensive that would minimize "unacceptably large" losses.

00:45 12 May

Zelensky will not be able to speak at the final of the Eurovision song contest

Volodymyr Zelensky will not be able to speak by video message during the final of the Eurovision song contest. This was decided by the organizer of the singing competition taking place these days in Liverpool. "Because it would violate the rules of the event," said the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises the competition. "One of the pillars of the competition is the non-political nature of the event. This principle prohibits political statements or similar during the competition," the EBU explained. This year's Eurovision song contest takes place in Liverpool, in the north of England, as the UK offered to host Eurovision in place of last year's winner, Ukraine, which was supposed to host the event but had to forfeit due to the Russian invasion.