Ukraine war live updates: Russia raises conscription age limit; Zelenskyy gives fresh corruption warning

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Soldiers march at the Victory Day military parade to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory in the Great Patriotic War, at Moscow's Red Square, on May 9, 2023.

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Russia on Tuesday expanded its military conscription base after a vote to raise the upper age limit from 27 to 30 passed in the lower house.

The bill, once signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, is expected to add 2.4 million men to Russia's forces and will prohibit conscripts from leaving the country once they are called up for duty.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday that he would not tolerate corruption or treachery in affairs of state as the country continues to wage its war against Russia.

Zelenskyy's appeal, shared in his nightly address, came after the arrests of a military recruitment official accused of mass embezzlement and of a parliamentarian suspected of collaborating with Russia.

On the front lines, Kyiv said Tuesday that its military had made small advances against Russian forces in parts of southern Ukraine, moving forward toward the southeastern village of Staromayorske in the Donetsk region.

Meantime, Russia's Ministry of Defense said it had destroyed two unmanned Ukrainian boats engaged in an attack on one of its Black Sea fleet patrol ships.

Danone writes downs $221 million on seized Russian assets

French food business Danone said Wednesday that it would "deconsolidate" its Russia business in July after authorities in the country seized control of its subsidiary earlier this month.

The company said the decision would result in a cash impairment of around 200 million euros ($221 million) and a non-cash foreign exchange translation difference of about 500 million euros, Reuters reported.

— Karen Gilchrist

Zelenskyy issues warning against corruption

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to the misuse of public funds and acceptance of bribery as a "betrayal of state principles, a betrayal of the interests of society" and reiterated the need to prioritize bringing Kyiv's legislation in line with EU standards.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned against corruption and treachery in his country's internal affairs, as Kyiv keeps its sights firmly set on national defense and European integration.

"I want to warn all MPs, officials, and everyone else in public office," he said on Tuesday during a presidential address. "When everyday you search for weapons for the state, when all the attention is on providing artillery, missiles, drones, when you constantly see and feel the moral strength gained for Ukraine by our warriors, our people, who are doing everything possible and impossible for the victory and preservation of freedom, any internal betrayal, any 'beach' or any personal enrichment instead of Ukraine's interests triggers fury at the very least."

He referred to the misuse of public funds and acceptance of bribery as a "betrayal of state principles, a betrayal of the interests of society" and reiterated the need to prioritize bringing Kyiv's legislation in line with EU standards.

"Every law that is necessary for Ukraine to start negotiations with the EU on accession must be adopted. And I don't want to hear any more excuses. And no one else does. Ukraine does not give you any more time. If you are working for Ukraine, you are needed by Ukraine, if not, you are not," he said.

The EU has repeatedly urged Kyiv to make further progress in judicial reforms and its fight against corruption when evaluating Ukraine's application to the bloc.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russia raises maximum age limit for conscription

Russia's lower parliament, the Duma, has raised the maximum age at which young men can be conscripted from 27 to 30, retaining the lower limit at 18, Russian state-owned news agency Tass said Tuesday, according to a Google translation.

The measure takes effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and was put forward by State Duma Defense Committee chairman Andrey Kartapolov in March.

The conscripted will be drafted into one-year contracts of compulsory military service applicable during periods of mobilization, under martial law and in wartime, as well as when Moscow's armed forces are mobilized outside of Russian borders.

Ruxandra Iordache

U.S. approves security package worth $400 million for Ukraine

Ukrainian serviceman holds a Next Generation Light Anti-armour Weapon (NLAW) on the position not far from the front line in the south of Kharkiv region, on July 11, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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The Biden administration approved a new security assistance package for Ukraine worth $400 million.

"The people of Ukraine continue to bravely defend their country against Russia's aggression while Russia continues its relentless and vicious attacks that are killing Ukrainian civilians and destroying civil infrastructure," Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a release announcing the arms package.

The weapons included in the latest package are:

  • Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS
  • Stinger anti-aircraft systems
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds
  • 120mm and 60mm mortar rounds
  • 32 Stryker armored personnel carriers
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided or TOW missiles
  • Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets
  • Hornet unmanned aerial systems
  • Hydra-70 aircraft rockets
  • Tactical air navigation systems
  • Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing
  • Over 28 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades
  • Night vision devices and thermal imagery systems
  • Spare parts, training munitions and other field equipment

— Amanda Macias

Putin expected to visit China in October, Kremlin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023.

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The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited and plans to attend the Belt and Road forum in China in October, Reuters reports.

The Biden administration has reiterated that Beijing should not assist Moscow as Washington and its Western allies coordinate rounds of sanctions for the Kremlin's ongoing war in Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

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