For days, Vereshchuk, with the help of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, has been trying to talk to the Russian side about a possible way out for the Ukrainian troops holed up in the steelworks in the port city of Mariupol. “But negotiations with the enemy are extremely difficult,” she said. “The result may not please everyone, but our task is to evacuate our soldiers. All of them. Alive,” she writes in an online post.

In the meantime, Turkey has also become involved in the negotiations for the defenders of Azovstal. The Russian military has so far refused any concessions and is demanding the surrender of the Ukrainians entrenched in Azovstal. According to inaccurate estimates, around 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are still in the sprawling plant, many of them wounded. The majority of them belong to the “Azov” regiment, which Russians classify as nationalist and right-wing extremist. (AP, Reuters)

Amid Western sanctions over the military offensive in Ukraine, Russia’s inflation has soared to its highest level in two decades. The annual inflation rate reached 17.8 percent in April, the Russian statistics agency Rosstat announced on Friday. In the case of food prices, the rate of inflation was even 20.5 percent. The development is a cause for concern, especially for low-income households. (AFP)