WARSAW, Poland — Protesters threw what appeared to be red paint, to symbolize blood, at the Russian ambassador as he arrived at a cemetery in Warsaw to pay respects to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II.
Ambassador Ambassador Sergey Andreev came to the Soviet soldiers cemetery to lay flowers. A group of activists opposed to Russia’s war in Ukraine were waiting for him.
The protesters carried Ukrainian flags, while some were dressed in white sheets smeared with a red color, symbolizing the Ukrainian victims of Russia’s war. Other men in the diplomat's entourage were also seen splattered with what appeared to be red paint.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— No end in sight for Ukraine war as Putin hails Victory Day
— Russian ambassador to Poland hit with red paint
— Russia marks WWII victory overshadowed by Ukraine
— More than 60 feared dead in bombing of Ukrainian school
Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
BRUSSELS — The European Commission will aim to deliver a first opinion in June on Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the European Union.
The 27 EU nations have been fully united in backing Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, adopting unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow since the start of the war in February. But leaders are divided on how fast Brussels could move to accept Ukraine as a member.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a message on Twitter that she discussed Monday with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy “EU support and Ukraine’s European pathway. Looking forward to receiving the answers to the EU membership questionnaire.”
For now, Ukraine has an “Association Agreement” with the EU, which includes a far-reaching free trade pact and helps to modernize Ukraine’s economy.
The Ukrainian fast-track bid could take years, with unanimity among current members required to include a new member.
KYIV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a video address to the war-ravaged nation on Monday, marking the defeat of the Nazi Germany in the World War II, and promising that Ukraine will soon have “two Victory Days.”
“We will never forget what our ancestors did in World War II. Where more than 8 million Ukrainians died. And every fifth Ukrainian didn’t return home. In total, the war claimed at least 50 million lives,” Zelenskyy said. “We don’t say ‘we can repeat.’”
Zelenskyy stressed that “soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine.” “And someone will not have even one left. We won then, we will win now, too,″ he said, in reference to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies.
Speaking Monday at a military parade marking the World War II victory over the Nazis, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fighting against the Nazi troops and the Russian forces’ action in Ukraine.
He said the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to ward off what he described as “an absolutely unacceptable threat just next to our borders.”
“The danger was rising” he said, adding that “Russia has preemptively repulsed an aggression” in what he described as a “forced, timely and the only correct decision by a sovereign, powerful and independent country.”
The Russian leader again scolded the West for failing to heed Russian demands for security guarantees and a rollback to NATO’s expansion, arguing that it left Moscow no other choice but to launch an action in Ukraine.
BERLIN — The German government says Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate is one of many prominent buildings across Europe that will be illuminated Monday in the yellow and blue colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner told reporters in Berlin that the decision to do so was taken some time ago and there was no link to a ban on flying Russian or Ukrainian flags near WWII memorials on May 8-9 imposed by police in the German capital. Police argued the ban was needed to prevent possible public unrest. Supporters of Ukraine and the country’s ambassador had strongly criticized that decision in light of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Buechner said projecting the Ukrainian flag onto the Brandenburg Gate was a “sign of solidarity” to show that the European Union is on the side of Ukraine.
BELGRADE, Serbia — Pro-Russia marches honoring World War II victims on Monday were held in Serbia and the Serb-run entity in Bosnia. Both are traditional Balkan allies of Russia.
The marches commemorated the victory in World War II over the Nazis. Serbia organized flyovers by military jets as officials laid wreaths as part of the ceremonies. A government minister, Nenad Popovic, took part in the Moscow-backed march in Belgrade, copying the one usually held in Russia. “Serbia and Russia always have been on the right side of history,” Popovic said.
In Belgrade, participants, who included the Russian ambassador in Serbia, also carried a cardboard figure of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a big “Z” sign symbolizing support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine
In the main Bosnian Serb town of Banja Luka, top officials and the Russian ambassador in Bosnia took part in the march that included banners openly supporting the Russian invasion.
LONDON — Britain’s defense secretary says Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his generals are mirroring the tyranny of the Nazis in World War II and repeating the errors of the last century’s totalitarian regimes as they pursue the illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking on the day Russia celebrated the anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Wallace said Putin had hijacked the nation’s “proud history” of repelling fascism to justify his attack on a sovereign state.
“Their unprovoked, illegal, senseless and self-defeating invasion of Ukraine, their attacks against innocent civilians on their homes, their widespread atrocities, including the deliberate targeting of women and children, they all corrupt the memory of past sacrifices and Russia’s once proud global reputation,’’ Wallace said at the National Army Museum in London.
Wallace spoke as Putin reviewed Russian troops and military hardware parading through Moscow’s Red Square on what is known as Victory Day in Russia. The parade has an ulterior political motive, Wallace said.
“Really what President Put wants is the Russian people and the world to be awed and intimidated by the ongoing memorial to militarism,” he said.
At least two people were reported detained in Russia’s Siberia on Monday for carrying anti-war banners.
OVD-Info, a prominent legal aid group that tracks political arrests, said that one person was picketing in the Siberian city of Irkutsk with a placard that said, “Peace,” and another person in Novosibirsk was detained during the Immortal Regiment march in the city for carrying a banner that said, “I’m ashamed of you, grandchildren. We fought for peace, you chose war.”
Immortal Regiment marches on Monday are taking place in many Russian cities, with Russians carrying portraits of their relatives who took part in World War II. In another Siberian region, Zabaykalye, Gov. Alexander Osipov brought a portrait of a soldier who died in Ukraine to the Immortal Regiment march in the city of Chita.
LONDON — The U.K. is imposing stiff tariffs on platinum and palladium imports from Russia as part of a new package of sanctions aimed at punishing President Vladimir Putin’s regime for the invasion of Ukraine.
Britain plans to raise import taxes on platinum, palladium and chemicals by 35 percentage points, restricting trade in products that are worth about 1.4 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) a year to the Russia economy, the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry said in a statement released late Sunday. Russia is one of the world’s biggest producers of the two metals, widely used in goods ranging from catalytic converters to mobile phones.
The U.K. is also targeting Russian industries that depend on British products, banning the export of goods such as chemicals, plastics, rubber and machinery.
“We are determined to do our utmost to thwart Putin’s aims in Ukraine and undermine his illegal invasion, which has seen barbaric acts perpetrated against the Ukrainian people,” Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in a statement. ”
LVIV, Ukraine — Satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press confirm that a school in eastern Ukraine where some 60 people are feared killed in a Russian airstrike has been destroyed.
The photos taken by Planet Labs PBC show the school in Bilohorivka in Ukraine’s Luhansk region standing on Saturday. An image taken Sunday shows the building was flattened.
Ukrainian officials say some 90 people had taken shelter in the school before it was flattened. Some 30 escaped, leading officials to fear some 60 people had been killed.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt says the Scandinavian country will donate an extra 100 million kroner ($10.5 million) to Ukraine.
Huitfeldt, who visited Kyiv on Sunday and met with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, said she said the money will be used for payments of pensions, social benefits and salaries for health personnel, teachers and government employees.
“The need is great and Ukrainian authorities will spend the money immediately,” Huitfeldt said in a statement.
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s military is warning that there is a “high probability of missile strikes” amid Russia’s war on the country.
The warning came Monday just ahead of Russia’s Victory Day parade in Moscow.
The Ukrainian military’s general staff also said that in Russian-controlled areas of Zaporizhzhia, Russian troops had begun the “seizure of personal documents from the local population without good reason.” Ukraine said Russian troops seized the documents to force the local people to take part in Victory Day commemorations there.
Ukraine’s military also warned that Russia had located some 19 battalion tactical groups in Russia’s Belgorod region, just across the border. Those groups likely consist of some 15,200 troops with tanks, missile batteries and other weaponry.
LVIV, Ukraine — The British military is warning that Russia is running out of precision-guided munitions, meaning that Moscow increasingly will turn to inaccurate rockets and bombs that can spread destruction even wider.
The British Defense Ministry made the comment Monday in a daily intelligence report it provides via Twitter.
The British military said although Russia claimed that “Ukrainian cities would therefore be safe from bombardment,” the unguided munitions posed an increasing risk.
“As the conflict continues beyond Russian pre-war expectations, Russia’s stockpile of precision-guided munitions has likely been heavily depleted," the report said. "This has forced the use of readily available but aging munitions that are less reliable, less accurate and more easily intercepted.”
The British added that Russia “will likely struggle to replace the precision weaponry it has already expended.”
TOKYO — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says Japan will slowly phase out Russian oil imports in unity with the Group of Seven’s effort against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Leaders from the G-7 countries met online Sunday and announced their commitment to ban or phase out Russian oil imports in their latest effort to pressure Moscow into ending its aggression on Ukraine.
“It’s an extremely difficult decision for a country that mostly relies on energy imports, including oil,” Kishida told reporters Monday. “But G-7 unity is most important right now.”
Kishida said it will be a gradual and slow process of phasing out Russian oil imports and that details and timeline will be decided later as the process requires securing alternative energy sources.
About 4% of Japanese oil imports come from Russia. Japan has also announced phasing out Russian coal imports.
Japan will not ban imports from its own stakes in oil and natural gas projects in Russia, including those in Sakhalin, Kishida said.
KYIV, Ukraine — Leaders from the Group of Seven developed democracies pledged Sunday to phase out or ban the import of Russian oil as they met with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for online talks to stress their support and to display unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.
Cutting out Russian oil supplies “will hit hard at the main artery of (President Vladimir) Putin’s economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war,” the G-7 countries, which include the U.S., Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Italy and Japan, said in a statement.
“We will ensure that we do so in a timely and orderly fashion, and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative supplies,” they added.
Casting a look back at World War II, the leaders stressed unity in their resolve that Putin must not win.
“We owe it to the memory of all those who fought for freedom in the Second World War, to continue fighting for it today, for the people of Ukraine, Europe and the global community,” they said.