Live updates | Italy summons Russia ambassador over comments – The Denver Post

By The Associated Press

ROME — Russia’s ambassador in Rome has been summoned to the Italian foreign ministry, following anti-Italy remarks by Russian government officials.

The foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that Ambassador Sergey Razov was summoned on instructions on Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and “in concert” with the office of Italian Premier Mario Draghi.

Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov derided Di Maio’s peace plan, which had been relayed to the United Nations. Lavrov described the plan, which called for incremental cease-fires as well as humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, as not serious.

Lavrov also insinuated that Di Maio was out for “self-promotion” to gain votes.

The foreign ministry statement said Secretary General Ettore Francesco Sequi “firmly rejects accusations of amorality” aimed at some heads of Italian institutions and media.

Sequi also rejected “insinuations relative to the alleged involvement of the media of our country in an anti-Russia campaign.” In the same statement, Sequi reiterated Italy’s condemnation of Russia’s “unjustified aggression” against Ukraine.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— AP Exclusive: Ukraine recovers bodies from steel-plant siege

— American spy agencies review their misses on Ukraine, Russia

— In eastern Ukraine, keeping the lights on is a dangerous job

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia has begun turning over the bodies of Ukrainian fighters killed at the Azovstal steelworks, the fortress-like plant in the destroyed city of Mariupol where their last-ditch stand became a symbol of resistance against Moscow’s invasion.

Dozens of fighters’ bodies recovered from the bombed-out mill’s now Russian-occupied ruins have been transferred to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, where DNA testing is underway to identify the remains.

That is according to Maksym Zhorin, a military commander and former leader of the Azov Regiment, which was among the Ukrainian units that defended the plant for nearly three months before surrendering.

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MOSCOW — The Russian foreign minister has warned the West that if it provides Ukraine with long-range rockets, Moscow will respond by taking over larger areas of Ukraine.

Speaking during an online news conference Monday, Sergey Lavrov said that “the longer the range of weapons you supply, the farther away the line from where neo-Nazis could threaten the Russian Federation will be pushed.”

The U.S. and Britain have announced they will provide Ukraine with multiple rocket-launchers capable of striking targets up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) away. The systems are capable of firing longer range rockets that can hit areas of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) away, but U.S. said it wouldn’t supply the rockets.

Asked how Moscow would respond if the U.S. and its allies change their mind and provide Ukraine with long-range rockets, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in televised comments Sunday that Moscow will “draw appropriate conclusions and use our strike means, which we have plenty of, in order to hit the facilities that we haven’t struck yet.”

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SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said Monday that Ukraine’s ambassador to Sofia has requested Bulgarian arms deliveries for his embattled country.

Ambassador Vitaly Moskalenko confirmed in a TV interview that his country needs Soviet-era weapons including heavy artillery.

“We need weapons, we are talking about howitzers and missile systems — Soviet, old weapons that we can handle,” he said.

In the wake of Russia’s stepped-up military efforts in eastern Ukraine, he added: “Imagine the firepower concentrated now against Ukraine in Donbas.”

On May 4, Bulgaria’s Parliament approved military technical assistance to Ukraine, which provides only for the repair of Ukrainian weapons and equipment, not the provision of combat systems and small arms.

Parliament would need to revise its previous decision, which seems uncertain because of the divisions between the political parties on this issue.

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KYIV, Ukraine — A regional governor in Ukraine says that the situation in a key eastern town has worsened.

Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Monday that fierce fighting was continuing in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the epicenter of the Russian offensive. He described the combat situation as “quite dynamic.”

“Our defenders managed to conduct counteroffensive and free nearly half of the city, but the situation has worsened again now,” Haidai told the AP. “Our guys are defending the positions in the industrial zone on the outskirts of the city.”

“The shelling of Sievierodonetsk has intensified, (the Russians) are destroying everything in line with their scorched earth tactics,” he alleged.

Haidai said that the Russians have continued intensive bombardment also of nearby Lysychansk.

The Russians “have an enormous amount of equipment and personnel, they have pulled up a lot of reserves,” he said. He added that they had shelled a humanitarian center in Lysychansk and destroyed a bakery, and that 98 people had left the town over the past 24 hours.

Haidai said that a key highway between Bakhmut and Lysychansk has been under constant shelling even though it remains in Ukrainian hands.

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COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France — Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had strong words about the war in Ukraine at a ceremony Monday commemorating the 78th anniversary of D-Day.

Speaking in the American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach, Milley said that “Kyiv may be 2,000 kilometers away from here, they too, right now, today, are experiencing the same horrors as the French citizens experienced in World War II.”

He spoke in the presence of more than 20 World War II veterans and several thousand people who came to pay tribute to those who fell that day.

“The world has come together in support of the defense of Ukraine against a determined invader. The fight in Ukraine is about honoring these veterans of World War II,” he said.

“It’s about maintaining the so called global rules-based international order that was established by the dead who are buried here at this cemetery.”

Gen. Milley recalled the principle underlined in that order that “strong countries cannot just invade small countries. Each country is sovereign and each country has the right to territorial integrity.”

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MOSCOW — The Russian military says it has struck a Ukrainian factory that was being used to repair armor.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Monday that Russian warplanes fired long-range missiles to destroy a plant on the edge of the town of Lozova in the northeastern Kharkiv region that was fixing armored vehicles.

Konashenkov said that the Russian aircraft hit 73 areas of concentration of Ukrainian troops and equipment, while the Russian artillery struck 431 military targets. His claims couldn’t be independently verified.

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