Russia has imposed sanctions against units of Gazprom Germania and dozens of other former subsidiaries in countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia after Kyiv halted the use of a major transit route for Russian gas.
The moves on May 11 came amid continued heavy fighting in the east and south of Ukraine and as Germany announced it had begun training Ukrainian soldiers to use a powerful artillery system.
Russian gas flows to Europe via Ukraine fell by a quarter after Kyiv announced it would stop Russian shipments through its Novopskov hub in the east, blaming interference by Russian forces in the region.
It is the first time exports have been disrupted since Moscow launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but the immediate effect is likely to be limited because Russia can divert the gas to another pipeline and because Europe relies on a variety of suppliers.
Later on May 11, Russia announced its sanctions against units of Gazprom Germania, which was placed under German state control in early April, and other former Gazprom subsidiaries.
The 31 companies listed by the Russian government are banned from conducting transactions with Gazprom and their vessels are banned from entering Russian ports.
The German Economy Ministry is examining the announcement, a spokesperson for the ministry said, adding that the supply of gas is constantly being checked and currently is guaranteed.
As fighting raged in southern and eastern Ukraine, the German Defense Ministry some 60 Ukrainian soldiers began training on the Panzerhaubitze 2000 artillery system, an advanced, self-propelled howitzer. Germany has promised to send seven of the German-built systems to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz discussed how Berlin can offer further assistance to help Ukraine beat back the Russian invasion.
He said the talks covered “defensive aid, cooperation in the energy sector, increasing sanctions on the Russian aggressor,” adding that Kyiv appreciated “the high level of dialogue with Germany and support in our struggle!”
Zelenskiy also informed Scholz about the status of Ukraine’s intermittent negotiations with Russia to end the violence, German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.
At the same time, the U.S. State Department said Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan met with Russian officials to discuss “a narrow range of issues” in the bilateral relationship.
“These tend to be quite narrow. In many cases, these tend to be centered on the functioning of our embassy,” spokesman Ned Price said at a briefing.
Ukraine’s top prosecutor on May 11 disclosed plans for the first war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier accused of killing a civilian.
Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova said on Facebook that the suspect was charged in the killing of a 62-year-old civilian who was riding a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the northeastern region of Sumy.
The Prosecutor-General’s Office has sent the case against Vadim Shishimarin, the commander of a tank unit, to the court, Venediktova said, adding that the 21-year-old, who is currently in Ukrainian custody, may face up to life in prison if convicted of murder.
Ukraine’s National Police on May 5 said that since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 more than 10,000 investigations had been launched into war crimes allegedly committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.
Many of the alleged atrocities came to light last month after Moscow’s forces withdrew from towns around Kyiv after aborting their mission to capture the capital. In towns such as Bucha, residents’ accounts of killings, rape, and torture shocked the world.
In the southern Kherson region, a Kremlin-installed politician said regional officials wanted Russian President Vladimir Putin to make Kherson a “proper region” of Russia.
“The city of Kherson is Russia,” Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Kherson regional administration, told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it would be “up to the residents of the Kherson region…to decide whether such an appeal should be made or not.” He said any move to annex territory would have to be closely evaluated by legal experts.
Ukrainian officials said an area around Zaporizhzhya was among those targeted in fighting on May 11. A Russian rocket attack destroyed unspecified infrastructure, but there were no reports of casualties. The southeastern city has been a refuge for civilians fleeing Mariupol.
Russian forces continue to pound a steel plant in Mariupol that is the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance, its defenders said. The Azov Battalion said on social media on May 11 that Russian forces carried out 38 air strikes in the previous 24 hours on the Azovstal steelworks.
Pope Francis on May 11 met with two wives of the fighters of the regiment. Katerina Prokopenko and Yulia Fedosyuk told the pontiff that there was no food or water left at the steelworks.
“You are our last hope. We hope that you will be able to save their lives. Please don’t let them die,” one of the Ukrainians told the pope in a meeting at the Vatican.
Francis replied that he would pray for those in the Azovstal plant, according to an account of the meeting in The Insider.
Ukrainian forces also targeted Russian air defenses and resupply vessels on Snake Island in the Black Sea in an effort to disrupt Moscow’s efforts to expand its control over the coastline, according to the British Defense Ministry.
Ukraine said it shot down a cruise missile targeting the Black Sea port city of Odesa.
In the southeast, Serhiy Hayday, the governor of the Luhansk region, said mobile communications to the region had been cut off.
“We are working to resolve the situation, but there is little hope,” he wrote on Telegram. He also said the humanitarian situation in the region has worsened and there is little aid left in warehouses, and what is there is difficult to deliver due to the shelling of the road.
Ukrainian armed forces’ General Staff said it had recaptured Pytomnyk, a village on the main highway north of Kharkiv, a city located just 40 kilometers from the border with Russia.
The governor of the Belgorod region across the border to the north of Kharkiv said on May 11 it was shelled from Ukraine. Vyacheslav Gladkov reported at least one death and said six people were wounded.
The governor and the leaders of other Russian border regions have repeatedly said Ukraine has shelled Russian territory, but this was the first time they reported casualties.