Share

Biden presses Congress to pass more military aid; U.S. will suspend tariffs on Ukrainian steel

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Monday. See here for the latest updates. 

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attempted to justify his unprecedented invasion of Ukraine on "Victory Day" — one of the most important events on the country's national calendar.

The West was "preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea," Putin said without providing evidence, according to a Reuters translation. He added that NATO was creating threats at Russia's borders.

Russia had amassed some 190,000 troops on its borders with Ukraine in the weeks before its invasion. There was little evidence of military aggression from Ukraine toward Russia, and Moscow's claims to the contrary were seen by many as a pretext for justifying the invasion.

Meanwhile, dozens are feared dead after a school in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine was hit by Russian shelling. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 60 people died in the attack.

At least 1 million Ukrainians were 'forcibly relocated' to Russia, says rights official

An elderly woman sits in Kharkiv after fleeing from a war-torn Kutuzivka village in Ukraine, April 29th, 2022. At least a million Ukrainians have been "forcible relocated" and sent to Russia, Ukraine's ombudsman for human rights said, NBC News reported.
Narciso Contreras | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

At least a million Ukrainians have been "forcibly relocated" and sent to Russia, according to a Ukrainian human rights official cited by NBC News.

"Not only are the occupiers hiding their crimes, but also relocating everyone they deem unreliable," said Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine's ombudsman for human rights.

"We have proof that forceful deportation was prepared beforehand," Denisova said, according to NBC News. "There are facts that confirm that Russia had directives for their districts on how many Ukrainians and where to deport them."

NBC News and CNBC were not able to confirm those claims.

An estimated 20,000 Ukrainians are in "filtration camps," with most being sent to Russia, while the fate of the rest remains unknown, Denisova added, NBC News said.

Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine documented about 109 cases of suspected detention or enforced disappearances among civilians since the invasion began.

However, local officials said the figure does not represent the tens of thousands of Ukrainians who have been deported via "filtration camps."

— Chelsea Ong

Ukraine's prime minister says the U.S. steel tariff suspension came together in a matter of weeks

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured) at State Department, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Washington, April 22, 2022.
Susan Walsh | Pool | Reuters

Just hours after the U.S. announced it would suspend tariffs on Ukrainian steel for a year, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal expressed his appreciation for the speed with which the Biden administration moved on the issue.

Shmyhal said he first spoke about the tariffs with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo when he visited Washington on April 21.

Less than 3 weeks later, the U.S. announced that the current 25% tariff would not be applied to steel from war-torn Ukraine for at least a year.

The tariff suspension is the latest example of the White House and federal agencies slashing bureaucratic red tape in Washington in order to get money, weapons and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine.

--- Christina Wilkie

Nearly 6,000 Ukrainians approved to enter the U.S. through Biden admin's Uniting for Ukraine website

The Department of Homeland Security has approved nearly 6,000 Ukrainians to enter the U.S. through an online application system that lets them gain legal authorization to fly to U.S. airports and then stay with Americans who have agreed to sponsor them, the agency said Monday. 

The online portal, known as Uniting for Ukraine, launched on April 25 as part of President Joe Biden's stated goal to bring 100,000 people fleeing Russia's deadly invasion to the U.S.

The launch of the website meant the closure of a popular but dangerous and illegal route many Ukrainians had taken via the U.S.-Mexico border, where, after entering Mexico on a tourist visa, they were transported from camps in Tijuana into California. After April 25, U.S. Border Patrol officers began turning back Ukrainians attempting to cross the southern border. 

Read the full NBC News story here.

— Julia Ainsley, NBC News

Biden shifts course, calls on Congress to pass standalone Ukraine aid with no Covid funds

U.S. President Joe Biden pauses while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 9, 2022.
Samuel Corum | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden has very publicly shifted course in his quest to pass a $33 billion emergency funding package for Ukraine through Congress.

"Previously, I had recommended that Congress take overdue action on much needed funding for COVID treatments, vaccines and tests, as part of the Ukraine Supplemental bill," Biden said in a statement.

Recently, however, Biden says he was informed that Republicans in Congress are not prepared to vote to pass a Covid bill anytime soon.

Given the reality of the situation, linking the two funding requests — as he had initially proposed — would have in practice meant slowing down the desperately needed money for Ukraine in order to give Congress time to debate the Covid funding.

"We cannot afford delay in this vital war effort," Biden said. "Hence, I am prepared to accept that these two measures move separately, so that the Ukrainian aid bill can get to my desk right away."

Biden's change of strategy was also adopted by Democratic leaders in Congress, who have said they are prepared to move quickly on a standalone Ukraine bill. It is expected to be relatively easy to pass with bipartisan support.

— Christina Wilkie

Biden has about $100 million in military aid to allocate to Ukraine until Congress passes new funding, Pentagon says

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby holds a news briefing at the Pentagon on May 02, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. Kirby announced the return of public tours of the Pentagon as well as delivered an update on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

The Biden administration has about $100 million in military aid left to allocate to Ukraine before it needs Congress to approve more funding, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

He referenced so-called presidential drawdown authority, which allows President Joe Biden to transfer excess weapons from U.S. arsenals without congressional approval.

"We think and again, this is an estimate, but by the third week of the month, we expect to utilize all of that," he added.

Last week, the Biden administration announced a new weapons package for Ukraine worth $150 million. The latest military aid package, the ninth security assistance installment, brings the U.S. military aid commitment to $3.8 billion since Moscow invaded its neighbor in late February.

Last month, Biden requested $33 billion from Congress after he exhausted his remaining drawdown authority. He said that for Ukraine to succeed against Russia, the U.S. and its allies must continue to move weapons and ammunition into the country.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian servicemen survey destroyed Russian equipment outside Kharkiv

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some images depict death.

Ukrainian servicemen survey destroyed Russian equipment on the outskirts of Kharkiv.

Ukrainian soldiers in a downed Russian helicopter in the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 8 May 2022.
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
KHARKIV, UKRAINE - MAY 8: Ukrainian soldiers in a downed Russian helicopter in the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 8 May 2022 (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers next to a destroyed Russian tank on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 8 May 2022.
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers collect evidence of fighting around Kharkiv, Ukraine, 8 May 2022.
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A Ukrainian soldier stands next to a destroyed Russian military vehicle on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 8 May 2022.
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
KHARKIV, UKRAINE - MAY 8: Two men cross a destroyed bridge on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 8 May 2022. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
(EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts death) Bodies of Russian soldiers on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 8 May 2022 (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

— Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine's PM and European Council president hold part of their meetings in an air raid shelter

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said his meeting with European Council President Charles Michel in Odesa was interrupted by air raid sirens warning of a Russian missile attack near the city.

In response to the sirens, the two dignitaries moved their official event to a dimly lit underground air raid shelter and continued their conversation. Shmyhal posted a photo of himself in the bunker with Michel on Twitter.

Images like this one have helped Ukrainian leaders create a powerful narrative of a government whose officials are finding brave and creative ways to operate in a war zone, despite being in near constant danger.

--- Christina Wilkie

Biden signs bill that aims to streamline U.S. military aid to Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order to prohibit trade and investment between U.S. individuals and the two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine recognized as independent by Russia, at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2022.
The White House | Reuters

President Joe Biden signed a bill that will streamline the lengthy process of supplying Ukraine with the military