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Ukraine warns countries about buying its stolen grain; U.S. $40 billion aid to Ukraine faces delay

This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]

Ukraine warns that the Russians are stealing Ukrainian grain, and any country who buys the stolen grain from Russia is considered to be "complicit in the crime." It warned of legal consequences for everyone involved in the transportation and sales of the stolen grain.

Meanwhile, the former president of Russia has warned NATO that military assistance for Ukraine risks sparking a wider conflict.

Dmitry Medvedev, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said the supply of weapons to Ukraine "increased the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia instead of their 'war by proxy'."

It comes after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Russia was the "most direct threat" to the international order.

Elsewhere, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said this morning that the country should apply to join NATO "without delay."

The U.S., meanwhile, plans to send a delegation led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to NATO's meetings in Berlin this weekend.

Siemens says it is exiting Russia

An outside view of Siemens central office in Moscow, Russia on July 21, 2017. German industrial giant Siemens AG says it is exiting Russia after almost 170 years.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

German industrial giant Siemens says it is exiting Russia after almost 170 years in the country.

"We condemn the war in Ukraine and have decided to carry out an orderly process to wind down our industrial business activities in Russia," said Roland Busch, President and CEO of Siemens AG.

"This was not an easy decision, given our duty of care for our employees and long-standing customer relationships, in a market where we have been active for almost 170 years," he added.

The company said it had put all new business in and international deliveries to Russia and Belarus on hold after the war started in February.

"We are evaluating the impact on our people and we will continue to support them to the best of our abilities," Busch added.

— Chelsea Ong

Ukraine warns anyone who buys stolen Ukrainian grain from Russia faces legal consequences

A view of some wheat in a field on May 6, 2022 in Egypt. Ukraine is warning countries that Russian grain exports may contain stolen Ukrainian grain, and anyone that knowingly purchases stolen grain or is involved in the process is considered complicit in the crime.
Fadel Dawod | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukraine is warning countries that Russian grain exports may contain stolen Ukrainian grain, and anyone that knowingly purchases it is considered complicit in the crime.

"Russian occupants are stealing Ukrainian grain and either consuming it themselves or attempting to sell it on international markets," Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, also said that everyone involved in the transportation and sales of stolen grain will face legal consequences, the Associated Press reported.

"Your actions will have adequate international legal consequences. We will do everything to make your life as difficult as possible," Kuleba said, commenting on media reports that a Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain moored off the Syrian coast, according to the Associated Press.

The Russians have already seized at least 400 to 500 thousand tons of grain worth more than $100 million, Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

"Almost all grain-laden ships departing from Sevastopol transport stolen Ukrainian commodities," the ministry added.

Sevastopol is a major port on the Black Sea in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

— Chelsea Ong

G7 foreign ministers meet to discuss Ukraine war, impact

British Secretary for Foreign Affairs Elizabeth Truss (L) and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi chat during bilateral talks at the meeting of the G7 foreign ministers in Wangels, Northern Germany on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Marcus Brandt / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARCUS BRANDT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Marcus Brandt | Afp | Getty Images

Top diplomats from the Group of Seven wealthy nations gathered in northern Germany for a three-day meeting centered on Russia's war against Ukraine and the wider impact it is having around the world, particularly on food and energy prices.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, the meeting's host, said the conflict already had become a "global crisis" because shipments of staple crops are stuck in Ukraine, a major agricultural exporter.

"Twenty-five million tons (27.5 million U.S. tons) of grain are currently blocked in Ukrainian ports, particularly Odesa," Baerbock said. "Grain that's food for millions of people around the world, and which is needed particularly urgently in African countries and the Middle East."

"That's why we are discussing how the grain blockade exerted by Russia can be unblocked, how we can get the grain out to the world," she added.

— Associated Press

Ukraine aid faces delay in U.S. Senate

Sen Rand Paul, R-Ky., blocked the U.S. Senate on May 12, 2022 from passing a nearly $40 billion assistance bill designed to bolster Ukraine's fight against a Russian invasion. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Bill Clark | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden will have to wait at least until next week to sign a massive aid package for Ukraine.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., blocked the U.S. Senate from passing a nearly $40 billion assistance bill designed to bolster Ukraine's fight against a Russian invasion. Senate leaders hoped to win unanimous consent, which requires sign off from all senators, to vote on the legislation Thursday before they left Washington for the weekend.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., offered to allow a vote on Paul's amendment to the bill that would put an inspector general in charge of overseeing the funds. Paul objected to the deal because he wanted Senate leaders to make his proposed changes without a vote.

The House passed the bill earlier this week, meaning Senate approval would allow Biden to sign it into law.

— Jacob Pramuk

Baseball signed by Zelenskyy auctioned for $50K, portion of sale will support Ukraine

A Major League Baseball signed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Source: RR Auction

An official MLB baseball signed by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was auctioned off for $50,103, and the seller says he will donate some of the proceeds to support the embattled country in its fight to repel an invasion by Russia.

RR Auction, which conducted Wednesday's sale of the ball, is contributing all of its proceeds, which include the buyer's premium and seller's commission, to Ukraine support efforts. Before the auction, the ball was estimated to be sold for more than $15,000.

"We are thrilled with the price achieved and show our support with our donation to help the people in Ukraine," said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction. 

The ball had been owned by Randy Kaplan, a collector of more than 450 signed baseballs from world leaders and heads of state, among them former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson.

Kaplan received the ball, which was signed by Zelenskyy in both Ukraine cursive and English print, from Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations in 2019, when the then-new president was visiting New York.

— Dan Mangan

U.S. lawmakers ask Big Tech to archive evidence of war crimes in Ukraine

Editor's note: Graphic content. This post contains a photo of workers exhuming bodies from a mass grave in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv.

Four high-ranking congressional Democrats sent formal requests to the CEOs of YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook's parent company, Meta, asking them to archive content that could be used as evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The request comes as evidence of potential Russian war crimes continues to accumulate on social media. On Wednesday, Ukraine's prosecutor general tried a Russian soldier for war crimes for the first time since the invasion began in February — the prosecution was announced on Facebook.

Workers exhume bodies from a mass grave in Bucha, north-west of Kyiv, on April 14, 2022.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

They specifically request the social media companies "to flag or mark content as containing potential evidence of war crimes and other atrocities."

YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read the full story here.

— NBC News

Top U.S. diplomat Blinken heads to Europe for NATO, trade meetings

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media after a NATO foreign ministers meeting, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium April 7, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Germany on Saturday for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on their response to the war in Ukraine, the State Department said.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock last month invited the ministers to an unofficial meeting in Berlin. The meeting comes as Finland, worried by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, moves to join NATO.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said any accession process would be "smooth and swift" and that Finland would be warmly welcomed.

On Sunday, Blinken will travel to Paris with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo for the second ministers' meeting of the U.S.-E.U. Trade and Technology Council.

— Reuters

Senate leaders push for quick OK for fresh $40B for Ukraine

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Julia Nikhinson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Leaders from both parties tried clearing the way for Senate passage of an additional $40 billion for Ukraine and its allies, a package of military and economic aid that underscores U.S. determination to reinforce its role in countering the Russian invasion.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called on Republicans and Democrats "to help us pass this urgent funding bill today." The only apparent stumbling blocks to quick approval seemed to be the demands of some Republicans for votes on proposals including having an inspector general scrutinize the new spending.

Passage by a strong bipartisan margin seemed certain soon. If the bill is not amended, that vote would mean final congressional approval for a measure that Democrats and most Republicans want to speed to President Joe Biden so weapons and supplies can continue flowing to the outnumbered Ukrainians.

"Republicans shouldn't block this bill," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "There is no reason, no reason whatever not to get Ukraine funding approved fast."

— Associated Press

UN focuses human rights inquiry in northern Ukraine

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is seen on a monitor delivering a remote speech during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Ukraine, in Geneva on May 12, 2022.
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

The U.N.'s top human rights body has overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on its investigators to specifically look into possible rights abuses and violations in northern Ukraine shortly after Russia's invasion.

In a 33-2 vote, with 12 abstentions, the Human Rights Council concluded a special session on Russia's invasion of Ukraine also by calling on Russia to grant international human rights groups "unhindered, timely, immediate, unrestricted and safe access" to people who have been transferred from Ukraine to Russia or areas controlled by Russian forces or affiliates.

Only China and Eritrea voted against the measure, which also urged the U.N. human rights office to report on events in Mariupol, a besieged southeastern port city where thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed. Access to the city has been virtually nonexistent for international human rights during recent fighting there.

The council called on a team of investigators known as a Commission of Inquiry to look specifically into the "events" in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions of Ukraine in late February and early March after Russia's invasion "with a view to holding those responsible to account." The commission was already created to investigate rights abuses and violations generally in Ukraine.

— Associated Press

Ukrainian forensics experts exhume Russian soldiers in the village of Zavalivka

EDITOR'S NOTE — Graphic content: Photos depict images of death near the village of Zavalivka.

Ukrainian forensics experts exhume Russian soldiers in the village of Zavalivka, outside Kyiv. To date, more than 230 Russian bodies have been collected and stored in Ukraine.

The vast majority of the bodies have been found in the capitals outskirts.

Ukrainian forensics experts examine the body of a Russian soldier exhumed in the village of Zavalivka, west of Kyiv, in a refrigerated rail car stacked with the Russian dead on May 11, 2022. 
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian forensics experts examine the body of a Russian soldier exhumed in the village of Zavalivka, west of Kyiv, in a refrigerated rail car stacked with the Russian dead on May 11, 2022.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian forensics experts carry the body of a Russian soldier exhumed in the village of Zavalivka, wes