Russian forces shelled more than 40 towns in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, forcing Ukrainians to bury civilians killed in mass graves, as Tass news agency reported some 8000 Ukrainian prisoners of war in the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk.
* The leader of Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway Donetsk province called for Russia's military operation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine to be accelerated, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
* Russian forces are close to encircling two key towns in the Donbas, with constant mortar bombardment destroying houses and killing civilians, Ukrainian officials said.
* Some 150 people were buried in a mass grave in one of the key towns, Lysychansk, and police are collecting more bodies, said the regional governor.
* Ukrainian prisoners of war held in the Russian-backed self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics number about 8000, Luhansk official Rodion Miroshnik was quoted by TASS news agency as saying.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy savaged suggestions that Kyiv give up territory and make concessions to end the war with Russia, saying the idea smacked of attempts to appease Nazi Germany in 1938.
* The European Commission proposed making breaking EU sanctions against Russia a crime, which would allow EU governments to confiscate assets.
* Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that France's support for his country "remains steadfast" after he spoke with his French counterpart, adding that they had discussed ramping up sanctions pressure on Russia.
* Russia is advancing a new law allowing it to take control of businesses of Western companies that decide to leave in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, raising the stakes for multinationals trying to exit.
* The United States pushed Russia closer to the brink of a historic debt default by not extending its licence to pay bondholders.
"Everything now is focused on the Donbas," said Vadym Denisenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior ministry.
* A European Union summit May 30-31 could see divisions between member states who want to take a hard line against Moscow and those calling for a ceasefire.
* A United Nations trade official is set to visit Moscow in coming days to discuss resumptions of Russian fertiliser exports.
Australian Associated Press
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