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Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (May 23)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy receives a standing ovation after his video address on the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday.
Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy receives a standing ovation after his video address on the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday.

As Monday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a Russian missile attack last Tuesday killed 87 people in northern Ukraine, reported to be the heaviest death toll so far from a single airstrike since Russia's invasion began three months ago. Zelenskyy did not specify whether casualties in the town of Desna were military or civilians. He disclosed the attack in his video address at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In the speech, Zelenskyy also called for "maximum" sanctions against Russia and invited businesses that are leaving Russia to come to Ukraine.

The first Russian soldier on trial for war crimes in Ukraine has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a civilian. Army Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, pleaded guilty last week to fatally shooting an unarmed Ukrainian man in the earliest days of the war. His Ukrainian court-appointed lawyer, who'd argued that Shishimarin acted on orders to kill the man and fired aimlessly, told journalists he would appeal the ruling. Ukrainian officials have said they are investigating more than 11,000 potential Russian war crimes.

A Russian diplomat at the permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva resigned, saying he has never been "so ashamed" of his country. A letter from veteran diplomatic counselor Boris Bondarev, shared with colleagues and posted on social media, was a rare public rebuke of the Kremlin's war in Ukraine from a Russian government official. Bondarev called the invasion "not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia" as it dashed "all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country."

Starbucks is leaving Russia after 15 years in business, closing all 130 stores. The coffee chain had temporarily shut down its stores in March. It's the second major exit of a global U.S. brand from Russia, after McDonald's last week began "de-arching" its entire chain after 32 years. Starbucks said it will continue paying its nearly 2,000 employees in Russia for six months and help them find new jobs.

In-depth

The flow of Ukrainian refugees has changed direction in Poland. And so has aid relief.

A record 100 million people — or 1% of the world's population — are forcibly displaced around the globe, escaping violence or natural disasters.

Fleeing the war in Ukraine, some citizens of African countries have found doors of Europe are much less open to them.

Roma are often stateless people. As refugees from Ukraine, many are now in limbo.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read more in-depth reporting and daily recaps here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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