Latest Developments in Ukraine: May 21

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. All times EDT:

3:04 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that Russia is considering opening its military to older recruits, specifically Russians older than 40 and foreigners older than 30 who would join the military as contract soldiers.

2:02 a.m.: In its latest assessment of the war in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, says Russian forces are digging in around Kharkiv and may be preparing for a major Ukrainian counter-offensive. Additionally, the update notes that Russia may be overstating the number of Ukrainians it captured at the Azovstal steel plant, either to make the victory sound more impressive or to maximize the number of Russian prisoners of war it hopes to get in exchange.

1:03 a.m.: Al Jazeera reports that Russia has removed the last bodies from the Mariupol theater it bombed in March. Ukrainian officials said that more than 1,300 people were hiding in the theater when it was hit and that some 300 died.

12:02 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took to Telegram to criticize Russia’s destruction of a cultural center in the city of Lazova, CNN reports.

The airstrike injured at least seven people, including a child, when it hit the “newly renovated House of Culture,” he wrote.

“The occupiers identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies,” he wrote. “They do not spare missiles or bombs for them. What is in the minds of people who choose such targets? Absolute evil, absolute stupidity.”

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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