Day 462 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russia announced that it had Sunk Ukraine's last Warship
Day 462 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Russia announced that it had sunk Ukraine's last warship
- Von der Leyen: For the first time a country is attacked because it wants to be part of the European family
- Germany closes four out of five Russian consulates in the country
- Macron: Putin woke NATO from 'brain death' with the worst possible electric shock
- Prigozhin called for a general mobilization in Russia to repel the Ukrainian offensive
- British leaders are "legitimate targets" for Dmitry Medvedev
- A drone struck a strategic refinery of the Russians near Krasnodar
- British intelligence: Russian forces have ceded the initiative on the front and are repelling Ukrainian attacks
- Ukraine and allies prepare a conference for peace without Russia
- Ukraine is working with a British company to build a weapons factory
- Russia has killed 483 children in Ukraine since the invasion began
- Biden: We can send missiles to Ukraine with a range of up to 300 km
Russia announced that it had sunk Ukraine's last warship
After a strike against the port of Odesa, the medium amphibious ship "Yuri Olefirenko" of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was destroyed.
This was stated in a statement by the Ministry of Defense in Moscow.
No details were provided, and the Ukrainian command did not comment.
On the mentioned day of the strike, May 29, however, Operational Command "South" reported a fire at the port of Odesa during a night drone attack. According to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the fire has been extinguished and the "scale of the destruction" is being determined.
Launched in 1970, the amphibious ship "Yuri Olefirenko" was part of the shrunken Ukrainian fleet before the start of the war, after Kyiv lost 80% of it during the annexation of Crimea.
Von der Leyen: For the first time a country is attacked because it wants to be part of the European family
"For the first time in our history, a country is attacked because it wants to be part of the European family. This is a brutal violation of the principles of the UN Charter, principles to which we have collectively signed up. But it is also a war against our values and the idea of a united and free Europe."
This was stated by Ursula von der Leyen at the annual conference of the Bratislava-based GLOBSEC Institute.
The desire of Ukraine to be a part of our family is a sovereign right of the Ukrainian people and he has spoken clearly on the matter, the President of the European Commission also said. "Ukrainians are fighting for our freedom and our values: democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech... The freedom to determine your own destiny."
And that's what President Vladimir Putin is trying to stamp out and extinguish, Von der Leyen said. "He is trying to destroy what we have achieved in peace that we have built together. That is the root cause of this war."
She reminded that the discussion of the reasons for what happened continued in Bratislava and emphasized: "Let me state clearly: Russia started this unprovoked and unprovoked war. For no reason, it invaded Ukraine to wipe it off the face of the earth. Russia refuses to accept Ukraine as an independent state."
"We are talking about a key moment in the history of Europe, when the Ukrainians amazed the world with their will to fight", Von der Leyen also said. "They know with unwavering certainty what they belong to. They have been the architect of their country's move towards the EU for years and have proven their resolve many times over. We can and must stand firmly on their side as long as it takes." She also spoke about the European aid with ammunition, the training of tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
The President of the European Commission also commented on the multiplying ideas for a peaceful end to the conflict, stressing that there is one fundamental principle "Nothing for Ukraine without the participation of Ukraine. We need a just peace that does not reward the aggressor, but reinforces the principles of the UN Charter and the right of Ukrainians to be masters of their future."
She recalled how, since 2014, attempts to appease Russia had led to continued violence and the current destructive aggression, and explained that if it continues on this path and the conflict freezes along the dividing line between the two armies, there will be an unstable ceasefire, no one will invest, nothing destroyed will be rebuilt, and the conflict could flare up again at any moment.
"A just peace requires the withdrawal of Russian forces and their equipment and weapons from Ukrainian territory," said Ursula von der Leyen
"President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's 10-point peace plan is based on the UN Charter and UN resolutions, and we fully support it", Ursula von der Leyen added. "Therefore, our starting point for peace is an order based on clear rules. A just peace for Ukraine must also be a lasting peace."
And for that, several conditions are needed, she said, pointing first to long-term security for Ukraine.
"A set of guarantees given by a group of like-minded countries could provide the so-called deterrence by refusal (a principle in which a potential aggressor is forced to give up the very thought of attacking because of the high price it will pay) That is, supplying Ukraine with military equipment to defend itself against a Russian attack in the future. It is important to be clear that Ukraine will have friends for a long time in defense of its security."
"These guarantees must be accompanied by a broader framework for democratic reforms in Ukraine, to further strengthen mutual checks and balances between the authorities in the country. Here too, Ukraine's accession to our union will be of fundamental importance," emphasized Von der Leyen. "We gave Ukraine the status of a candidate country for membership, and with good reason."
"We need to be with them every step of the way. As they fight for their survival, Ukrainians are pushing through important reforms to strengthen their democracy. It's impressive to see that. And we will do our part to move Ukraine closer to a just and lasting peace."
The President of the European Commission said that the second very important thing she wanted to talk about is that "in the EU there is finally a new understanding that we cannot just wait for our friends to move towards us. It is not enough to say that the door is open to them." Von der Leyen stressed that she was referring to the six countries of the Western Balkans and presented a new initiative for a Growth Plan for the region, which extends some of the benefits already accepted in the EU to candidates for membership.
Germany closes four out of five Russian consulates in the country
Germany announced today that it has ordered Russia to close four of its five consulates in the country in retaliation after Moscow imposed a limit on the number of employees of the German embassy and related authorities who can carry out activities on Russian territory, reported Associated Press.
German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Burger told reporters in Berlin that after the end of this year, Russia will be allowed to keep its embassy in Berlin and another consulate. The aim of the measure is to achieve parity in the number of employees and structures of both countries, he explained.
The Russian government said recently that up to 350 representatives of the German state, including those working in cultural institutes and schools, could remain in the country.
This practically means that Germany will have to close three of its four consulates in Russia by November, Burger explained.
Macron: Putin woke NATO from 'brain death' with the worst possible electric shock
Vladimir Putin woke up NATO with his invasion of Ukraine last year. This was stated by French President Emmanuel Macron, quoted by AFP.
"In December 2019, I said harsh words about NATO," Macron told reporters in Bratislava, recalling how he then called the Western defense alliance "brain dead." "I can say that Vladimir Putin woke it up with the worst possible electric shock," he added.
Macron also calls on EU countries to buy European weapons. The French president said the European defense structure was "necessary" for long-term confidence in the bloc.
"One defense Europe, one European pillar within NATO is indispensable. This is the only way to be credible in the long term," Macron said in Bratislava, adding that "it is up to us Europeans in the future to have our own ability to defend ourselves".
Macron is also calling for "tangible" NATO security guarantees for Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion.
Stressing that Ukraine "today defends Europe", Macron said in Bratislava that it was in the West's interest that Kyiv "have reliable security guarantees with us in a multilateral framework".
Prigozhin called for a general mobilization in Russia to repel the Ukrainian offensive
"It is now necessary to announce a general mobilization, to turn on full speed the production of all kinds of ammunition, weapons and everything that is needed," announced the head of PMC "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin to journalists in Yekaterinburg. According to a Moscow oligarch considered close to Vladimir Putin, the continuation of the so-called “special military operation”, as the Kremlin calls the war in Ukraine, could be difficult.
"Even now it is necessary to announce mobilization and attract people at least for training, so that when thunder strikes they can already fight, not pray. If the society does not mobilize, everyone will relax, be happy that they have been loosened, someone will be in a hurry. And then the bad guys will come, I already said that the Ukrainians that's not all. Then the Romanians, the Poles, and all others will come," Prigozhin declared.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of the undeclared war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. At the time, he said the goal of the special military operation was the "demilitarization" and "denazification" of Ukraine, a formulation that Moscow had hoped the world would swallow after Moscow conquers Kyiv in three days.
As the takeover of Ukraine dragged on, between October 21 and 28 Russia carried out a partial mobilization that forced men of fighting age to flee abroad to avoid becoming cannon fodder in Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announced that as a result of the partial mobilization, 300 thousand people were drafted into the army, and the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu said that after the implementation of the partial mobilization plan, the military districts will continue to recruit volunteers and candidates for contract service.
Prigozhin arrived in Yekaterinburg to recruit volunteers for his private formation, which, after the authorities stopped supplying prisoners, experienced difficulty in recruiting personnel. On Wednesday, Politico reported that Wagner, without naming the company, had been recruiting fighters for the past year or so with paid ads on Facebook, with approx. 120 thousand reactions to the ads.
Putin's Chef is now calling for a formal mobilization in the country, insisting that no special infrastructure is needed to begin training the mobilized. "In those parts of Russia, in those territories where the Ukrainian missiles do not reach, those mobilized for training need tent camps, dugouts, food, water, a place to wash clothes and normal instructors. Then we will have a sufficient number of mobilized people", believes Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Putin's private commander commented that Ukraine has been conducting counter-offensive operations for two weeks to find weak spots in Russian defenses. He rules out the possibility of Ukrainian drones reaching the Urals. Earlier, the deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, General Viktor Sobolev, said that the general mobilization in Russia could begin if the military actions go outside the territory of Ukraine.
British leaders are "legitimate targets" for Dmitry Medvedev
The Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said today that Britain is a "century-old enemy" of Moscow and that those British leaders who facilitate the war in Ukraine can be considered legitimate military targets, Reuters reported.
Medvedev, responding to British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly's comment that Ukraine had the right to take military action beyond its borders, said Britain's "crazy leaders" would have to remember that their country could "be seen as in a state of war".
"The UK is acting as an ally of Ukraine, providing military aid in the form of weapons and specialists, i.e. waging a de facto undeclared war against Russia," Medvedev wrote on Twitter.
"Therefore, any of its heads of state (whether military, political, facilitating war) can be considered a legitimate military target," he added.
Cleverly made his comments at a press conference in the Estonian capital Tallinn yesterday in response to a question about the drone attack on Moscow a day earlier. Ukraine said it had nothing to do with the attack.
"Ukraine has a legitimate right to self-defense. It has a legitimate right to do so within its own borders, of course, but it also has a right to use force beyond its borders to undermine Russia's ability to attack Ukraine itself," Cleverly said yesterday during the joint press conference with his Estonian colleague Margus Tsahkna.
A drone struck a strategic refinery of the Russians near Krasnodar
An unidentified drone hit an installation at the strategic Afip oil refinery in the Krasnodar region last night, announced Governor Veniamin Kondratiev. As a result of the hit, a fire broke out in an oil distillation facility. The Russian side blames the Ukrainian army for the incident. The refinery is located in the village of Afipsky, 20 kilometers from Krasnodar and 120 kilometers from Novorossiysk.
"Fire in the Seversky region, on the territory of the Afip refinery. One of the fuel oil distillation units is on fire. According to preliminary data, the cause was a strike with an unmanned aerial vehicle. The company's fire brigade, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the emergency services are working on the spot to extinguish the fire as quickly as possible," Kondratiev wrote on Telegram, adding that he is keeping the situation "under personal control".
According to reports on social networks, the attack was carried out at 3 in the morning local time. An explosion was heard within a radius of several kilometers around the refinery, and footage captured a huge pillar of fire above the plant. The "Baza" channel also released a video with the exact moment of the explosion.
The refinery in Afipsky has the capacity to process 6.25 million tons per year.
The information about the attack on the plant comes only hours after the massive flights of drones in the direction of Moscow - from 8 according to official data of the Ministry of Defense to over 30 according to data even quoted by the propagandist Volodymyr Solovyov. Ukraine has already announced that it had nothing to do with the drone attack on the capital of Russia, but watched it with pleasure.
In the Krasnodar Krai region, a drone crashed into an oil refinery. pic.twitter.com/nPtvTsNmiY— NOELREPORTS ???????? ???????? (@NOELreports) May 31, 2023
British intelligence: Russian forces have ceded the initiative on the front and are repelling Ukrainian attacks
In recent weeks, Russian forces have ceded the initiative in the war in Ukraine and are being forced to respond to Ukrainian attacks, the British Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence review.
"Since the beginning of May 2023, Russia has increasingly ceded the initiative in the conflict and reacted to the actions of Ukraine, instead of actively advancing its own military goals," noted British analysts.
According to intelligence estimates, in May 2023, Russia carried out 20 night-time unilateral drone and cruise missile attacks deep into Ukrainian territory. However, the Russian Federation has not achieved significant success in achieving its purported goals: neutralizing Ukraine's improved air defenses or destroying Ukrainian air defense forces.
On the ground, the Russian Federation redeployed its troops to respond to guerrilla attacks in western Russia.
"Operationally, the Russian command is probably trying to create reserve forces and deploy them where they think there will be a Ukrainian counterattack. However, this was probably thwarted as inactive forces were directed to fill gaps in the front line around Bakhmut," the British intelligence review said.
British intelligence reported a day ago that Russia's military spending is almost certain to remain high, putting pressure on its public finances.
Ukraine and allies prepare a conference for peace without Russia
Ukraine and its allies are preparing a summit with global leaders, but not Russia, aimed at rallying support for the terms on which Kyiv is willing to end the war. This was reported exclusively by the "Wall Street Journal", citing Andriy Yermak, a high-ranking adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, and European diplomats.
The plan, born in February, is in its early stages, but Western diplomats hope the conference will be held immediately before the annual meeting of NATO leaders in Vilnius on July 11, the publication added.
The idea has been backed by French President Emmanuel Macron, and invitations are expected to be sent to US President Joe Biden and other top leaders from countries in the Atlantic alliance. At the moment, the participation of countries that have sided with Russia or at least refused to condemn its aggression is also being considered.
Macron has proposed hosting Paris for such a conference. Denmark and Sweden are also ready to organize it on their territory.
“Vladimir Putin cannot be negotiated with while his army is on Ukrainian territory, we cannot compromise with that” Yermak says. But he adds that the process is impossible "without the participation of the whole world, including the leaders of the global south". The Wall Street Journal points out that Zelensky's famous 10-point peace plan is being reworked to make it more acceptable to countries such as China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, with whom Kyiv has also been making efforts to explain its position in recent months and listen to theirs.
Zelensky's plan calls for a full withdrawal of the Russian military, exchange of all prisoners of war, accountability of war criminals, nuclear and food security, reparations to repair the devastation in Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion.
Organizing such a forum in the coming weeks would mean not only an attempt to bring Ukraine and the West back to the center of the conversation about ending the war, but also demonstrate to the world ahead of the NATO forum that the democratic world is interested not only in arming Kyiv, but and from finding a diplomatic solution.
Ukraine is working with a British company to build a weapons factory
Ukraine is working with major British defense company BAE Systems to set up a Ukrainian base for both production and repair of weapons from tanks to artillery, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.
Zelensky was speaking after talks with senior BAE officials, including chief executive Charles Woodburn.
"This is really a massive producer of arms, the kind of arms we need now and will continue to need," Zelensky said in an evening video address.
"We are working on creating a suitable base in Ukraine for production and repair. This includes a wide range of weapons, from tanks to artillery," he added. Zelensky did not give further details.
Earlier in the day, Zelensky said the two countries had agreed to begin work on opening a BAE office in Ukraine.
Russia has killed 483 children in Ukraine since the invasion began
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, 483 children have died, the country's chief prosecutor's office announced.
Most of them - in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kherson regions.
"These are not the final figures. The work to establish them in the places of active hostilities, as well as the temporarily occupied and liberated territories, continues," added the Ukrainian prosecutor's office.
Another 989 children were injured to one degree or another during the war, which began on February 24, 2022. Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians, but evidence of this is overwhelming, and a number of war crimes charges are being prepared against the Kremlin.
In addition to killing and maiming Ukrainian children, Putin's regime has abducted thousands - separating them from their parents, giving them to Russian families and arranging their "re-education" - a crime that is part of the definition of genocide.
According to UN data, 8,791 civilians were killed and 14,815 were injured in Ukraine until May 8 this year. The majority of those killed and wounded were victims of explosive weapons with a wide radius of destruction. The UN emphasizes that the real figures could be much higher.
Biden: We can send missiles to Ukraine with a range of up to 300 km
The US may send missiles with a range of up to 300 km to Ukraine.
This is what US President Joe Biden hinted to reporters. To a direct question: "Is it time to deliver ATACMS to Ukraine?", the head of state replied:
"It could still happen."
"Is it time for ATACMS for Ukraine?"— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) May 30, 2023
"That's still in play" - President Biden. pic.twitter.com/Ug44VhLEdw
ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) is an American missile with a range of up to 300 km, which provides an attack capability beyond the capabilities of modern howitzers and missile systems. Through it, Ukrainian troops could hit targets in Crimea.
Since the beginning of the war, Washington has refused to deliver the missiles, despite repeated calls from Kyiv. The main reasons for the persistence are twofold. First - the US does not have a sufficient reserve of missiles, according to Pentagon data. Second, the Ukrainians can launch them at objects inside the territory of Russia and provoke an escalation of the conflict, which America is trying to avoid.
At the beginning of May, the United Kingdom announced that it had delivered to Ukraine its equivalent of ATACMS - the Storm Shadow missiles, which can engage targets at a distance of more than 250 km. Western military experts speculate that it is possible that London's decision will affect the US position on the issue.
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