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Day 450 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Ukrainian progress in Bakhmut, Zelensky will attend the G7 in Japan

, Станимир Петков (Клуб на инвалидите - Сливен)

Излъчване: Tuida News | World | преди около 1 седмица | 63


Day 450 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

New airstrike in Ukraine, tenth attack on Kyiv in a month

The Ukrainian army seizes the initiative in Bakhmut, nationalists criticize Prigozhin

Zelensky will personally visit the G7 in Japan, the US will announce new sanctions

UK announces ban on Russian diamonds

Lithuanian MP: Russia will use foreign children as human shields against the Ukrainian offensive

Kissinger: Ukraine should become a member of NATO. To protect Europe from it

New airstrike in Ukraine, tenth attack on Kyiv in a month

Air raid warnings were sounded last night throughout Ukraine, except for the extreme western regions. Some areas later reported explosions.

Officials reported that air defenses were activated in several regions of the country. There are no reports of strikes on infrastructure or civilian targets. No casualties were reported either. The head of Kyiv’s military administration said Russian forces had sent successive waves of drones toward the capital. This is the tenth attack this month and the second in less than 24 hours.

Yesterday, after another night of rocket fire, at least 18 civilian casualties were reported. In his evening video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country's short-term priorities are related to additional air defense systems, missiles, training and combat aircraft, as well as long-range weapons. He is expected to ask for more weapons from allies again during the G7 summit, which begins today in Hiroshima.

Earlier, the Ukrainian president announced that he had signed a decree establishing the Council for the Reintegration of Crimea at a conference marking the anniversary of the deportation of nearly 200,000 Crimean Tatars by the Soviet authorities in 1944:

"Whatever Russia does, its aggression will be broken. It will not be able to steal either Crimea or any other part of our country. This is our home. I am convinced that the time will come when we can all gather together on May 18 and make sure that there is a free life in our Crimea and there is no trace of occupation. That's how it will be!".

At the same time, it became clear that the Pentagon overestimated the value of the weapons and ammunition that were sent to Ukraine. According to two senior officials of the United States Department of Defense, it is an accounting error for more than $3 billion of the announced amount of $21 billion. They explained that the error was the result of the valuation of the weapons, which were taken from military stockpiles.

The Ukrainian army seizes the initiative in Bakhmut, nationalists criticize Prigozhin

Ukrainian forces seized the tactical initiative and made significant tactical progress around Bakhmut in the May 18 counterattack, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest report on Friday. Thursday's operations are a continuation of the localized counterattacks that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been conducting for several days and are not the start of a new major operation, the authors of the report explain.

Multiple Russian military bloggers claim that Ukrainian forces broke through Russian defensive lines south and southwest of Ivanovsk (6 km west of Bakhmut) and northwest of Klishchievka (6 km southwest of Bakhmut) from the northwest. They also add that Russian forces have withdrawn from positions north of Sacco and Vantsetti (15 km north of Bakhmut) to positions south of the settlement, but that Ukrainian forces have not yet entered the village.

A day earlier, Yevgeny Prigozhin announced in an audio statement that Russian forces had ceded 570 meters of territory north of Bakhmut, which coincided with Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar's statement that Ukrainian forces had advanced 500 meters north of Bakhmut and on 1000 meters south of the city.

The spokesman for the Eastern Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Col. Serhiy Cherevaty, said that the Ukrainian army had advanced up to 1,700 meters in the past day, and the Ukrainian 3rd Separate Assault Brigade reported that the brigade's counterattacks had expanded the Ukrainian-held section of the Bakhmut area to 2,000 meters width and 700 meters depth.

The VSU is forcing the Russian military to respond to the Ukrainian actions, including by transferring Russian airborne elements to the flanks of Bakhmut to defend against the Ukrainian advance. The Russians have deployed most of their reserves in the Bakhmut area, which according to Hanna Maliar is likely to the detriment of other frontline areas. According to a recent ISW assessment, the Russian military command is redeploying military assets to the Bakhmut area to increase the Wagner's offensive capabilities and win a tactical victory before a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Washington Institute pays special attention to Yevgeny Prigozhin's latest media activity after repeated accusations that the regular Russian army has left Bakhmut and the Russian flanks in the city are collapsing. "Prigozhin's efforts to blame the Russian military for the failures around Bakhmut, ISW writes, have led some ultranationalists to accuse him of using the battle for Bakhmut to satisfy his personal ambitions." Russian serviceman and prominent ultranationalist Andrei Morozov (known by the alias Мурц) criticized a "Wagner" Telegram channel for wrongly attributing successful artillery fire to the 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Mercenary Corps from Wagner. Morozov argued that Prigozhin's claims that Russian conventional forces were abandoning the flanks were another part of Prigozhin's narratives aimed at saving his forces at the expense of other units that were deployed to reinforce Wagner's forces.

Morozov accused Prigozhin, thanks to the war, he had improved his financial situation. The nationalist also says that Prigozhin blames the conventional units in order to promote himself. ISW believes that Russian “siloviki” (strong men) are trying to discredit Pritozhin by accusing him of trying to use the Bakhmut victory to further his political aspirations in Russia. Morozov's criticism is notable because it may indicate a change in ultranationalists' perception of Prigozhin, ISW adds.

Zelensky will personally visit the G7 in Japan, the US will announce new sanctions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will personally attend this Sunday's G7 summit in Japan, where the United States is expected to announce new sanctions against Russia.

The news was reported by Reuters, Financial Times and Bloomberg sources. It follows multiple reports that the Ukrainian leader planned to address his counterparts from the seven countries (US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan) via video link.

The war in Ukraine and tensions with China will be the inevitable focus of the G-7 meeting in Hiroshima - the second dedicated to the war. The series of Russian attacks in Ukraine, meanwhile, continued: Ukrainian authorities reported Russian warplanes in the sky, there were fears of airstrikes with hypersonic “Kinzhal” missiles, drones and more across the country. However, no damage is known to have been done; Kyiv claims that all UAVs have been taken down.

Difficult consensus on sanctions

Both the US and other countries in the group are expected to announce new restrictive measures, according to US officials. Those in Washington are expected to include a ban on US exports to 70 organizations and an expansion of the "blacklist" to include another 300 Russian citizens and companies.

The consensus on this issue is far from certain. For Germany, the emphasis is on the need to look for mechanisms against the circumvention of the current sanctions, instead of expanding the list of prohibitions. In addition, the eight other invited countries this year will also have positions: Australia, India, Brazil, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Comoros (representing the African Union) and the Cook Islands (representing the Pacific Islands Forum).

Britain, meanwhile, has already announced new sanctions against Russia ahead of the G7. It will itself ban the import of diamonds and metals from Russia, among other measures, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement. Tracking the diamond trade will also be discussed in Hiroshima, but no final decision is expected at the collective level.

The divisions between the actors are even more sensitive for China: there is no consensus on how to strike a balance between countering Beijing's threats and trading with it.

UK announces ban on Russian diamonds

In a fresh round of sanctions, the UK has announced a ban on Russian diamonds, alongside the military-industrial complex and metals amid the ongoing Ukraine war.

An industry worth USD 4 billion in exports in 2021, the ban on diamonds comes amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The ban has also been announced on imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminum and nickel, the UK government said in a statement on Thursday. Along with these trade sanctions, the UK is also preparing to target an additional 86 members of Putin's military-industrial complex as well as those engaged in vital industries including energy, metals, and shipping, the statement said.

As the UK continues to engage with G7 allies to address all types of sanctions circumvention, they also include those who actively help the Kremlin in its efforts to weaken the impact of current sanctions, it said.

As he meets with G7 leaders in Hiroshima, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will also issue a warning against complacency in preserving "our ideals and against despotic governments," the UK government said.

To hinder Russia's war effort, the UK has applied the harshest set of sanctions ever placed on a significant economy, it said.

"To date we have sanctioned over 1,500 individuals and entities, freezing more than £18 billion of assets in the UK, and sanctioned over £20 billion of UK-Russia goods trade," the official statement of UK government read.

Along with other G7 leaders, the prime minister is set to visit the A-Bomb dome site at the Hiroshima Peace Park before participating in discussions on global collaboration, the G7 reaction to the Ukraine, Indo-Pacific security policy, and nuclear non-proliferation.

"He will urge the international community to stay the course on Ukraine, ensuring it has the diplomatic, military and economic support it needs, in the interests of international peace and security," the government statement said.

In his meeting with President Zelensky on Monday, the Prime Minister confirmed increased military assistance and emphasized the significance of long-term international support for Ukraine, particularly for the country's future in NATO. This announcement comes after that meeting. The leaders talked about Ukraine's road to a stronger political alliance and greater cooperation with G7 and NATO members.

Recently, Russia has considerably increased the number of missile attacks against Ukraine, but it also seems that Ukraine is shooting down more of Russia's missiles.

Meanwhile, the United States will also unveil new sanctions to "extensively restrict Russia's access to goods that matter for its battlefield capabilities," a US official said on Friday ahead of a G7 summit in Japan.

The United States apparently plans to blacklist about 70 companies and organizations for selling restricted US products to Russia.

"We will continue to expand export controls to make it even harder for Russia to sustain its war machine. Among other things, this involves extensively restricting categories of goods key to the battlefield, and also cutting off roughly 70 entities from Russia and third countries from receiving US exports by adding them to the Commerce blacklist," the official stated.

Lithuanian MP: Russia will use foreign children as human shields against the Ukrainian offensive

Russia intends to use foreign children as human shields during the upcoming counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. For this purpose, the Russian Federation organizes group excursions for minors to Crimea. This was announced by the member of the Lithuania Seimas(Parliament) Laurynas Kasčiūnas, "Unian" reported.

According to him, Russians from different countries around the world are trying to organize groups of children to travel to the occupied peninsula in the near future. Some offer a simple holiday, others - various cultural and educational events.

Kasčiūnas gave an example: as a reward after a music competition, the winners - children aged twelve to thirteen years from Kazakhstan, Israel, Belgium, Morocco, Tajikistan, Egypt, Armenia and other countries - are invited to go to the Artek children's camp in Crimea.

Kissinger: Ukraine should become a member of NATO. To protect Europe from it

“Ukraine should become a member of NATO. Not so much to ensure the country's security, but to protect Europe from the emergence of the best armed, most modern country with the least experienced leadership on the Old Continent”.

This was announced by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in an interview with The Economist, "Gordon" reported.

According to Kissinger, the West has demonstrated that it will take care of Ukraine's security.

"We have already proven that we will protect Ukraine," he explained, adding that what the Europeans are saying now is very dangerous. "Because the Europeans say we don't want to see them in NATO because they're taking too much risk, so we're going to arm them to infinity and give them the most advanced weapons. How can that work?" he asks.

Kissinger condemned Putin for the invasion and described his decision as a catastrophic mistake. According to him, the war must be ended without creating the conditions for the next round of conflicts. Kissinger condemned the West for many years promising to help defend Ukraine without presenting a plan of action in the event of a threat. Thus, not only did they not guarantee the security of the country, but they unnecessarily "infuriated" Moscow.

"Now I'm in a strange position where people are saying, 'Look, he's changed his mind, now he's for Ukraine's membership in NATO.' And I have two reasons for that. First, Russia is no longer the conventional threat that it used to be . And secondly, we have now armed Ukraine to such an extent that it will be the best-armed, most modern country with the least experienced leadership in Europe. Therefore, it is better for the security of Europe that Ukraine joins NATO," he said.

Kissinger believed that "with any ceasefire" Russia could keep some of the occupied territories, including Sevastopol, where its naval base is located. An agreement in which the Russian Federation keeps some occupied territories but loses others could anger both sides, a recipe for future confrontation, Kissinger said.

To establish lasting peace in Europe, two steps must be taken. First, Ukraine should be admitted to NATO "as a means of deterrence as well as protection". The second - for Europe to organize a rapprochement with Russia as a way to create a stable eastern border.


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