Russia-Ukraine War Newsletter – MAY 29–JUNE 4, 2023

● The ongoing daily airstrikes with the use of of missiles and kamikaze drones on Ukraine’s territory indicate the Russian Federation’s intention to deplete Ukrainian air defenses and disrupt preparations for a counteroffensive.

● Since June 1, active hostilities have been ongoing on the territory of the Russian Federation in the area of the city of Shebekino, where the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion are carrying out raids along the Ukrainian-Russian border. This forces the Russian command to transfer forces from other directions and spend resources on the defense of the Belgorod region.

● Starting from June, the Russian inspectors at the Joint Coordination Center have imposed restrictions on the registration of vessels as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. As a result, Russia is impeding the export of grain from Ukraine, citing the intention to resume the export of ammonia via Ukrainian territory as the reason behind this decision.


Russian troops continue to regroup in the Bakhmut direction. Militants of the so-called PMC Wagner are leaving the city, and they are being replaced by regular Russian units. The operation is accompanied by public accusations of the head of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin against the Russian military command. This, in turn, led to his confrontation with the entourage of the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Russian troops continue to carry out intensive strikes on the territory of Ukraine, using a variety of missile weapons and kamikaze drones. The attacks are taking place daily, which proves the desire to exhaust the Ukrainian air defense system, disrupt the plans of the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for a counteroffensive and prepare the ground for the continuation of the offensive actions of the Russian army.

On the morning of May 29, Russian troops attacked Kyiv with ballistic missiles. The Ukrainian military reported the destruction of 11 enemy missiles, fragments of which fell in the north of the city. As a result of the attack, 1 person was injured. On the night of May 30, a mass attack by kamikaze drones was carried out. Although Ukrainian air defense shot down 29 of the 31 involved UAVs, debris damaged buildings in several districts of Kyiv, 1 person died, and 13 civilians were injured. On the night of June 1, Kyiv was hit again by ballistic missiles, as a result of which 3 people (including 1 child) were killed and 11 people were injured in the left-bank areas of the city. The next night, a combined attack of the Kyiv region was carried out again with the use of missiles and drones. On June 3, a ballistic missile hit the Dnipro, resulting in the destruction of residential buildings in the suburbs. On the night of June 4, drones and air-launched cruise missiles struck the territory of Ukraine. As a result, the operational airfield  near Kropyvnytskyi (the Kirovohrad region) was hit.

During the last week, the loss of civilians as a result of Russian strikes on the front-line and border regions of Ukraine was: in the Donetsk region – 11 people were killed and 48 people were injured; in the Kherson region – 2 people died and 33 people were injured; in the Kharkiv region – 5 people died and 22 people were injured; in the Dnipropetrovsk region – 2 people were killed and 31 people were injured (the vast majority of them were injured as a result of a rocket attack on Dnipro on June 3); in the Zaporizhzhia region – 2 people died and 5 people were injured; in the Sumy region, 1 person died and 1 person was injured.

The Ukrainian military continues its strikes on the deployment sites and logistical support routes of the Russian troops in the temporarily occupied territories, in particular on the port of Berdiansk. In addition, UAV attacks against facilities of the fuel and energy complex on the territory of the Russian Federation, in particular near Krasnodar, in Kursk, in the Smolensk and Kaluga regions, were recorded. On the night of May 30, drones of unknown origin attacked the capital of the Russian Federation. Although most of the aircraft were shot down on approach to Moscow, the attack damaged at least two buildings in the city.

Since the morning of June 1, fighting has been going on in the territory of the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation in the area of the city of Shebekino. The Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion announced that they are conducting another operation on Russian territory. The use of artillery by Russian troops to repulse the attack leads to destruction in the city from which the population is being evacuated.


According to the IAEA, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been without an external backup power source for three months, which makes it extremely vulnerable in the event that the only operating transmission line fails again. On May 30, IAEA Director Rafael Grossi presented to the UN Security Council five principles aimed at preventing a nuclear accident, in particular, he proposed not to fire from the territory of the station or in its direction, not to use the facility as a warehouse or base for heavy weapons, and also to protect structures, systems and components necessary for the safe and reliable operation of the station, against attacks and sabotage.

The International Monetary Fund has improved its forecast for the state of the Ukrainian economy in 2023 and expects growth of 1-3%. This became possible thanks to the recovery of economic activity and the restoration of the energy infrastructure.

Damages suffered by Ukraine due to the idleness of ships in the queues of the “grain corridor” in the Bosphorus strait amount to more than 1 billion dollars. The export of Ukrainian food through the “grain corridor” in May amounted to 1.3 million tons, which is less than half of the indicators in April. On June 1, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine announced that the work of the “Black Sea Grain Initiative” was stopped again, because Russia blocked the registration of the incoming fleet to all ports of Ukraine. In order to unblock the “grain corridor”, Russia demands the resumption of transit of ammonia through Ukraine.


On June 1, the Second European Political Community Summit took place in the Republic of Moldova, which was attended by 48 European leaders, including the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi. During the summit, issues of energy security, resolution of frozen conflicts, support for Ukraine, etc. were discussed. On the margins of the European political community, the President of Ukraine held talks with the President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu and the Prime Minister of Moldova Dorin Recean, with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, with the Prime Minister of Great Britain Rishi Sunak, with Prime Minister – Minister of the Portuguese Republic António Costa, with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, with the Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz. Volodymyr Zelenskyi also held a joint meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania Edi Rama and the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovačevski. During the negotiations between the President of Ukraine and the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis, a Joint Declaration on the Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine was signed, and a joint declaration was also signed with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron. In addition, within the framework of the summit, an informal meeting of the head of the Ukrainian state was held within the coalition of fighter jets “Sky Shield of Ukraine” with the participation of the prime ministers of Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium.

International partners continue to support the strength and capabilities of Ukraine in the fight against the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation. Germany has delivered another batch of military aid to Ukraine, including ammunition for the LEOPARD 1, 8×8 HX81 tractor-trailers, THEMIS tracked and remote-controlled infantry vehicles, Bandvagn 206 tracked all-terrain vehicles and armored personnel carriers.

The new package of military aid from the United States, worth about $300 million, includes additional missiles for the Patriot air defense system, AIM-7 anti-aircraft missiles, Avenger air defense systems, Stinger anti-aircraft systems, and Zuni anti-aircraft missiles. Norway will provide Ukraine with a five-year military aid program for the total amount of 7 billion euros.

On June 1-2, the Summit of the heads of parliaments of NATO countries took place, in which the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk took part as an invited guest. On the eve of the meeting of the heads of the foreign affairs committees of the parliaments of the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, a statement was adopted on the support of Ukraine’s membership in NATO. In addition, the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia and the Senate of the Czech Republic adopted a statement in support of the Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine.

This week, the President of Ukraine held a meeting with the delegation of the leading American non-governmental analytical center Atlantic Council, headed by the president of the organization, Frederick Kempe, as well as with the President of the Republic of Estonia, Alar Karis, who arrived in Kyiv on an official visit. In addition, Volodymyr Zelenskyi held telephone conversations with the President of Cape Verde José Maria Neves, with the Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz, with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen.

The information in the newsletter is collected from official sources—reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.