Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on May 8, 2023.
● The Russian troops’ offensive in the eastern direction has come to a halt. After a 10-month campaign, despite all efforts and losses, the Russian army was unable to gain full control of the city of Bakhmut.
● As a result of mass shelling in the city of Kherson on May 3, 2023, 23 civilians were killed and another 46 people were injured.
● On the night of May 4, the Ukrainian air defense intercepted the hypersonic Russian X-47 “Kinzhal” missile over Kyiv for the first time, which is one of the most dangerous weapons in the Russian arsenal.
● The UAV attack on Kremlin facilities (May 3) and the assassination attempt on Russian propagandist Z. Prilepin (May 6) could be both operations of Ukrainian special services or Russian provocations aimed at increasing support for military actions in Russian society.
● On May 3-4, Volodymyr Zelenskyi made official foreign visits to Finland and the Netherlands, where he discussed the issue of arms supplies, the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, and the prosecution of Russian war criminals.
Russian troops continue their attacks in the eastern direction with the aim of capturing Avdiivka and Bakhmut (where they are trying to compensate for the failures in recent street battles with the use of incendiary munitions). However, it is obvious that the offensive implemented since the beginning of the year did not achieve its goals of breaking through the Ukrainian defense. It led to significant losses. According to the estimates of the spokesman of the White House on national security issues, John Kirby, in the battles on the territory of Ukraine in the last 5 months, the Russian troops have lost up to 100 thousand people, including more than 20 thousand people killed, half of whom are fighters of the illegal armed formation “PMC Wagner”.
Ukrainian troops significantly increased their attacks on the enemy’s rear infrastructure, using kamikaze drones. The main target is fuel storage and oil refineries in the south of Russia, which are important for the provision of Russian troops. There were also strikes on objects on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. Russian sources report a drone attack on an airfield in the Bryansk region. In addition, several explosions on the railway were recorded in the Bryansk region, which led to the derailment of freight trains.
The Russian command responds to the strikes of the Armed Forces by intensifying its own indiscriminate strikes on the territory of Ukraine, the purpose of which is to disrupt preparations for a counteroffensive. Kamikaze drone attacks have been carried out almost every night during the week. In particular, on the night of May 3, the Ukrainian military reported the destruction of 21 of the 26 UAVs involved in the attack. Damage to the oil depot in Kropyvnytskyi (Kirovohrad region) was recorded. On the night of May 4, the air defense forces destroyed 18 of the 24 barrage munitions used, which were aimed at Kyiv and Odesa, and 1 reconnaissance UAV. On the same night, Russian troops tried to hit Kyiv with an Kh-47 “Kinzhal” missile, but it was shot down by Ukrainian air defense systems. This is the first fact of interception of this model, which is one of the most dangerous means in the arsenal of the Russian Federation. On the night of May 8, Russian troops launched a missile attack on Odesa and used UAVs against the capital of Ukraine. Anti-aircraft defense intercepted 35 drones, but as a result of their debris falling in Kyiv, 5 people were injured.
As a result of Russian attacks, civilians of Ukraine continue to die. Particularly intense shelling of Kherson was recorded on May 3. As a result, 23 civilians were killed and 46 people were injured on the territory of the region that day. On May 6, as a result of shelling, 6 pyrotechnic specialists who were carrying out demining operations were killed; 2 more people were injured. In addition, during the week, 4 people were killed and 15 people were injured in the territory of the Kherson region.
On the territory of the Donetsk region, civilian casualties were 9 killed and 27 wounded. In Kharkiv region, 8 people were injured as a result of shelling; 2 more civilians were injured as a result of mine detonation. As a result of the bombing of the territory of the Chernihiv region on May 1, 1 child was killed, and 1 civilian was injured. Shelling continues in the Mykolaiv, Sumy (where at least 1 person was injured), Dnipropetrovsk (where at least 1 person was killed and 3 injured on the night of May 7), and Zaporizhzhia regions (where at least 8 people were injured).
On the night of May 3, two UAVs attacked the Senate Palace on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin, which is the working residence of the President of the Russian Federation. The impact caused a fire on the dome of the building. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi said that the Ukrainian side had nothing to do with this attack.
On May 6, near Nizhny Novgorod, a car containing Zakhar Prilepin, one of the ideologues of Russian aggression against Ukraine and a member of Russian illegal armed groups, was blown up. As a result, the guard died, Prilepin himself was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Although the responsibility for the action was taken by the Ukrainian-Tatar partisan movement “Atesh”, there is a high probability that in fact there was a provocation by the Russian special services or criminal clashes between gangs that have their own interests in the temporarily occupied Donbas.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
45 Ukrainian servicemen, defenders of Azovstal, have returned from Russian captivity. In exchange, Ukraine gave three military pilots to the Russian Federation.
The representatives of the IAEA informed about the placement of Russian military equipment, weapons and explosives in the premises of power unit No. 4 of the Zaporizhzhia NPP. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi noted that immediate action is needed to prevent the threat of a serious nuclear accident and its associated consequences for the population and the environment.
On May 2, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a statement “On defining the existing political regime in the Russian Federation as racism and condemning its ideological foundations and social practices as totalitarian and misanthropic.” According to the approved statement, the signs of racism are: militarism, the cult of the leader and the sacralization of state institutions, self-aggrandizement of the Russian Federation through violent oppression and/or denial of the existence of other peoples, the imposition of the Russian language and culture on other peoples, the promotion of the ideas of the “Russian world”, etc.
According to the NBU report, the fall in real GDP of Ukraine in the first quarter of the year slowed to 13.5% from 31.4% in the fourth quarter of 2022. According to the document, the economy will start to recover from the second quarter of 2023.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
On May 3, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi paid an official visit to Finland, during which he held meetings with the leaders of the Scandinavian countries. The purpose of the visit of the President of Ukraine was to participate in the Ukraine – Northern Europe summit, which took place in Helsinki and is aimed at strengthening relations between the countries and strengthening joint measures in the field of security. Volodymyr Zelenskyi met with the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and the Speaker of the Parliament of Finland Petteri Orpo. Also in Helsinki, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi held talks with Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdóttir and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre. As a result of the summit, a joint statement was published.
Volodymyr Zelenskyi made an official visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands on May 4. The head of state took part in a tripartite format of negotiations with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, and the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, as a result of which a joint declaration was adopted. In addition, the president of Ukraine held talks with the speakers of the two chambers of the Dutch parliament, Vera Bergkamp and Jan Anthony Brown, as well as with the president of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Piotr Hofmanski. As part of the visit, the President of Ukraine had an audience with the King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander.
The United States has provided a new $300 million defense aid package that includes HIMARS missiles, 155 mm howitzers, shells, TOW anti-tank systems, AT-4 and Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon systems, Hydra-70 anti-aircraft missiles, trucks and other equipment. The government of New Zealand announced an increase in support for Ukraine, announcing the allocation of 5 million New Zealand dollars ($3.1 million). The Danish government will allocate 1.7 billion Danish kroner ($249.81 million) for Ukraine’s military needs.
The coronation of the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Charles III, was a historic event on May 6. The First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal made an official visit to London and took part in the coronation ceremony.
International partners continue to visit Ukraine, making official visits to its capital. During the week in Kyiv, Volodymyr Zelenskyi met with the delegation of the European Commission “For Democracy through Law” (Venice Commission) led by the head of the commission Claire Basie Malory, held a meeting with the bipartisan delegation of the House of Representatives of the United States of America. The head of state also received the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, who made the first visit in the history of bilateral relations, and met with the Speaker of the Portuguese Parliament (Assembly of the Republic) Augusto Santos Silva.
In addition, this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi held telephone conversations with the Prime Minister of New Zealand Chris Hipkins, with the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and for the first time in history – with the President of the Comoros Islands Azali Assoumani.
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.