Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, 29 May 2022

Released Ukrainian POWs say Russian troops tortured them -- Ukraine destroys over 30% of Russia’s modern tanks -- Ukrainian forces in tough defensive position in Sievierodonetsk -- EU considers sending naval mission to unblock agricultural exports from Ukrainian ports -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Sunday, 29 May 2022

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Russia’s war against Ukraine


A Ukrainian soldier sits on an armored personnel carrier driving on a road near Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast, on April 26, 2022, amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. (AFP via Getty Images)

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Russia tests new missile in Barents Sea near Finland, Sweden. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on May 28 that its frigate had performed a test launch of the hypersonic cruise missile Zircon from the Barents Sea, not far from Finland and Sweden, hitting a maritime target in the White Sea. Russia has been threatening the two Nordic countries since they announced their desire to join NATO.

UK Defense Ministry: Bridgehead near Lyman would give Russia advantage in next phase of Donbas offensive. According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, Lyman, Donetsk Oblast, is “strategically important” since it has a major railway junction, along with access to important rail and road bridges over the Siversky Donets River. Russian forces are likely to prioritize forcing a crossing of the river in the coming days, the ministry said, while their main effort likely remains 40 kilometers to the east, around the Sievierodonetsk pocket.

Joint Forces Operation: Ukraine repels 7 Russian attacks in Donbas. In an update on May 28, Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation reported defeating a Russian tank, six military vehicles, and an Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicle. Russian forces reportedly fired on 40 settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, destroying 16 civilian infrastructure sites.

Putin claims Russia ready to renew peace talks, repeats demand for sanctions relief. Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on May 28. Putin claimed that “the Russian side is open to renewing dialogue with Kyiv” and repeated his demand that the West should lift sanctions to “increase food and fertilizer exports.” Russia is blocking over 20 million tons of grain at Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in order to blackmail the West to ease sanctions, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said earlier.

Ombudsman: Released Ukrainian POWs say Russian troops tortured them. According to Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukrainian service members recently released from Russian captivity say they were kept in basements and outbuildings then transferred to a pre-trial detention center in Russian-occupied Donetsk. “During the transfer, Ukrainian soldiers were blindfolded, wearing a sack over their heads, and their hands were tied with ropes. They were tortured, threatened with murder, beaten and humiliated in captivity,” Denisova said.

Poroshenko forbidden from leaving Ukraine for NATO meeting. Former President Petro Poroshenko was barred from crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland to attend the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Vilnius on May 28, according to Iryna Gerashchenko, an MP with his European Solidarity party. Gerashchenko said he had been authorized to attend by Ruslan Stefanchuk, speaker of the Ukrainian parliament. Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 cannot leave Ukraine due to martial law without a special permit. Poroshenko was also restricted from travel until recently as suspect of treason. He said he considers the ban on him leaving Ukraine and the criminal case to be part of a political vendetta by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Advisor to Interior Minister: Ukraine destroys over 30% of Russia’s modern tanks. Viktor Andrusiv said, in an interview on Channel 24, that Russian forces have had to reactivate Soviet T-62 tanks, which are already over 50 years old. “In six months, this figure will only increase,” Andrusiv stated.

CNN: Ukrainian forces in ‘tough defensive position’ in Sievierodonetsk. The head of the Sievierodonetsk civil military administration, Oleksandr Striuk, told CNN that the most intense fighting is concentrated in the outskirts of the city. Striuk said Sievierodonetsk is under constant fire, humanitarian headquarters are “practically immobilized” due to fighting, and electricity and mobile networks are cut off. According to him, it is still possible to bring aid to the city.

Putin increases age limit for joining Russian military. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on May 28 increasing the age at which Russians under contract with the military may remain in service. Russians under 50 are entitled to sign their first contract for military service. Prior to that, the age limit was under 40.

Over 3,400 companies shut down in Luhansk Oblast due to Russia’s war. According to the Luhansk Oblast regional military administration, the list of companies includes 479 manufacturing plants. The total losses of regional businesses have been over $100 million.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces destroy 6 Russian military vehicles in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s Operational Tactical Group “East” said on May 28 that Ukrainian forces killed up to 33 Russian troops. They also destroyed a tank and five heavy artillery tractors.

Russian missiles hit Kryvyi Rih Oblast. According to Oleksandr Vilkul, the head of the Kryvyi Rih’s regional military administration, Russian missiles hit the outskirts of the Kryvyi Rih on May 28, virtually destroying an industrial plant. Rescuers are on the scene, trying to put out a fire at the plant. Vilkul didn’t specify which plant was hit. The city is home to many industrial enterprises, including ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine’s largest steel plant.

Ukraine accuses Russia of stealing metal from Mariupol. Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova said Russia has started transporting stolen metal products from Mariupol, shipping 3,000 tons on the first ship to Rostov-on-Don. The port housed about 200,000 tons of metal and cast iron worth $170 million before the occupation, she added.

Zelensky expects ‘good news’ from allies on Ukraine’s defense needs next week. With additional supplies of modern weapons from Western countries, the Ukrainian military is approaching the goal of having an advantage over the Russian army when it comes to technology and attack force, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address to the nation on May 28.

Vitrenko: Naftogaz seeks to launch chain of gas stations to prevent high fuel prices. Yuriy Vitrenko, head of Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz, said that the idea is to set up a “powerful state player” to ensure “fair and honest” gas prices. According to him, the task was set by President Volodymyr Zelensky. “If the network occupies 30% of the market, this already provides a real alternative,” said Vitrenko.

The human cost of Russia’s war

Russian missile strike kills 1 person in Chornobaivka, Kherson Oblast. According to Kherson Oblast’s Prosecutor’s Office, six civilians were injured as a result of the May 27 attack.

At least 1 killed, 6 injured in Russian shelling of Mykolaiv. Mykolaiv Oblast’s administration also said on May 28 that several buildings had been damaged. Russian forces shell Mykolaiv, civilian casualties reported. According to Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych, Russian troops shelled residential buildings in Mykolaiv, a regional capital in the south of Ukraine, on May 28. The number of civilian casualties is yet to be established.

Russian shelling of Kharkiv Oblast injures 6 civilians on May 28. Kharkiv’s regional military administration said three residents of Izium were injured in the districts of Balakliia and Savyntsi. Two people were wounded in Zolochiv and one in Korobochkyne.

Prosecutor General’s Office: Russia’s war has killed 242 children in Ukraine, injured 440. The figures are expected to be higher since they do not include child casualties in the areas where hostilities are ongoing and in the occupied areas.

Ukraine’s military: Russia has lost 30,000 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on May 28 that Russia had also lost 1,330 tanks, 3,258 armored vehicles, 2,226 vehicles and fuel tanks, 628 artillery pieces, 203 multiple launch rocket systems, 93 surface-to-air missiles, 174 helicopters, 207 airplanes, 503 drones, and 13 boats.

International response

El Pais: EU considers sending naval mission to unblock agricultural exports from Ukrainian ports. According to the Spanish newspaper, the EU will discuss the growing risk of famine in countries dependent on Ukraine’s agricultural exports, blocked by Russia, during a summit on May 30.

Japan to provide $1.7 million to transport humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The Japanese government reportedly cited increasing demand for humanitarian assistance due to Russia’s invasion, reports Japan’s public media organization NHK. Aid will be transferred through the United Nations Office for Project Services.

Defense Minister: Ukraine receives M109 self-propelled howitzers, Harpoon missiles. According Oleksiy Reznikov, M777 howitzers, FH70 howitzers, and CAESAR self-propelled howitzers are already being used by the Ukrainian forces, which was “impossible to imagine back in March.” Reznikov said that Harpoon anti-ship missiles will help protect the Black Sea port city of Odesa.

US lifts 25% duty on steel imports from Ukraine. The grace period for the industry, which has suffered greatly as a result of Russia’s war, is introduced for one year. Before the war, Ukraine was the 13th largest steel producer in the world. In 2021, the U.S. alone imported nearly half a million tons of steel products from Ukraine.

In other news

Medvedev calls for stepping up repression against so-called ‘foreign agents.’ Former Russian president and Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said control needs to be strengthened over people and organizations labeled as “foreign agents” by the Russian government. Currently, “foreign agents” are required to label anything they publish with the disclaimer that they are foreign agents. They also face numerous restrictions and are required to file regular financial statements and undergo annual audits.

‘Mariupolis 2’ receives special award at Cannes. The film’s Lithuanian director, Mantas Kvedaravicius, was captured and killed by Russian forces while documenting Russian atrocities in Mariupol on April 3. His film won the jury’s Special Award at the Cannes Film Festival on May 28.

Ukraine’s General Staff: Belarus introduces entry restrictions in several districts bordering Ukraine. According to the country’s State Border Committee, the new rules will run from June 1 to Aug. 31 “in order to ensure border security.” Citizens will reportedly be restricted from entering three districts of Belarusian Gomel Oblast bordering Ukraine’s Chernihiv Oblast and the Kyiv Oblast, including near ​​the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.

Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Daria Shulzhenko, Thaisa Semenova, Natalia Datskevych, Olga Rudenko, Oleg Sukhov, Toma Istomina, Lucy Minicozzi-Wheeland, and Teah Pelechaty.

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