Tuesday, 17 May 2022
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Russia’s war against Ukraine
The photo, released on May 10 by Ukraine’s Azov regiment, shows injured Ukrainian servicemen inside the Azovstal iron and steelworks factory in eastern Mariupol, amid the Russian invasion. (Photo by Dmytro ‘Orest’ Kozatskyi)
Azovstal siege appears to end. Denys Prokopenko, the commander of Azov special regiment, said on May 16 that Ukrainian soldiers at Azovstal have “fulfilled their orders” and “were distracting the Russian army for 82 days.” The statement appeared to signal the end of the siege of Azovstal, the steel plant that remains the last Ukrainian-held part of Mariupol. Russian media claimed on May 16 that an agreement was reached to evacuate heavily wounded soldiers from Azovstal to the Russian-occupied city of Novoazovsk. Reuters reported that about a dozen buses apparently carrying Ukrainian fighters left the plant.
Russia targets military facility in Lviv Oblast near Polish border. Lviv Oblast Governor Maksym Kozytsky said the explosions heard earlier on May 17 targeted the Yavoriv District’s military training ground but were successfully deterred. The facility was previously targeted and severely damaged by Russian forces on May 15. Kozytsky said additional information will be provided in the morning.
UN: Prolonged conflict would push 9 out of 10 Ukrainians into poverty or near poverty. Buildings, roads, bridges, hospitals, and schools with an estimated value of $100 billion have been destroyed, according to the Ukrainian government. The war has caused half of the country’s businesses to shut down completely, while the other half are struggling, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said.
Russia carries out eight attacks in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s Operational Tactical Group “East” reported on May 16 that it defeated 178 Russian personnel, five tanks, seven infantry fighting vehicles, two armored personnel carriers, two armored fighting vehicles, three multiple launch rocket systems, eight artillery and anti-tank systems, and one UAV.
Ukraine’s Armed Forces shoot down five Russian aerial targets. Russian troops lost a Su-25 aircraft, a cruise missile and three UAVs over the past 24 hours, according to Yuriy Ignat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force.
Ukraine seizes $420 million in frozen assets linked to Russian oligarchs. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office and Bureau of Economic Security seized Hr 12.4 billion from Cypriot company accounts in Alfa-Bank whose Russian beneficiaries reportedly tried to circumvent sanctions.
Russian troops blow up ammonium nitrate warehouse in Kharkiv Oblast. The explosion did not threaten the local population, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on May 16.
Official: Russia seeks to extract false testimony from Mariupol residents. Russian occupiers have announced that they would give compensation for destroyed housing and killed family members, Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, said. The compensation will be paid in exchange for false testimony that Ukrainian troops killed relatives or destroyed property, he said. The occupiers offer roughly $6,000 for a destroyed house and $33,000 for a killed relative, according to Andryushchenko.
Russia introduces resident permits in Kherson Oblast to restrict movement of citizens. Russian forces are also blocking exit routes from the region, said Deputy Head of Kherson Oblast Council Yuriy Sobolevsky on May 16.
UNICEF: Russia’s war may lead to ‘catastrophic levels’ of malnutrition among children globally. Rising food prices due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, among other factors, may leave up to 600,000 children without life-saving treatment.
Ukraine signs $100 million loan agreement with Japan. On May 16, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko and the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Akihiko Tanaka signed a loan to cover social payments, including for internally displaced people amid ongoing war with Russia. The repayment period of the loan is 30 years with an interest rate of 1% per annum, including a grace period of 10 years.
Russia launches missile strike on Odesa Oblast. The missile was launched from a Russian military aircraft earlier on May 16, Odesa City Council reported citing the Southern Operational Command. The attack destroyed some buildings. Russian forces continue to strike at the bridge across the Dniester Estuary. The recent attack injured two adults and a child.
Prosecutors: 45 Russian soldiers involved in war crimes identified. Three soldiers are already facing trial in Ukraine, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said. A total of 11,600 war crimes have been registered, Venediktova added.
Putin says military drills will be held in autumn. The military exercises will be held in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led military bloc, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said on May 16, as cited by Russian media.
Russian troops attempt to break through Ukrainian border into Sumy Oblast. Russian troops used mortars, grenade launchers, machine guns, and assault rifles while sending a group of saboteurs into the region on the morning of May 16, the State Border Guard and Sumy Oblast Governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky said. Border guards managed to repel the attack, they said.
Ukraine’s military: Russian forces not advancing in Kherson, Mykolaiv oblasts. According to a May 16 report by the Southern Operational Command, Russian forces are not conducting active offensive operations in Ukraine’s southern Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts. Instead, Russians continue to strengthen their positions in the already occupied areas.
Mayor of Melitopol: Up to 50% of residents have fled the occupied city. Ivan Fedorov said on TV that up to 65,000 residents have escaped Russian-occupied Melitopol. According to the official, nearly 70,000 remain in the city. “Only elderly people, those who have elderly relatives, or those who do not have the means and relatives in the territory controlled by the government of Ukraine did not leave the city,” he said.
Chernihiv starts restoration of critical infrastructure. Chernihiv Oblast Governor Viacheslav Chaus said on May 16 that authorities were beginning to restore power grids, water supply facilities, hospitals, and schools damaged by the Russian war.
Ukraine to establish fund to assist women previously in Russian captivity, orphans. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk and Head of Poland’s Prime Minister’s Office Michal Dowryzyk announced the establishment of the Klymentii Sheptytsky Foundation to support women and children affected by Russia’s war.
Read our exclusive, on the ground stories
264 Ukrainian soldiers were evacuated on May 16 from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to hospitals in Russian-occupied Novoazovsk and Olenivka. Of those evacuated, 53 heavily wounded soldiers will receive medical treatment in Novoazovsk, while 211 will be transferred to Olenivka to take part in an upcoming prisoner exchange, according to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces. Read our story here.
The Kyiv Independent talked to evacuees from Mariupol who tearfully recount the brutality of the Russian siege, in fear of what may happen to their friends and relatives who stayed behind. Read our story here.
At the toughest moment in the history of relations between Ukraine and Belarus, the Kyiv Independent sat down to speak with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarus opposition in exile. Read our interview here.
The human cost of Russia’s war
Russian military kills 9 civilians, 6 wounded in Donetsk Oblast on May 16. Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported that 3 people were killed in the city of Lyman, two in Avdiivka, and others in four more settlements.
Russian shelling kills 10 people in Sievierodonetsk. According to Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai, at least 10 people were killed in the city on May 16. The death toll could be even higher, but due to the constant shelling, it is difficult to report on the exact number of victims, he said.
Officer of Belarusian battalion of Ukraine’s Armed Forces killed in combat. Pavel “Volat,” a commanding officer of the Belarusian Battalion of Kastuś Kalinoŭski, was killed during the liberation of a Ukrainian village, the battalion announced on May 16. According to Belarus media Nasha Niva, this is the sixth Belarusian soldier fighting for Ukraine who has been killed by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
General Staff: Russia has lost 27,700 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. Ukraine’s Armed Forces on May 16 that Russia has also lost 1,228 tanks, 2,974 armored personnel carriers, 2,101 vehicles and fuel tanks, 577 artillery systems, 195 multiple launch rocket systems, 89 anti-aircraft defense systems, 165 helicopters, 200 aircraft, 427 UAVs, and 13 boats.
Norway, Denmark, Iceland give security guarantees to Sweden and Finland. The Scandinavian countries stand ready to assist their Nordic neighbors “by all means necessary should they be the victim of aggression” on their territory before obtaining NATO membership, Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said on May 16. The move follows Russia’s threats against Finland and Sweden, including a Russian official’s statement that they may become targets for a military attack. The statement also comes amid Ukraine’s quest to obtain Western security guarantees to repel Russian aggression in the future.
McDonald’s to sell all restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said on May 16 that it was exiting the country after more than 30 years. After Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the world’s largest fast-food chain decided in March to close its 847 restaurants in Russia, taking a hit of $55 million per month.
Bloomberg: Germany to stop Russian oil imports by end of 2022 regardless of EU sanctions. Germany’s efforts to make an agreement with alternative suppliers are progressing and the government “is confident it can solve the remaining logistical problems within the next six to seven months,” Bloomberg reported citing anonymous government officials.
In other news
Kalush Orchestra band returns to Ukraine after Eurovision win. The Ukrainian band gave an impromptu performance of the winning song, “Stefania,” for the members of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service after crossing the border on their way home. Kalush Orchestra won the contest held in the Italian city of Turin on May 15.
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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Daria Shulzhenko, Alexander Query, Natalia Datskevych, Asami Terajima, Sergiy Slipchenko, Teah Pelechaty, Oleksiy Sorokin, Oleg Sukhov, Olena Goncharova, Olga Rudenko, Toma Istomina, and Brad LaFoy.