Ukraine Daily Summary - Thursday, May 18

Old Europe, New Europe, and the question of ‘strategic autonomy’ -- Inspectors examine Patriot system, say it has minimal damage following Russian attack -- 'Fighter jet coalition' to be formed this year -- Growing threat to air supremacy of exceptional concern for Russia -- and more

Thursday, May 18

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A couple stands in front of a damaged multistory residential building, where a Russian strike killed 23 people, in Uman, Cherkasy Oblast.

Wounded soldiers evacuated from battlefield arrive in Bakhmut District, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on May 16, 2023. (Photo by Vincenzo Circosta/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Defense Ministry: Russian forces increase frequency of shelling in 3 bordering Ukrainian oblasts. Russian forces have increased the frequency of shelling in Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy oblasts over the past month, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported on May 17.

CNN: US inspectors examine Patriot system, say it has ‘minimal’ damage following Russian attack. A U.S.-made Patriot air defense system, allegedly hit by the Russian May 16 attack on Kyiv, has only ‘minimal’ damages and doesn’t need to be shipped to the U.S. for repairs, CNN reported, citing three American officials.

Ukraine reportedly shoots down all Russian aerial targets during May 18 Kyiv attack.

Ukraine shot down all the Russian aerial targets in the early morning air strike on Kyiv on May 18, according to the preliminary information reported by Kyiv City Military Administration head Serhii Popko.

SBU: 6 individuals, public cameras identified that shared information on Ukrainian air defense. Six individuals who illegally disseminated information about Ukrainian air defense during an attack on Kyiv were identified, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reported on May 17.

Kuleba: ‘Fighter jet coalition’ to be formed this year. A coalition to provide Ukraine with western fighter jets will be formed this year, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on national television on May 17.

UK Defense Ministry: Growing threat to air supremacy of ‘exceptional concern’ for Russia. After Ukrainian air defense successfully shot down several hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, the growing threat to air supremacy will be of “exceptional concern” for Russia, the U.K. Defense Ministry wrote in its May 17 update.

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Military official: Ukrainian forces advance 500 more meters toward Bakhmut. Ukraine’s Armed Forces have advanced up to 500 meters toward Bakhmut over the past day, spokesperson for the Ukrainian military’s Eastern Operational Command Serhii Cherevatyi said on May 17.

Appeals Chamber upholds decision to confiscate assets of Russia’s top proxy in Kherson. The Appeals Chamber of the Ukrainian High Anti-Corruption Court upheld on May 17 the Justice Ministry’s request to confiscate the assets of Volodymyr Saldo, the former mayor of Kherson collaborating with Russian occupying forces.

Chinese envoy visits Ukraine, meets Kuleba. Li Hui, China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, visited Ukraine on May 16-17 as part of the agreement reached during the Zelensky-Xi phone call last month, according to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.

Zelensky’s office: South African president wants to come to Ukraine as part of ‘peace initiative’ delegation. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to come to Ukraine on a “peace initiative” with the leaders of other African countries, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s spokesperson Sergii Nykyforov confirmed to Ukrainska Pravda on May 17.

ISW: Wagner chief faces pressure, intimidation over political ambition. Some Russian strongmen may be intimidating the Wagner mercenary group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin to curb his influence and political ambition, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest report.

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‘Every time feels like your last’: How Ukrainian sappers work in gray zones near Russian-occupied Kreminna

At an unusually nice house on a street with rows of modest cottages, Ukraine’s front-line sappers spend their days indoors waiting for their daunting nightly missions– venturing out into “gray zones” laying mines sometimes as close as 100 meters from the nearest Russian trench.

Photo: Asami Terajima/The Kyiv Independent

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Ukraine war latest: Patriot missile system suffers minor damage, US officials tell CNN

U.S. officials do not believe the Patriot air defense system must be removed from the battlefield for repairs, CNN reported on May 17, quoting undisclosed U.S. officials.

Photo: Omar Marques/Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Russian attack on Kherson Oblast kills 3, including child. Russian troops struck a village in Ukraine’s southern Kherson Oblast on May 17, killing a 5-year-old boy and two men, reported Prosecutor General’s Office.

General Staff: Russia has lost 200,590 troops in Ukraine. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on May 17 that Russia has lost 200,590 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion, with an estimated 610 casualties on May 16.

International response

Erdogan: Grain deal extended for 2 more months. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, allowing Ukraine to continue exporting its grain amid Russia’s full-scale war, has been extended for 60 more days, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on May 17.

Duda: Poland can’t supply Ukraine with F-16s. Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Poland was not able to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets but was not against training Ukrainian pilots and sending more MiG-29s, news outlet wPolityce reported on May 17.

Wallace: UK can enable other countries to send Ukraine fighter jets, but its own role is ‘limited.’ “What we can obviously contribute is training and support within limits because we don’t have F-16 pilots,” U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on May 17, Sky News reported.

Estonian parliament calls for ‘concrete steps’ on Ukraine’s NATO accession at Vilnius summit. The Estonian parliament adopted a statement in support of Ukraine’s NATO accession on May 17. It urges NATO allies to invite Ukraine to join the alliance and formulate “concrete and unequivocal steps” needed to speed up the accession process at the July NATO summit.

US Foreign Affairs Committee supports resolution on special tribunal for Russia. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to a resolution on May 16 supporting the establishment of a special tribunal for Russian crimes of aggression in Ukraine.

Council of Europe creates Register of Damage for Russian crimes of aggression in Ukraine. The Council of Europe announced on May 17 that it had established a “Register of Damage” for Russian crimes of aggression in Ukraine. Forty-three countries and the European Union joined or indicated their intention to join the initiative, according to the press release.

Hungary to block sanctions against Russia, EU aid for Ukraine unless Kyiv removes OTP bank from list of ‘international war sponsors’. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that his country won’t support the 11th sanctions package against Russia and the 500 million euro military support tranche for Ukraine unless Kyiv removes the Hungarian bank from the blacklist.

Opinions and insights

Roland Freudenstein: Old Europe, New Europe, and the question of ‘strategic autonomy’

“On the one hand, most experts agree that, since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the West has shown and maintained an amazing level of unity. On the other hand, some fundamental divisions have not disappeared between the U.S., Western Europe, and Central and Eastern Europe,” writes Roland Freudenstein in his recent op-ed.

_Photo: Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg via Getty Images _

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In other news

French Senate passes recognition of Holodomor as genocide. France’s Senate, the upper house of the parliament, has approved a resolution recognizing the Holodomor as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.

State Bureau of Investigation: More than $100 million seized from Zhevago’s accounts in Switzerland. Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation reported on May 17 that it was working alongside the Agency for Investigation and Management of Assets to retrieve more than $113 million in frozen assets from a Swiss account belonging to Ukrainian oligarch Kostiantyn Zhevago.

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