Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Russia preparing to attack Ukraine from three directions -- Russians advance in Sievierodonetsk -- Belarus to start military drills near Ukrainian borders in June -- Russia stole half a million tons of grain, trying to sell it -- Domestic dissent within Russian military circles continues to grow -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

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Russia’s war against Ukraine


A couple looks at a smoke rising in the residential district of Saltivka in Kharkiv on May 8, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin/The Kyiv Independent)

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General Staff: Russia preparing to attack Ukraine from three directions. The Russian military is regrouping in Donetsk Oblast near the town of Lyman seeking to launch an offensive. An attack is also expected in Kharkiv Oblast, near the city of Izium, and in Sumy Oblast. On May 30, Russia’s troops kept conducting offensive operations in Luhansk Oblast, near Sievierodonetsk, Toshkivka and Ustynivka.

Russian official: Russia pulls large number of troops, additional weapons towards Ukrainian border in Kursk Oblast. Russian independent media Meduza reported, quoting regional governor Roman Starovoit, that a large number of military personnel, as well as additional weapons in the form of artillery and rocket launchers, had arrived in Kursk Oblast.

First Russian soldier to be tried for rape in Ukraine. The Prosecutor General’s Office said it had completed the first investigation of rape during Russia’s war in Ukraine. According to the investigation, a Russian soldier broke into a house in a village in Brovary District, Kyiv Oblast, in March, killed a man and, along with a comrade, repeatedly raped his wife. The case was sent to court.

Belarus to start military drills near Ukrainian borders in June. Belarusian military official Andrei Krivonosov said that starting on June 22, Belarus will hold military exercises in the Gomel Oblast, near the Ukrainian border.

General Staff: Russian troops withdraw from Mykolaivka in Kherson Oblast. According to the most recent update by the General Staff, Russian forces suffered significant losses and had to withdraw from the village of Mykolaivka as a result of a successful offensive of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

Zelensky: Russia stole half a million tons of grain, trying to sell it. In his latest video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky also said that Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports prevents the country from exporting about 22 million tons of grain, creating a threat of famine in countries dependent on the grain.

Governor: Russians advance in Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk Oblast, fighting ongoing. Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai said the situation in the city where more than 100,000 people used to live is very complicated. “There are ongoing street fights, and there will be more,” he said.

Ukrainian defenders successfully hold off Russian attacks in the south. Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” reports that Russia has lost 78 soldiers and numerous pieces of equipment, including tanks, MRLS, howitzers, and armored vehicles.

Institute for the Study of War: Domestic dissent within Russian military circles continues to grow. The U.S. think tank wrote in their latest assessment that the Kremlin is facing discontent not from Russians opposed to the war as a whole, but military and nationalist figures angry at Russian losses and frustrated with shifting Kremlin framing of the war. Russian officials have been unable to use the same ideological justifications for the invasion in the face of clear setbacks, and a lack of concrete military gains within Ukraine continue to feed domestic dissatisfaction with the war.

Russian troops attempt to advance in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Governor Oleksandr Starukh said the Russian military damaged civilian infrastructure in villages of Orikhiv and Hryhorivka with missiles and air strikes on May 30. According to Starukh, Russian troops continue to increase their military presence in the region.

Russia shells Sumy Oblast on May 30. In just one hour, the Russian military fired more than 20 shells at the border Shostka district in Sumy Oblast from Russia’s village of Zernovo, the State Border Guard Service said. No casualties were reported.

Mariupol official reports Russian ‘filtration camps’ near Estonian border. Petro Andriushchenko, an advisor to the Mariupol mayor, said Russia used the “filtration camps” near its border with Estonia to prevent Ukrainians who had been forcibly deported to Russia from escaping to Estonia. According to the official, Mariupol residents who were in such a camp said that the conditions there were much harsher compared to “filtration camps” in the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

Russian shelling of Mykolaiv damages 21 houses, injures one person on May 30. According to Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych, the regional capital in the south of Ukraine is currently under threat of artillery fire.

Russia simplifies obtaining its citizenship for Ukrainian children without parental care amid reports of forced deportation of children to Russia. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a decree simplifying the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for Ukrainian children without parental care. Andriy Yermak, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, earlier said, citing Russian sources, that Russia forcibly deported 232,000 Ukrainian children onto its territory since the start of the full-scale invasion. Over 2,000 of the children are either orphaned or separated from their parents, he added.

Ukraine launches counterattack south of Kryvyi Rih. Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the Kryvyi Rih military administration, reported late on May 29 that the Russian forces lost 63 soldiers and 19 units of military equipment, including modern T-72 tanks, a Grad multiple launch rocket system, artillery, helicopters and one SU-35 aircraft.

The human cost of Russia’s war

Russian shelling kills French journalist. Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, a 32-year-old French journalist, was killed by shrapnel on May 30 while covering the evacuation of civilians on the road to Lysychansk, near Sievierodonetsk, in eastern Luhansk Oblast. At least eight journalists have been killed while reporting on Russia’s war in Ukraine since Feb. 24, while the total death toll has reached 32 people, according to Ukraine’s Institute of Mass Information.

Russian artillery attack in Kherson Oblast kills 9-year-old girl, injures 2 more children. The Prosecutor General’s Office reported that the Russian shelling hit the largely-occupied region’s village of Myroliubivka on May 29, wounding a seven-month-old infant and five-year-old girl.

Mariupol City Council: Real civilian death toll in occupied city may be higher than previously-estimated 22,000. The local authorities said that the Russians have already buried 16,000 people in mass graves and communal workers have buried another 5,000 as of mid-March.

International response

EU agrees to partial Russian oil ban. Charles Michel, president of the European Council, announces on May 30 that the EU has come to an agreement to ban two thirds of oil imports coming to the EU from Russia, in an attempt to limit Russia’s funding for the war in Ukraine. It remains unclear when the ban will go into effect or whether countries which previously opposed the embargo will be exempt from the measure.

Turkey offers Putin peace talks with Ukraine in Istanbul. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was ready to host a meeting between Russian, Ukrainian and UN delegations. If both sides, Kyiv and Moscow, find common ground, Turkey may also take part in a possible observation mission in Ukraine. Erdogan’s comments came after phone calls with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lithuania to send additional military equipment. Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvidas Anushauskas announced that his country will deliver more military assistance to Ukraine and the next shipment will include anti-drone and thermal imaging equipment, as well as Bayraktar drone. This is in addition to a package that was announced earlier which will include armored vehicles, trucks and SUVs.

Biden: US won’t send Ukraine rocket systems able to reach Russia. U.S. President Joe Biden said on May 30 that the U.S. would not send Ukraine rocket systems that could reach into Russia. Ukraine earlier urged the West to provide it with longer-range weapons. It was not clear whether Biden was specifically referring to the systems Ukraine had requested.

Over 1,000 companies have left Russia since Feb. 24. According to data analyzed by Kyiv School of Economics, at least 1,037 western companies have left Russia. As of May 29, companies that declared a complete withdrawal from Russia had $32.5 billion in revenues and $19.9 billion in capital. More than half (50.2%) of foreign companies have already announced their withdrawal from the Russian market, 21.2% have reduced current operations and hold off new investments, but another 28.6% remain in the country.

In other news

Russia’s Gazprom halts gas supplies to Netherlands. Since the Dutch gas trader GasTerra refused to pay the Russian energy monopoly in rubles, Gazprom said it will halt gas supplies to the country for the next four months starting on May 31. In total, the Netherlands won’t receive 2 billion cubic meters of Russian gas.

Ex-President Poroshenko leaves Ukraine on 3rd try. Petro Poroshenko crossed the border into Poland on May 30 after having been barred from crossing the first two times. Poroshenko’s allies have accused the authorities of unfair treatment of the former president, who was President Volodymyr Zelensky’s political opponent in the last election. Poroshenko said he was leaving the country to attend a European People’s Party summit in Rotterdam and promote the interests of Ukraine.

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