Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, May 16

Sunak announces more defense aid, promises UK will be key part of fighter jet coalition -- Air strike of “exceptional intensity” hits Kyiv on May 16 -- EU to issue 'warning' to countries helping Russia evade sanctions -- Russian forces raid train stations in illegally occupied Crimea -- and more

Tuesday, May 16

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.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a press conference following their meeting at Chequers, near London, on May 15, 2023. (Ukraine’s Presidential Office)

Several explosions in Kyiv as Russia launches air strikes overnight, 3 injured. Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko reported that a missile’s debris fell on the zoo’s territory in Kyiv’s Shevchenkivskyi district. Emergency services are on their way, Klitschko said.

Air strike of “exceptional intensity” hits Kyiv on May 16. Russia launched an overnight air strike of “exceptional intensity” on Kyiv, according to the Kyiv City Military Administration. The administration defined exceptional intensity as the “maximum number of missile attacks in the shortest time span.”

Sunak meets Zelensky, says UK will be ‘key part’ of ‘fighter jet coalition.’ At a joint press conference after the meeting, Sunak said, as cited by the BBC, that sending fighter jets to Ukraine was “not a straightforward thing,” but London would be “a key part of the coalition countries,” providing Kyiv with that support.

Von der Leyen: EU to issue ‘warning’ to countries helping Russia evade sanctions. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed that the next sanctions package over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would include measures against third countries helping Moscow to evade existing restrictions, Euronews reported on May 15.

Stoltenberg: Ukraine’s victory is the starting point to moving forward with NATO membership. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized in an interview on May 15 that Ukraine’s victory against Russia would be the starting point to begin moving forward with NATO membership, the Guardian reported.

Reuters: Top Chinese envoy to visit Ukraine, Russia to discuss ‘political settlement.’ A top Chinese envoy is set to visit Ukraine, Russia, and several other European countries in a trip that Beijing said is geared toward the “political settlement” of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.

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Military official: Ukrainian forces advance on Bakhmut flanks despite Russia’s ‘fierce resistance.’ In the past two days, Ukraine’s Armed Forces have advanced on the flanks around Bakhmut from 350 meters to 2 kilometers “in some places,” a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military’s Eastern Operational Command said on May 15.

Russia claims downing Storm Shadow missile for the first time. Russian Defense Ministry said for the first time that Russian troops had intercepted a Storm Shadow long-range missile supplied to Ukraine by the U.K., Reuters reported on May 15.

UK Defense Ministry: Russian officials likely to grow concerned over air defense. After several drones struck Russia’s Seshcha Airbase in Bryansk Oblast in early May, Russian officials are likely to be concerned over the capacity of the country’s air defense, the U.K. Defense Ministry wrote on May 15.

Ukrainian intelligence: Around 152,000 Russian servicemembers in occupied Zaporizhzhia, Kherson oblasts. There are approximately 152,000 Russian servicemembers stationed in occupied Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts, Andriy Chernyak, a representative of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said on May 15.

General Staff: Russian forces raid train stations in Crimea. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and Ministry of Internal Affairs task forces raided train stations and bus terminals to increase control over the population in illegally annexed Crimea, according to Ukraine’s General Staff.

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Ukraine war latest: Sunak announces more defense aid, promises UK will be ‘key part’ of ‘fighter jet coalition’

President Volodymyr Zelensky continued his European tour on May 15, arriving in the U.K. to meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and discuss further defense aid for Ukraine.

Photo: President’s Office

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Human cost of war

Governor: Russian attacks in Donetsk Oblast injure 7 people over past 24 hours. Russian attacks in Donetsk Oblast over the past 24 hours injured seven people, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on May 15.

Governor: Russian missile strike on Avdiivka kills 4 people. A Russian missile strike on Avdiivka killed four people, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on May 15.

2 civilians killed, 6 injured in Russian attacks on 3 Ukrainian regions. Russian troops hit the front-line village of Dvorichna in Kharkiv Oblast, killing a man and a woman aged 65, and injuring another civilian. Five more civilians were wounded in Russian attacks on Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts on May 15.

Russian state media: Russian proxy official injured in explosion. Igor Kornet, the so-called “acting interior minister” of Russia’s proxies in Luhansk Oblast, was injured in an explosion, according to Russian state-controlled media.

General Staff: Russia has lost 199,460 troops in Ukraine. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on May 15 that Russia has lost 199,460 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion, with an estimated 580 casualties on May 13.

Opinions and insights

Mykhailo Zhernakov: How a draft law risks putting Ukraine’s Constitutional Court under full political control

“Spoiler alert: the draft law will establish the government’s complete political control over the CCU, ” Mykhailo Zhernakov, head of the legal think-tank Dejure, wrote.

Photo: Kaniuka Ruslan/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

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International response

Reuters: UK to provide Ukraine with ‘hundreds’ of long-range attack drones. The U.K. will provide Ukraine with “hundreds” of attack drones that have a range of over 200 kilometers, Reuters reported on May 15.

Pentagon confirms 31 Abrams tanks delivery to Germany, training of Ukrainian troops to begin soon. The U.S. has delivered 31 Abrams tanks to Grafenwoehr, in Germany, where training of Ukrainian forces will begin in the next few weeks, Pentagon spokesperson General Patrick Ryder said during a press briefing on May 15.

Macron says ‘door open’ to train Ukrainian pilots on fighter jets. France has “opened the door” for training Ukrainian pilots on fighter jets, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview on May 15, as cited by Le Monde.

General Staff: Norway to train around 3,200 Ukrainian soldiers in 2023. Norway’s Armed Forces will train roughly 3,200 Ukrainian soldiers in 2023, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on May 14. The training will take place both in Norway and abroad.

Reuters: G7 to introduce stricter sanctions against Russian exports, energy sector. The Group of Seven (G7) countries are preparing stricter sanctions against Russian exports as well as its energy sector, Reuters reported on May 15.

In other news

SBU: Firtash, top associates accused of embezzling millions of hryvnias worth of state gas. Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash and some of his top business associates have been informed that they are suspected of embezzling millions worth of state gas, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reported on May 15.

Media: Supreme Court head detained for accepting $3 million bribe. Ukraine’s Supreme Court Chairman Vsevolod Kniaziev was detained after being caught receiving a bribe of about $3 million, Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravda reported on May 15, citing sources in law enforcement.

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