Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, May 23

Ukrainian forces still fighting in Bakhmut, Russia brings reinforcements -- Russia creates ‘elite’ ground attack aviation group for Ukraine operations -- Air defense needs more systems to counter ballistic missiles -- NATO allies consider Israeli-style security agreement for Ukraine -- Mistress of top Kremlin propagandist gave birth in US -- and more

Tuesday, May 23

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.

Ukrainian firefighters observe the crater left behind by a missile strike at a building that housed a fire station and a laboratory that was struck overnight in a round of fresh strikes in Dnipro city of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine on May 22, 2023. (Photo by Seth Herald/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ukraine’s military intelligence confirms operation by Russian anti-government groups in Belgorod region. Armed Russian anti-government groups allegedly fighting on Ukraine’s side have started a combat operation in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence Andrii Yusov told Suspilne news outlet on May 22.

Intelligence chief tells Russian soldiers to surrender, says frontline situation will get worse. Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov addressed Russian soldiers in a video on May 22, urging them to surrender if they do not want to die because the situation on the battlefield is set to “get worse.”

Presidential Office denies Kyiv’s responsibility for alleged fighting in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast. The Ukrainian leadership has “nothing to do” with a May 22 combat operation in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast reportedly carried out by Russian anti-government groups, according to Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to the head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office.

Russian governor announces ‘counter-terrorist operation’ in Belgorod Oblast, claims casualties. Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, announced a “counter-terrorist operation” in the region on May 22 amid reported attacks by Russian anti-government groups.

Governor claims explosions in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast. Belgorod Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed that an explosive device was dropped from a drone on a community in the region. He said there were no casualties or damage. The Kyiv Independent could not independently verify the claim.

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General Staff: Bakhmut remains ‘epicenter’ of fighting. There were 25 clashes between Ukrainian and Russian forces along the front line on May 22, including Bakhmut, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported in its evening update.

Defense Ministry: Ukrainian forces still fighting in Bakhmut, Russia brings reinforcements. Ukrainian forces are still fighting in Bakhmut, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported. She noted that Russian forces are conducting a sweep of captured parts of Bakhmut, bringing in further reinforcements and supplies.

UK intelligence: Russia creates ‘elite’ ground attack aviation group for Ukraine operations. According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, the aviation group’s formation highlights how Russia’s Air Force has so far underperformed in conducting air strikes against Ukrainian targets.

Air Force: Air defense needs more systems to counter ballistic missiles. Ukraine’s air defense lacks sufficient means to protect the airspace against large-scale ballistic missile strikes, Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said in the wake of heavy attacks against Ukraine on May 21-22.

Ukrenergo reconnects Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant as 4 oblasts face partial blackouts. Ukraine’s state energy operator Ukrenergo reported restoring the external power line to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, earlier damaged by Russian shelling.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly recognizes Russian crimes in Ukraine as genocide. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) has unanimously recognized Russia’s crimes against Ukraine as genocide, Yehor Cherniev, the head of Ukraine’s delegation at the assembly, said on May 22.

Borrell: ‘No one wishes for peace more than Ukraine’. The European Union’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said during a press conference on May 22 that expediting the delivery of weapons to Ukraine was crucial to achieving victory, as only Russia wants the war to continue.

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Ukraine war latest: Russia says fighting ongoing within its borders

Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, announced a “counter-terrorist operation” in the region on May 22 amid reported attacks by Russian anti-government groups.

Photo: Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Russian attacks across Ukraine kill 3, injure 14 over past day. Russian attacks across Ukraine over the past day have killed three people and injured 14, according to Ukrainian officials. Russian forces launched strikes on Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. The strikes left three civilians dead and 13 injured, officials report.

Russia shells 5 communities in Sumy Oblast, injuring 1 person. Russian forces targeted the communities of Bilopillia, Myropillia, Yunakivka, Novoslobidske, and Velyka Pysarivka, the Sumy Oblast Military Administration said on May 22.

Russian May 22 attack on Izium, Kharkiv Oblast, injures child. Russian troops conducted a missile strike on Kharkiv Oblast’s city of Izium on May 22, wounding a 10-year-old boy, reported Prosecutor General’s Office.

Russian forces attack Kherson Oblast, killing civilian. One civilian died from shrapnel wounds after Russian forces shelled the village of Stanislav on May 22, Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said.

Governor: Russian troops hit Kupiansk, injuring 2 civilians. Russian forces struck Kupiansk in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv Oblast on May 22, wounding two women, according to Governor Oleh Syniehubov.

General Staff: Russia has lost 203,880 troops in Ukraine. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on May 22 that Russia has lost 203,880 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion, with an estimated 720 casualties on May 21.

International response

Washington Post: NATO allies consider Israeli-style security agreement for Ukraine. NATO countries are considering an Israeli-style security agreement for Ukraine while its membership in the military alliance remains years away, the Washington Post reported on May 22.

US State Department: Giving Ukraine F-16 jets remains ‘priority’ Training Ukrainian pilots to use F-16s and working with allies to provide Ukraine with advanced fighter jets remains a “priority” for the U.S. in the coming months, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a press briefing on May 22.

Portugal rules out sending F-16s, open to training Ukrainian pilots. Portuguese Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho has ruled out providing Ukraine with F-16s but said his country is ready to train Ukrainian pilots, the newspaper Diário de Notícias reported on May 22.

AP: African delegation to discuss Ukrainian grain, Russian fertilizers with Kyiv, Moscow. A delegation of six African leaders set to hold talks with Kyiv and Moscow aims to “initiate a peace process” but also agree on increasing Ukrainian grain exports and easing shipments of Russian fertilizers, a key mediator told the Associated Press.

In other news

Media: Armenian PM says he may recognize Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on May 22 that his country is ready to recognize the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as part of Azerbaijan if Baku guarantees the security and rights of Armenians living in the territory, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Recently sentenced opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich pardoned. Belarus has “pardoned” jailed Belarusian activist Raman Pratasevich, Belarusian state news agency BelTA said on May 22. Lukashenko’s regime had sentenced him to eight years in prison earlier in May for politically motivated charges.

Media: Mistress of top Kremlin propagandist gave birth in US. Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov’s mistress owns a villa next to members of the Russian military elite in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and gave birth to her children in the U.S., Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s team reported on May 22.

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