Latest news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

Russia’s elite airborne force ‘mismanaged’, says UK, leading to tactical failures

The Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) have been heavily involved in several notable tactical failures since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the latest military intelligence from the UK Ministry of Defence.

Giving three examples of such failures, the ministry said these include:

  • The breakthrough attempt on Kiev via Hostomel Airfield in March.
  • Progress stalled on the Izium axis since April.
  • And the recent expensive crossings of the Siverskyi Donets River.

The VDV is assigned to some of the most demanding operations, the ministry said, with the 45,000-man unit made up mostly of professional contract soldiers. Its members enjoy elite status and receive additional pay.

However, the UK said the VDV “was employed in missions better suited to heavier armored infantry and suffered heavy casualties during the campaign”, adding that its mixed performance likely reflects strategic mismanagement of this capability and Russia’s failure to ensure air superiority.

Holly Ellyatt

Russia’s intense offensive in the eastern Donbas region continues

Ukrainian soldiers prepare to advance towards the front lines at a checkpoint near the city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region on May 23, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Aris Messinis | afp | Getty Images

Russian forces fired on 41 settlements in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Donbas in eastern Ukraine, the country’s Joint Forces Task Group said in its latest military update.

As a result of the Russian bombing, 6 people were killed and 12 were injured, the task group said in a Facebook update Thursday morning.

Russia “destroyed and damaged 52 skyscrapers and private residential buildings” and other civilian facilities, including a secondary school, health center, recreation center building, railway line and an Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian railways) building, as well as agricultural buildings. , garages and cars .

Ukraine said its first responders had evacuated about 760 people from fighting areas.

Russia has been accused of employing “scorched earth” tactics in the Donbas and has focused its manpower and firepower on the region in an attempt to seize it entirely. Russian troops are believed to be trying to encircle Ukrainian forces in Luhansk, with fighting concentrated in the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russian Defense Ministry says it will allow foreign ships to leave Black Sea ports

Workers assist in loading corn onto a ship at the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania, on May 3, 2022. The Russian Defense Ministry is promising a safe corridor to allow foreign ships to leave Black Sea ports. , reported the Associated Press.

Daniel Mihailescu | AFP | Getty Images

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it will open a safe corridor to allow foreign ships to leave Black Sea ports, Russian state news agency Interfax reported on Wednesday.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that it is opening two security corridors for the departure of foreign ships from ports in the Black and Azov seas between 8 am and 7 pm Moscow time.

The head of the National Defense Control Center Mikhail Mizintsev told a briefing that these lanes would provide the safe movement of ships from ports such as Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny in the Black Sea, as well as Mariupol in the Sea of ​​Azov.

“In six ports – Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny, 70 foreign ships from 16 states remain blocked,” Mizintsev said. He claimed that Ukraine posed a threat in terms of bombing and that the mines did not allow “ships to go into the open sea unhindered”.

Russian forces blocked Ukrainian ports for weeks, contributing to a global food security crisis. Ukraine is one of the world’s leading producers of wheat and sunflower seeds, which are used for oil.

Russia said ports and the water area near them are mined and merchant ships could be vulnerable.

— Holly Ellyatt and Chelsea Ong

Russia speeds up citizenship for Ukraine residents

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with Security Council members via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, May 20, 2022.

Mikhail Metzel | Sputnik | Reuters

President Vladimir Putin issued an order to expedite Russian citizenship for residents in parts of southern Ukraine largely controlled by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the Russian army.

Putin’s decree that applies to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to strengthen its grip on territory between eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists occupy some areas, and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia has conquered. in 2014.

The Russian army is engaged in an intense battle for the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine, known as the Donbas. In a sign that the Kremlin is trying to beef up its overstretched military machine, Russian lawmakers have agreed to eliminate the 40-year age limit for individuals signing their first voluntary military contracts.

A description of the project on the parliament’s website indicated that older recruits would be allowed to operate precision weapons or serve in engineering or medical roles. The chairman of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, Andrei Kartapolov, said the move would make it easier to hire people with skills “on demand”.

– Associated Press

Turkey demands Sweden and Finland join NATO

A senior Turkish official has insisted after talks with Swedish and Finnish officials that Turkey will not agree to the two Nordic countries joining NATO unless specific steps are taken to resolve Ankara’s objections.

“We made it very clear that if Turkey’s security concerns are not addressed with concrete measures within a certain time frame, the process will not move forward,” Ibrahim Kalin said after talks in Ankara that lasted about five hours.

Kalin is the spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a senior presidential adviser.

Turkey has said it opposes countries joining NATO, citing grievances with its support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and other entities that Turkey sees as security threats.

Kalin said Turkey’s proposal for the two countries to lift arms export limits was met with a “positive attitude” by the Swedish and Finnish delegations.

– Associated Press

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