Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, May 31 2024

Oil depot fire, casualties reported in Russia's Krasnador Krai following drone strike -- Ukraine can use our F-16s to strike Russian territory, Danish foreign minister says -- German defense minister arrives in Odesa, announces $542 million aid package for Ukraine -- and more

Friday, May 31

Russia’s war against Ukraine

The aftermath of a Russian missile attack on Kharkiv overnight on May 31, 2024. (State Emergency Service)

Naval drones destroyed 2 Russian patrol boats in occupied Crimea, military intelligence says.

Naval drones operated by Ukraine’s military intelligence (HUR) hit two Russian patrol boats, likely of the KS-701 Tunets model, in occupied Crimea overnight on May 30, a source in the agency told the Kyiv Independent.

Syrskyi: Russia building up forces near Kharkiv Oblast but not enough for breakthrough. Russian forces are increasing the number of troops near the villages of Strilecha and Lyptsi, as well as the city of Vovchansk. But this amount is not enough to carry out a new offensive, according to Syrskyi.

Government introduces 2 exams for obtaining Ukrainian citizenship. Foreigners will have to pass two exams — on Ukraine’s Constitution and Ukraine’s history — to obtain Ukrainian citizenship, the government announced on May 30.

Oil depot fire, casualties reported in Russia’s Krasnador Krai following drone strike. A fire broke out at Port Kavkaz in Russia’s Krasnador Krai overnight following a drone strike in the early hours of May 31, the Telegram channel Crimean Wind reported.

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Ukraine may receive up to 100,000 shells next month under Prague-led initiative, Czech official says. To provide Ukraine with 1.5 million of shells this year, 1.7 billion euros ($1.8 billion) will be needed, said Tomas Kopecny, the Czech envoy for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

Court sets bail for former head of Odesa Oblast enlistment office at almost $3.5 million. Besides the bail announcement, the State Bureau of Investigation also said that Yevhen Borysov had been served an indictment on charges of illegally enriching himself on May 29.

World Bank says 1.8 million more Ukrainians living in poverty since 2020. While the situation is dire, the World Bank said it would be much worse if Ukraine had not received foreign aid to help pay for pensions and salaries.

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Ukraine war latest: Russian ferry crossing, 4 patrol boats struck in Crimea, military says

Ukrainian Magura 5V naval drones destroyed two and damaged two more Russian patrol boats in occupied Crimea during the overnight attack on May 30, Ukraine’s military intelligence (HUR) said. All four boats are of the KS-701 Tunets (Tuna) model.

Photo: Ukraine’s General Staff

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Human cost of war

Russian attack on Kherson Oblast village kills man. A Russian attack against the village of Veletenske in Kherson Oblast on May 30 killed a man, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

Russian missile attacks on Kharkiv kill 3, injure 23. Russian missile attacks on the Novobavarsky neighborhood of Kharkiv, killed three people and injuring 23 others, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported in the early hours of May 31.

Combat medic, activist Iryna Tsybukh killed in Kharkiv Oblast. Combat medic and public activist Iryna Tsybukh was killed while on rotation near the front in Kharkiv Oblast, just a few days before her 26th birthday, Hospitallers Medical Battalion said on social media on May 30.

Ukrainian military journalist dies in Sloviansk. Anastasiia Volkova had worked as a journalist in combat hotspots in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts since 2018.

General Staff: Russia has lost 506,260 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022. This number includes 1,160 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

International response

Blinken meets with Sandu in Moldova, announces $50 million in support. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Moldova on May 29 to meet with President Maia Sandu and announce support worth $50 million to help Chisinau transition away from Russian energy dependence and further integrate with the EU, amid warnings of heightened hybrid threats from Russia.

Washington, Berlin signal potential policy change, paving way for permission for Ukraine to strike Russian territory. U.S. and Germany are signaling a potential change to their long-standing policy of not allowing Ukraine to strike military targets on Russian territory with U.S. and German-supplied weapons, according to recent statements and two articles published by Politico on May 29.

EU approves higher tariffs on Russian, Belarusian grain. This follows a proposal by the European Commission from March 22, designed to cut down Moscow’s profits and shield the EU market.

Ukraine can use our F-16s to strike Russian territory, Danish foreign minister says. Ukraine can use F-16 jets to strike military targets in Russian territory, as this would be “within the rules of war,” Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels on May 30.

Reuters: France could soon send its military instructors to Ukraine, sources say.

France may announce its decision next week during a visit by President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to Reuters.

Estonian president approves law allowing use of frozen Russian assets for Ukraine. “Although the chosen method of compensation is innovative, it aims to protect the prohibition of aggression as a fundamental rule of international law,” Alar Karis said in a statement.

Lithuania joins air defense coalition, to send radars to Ukraine. Vilnius will provide Kyiv with mobile air surveillance radars, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced.

US announces new sanctions against 2 mining companies in Central African Republic over links to Wagner. U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller commented on the sanctions, saying that the companies were “advancing the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group’s security operations and its illicit mining endeavors in Africa.”

German defense minister arrives in Odesa, announces $542 million aid package for Ukraine. The new package will reportedly include ammunition for Iris-T air defense systems and shorter-range SLS missiles, as well as reconnaissance drones, 1 million rounds of small arms ammunition, Leopard 1 battle tanks, and Marder armored vehicles.

In other news

Ex-deputy head of Presidential Office accused of illicit enrichment released on almost $250,000 bail. After his release from custody, Smyrnov is not allowed to leave Kyiv without special permission, is obliged to notify the authorities about changing his residence and workplace, and deposit his passport or other documents for traveling abroad.

Donald Trump found guilty on all 34 counts in hush money trial. Former U.S. President and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump was convicted on all 34 felony counts in the New York hush money trial on May 30.

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