Ukraine Daily Summary - Saturday, May 4

Latvia starts digging anti-tank ditch near border with Russia -- Russia aims to completely occupy 3 oblasts in 2024 -- Kyiv may use British weapons to strike targets inside Russia, Cameron says -- Italy to give Ukraine SAMP/T air defense system in new aid package -- What's in a Ukrainian Easter basket? The answer isn't chocolate -- and more

Saturday, May 4

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers operate a drone during training of the 22nd brigade in Donetsk oblast on May 3, 2024. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Kyiv may use British weapons to strike targets inside Russia, Cameron says. “Ukraine has that right. Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it’s defending itself.”

Military intelligence general: Chasiv Yar’s fall probably a matter of time. “Not today or tomorrow, of course, but all depending on our reserves and supplies,” a military intelligence deputy head, Major General Vadym Skibitsky, said in an interview with The Economist published on May 2.

Ukraine rises in World Press Freedom Index despite constraints of full-scale war. Ukraine rose from 79th to 61st place in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on May 3.

Bloomberg: US leading efforts within G7 to develop $50 billion aid package to Ukraine. The United States is leading talks among the Group of Seven (G7) nations to develop a military aid package to Ukraine worth up to $50 billion, Bloomberg reported on May 3. The package would reportedly be funded by the profits generated by accrued interest on frozen Russian assets.

USAID allocates over $250 million to Ukraine’s agricultural sector. More than $250 million will be allocated to rebuild and expand Ukraine’s agricultural sector under the new USAID Harvest program, Deputy Agricultural Minister Denys Bashlyk said on May 3.

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Commander: Russia aims to completely occupy 3 oblasts in 2024. Russia’s goal in 2024 is to completely occupy Donetsk, Luhansk, and, if possible, Zaporizhzhia oblasts, Ukraine’s Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Pavliuk told The Times on May 2.

Media: Italy to give Ukraine SAMP/T system in new aid package. The Italian government is readying its new defense aid package for Ukraine that will include, among others, a SAMP/T air defense system, the Italian news outlet La Repubblica reported on May 2.

German company to deliver 6 more TRML-4D radars to Ukraine. Hensoldt, a German defense manufacturer, will provide Ukraine with six more TRML-4D radars by the end of 2024, the company said on May 3.

US intelligence: Putin spends record amounts on military over ‘paranoid fear’ of West limiting Russia’s power. “Putin continues to believe that Russia is under threat and almost certainly assumes that a larger, better-equipped military will convey that opinion to Western and domestic audiences,” Director of U.S. National Intelligence Avril Haines said.

Zelensky: Ukraine facing ‘new stage’ in war as Russia preparing to expand offensive. Ukraine is facing “a new stage” in the Russia’s full-scale war, President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a meeting with border guards in Khmelnytskyi Oblast on May 3.

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Ukraine war latest: Kyiv may use British weapons to strike targets inside Russia, Cameron says.

“Ukraine has that right. Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it’s defending itself.”

Photo: Thomas Peter/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Battle of Chasiv Yar begins: On the ground with Ukrainian forces defending city key to Russia’s plans.

From the east, the unmistakable sounds of heavy fighting roll in without pause: not just artillery fire, but a full orchestra of machine gun and rifle bursts, anti-air cannons, and the occasional Russian airstrike.

Photo: Francis Farrell/The Kyiv Independent

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What’s in a Ukrainian Easter basket? The answer isn’t chocolate.

For the nearly two-thirds of Ukrainians who identify as Orthodox Christians, Easter is known as Velykden, meaning “Great Day” in Ukrainian.

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

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Daryna Shevchenko: It’s time we stop waiting for the Russian people to stop the war.

“Do you cooperate with independent Russian journalists to reach a Russian audience?” We at the Kyiv Independent hear variations of this question at every event we attend, and the audience rarely likes our answer: “No, we don’t; we don’t see the point.”

Photo: Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Russian attacks against Ukraine kill 5, injure 17 over past day. Russia targeted a total of eight Ukrainian oblasts — Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Kherson, Kharkiv, and Donetsk. Casualties were reported in the latter three regions.

Russian attack on Kharkiv kills woman, injures man. The attack destroyed several buildings, trapping people under the rubble, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said. A tram, which had been carrying passengers at the time of the attack, was also damaged.

Russian attacks on Donetsk Oblast kill 3, injure 5. Russian attacks against the towns of Kurakhove and Chasiv Yar and the village of Netailove in Donetsk Oblast on May 3 killed three people and injured five, the regional prosecutor’s office said.

Governor: Russian missile attack on Kirovohrad Oblast injures man. Russian forces attacked Kropyvnytskyi district in Kirovohrad Oblast on May 3, injuring a man, Governor Ahdrii Raikovych said.

Russia launches drone attack on Kharkiv, injuring at least 4. Russia launched drone attacks on Kharkiv in the early hours of May 4, damaging civilian infrastructure, and injuring at least four people including a child, Kharkiv regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Telegram.

International response

Ambassador: Washington doesn’t support strikes with US-made weapons in Russia. Washington wants to help Ukraine defend itself, but does not support strikes with U.S.-made weapons on Russian territory, U.S. Ambassador Bridget Brink said at a meeting with journalists on May 3, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Czech FM on Ukrainian draft-aged men abroad: We do not support those who avoid legal obligations. There are 94,643 men aged 18 to 65 in the Czech Republic who have temporary protection due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the Czech Interior Ministry.

White House does not currently see China open to Ukraine’s peace formula. “That is why, for our part, we will continue to be concerned about Zelensky having everything he needs,” U.S. national security spokesperson John Kirby said.

Germany accuses Russia of cyberattack against governing party in 2023. Speaking at a press conference in Australia, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that the investigation into the incident has concluded and pointed to Russia as the culprit.

US, EU, UN criticize Georgia’s foreign agents bill. “We are deeply concerned about this legislation - what it could do in terms of stifling dissent and free speech,” U.S. national security spokesperson John Kirby said during a press briefing.

Media: Latvia starts digging anti-tank ditch near border with Russia. The Latvian army has started to dig an anti-tank ditch as part of its first defensive line near the border with Russia, Latvian public broadcaster LSM reported on May 2.

Russian media: Raiffeisen Bank will begin exiting Russia in summer 2024. The Vienna-based bank group, the largest remaining Western bank in Russia, has been under increasing pressure since the start of Russia’s all-out war to scale down its activities in the country.

In other news

Foreign Ministry: Ukrainian citizen stabbed to death in Budapest. A Ukrainian citizen died as a result of a knife attack in Hungary’s capital, and the suspected attacker has been detained, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry confirmed for Ukrinform on May 3.

Zelensky: Ukraine open to considering all-for-all POW exchange. Ukraine is open to considering an all-for-all prisoner of war (POW) exchange, and will discuss the idea at the upcoming Peace Summit in Switzerland in June, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 3.

Military intelligence carries out cyberattack in Russia’s Tatarstan. The attack reportedly targeted internet providers and mobile operators in the Russian republic.

Fugitive ex-SBU official charged with illicitly acquiring $830,000 in assets. Although the bureau did not name the suspect, details of the case point to the former head of the SBU’s internal security department, Andrii Naumov, who fled Ukraine in 2022 and was subsequently detained in Serbia for money laundering.

EU, NATO denounce Russia’s cyberattacks on Germany, Czechia. “This type of behavior is contrary to the UN norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, such as impairing the use and operation of critical infrastructure,” the European Council said.

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