War in Ukraine
- Ukraine used the Patriot missile defense system to shoot down a Russian hypersonic missile over Kyiv, the first time Ukraine has been able to intercept this type of weapon (Politico and AP News).
- Russian troops are evacuating residents around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Ukraine is expected to start its counteroffensive to retake territory (Reuters).
- The United States is sending $300 million in military aid to Ukraine, including artillery rounds, ammunition, and more. Ukrainian officials reported that they are preparing a counteroffensive (AP News).
- The EU has reached a preliminary agreement on boosting support for Ukraine through a joint procurement of ammunition and missiles over the next year (Euractiv).
Trouble with Grain
- The deal between the EU and Eastern European countries, which temporarily bans imports on Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds and helps transport Ukrainian produce through Eastern European countries to third countries (particularly in the Global South), is in trouble. While Poland is proposing using the grain as humanitarian aid, the problem facing the EU is that many tons of grain have been deemed unfit for human consumption (Politico).
- Poland wants the EU to sanction Russian agricultural products coming into the EU. While the EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia, they have not targeted agricultural products to avoid food insecurity (Politico and Reuters).
- In other news about sanctions, the popular mood in Belgium has turned against Russian “blood diamonds,” but EU sanctions will still not ban them (EU Observer)
- Ukraine’s farmers face the danger of landmines. According to AP News, “farmers in areas now free from Russian occupation must decide if it’s worth risking their lives to strip land of explosives before the critical planting season.” Reductions in grain crops threaten global food security (AP News).
Zelenskyy’s Visit to The Hague
- Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to The Hague, saying that “we all want to see a different Vladimir here in The Hague. The one who deserves to be sentenced for these criminal actions right here, in the capital of international law” (Politico, AP News, Euractiv).
Black Sea Nations Assembly
- After Russian delegate Valery Stavitsky grabbed a Ukrainian flag from Ukrainian member of Parliament Oleksandr Marikovski, Marikovski slapped Stavisky and took back the flag (Politico).
Updates on the Wagner Group
- Instead of withdrawing from Bakhmut, the Wagner Group seems to be continuing their assault. Earlier, the head of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had said that the troops would be pulled out after ammunition shortages and losses (Reuters and NBC News).
- The Wagner Group has said that it will be receiving more ammunition after Prigozhin threatened to pull troops out of Bakhmut (Le Soir).
- Russia said that Ukraine had attempted to hit the Kremlin with drones, which Ukraine denied. Now, Russia has blamed Ukraine for a car bombing targeting Zakhar Prilepin, a prominent Russian nationalist (Reuters and AP News).
- Ukraine denied responsibility for the drones. Zelenskyy said that “we don’t attack Putin or Moscow; we fight on our territory” (Euractiv).
- The drones were destroyed, but Russia has used the accusation against Ukraine to back up its claim that “its war in Ukraine is an existential one for the Russian state and people.” This happens before the annual 9 May World War Two victory parade on Moscow’s Red Square (Euractiv).
- EU’s Josep Borrell warned Moscow against using the drone attack to escalate the war in Ukraine, saying “this is what worries us: this can be used to justify more conscription of people, more soldiers, more attacks on Ukraine” (Euractiv).
Author: Sophie Adams-Smith, Media Analyst, Promote Ukraine