Russia Establishing Control Over Wagner Group

  • Following the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin seven months ago, Russia is establishing control over the private mercenary Wagner Group.  According to two U.S. officials, former Wagner forces have been combined with other mercenaries loyal to Russian President Putin and are being deployed around the world, including to Ukraine and Africa. (Politico)

Russian Missile Attacks

  • Russian missiles are continuing to target Ukrainian energy infrastructure supplying the European Union with natural gas, according to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.  On April 27, Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was hit with 34 Russian rockets. (Politico; see also Reuters, Reuters, Reuters, Reuters, Euractiv, AP News)
  • Ukraine reported that a hotel in Mykolaiv was damaged in a Russian missile attack.  There were no casualties in the attack, but the hotel was heavily damaged. (Reuters; see also AP News)

Passage of $95 Billion U.S. Foreign Aid Package

  • In the $95 billion U.S. foreign aid package, $61 billion is earmarked for Ukraine.  After months of delay by Republicans in the House of Representatives, Ukrainian leadership warned of disaster without the quick passage of aid. (Politico; see also Politico, Reuters, Euractiv, Euractiv, Euractiv, AP News, AP News, AP News, EU Observer)
  • Zelenskyy made it clear to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson the necessity of U.S. aid for Ukraine.  The meeting between Zelenskyy and Johnson proved pivotal in convincing Johnson to go against his conservative colleagues and push the aid bill through the House. (Politico)
  • After the aid package was announced, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO said that the United States should continue to help Ukraine and that the package would show that the U.S. is “committed to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, that there is bipartisan support for what Ukraine is doing—to push Russia out of its territory—and that now we look to Europe to continue to provide their assistance so that this partnership can continue.” (Politico)
  • Ukraine signaled after the U.S. aid package was announced that Ukraine still needs European support.  Ukraine Foreign Minister Kuleba said “we all welcome the decision of the U.S. House of Representatives…But we in Europe cannot and should not relax.” (Politico)
  • Ukraine called for additional air defence systems to help protect Ukraine from Russian air strikes days after the U.S. aid package was approved, and the Pentagon announced a plan to buy $6 billion worth of weapons for Ukraine, including interceptions for the Patriot air defence system. (Euractiv; see also Euractiv)
  • With new plans to deliver weapons, Russia plans to intensify strikes on Ukrainian bases storing Western-supplied weapons. (Euractiv)

Ukraine Receives New EU Funds

  • Ukraine received €1.5 billion in financial support from the EU, with an expected €10 billion to be delivered later in the year. (Reuters)

Ukraine’s Top General Says Fighting in East is Worsening

  • Ukraine’s top general said that fighting is worsening in eastern Ukraine and that Ukrainian troops have fallen back into new positions in at least three places along the front. (Reuters)

Sanctions on Russian Liquefied Natural Gas

  • The European Commission may impose sanctions on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG).  If the Commission makes this move, it will be the first time that the EU has targeted Moscow’s gas sector.  The EU is preparing a 14th package of sanctions against Russia, and the sanctions may target three Russian LNG projects and the re-export of Russian LNG from EU ports. (Politico)
Sanctions against Russia

Ukraine Arrests Agriculture Minister

  • Ukraine arrested Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi over allegations of land-grab corruption.  While he has handed his passports to authorities and cannot communicate with other suspects in the case, he will continue his duties as acting agriculture minister until after the parliament decides on his resignation.  While he says he is innocent, he is accused of leading a group involved in the illegal acquisition of €6.9 million worth of state land and more property worth €4.5 million between 2017 and 2021. (Politico; see also Politico, Politico, Reuters, AP News, Reuters)

Greece and Spain Will Not Send Air Defence Systems to Ukraine

  • Despite Allies hopes that Spain could donate air defence system batteries to help protect Ukraine, Madrid will not redeploy one of its three Patriot batteries to Ukraine.  Athens is also refusing to send S-300 or Patriot batteries to Ukraine.  Germany has promised Ukraine three Patriot batteries and is trying to convince other countries to donate their unused systems to Ukraine. (Politico; see also Reuters, Euractiv, AP News)
Anti-aircraft missile system Patriot

Swiss Parliamentary Committee Backs Aid for Ukraine

  • A Swiss parliamentary committee backed a plan to send $5.5 billion aid to Ukraine as part of a larger plan to improve Switzerland’s defense capabilities (Reuters).

EU Tells Big Brands to Stop Ads Fueling Russian Disinformation in Balkans

  • Brands such as Lidl, Coca-Cola, and L’Oréal were instructed by MEPs to stop advertising on pro-Kremlin media outlets in the Balkans to combat Russian disinformation.  Bulgarian conservative MEP Andrey Kovatchev said that “many media organisations that promote pro-Kremlin disinformation often use advertising brought by reputable companies to strengthen their credibility,” even if the companies are not aware they are “support[ing] pro-Russian propaganda channels.” (Politico)

German Refusal to Send Taurus Missiles to Ukraine, Despite Promises from U.K. and U.S.

  • Despite U.S. and U.K. promises to send new long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine and Germany’s pressure on allies to donate air defense systems to Ukraine, German Chancellor Scholz still refuses to send German Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine. (Politico)

Criticism of Ukraine Government’s Denial of Services to Ukrainian Men Abroad

  • Domestic criticism of Zelenskyy’s policy of temporarily banning new passports and non-emergency consular services for Ukrainian men of fighting age abroad is growing. (Politico; see also Euractiv, Euractiv)

Ukraine Strikes Two Fuel Depots in Russia

  • Ukraine destroyed two fuel storage sites in Russia after warnings from U.S. officials that attacks on Russian oil refineries would destabilise global markets. (Politico)

United States Accuses China of Backing Russia Against Ukraine

  • The U.S. Ambassador to NATO said China is aiding Russia in its war against Ukraine by selling drone technology and gunpowder ingredients to Moscow.  While China attempts to portray itself as neutral, the United States is “increasingly seeing material support” from China to Russia. (Politico)
  • Satellite images show that China is harbouring a ship tied to North Korea-Russia arms transfers that is sanctioned by the United States, increasing concerns about Beijing’s support for Moscow. (Euractiv)
  • Putin announced plans to visit China in May, a signal of Russia’s increasing reliance on China as its diplomatic isolation grows. (AP News)

Kharkiv TV Tower Destroyed by Russia

  • Russian missile attacks destroyed Kharkiv’s TV tower, interrupting digital TV signals.  Ukraine media workers said that the attack was a war crime. (Politico; see also AP News)

UK Aid to Ukraine

  • The United Kingdom pledged to send $620 million to Ukraine as part of a push to strengthen its defense industry (AP News).

Author: Sophie Adams-Smith, Media Analyst, Promote Ukraine

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