Photo: Christof Stache/AFP/Getty
Saturday cover: Russia ‘responsible for direct and public incitement to commit genocide’
Source: Institute for the Study of War
A Russian proxy official in the occupied Kherson region of the southern region has backed down from a threat of Russian annexation.
Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Russia’s proxy administration, said the region would not hold a ‘referendum’ on annexation until fighting ceased in the region and neighboring Odessa and Mykolaiv regions. .
While occupying Kherson in the early days of their invasion, Russian forces were unable to capture Mykolaiv or advance on Odessa, at the western end of the coastal corridor along the sea. Black.
Russian shelling left at least one dead and six injured in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine. Two shells landed in the yards of high-rise buildings, and one shell fell near a kindergarten.
The Ukrainian government says at least 242 children were killed and 440 injured during the Russian invasion.
Like the UN, which has similar figures, the government says the true number is much higher because it is difficult to confirm casualties in combat zones.
UPDATE 0652 GMT:
Nazar Rozlutsky, a historian who is now a sergeant in the Ukrainian army, has published a moving response to those – including New York Times editors and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger – who have said Ukrainians should accept the Russian occupation of part of their country.
We don’t need suggestions to surrender. If you are not ready to fight with us against said enemy, then help us with weapons, money, sanctions. We need a lot of things to defeat Russia and thereby sharply reduce the level of the global crisis.
But we have the essential: the motivation. We have historians ready to sleep on drawers of five people in two bedrooms and for weeks without being able to wash. We have accountants willing to eat nothing but porridge with stew for months. We have young students living their best years under the threat of death. And they’re not going anywhere – unless they’re all killed.
Ukraine will either fight until victory or until it can resist [Russian occupation].
And what will you do?
And Yegor Firsov, a former MP turned military doctor, writes in The New York Times:
I was prepared for the lack of electricity, water and poor mobile phone service on the front line. What I didn’t expect was how much stronger the meaning of life would become in the constant presence of death….
You might think people are tougher where death is commonplace, but I’ve found people to be more sensitive and open. When shells are exploding everywhere and you’re safe with strangers, you really want to have candid conversations. You share intimate secrets, personal experiences and sacred memories. People want to fill the death-ravaged space with as much life as possible.
UPDATE 0647 GMT:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has ruled out a counter-offensive to reclaim all territory occupied by Russia since 2014, including the Crimean peninsula to the south.
“I don’t believe we can restore all of our territory by military means. If we decide to go down this path, we will lose hundreds of thousands of people,” Zelenskiy said.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: In the face of Russia’s attempt to seize territory in eastern Ukraine, leaders in Kyiv have called on Western countries to provide long-range rocket systems that could thwart the offensive of Vladimir Putin’s last chance.
Over the past two weeks, Russian forces have finally made progress in Donbass despite supply, logistics, command and morale issues that have led to failure outside southern Ukraine over the past three first months of the invasions.
The offensive surrounded most of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, the largest Ukrainian-controlled towns in Luhansk Oblast, and occupied Lyman, a rail hub in nearby Donetsk.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address to the nation that conditions in Donbass are “indescribably difficult”, thanking Ukrainian defenders for their resistance against the mass of Russian forces and the shelling that leveled the cities.
It is mainly about the supply of weapons. Every day we get closer to overtaking the enemy technologically and in firepower.
Of course, a lot depends on the partners, on their willingness to provide Ukraine with everything necessary to defend freedom.
And I expect good news on this next week.
Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, explained: “We have a great need for weapons that will allow us to engage the enemy over a long distance. The price of delay is measured in the lives of those who protected the world from fascism.
Zelenskiy’s adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, tweeted:
If the West really wants 🇺🇦 victory, maybe it’s time to give us long-range MLRS? It’s hard to fight when you’re attacked from a distance of 70 km and you have nothing to fight back. 🇺🇦 can bring 🇷🇺 back behind the iron curtain, but we need effective weapons for that. Here Now.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) May 28, 2022
Waiting for the MLRS
Ukrainian officials say mobile multiple rocket launcher systems are key to stopping Russia’s onslaught. MLRS can detect Russian firing positions, military bases, airstrips and supply lines up to 300 km (185 miles).
However, the Biden administration has been embroiled in a debate over providing the systems. Some advisers fear Ukraine is hitting targets inside Russia.
US media reported on Saturday that President Biden will include MLRS in the new US weapons package next week, which will also include the HIMARS high-mobility artillery rocket system.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “Heavy weapons are at the top of our agenda, and more are to come.”
The UK is expected to follow any US arrangement with the delivery of its own MLRS, which can fire 12 missiles in less than a minute at a range of 84 km (52 miles).
Russian officials have expressed concern. “If the Americans do this, they will clearly cross a red line,” said Olga Skabeeva, a high-profile state TV host, saying the Kremlin’s response could be “very harsh”.
Macron and Scholz speak with Putin
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with Vladimir Putin for 80 minutes on Saturday, urging the Russians to conduct “serious direct negotiations” with President Zelenskiy with an “immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops”.
Putin showed no sign of heeding the call. Instead, he claimed that supplying arms to Ukraine is “dangerous” with “the risks of further destabilization of the situation and aggravation of the humanitarian crisis”.
Putin has tried to deflect concerns from Macron and Scholz about a Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports that threatens a global food crisis, adding to the food deprivation of tens of millions of people. He said he was ready to discuss the possibility of resuming grain shipments from Black Sea ports.