Good morning, Kyiv Post readers. Here’s your Morning Memo for May 10 to get you up to speed on events in Ukraine:

·      Latest Headlines

·      Military Situation Report

·      President Zelensky’s Message

·      Quote of the Day

·      Infographic of the Day

Headlines

A French video journalist was killed yesterday around 4:30 pm by Russian rocket fire near Chasiv Yar, close to Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine.

 Arman Soldin, 32, of Agence France-Presse (AFP) died when his team came under Grad fire while with a group of Ukrainian soldiers.

 Soldin is the ninth media professional to have been killed by Russian forces while in the line of duty since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

 According to AFP, Soldin was in the first AFP team sent to Ukraine at the start of the invasion, arriving on February 25, 2022. Born in Sarajevo and with AFP since 2015, he had been living in Ukraine since Sept. 2022 and leading AFP’s video coverage with regular assignment from the front lines.

 French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the journalist’s “bravery” and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense offered “heartfelt condolences.”

Russia stepped up its blocking of shipments of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea in the last 72 hours, but the UN intervened late yesterday.

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 As of May 9, with necessary inspections suspended, 62 international vessels waiting to be loaded at Ukrainian ports where stalled in Turkish waters.

 “The operation is paralyzed by 90 percent of what could be and what was happening there several months or six months ago,” Ukraine’s Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi said during the national news telethon, Ukrinform reported.

Officials with the UN’s Joint Coordination Center, set up in Istanbul to implement the Black Sea grain deal, said the inspections resumed after a two-day suspension.

Exports in April were 29 percent down and were under 3 million tonnes per month for the first time since Sept. 2022, according to UN data. Exports for May to date are approximately down a further 37 percent. Kyiv Post has further analyzed the available data and outcomes are available on our site.

Sit-Rep

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Ukrainian forces may have re-taken parts of Bakhmut in the last 24 hours.

The Wagner PMC warlord Yevgeniy Prigozhin on Telegram said: “Our army is on the run. It is running because the 72nd brigade today lost three square kilometers, and I lost about 500 people because it was a strategic bridgehead…

“Soldiers should not die because of the absolute stupidity of their leadership.”

Andriy Biletsky, who is associated with Ukraine’s AZOV military organisation, stated in a released video that Ukrainian forces of AZOV’s 3rd Assault Brigade had taken a 3 by 2.6-kilometer strip of land in Bakhmut, while destroying two companies of the Russian 72nd Brigade, as well as one of Wagner’s assault units.

The May 9 daily report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says:

·      Russian President Vladimir Putin used his Victory Day address to reiterate existing narratives, preparing for a protracted war and framing Russia as successfully resisting the entire West.

·      Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin seized Victory Day as an opportunity to mock Putin and question his judgment in one of his most direct challenges of Putin to date.

·      Prigozhin announced that Wagner forces will not withdraw from Bakhmut by the previously stated deadline of May 10 despite the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) failing to resolve the claimed “shell hunger.”

·      Russian forces continued to make marginal gains within Bakhmut and continued limited offensive operations along the Avdiivka–Donetsk front [Ed., while other reports dispute this].

The May 10 daily morning report and Facebook feed of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says:

·      Russian forces launched 23 missiles, 43 air strikes, and 97 MLRS attacks in the 24 hour period to 06:00 am today. Five S-300 missiles hit the cities of Kup’yans’k, Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, and Kostyantynivka.

·      Russian forces focussed their main efforts on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Mar’inka axes and conducted 46 attacks. The fiercest fighting is for the cities of Bakhmut and Mar’inka.

·      In Enerhodar, Russian forces organized a so-called “evacuation” for family members of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant employees to recreation centers and hotels in Berdyans’k and Kyrylivka. However, those who agreed were taken to Rostov oblast in Russia and placed in tent camps.

Zelensky’s Message

During a joint briefing in Kyiv yesterday with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, President Zelensky said:

“The time has long come to remove the artificial political uncertainty in relations between Ukraine and the European Union. The time has come for a positive decision to open negotiations on Ukraine's membership in the European Union.

“Our values are security. Our well-being is peace on the continent. All this can be 100 percent realized for Europe only together with Ukraine.”

Quote of the Day

Russian forces are more focused on sustaining a regular series of missile strikes than the actual effectiveness of the strikes.

Russian forces may be attempting… to portray themselves as constraining potential upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive operations, although the diminished effectiveness of the strikes is likely not significantly constraining Ukrainian actions.

– Institute for the Study of War, May 9, 2023

Infographic of the Day

Today’s infographic documents deaths as a result of individual Russian strikes/assaults during the full-scale invasion. It is provided by UA War Infographics produced by Top Lead.

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