Good morning, Kyiv Post readers. Here’s your Morning Memo for May 11 to get you up to speed on events in Ukraine:
1. After a Ukrainian counterattack yesterday by Azov’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade on its southwestern outskirts, the battle of Bakhmut appears at a new level of intensity and fluidity. However, there are mixed reports about what may happen next.
Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s highest ranking infantry commander, said in his Telegram page that “we carried out effective counterattacks… The enemy... retreated to a distance of up to two kilometers.”
There were 28 engagements and 524 enemy strikes recorded in the Bakhmut zone over the last 24 hours, according to the Ukrainian military’s official spokesman for eastern operations, Serhiy Cherevaty.
When asked about statements by PMC Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin about a possible tactical withdrawal and ammunition shortages, Cherevaty noted: “Now, [Prigozhin] has to frame the failure to achieve what he promised.”
However, senior American intel officials told Politico that Wagner continues to hold significant stockpiles of ammunition, maintains control of at least 85 percent of Bakhmut, “appears intact” and is not preparing for a retreat.
2. For the first time, proceeds from confiscated Russian assets are being handed over to Ukraine to meet reconstruction costs, according to Reuters.
After the US Justice Department charged and convicted Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev with violating sanctions by funding separatists in Crimea, it will now transfer $5.4 million of his money to Ukraine.
“While this represents the United States’ first transfer of forfeited Russian funds for the rebuilding of Ukraine, it will not be the last,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said yesterday.
3. Former President Donald Trump said that, if he were to be re-elected, he would settle the war in Ukraine within 24 hours.
During a “town hall” interview with CNN in New Hampshire, the front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination would not say who should prevail in Russia’s war against Ukraine. Instead, he said he wants “everybody to stop dying” and “I’ll have that done in 24 hours.”
Trump also would not commit to continued military aid for Ukraine. He also would not say if he supports Russian President Vladimir Putin standing trial for war crimes. Instead, he called Putin “a smart guy” who had “made a tremendous mistake.”
The May 10 daily report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says:
· north of Khromove (immediately west of Bakhmut) and northwest of Bila Hora (14 kilometers southwest of Bakhmut) and made marginal advances in these areas. (However, ISW noted that it had not yet visually confirmed reports of wider Ukrainian claimed advances of 2.6 kilometers along a 3-kilometer front line in the area).
The May 11 daily morning report and Facebook feed of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says:
· Russian forces launched a S-300 missile strike at civilian infrastructure in Kostyantynivka, Donetsk oblast.
· Russian forces launched 45 air strikes and 53 MLRS attacks at Ukrainian troops and various settlements in Kherson Oblast in Ukraine’s south.
· Russia continues to focus its main efforts on Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka axes, with 39 enemy attacks repelled. The fiercest fighting is for the cities of Bakhmut and Maryinka.
The Sumy Oblast Military Administration reported that six communities were shelled on May 10, including 65 mortar and artillery strikes. One person was killed in Pavlivka.
During his evening video message, President Zelensky focused on securing more allied support:
“Our international bloc is working vigorously and thoroughly with [our] partners on new defense packages for Ukraine. New decisions are already at the working level. More protection for our skies, more opportunities for our defense and movement on the ground.”
Quote of the Day
“If we signal to the world that we have only got about eighteen months’ worth of staying power, then we create a more dangerous environment for the future. That’s why [Ukraine now] is so very important… If we’re saving stuff up for a rainy day, this is the rainy day.” – UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at Atlantic Council event on Tuesday, May 9.
Pic of the Day
US rock band Imagine Dragons yesterday released a music video filmed in Ukraine.
“Our video for Crushed, filmed on the front lines of Ukraine, is out now,” the blurb for the YouTube clip said. “It follows Sasha, a young boy who endured months of shelling in his town. Sasha’s story is heartbreaking, and there are thousands more like him who desperately need help. Even today, his family is without electricity and other basic utilities.”
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