Good morning, Kyiv Post readers. Here’s your Morning Memo for May 16 to get you up to speed on events in Ukraine:

·      Latest Headlines

·      Military Situation Report

·      President Zelensky’s Message of the Day

·      Quote of the Day

·      Infographic of the Day

Latest Headlines

Kyiv was last night targeted for the eighth time this month by Russian missiles and drones. City officials described it as the “maximum number of missiles in the shortest time span.” The majority of weapons were neutralized by Ukrainian air defenses. Debris fell on several inner Kyiv neighborhoods, including the area of the zoo, and three people were injured.

Ukraine’s Supreme Court Chairman, Vsevolod Kniaziev, has been detained on suspicion of receiving a $2.7 million bribe. This is potentially in relation to a recent judgement in favor of Ukrainian billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago, owner of the iron pellet producer Ferrexpo. The Court has called a meeting today with respect to “the events.”

Momentum is building for President Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposed “coalition of air defense.” During his visits to western European countries this week, the UK and French leaders both committed to training Ukrainian pilots on F16 fighter jets, with the British program starting in summer. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday said that “this training goes hand in hand with UK efforts to work with other countries on providing F16 jets.”

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The sheer number of injured underlines how the war of heavy artillery has left many with life-changing injuries including amputations and brain damage.

Hungary yesterday blocked the payment of the eighth package of €500 million from the European Peace Fund for weapons that EU member states are supplying to Ukraine. The package was due to be allocated on May 22, but Budapest is supposedly demanding guarantees that the Fund will not be used only for Ukraine. In the US, the $48 billion Ukraine aid package that Congress approved in December has about $6 billion remaining, meaning that US funding for weapons and supplies could dry up by midsummer if a new package is not put by the White House and approved by Congress.

Military Situation Report

Six civilians were killed and 21 injured in Russian attacks yesterday in Kyiv, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts.

Over the last 48 hours, Ukrainian forces have made advances on the flanks of Bakhmut, measuring from 350 meters to two kilometers, according to the official spokesperson for the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Serhiy Cherevaty. He told the Ukrainian national news “marathon” there had been 34 recent combat engagements and 479 attacks of Ukrainian positions by rocket, artillery and mortar systems. He also said there had been 149 Russian combatants killed in action, 160 wounded and six taken as Prisoners of War (POWs).

The US Department of Defense confirmed yesterday that 31 M1 Abrams have arrived at the Grafenwöhr training center in Germany. This is in preparation for the training of Ukrainian tank crews who are expected to arrive “within the next couple of weeks.”

Key takeaways from the May 15 campaign assessment of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW): 

·      Leaked US intelligence indicates that Wagner Group head Yevgeniy Prigozhin offered to disclose Russian positions to Ukrainian intelligence in exchange for Bakhmut – rejected by the Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR).

·      Ukrainian officials acknowledged limited Ukrainian battlefield successes during recent counterattacks in and around Bakhmut.

·      The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that it intercepted a Ukrainian Storm Shadow missile for the first time on May 15.

·      Ukrainian intelligence reported that approximately 152,000 Russian military personnel in southern Ukraine continue defensive efforts ahead of a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The update at 0600 on May 16 for the last 24 hours from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports:

·      Two Russian S-300 missile attacks on Donetsk oblast.

·      48 Russian air raids.

·      49 combat engagements, primarily in Bakhmut, Mariinka and Avdiivka.

·      Russian artillery and mortar fire in Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts;

·      16 air strikes by Ukrainian air forces, including nine against Russian troop concentrations and military vehicles, and seven against missile and rocket systems.

President Zelensky’s Message

Following his visits to Italy, Germany, France and the UK, President Zelensky said: 

“We are returning home with new defense packages. More new and powerful weapons for the frontline, more protection for our people, more political support. At all the meetings, we discussed our Peace Formula, and now there is more willingness of our partners to follow the Ukrainian formula. There is more support for our accession to the EU, more understanding that Ukraine's accession to NATO is inevitable.”

Quote of the Day

“Regarding Ukraine, it is likely that there will be a separate statement, and it will not be pleasing to Russia.” – Japan’s Ambassador to Ukraine on the upcoming G7 Summit on May 19 to 21 in Hiroshima.

Infographic of the Day

Today’s infographic from UA War Infographics and Top Lead shows estimated deaths from Russian air strikes in Ukraine during the full-scale invasion.

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