Good morning, Kyiv Post readers. Here’s your Morning Memo for May 25 to get you up to speed on events in Ukraine:

Latest Headlines

Anti-Putin Russian forces experienced minimal losses and had met their military and political goals in their incursion into Belgorod oblast, according to their leaders who briefed the media. The US announced that it is investigating whether any American equipment received by Ukraine was used during the incursion.

Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, formally announced he will be seeking nomination as the Republican President candidate. DeSantis has been accused of ‘flip-flopping’ on Ukraine by, most recently, condemning the invasion and calling Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” while previously questioning the US’ on-going involvement and support levels. In some polls, DeSantis is behind current Republican frontrunner and former President Donald Trump.

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Ukraine should not become a NATO member until the war ends, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “To become a member in the midst of a war is not on the agenda,” he said in the lead-up to the NATO Summit in July in Lithuania.

The statement comes after news of a “security agreement” for Ukraine being developed by allies based on a similar agreement with Israel and the draft Kyiv Security Compact.

“Diya,” Ukraine’s national digital app for government related services, will soon also be used in Colombia and Zambia. Currently, the highly regarded app has 19 million Ukrainian users and provides access to 30 services.

Russia 'Bogged Down' in Battle for Border Town, Ukraine's Army Chief Says
Other Topics of Interest

Russia 'Bogged Down' in Battle for Border Town, Ukraine's Army Chief Says

Kyiv has been battling a Russian land assault on its northeastern Kharkiv region since May 10, when thousands of troops stormed the border, making their biggest territorial advances in 18 months.

Christmas in Ukraine will be celebrated on December 25 – not January 7 – following a decision to change to the new calendar by the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Kyiv Patriarchate). The Ukrainian Catholic Church (Eastern Rite) has already adopted the new calendar. The change of date is part of the overall de-Russification process taking place in Ukraine.

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Military Situation Report

The Ivan Khurs reconnaissance ship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet was attacked by at least three maritime drones, according to the Russian military. Russian sources claimed the crew repelled the attack and no damage was inflicted to the modern, high-tech ship. The Ukrainian military released video of a ship being hit by aerial fire.

Wagner’s Yevgeny Prigozhin is one of the main targets of Ukrainian intelligence services. “We are trying to kill him,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Intelligence Chief Vadym Skybytskyi told a German publication.

Ukraine will soon receive 110 Leopard 1A5 tanks from Germany, according to Ukraine’s ambassador Oleksii Makeiev.

A kindergarten in the Sumy region in northeastern Ukraine was destroyed by a Russian guided bomb. There were also attacks on 5 communities in Sumy and 2 civilian injuries.

The May 24 campaign assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) had the following key take-aways:

·      Yevgeni Prigozhin is using his heightened profile following the “capture” of Bakhmut to intensify his attacks against the Russian military establishment and elites. [Editor: Ukraine’s highest infantry commander yesterday claimed his forces continued to make attacks and advances on Bakhmut’s flanks.]

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·      Russian sources continued to respond to the limited all-Russian pro-Ukrainian Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and the Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) raid into Belgorod oblast.

·      Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks northeast of Kupyansk and along the Svatove-Kreminna line.

·      Russian forces continued limited ground attacks on the outskirts of Bakhmut and along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.

·      Russian forces continue to target Ukrainian positions in southern Ukraine.

·      Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that more than 120,000 Russian personnel have undergone training since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The update at 06:00 on May 25 (Day 456) for the last 24 hours from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports:

·      30 Russian air raids;

·      39 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) attacks;

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·      28 combat engagements during continued fighting around Bahkmut, Mariinka, Lyman, and Avdiivka;

·      Russian artillery, rocket, mortar and/or airborne fire in the following regions: Chernihiv (3); Kharkiv (17); Sumy (8); Luhansk (3); Donetsk (29); Zaporizhya (11), and Kherson (5) [Editor – which represents a small downturn in the quantity of fire], and;

·      Ukrainian air forces undertook seven raids against Russian positions.

·      Three Ukrainian civilians were injured by Russian attacks.

President Zelensky’s Message

"Today, given that such attacks are ongoing, I would like to directly address the people of Iran. To everyone – to society, Iranian clerics, every Iranian family, and those who can influence state decisions in Iran.

“Simple questions: Why are you complicit in Russian terror? Why are you on the side of an evil state? The world sees what is happening, and all of you in Iran see it. Support for evil cannot be denied.- Volodymyr Zelensky in his nightly address regarding Iran’s provision of Shahed drones to Russia 

FYI Kyiv Locals

Francophiles in Kyiv can enjoy a game or two of petanque care of the French Embassy. Petanque – similar to Italian bocce or English lawn bowls – can be played at courts set up in three local parks.

Quote of the Day

"[Putin] notices that we are getting closer to him, but maybe he is also afraid of being killed by his own people... He is only now starting to stick his head out, and if he does that, we can’t be sure that it is really him.” – Vadym Skibitskyi, Deputy Head of Defense Intelligence of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense

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Infographic of the Day

Today’s infographics from TopLead provide breakdowns by month and by Russian force systems/types as claimed by the Ukrainian military.

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