Good morning, Kyiv Post readers. Here’s your Morning Memo for May 31 to get you up to speed on events in Ukraine:

·      Top Headlines

·      Military Situation Report (Day 462)

·      President Zelensky’s Message of the Day

·      FYI Kyiv Locals

·      Quotable Quote

Top Headlines

There were no firefights near Bakhmut in the last day and 80 withdrawing members of Wagner Group were killed by Ukrainian artillery, according to the senior spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Serhii Cherevatyi. Wagner forces are being rotated out of Bakhmut and replaced by regular Russian military units of paratroopers and mechanized infantry.

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Britain’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said that Ukraine has “the right to project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia’s ability to project force into Ukraine itself.”

Cleverly added: “So legitimate military targets beyond its own border are part of Ukraine’s self-defense. And we should recognize that.”

Russian-occupied Melitopol, a strategic port city on the ‘land-bridge’ between occupied Crimea and Russia, experienced “loud explosions” last night. Smoke was seen rising in the vicinity of an automotive factory that Russian forces have converted into a military base. In Russia’s Krasnodar oblast, a fuel refinery was hit by Ukrainian drones, according to the local governor.

The Enemy Within the US Is Letting Russia Get Away With Murder
Other Topics of Interest

The Enemy Within the US Is Letting Russia Get Away With Murder

The US Congress has no shortage of “Putin’s useful idiots” who are doing their best to abandon Ukraine. The only way to assure Ukraine’s survival is to offer Kyiv NATO membership.

The next $300 million package of US military aid for Ukraine is likely to be announced today, according to VoA, and will emphasize air defense systems.

After 18 missile and drone assaults on Kyiv during May, President Volodymyr Zelensky told local authorities that a sufficient number of shelters in their communities is their responsibility. “Shelters in cities should be accessible,” he said.

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“People need to understand when and how the number and availability of shelters will increase. This is the responsibility of specific [local] officials.”

Chechen dictator and Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov has vowed “revenge in the full sense of the word” for the recent drone strike on Moscow. He proposed introducing martial law in Russia and “to sweep away this entire terrorist cell altogether.”

He also threatened Western Europe, saying that Russia "will knock on the door of, for example, Germany or Poland.”

It is incorrect to compare the drone attack on Moscow with the constant shelling of Ukraine by Russian forces, said the senior spokesman for UN Secretary General. Four civilians have been killed and 34 injured in Russian attacks on Ukraine’s territory over the past day, according to Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Minister.

Putting Ukraine’s senior military command on a Russian wanted list is a method of information warfare, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defense. Hanna Maliar said it’s designed to neutralize Ukraine’s status as a victim of an international crime of aggression and draw an equivalence between Russia’s criminal actions with Ukraine’s defensive ones.

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Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant should be totally out-of-bounds from military activity, the UN Security Council was told by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. “I see these commitments as essential to avoid the danger of a catastrophic incident,” Rafael Grossi said.

NATO’s Summit in July in Lithuania needs three results: strengthen Ukraine-NATO institutional ties and assistance; take a step toward [Ukraine] membership, and; provide security guarantees on [Ukraine’s] path to NATO.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister outlined these points to a meeting of 31 NATO Foreign Ministers.

A Ukrainian parliamentarian with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s “Servant of the People” Party has been exposed living large outside Ukraine during wartime, including driving his well-connected wife’s newly acquired $190,000 Mercedes Benz.

Ukraine’s biggest football stars will hold a Game4Ukraine charitable match in London on August 5 at Chelsea’s home stadium of Stamford Bridge. The match will raise awareness and funds for rebuilding the Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi Lyceum in Chernihiv Oblast, destroyed by Russian troops in March 2022. 

Ukraine’s Agriculture Minister appealed to his European colleagues not to extend a current ban on Ukrainian sunflower seeds, corn, wheat, and rapeseed. He said that the introduction of the ban on Ukrainian agri-imports by Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania created “enormous challenges… with the operation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, caused by Russia’s actions, as a result of which the Ukrainian side could not load ships for 10 days.”

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Those EU countries support an extension of restrictions after June 5, when another year of duty-free trade between Ukraine and the EU comes into force.

Military Situation Report

The May 30 campaign assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) had the following key take-aways:

·      Russia claimed Ukraine conducted drone strikes against Moscow on May 30 as Russia again targeted Ukraine with Shahed drones.

·      Vladimir Putin downplayed the drone attack on Moscow to avoid exposing the limited options he has to retaliate against Ukraine.

·      EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell stated Russia will not enter negotiations while trying to win the war.

·      Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks northeast of Kupyansk and northwest of Svatove, and Russian sources claimed that Russian forces conducted a ground attack south of Kreminna.

·      The tempo of Russian and Ukrainian offensive operations in the Bakhmut direction remains low as of May 30.

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·      Russian forces made marginal advances amid continued ground attacks on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.

The update at 06:00 on May 31 (Day 462) for the last 24 hours from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports:

·      64 Russian air raids;

·      88 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) attacks;

·      22 firefights – with none in Bakhmut;

·      Russian artillery, rocket, mortar and/or airborne fire in the following regions: Kharkiv (nine); Sumy (four); Luhansk (four); Donetsk (23); Zaporizhzhia (eight), Kherson (four) and Mykolayiv (one), and;

·      Ukrainian air forces undertook 11 raids against Russian military assets and/or positions.

President Zelensky’s Message

“I had a substantive phone call with Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz. I am grateful to him for implementing a powerful €3 billion defense package.

“We discussed the implementation of the agreements reached during my recent visit to Germany and further strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capabilities, in particular our air defense. We coordinated our positions on the eve of upcoming international events.Volodymyr Zelensky on Telegram

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FYI Kyiv Locals

Flurry recently started visiting the McDonalds at Lisynka, and always going under the same table, as reported by the legendary local paper Vechirny Kyiv. A group of schoolgirls befriended him and started to regularly give him snacks. They changed their routine, but Flurry kept coming back.

So that “Flurry doesn’t continue to break the law,” the McDonalds team organized for Flurry to be picked up by the Kyiv Animal Rescue Group who are now looking to find the lost dog a home.

Quotable Quote

That’s still in play.” – Joe Biden when asked about supplying ATACMS, a long-range surface-to-surface missile fired by the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, which Ukraine now possesses

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