Republican candidate Trump says Ukrainian survival more important to Europe than US

Former US president and legally embroiled 2024 Republican candidate Donald Trump said Thursday that Europe should step up its funding for Ukraine, as Congress debates sending a months-delayed $61 billion package to Kyiv. At his urging, House Republicans have designed part of that package in the form of a loan.

“As everyone agrees, Ukrainian Survival and Strength should be much more important to Europe than to us, but it is also important to us! GET MOVING EUROPE!” Trump posted on his troubled social media platform, Truth Social, taking his usual liberties with English-language mechanics.

At last count, European Union member states have contributed about $155 billion in various forms of aid to Ukraine since the start of the war. By some estimates, the United States has contributed about half that amount, pending the latest procurement proposal sitting before Capitol Hill.

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Trump, who has been at odds with Kyiv ever since his failed attempt in 2020 to barter withheld aid from Ukraine in exchange for damaging information on the family of then-presidential candidate, now US President Joe Biden, offered a different figure in his latest post, the source of which he did not include.

“Why is it that the United States is over $100 Billion Dollars into the Ukraine War more than Europe, and we have an Ocean between us as separation!” he wrote.

Estonia’s PM: NATO Troop Training in Ukraine Won't Trigger War With Russia
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Estonia’s PM: NATO Troop Training in Ukraine Won't Trigger War With Russia

Kallas said that training Ukraine’s forces on their territory would not be escalatory, adding that “Russia’s propaganda is about being at war with NATO; they don’t need an excuse.”

Nuclear agency reports more strikes on Zaporizhzhia facility

The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, reported that the training center of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) had been once again hit by a drone attack on Thursday evening. No significant damage was reported.

This would amount to “the third reported attack targeting the training facility recently, following two such incidents last week. The ZNPP told the IAEA team stationed at the site that today’s drone had been ‘neutralized’ without giving further details,” Grossi said.

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At least three Russian strikes hit near the plant’s reactors on April 7 of this year, but to date none of the attacks has resulted in worrisome structural damage, the IAEA director stressed.

“So far, the drone strikes have not compromised nuclear safety at the site. But, as I told the United Nations Security Council a few days ago, these reckless attacks must cease immediately.” Grossi said.

Zelensky highlights howitzer production and Russian movements in the Black Sea

President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on social media Thursday that domestic production of howitzer cannons is on the rise and predicted that this output will increase in the coming months.

“The share of our own production is constantly increasing. The state signs serious, long-term contracts with our enterprises, which provide predictability, the ability to employ people and attract investment. This month our industry will produce ten Bohdana self-propelled howitzers for the first time, and more will follow in May and later,” the president wrote on Telegram.

Ukrainian domestic arms manufacturing has been booming in recent months, especially in the arenas of attack drones, “robotic systems for mine clearance and battlefield logistic deliveries… engineering equipment and a modernized anti-tank guided missile system (ATGM) along with new missiles,” Kyiv Post reported in January.

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Zelensky also said that, after speaking with top naval brass on Thursday, he could report that this week’s attack on Russian facilities in Crimea has resulted in fleet retreats from the area.

“We are still waiting for the final details, but it is already clear that the occupiers have suffered painful losses. Moreover, according to the intelligence reports, Russia is moving ships, including Kalibr carriers, to the Caspian Sea after our actions in the Black Sea,” Zelensky said.

HUR chief predicts the next big wave of Russian attacks will come in June

In a Washington Post article this week, Military Intelligence (HUR) Chief Kyrylo Budanov forecasted that Russia will launch a major offensive in June with the aim of seizing all of the occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions. He had previously said that the HUR expected these increased offensives to happen in late May, a change that analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said they found “notable.”

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In the interview, Budanov also said that war observers can expect an uptick in Ukrainian attacks upon Russian defense capabilities within that country’s own borders, including airfields and command posts, continuing the recent trend, such as this week’s devastating Ukrainian attack on the Dzhankoi airfield in occupied Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot “protect the [Russian] population from the war,” Budanov said.

‘Unspecified’ missiles hit machinery factory and military repair shop, blow up aircraft

On the same day that the Ukrainian Air Force claimed to have downed all 13 Shahed-136/131 drones launched from Primorsko-Akhartsk, the Krasnodar region and Cape Chauda in occupied Crimea, sources from both sides claimed that Russian missiles struck the Pokrovsk Machine Building Plant, as well as a military equipment repair site in the same area.

Dnipropetrovsk regional military head Serhiy Lysak reported that Russian forces struck targets in his region with two “unspecified missiles and damaged an infrastructure facility and an unspecified enterprise,” the ISW reported.

Geolocated footage from Thursday seems to substantiate those assertions.

In addition, Kremlin-loyal bloggers claimed that Russian forces destroyed an S-300 missile system near Liubymivka, as well as two or three MiG-29 aircraft at the Aviatorske airfield south of the city of Dnipro.

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