Kharkiv’s regional prosecutor’s office on Tuesday said that a barrage of airstrikes on the nation’s second-largest city wounded 20 people, including three children. The air assault was a continuation of a campaign in the country’s northeast outskirts that began last Friday and has reportedly seen the Russian occupation of about a half-dozen villages by the border.

About 6,000 residents have been evacuated from the area in the past few days. Air strikes on Monday had targeted the residential suburbs of Kharkiv, which sits only about 18 miles from the border.

The city’s mayor, Igor Terekhov, told Agence France Presse (AFP), “This pressure is aimed at pushing people to leave, to worry them, this is the tactic of the Russian Federation.”

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According to AFP, one strike hit a tall residential building, next to which sat a toy store that was destroyed. Teddy bears were still lined up on the shelves.

“A guided bomb blew up and virtually tore apart half of the tenth floor [of the residential building], destroying the nearby apartments on the higher and lower floors,” Sergiy Bolvinov, the head of the region’s Police Investigation Department, told AFP.

State power grid operator announces nationwide blackouts

Industrial consumers in Ukraine will see their power turned off all day on Wednesday, May 15, as the nation’s energy provider Ukrenergo has implemented periodic blackouts across the country to conserve electricity.

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“Today, on May 14, from 21:00 to 24:00, Ukrenergo is forced to introduce controlled emergency shutdowns in all regions of Ukraine,” the company posted to social media on Tuesday. “The reason is a significant shortage of electricity in the system [caused by] Russian [bombardment] and growth of consumption due to cold weather.”

On May 15, power outages will be introduced for industrial consumers throughout the day –  starting at midnight Wednesday for 24 hours.

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According to state news outlet Ukrinform, Russian attacks that began on March 22 damaged the Burshtynska, Ladyzhynska, Zmiivska and Trypilska thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants around the country.

New Russian defense chief calls for “minimal losses” in Ukraine invasion

Russia’s new defense minister, Andrei Belousov, told a Russian legislative session on Tuesday that the Kremlin’s “special operation” in Ukraine needs to arrive at its objective with minimal casualties.

“The key task, of course, remains achieving victory and ensuring that the military-political goals of the special military operation, set by the president, are achieved. In this respect, I want to especially emphasize: with minimal human losses.”

Kyiv’s official tally of Russian soldier casualties (dead, wounded, or missing-in-action) in Ukraine stands at 485,430.

In late April, the British Ministry of Defence put the figure at about 450,000 killed or wounded, as reported by the UK Defence Journal.

Moscow seldom releases figures on Russian troops killed in combat. The last official numbers out of the Kremlin came in September 2022, indicating that only about 5,000 soldiers had been killed.

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The BBC so far has verified the deaths of 50,000 Russian servicemen, basing the number on “official local reports and announcements of soldiers’ deaths in local newspapers, by regional officials and on social media pages,” according to AFP.

UK ambassador to UN says Iranian drones are Russia’s weapon of choice on infrastructure

At a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, the UK ambassador to the body slammed Russia for using Iranian drones to knock out power to millions of civilians.

“This spring, Russia has targeted power plants, electricity substations, and gas storage facilities across Ukraine. The United Kingdom calls for an immediate halt to this destructive campaign against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure,” Barbara Woodward told the council.

“Millions of people already face disruption to power, heating, and water supply. These attacks are making an appalling humanitarian situation worse.

“The most recent attack, on 8th May, involved over 70 missiles and drones. Since March, at least 14 power stations have been hit. Iranian-made UAVs remain Russia’s weapons of choice in these attacks against civilians and their infrastructure.”

Most representatives on the 15-member council, including those from African and Asian nations, echoed Woodward’s thoughts, largely calling for an immediate end to hostilities.

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Russia’s permanent seat on the council is held by Vasily Nebenzya, who countered with his usual screed against the “Nazi Kyiv regime’s” violations of human rights as concerns ethnic Russians, again railed against Ukraine’s Western-allied support. He delivered his lengthy diatribe in Russian, in an annoyed manner.

His Ukrainian counterpart on the council, Sergiy Kyslytsya, speaking in flawless English with little to no accent, introduced his remarks lightheartedly:

“Let me begin by expressing my sympathy for the interpreters here,” he said, nodding toward the Russian seat.

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