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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 825: Belgium signs security deal, pledges F-16 jets for Ukraine’s military forces

Belgium has pledged to deliver 30 F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv by 2028, with the initial aircraft arriving this year.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 825: Belgium signs security deal, pledges F-16 jets for Ukraine’s military forces

Exclusive

Calls for Ukraine to stop defending itself are immoral, Nobel laureate Matviichuk says. The world order, based on the UN Charter and international law, is collapsing before our eyes, Ukrainian human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviychuk says.
Story of Ukraine is a Black experience, says African-American reporter. Russia is not only a colonial state, it’s a Russian supremacist state, says prominent African American journalist Terrell Starr as he tries to build bridges of trust with Ukraine.

Military

Battles rage on: Ukraine destroys 21 Russian tanks, 48 artillery systems and eliminates 1,500 occupiers over 24 hours. Intense combat continues to grip the battlefields of Ukraine as Kyiv’s forces claim a series of tactical victories, destroying 21 Russian tanks and 48 artillery systems and eliminating approximately 1,500 enemy soldiers over the past 24 hours alone. Despite Russia’s relentless attempts to gain ground, Ukrainian troops have demonstrated remarkable resilience, repelling assaults and inflicting significant losses on the invading forces.

As of 28 May 2024, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

  • Personnel: 503800 (+1460)
  • Tanks: 7692 (+21)
  • APV: 14858 (+40)
  • Artillery systems: 13029 (+48)
  • MLRS: 1085 (+1)
  • Anti-aircraft systems: 815
  • Aircraft: 357
  • Helicopters: 326
  • UAV: 10482 (+15)
  • Cruise missiles: 2221
  • Warships/boats: 27
  • Submarines: 1
  • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 17740 (+46)

Intelligence and technology

Reuters: Russia plans to deploy up to 300,000 soldiers to Ukraine’s border. Ukraine aims to strengthen its defensive lines and counter Russian forces while boosting its military capabilities in the air, at sea, and on land.

Ukrainian troops receive upgraded Buk-M1 air defense systems, using American RIM-7 missiles. Ukraine’s Air Command East releases photos of Ukraine’s modernized Buk-M1 systems, now integrated with US-supplied Sea Sparrow missiles, showing the upgraded 9A310M1 and 9A39 launchers.

International

Stoltenberg: Ukraine’s right of self-defense includes striking military targets inside Russia. Stoltenberg says Ukraine’s self-defense right covers striking legitimate Russian military targets, not making NATO allies parties to the conflict.

Lisbon pledges €126 mn defense assistance in security pact with Kyiv. In Lisbon, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and Portuguese PM Montenegro inked a security pact ensuring Portuguese military aid, support for Ukraine’s NATO bid, and territorial integrity.

Biden missing the Peace Summit in Switzerland would be “applauded” by Putin, says Zelenskyy. The Ukrainian leader also highlighted that Kyiv is expecting an official response regarding participation in the summit from China.

Ukraine and Belgium ink bilateral security and long-term support agreement. Belgium and Ukraine’s 10-year security agreement includes €977 million in 2023 aid, 30 F-16 jets, and ongoing support for Ukraine’s military and economic sectors.

Belgium PM: Ukraine to receive 30 F-16s, can use them only within Ukraine. Belgium announced the delivery of 30 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by 2028, with initial aircraft arriving this year. Belgian Prime Minister De Croo says the jets must be used exclusively on Ukrainian soil.

Zelenskyy visits Brussels to ink security deals and tour pilot training site for Ukraine’s F-16 pilots. Zelenskyy visited Brussels to sign a string of security agreements with allies, address reporters, and visit a pilot training facility for Ukrainian F-16 pilots.

Humanitarian and social impact

Police identifies body of 8-year-old boy’s father, earlier reported missing after Russian strike. On 25 May, Russians attacked the construction hypermarket Epicenter in Kharkiv, killing 18 people, including Oleksandr, a 38-year-old employee of the hypermarket, whose son took a DNA test to identify his father’s body.

Russian strikes and propaganda target Global Peace Summit in Switzerland, says Borrell. As world leaders prepare to gather in Switzerland for a crucial Global Peace Summit aimed at fostering dialogue and exploring paths towards ending the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has intensified its efforts to undermine the summit through unrelenting strikes on Ukrainian cities and a coordinated propaganda campaign, according to Josep Borrell.

Humanitarian and social impact

Police identifies body of 8-year-old boy’s father, earlier reported missing after Russian strike. On 25 May, Russians attacked the construction hypermarket Epicenter in Kharkiv, killing 18 people, including Oleksandr, a 38-year-old employee of the hypermarket whose son took a DNA test to identify his father’s body.

Russian strikes and propaganda target Global Peace Summit in Switzerland, says Borrell. The Kremlin uses every method to subvert support for the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland, including spreading propaganda and continuing attacks on Ukrainian cities. On 27 May, Moscow forces launched strikes on Kharkiv, killing 18 and injuring 48 civilians. High Representative Josep Borrell emphasized that despite Putin’s talks of peace, his actions aim to sabotage the summit dedicated to fostering a future peace process.

Ukrainian intelligence says Moscow recruits mercenaries from Central Africa for war against Ukraine. Financial rewards and other benefits are being used to lure fighters from Rwanda, Burundi, and other countries.

Georgian parliament defies president’s veto, approves Russain-style ‘foreign agents’ law. The Georgian parliament ignored the president’s remarks and overrode her veto on a controversial “foreign agents” law similar to Russia’s.

Ukraine’s court sentences a man to 12 years in prison for collaborating with Russians during the occupation. Evidence provided by the prosecution confirmed that a 35-year-old Izium resident in Kharkiv Oblast voluntarily cooperated with Russians, despite his claims of being forced into the position by Russians through physical violence and threats.

Tribunal for Russian crimes needed to avoid further atrocities in Europe, Ukrainian MP says. A Ukrainian deputy warned that delaying justice could lead to future aggression in other countries, emphasizing the urgency of creating a Special International Tribunal now.

New developments

Zelenskyy tours Melsbroek base, meets Ukrainian F-16 pilot trainees. During his visit to Belgium, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy visited a Belgian airbase to observe Ukrainian military personnel training to operate F-16 fighter jets for use in Ukraine’s defense.

Ukrainian journalist Victoria Roshchyna, missing since 2023, was found in Russian captivity. The conditions of detention for Ukrainian women like Roshchyna are reportedly inhumane, with released captives describing severe maltreatment.

Read our earlier daily review here.

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