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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 828: Prisoner swap brings 75 Ukrainians home from Russian captivity

In a significant development, Ukraine has secured the release of 75 soldiers and civilians who had been held captive by Russian forces.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 828: Prisoner swap brings 75 Ukrainians home from Russian captivity

Exclusives

Ukraine’s power grid teeters on brink: 70% generation lost to Russian strikes. The $400 million in Western aid pales in comparison to the $12.5 billion in damages Russia inflicted on Ukraine’s grid amid air defense shortage.
Most allies now support Ukraine striking targets in Russia; Italy and Belgium oppose, US undecided. While the UK, Poland, and now Germany support the move, Belgium, and Italy remain opposed, and the United States is still undecided
The myth must die; there can be no security in Europe with Russia. Two years into Russia’s war, the ghost of the German Ostpolitik philosophy lingers over the country’s foreign policy

Military

ISW: Russian forces prepare for second phase of offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, reinforcements arriving. Russian military is transferring additional regiments and brigades to northern Kharkiv Oblast, Ukrainian officials report, suggesting preparations for the next phase of offensive operations in the oblast.

Ukrainian forces hold front lines against Russian advances, conduct successful strikes on Russian logistics routes. Over the past day, Ukraine hit 21 areas of Russian personnel concentration, leading to the loss of 18 tanks, 22 armored combat vehicles, and other key equipment.

Ukraine controls 70% of Vovchansk City, street fighting continues, military says. Ukrainian forces control 70% of Vovchansk city, with ongoing street battles as Russia tries unsuccessfully advancing in small groups, the military says.

Ukraine hits Russia’s Port Kavkaz, targeting oil terminal, ferry crossing. Ukraine launched precision missile strikes on a Russian military logistics facilities – oil terminal and ferry crossing in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai, causing explosions and damage.

Frontline report: Ukraine launches counteroffensive in Vovchansk against Russians. Ukraine launches counteroffensive in Vovchansk, restoring bridges, concentrating troops. Russia attempts defense, destroying bridges but Ukraine adapts, making progress.

Germany to send infantry fighting vehicles, sniper rifles, and drones to Ukraine, minister announced. During a surprise visit to Odesa on May 30, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced a new military aid package worth €500 million to support Ukraine.

As of 31 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: 507650 (+1390)
      • Tanks: 7728 (+18)
      • APV: 14935 (+22)
      • Artillery systems: 13140 (+39)
      • MLRS: 1088
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 815
      • Aircraft: 357
      • Helicopters: 326
      • UAV: 10587 (+55)
      • Cruise missiles : 2229 (+7)
      • Warships/boats: 27
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 17905 (+56)

International

The Guardian: Zelenskyy pushes for use of long-range systems within Russia amid uncertainty from partners. His comments followed the Biden administration’s decision to ease its restrictions on the use of US-supplied HIMARS artillery near Kharkiv while still prohibiting the use of long-range ATACMS systems.

Moldovan parliament denounces Russian “genocide” in Ukraine. Citing the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia, Moldova’s lawmakers have joined other nations in denouncing the invasion as a genocidal campaign.

China likely not to join Swiss peace conference on Ukraine. Beijing has declined to participate in the Swiss-hosted peace conference on Ukraine, confirming reports that it had set conditions that were not met by the organizers, meaning the exclusion of Russia

NATO aims to prevent Hungary from blocking new scheme to fund Ukrainian army. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg believes that the coordination of assistance to the Ukrainian army by the alliance is possible, despite the position of Hungary on the matter.

France excludes Russia from Normandy landing anniversary celebrations. Citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, France has decided against inviting any Russian delegation to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II.

NATO seeks €40 bn annual commitment from allies for Ukraine aid, Reuters’ source says. Stoltenberg is aiming to secure a commitment from NATO allies for a minimum of €40 billion annually to ensure predictable funding for military aid to Ukraine, as Trump may return to office in the US, Reuters reports, citing its source.

Dutch endorse Ukraine using F-16s in Russian airspace for self-protection. The Netherlands says it won’t object to Ukraine using F-16 fighter jets over Russian territory for self-defense purposes, citing the UN Charter’s principle of self-defense.

Ukraine signs security pact with Sweden, securing €6.5 bn. Ukraine and Sweden have signed a security deal providing Ukraine with military aid worth around 6.5 billion euros over 2024–2026, including aircraft, armor, artillery, demining support.

Humanitarian and social impact

Ukrainian ecocide app calculates Russia’s bill for environmental damage. An app helping calculate Russia’s $60 billion toll on Ukraine’s environment could lead to historic reparations.

Prominent Ukrainian combat medic Iryna Tsybukh killed on Kharkiv front. Here’s her farewell letter. She was killed a few days before her 26th birthday.

Russia’s “double-tap” missile attack targets Kharkiv, killing five, injuring at least 25. Last night’s Russian double-tap missile attack on Kharkiv City targeted residential neighborhoods, killing at least five and injuring 25.

Russia is blackmailing some world leaders ahead of peace summit, says Zelenskyy. The Ukrainian president said that Kyiv is aware of cases of blackmailing by Russia to hinder the participation of some nations in an upcoming Peace Summit, scheduled for 15-16 June.

Ukraine secures release of 75 POWs from Russian captivity. In a major prisoner swap, 75 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians return home.

New developments

Chechen individual from Russia arrested for planning Olympics terrorist attack. An Islamist terrorist plot to attack Olympic football matches in Saint-Étienne has been foiled by French special services.

Zelenskyy to sign three security agreements in Stockholm today. Today, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says he is going to sign “three security agreements at once,” not specifying the countries. Those likely are Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.

Politico: US quietly allowed Ukraine to strike inside Russia, but solely near Kharkiv. The Biden administration secretly allows Ukraine targeted strikes inside Russian territory near Kharkiv with US weapons, aiming to counter Russian military threats, while maintaining restrictions on long-range attacks, Politico sources say.

Read our earlier daily review here.

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