Liveblog: ++ Massive air strikes on Kiev ++


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Status: 05/25/2023 09:44 a.m

Ukraine reports massive Russian airstrikes on Kiev and other cities. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy appealed to Iran and asked: “Why do you support Russia and terrorism?” All developments in the live blog.

According to its boss, the Wagner mercenary group has begun handing over its positions in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut to the Russian army. “Today we are withdrawing units from Bakhmut,” said Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin in a video published by his press service. By June 1, most of the units will have moved to other bases.

The Russian domestic intelligence service FSB has reported the arrest of Ukrainian “saboteurs”. A group from Ukraine’s foreign intelligence service tried to blow up about 30 power lines at the Leningrad and Kalinin nuclear power plants in early May, according to an FSB statement quoted by Russian news agencies. The aim was to bring about the shutdown of the reactors.

According to the governor deployed by Russia on the annexed peninsula of Crimea, the air defense system shot down six drones during the night. There were no injuries, Sergei Axyonov wrote on the short message service Telegram.

The Ukrainian capital Kiev was again the target of Russian airstrikes during the night. Russia has “again attacked Kiev from the air,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kiev’s civil and military administration, wrote in the Telegram online service. The air alert in the city lasted more than three hours. “The attack was massive,” Popko continued. Russia is attacking “in multiple waves,” with pauses between drone strikes.

According to preliminary information, Shahed drones manufactured in Iran were also used that night. However, the air defense destroyed all cruise missiles. The authorities initially did not provide any information on victims or damage. The authorities also reported night air alerts in other parts of the country, including in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine and in Chernivtsi in the west of the country. The night shelling of Ukraine by Russia has increased again since the beginning of May, especially around Kiev.

According to a newspaper report, South Korea is moving away from its previous position and is now supplying ammunition for Ukraine after all. The Seoul government has reached a “confidential agreement” with Washington to first transfer artillery shells to the United States, from where they will then be delivered to Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Jeon Ha-kyu confirmed that there have been talks with the Pentagon about ammunition exports. However, the WSJ report contains “inaccurate parts”. He declines to give details. South Korea is a major producer of artillery shells. So far, the country has not delivered lethal weapons to Ukraine, citing relations with Russia.

Russian Civil Protection has denied a report of a fire at the Defense Ministry building in Moscow. A civil protection spokesman was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency that the fire crews had not discovered a fire. The state agency had reported a fire on a balcony of the building during the night, citing a representative of the rescue services. Smoke could be seen on the building in a video posted online. There was also talk of a pungent odor in the area in posts on online platforms. Earlier this month, according to Russian sources, two drones were shot down over the Kremlin – the official residence of President Vladimir Putin. Russian authorities blamed Ukraine for this.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Iran to reconsider sending deadly drones to Russia. “What benefit does Iran get from such cynical killing? At Russian hands, but with your guns, your guns… Your shaheds terrorizing Ukraine every night only means that the Iranian people are delving deeper and deeper into the dark side of the history is driven,” says Zelenskyj in his nightly video address. “The simple question is: What is your interest in being an accomplice to Russian terror?”

Iran initially denied supplying the Shahed drones to Russia, but later said it had provided a small number of them before the conflict began. According to Ukrainian information, the air defense systems have so far shot down between 900 and 1,160 of the kamikaze drones.

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