In this live blog you can read the most important developments surrounding the war in Ukraine.
Russia exercises its navy in the Arctic
In northeastern Russia, the Russian Navy has started exercises to protect the sea route in the Arctic, state news agency RIA reports based on the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The exercise involves approximately 10,000 soldiers led by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The training takes place in the waters of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea, among other places.
Exercises include air defense weapons and anti-submarine weapons.
Drone with possible explosive found near Bulgarian coast
An unmanned drone possibly carrying an explosive device has been found on the Black Sea coast near the Bulgarian city of Tyulenovo. It is unclear whether it crashed there or washed up. It is not known which warring party the drone comes from.
Ukraine fires all six deputy defense ministers
Ukraine has fired all six deputy defense ministers, including Hanna Maliar, who regularly provided updates on the Russian invasion. It has not been announced why the six were fired.
Earlier this month, Rustem Umyerov was appointed the new defense minister. He replaced Oleksiy Reznikov, who had been head of that ministry before the war. President Zelensky ordered Umyrov to reduce the ministry’s red tape and increase trust after repeated allegations of corruption.
Ukraine challenges Poland, Hungary and Slovakia for import ban
Ukraine will take Poland, Hungary and Slovakia to court over the import restrictions those countries have imposed on Ukrainian agricultural products. According to the three countries, these restrictions are necessary to protect their own market so that it does not become flooded with Ukrainian foodstuffs.
The European Union agreed with Ukraine on May 2 that the country would not export grains to five EU member states in the region (Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania). These exports were supposed to replace the lost routes across the Black Sea, but the countries feared that their own agricultural markets would be disrupted. The restrictions did not apply to products exported to other countries.
The EU judged that Ukraine had done enough to avoid flooding neighboring countries with cheap grain and therefore the restrictions were not extended. That hurt Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary.
Poland then decided to ban the domestic sale of Ukrainian grain, rapeseed and sunflower seeds. Transit of the products is permitted. An end date for those restrictions has not been mentioned. Slovakia also kept the door closed to grain from Ukraine. Hungary went one step further and blacklisted a total of 24 products. This includes vegetables, meat and honey.
Romania has not yet made a decision. The country says it will extend the restrictions if import requests increase. For the time being, Romania is not seeing an increase in this number.
Two killed in Russian attacks
Two people were killed in Russian airstrikes and shelling in the southern Kherson region last night, Ukrainian authorities said. According to the governor of Kherson, a 72-year-old man and an elderly woman (age unknown) were killed. Three others were injured. No further details are known.
According to the governor, four people were also injured after a drone attack in Beryslav, which is located in the same region. “The occupiers deliberately attacked a busy place,” the governor said. The attack is said to have taken place near a bus station.
There has also been a drone attack in Izmajil, in the far southwest, near the border with Romania, the governor of that region says. It is not known if there is any damage. Grain is normally exported via the rivers in that area. The governor says 11 drones have been destroyed.
And the governor of the neighboring Mykolaiv region says a fire has broken out in an empty building due to falling debris. An explosion is said to have damaged surrounding buildings. It is not clear whether there are any injuries.
The Ukrainian air force says a total of eighteen of the 24 Russian drones have been downed. Seventeen cruise missiles are also said to have been neutralized.
32 countries support Ukraine at the International Court of Justice
This week there are new hearings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the case that Ukraine filed against Russia shortly after the start of the war. Russia wrongly claims that Ukraine is committing genocide in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, Kyiv says. Ukraine, on the other hand, accuses the Russians of wanting to commit genocide on its territory, demands that the war be ended and that Russia pay reparations. Ukraine relies on the 1948 Genocide Convention, which has been ratified by both Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine has the support of 32 countries in the case, including all member states of the European Union (except Hungary), Canada and Australia. In an interim ruling, the court has already ordered Russia to stop the fight in Ukraine, but as is known, Moscow does not comply.
Lawyers for Russia will argue that the court has no jurisdiction to rule in this case. Judges are expected to take weeks and perhaps even months to determine whether the case can proceed. If so, it will likely take years before a final ruling is made.
The International Court of Justice handles legal disputes between countries, in contrast to the International Criminal Court, which is also located in the Netherlands. There, individuals are prosecuted for, among other things, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
High-ranking visitors at NATO naval exercises
The NATO soldiers who are training at sea and in the air off the coast of the Baltic States this month will receive a high-ranking visitor. The deputy inspector of the German Navy and other senior officers, among others, come to see how the more than 3,000 soldiers from fourteen countries work together.
Since September 9, NATO has been training with ships and aircraft in an area not far from the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad. The exercise “Northern Coasts” has been taking place since 2007 at the initiative of the German Navy.
Ukraine releases image of Andriivka ‘recapture’
The Ukrainian army has released these images showing soldiers hanging their flag in what is believed to be the village of Andriivka. Russia has so far denied the recapture. The village in the images has been completely destroyed.
Ukraine claims reconquest of village in the east
The Ukrainian army has recaptured the village of Klishchiivka south of Bachmut from the Russians. A senior Ukrainian army official reported this on Telegram. He says the town in the east of the country has been “cleared of the Russians and liberated.”
President Zelensky also reports that Klishchiivka is back in Ukrainian hands. He thanks on X “our fighters for liberating our country”. And the Ukrainian Minister of the Interior also says that the village has been recaptured.
The information cannot be independently verified. The army reported on Friday a “partial success” in the village, which had about 400 inhabitants before the war. Klishchiivka is located about six kilometers south of Bachmut.
There has been a fierce battle between Russia and Ukraine in the villages around Bachmut for some time.
Welcome to the new blog with the most important developments surrounding the war in Ukraine. Want to read last week’s blog again? That’s possible here.