The Ukraine Update: Lavrov Accuses West of ‘Total Hybrid War’: What Happened Today
Russia’s Foreign Minister once again uses martial words and concepts from the Second World War. Ukraine reports successes around Kharkiv. And Finland and Sweden are about to join NATO. What happened today in the Ukraine war.
The Ukraine update: what happened today
- Lavrov accuses West of ‘total hybrid war’
The Russian leadership has again criticized the actions of the West with terms from the Second World War. “The collective West has declared total hybrid war on us and it is difficult to predict how long this will last, but it is clear that the consequences will be felt by everyone without exception,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to the Interfax news agency on Saturday at a meeting of the Kremlin’s “Council for Foreign and Security Policy” in Moscow.
Russia has done everything possible to avoid a direct confrontation, but accept the challenge now, after all the country is used to sanctions, Lavrov explained. He criticized a “stone-age outbreak of Russophobia” in the West.
- Syria general is said to be responsible for the use of cluster bombs in Kharkiv
At the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Putin’s troops repeatedly used cluster munitions when shelling the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Research by the US television channel “CNN” has now been able to assign the use of the shrapnel to a specific brigade of the Russian army – and thus also to its commander. Accordingly, the Syria veteran General Alexander Zhuravlev is responsible for it. He gave the order to use – and thus repeated his tactics from Syria.
- Heavy fighting continued in eastern Ukraine – but little movement
According to Ukrainian information, the Russian armed forces have continued their attacks in the east of the country without being able to gain any significant ground. “The occupiers are maintaining the greatest activity in the Slobozhanske and Donetsk areas,” said the General Staff in its evening situation report on Saturday.
Accordingly, the Russian troops are preparing attacks on the cities of Sievjerodonetsk, Soledar and Bakhmut and have transferred two more tactical battalions to the front. With the help of artillery and air support, the enemy would storm Ukrainian positions. “He has had partial success in Avdiivka,” it says. The city is considered a Ukrainian fortress and has been stormed by the Russians since the beginning of the war without success.
In the Kharkiv region in north-eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops were recently able to partially advance to the border, the Russians are now concentrating their efforts on maintaining their own defensive positions and controlling the most important communication routes, it is said. According to the governor, the Russian troops suffered heavy losses of soldiers and equipment. From intercepted telephone conversations, the Ukrainian side learned “that an entire Russian battalion refused to attack because they saw what was happening.”
- Finland’s and Sweden’s entry into NATO is approaching – with discordant tones
Finland’s possible NATO membership has cleared the next hurdle, but at the same time it is causing discord within the alliance. After President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Marin’s Social Democrats in Finland also spoke out in favor of their country’s NATO membership on Saturday. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) was irritated by statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday. In her view, any democratic country should be pleased if democracies with strong defense capabilities made the common alliance stronger. The day before, Erdogan had declared that he had “no positive opinion” about Finland’s and Sweden’s possible NATO membership. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu nevertheless signaled a willingness to talk.
- Putin criticizes Finnish plans to join NATO
In a phone call with Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin described Helsinki’s planned NATO membership as a mistake. Russia does not pose a threat to the neighboring country, Putin emphasized during the talks, according to the Kremlin. Finland’s move away from traditional neutrality will worsen what has been good neighborly relations, he warned.
The Ukraine update: what happened on the night of May 14th
- Zelenskyj calls for more help from the West and calls for “much more pressure on Russia”
Almost two and a half months after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for even more pressure from the international community on Moscow. “With each day of war, global threats increase, there is a new opportunity for Russia to provoke instability in other parts of the world, not only here in Europe,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Friday evening. Meanwhile, however, die in Ukraine Men and women “who are doing their best so that all people can live freely,” said Zelenskyy, “so much more pressure on Russia is needed.”
Despite the clear situation, there are countries in which sanctions against Moscow are being withheld or aid for Ukraine is being blocked, Zelenskyy criticized. However, he did not specifically name a country. It is now known that Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports and the war as a whole have provoked a major food crisis. “And Russian officials are also openly threatening the world that there will be starvation in dozens of countries.”
“In fact, today nobody can predict how long this war will last,” said Zelenskyy. “But we are doing everything to liberate our country quickly. To do this, Ukraine needs the help of its partners, “from European countries, from countries of the whole free world”.
The head of the Ukrainian military intelligence service, on the other hand, predicted in an extremely optimistic sounding prognosis that the war would end with a Russian defeat by the end of the year. There will be a turnaround on the fronts by mid-August at the latest, Major General Kyrylo Budanov told the British broadcaster Sky News.
“The turning point will come in the second half of August.” By the end of the year, Ukraine would regain control of all its territories, including the Crimean Peninsula. Budanov also expected major changes in the Kremlin. In his view, it was a coup against Russian President Vladimir Putin already underway, but he has not provided any evidence to support his claims.
The secret service official denied that the Russian armed forces were often said to be strong. “It’s a myth.” They are not strong. “It’s just a horde of people with guns,” he said of the Russian army.
- Kiev’s presidential adviser: Russia’s army and economy are shaking
According to Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych, Russia’s army and economy are on shaky ground. According to the Unian agency, Arestovych said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s image of the “invincible second-largest army in the world” had already turned out to be “fake”. The reality of the past few weeks has shown a real picture of the combat capability of the Russian army: “It threatened to dismantle NATO, but has already failed at two villages in the Sumy region (in north-eastern Ukraine).”
At the same time, Zelenskyy’s advisor predicted what he believed to be the impending collapse of the Russian economy in the summer. “Any attempt to negotiate with the West will fail,” said Arestovych. This will make itself felt in July or August at the latest in the event of a possible mobilization. He questioned whether the Russian economy could withstand this pressure. “There can be no healthy economy in a country where everything else is rotten.”
- Kyiv sees “third phase” of war
The Ukrainian leadership sees the beginning of the “third phase” of the Russian war of aggression and a protracted struggle associated with it. “Phase one” was an attempt to overrun Ukraine “in a few days,” said Viktor Andrusyw, adviser in the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, on television on Saturday night. In the second phase, the Ukrainian forces were to be encircled and crushed in several boilers. “And they didn’t manage that either.”
In the new “third phase” the Russian military prepared to defend the territory gained so far. “It shows that they want to make a long war out of it,” Andrusyw said. Apparently, the Russian government thinks that it can force the West to the negotiating table and thus force Ukraine to give in.
- Negotiations for Azovstal defenders difficult
According to Kiev, the negotiations about a possible free withdrawal or partial withdrawal of the Ukrainian soldiers who were surrounded at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol are “extremely difficult”. That said the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereschuk, who is responsible for the talks, as reported by the Unian agency. “I share the fear and concern of those close to the fort’s defenders,” she said. But there is war. “And no miracles happen in war, there are only bitter realities.” Therefore, in this case, only a “sober and pragmatic approach” will help.
For days, Vereshchuk, with the help of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, has been trying to talk to the Russian side about a possible way out for the Ukrainian troops holed up in the steelworks in the port city of Mariupol. “But negotiations with the enemy are extremely difficult,” she said. “The outcome may not please everyone.”
Turkey has also gotten involved in the negotiations for the defenders of Azovstal. The Russian military has so far refused any concessions and is demanding the surrender of the entrenched Ukrainians. According to inaccurate estimates, around 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are still in the sprawling plant, many of them wounded. The majority of them belong to the “Azov” regiment, which Russians classify as nationalist and right-wing extremist.
In a video conference with Kyiv, the deputy commander of the Azov regiment reported that his unit had “destroyed” about 6,000 Russian soldiers so far. “In addition, 78 tanks and about 100 armored vehicles,” said Sviatoslav Palamar.” The information could not be independently verified.
Another member of the regiment, David Chimik, reported heavy fighting around the steelworks. Nevertheless, he was optimistic. “We do not think about becoming martyrs, we are fighting for our lives and waiting for support,” Chimik was quoted as saying by Ukrajinska Pravda.
- Finland’s ruling party announced its stance on joining NATO on Saturday
A few hours after the end of the G7 consultations on the Baltic Sea, a meeting of NATO foreign ministers begins in Berlin. The focus should again be on the Russian war in Ukraine and the question of Finland and Sweden becoming NATO members quickly.
In Finland, the social-democratic governing party wants to announce on Saturday what it thinks about a possible NATO membership. Following the positioning of Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinistö in favor of NATO membership, the Social Democrats are also likely to be in favor of joining. Then there would be a clear majority in Parliament for the path to NATO.
Also read:The Ukraine update of May 13th
Ex-mercenary reveals what’s going on in Putin’s “Group Wagner”.
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