Zelenskyi’s tour of European capitals yields weapons pledges. What’s happening on the frontline in Bakhmut and in the south. Russian strikes kill civilians in Kharkiv region.
Zelenskyi’s visits to Rome, Berlin, Paris, and London yield weapons pledges
Important decisions on defense support for Ukraine were made during President Zelenskyi’s recent visits to Italy, Germany, France and the UK, Zelenskyi told a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, as quoted by the Office of the President of Ukraine.
According to Zelenskyi, a priority of his tour of European capitals was to secure support ahead of a counteroffensive designed to liberate areas occupied by Russia.
“I had very good meetings with Giorgia [Meloni], Olaf [Scholz], and Emmanuel [Macron], and today, in the United Kingdom [with Rishi Sunak]. Really important, powerful defense packages. That’s what it is, that’s what the agreements are,” the Ukrainian President said.
He also said the leaders discussed preparations for the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan later this week.
“Each country’s position is very important, and it is important that they share a unified position,” Zelenskyi added.
A fighter jet coalition for Ukraine and preparations for a NATO summit in Vilnius were high on the agenda of the talks, Zelenskyi said.
On April 16, La Repubblica said that Italy had already sent to Ukraine at least 30 M109L self-propelled howitzers and they were already deployed on the battlefield.
On May 13, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak said that the German government was preparing a new EUR 2.7 billion package of weapons for Ukraine. It is Germany’s largest arms delivery to Ukraine since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country. The new package will include tanks, reconnaissance drones, and new air defense systems.
France will send “dozens” of armored vehicles and AMX-10RC tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks. The news surfaced as President Zelenskyi met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on May 13.
Speaking in the House of Commons on May 11, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that “all our [Challenger 2] tanks have gone into the country [Ukraine].”
Sunak’s spokesperson confirmed again that Britain had no plans to send fighter jets directly to Ukraine.
“The Ukrainians made the decision to train their pilots on F-16s and you will know the Royal Air Force don’t use those,” he said.
On the day of Zelenskyi’s visit, Britain said it would begin basic training of Ukrainian pilots this summer. It also said it was working with some allies on efforts to send F-16s to Ukraine.
What’s happening on frontline in Bakhmut, in south
Ukrainian troops continue to put pressure on Russian forces in Bakhmut. The Ukrainians advance in the area, demonstrating the “first success of the offensive” during a defense operation in Bakhmut, Commander of Ukraine’s ground forces Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said, as quoted by the Military Media Center. He added: “This is only a partial success. And this is how it should be perceived. The operation to defend Bakhmut continues.”
The situation in and around Bakhmut is “extremely difficult”, as Russia is sending airborne assault units to the outskirts of the city, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said. “Despite everything, our troops have managed to advance for several days,” she said on Telegram.
Meanwhile in the south, 150,000 Russian troops brace for defense. As of May 15, about 152,000 Russian troops continue to be deployed to the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, a representative of the Main Intelligence Department of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Andriy Chernyak told RBC Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s defense intelligence, Russia does not withdraw combat units from these areas. Instead, Russian forces move civilians out of frontline towns under the pretext of evacuation and loot “everything they can”. In Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, Russian forces prepare for defense, bolstering fortifications and making new ones, Chernyak said.
Russian artillery strike on Kharkin region kills two, injures one
A Russian artillery strike on Kharkiv region on May 15 killed two people and injured one other person. Head of the Kharkiv regional military administration Oleh Synehubov said on Telegram: “The enemy once again attacked the town of Dvorichna near the front line in Kupyansk district, killing two people — a woman and man, both age 65. My sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of those killed.”
A 52-year-old man was wounded by shrapnel. He is in hospital.
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