Day 449: Ukraine shoots down 29 out of 30 missiles launched by Russia overnight

Russia launches another barrage of missiles at Ukraine. Ukrainian troops conduct successful counterattacks on the western outskirts of Bakhmut. NATO defense ministers will discuss supplying Western fighter jets to Ukraine at talks in June, NATO’s Stoltenberg says.

Ukrainian air defenses shoot down 29 out of 30 missiles Russia launches overnight at Ukraine

On the night of May 18, an air raid alert was declared in most of Ukraine, as Russia launched another barrage of missiles against the country. Explosions rocked Kyiv and several other cities on Thursday. 

Russia targeted the capital for the ninth time this month. 

“A series of air attacks on Kyiv, unprecedented in their power, intensity and variety, continues,” the Kyiv city military administration said. After missile launches, Russia deployed reconnaissance drones over the Ukrainian capital.

Ukraine’s air defenses shot down 29 of 30 missiles launched by Russia in overnight air strikes. Russia used Kalibr, Iskander, and Kh-101/Kh-555 missiles in the attack. 

The missile strike hit an industrial site in Odesa region, killing one person and injuring two others, and an infrastructure facility in Khmelnytskyi. It was not immediately clear if they were damaged by an actual missile strike or falling debris.

Russian forces launched two attack drones and two reconnaissance drones to capture the consequences of missile strikes, first deputy head of the Kyiv city state administration Mykola Povoroznyk told RFE/RL. 

“A drone was launched to show the consequences of the missile strikes. They monitor the situation after an attack, but the drone was shot down. [Missile] debris fell on three Kyiv districts on the left bank of the Dnipro River — Dniprovskyi, Darnytskyi, and Desnyanskyi districts. There was no considerable damage,” Povoroznyk said.

A Patriot air defense missile system is operational, and it was possibly even used to fend off the overnight attack, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force Command Colonel Yuriy Ihnat said.

“As I said yesterday, it is unrealistic to destroy a Patriot battery with a Kinzhal missile. If it had sustained damage, it will be fixed. The Patriot system is operational. It has possibly even been at work last night,” Ihnat said on television Thursday. He also expressed surprise at the same-day coverage of the system’s possible damage provided by the U.S. media. “Guided by NATO standards, we decline to comment in real time. (…) We did not comment on it throughout the day,” Ihnat added. 

Ukrainian troops conduct successful counterattacks on western outskirts of Bakhmut

Ukrainian troops are on the offensive on the western outskirts of Bakhmut, gaining land — a foothold for further counteroffensive, the 3rd separate assault brigade said on Thursday, May 18.

The brigade said on Telegram that its fighters broke through the Russian defenses and gained land that is two kilometers wide and 700 meters deep. At least 50 Russian troops were killed, up to 100 wounded, and four taken captive, they said. Ukrainian troops have also significantly cut into the enemy’s reserves in the area, including several ammunition depots, the brigade said. 

On May 18, spokesperson for the Eastern Military Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Colonel Serhiy Cherevatyi said that over the past day, Ukrainian troops had advanced up to 1,700 meters in Bakhmut area.

NATO defense ministers to discuss supplying Western fighter jets to Ukraine at talks in June, Stoltenberg says

Defense ministers of NATO countries will discuss a possible transfer of Western fighter jets to Ukraine at their meeting in June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with the Spiegel magazine. 

Some countries, like Poland and Slovakia had sent Soviet-made MiG-29 jets to Ukraine, Stoltenberg said.

The allies constantly discuss internally and with Ukraine if it needs modern Western fighter jets, Stoltenberg added. He said he expects that NATO defense ministers will also discuss it at a meeting in June.

In the event of a positive decision on Western fighter jets for Ukraine, the country will also need a large amount of ammunition and spare parts, and round-the-clock aircraft maintenance, Stoltenberg is quoted as saying.

Yuriy Sak, an adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov, earlier said that Ukraine wants between 40 to 50 F-16s in total, forming three or four squadrons to defend its skies from Russian bombardments.

On May 16, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that several countries are ready to send fighter jets to Ukraine as part of a coalition. The UK will begin to train Ukrainian pilots this summer, and France is also ready to do so. 

The U.S. will need to greenlight the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine, Kuleba added.

Special significance behind Vyshyvanka Day amidst war. Ukraine in Flames #434

In the culture of almost any nation there are things that clearly reflect its special national tradition. Vyshyvanka is a vivid example and confirmation of this and it occupies a special place in the culture of Ukraine. It has long been believed that a shirt embroidered with colored threads and decorated with patterns brought success and served as a talisman for the owner. Vyshyvanka Day is a relatively young holiday. It began to be celebrated only in 2006, but during this time it became very popular, moreover, not only here in Ukraine, but also abroad. Watch Ukraine in flames #434 to find out about Vyshyvanka Day, its special significance when russia continues a full-scale war against Ukraine and how wearing a vyshyvanka is a symbol of unbreakable Ukrainian spirit. 


  • Natalia Petrova, PhD in History, Associate Professor of the Faculty of History and Philosophy at Odesa Mechnykov National University
  • Tetiana Zez, Head of the NGO “Embroidery in the Clothes of Prominent Ukrainians”