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Russia-Ukraine war live: Russian ministry of defence says Ukraine made unsuccessful attack on Black Sea fleet reconnaissance ship | Ukraine

Russian ministry of defence: Ukraine made unsuccessful attack on Black Sea fleet reconnaissance ship

Russia’s ministry of defence has said that Ukraine mounted an unsuccessful drone attack on one of its Black Sea fleet ships, the Ivan Khurs.

In a statement it said:

Today at 05:30am, the Ukrainian armed forces made an unsuccessful attempt to attack the Ivan Khurs ship of the Black Sea fleet with three unmanned speedboats. [The Ivan Khurs] is performing tasks to ensure the safety of the operation of the Turkish Stream and Blue Stream gas pipelines in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Turkey.

All enemy boats were destroyed by fire from the standard armament of a Russian ship 140km northeast of the Bosphorus. The ship Ivan Khurs of the Black Sea fleet continues to fulfill its tasks.

The Ivan Khurs is a reconnaissance ship.

Key events

Ukraine’s main Orthodox church said on Wednesday it had decided to switch to a calendar in which Christmas is celebrated on 25 December, a move that distances it from Russia.

Ukrainian Christians, a majority of whom are Orthodox, have traditionally celebrated Christmas on 7 January alongside other predominantly Orthodox Christian countries.

“This question arose with new impetus as a result of Russian aggression,” the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) wrote in a Facebook post announcing the change away from the Julian calendar.

“Nowadays, the Julian calendar is perceived as connected with Russian church culture,” it said.

Ukraine’s main Catholic church, which considers about one in 10 Ukrainians to be worshippers, announced a similar change in February.

Reuters reports the OCU said it would use the revised Julian calendar from 1 September, the start of the liturgical year. It said parishes would have the option to celebrate according to the old Julian calendar if they wished.

Russian ministry of defence: Ukraine made unsuccessful attack on Black Sea fleet reconnaissance ship

Russia’s ministry of defence has said that Ukraine mounted an unsuccessful drone attack on one of its Black Sea fleet ships, the Ivan Khurs.

In a statement it said:

Today at 05:30am, the Ukrainian armed forces made an unsuccessful attempt to attack the Ivan Khurs ship of the Black Sea fleet with three unmanned speedboats. [The Ivan Khurs] is performing tasks to ensure the safety of the operation of the Turkish Stream and Blue Stream gas pipelines in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Turkey.

All enemy boats were destroyed by fire from the standard armament of a Russian ship 140km northeast of the Bosphorus. The ship Ivan Khurs of the Black Sea fleet continues to fulfill its tasks.

The Ivan Khurs is a reconnaissance ship.

Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service, has accused Washington and London of thwarting efforts to reach a settlement over the conflict in Ukraine and of turning a blind eye to what he said was increasing “terrorism and violence” visited on civilians by Ukraine.

Reuters reports that in remarks at a security forum outside Moscow attended by foreign security officials, Naryshkin expressed satisfaction that most countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America had not imposed sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, despite what he called colossal pressure to do so from Washington.

He also accused what he called the “Euro-Atlantic elite” of refusing to voluntarily surrender their leadership while doing everything they could to stop what he called alternative centres of power from rising.

“Turbulent periods are essentially a test of the extent to which nations and peoples have preserved their true foundations,” said Naryshkin. “Our countries, unlike the west, have preserved a significant margin of strength and strategic depth in this respect,” he said.

“I mean a connection with the spiritual dimension of existence, traditions which in the US and Europe long ago gave way to positivism, the cult of material success and outright satanism,” said Naryshkin.

Stoltenburg says Ukraine joining Nato during the war ‘not on the agenda’

Ukraine will not be able to join Nato as long as the war is going on, the alliance’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Wednesday.

“I think that everyone realised that, to become a member in the midst of a war, is not on the agenda,” Reuters reports he said at an event organised by the German Marshall Fund of the US in Brussels. “The issue is what happens when the war ends.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to attend the next Nato summit in person in Vilnius in July, and has previously said that it would be a timely moment for a political statement about the prospect of Ukraine’s Nato membership.

Suspilne, Ukraine’s state broadcaster, reports that the police evacuated a family of four children and three adults from Toretsk in Donetsk after the latest round of shelling. The children’s mother says that they have already come under fire five times and run under mines.

Suspilne says they lived 300 metres from the frontline and about 800 metres from the positions of the Russian army, but now plan to go to stay with relatives in Vinnytsia.

There are an estimated 5.4 million people who have been internally displaced in Ukraine, and the UN has recorded 8.2 million people who have fled the country to other European countries.

The first of three Russian hypersonic missile scientists to be arrested on suspicion of treason will go on trial next week, the court handling the case said on Wednesday.

The criminal case against Anatoly Maslov, 76, will open in St Petersburg’s city court on 1 June, the court said on its website.

He and two colleagues at the same Siberian institute, the Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM), have all been arrested on suspicion of treason in the past year.

The case is marked as “top secret” and will be closed to the media and public, the court said. It said Maslov’s custody was extended until 10 November in a closed hearing on Wednesday.

Maslov was detained last June in Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia and one of Russia’s main science hubs.

Maslov’s lawyer Olga Dinze told Reuters that she declined to comment on the case, saying that “the situation is extremely difficult.”

Details of the accusations against the three men are classified, but the news portal of the science city where they are based said Maslov was suspected of handing secrets to China.

Two sources have told Reuters that Shiplyuk, the director of ITAM, is suspected of passing secrets to China at a conference there in 2017. They said he denies the charge, saying the information in question was publicly available online.

Prigozhin says Wagner group lost 10,000 fighters in battle for Bakhmut

Russian private army Wagner lost more than 10,000 fighters in the drawn-out battle for Bakhmut, according to the group’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

He said about 20% of the 50,000 Russian prisoners recruited to fight in the 15-month war died in the eastern Ukrainian city, Reuters reported.

The figure was in stark contrast with claims from Moscow that it has lost just over 6,000 troops in the war, and is higher than the official estimate of the Soviet losses in the Afghanistan war of 15,000 troops between 1979 and 1989.

Ukraine has not said how many of its soldiers have died since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

This post was amended on 24 May 2023 to correct the number of Wagner group fatalities cited by Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Japan held a ceremony on Wednesday marking its planned donation of about 100 military vehicles to Ukraine, as Tokyo seeks to provide equipment that can be of broader military use than its earlier shipments of helmets and hazmat suits.

In a ceremony at the defence ministry at which two half-tonne trucks were on display, Japanese vice-defence minister, Toshiro Ino, handed a document to Ukrainian ambassador, Sergiy Korsunsky, listing the three types of vehicles included in the donation, AP reports.

“We hope the invasion ends as soon as possible and peaceful daily lives return,” Ino said. “We will provide as much support as we can.”

The donation, which also includes 30,000 food rations, comes as Japan’s government is seeking to ease its military equipment transfer policy under a new national security policy that allows its military a greater offensive role, in a major break from its post-second world war self-defence-only principle.

While other countries have provided Ukraine with tanks, missiles and fighter jets, Japan has limited its donations to non-lethal equipment because the transfer policy prohibits the provision of lethal weapons to countries at war.

Japan has provided Ukraine with bulletproof vests, helmets, gas masks, hazmat suits, small drones and food rations since Russia’s invasion began last year.

Lisa O’Carroll

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expects to spend €1.5bn (£1.3bn) in Ukraine next year in support of infrastructure and the economy, a senior source at the bank has said.

It comes on top of €3bn already projected for 2022 and the remainder of 2023.

The funds have helped the economy continue to function, ensure there was no run on banks and civil servants continued to be paid.

Last year the bank, which is founded in 1991 as a post cold-war era institution to support eastern Europe, deployed €1.7bn with significant expenditure on rebuilding gas and rail networks.

It also helps Ukraine with the government payroll and making loans available to SMEs to ensure the economy bounced back after the invasion by Russia last February.

“The Ukraine economy has proved very resilient. Everything is functioning. Banks are functioning, there has been no bank run. There was a huge shock at the beginning with a minus 30% [in GDP]. But not the situation has stabilised. This resilience is due to the amazing resilience of the people and their capacity to find a solution and continue doing their business and relocate and so forth. So very very impressive,” said Odile Renaud-Basso, president of the bank.

The World Bank has estimated that it will take €11bn for critical and priority reconstruction and recovery investments in 2023.

WHO condemns Russia’s aggression in Ukraine

The World Health Organization assembly passed a motion on Wednesday condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, including attacks on healthcare facilities.

The motion passed by 80 votes to 9, with 52 abstentions and 36 countries absent, Reuters reported.

The western-led motion, put forward at the UN agency’s annual meeting, also called for an assessment of the impact of Russia’s aggression on the health sector.

There was no immediate reaction from Russia, although it had submitted a counter-proposal recognising the health emergency in Ukraine, but making no mention of its own role in the war.

That motion was rejected by the assembly immediately after the first, by 62 votes to 13, with 61 abstentions and 41 countries absent.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that reports that pro-Ukrainian fighters who crossed into Russia earlier this week had used western-made military hardware were consistent with the west’s growing involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it was no secret that the Ukrainian armed forces were receiving more and more equipment from the west.

The Russian military said on Tuesday it had routed militants who attacked a Russian border region with armoured vehicles the previous day, killing more than 70 “Ukrainian nationalists” and pushing the remainder back into Ukraine.

Images of some of the destroyed vehicles broadcast on Russian state media showed US-made military hardware.

Summary of the day so far …

  • Russia’s prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, is in Beijing, where, ahead of signing bilateral agreements with China, he said: “Today, relations between Russia and china are at an unprecedented high level”. He said Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia in March was further evidence of the “special” nature of bilateral relations between the two countries. It is expected that Vladimir Putin will visit China later this year.

  • Nine people remain in hospital, utility supplies continue to be disrupted, and over 500 people remain displaced after the cross-border incursion into Belgorod by anti-Russian partisans on Monday, according to Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Russian region.

  • Gladkov also announced two more incidents, stating a drone attack over Novaya Tavolzhanka failed when the explosive device dropped did not detonate, and that shelling in Terezovka has injured one person who has been hospitalised as a result.

  • Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass is reporting some quotes from Denis Pushilin, Russian-imposed leader in occupied Donetsk, who has said that the situation for Russian forces on the flanks of Bakhmut has stabilised.

  • The Russian-built Crimea Bridge linking the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula to the Russian region of Krasnodar was reopened on Wednesday after being closed for several hours for “exercises”, an official from Crimea’s Russian-imposed administration said.

  • Suspilne, Ukraine’s state broadcaster, reports that 2,000 people have been left without electricity in Putyvl in Sumy oblast. It cites the regional energy authority claiming it was due to Russian shelling.

  • The chief executive of Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy business, Rosatom, discussed security at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi. Alexey Likhachev was attending a meeting in Beijing.

  • Older people have suffered and died at a disproportionately high rate since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a UN report showed on Wednesday, with some perishing because they were barred from fetching medicines or leaving basements. The report compiled by UN human rights monitors showed that about a third of the civilians killed in the first year of the war were over 60. The UN found older people were hit exceptionally hard by power outages due to Russian attacks on critical infrastructure trapped many in their upstairs apartments. Others had to be evacuated in haste, sometimes in wheelbarrows because there was no time to fetch their mobility devices. Many were left behind.

  • Poland’s defence minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, said on Wednesday his country is plannning to launch a submarine purchase programme this year.

  • US popular support for Washington’s backing of Ukraine has faded a little but remains widespread, a survey by the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and Norc shows.

  • UK prime minister Rishi Sunak has told a defence conference in London that Ukraine’s western allies are prepared to support the country in the war “for years”, the FT reports.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2023/may/24/russia-ukraine-war-live-beijing-and-moscow-to-cooperate-at-new-level-west-prepared-to-support-kyiv-for-years-says-sunak Russia-Ukraine war live: Russian ministry of defence says Ukraine made unsuccessful attack on Black Sea fleet reconnaissance ship | Ukraine

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