Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
(Reuters) – Explosions erupted overnight near military bases deep within Russian-held areas of Ukraine and in Russia itself, an apparent display of Kyiv’s growing ability to wreak havoc on Moscow’s logistics far from front lines.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that shelling of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which he blamed on Kyiv, could result in a large-scale disaster. According to Macron’s office, Putin agreed to an International Atomic Energy Agency mission to the plant.
* Russia has submitted a letter to the United Nations Security Council warning of planned “provocations” by Ukraine at the Zaporizhzia plant, TASS reported citing a diplomat.
* President Joe Biden’s latest security assistance package for Ukraine includes surveillance drones and for the first time mine-resistant vehicles, according to a senior U.S. defense official said.
* At least four explosions hit an area near the Russian Belbek military airport north of Sevastopol in annexed Crimea on Thursday, three local sources said, but a pro-Moscow official said no damage had been done.
* Seventeen people were killed and 42 wounded in two separate Russian attacks on the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, the regional governor said on Thursday while five rockets hit the city early on Friday killing at least one person, he said.
* The residents of two villages in southern Russia near the Ukrainian border were evacuated after a nearby ammunition storage depot caught fire but no one was hurt, an official said.
* Blasts at the Saky air base in the annexed Crimean peninsula earlier this month have put more than half of the Russian Black Sea fleet’s naval aviation combat jets out of use, a Western official said.
* Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is set to receive 12 new vessels alongside additional aviation and land-based vehicles in 2022, newly appointed commander Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov said on Friday, state-owned TASS news agency reported.
* Reuters could not confirm battlefield reports independently.
* Ukraine’s economy could contract 35-40% by the end of the year, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said on Friday. The country’s economic output shrunk by over 15% in the first quarter.
* A panel of investors determined Ukraine’s two-year sovereign debt freeze agreed with creditors last week, justified payment of default insurance known as Credit Default Swap (CDS).
(Compiled by Tomasz Janowski)