Date—May 17, 2022

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1. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said that 53 seriously wounded defenders of Mariupol were taken to the medical institution of occupied Novoazovsk for treatment, and another 211 were evacuated to occupied Olenivka through the humanitarian corridor. Later, they will return to the territory controlled by Ukraine through an exchange procedure. Measures are underway to rescue the fighters who remain on the territory of the Azovstal plant. A statement from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook said that the commanders of the units stationed in Azovstal had received an order from the top military leadership to save the lives of personnel. “Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time. They are forever in history. This is a separate detachment of special purpose Azov, the 12th brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine, the 36th separate brigade of the Marines, border guards, police, volunteers, and the defense of Mariupol. Holding positions on Azovstal, they did not allow the enemy to transfer groups of up to 17 battalion tactical groups (about 20,000 personnel) to other areas. Thus, they hindered the implementation of the plan to quickly capture Zaporizhia, reach the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhia regions and create conditions for the environment of the group, “the General Staff said. President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said in an evening address that thanks to the efforts of the Armed Forces, intelligence, the negotiating team, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the United Nations, there is hope that the lives of Mariupol defenders, including the seriously wounded, will be saved. I want to emphasize that Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle. I think every adequate person will understand these words. The operation to save the defenders of Mariupol has begun… To bring the boys home, work is underway, it needs delicacy and time, “the head of state said. (Source: NV).


1. Gaidai: During the storming of the Girske Community in the Luhansk region, the Russians were forced to withdraw. The occupiers were also beaten out in the Sirotyne area near Severodonetsk. “The losses of the enemy are numerous,” said the head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration. (Source: Telegram).


1. Pentagon: American 155-mm M777 howitzers, delivered to Ukraine as part of US military aid to counter the Russian invasion, allow the Armed Forces to intensify its counteroffensive. “You can already see how the Ukrainians can go on the counterattack. In the Donbas, they returned several cities that the Russians had captured earlier. And in Kharkiv, this is a great example of what they are doing more than just defending the city. Now they are displacing the Russians to the east and north, and we believe that this is especially influenced by howitzers, especially in Kharkiv,” said a Pentagon official, noting that the counteroffensive of Ukrainian troops received a “new impetus.” According to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov, currently, 74 out of 90 American howitzers that allow long-range fire from closed positions are already involved in hostilities. (Source: NV).

2. Grozev: I think the informed elite within the security forces understand that the war is lost. The war was framed doctrinally as something that had to be ended within one week. Now what is happening is some kind of “second” war. The chances of winning a “second” war are not guaranteed. We see forecasts that cannot be called optimistic from the Russian point of view, those who are informed. Telegram channels of mercenaries, “Wagnerites” and others criticize the lack of strategy, and tactical abilities of the generals, and of the General Staff. The security elite understands that there is very little chance of winning this war without mobilization and the social explosion that will follow it. Putin does not formally mobilize due to a social explosion. There is pessimism among the security forces about how to get out of this. Therefore, I think that such a scenario is quite possible. Of course, this scenario may also come from that part of the security forces who want the war to be tougher so that there are no ethical obstacles to the use of chemical or nuclear weapons. Or maybe from another part of the security forces who believe that “enough, we have already tried once, it is better not to waste another 10 thousand lives of our soldiers and officers” <…> The most protest potential is among the most informed security officials. We can call it the “intellectual part of the GRU”: people who really have complete information. And also the FSB elite, which knows the specific number of victims among the Russian troops, knows that the mothers, wives, and sisters of the dead, or missing Russian soldiers do not stop asking questions. They know that this situation will someday get out of hand. These are those parts of the security forces who know the dangers for the regime, and they themselves are now preparing for their future. Some of them are looking for an opportunity to take their families out of Russia, all are looking for ways to transfer the accumulated money (corruption money in many cases) into dollars and euros. This is already a kind of betrayal of these people, because they do not follow the ideological orders of the Kremlin, but are preparing for an alternative reality. (Source: Svoboda).

Economy, Social life, and Culture

1. Hetmantsev: An Advisory Council under the National Council for the Restoration of Ukraine from the Consequences of War has been established in Ukraine. According to him, the Advisory Board includes world-renowned experts in economics. Currently, Ukraine estimates the cost of economic and infrastructure recovery at $ 600 billion. These are Yuriy Gorodnichenko (Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley), Tymofiy Milovanov (President of the Kyiv School of Economics, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh), Francis Fukuyama (Stanford University Professor, International Policy Director ), Michael McFaul (Professor of Political Science, Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University), Matteo Patrone (EBRD Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus), Arup Banerjee (World Bank Regional Director for Eastern Europe), Vladislav Rashkovan (Deputy Executive Director of Ukraine to the IMF), Ivan Miklos (former Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Economy in the Governments of Slovakia), Yuriy Vitrenko (Chairman of the Board of Naftogaz of Ukraine). “The second news is that the work of the National Council will be accompanied by a company from the top 3 global companies in strategic consulting,” added Danilo Getmantsev, chairman of the parliamentary committee on finance, tax, and customs policy. (Source: Telegram).

2. Ukrainian authorities seized the assets of Russian businessman, co-founder of Alfa-Bank Mikhail Fridman. We are talking about securities of Cypriot companies worth $420 million. This time, according to Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova, “securities of Cypriot companies affiliated with a businessman that was on accounts” in the Ukrainian Alfa-Bank were arrested. At the end of April, the Prosecutor General spoke about the arrest of Friedman’s assets in the amount of more than $15.5 million. He kept this money in one of the large banks, which was not specified. Friedman and other businessmen used this bank to legalize the assets of Cypriot companies totaling about $33 million. Mikhail Fridman was among the first to fall under the sanctions that the West began to impose against Russia at the end of February due to the military operation in Ukraine. Because of this, in March, he, along with Peter Aven, left the board of directors of Alfa Bank he founded. Friedman, who now lives in London, said that he must ask the British government for permission to spend money due to the blocking of accounts. He is allowed to spend no more than $ 3,300 per month, so he could not even afford to pay for the work of a cleaning lady. The billionaire also complained that because of the sanctions he feels almost under house arrest. According to him, he now does not have the opportunity to invite someone to a restaurant, so he has to eat at home. (Source: SF).

3. In Ukrainian Kherson, captured by the Russian army, as in Melitopol earlier, they are trying to open shops with prices in rubles – according to Ukrainian media, entrepreneurs are basically sabotaging the initiative of the occupying forces. British intelligence says in a new report that the establishment of a pro-Russian administration in Kherson only highlights the failure of Russia’s political goals in Ukraine. At the end of last week, statements about the Kherson region began to be heard from the lips of high Russian officials: Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko said that the decision on the status of the Kherson region would be made by the residents themselves, and Russia would definitely agree with this decision. Meanwhile, residents of the city are exchanging information about where the Russian military has set up another checkpoint and how not to get to the “filtration base”, trying to leave for Georgia through the Russian-annexed Crimea, and every night they hear explosions and machine gunfire. What is happening in Kherson, which has been occupied and resisted since the first days of the war, said Yuriy Sobolevsky, First Deputy Head of the Kherson Regional Council: “They continue to clean up both the city of Kherson and the region from people who, in their opinion, pose a danger to them < …> Now they are tightening the screws as much as possible, trying to form a regional vertical of occupation power, recruiting collaborators who are ready to take positions in fake administrations, but they also have a big problem with this, because people who could and are able to do this, they the vast majority do not want to have anything to do with this whole story <…> Unfortunately or fortunately, 40-45% are the figures that correspond to reality. In fact, that trend continues, because living in the Kherson region is now very difficult, and not only in the humanitarian sense but also psychologically, because of this very atmosphere of terror, the lack of freedom – people cannot withstand all these risks out. Those who have the opportunity, they are still very many, decide to temporarily leave the Kherson region. Those who decide to stay often do not have the physical ability to leave – either financially or technically – or have relatives here who are very difficult to take out, including elderly parents. Everyone is waiting for the liberation of the Kherson region. (Source: Current Time).

Invasion Damage

1. UK Intelligence: In the coming weeks, Russia is likely to continue massive artillery strikes, trying to intensify the offensive in the Donbas. “Russia is likely to make increasing use of indiscriminate artillery fire due to limited target detection capabilities and unwillingness to risk regular flights of combat aircraft outside its front lines,” the statement said. (Source: Twitter).

Foreign news

1. The sixth package of EU sanctions with the oil embargo has not yet been agreed upon. New sanctions against Russia and an oil embargo were announced almost two weeks ago, but have not yet been agreed upon by the 27 EU countries. On Monday, the EU foreign ministers met, and there was little chance of a breakthrough, although even the European Commissioner Josep Borrell, who received them, was pessimistic in the morning. At the end of the meeting, he confirmed that the ministers approved only an additional 500 million euros of military assistance to Ukraine, for which they were going. With the oil embargo, it is more difficult: Hungary is strongly opposed and demands money and time. The Brussels European Commission failed to persuade Prime Minister Viktor Orban, they had to raise the level. The foreign ministers did not agree, now the ambassadors of the EU countries have a chance. “I can’t tell you exactly whether it will take a week or two,” Borrell, head of European diplomacy, answered a question about the timing. If the ambassadors do not agree, Orban will be personally convinced by the EU heads of state at the May 30-31 summit. (Source: Telegram).

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