The Ukraine update: what happened last night
Now the Kremlin is preparing the population for a debacle in Ukraine
The Kremlin is apparently preparing the Russian population for a debacle as a result of the Ukrainian counter-offensive. As the Kremlin-critical portal Meduzua reports, Russian media have received instructions from the government to downplay the danger of the Ukrainian offensive.
A paper said one should not “downplay expectations of the Ukrainian offensive,” quoted the Institute for the Study of War. Nor should it be reported that Ukraine is not capable of such an offensive.
Before the expected counter-offensive: Attacks are piling up
For the second time in a short space of time, a freight train derailed after an explosion near the Russian border near Ukraine. In the Bryansk region, not far from the settlement of Belye Berega, a locomotive and around 20 wagons went off the rails on Tuesday evening “due to illegal interference with the work of railway transport”, the Russian railway RZD announced on Telegram. A train derailed in the same region on Monday after strangers blew up the rails.
The governor of Bryansk, Alexander Bogomas, wrote of an “unknown explosive device” that had exploded. According to initial reports, no one was injured. It was initially unclear who was behind the alleged sabotage.
A fuel depot in Crimea near the strategically important Kerch Bridge is on fire after a suspected drone attack.
On Tuesday evening, Russian Telegram channels also said that a drone had dropped an explosive device near a defense facility under construction in the Belgorod region, which also borders Ukraine. A man was injured in the process. This was not officially confirmed at first.
Russia has been waging a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine for more than 14 months. Attacks by unknown perpetrators on Russian infrastructure and supply routes have increased in recent weeks. For example, last weekend a fuel depot on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia, caught fire as a result of a drone attack. Some observers suspect that this is a preparation for the Ukrainian counter-offensive, which is expected to begin soon.
Zelenskyj advocates strengthening Euro-Atlantic security
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for Western countries to stick together in view of the forthcoming NATO summit in July. “The most important thing that unites us is security for all Europeans, stability and therefore the further development and strengthening of the European and Euro-Atlantic community,” said Zelenskyy in his evening video address.
Zelenskyi had previously made it clear that he expected the Vilnius summit to clear the way for his country’s admission into the Western military alliance. Kiev is getting support for its demands from Central and Eastern European countries such as the summit host, Lithuania. According to diplomats, however, it is currently considered unlikely that NATO partners such as the USA can be persuaded to give Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia, a concrete membership perspective.
Selenskyj: I didn’t find out about the US data leak in advance
In other respects, too, the Ukrainian leadership does not seem happy with the behavior of the US government. According to his own statements, Selenskyj was not informed in advance by the USA about the explosive data leak with secret documents circulating on the Internet. This emerges from an excerpt of an interview by the Washington Post with the Ukrainian president, which the newspaper published on its website on Tuesday. “I was not informed in advance from the White House or the Pentagon,” Zelenskyj said. “We didn’t have that information, and neither did I personally.” That’s clearly a bad thing. According to the Washington Post report, Zelenskyi found out about it from the news.
US media first reported on the leak shortly before Easter. Secret documents from US agencies on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine had been circulating on the Internet for weeks – with information on arms deliveries, assessments of what was happening in the war and also details on alleged US spying campaigns against partners. A 21-year-old member of the US military is suspected of having published them in a closed chat room. From there, they spread further until authorities and the media became aware of them. The man must answer in court. The US authorities are investigating further.
Zelenskyy described the revelations in the interview as unfavorable for Kiev, for the reputation of the White House and the United States. The Washington Post, citing papers from the data leak and its own sources, reported that the United States had doubts about the hoped-for success of Ukraine’s planned spring offensive against the Russian attackers.
Russian reports: Ukrainian attacks on defenses and fire in fuel depot on Russian territory
After a train derailed in the Russian border area as a result of an explosion, it was also said a little later on Tuesday evening in Russian Telegram channels that in the Belgorod region, which also borders Ukraine, a drone had dropped an explosive device near a defense facility under construction. A man was injured in the process. This was not officially confirmed at first.
A fuel depot in Russia’s Krasnodar region also caught fire on Wednesday morning. As governor Veniamin Kondratiev wrote on the Telegram news service, it was a fire of the “highest level of difficulty”. Further information on the cause of the fire was not yet available.
Russian Defense Minister: Industry increased production of precision missiles
According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense industry is increasing the production of precision missiles for the war against Ukraine. This is reported by the Institute for the Study of War. He highlighted the state-owned Tactical Missile Corporation as a model defense company. It is currently successfully starting mass production of rockets and is developing plans to double its current production capacity in the short term.
Shoigu’s focus on manufacturing precision missiles coincides with a shift in rhetoric from the Defense Ministry, which has focused on using precision missiles to attack military infrastructure targets in Ukraine’s rear. It presumably aims to appear similarly proactive and demonstrative in the face of growing concerns in the Russian information space about the Ukrainian counteroffensive.