The essentials in brief:
- Regional capital Luhansk attacked with rockets
- Two dead in Crimea helicopter crash
- Zelenskyj: Russia is already prepared for defeat
- Hungary threatens to block new Russia sanctions
According to the Russian occupiers, two major explosions occurred in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk. Representatives of the regional government installed by the Kremlin accused Ukraine of having launched two rocket attacks on an industrial complex about 100 kilometers from the front line on Friday evening. Videos distributed on the Internet show clouds of black smoke over parts of Luhansk. Injuries were not reported.
Kiev has not officially commented on the allegations. After Ukraine was initially supplied only with short-range missiles from the West, observers are now speculating that the Ukrainian army may have used British-supplied cruise missiles for the first time. These have a range of 300 kilometers.
Two dead in Crimea helicopter crash
Both pilots were killed when a Russian military helicopter crashed on the Crimean Peninsula annexed by Moscow. The Mi-28 helicopter crashed during a training flight, the Russian Defense Ministry said. According to initial investigations, technical failure was the reason for the accident. According to the information, the helicopter was traveling without ammunition.
The Mi-28 is a multi-purpose attack helicopter capable of performing devastating strikes. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and used the peninsula as one of the launch pads for the military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. According to its own statements, Russia recently fended off several drone attacks in Crimea.
Zelenskyj: Russia has already accepted its defeat
According to statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia’s leadership has already secretly prepared for a defeat in the war against Ukraine. “In their minds, they have already lost the war,” Zelenskyy speculated in his evening video address on Friday. “We have to put pressure on them every day so that their sense of defeat turns into flight, mistakes and losses.”
Fourteen months after the start of the war, Russia has recently given some grim assessments of its own situation at the front. For example, the head of the Russian Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, spoke of a “flight” by the Russian army northwest of the embattled city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow, on the other hand, emphasized that there had only been strategic regroupings.
Hungary is resisting new EU sanctions on Russia
The Hungarian government is threatening to block further European sanctions against Russia. As long as Hungary’s largest bank OTP is on a Ukrainian list of supporters of the Russian war of aggression, the Hungarian government will hardly be able to negotiate new sanctions, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced on Friday at the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Sweden. The fact that Ukraine put the bank on the list is scandalous. This did not violate any laws.
Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NACP) put the Budapest-based bank OTP on its list of war sponsors in early May. She justified this by saying that the bank was one of the leading banks on the Russian financial services market even after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since its privatization in the 1990s, the OTP Group has also been represented in many other Eastern European countries.
djo/cwi (dpa, rtr)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.