Chris Lange, FISM News
Moscow claimed on Tuesday that Ukraine launched drone strikes inside Russia overnight while officials in Ukraine’s capital reported an “unparalleled” missile attack.
Drone attacks were reported in Russia’s Kursk and Bryansk regions near the Ukrainian border as well as in Smolensk in western Russia, according to a Newsweek report.
Alexander Bogomaz, head of the Bryansk Oblast, said that a Russian air defense system shot down a Ukrainian drone over the town of Klintsy.
“There are no casualties. The balcony of a residential building was damaged. Operational services are working on the spot,” Bogomaz wrote on his Telegram channel.
The incident is the latest in a series of escalating drone attacks targeting Russian territories. The Kremlin’s press service claimed on May 3 that two drones targeted the home of President Vladimir Putin in what it called “a planned terrorist act.” Ukraine denied the reports. Officials in the towns of Starodub and the village of Khoromnoye reported drone incidents on May 13 and 14, respectively.
Meanwhile, Valery Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said on Tuesday that air defenses intercepted 18 missiles over Ukraine’s capital city in Tuesday’s attack.
Kyiv’s military administration chief, Sergei Popko, described the assault as “unparalleled,” in terms of the number of missiles launched within a short period of time. He noted that Tuesday’s incident marked Russia’s eighth missile attack on the capital city so far this month.
UK INTEL: WAGNER FORCES MAKE SMALL GAINS IN BAKHMUT TOWN CENTER
Wagner Group forces in Bakhmut continue making incremental progress in pushing Ukrainian forces back from their positions in the town center, according to a British intelligence update on the 15-month conflict.
The assessment noted, however, that over the past four days, Kyiv’s forces “have made tactical progress stabilizing the flanks of Bakhmut to their advantage.”
“As well as progress to the south of town, Ukrainian assaults have forced back the Russian frontline to the north-west of the town,” the report said, adding that “[t]his has likely enabled Ukrainian forces to re-establish more secure use of the key 0506 supply road.”
The report also stated that Ukraine has seen success in “holding Russia’s western advances along the line of Donets-Donbas Canal, turning the waterway into an obstacle as part of a deep defensive zone around the town of Chasiv Yar.”
The report suggests that Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Kremlin have once again set aside their ongoing feud over ammunition supplies and strategy in Bakhmut. The public spat has included repeated threats from Prigozhin to pull his mercenary fighters out of the fiercely contested town in the eastern Donetsk province of Ukraine.
MOSCOW, KYIV AGREE TO RECEIVE AFRICAN MISSION ON PEACE PROPOSAL
Reuters reported Tuesday that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine‘s Volodymyr Zelenskiy have both agreed to meet a delegation of African leaders in their respective capitals to discuss a possible peace plan.
Ramaphosa did not disclose any details of the proposal, according to the news service, but said that he viewed both leaders’ willingness to welcome the delegation as a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, he appeared to try lower expectations that it would be accepted by either party.
“My discussions with the two leaders demonstrated that they are both ready to receive the African leaders and to have discussion on how this conflict can be brought to an end,” Ramaphosa told a joint press briefing with the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in South Africa’s capital city of Cape Town.
“Whether that will succeed or not is going to depend on the discussions that will be held,” he said.
The peace plan is also backed by African leaders of Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia, according to a statement from the South African Presidency.
Ramaphosa said that both the U.S. and the U.K. had voiced “cautious” support for the plan. He added that U.N. Secretary General António Guterres had also been briefed on the initiative.
Zelenskyy has made clear that he will not entertain any peace proposal that does not include the complete withdrawal of all invading Russian forces from Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula the Kremlin illegally annexed in 2014. Russia has so far not expressed any willingness to acquiesce to the demand.