Russian Drones Attack Kyiv, White House Denies Rumors
On Thursday, Russian drones attacked the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, marking the fourth assault in as many days and subjecting residents to gunfire and explosions. At least one drone was shot down, and city authorities had declared an alert for Kyiv and the surrounding area, but residents reported that the drones arrived more quickly than usual after the alerts were declared. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking in The Hague after visiting the International Court of Justice, said Putin must be brought to justice over the war and that Kyiv would work to create a new tribunal for this purpose. Meanwhile, Russia accused the United States of being behind a purported drone attack on the Kremlin aimed to kill President Vladimir Putin, while Washington and Kyiv denied involvement.
Overview of Russian-Ukrainian Conflict
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is one of the most significant geopolitical conflicts since the Cold War. It started in 2014 when Russia began to annex Crimea, a part of Ukraine, and provide support to separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Since then, more than 13,000 people have died in the conflict, which has involved military action, cyberattacks, propaganda, and sanctions.
Russian Drones Attack Kyiv
City Authorities Declare Alert
The drones attacked the Ukrainian capital just after 8 p.m. (1700 GMT) and lasted around 20 minutes. The city authorities had declared an alert for Kyiv and the surrounding area.
Air Raid Shelters
Residents who had gone to air raid shelters said the drones arrived more quickly than usual after the alerts were declared.
Air Force Destroys Drone
Ukraine’s air force said in a statement that it had destroyed one of its own drones after the drone lost control over Kyiv region, probably because of a technical failure. It wasn’t clear how many drones in total were destroyed.
Russia said on Thursday that the United States was behind a purported drone attack on the Kremlin aiming to kill President Vladimir Putin. Putin will head a scheduled meeting of Russia’s Security Council on Friday, and the Kremlin incident could be on the agenda, according to TASS news agency. The White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, dismissed the Russian accusations as “lies” and said there still was no conclusive evidence as to the authenticity of a video showing the drone at the Kremlin.
Bring Putin to Justice
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking in The Hague after visiting the International Court of Justice, said Putin must be brought to justice over the war and that Kyiv would work to create a new tribunal for this purpose. Zelenskiy has vowed to drive all invading Russian forces back to the borders set in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he said on Thursday that the whole of Ukrainian society was preparing for a counteroffensive, which he said would be successful against what he called a “demotivated” Russia.
In other diplomacy, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on a visit to Brazil that she encouraged the government to include Ukraine in any attempt to negotiate an end to the war. She was referring to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s comments calling on the West to stop arming Ukraine to allow peace talks to start. There are currently no peace talks to end the war, which has devastated Ukrainian towns and cities, killed thousands of people, and driven millions from their homes.
Repelling Russian Attacks
Nearly 50 Russian attacks were repelled along the main sectors of the front line in eastern and southern Ukraine, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Thursday evening. The heaviest fighting is still in Bakhmut and in Maryinka, further south in Donetsk region, it said.
Russian Air Raids and Shelling Episodes
Russian forces also launched 66 air raids and engaged in 33 shelling episodes on Ukrainian positions and on towns and villages, causing casualties and damaging infrastructure, the report said.
Verify Battlefield Accounts
Reuters was not able to verify the battlefield accounts.
Black Sea Grains Deal
Extending the Package Deal
Diplomats are still working to keep a package deal for Ukrainian and Russian agricultural exports alive beyond May 18. Technical personnel from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations will meet on Friday to discuss the deal, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said. Russia has a list of demands it wants met for the continuation of the Black Sea grains pact, which the United Nations said helps tackle a global food crisis aggravated by Russian forces invading neighboring Ukraine in February 2022.
The recent Russian drone attacks on Kyiv and accusations by both Russia and the United States only magnify the existing political turmoil between the two nations. While the Ukrainian president seeks to bring Putin to justice and prepare a counteroffensive against Russia’s demotivated forces, diplomats are still working to keep a package deal for agricultural exports alive beyond May 18. As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to escalate, so do the consequences for millions of people affected by the war.
What was the purpose of the Russian drone attacks on Kyiv?
The purpose behind these attacks is unknown, but it is believed to be part of Russia’s ongoing aggression toward Ukraine.
Is the United States involved in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine?
The United States denies any involvement in the conflict, despite Russia’s accusations.
What is the Black Sea grains pact?
The Black Sea grains pact is a package deal for Ukrainian and Russian agricultural exports that helps tackle a global food crisis and has been extended beyond May 18 with the help of technical personnel from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations.
Has Russia been accused of war crimes in Ukraine?
Yes, the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for President Putin for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
Is there a chance of a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine?
While diplomats work toward negotiations, the conflict continues to escalate, making a peaceful resolution unlikely in the near future.