Firemen fight a blaze, caught by Russian bombing, in a destroyed school in Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, May 8, 2022
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1711 GMT:
Kevin Rothrock of Meduza is reporting individual acts of anti-war defiance in Russia on Victory Day.
At an Immortal Regiment parade outside Moscow, a woman was arrested for carrying a sign with a picture of her veteran relative: “He didn’t want to repeat [the war]. He fought for peace! Our grandfathers said, ‘If only there’s no war!’”
A man in Moscow was seized for sitting on a bench with a sign, “No to war!”
In Nizhny Novgorod, activists placed a banner on a building opposite the city’s police headquarters with imagery for “Fuck war!”
Police in Ufa today detained a woman for marking Victory Day by standing beside the city’s monument to human rights with a sign that read, “My grandpa fought against fascism.” https://t.co/bcl6lldXiG pic.twitter.com/TlAz1hh0Lc
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) May 9, 2022
UPDATE 1704 GMT:
Following a conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Commission will respond next month to Kyiv’s application for EU membership.
Followed up on yesterday’s G7 discussion with @ZelenskyyUa
On #EuropeDay, we discussed EU support and Ukraine’s European pathway.
Looking forward to receiving the answers to the EU membership questionnaire.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) May 9, 2022
But French President Emmanuel Macron has thrown cold water on the process, telling the European Parliament that it will “take several years indeed, probably several decades”.
UPDATE 1425 GMT:
Russia launched another missile attack on Odesa in southern Ukraine, as European Council President Charles Michel saw Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in the port city.
Michel was briefed by the head of Ukraine’s navy about damage from previous missile attacks, visiting a residential building that was destroyed.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy joined the talks by video conference, discussing with Michel “the importance of taking immediate measures to unblock Ukraine’s ports for grain exports”.
UPDATE 1400 GMT:
Two Russian journalists on the pro-Kremlin website Lenta.ru filled it with more than 40 anti-war articles on Monday morning.
The pieces said Vladimir Putin is a “pitiful paranoid dictator” who has waged “the bloodiest war of the 21st century”.
Egor Polyakov, a business reporter, and Alexandra Miroshnikova, posted the material. Polyakov said:
We had to do it today. We wanted to remind everyone what our grandfathers really fought for on this beautiful Victory Day – for peace….
This is not what Victory Day is about. Ordinary people are dying, peaceful women and children are dying in Ukraine. Given the rhetoric that we have seen, this isn’t going to stop. We couldn’t accept this any longer. This was the only right thing we could do.
The articles have been removed from the Lenta.ru site, but can be read in a web archive.
UPDATE 1136 GMT:
The Russian Ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreev, has been covered with red paint by a crowd shouting “Fascists” and “Murderer”, as he sought to lay flowers at the cemetery of Soviet soldiers.
— Mary Ilyushina (@maryilyushina) May 9, 2022
UPDATE 0856 GMT:
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov has denied intelligence assessments that Russia’s forces are running short of precision-guided missiles.
Citing Western officials, London’s Financial Times reported the shortage last month, but Borisov insisted today:
According to everything that is said on the other side, Russia should have run out of missiles in March. But for some reason it didn’t end. The military-industrial complex supplies our army with all the necessary range of missiles in the required volumes.
UK military intelligence assessed on Monday morning:
At the onset of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia publicly promoted its ability to conduct surgical strikes and limit collateral damage. It stated that Ukrainian cities would therefore be safe from bombardment.
However, as the conflict continues beyond Russian pre-war expectations, Russia’s stockpile of precision-guided munitions has likely been heavily depleted.
This has forced the use of readily available but ageing munitions that are less reliable, less accurate and more easily intercepted. Russia will likely struggle to replace the precision weaponry it has already expended.
UPDATE 0849 GMT:
Russia has begun transferring units to Ukraine from its military bases in Syria, where it has kept Bashar al-Assad in power during the country’s 11-year conflict, according to The Moscow Times.
The Dutch-based independent outlet says Vladimir Putin has been forced to curb Russia’s presence in Syria, as the country is divided into three parts under different authorities, to reinforce the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.
The site says abandoned Russian bases are being transferred to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Tehran’s ally Hezbollah.
The news comes a day after Assad visited Iran’s Supreme Leader and President Raisi in Tehran.
UPDATE 0727 GMT:
Addressing the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Vladimir Putin has tried to link his invasion of Ukraine to the commemoration of World War II: “It is the same now. You are fighting for our people in Donbas, for the security of our motherland….You are fighting for the homeland, for its future, for no one to forget the lessons of World War II.”
Significantly, Putin did not refer to the original aims of the invasion, such as the occupation of the capital Kyiv and the removal of the Zelenskiy Government.
The biggest absentee from Putin's speech, though, was any actual "victory." He said Russian troops were fighting heroically in the Donbas, but didn't mention Mariupol or any other territories Russia has captured. And nor was there a sign when the invasion might actually end
— max seddon (@maxseddon) May 9, 2022
Instead, he played the victim, asserting that the West was preparing to attack Donbas and Russian-occupied Crimea, with calls in Kyiv for nuclear weapons creating “an unacceptable threat right on our border”.
Putin’s declaration was dented by the cancellation of the aerial portion of the parade in most Russian cities because of “cloudy weather”. The Red Square ceremony planned to feature 77 aircraft flying over Red Square, marking the 77th anniversary of Germany’s surrender, with eight in the shape of the letter “Z” — the symbol for the Ukraine invasion.
Putin referred to “the death of each of our soldiers and officers [as] a grief for all of us and an irreparable loss for relatives and friends,” saying he has signed a law that “will provide special support to the children of the dead and wounded comrades”.
But he and his officials have still not released any information on casualties since late March, when they admitted less than 500.
NATO estimates that up to 40,000 Russian soldiers are killed, wounded, captured, or missing in Ukraine.
UPDATE 0659 GMT:
Vladimir Putin will try to use Russia’s Victory Day, marking the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany, to proclaim success in Ukraine — even as his forces have been defeated in their attempt to seize most of the country and topple the Zelenskiy Government.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy precluded the event on Sunday, Ukraine’s Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation:
The main thing I felt today was the world’s even greater willingness to help us. And the fact that we have already achieved a historic result, because it is clear to the whole free world that Ukraine is the party of good in this war.
And Russia will lose, because evil always loses.
Zelenskiy, who met G7 leaders by video on Sunday, added in a Monday statement:
We are fighting for our children’s freedom and therefore we will win. We will never forget what our ancestors did in World War II, which killed more than eight million Ukrainians. Very soon there will be two victory days in Ukraine. And someone won’t have any.
UPDATE 0651 GMT:
About 170 civilians from Mariupol, including 51 from the besieged Azovstal steel plant, reached the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine on Sunday night.
The Azovstal evacuees were part of the last group of women and children rescued from the plant. The other 120 walked or hitched lifts across Mariupol to a pickup point in a ruined shopping mall.
The journey of 132 miles took two days, with the convoy held for hours at Russian checkpoints and the evacuees interrogated.
Natalia, who worked at Azovstal and sheltered for more than two months from Russian bombardment and siege, said, “I didn’t think we would make it out alive, so I don’t have any plans for my future.”
Tatiana, who fled with her daughter and granddaughter, said, “It is a breath of fresh air to be on Ukrainian-held land.”
UPDATE 0642 GMT:
Russian units have been forced to redeploy in defense against Ukrainian counter-attacks in the Kharkiv region, limiting Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine, according to the US-based Institute for the Study of War.
In its latest situation report, the Institute said forces are gathering in Belgorod in Russia, on Russia’s side of the border, to deploy and prevent the Ukrainian counter-offensive from reaching the border.
The assessment mirrored that of the Ukrainian military, which said “the enemy has concentrated up to 19 battalion tactical groups in the Belgorod region”
While Russian forces are continuing attempts to move south to the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, they have not gained territory apart from occupying the town of Popasna on Saturday, said ISW.
UPDATE 0625 GMT:
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Sunday.
What Putin needs to understand is that the west is absolutely determined and resolved to stand against what he is doing.
His illegal war, his escalations, his crossing of red lines by choosing to further invade Ukraine means that we will do as a world everything we can to make sure that he loses….
He is inflicting atrocities upon civilians, and it’s all something that he is doing because he thought he could win. But he can only lose.
Trudeau said Canada will send new weapons and equipment to Ukraine and will reopen its embassy in Kyiv.
Zelenskiy said in his nightly address to the nation, “We have an extremely important decision by Canada to remove all barrier to trade for one year. Thank you, Canada.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russian bombing of a school in eastern Ukraine has killed 60 civilians.
Ninety people were sheltering in the school in the village of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region when it was hit on Saturday afternoon, setting the building ablaze.
Thirty people were rescued. The fire was extinguished after four hours, and officials held out a slim hope of more survivors as rubble was cleared.
But Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed on Sunday night, “As a result of a Russian strike on Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region, about 60 people were killed, civilians, who simply hid at the school, sheltering from shelling.”
Regional governor Serhiy Haidai explained that the school had collapsed: “Besides, an air bomb is not a missile, its explosion produces extremely high temperatures. That’s why most likely people haven’t survived.”
🇺🇦 MFA strongly condemns #Russian shelling of a school in Bilohorivka, sheltered 60 people, on May 7. #Russia committed this brutal war crime shortly before the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, constantly repeating the tragedy of World War II.#StopRussianWar pic.twitter.com/dxf3fX7GrZ
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) May 8, 2022
Bilohorivka, with a population of 800 to 900, is 60 miles northwest of the Russian-controlled city of Luhansk. The village’s civilians moved into the school after their previous shelter, a clubhouse, was destroyed in another Russian assault.
Governor Haidai said the attack, at 6 p.m. on Saturday night, was followed by a constant barrage that made rescue attempts impossible.
A bus was sent to Bilohorivka on Sunday morning to evacuate residents, but failed to reach the village. Haidai said
Right now they are asking us, begging us to get them out, but we can’t because everything is now under shelling. Around 70 people wanted to be evacuated today. We sent a bus, but it turned around and went back. Not just the village, but also a highway is under shelling….
Around a week ago we tried to evacuate around 300 people from Bilohorivka. We’d already settled this, and sent a few buses. But most of them refused to go. So we managed to evacuate only 60 to 70 people.”
The Russian strike was an echo of other deadly attacks on civilian sites during its invasion. Up to 600 peoples were killed as they sheltered in the Drama Theatre in Mariupol in southern Ukraine on March 16, and 57 were slain by a missile on the Kramatorsk railway station in the east on April 8.