UN Secretary General António Guterres (L) and Russian Foreign Secretary Lavrov at a Security Council meeting, April 24, 2023 (Fatih Aktas/Anadolu/Getty)

Monday’s Coverage: Have Kyiv’s Troops Crossed Dnipro River in the South?

Map: Institute for the Study of War

UPDATE 1724 GMT: Activists are calling for a boycott of Beefeater Gin after French owner Pernod Ricard resumed selling the British brand and other spirits, such as Jameson Irish whiskey, to Russia.

Pernod Ricard suspended sales soon after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine but the Ukraine Solidarity Project says the manufacturer has made tens of millions of dollars since last September.

Pernod Ricard announced earlier this month that it would stop exports of Absolut vodka to Russia.


Ukrainian officials have claimed responsibility for Monday’s drone attack on Sevastopol in the Russian-occupied Crimea peninsula.

Defense spokesperson Andriy Yusov announced the attack but pushed Russian propaganda that the Black Sea shipping corridor for movement of grain was at risk.

The recent events in Crimea concerned exclusively military installations and are in no way connected with the grain agreement, which provides for Ukrainian ports and civilian ports.

Ukraine adheres to international obligations, including fulfilling all obligations related to the grain corridor.

Yusov did not name the specific target, but the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet — struck last year by a drone — is located in Sevastopol.

The Russian proxy head of the region said early Monday that one drone had been intercepted and the other exploded on approach.


Ukrainian forces are now carrying out regular raids across the Dnipro River in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, says Yuriy Sobolevskiy, deputy head of the Kherson regional administration.

Video posted by Russian military bloggers last weekend showed Ukrainian positions on the east bank of the river and indicated that Ukrainian troops have taken islands in the Dnipro.

Last autumn a Ukrainian counter-offensive liberated all of Kherson west of the river, including Kherson city. The Russians had seized the area within days of their invasion in February 2022.

On Monday, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Southern Military Command, Natalia Humeniuk, called for “operational silence” and criticized the circulation of the reports. She said the reports triggered Russian shelling which destroyed about 30 houses in the town of Beryslav on the western bank.

While withholding details because of “informational silence”, Sobolevsky said on TV:

Our military visit the left (eastern) bank very often, conducting raids. The Ukrainian armed forces are working, and working very effectively.

The results will come as they did on the right bank of the Kherson region when, thanks to a complex and long operation, they were able to liberate our territories with minimal losses for our military. The same thing happens now on the left bank.


Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church and a close ally of Vladimir Putin, says Russians who do not serve their country are “internal enemies”.

In a sermon at Moscow’s Cathedral of the Archangel, he called for protection “from all those who do not associate their lives with Russia, who are ready to make money in Russia, but have never been ready to serve the fatherland”.


Sweden is expelling five Russian embassy personnel “as a result of activities that are incompatible with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations”.

Since the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of Russian staff have been expelled from European countries over suspected intelligence activities.

Sweden threw out three Russians in April 2022.


A Russian court has sentenced a former police officer to seven years in prison, convicting him of spreading false information about the military in a phone call to friends.

Semiel Vedel was also barred from working in law enforcement for four years after his release.

During three phone conversations with friends last year, Vedel allegedly referred to Russia as a “murderer country”, used “Glory to Ukraine” as a greeting, and claimed that Russian forces were suffering “huge losses”.

Officials insisted the conversations were public because Vedel’s phone was wiretapped and an investigator listened in on the calls.

The Ukrainian-born Vedel said he was only sharing information from trusted friends in the Kyiv police department.


Iran has sent about 300,000 artillery shells and 1 million rounds of ammunition to Russia in six months, according to sources in the Middle East.

The munitions were moved by Russian ships through the Caspian Sea. The last known package, consisting of about 2,000 artillery shells, left Iran in early March 2023. However, there may have a further delivery: the ship again went from Iran to Russia at the end of March.

Iran officially denies it has provided military assistance to Russia during Vladimir Putin’s invasion. However, Moscow has relied on hundred of Iranian-made attack drones during its waves of strikes across Ukraine.


The independent Russian outlet Taigu reports on a mass grave of more than 200 Wagner Group mercenaries in Siberia in eastern Russia.

The grave is in Novosibirsk in the Gusinobrodsky cemetery, a quarter of which has been assigned for burials of troops and mercenaries. Most of the interments were at the end of 2022 and in early 2023 months of 2023.

In mid-March, the local outlet Zolotaya Gorka found 67 fresh graves of mercenaries in the city of Berezovsky in the Sverdlovsk region.. Most of the buried men were between the ages of 30 and 40 and had deid in December 2022 and January 2023.

A mercenary cemetery, reported in mid-January, in the Krasnodar region now has 170 graves.


Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synyehubov has spoken on TV and posted about the Russian attack on a museum in Kupyansk that has killed two civilians and wounded 10, within one more person possibly still buried under rubble.

There are no military facilities near the museum building, which was hit by an enemy S-300 missile. The enemy is deliberately hitting civilian infrastructure and terrorizing the civilian population.

Work on identifying collaborators is ongoing in the region. Currently, prosecutor’s offices manage more than 1,000 such cases. Some of them have already been brought to court. Anyone found guilty of collaborating with the enemy will receive a just punishment.


The latest Russian attacks across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed two civilians and injured 13.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said the fatalities were from Russian shelling of the village of Shakhtarske. Two men, aged 43 and 66, were killed in a yard.

Shakhtarske is about 75 km (45 miles) from the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk.


The European Union and Japan are opposing a proposal for G7 countries — the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the UK — to ban all exports to Russia, say “three people familiar with the discussions”.

A draft statement by G7 leaders, for a summit in Hiroshima, Japan next month, pledges replacement of the current system of sectoral sanctions with a complete ban. Exceptions would be made for agricultural, medical, and some other goods.

Representatives of Japan and EU countries spoke against the proposal at a meeting last week. They fear protracted debates among EU member states and potential weakening of existing measures.

One official said, “From our perspective, it is simply not doable.”

Sanctions have almost halved the value of EU and G7 exports to Russia. However, goods still reaching Russia — from Europe, the US, Canada, and Japan — are worth about $66 billion.


A Russian missile strike on a museum in Kupyansk in northeast Ukraine has killed an employee and wounded 10 other people.

Rescuers are searching for victims under the rubble.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted on Telegram:

Kupyansk, city centre, local history museum. The terrorist country is doing everything to destroy us completely. Our history, our culture, our people. Killing Ukrainians with absolutely barbaric methods. We have no right to forget about it for a single second. We must and will respond!


China has walked back the comments of its Ambassador to France, which questioned the sovereignty of Ukraine.

Last week, in response to a question about the Russian occupation of Crimea, Ambassador Lu Shaye said, “These ex-Soviet Union countries do not have effective status, as we say, under international law because there’s no international accord to concretise their status as a sovereign country.”

The remarks were denounced by a series of European countries and by the European Union, with whom China is seeking the revival of discussions on an investment deal.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said, “China respects the sovereign status of the former soviet countries after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.”

Mao said Beijing’s position is “consistent and clear” without saying if Lu’s comment had been incorrect.

The spokesperson also did not comment on the Ambassador’s implicit statement that Crimea is not part of Ukraine.


The US is accelerating the delivery of Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, aiming to have them on battlefields in the autumn.

The Pentagon said it is send a refurbished older model, the Abrams M1A1, that can be ready more quickly than the M1A2. Officials said the M1A1 will be easier for Ukrainian forces to learn to use and maintain.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said, “This is about getting this important combat capability into the hands of the Ukrainians sooner rather than later.”

The Abrams will complement the German-made Leopard 2, which is already arriving Ukraine. Germany has delivered 18 Leopard 2s, Poland 14, and Portugal 3, with Spain sending 6 in the next few days.

The UK has also sent 14 Challenger 2s.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Directly challenging Russia in a Security Council session, UN Secretary General António Guterres said on Monday that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is causing “massive suffering and devastation to the country and its people”.

Saying that global cooperation — the “beating heart” and “guiding vision of the UN since its creation in 1945 — is under great strain, Guterres called for urgent “effective responses”.

The UN head spoke as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, looked on.

Lavrov responded with a rambling harangue of the US and other countries for “destroying globalization” and of Ukraine for “Nazi practices”.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield knocked back Lavrov and Russia as a “hypocritical convener” whose “illegal, unprovoked and unnecessary” war in Ukraine “struck at the heart of the UN Charter and all that we hold dear”.

The UK’s Barbara Woodward said the world saw “Russia’s idea of multilateralism” in the trampling of the UN Charter and the war bringing unimaginable suffering to Ukraine and “unmitigated disaster for Russia”.

And the European Union denounced Russia’s “cynical” ploy “in contempt” of the UN Charter and General assembly resolutions demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.