A Russian helicopter hovers over the Belgorod region after a raid by the anti-Kremlin militia Freedom of Russia Legion, May 23, 2023

EuroFile VideoCast: Stefania Battistini on War Journalism and the Human Side of the Ukraine Invasion

EA on ABC and BBC: The G7 and the Defense of Ukraine

Monday’s Live Coverage: Zelenskiy on Bakhmut — “Nothing Left Alive, All The Buildings Ruined”

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Russia has effectively blocked one of the three Ukrainian Black Sea ports covered by a July 2022 deal, despite reluctantly accepting an extension of the agreement last Friday.

Ukraine’s Deputy Renovation Minister Yuriy Vaskov said:

Formally, the port of Pivdennyi is in the initiative, but in fact it hasn’t been there for a month. It has no incoming fleet.

[Russia] has now found an effective way to significantly reduce grain exports.

Pivdennyi, located near Odesa, has not received any ships since May 2.

Threatening to end the deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey, Russia has impeded it by preventing inspections and the processing of paperwork.

On three occasions, Russia said it would not renew the deal unless international sanctions were eased on its exports.


Ukrainian pilots have begun training on F-16 fighter jets in Poland, says the European Union’s foreign policy head Josep Borrell.

Borrell told EU Defence Ministers in Brussels, “I am happy that finally the training of the pilots for the F-16 has started in several countries. It will take time, but the sooner the better…for example, in Poland.”

A “European diplomat” confirmed to AFP that the training has begun.

Last week the UK and the Netherlands said they would lead a “jet coalition” in the training on the F-16s, possibly leading to supply of the American-made jets to Ukraine. They were soon joined by Poland, Belgium, and Denmark.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden confirmed to the G7 summit in Japan that Washington, after months of opposition, would now support the training program.

See also Ukraine War, Day 451: US Backs International Training of Ukrainian Pilots on Fighter Jets


Claimed footage of the Russian border post overrun in the Belgorod region by the anti-Kremlin Freedom of Russia Legion on Monday:


Drone footage from the New York Times of the ruins of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, following a year of Russian attacks and six months of “human wave” assaults by Wagner Group mercenaries.


In its assessment of Monday’s attack in Russia’s Belgorod region by the anti-Kremlin Freedom of Russia Legion, UK military intelligence summarizes:

Russia is facing an increasingly serious multi-domain threat in its border regions, with losses of combat aircraft, improvised explosive device attacks on rail lines, and now direct partisan action.

Russia will almost certainly use these incidents to support the official narrative that it is the victim in the war.


Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has visited Saudi Arabia, four days after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed the Arab League summit in Jeddah.

Most Arab States, including the Saudis, have maintained a cautious position, avoiding condemnation of Russia’s invasion. After Zelenskiy’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman at the Arab League summit, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said the Kingdom has chosen “active neutrality”.


The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, has posted on Telegram in the aftermath of Monday’s attack by the anti-Kremlin militia Freedom of Russia Legion.

Gladkov said residents of the village of Grayvoron should not return to their homes, “It is not worth it yet”.

There are no civilian deaths to date. All necessary actions on the part of law enforcement agencies are being carried out. We are waiting for the completion of the counter-terrorist operation that was announced yesterday.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: An anti-Kremlin militia struck inside Russia on Monday, further unsettling Moscow as it faces an anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive against its invasion.

The Freedom of Russia Legion reportedly overran the border settlement of Kozinka in the Belgorod region, attacked a border post, and raided the village of Grayvoron.

Map: Institute for the Study of War

Video on social media video showed armored vehicles attacking the border post. A Russian officer lay face down in a pool of blood next to Russian passports and other documents. A Russian Mi-8 helicopter fired flares over Kozinka, as smoke rose from the settlement and emergency sirens sounded.

Another anti-Kremlin militia, the Russian Volunteer Corps, said it was also part of the attack. It released video showing a fighter inspecting a captured armored vehicle.

Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said eight people were injured in Grayvoron. He declared a “counter-terrorist operation” including the verification of people’s identities and “suspension of the activities of hazardous industries and organizations that use explosive, radioactive, chemically and biologically hazardous substances”.

The Freedom of Russia Legion posted a statement after the raid:

We are the same Russians as you. We are distinguished only by the fact that we no longer wanted to justify the actions of criminals in power and took up arms to defend our and your freedom.

But today it’s time for everyone to take responsibility for their future. It’s time to put an end to the Kremlin’s dictatorship.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded flatly that the Defense Ministry, FSB, and Border Service had reported to Vladimir Putin about “an attempt by Ukrainian saboteurs to break into the Belgorod region”.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukrainian military intelligence, commented:

Today the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion, which consist of citizens of the Russian Federation, have launched an operation to liberate these territories of the Belgorod region from the so-called Putin regime and push back the enemy in order to create a certain security zone to protect the Ukrainian civilian population.