EA on Times Radio and RTE: Putin’s Illusion of Power at Home and in Ukraine

Wednesday’s Coverage: Russia’s Plot to Assassinate Zelenskiy

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Sweden is allocating €28 million to funds supporting Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

The Defense Ministry said €18 million euros will be given to three coalitions within the framework of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, and €10 million will go to NATO’s fund for Ukraine.

“The Swedish support will gradually develop towards buying new equipment from the industry for donation to Ukraine,” said Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson. “Through these payments to funds, we can strengthen Ukraine’s defense in terms of drones, mine clearance, and the capabilities of the Ukrainian navy.”


Two Ukrainian hydroelectric power plants have been decommissioned because of damage from Tuesday’s Russian missile strikes.

“As of today, all hydropower generation has suffered devastating damage. Destroyed equipment requires significant efforts and financial resources to repair and restore it,” said State-owned Ukrhydroenergo in a statement.

Russia’s assault with 55 missiles, 39 of which were intercepted, and 21 Iran-type attack drones also damaged three thermal power plants.

Ukraine officials say electricity imports were being doubled on Thursday to cover shortfalls caused by the assault (see 1042 GMT).


Ukraine’s former commander-in-chief, Gen. Valery Zaluzhnyi, has been appointed Kyiv’s ambassador to the UK.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy removed Zaluzhnyi three months ago. At the time, the general was promised a prominent post in Ukraine or abroad.

Zelenskiy’s website posted the formal notice on Thursday that the President had dismissed the general “from military service for health reasons with the right to wear military uniform”.

In another decree, Zelenskiy replaced Sergei Lupanchuk, the commander of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with Alexander Trepak.


Ukraine has carried out a drone attack on an oil refinery more than 1,500 km (932 miles) inside Russia.

The head of the Bashkortostan region, Radiy Khabirov, reported the strike on the Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat refinery, Russia’s 10th-largest. He maintained that it was “operating as normal”.

A Ukrainian intelligence official said the attack, overseen by the State security service SBU. hit a catalytic cracking unit at the oil processing, petrochemical, and fertilizer complex.


Two civilians have been killed and two wounded by Russian shelling of Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region in south-central Ukraine.

The fatalities were a 62-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman.

Russia has regularly attacked Nikopol, which is across the Dnipro River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

A private house was set afire. Two houses and five apartment buildings were damaged.


A Ukrainian intelligence official has confirmed that State security service SBU was behind strikes on two oil depots near the town of Anapa in the Krasnodar region in southwest Russia.

Krasnodar regional officials said earlier (see 0624 GMT) that several oil tanks were damaged at the refinery.

The Ukrainian official said the oil depots were used as transshipment points to supply fuel to troops in the Russia-occupied Crimea peninsula.

“The SBU will continue to reduce Russia’s economic and logistics potential for waging war,” the official said.


Ukraine will double electricity imports on Thursday after Russian missile and drone strikes across seven Ukrainian regions a day earlier.

Imports are expected to rise to 16,699 megawatt hours, compared to 7,600 Mwh on Wednesday. Emergency electricity supplies have been sent by Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Ukrainian power grid operator Ukrenergo said it expects a significant deficit of electricity for almost the entire day. Industrial consumption will be limited from 6 p.m to midnight.

With an increase in consumption, emergency shutdowns are possible,” Ukrenergo said.


Ukraine’s Parliament has voted to dismiss Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

Kubrakov, 41, was in post since December 2022, and has been involved in efforts for reconstruction and the establishment of a shipping lane in the Black Sea. But there are plans to divide his ministry — Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development — into two government department.

No replacement has been named.

Parliament also formally dismissed Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky, who tendered his resignation in late April.

Solsky is being investigated for alleged involvement in illegal acquisition of state-owned land.


As European officials warn of the escalation of Russian political warfare — both to break support for Ukraine and to undermine stability across the continent — the UK is expelling Russia’s defense attaché as an “undeclared military intelligence officer”.

Col. Maxim Elovik has been posted in the UK since at least 2014.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly also announced the removal of diplomatic status for several Russian-owned premises because of the pattern of “malign activity” across Europe.

Cleverly told MPs in the House of Commons:

Today, in conjunction with the Foreign Secretary, I am announcing a package of measures to make clear to Russia that we will not tolerate such apparent escalations….

We are imposing new restrictions on Russian diplomatic visas, including capping the length of time Russian diplomats can spend in the UK.

A Russian-linked group targeted Poland this week, said the state-run National Research Institute.

Malware targeting Polish government institutions was distributed this week by the APT28 group, associated with Russia’s intelligence services.

Technical indicators and similarities to past attacks allowed the identification of the APT28 group.

Last week, Germany summoned Russia’s acting chargé d’affaires over the cyber-attacks in 2023 of APT28, also known as “Fancy Bear”, targeting members of the Social Democrats political party and the defense and technology sector.

The attacks knocked several sites off-line and compromised the servers of some companies.


Ukraine air defenses downed 17 of 20 Iran-type attack drones launched by Russia overnight.

The UAVs were intercepted over the Odesa region in southern Ukraine.


Ukraine’s latest drone attack on Russian oil refineries has set afire a complex in the Krasnodar region in southwest Russia.

Regional officials said several oil tanks were damaged at the refinery near the village of Yurovka. They claimed the fire was set by debris from six downed drones.

Ukraine’s strikes this year, up to 1,200 km (744 miles) inside Russia, have cut refining capacity by up to 14%.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The European Union approved the use of profits from Russia’s frozen assets as military aid for Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the bloc’s senior diplomats approved the funding of up to €4.4 billion ($4.73 billion) in profits from an estimated €211 billion ($227 billion) in assets. The last hurdle was sorting out taxation and management costs in Belgium, where most of the assets are held.

Earlier this week, the EU’s countries agreed that 90% of the profits will be used for funding of weapons and equipment. The other 10% will be transferred to the EU budget to invest in the Ukrainian military industry.

After rejecting seizure of the assets, the European Union prepared the draft legislation in February for use of the profits.

At the time, a rattled Kremlin complained through spokesperson Dmitry Peskov:

Europeans are well aware of the damage such decisions can do to their economy, their image, and their reputation as reliable, so to speak, guarantors of the inviolability of property.

The damage will be inevitable. The persons who will be involved in making such decisions, the states that will decide this, of course, they will become the objects of prosecution for many decades.