L to R: Vladimir Putin, former Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, and Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov (Getty/File)

EA on India’s WION: Putin’s Ukraine Bluff — I’ll Attack the UK

EA on Australia’s ABC: Awaiting Aid, Ukraine Hangs On v. Russia Assault

Friday’s Coverage: Russia Kills 7 In Strikes on Kharkiv and Its Publishing House

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Yaroslav Trofimov of the Wall Street Journal reports on the updated death toll from Russia’s bombing of a hypermarket in Kharkiv — and makes the essential point about what is needed to limit the attacks.


Russian forces have dropped two bombs on a builders’ hypermarket in Kharkiv city in northwest Ukraine.

At least two people were killed and at least 24 injured, said the head of the Kharkiv regional administration, Oleg Sinegubov.

A fire across more than 10,000 square meters engulfed the building. More than 200 people were in the store.

Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov wrote, “There are a large number of missing people, many wounded….This is pure terrorism.

Russia has been terrorizing the residents of Kharkiv with aerial attacks throughout the 27-month invasion, stepping up the assault this spring.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted:

If Ukraine had enough air defense systems and modern combat aircraft, such Russian attacks would simply become impossible. And that is why we appeal to all leaders, to all states: we need a significant increase in air defense and sufficient capabilities to destroy Russian terrorists. A task that needs to be completed and can only be completed together with the world. Every day we call on the world: give us air defense, save people. Every unaccepted decision on support is a loss of our people.


Ukrainian drones have hit a facility of Russia’s nuclear strike warning system.

The drones attacked the unit of the 818th separate radio engineering center, in the Krasnodar region in southwest Russia, early Thursday.

A fire was set, and photographs — distributed by the Ukrainian publication Defense Express — claimed to show damage to the antenna. The site said administrative buildings and radar control were also damaged.

A Norwegian analyst responded:


Ukraine has downed another Russian Su-25 fighter jet in the Donetsk region in the east of the country.

“Another enemy Su-25 attack aircraft is burning up in the steppes of Ukrainian Donbas,” the military posted.

The Su-25, which provides close air support for Russian assaults on Ukrainian positions, is the third downed in three days and the seventh in May.


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is the latest high-profile official to call for the lifting of the ban on Ukraine’s use of Western-supplied weapons inside Russia.

The US has maintained its prohibition despite authorizing the supply of ATACMS missile systems, with a range of 300 km (186 miles), to Ukraine last month.

But in the face of Russia’s cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is seeking a removal of the ban.

Stoltenberg said:

The time has come for allies to consider whether they should lift some of the restrictions they have put on the use of weapons they have donated to Ukraine.

Especially now when a lot of the fighting is going on in Kharkiv, close to the border, to deny Ukraine the possibility of using these weapons against legitimate military targets on Russian territory makes it very hard for them to defend themselves.


Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation has opened an inquiry into an army brigade over Russia’s cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine.

The 125th Brigade and subordinate units are accused of lack of preparedness, enabling Russia’s assault and advance of up to km (6.2 miles) from May 10.

A court document said the brigade “did not properly organize the defense of positions on the border of Kharkiv Oblast” due to a “careless attitude to military service”. The resulting Russian offensive “led to the loss of positions, military equipment, and personnel of the units”.


The US is sending another $275 million in military aid to Ukraine.

The package includes ammunition, missiles, mines, and artillery rounds.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken the assistance “is part of our efforts to help Ukraine repel Russia’s assault near Kharkiv [and] contains urgently needed capabilities”.

The Biden Administration has dispatched five sets of military aid since Congress, ending a 6 1/2-month blockade, authorized $60.8 billion in assistance.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says defenders have pushed back Russia’s 15-day cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region in the northeast of the country.

In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelenskiy said, “Our soldiers have now managed to take combat control of the border area where the Russian occupiers entered.”

Earlier in the day, Zelenskiy travelled to Kharkiv to meet commanders and officials. He also visited the publishing house destroyed by a Russian missile strike on Thursday.

Ukraine’s commander-in-chief Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi said that, after initial success with the capture of 12 villages, Russian forces “got completely bogged down in street battles for [the border town of] Vovchansk and suffered very high losses in assault units”. He noted that Russia “is currently moving reserves from different sectors to support active assault operations, but to no avail”.

Syrsky cautioned that the situation is still turbulent in the neighboring Donetsk region, with “intense” fighting near the towns of Chasiv Yar, Pokrovsk, and Kurakhove.

The Ukrainian military’s general staff said on Friday evening that the situation in Vovchansk was “tense but controlled by the defense forces” despite strikes by eight guided bombs on the town.

Zelenskiy also spoke in his address about Vladimir Putin’s attempts to undermine the first Global Peace Summit. More than 50 countries have accepted invitations to the gathering in Switzerlnd on June 15-16.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Vladimir Putin is purging Russia’s generals, with five detained within the past month.

The latest two arrests were of the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Vadim Shamarin, and the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Department for State Procurement, Gen. Vladimir Verteletsky, this week. Like the other detainees, they were accused of accepting bribes.

The purge began on April 24 with the arrest of Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Timur Ivanov. He was a close ally of Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, whom Putin replaced two weeks later with the economic official Andrey Belousov.

Lt. Gen. Yury Kuznetsov, head of the Defense Ministry’s personnel directorate, and Maj. Gen. Ivan Popov, who commanded Russian forces in southern Ukraine, have also been detained.

Popov’s arrest is likely connected with his resignation last autumn, after he criticized superiors for failing to supply troops on the frontline in Ukraine and thus causing their deaths.

No reason, beyond the standard charge of bribery, has been given for the other detentions. However, they appear to be connected with the Kremlin’s shake-up of the Defense Ministry and the sidelining of Shoygu, who had been Minister since 2012. He was given a face-saving transfer, becoming Secretary of the National Security Council.

Russian military bloggers claim that 11 Defense Ministry officials are on the point of resignation, and that the commander of the 20th Combined Arms Army, Lt. Gen. Sukhrab Akhmedov, has been dismissed. The 20th is active in operations in northeast Ukraine, but has failed for months to make significants gains.

Russian State outlet TASS also pointed to more dismissals. Citing Russian law enforcement officials, it said on Thursday that that there will be “continued investigations” in connection with Gen. Shamarin’s arrest.

Russian milbloggers and insider sources have noted that some of the arrested officials have ties to Russia’s overall military commander, Chief of the General Staff Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov.

Asked about Gerasimov’s position on May 13, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov gave the cryptic statement that “no changes are foreseen yet”. Peskov said on Thursday that the detentions are part of a consistent fight against corruption.

Corruption, the Wartime Economy, and In-Fighting

Some Russia analysts evaluate that the purge is connected with the burden on Russia’s economy of Putin’s 27-month Ukraine invasion, with Belousov brought in as Defense Minister to emphasize the priority.

Richard Connolly of London’s Royal United Services Institute in London cites “really egregious” corruption: “There is a view that [money] needs to be spent more wisely.”

But Sam Greene of the Centre for European Policy Analysis points to in-fighting with security services trying to “push back” against the military. He adds, “If Putin didn’t want it to happen, it wouldn’t be happening.”

“Russian government officials and sources close to the Kremlin” support that assessment in comments to The Moscow Times. They say the Federal Security Service (FSB) is hoping to pin the blame for the failure of Putin’s invasion on the military’s top official. Doing so, they can take control of the distribution of the army’s budget.

One “source close to the Kremlin” summarizes:

There is a fierce cleanup underway. The FSB is mopping up Shoigu’s team. It’s to be expected. This kind of operation can only be carried out with approval at the very top.

The official adds, “There is still a long way to go before the purges are finished. More arrests await us.”