Firefighters try to extinguish a blaze at a hypermarket bombed by Russia in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 25, 2024 (Vitalii Hnidyi/Reuters)

Sunday’s Coverage: Russia Kills 16+ in Strike on Hypermarket in Kharkiv

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Officials of the US and its allies are tracking an increase in Russia’s low-level sabotage operations in Europe, as the Kremlin tries to break support for Ukraine.

The operations include arson or attempted arson of sites such as a warehouse in the UK, a paint factory in Poland, homes in Latvia, and an IKEA store in Lithuania.

Arrests have also been made of suspected Russian operatives planning attacks on US military bases.

The officials that Russia’s military intelligence service GRU is overseeing the operations as Moscow tries to slow arms transfers to Ukraine.

European countries have been trying to curb Russia’s disinf

ormation efforts, including support of European Parliament members contributing to the Kremlin’s propaganda, and leaders have been warning of the sabotage efforts.

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced the arrest of 12 people accused of carrying out “beatings, arson and attempted arson” for Russian intelligence. Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has said that Russia is conducting a “shadow war” against Europe. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway said Moscow posed “a real and serious threat” as officials revealed plotting of attacks on energy producers and arms factories.


Two Ukrainian drones attacked a petrol station in the city of Livny in the Oryol region in western Russia on Monday morning.

Regional governor Andrei Klychkov said a driver for the fire department was killed and three other employees injured.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for decisive international action to defeat Russia’s 27-month invasion and aerial assault on Ukrainian civilians.

In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy said:

We see every point of concentration of Russian troops. We know all the areas where Russian missiles and combat aircraft are launched. Destroying this terrorist force – and thus saving thousands of lives and guaranteeing that the expansion of the war will be stopped – is purely a political decision. A decision that needs to be made.

The President spoke as the death toll rose to 16 from Saturday’s Russian double bombing of a hypermarket in Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine.

More than 40 civilians were wounded and 15 were missing in the fire across more than 10,000 square meters. With bodies burnt beyond recognition, police asked relatives of suspected victims to submit DNA for identification.

Zelenskiy said more than 80 countries have accepted invitations to the first Global Peace Summit, to be held in Switzerland on June 15-16. He called on US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to join: “Please, show your leadership in advancing the peace – the real peace and not just a pause between the strikes.”

He continued:

For [the Russians], it is a pleasure to burn. We all know who we are dealing with. Russia is run by men who want to make it a norm – burning lives, destroying cities and villages, dividing people and erasing national borders through war. There is no nation that can stop such war alone, unaided – world leaders’ engagement is needed.

While Ukraine’s defenders had checked the 17-day Russian cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region, Zelenskiy cautioned that “the occupier continues its attempts to attack”. He said that the area near Pokrovsk in the neighboring Donetsk region “is the toughest one”.