Photo: Atlantic Council

Friday’s Coverage: France Sending Fighter Jets to Kyiv

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Ukrainian drones have flown over the Russian republic of North Ossetia, around 1,000 km (620 miles) from the frontline, for the first time during Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

The drones targeted an airfield with strategic aviation in Mozdok. The region’s head Sergei Menyailo claimed three drones were downed, but there were “minor destruction and fires”.


Pursuing the crackdown on dissent, Russia’s Supreme Court has banned a non-existent movement as “extremist”.

The Court blacklisted the “Anti-Russian Separatist Movement”, but rights groups said they cannot find any sign of the organization. They express concern that authorities will use the designation as a pretext for criminal prosecutions of activists.

Russia’s Justice Ministry, which initiated the case in April, defined the Anti-Russian Separatist Movement as an “international public movement to destroy the multinational unity and territorial integrity of Russia.”

The independent Russian outlet Mediazona asked a Ministry official if staff “have any guesses” about what constitutes an “anti-Russian separatist movement”.

“We don’t just guess, we know,” the Justice Ministry official proclaimed.


A former Russian prisoner of war has been arrested by Russia’s authorities.

The 235th Garrison Military Court sent Pavel Guguev to a pre-trial detention center on the charge of “confidential cooperation with foreigners”.

Guguev’s offense was giving a video interview, while in captivity, to Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Karpenko. The POW’s comments about large losses in the Russian army have received 1.7 million view.

Guguev enlisted for the Russian invasion of Ukraine after 10 years in prison. He was serving a 12-year sentence for murder, causing moderate harm, and theft.

Guguev said the Defense Ministry sent 680 people from four penal colonies to the front with him.


The US Department of Defense has announced another $225 million in military aid for Ukraine.

The package includes missiles for HAWK air defense systems; Stinger anti-aircraft missiles; ammunition for HIMARS rocket systems; 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds; M113 armored personnel carriers; TOW missiles; Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems; and other materiel.


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has challenged the statement of US President Joe Biden that he is not ready to support the “NATOization of Ukraine”

Kuleba declared:

As for Ukraine’s membership in NATO, I am convinced that this is a historical fact. Ukraine will be in the Alliance, because in today’s world, it is simply impossible to imagine the security of the Euro-Atlantic community without Ukraine and our army. Whether someone likes it or not, this is the reality….

When it comes, Ukraine’s accession to NATO should take weeks, not months or years.

While chiding Biden, the Foreign Minister said, “I am convinced that he sincerely wants Ukraine’s victory over Russian aggression”.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy summarizes his discussions with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday:


Ukraine’s air defenses downed 9 of 13 Iran-type attack drones and a Kh-59 guided missile fired by Russia overnight.

The UAVs and missile were intercepted over the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Poltava, and Dnipropetrovsk regions.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The European Commission has approved the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova.

The Commission briefed the European Union’s Committee of Permanent Representatives that both countries — seeking to become the 28th and 29th members of the bloc — have taken all the necessary steps to meet preconditions.

Commission spokesperson Ana Pisonero told a press briefing in Brussels on Friday:

We can confirm that on the Commission side, we’ve provided all the updates to member states and we considered that all the steps have been met by the two countries….Now the decision is in the hands of the members, and it is for them to adopt the negotiating framework.

Once this step is done, it is the prerogative of the presidency of the EU Council to convene an intergovernmental conference to formally mark the start of negotiations.

Pisonero noted that Ukraine has adopted legislation to increase staffing for the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, lifted restrictions on the powers of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, and enacted a law regulating lobbying in line with European standards.

She added that Ukraine has improved legislation on the protection of minority rights, including minority language education.

In a joint press conference with Ukraine counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris, France’s President Emmanuel Macron calling for the negotiations to be launched “by the end of the month”.

Will Hungary Block The Talks?

However, diplomats warned that Hungary’s Prime Minister — and long-time ally of Vladimir Putin — Viktor Orbán could block the start of negotiations.

Last December the European Council authorized the membership negotiations with Ukraine, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, overcoming Orbán’s blockade.

But Hungary, which assumes the Presidency of the European Council in July, could again prevent consensus among EU members.

“Hungary reiterated that they have conditions that still need to be fulfilled. Otherwise, they will not be able to accept the Commission’s assessment,” one diplomat said.

Another said Budpaest insisted that there was lack of progress over the ethnic minority issue, and is also pressing the EU to “move forward” with Serbia’s and Albania’s accession talks.

“We are all [apart from Hungary] in favor of holding the intergovernmental conference on June 25,” the diplomat emphasized.