Monday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy — “Neutralize” Russia’s Warplanes and Launch Sites to Protect Civilians

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Two elderly women have been killed and nine people injured by a Russian attack on Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region in south-central Ukraine.

Two children, aged 9 and 17, are among the wounded. Houses, educational institutions, shops, a clinic, a beauty salon, and a car were damaged.


At a joint media briefing in Kyiv alongside Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said their discussion are a basis for a future agreement between the two countries.

Speaking after Zelenskiy, Orbán said he asked for consideration of a quick ceasefire that could accelerate peace talks.

Orbán has previously echoed the Kremlin’s line of “peace negotiations” which would leave Russia in occupation of four regions “annexed” by Vladimir Putin in September 2022.

Zelenskiy did not respond to the comments. Later, the deputy head of the Presidential Office, Ihor Zhovkva, said Orbán was given the “opportunity to express his thoughts”: “The President of Ukraine listened to him, but in response, he stated Ukraine’s position – clear, understandable, and well-known.”

The Kremlin snapped that it did not “expect anything” from the trip, saying that Orbán was merely “fulfilling his duties” during Hungary’s six-month Presidency of the European Union.


The Russian Defense Ministry claims a missile strike hit seven Ukrainian Su-27 fighter jets on an airfield near Poltava in south-central Ukraine.

The Ministry claimed five jets were destroyed, and two undergoing repairs were damaged.

Ukraine Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said, “There was an attack. There are some losses, but not the ones the enemy claims, after all, they have always done this since the beginning of the invasion.

He acknowledged the “very serious threat” because “there is not enough means to destroy [reconnaissance] drones. It flies and reports everything in real time, then an Iskander [missile] arrives in a couple of minutes.”


A Russian soldier, seeking political asylum in Europe, has described the decimation of Moscow’s poorly-led, ill-equipped units in their offensive in eastern Ukraine.

Anton, 31, fought on the Kupyansk front for two months last autumn as part of a Storm Z unit, made up primarily of former inmates. He was assigned to the formation as punishment for his “big mouth” — during training in Russia’s Kursk region, he complained about the soldiers’ lack of decent equipment.

He recalled:

It’s a fucking mess there. While we were being processed, when they took us to the clothing warehouse, all of the workers there were drunk out of their minds. The officers were 50/50 [chance of being drunk], but the top brass were barely better than [former Russian President Boris] Yeltsin.

All of the clothing was from the 1960s, and none of it fit. The extortion started right away: 500 [$5.80] rubles here, 500 rubles there. The parts for our equipment cost us 2,000–3,000 rubles [$23–$34].

Anton replaced gear at his own expense, from resellers who came to the unit. The soldiers ordered their food from off base, having suffered food poisoning from rations.

On the frontline in eastern Ukraine, Anton’s unit was reduced from 600 to around 40 after two months.

I spent two months in that slaughterhouse. It’s just pure butchery. Only five or six men from each company would come back alive. In the end, they just mixed us in with convicts and made us push, push, push. How I survived is anybody’s guess. I was a grenadier, not a stormtrooper, so I didn’t go into the line of fire myself.

“If you end up in an assault brigade, you’re fucked,” he continued. “Nine times out of 10, these troops fall apart during their approach. The group advances about 200 meters, then comes under fire. This time, it was cluster munitions. There are no experienced people in these units; everybody scatters.”

Unit commanders conceaed their losses by recording servicemen who did not return from the front as “500s” — code for those who fled or refused to fight.

Anton’s depleted unit was sent in December to Russia’s Belgorod region, where pro-Ukraine militias were carrying out raids. A few days after militias attacked — and his unit’s commander then going on a drinking binge — Anton escaped through Belarus and Armenia.


The first press photo of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcoming Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Kyiv:


NATO intends to establish a senior representative post in Kyiv, and a new command in Germany to coordinate assistance for Ukraine, say US and allied officials.

The measures, to be announced at a NATO summit in Washington next week, are part of contingency plans for a return of Donald Trump to the White House in January 2025.

The new command center in Wiesbaden, Germany will coordinate the flow of military equipment and the training of Ukrainian soldiers.


Four civilians were killed and 42 injured by Russian attacks across Ukraine on Monday.

The fatalities and 27 of the wounded were in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Two civilians were killed in the town of Ukrainsk, and one each in Novodmytrivka and Selydove.

Four people were injured in the neighboring Kharkiv region. In the south, nine were wounded in the Kherson region, and two women in Zaporizhzhia.

A second civilian has died from injuries suffered in a Russian missile strike on an apartment block in Dnipro last Friday. Another 11 people were wounded.


Ukraine has paroled more than 3,000 prisoners and assigned them to military units.

Deputy Justice Minister Olena Vysotska confirmed the deployment, following Parliamentary passage of a mobilization bill last month. Around 27,000 men of a prison population of 42,000 could be eligible.

Prisoners can obtain a conditional release after an interview, medical exam, and a review of their conviction. Those serving time for rape, sexual assault, murdering two or more people, or crimes against Ukraine’s national security are not eligible.

A recruiter told freed inmates:

You can put an end to this and start a new life.

The main thing is your will, because you are going to defend the motherland. You won’t succeed at 50%, you have to give 100% of yourself, even 150%.

Ernest Volvach, 27, serving a two-year sentence for robbery at a penal colony in south-central Ukraine, said, “It’s stupid to sit here doing nothing.” He wants to “do something for Ukraine” and said the opportunity has ”now appeared”.

Paroled inmate Mykhailo, 29, explained, “I decided to sign up for the Ukrainian Volunteer Army because I have a family at home, children, parents. I will be more useful in the war.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán — a long-time ally of Vladimir Putin who has held up military and economic assistance to Ukraine during Russia’s 28-month invasion — is in Kyiv on Tuesday.

A Hungarian Government spokesperson confirmed that Orbán, in his first visit since the beginning of Moscow’s full-scale assault, will meet Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The visit comes a day after Hungary took over the rotating 6-month Presidency of the European Union Council. Zelenskiy posted on Monday:

Zelenskiy and Orbán were filmed in animated conversation last week during the Ukrainian President’s trip to Brussels to sign a security pact with the EU.

For months, Orbán blocked the start of Ukraine’s discussions for accession to the EU and for closer links with NATO, and held up a €50 billion EU fund for financial and economic support of Kyiv. Meanwhile, his foreign minister made five trips to Moscow during Putin’s invasion.

But concerted actions by European leaders and Orbán’s concerns about isolation, particuarly ahead of Hungary’s EU Presidency, finally overcame the blockades. In April, the EU approved the assistance for Ukraine through 2027.

See also Ukraine War, Day 783: EU Approves Plan For €50 Billion in Aid to Kyiv

A source in Budapest said the Kyiv visit will feature Ukraine’s protection of rights for ethnic Hungarians, part of the support for minorities which has enable the accession talks with the EU.

“It was a precondition for the meeting that the issue of nationality rights was resolved,” the source said. “In recent weeks, an agreement has been reached. They will be able to announce this as a success.”

Zelenskiy Meets US Legislators

On Monday, Zelenskiy met American legislators, thanking them for April’s authorization of $60.8 billion in military aid and discussing future assistance.

The meeting took place with the growing prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House in 2025. Trump — who blackmailed Kyiv in 2019 with a cut-off of military support amid Russia’s aggression — has indicated, including in last Thursday’s Presidential debate, that he will block any aid to Kyiv.

In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy said:

Long-range weapons, fighter jets for Ukraine—of sufficient quality and quantity, and more air defense systems—are crucial factors affecting the entire course of this war.

And they must impact it exclusively in our interests and the shared interests of all nations that value life and want a peaceful world. This will happen, and American leadership is essential for this.