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Russian forces pummel east Ukraine in bid to advance on Chasiv Yar, officials say

Russian forces continue to pummel eastern Ukraine in a bid to advance farther into the Donetsk region while Ukraine continues to suffer shortages of manpower and materiel.

The commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said Monday that Russian forces were aiming to capture the town of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk by May 9, the date on which Russia commemorates Soviet victory in World War II.

Chasiv Yar lies west of Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces last May. Capturing Chasiv Yar would give Russia another strategic gain in Donetsk and could allow it to advance on industrial hub Kramatorsk. Syrskyi did not present evidence for his claim.

Syrskyi said he had responded to Russian operations to seize Chasiv Yar by strengthening defensive positions and strengthening brigades with ammunition, drones, and electronic warfare devices. On Saturday, Syrskyi warned the situation on the eastern front had “significantly worsened in recent days.”

57th Brigade Artillery Regiment of the Ukrainian Army in the second front line during a field firefight while the Russia-Ukraine war continues in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on May 15, 2023.

Vincenzo Circosta | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukraine’s military said Tuesday that Russian forces had launched 16 missile attacks, 31 airstrikes and 79 MLRS (multiple-launch rocket systems) attacks on the positions of Ukrainian forces and settlements in the past 24 hours. In the Lyman, Avdiivka and Bakhmut area of Donetsk, Ukrainian forces repelled 56 attacks in the past day, the military said.

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Monday that Ukrainian forces’ ability to repel intensified Russian offensive operations in eastern Ukraine has “degraded due to materiel shortages and will likely continue to degrade in the near future should delays in U.S. security assistance continue.”

The ISW said Russian forces are “capitalizing on Ukrainian materiel shortages … to make marginal tactical advances but that future Russian assaults may be able to achieve more significant and threatening gains, particularly west of Bakhmut, should the U.S. continue to withhold assistance to Ukraine.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Speaker Johnson to advance separate Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan bills after Iran attack

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., on Monday said he plans to move forward with four individual bills to fund Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, separating out key components of a foreign aid package that has been shelved in the House for months.

A woman looks through the rubble of a building destroyed by bombing in the town of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region, on April 11, 2024, amid the Russian invassion in Ukraine. (Photo by Anatolii STEPANOV / AFP) (Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

Johnson held a Monday evening conference with House Republicans to lay out the four bills: one to fund Israel, another for Ukraine, another for Taiwan and a fourth that would wrap several foreign policy proposals into one.

The plan comes as Johnson balances political threats from his party members against added pressure to provide military support to Israel following Iran’s attempted attack over the weekend.

Read more on the story here: Speaker Johnson to advance separate Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan bills after Iran attack

Hundreds of houses, plots flooded in Russia’s Kurgan region

Water levels in rivers in swathes of Russia’s Ural and southwestern Siberian regions continued to rise rapidly, officials said on Tuesday, flooding hundreds of houses, cutting off power and forcing urgent evacuations of residents.

More than 300 houses and nearly 700 residential plots have been flooded in Russia’s Kurgan region straddling the Tobol River near the border with Kazakhstan, Russia’s emergency ministry said on Tuesday.

“The water level in the Tobol River is rising rapidly,” the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app.

Trucks move through a flooded part of a road in the city of Petropavl in northern Kazakhstan close to the border with Russia on April 14, 2024. 

Evgeniy Lukyanov | Afp | Getty Images

In the city of Kurgan, the region’s administrative centre, power was cut off, affecting about 1,500 residents, local officials said late on Monday.

Vadim Shumkov, governor of the Kurgan region, had said that he expected a “very difficult” situation, with the waters in the Tobol rising possibly up to 11 meters (36 ft), or nearly double the bursting level at some places.

Residents of Ishim, a town of 65,000 people in the Tyumen region in southwestern Siberia, bordering Kazakhstan, were asked early on Tuesday urgently evacuate because of a critical rise in the water level in the Ishim river that flows through the town.

Late on Monday, the region’s governor warned that the waters in the region’s rivers could reach all-time highs in the coming days.

Russia’s southern Ural region, southwest Siberia and northern Kazakhstan have been grappling with the worst flooding in living memory after large snow falls melted swiftly amid heavy rain over land already waterlogged before winter.

By late Monday, melt waters that swelled the tributaries of the world’s seventh longest river system, had forcing more than 125,000 people to flee their homes.

— Reuters

Pictures show aftermath of Russian strike on Ukrainian city of Sloviansk

Photos published via Getty Images on Monday depicted destruction in Ukraine’s city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region, including a water-filled missile crater.

Russian shelling on the city damaged two apartment buildings, an educational institution, a bank and several cars on Monday, Ukraine’s National Police said on Telegram.

A five-story residential building is damaged by a missile strike on April 15, 2024 in Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.

Artem Stepanov/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC “UA:PBC” | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

A missile crater near a five-story residential building remains filled with water following water supply pipes’ damage on April 15, 2024 in Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.

Artem Stepanov/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC “UA:PBC”/ | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

Store workers clean up debris following a missile strike on April 15, 2024 in Sloviansk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.

Artem Stepanov/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC “UA:PBC” | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

Russia looking to seize Chasiv Yar by May 9, Ukraine’s army chief says

This photograph taken on April 2, 2024, shows “dragon’s teeth” fortifications near the town of Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, amid Russia’s invasion on Ukraine. The eastern city of Chasiv Yar is facing a “difficult and tense” situation, a Ukrainian army official said on March 25, 2024. If Russia took Chasiv Yar, it could step up attacks on the strategic city of Kramatorsk that is already facing growing bombardment. 

Roman Pilipey | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine’s military chief said Russian forces are aiming to capture the town of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk by May 9, the date on which Russia commemorates Soviet victory in World War II.

Chasiv Yar lies west of Bakhmut, a town reduced to rubble but finally captured by Russian forces last May after months of fighting. Capturing the town would give Russia another strategic gain in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, a war hot spot, and could allow it to advance on industrial hub Kramatorsk.

“The higher Russian military leadership has set the task for its troops to capture Chasiv Yar by May 9,” Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said on Telegram, without presenting evidence for his claim.

Syrskyi said he had responded to Russian operations to seize Chasiv Yar by strengthening defensive positions and strengthening brigades with ammunition, drones, and electronic warfare devices.

On Saturday, Syrskyi posted on Telegram that the situation on the eastern front had “significantly worsened in recent days.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Two dead, four wounded in Russian strikes on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, its governor says

Two people were killed and four were injured on Monday in a Russian attack on the Ukrainian village of Lukyantsi in the Kharkiv region, local governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram.

Russia used a guided aerial bomb to carry out the attack, Syniehubov said.

Two men in their sixties died immediately as a result of the attack, Syniehubov said, while four other civilians were being treated for shrapnel wounds and blast injuries in a medical facility. An educational institution was also hit by the strikes, he added.

CNBC could not independently verify the reports.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Russia expresses ‘extreme concern’ over Middle East, calls for restraint

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday expressed “extreme concern over another dangerous escalation” in the Middle East following Iran’s missile and drone strike on Israel.

“We express our extreme concern at yet another dangerous escalation in the region. We have repeatedly warned that the numerous unresolved crises in the Middle East, primarily in the area of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which are often fueled by irresponsible provocative actions, will exacerbate tensions,” the foreign ministry said on Telegram.

“We call on all parties involved in the conflict to exercise restraint. We expect the regional states to resolve the existing problems through political and diplomatic means. We believe it is important for the constructively-minded international players to contribute to this effort,” it added.

An anti-missile system operates after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel April 14, 2024. 

Amir Cohen | Reuters

Israel has vowed to retaliate for the Iranian strike, which was carried out to avenge an alleged Israeli airstrike that killed several top Iranian commanders in Damascus earlier in April.

Russia did not condemn Iran’s attack, repeating Iran’s assertion that the attack was “undertaken as part of the right to self-defence.”

An all-out war between Israel and Iran could drag Russia into its orbit, given its close relationship with Tehran. Russia has become a close ally of Iran, with the countries developing a deeper military relationship in recent years, and with Russia using thousands of Iranian-made attack drones in Ukraine.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia continues to seek army recruits from abroad, UK claims

Russia continues to advertise and seek to recruit foreign nationals to join its armed forces to fight in Ukraine, the U.K. said Monday.

“The most recent leaflet, written in English, requests foreigners to join a ‘special’ unit in the Russian Army and highlights a monthly salary of $2,200, a signing on payment of $2,000, a Russian passport, free medical treatment and training,” the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update.

A man walks past a contract army service mobile recruitment point in Moscow on July 6, 2023.

Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

“Online recruitment adverts were distributed during the middle of 2023 specifically appealing to citizens of neighbouring countries, such as Armenia and Kazakhstan, with monthly salary offers of $1,973 and signing on payments of $5,140,” the ministry said on social media platform X.

Russia was also recently accused of looking to recruit migrants from India and Nepal who were then sent to fight in Ukraine with the U.K. noting that it was likely that migrant workers “have been coerced to fight under false pretences or with the offer of financial incentives.”

Russia likely wishes to avoid further unpopular domestic mobilization measures, the ministry said, amid significant casualties in Ukraine currently estimated at 913 per day, the U.K. noted.

“Russia needs to continue to explore all recruitment avenues to maintain a high tempo of personnel in-flow, the U.K. said.

— Holly Ellyatt

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