Ukraine Latest: Russian Hypersonic Missile Shot Down on Thursday

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, renewed a threat to pull his forces from the battlefield near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine because of an ammunition shortage.

(Bloomberg) — Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, renewed a threat to pull his forces from the battlefield near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine because of an ammunition shortage. 

The target of Prigozhin’s ire, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, later on Friday ordered commanders to ensure supplies of weapons and munitions for the campaign during a visit to the Southern military district. The Washington Post reported that leaked US files show how Russia’s military leadership has struggled to respond to “bitter public attacks” by Prigozhin.

Ukraine’s air force commander said the military’s air defense had taken down a hypersonic Kh-47 missile fired by Russia during a night attack on May 4. 

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(All times CET)

Ukraine Shot Down a Russian ‘Kinzhal’ Missile, Air Defense Chief Says (9:26 a.m.)

Ukraine’s air defenses shot down a Russian hypersonic Kh-47 “Kinzhal” missile on May 4 that had been fired by a MiG-31K fighter jet in Russian territory, Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said on Telegram. 

It was the first official comment from Ukraine on the incident, discussion of which circulated widely on social media on Friday. “Yes, we shot down the ‘non-analog’ Dagger,” he said. 

On April 26 Oleshchuk said Patriot air defense systems donated by Western allies have been deployed in Ukraine with the goal of neutralizing Russian ballistic missile attacks.  

Leaked Documents Show Deep Rift Between Wagner, Russian Military: WaPost (8 a.m.)

US intelligence files that were part of the trove allegedly leaked by a US National Guard airman show the deep tensions between Yevgeniy Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group, and Russian military leadership, the Washington Post reported. 

As tensions festered, “military leadership struggled to respond to Prigozhin,” and defense ministry officials considered a “public campaign to discredit Prigozhin through a proxy,” the newspaper said.   

“They were ultimately unsure how the MoD could successfully fight an information war with Prigozhin if the Russian government did not forbid Prigozhin from making public releases,” the Post reported. 

Five Injured in Guided Bomb Attack in Sumy Region (7:30 a.m.)

At least five people were injured when two guided bombs launched from a Russian Su-35 jet struck Hlukhiv in the Sumy region of Ukraine’s northeast late on Friday, the northern operational command reported. Dozens of homes and a school were among the buildings damaged. 

Separately, three people people were killed by Russian attacks on Avdiivka and two in other cities in the Donetsk region over the past day, according to governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.  

Russia Could Face Protests on Victory Day, UK Says (7 a.m.)

The potential for protests and discontent over the war in Ukraine are likely to have influenced the calculus of Russian leadership in cancelling May 9 Victory Day parades in some regions and scaling back celebrations in others, including the capital, the UK defense ministry said. 

“Moscow’s Victory Day celebration is likely to go ahead but on a smaller scale. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reception following the parade (last held in 2019) will not go ahead,” the ministry said in a Twitter thread. 

Binance Faces Probe of Possible Sanctions Violations (4 a.m.)

The Justice Department is investigating whether Binance Holdings Ltd. was used illegally to let Russians skirt US sanctions and move money through the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, according to people familiar with the matter.

The inquiry by the Justice Department’s national security division is looking at whether Binance or company officials ran afoul of sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to five people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named discussing a confidential investigation. 

Zelenskiy Meets BlackRock Executives in Kyiv (9:29 p.m.)

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met in Kyiv with executives of BlackRock Inc. including Philipp Hildebrand, vice chairman and member of the asset management firm’s global executive committee.

BlackRock Financial Market Advisory will provide services for the fund, according to an emailed statement from Zelenskiy’s office. The fund will seek private and public capital for projects in Ukraine after active hostilities end.

“We can offer interesting projects for investments in energy, agriculture, logistics, infrastructure, IT and many other sectors,” Zelenskiy said. “‘We want global partners, who can provide us with large investments to come.”

Chechen Leader Says He’d Replace Wagner Group If It Goes (6:44 p.m.)

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Telegram that Chechen servicemen are ready to replace Wagner Group fighters in Bakhmut if Prigozhin delivers on his threat to withdraw his mercenary force.

Still, Kadyrov praised Prigozhin, calling him his “older brother.” Kadyrov urged Prigozhin and Russian military leaders to agree on arms supplies and not to argue in public.

UN Says No New Vessels Approved for Ukraine Grain Corridor (6:39 p.m.)

The Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Centre didn’t reach agreement on Friday to authorize new vessels to participate in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Farhan Haq, a spokesperson for the United Nations secretary-general, said. 

Daily inspections work on previously authorized vessels continues, he said. Vessel traffic through the Ukraine crop-export corridor has been repeatedly disrupted in recent weeks. The current agreement expires on May 18.

Ukraine Lauds Approval of €1 Billion Tranche for Ammunition (6:01 p.m.)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hailed the approval of a €1 billion ($1.1 billion) European tranche for the joint procurement of ammunition for his country.

Russia to Resettle Residents in Zaporizhzhia Towns Amid Fighting (3:24 p.m.)

Russian occupation authorities said they are “temporarily resettling” about 70,000 civilians from 18 towns and villages in the Zaporizhzhia region, including Enerhodar, which is home to a major nuclear power plant, amid rising fighting in the area, Tass said.

Evgeny Balitsky, the Russian-appointed governor, said that the order applies primarily to women, children and the elderly. He said they would be moved away from the front elsewhere in the region.

Fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Enerhodar has raised fears for months of damage to the facility. The International Atomic Energy Agency has been negotiating to establish a security zone around it but so far without success.

NATO Steps Up Submarine Monitoring (2:37 p.m.)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is stepping up monitoring of submarines after the defense alliance warned that Moscow is mapping European Union and US critical underwater assets.

As part of an exercise, which started April 24 and ends Friday, 12 NATO nations teamed up their marine patrol aircraft, surface ships and friendly subs to search for a submarine with very little information.

The Dynamic Mongoose drill took place in the so-called Greenland-Iceland-UK gap, through which Russian vessels need to pass to access the Atlantic Ocean. 

Read more: NATO Drills Sharpen Submarine-Hunt Skills in Russia’s Backyard  

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