264 defenders evacuated from Azovstal, Russia fires missiles at Chernihiv, Sumy and Lviv oblasts

17 May, 09:50 AM
Buses with wounded Ukrainian soldiers evacuated from Azovstal arrive in Russian-occupied Novoazovsk, Donetsk Oblast. (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Buses with wounded Ukrainian soldiers evacuated from Azovstal arrive in Russian-occupied Novoazovsk, Donetsk Oblast. (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Today, May 17, is the 83rd day of Ukraine's defense against a full-scale Russian invasion.

8.25 p.m. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky discussed with French leader Emmanuel Macron the  operation to save the defenders of Mariupol from Azovstal and Ukraine's application for EU candidate status.

"I have completed a long and intense telephone conversation with (President) Macron,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “He spoke about the course of hostilities, the rescue operation of the military from Azovstal, and … the prospects for the negotiation process."

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The Ukrainian president added that he had raised the issue of fuel supplies to Ukraine, France's defense aid, the preparation of the 6th package of sanctions against Russia, and possible ways to export Ukrainian agricultural products.

"The subject of the consideration of our application for EU candidate status was (also) discussed," Zelensky added.

The press service of the Elysee Palace noted that Macron confirmed to Zelensky that the supply of weapons from France to Ukraine will continue and increase in the coming days and weeks, as well as the supply of humanitarian aid.

 

7.59 p.m. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto signed the country's application for NATO membership. The document will be handed over to Finland's Ambassador to NATO, Klaus Korhonen, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. This will be followed by discussions on the membership of Finland and Sweden in the North Atlantic Alliance.


7.31 p.m. General Staff update: Invaders tried to attack Donbas, fighting going on in the area of ​​Novomykhaylovka.

Invading Russian forces have tried to advance in Donetsk Oblast, with fighting continuing in the area of ​​the settlement of Novomykhaylivka, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Main points from the General Staff report on Facebook:

 

·        Russian troops continued to launch missile strikes on military and civilian infrastructure in Lviv, Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts.

·        In Belarus, the combat readiness of troops is being tested: training on performing a pontoon crossing and crossing water barriers has been observed at a training ground. The threat of missile and bomb strikes from the territory of Belarus on infrastructure facilities in Ukraine remains.

·        In order to prevent the transfer of Ukrainian troops from the Siversky area, the Russian Federation continues to maintain its units in the Bryansk and Kursk regions near the Ukrainian border. The enemy fired on settlements in Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts from the territory of the Russian Federation.

·        In the Kharkiv area, the occupiers attacked the Ukrainian military with artillery.

·        In the Slovyansk area, the invaders regrouped and replenished troops and reserves to prepare for an offensive towards Slovyansk. Russian troops tried to improve their tactical situation in the area of ​​Dovgenke, but were unsuccessful.

·        In the Donetsk area, Russian troops are trying to conduct offensive operations along the entire line of contact, shelling settlements with artillery. In the areas of Bakhmut, Klinov, Soledar and Volchoyarivka, the enemy fired missiles from an Su-35 aircraft. The enemy also conducted air reconnaissance using the Orlan-10 UAV.

·        In the Severodonetsk area, with the support of artillery, the occupiers are trying to launch an offensive in the direction of the settlements of Borovenky and Severodonetsk.

·        In the Bakhmut area, the enemy tried to break through the defenses of Ukraine’s troops, was unsuccessful, and withdrew.

·        In the Avdiyivka area, the enemy carried out assault operations in order to take control of the Novobahmutivka-Novoselivka Druha road, but was unsuccessful.

·        In the Kurakhiv area, with the support of artillery and aircraft fire, the enemy is attacking the village of Novomykhailivka, and fighting there continues.

·        Enemy units made an unsuccessful attempt to attack in the direction of the village of Mariyinka.


6.45 p.m. Moves are afoot in Russia to block the exchange of Azov fighters for Russian prisoners of war: Russia’s State Duma will on May 18 consider a draft resolution banning the exchange of "Nazi criminals", as Kremlin propaganda falsely describes Azov Regiment soldiers. On May 26, the Russian Supreme Court will consider recognizing the Ukrainian Azov Regiment as a "terrorist organization." 


6.34 p.m. Finland and Sweden are to apply for NATO membership tomorrow, Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson announced. She said that both countries could contribute to the security of Europe.

 

6.09 p.m. As of the 83rd day of Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine has identified 46 Russians who committed atrocities during the war, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said in an interview with Radio NV. She reported the number of Russian criminals that have already been identified, how investigations are progressing, and how the international legal front is helping Ukraine. "The main war criminal is Putin," Venediktova said.


5.44 p.m. At least seven buses with the Ukrainian military left Azovstal accompanied by the Russian military, news agency Reuters reported. The agency reports that some Ukrainian servicemen were apparently not wounded, and published photos.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Фото: REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
Фото: REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Video of the evacuation of wounded soldiers from Azovstal in Mariupol

5.39 p.m. Ukrainian exports fell by almost 57.9% and imports by 75.8% in March, according to data from the State Statistics Service. The balance of foreign trade, taking into account seasonal fluctuations in March 2022, was positive and amounted to U.S. $819.4 million, the State Statistics Service added. In February, the balance was negative and amounted to minus $969 million.

 

5.34 p.m. A seriously wounded 9-year-old child and the body of another person have been removed from rubble following a Russian missile strike in Donetsk Oblast.

"The missile strike by the Russians destroyed the structures of the house from the fifth to the first floor. In addition, a fire broke out in the high-rise building, which has already been contained,” said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration.

 

5.24 p.m. The Ministry of Defense says that the turning point has come in the supply of weapons to Ukraine. "Today is a turning point, and you can all see that after the meeting at (the U.S. air base in) Rammstein, which was attended by more than 40 heads of defense, assistance to Ukraine is now really collective,” said Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar. “In a few months, it will be able to ensure Ukraine has an equal opportunity to respond to the current threats, because Russia, of course, now has an advantage in armaments and personnel."

 

5.15 p.m. A farewell ceremony for the first President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk has been held in Kyiv. Current President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the First Lady Olena Zelenska were present at the funeral. Presidents of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Yushchenko and Petro Poroshenko also took part in the farewell ceremony.

REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi
Фото: REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi


5.04 p.m. Ukraine's GDP in 2022 will fall by 39% in the event of a protracted war by the end of the year, and in the event of a truce – by 20%. This was stated by the head of the Dragon Capital group (the publisher of the NV site, NV magazine and Radio NV) Tomasz Fiala.

"There's going to be a big blow to the economy," Fiala said.

 

4.37 p.m. The Parliament of Finland has supported the country's accession to NATO. The decision now goes to the Finnish government, and a meeting is expected to take place later this day. The decision will then to be approved by President Sauli Niinisto, who is visiting Sweden on May 17.


4.28 p.m. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has said there was no other way to rescue the defenders of Mariupol than through the current evacuation of wounded soldiers.

"We reported that a military operation to unblock the siege is, unfortunately, impossible in this situation, and there can be no other formula for salvation than the one currently being used in this situation,” said Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Malyar.

“This was the only way out."


4.08 p.m. Russian troops have failed in their attempt to break through the state border in Sumy Oblast, the region’s governor Dmitry Zhivitsky said. He added that provocative attacks from the territory of Russia were continuing.

 

4.06 p.m. A rally in support of Ukraine's territorial integrity is to be held in Russian-occupied Crimea. The rally, scheduled for May 18, a will be held in Simferopol.

 

4.04 p.m. Antonov Airlines announced that it is to move its base from Hostomel, a town to the north-west of Kyiv, to Leipzig in Germany. The airline said it plans to continue operating its five remaining Ruslan An-124-100 aircraft from Leipzig.


3.25 p.m. The Kremlin plans to give control over occupied Mariupol to Chechen leader and warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol said. "It’s becoming clear what … the occupiers plan to do with Mariupol and who will be the conditional curator of the 'restoration' (of Mariupol). Our sources from Ivashchenko's entourage (Kostiantyn Ivashchenko, a collaborating deputy of Mariupol City Council appointed by the occupiers as "mayor") say Mariupol has turned out to be too unfriendly and nationalistic. Therefore, in order to intimidate and suppress the resistance, it is planned to give the city to the (Chechens)."

 

3.16 p.m. The heroic defenders of Mariupol, having drawn off invading Russian forces from Kyiv, have new orders to fulfill – to save their own lives,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said. "Thanks to the heroism of the Mariupol garrison, it was possible to draw the troops of the Russian invader away from Kyiv,” Reznikov said. “They carried out their orders to tie down a group of 20,000 Russian invaders and not to let them into Zaporizhzhya and further into Donetsk Oblast. They are all heroes, they now have a new order – to save their lives.”

 

2.56 p.m. Russian troops are again trying to cross into Sumy Oblast, said Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, head of the Sumy Regional State Administration. He said that fighting was going on in the north of Shostka district. There are fires along the border caused by shelling, he added.


1:42 p.m. The negotiation process between Ukraine and Russia has been suspended, adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Mykhailo Podoliak said. "It is clear that now that (the negotiation process) has been suspended, as after the Istanbul communiqué there has been no significant progress. The Russian Federation still remains stereotypical in its thinking,” Podoliak said.

 

1.20 p.m. Eight people were killed and 11 others injured in a Russian missile attack on the village of Desna, Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said. In the morning, the head of the Chernihiv Regional State Administration, Vyacheslav Chaus, said that Russian occupation forces had launched missile strikes at a training center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine located in the village. Around 5 a.m., enemy aircraft fired four missiles, two of which hit the building, Chaus reported.


Military situation in Ukraine on May 17

Infographic: UK Ministry of Defense
Фото: Infographic: UK Ministry of Defense


12.51 p.m. Another Russian soldier who is alleged to have taken part in rapes in Kyiv Oblast has been identified. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said that the alleged rapist was a 20-year-old radio operator from a howitzer artillery division of the Russian 2nd Guards General Army, Bulat Fassakhov.

He and a colleague are accused of breaking into a private house in a village in Brovary district in March 2022. Fassakhov is alleged to have ordered his accomplice to lock all the inhabitants of the house in the basement, apart from his female victim. Threatening the victim with weapons and harm to her relatives, he raped her, Ukrainian prosecutors say.


12.29 p.m. Ukrainian border guards have thwarted a new attempt by the Russian Armed Forces to cross the Siversky Donets river, killing dozens of enemy troops and destroying several enemy armored vehicles. Air reconnaissance by border guards discovered that the Russians had built a pontoon bridge, across which they planned to send armored vehicles. After that, Ukrainian artillery struck the enemy.


12.10 p.m. After the conditions of the evacuated seriously wounded soldiers from Azovstal has stabilized, they are to be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said. She said the humanitarian operation to evacuate the wounded Azovstal defenders is still underway.

 

12.02 p.m. Serhiy Rakhmanin, a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, explained on Radio NV why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin have not agreed to talks for the past three weeks.

"It simply came to our notice then. Each of the presidents – Ukrainian President Zelensky and the head of the aggressor state Putin – would be interested in negotiations only if there were significant military advantages that would dictate their terms from a position of strength. This is not happening today. "... There are no successes, so there is no agenda," Rachmanin said.

 

11.21 a.m. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he sees no signs of a quick end to the war in Ukraine. "Unfortunately, it is not yet clear that there is a growing awareness of the need to end this as soon as possible," Scholz said. He said a potential escalation of the war was also a cause for concern.

 

11.18 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will today hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Deputy Head of the President's Office Andriy Sybiha said. He said that the telephone talks were initiated by Macron and Scholz.


Scenes from liberated Borodyanka in Kyiv Oblast

A mannequin dressed as a Russian soldier stands next to a board with the inscription
Фото: A mannequin dressed as a Russian soldier stands next to a board with the inscription "To Russia" at an abandoned Russian checkpoint. / Photo: REUTERS / Jorge Silva
A car drives past a ruined house. / Photo: REUTERS / Jorge Silva
Фото: A car drives past a ruined house. / Photo: REUTERS / Jorge Silva
Two girls sitting in a park near a ruined house. / Photo: REUTERS / Jorge Silva
Фото: Two girls sitting in a park near a ruined house. / Photo: REUTERS / Jorge Silva

10.34 a.m. Russian missile strikes have damaged railway infrastructure in Lviv Oblast, the local authorities said. "At night, the enemy fired a missile at the infrastructure of a regional branch of Lviv Railways in Yavoriv district,” said Maksym Kozytskyi, head of the Lviv Regional State Administration.


10.31 a.m. Russia agreed to evacuate 264 defenders of Mariupol from Azovstal and to a future exchange because the Russians' attempts to attack the plant were senseless and caused them heavy losses, according to military expert Serhiy Hrabsky.

"The Russians probably already understood the futility of further attacks and spending resources on attempts to establish control over Azovstal, so they went for such talks,” Hrabsky told Radio NV. “It made no sense to lose so many people in completely useless attacks.”


10.29 a.m. The U.S. M777 howitzers received by the Ukrainian military have given a "new impetus" to the Ukrainian counterattack, a Pentagon official has said. "You can already see how the Ukrainians can go on the counterattack,” the U.S. official said. “In the Donbas, they regained several cities that the Russians had captured earlier. And in Kharkiv, this is a great example of what they are doing. It’s more than just defending the city – now they are displacing the Russians to the east and north, and we believe that this is especially down to U.S. howitzers."


10.10 a.m. Russian forces fired missiles at Okhtyrka, causing injuries and a lot of damage, according to Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, the head of the Sumy police department. He said at least five people were injured when five Russian missiles hit civilian targets in the central part of Okhtyrka and the Dachny massif.


10.04 a.m. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is trying to achieve his own goals and create his own version of the Soviet Union based on his own erroneous considerations, Ilya Ponomaryov, a Russian opposition politician and State Duma deputy from 2007-2016, said in an interview with Radio NV. "He will try to continue this war," Ponomarev said, saying the dictator was trying to make a place for himself in history, at any cost.


9.15 a.m. Invading Russian forces have retreated from positions near Severodonetsk and in the community of Hirske in Luhansk Oblast. "The enemy suffered numerous losses," said Serhiy Haidai, head of Luhansk Regional State Administration.


9.06 a.m. The General Staff released the latest tally of total combat losses of Russia since it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the General Staff, the enemy suffered its greatest losses in the Lyman and Zaporizhzhya areas last night.

Total losses are as follows:

·        Personnel – 27,900 (+200)

·        Tanks – 1,235 (+7)

·        Armored fighting vehicles – 3,009 (+35)

·        Artillery systems – 578 (+1)

·        Multiple rocket launcher systems – 198 (+3)

·        Air defense systems – 90 (+1)

·        Aircraft – 201 (+1)

·        Helicopters – 167 (+2)

·        Drones (UAVs) operational and tactical level – 436 (+9)

·        Cruise missiles – 97 (+0)

·        Ships / boats – 13 (+0)

·        Vehicles and tanker trucks – 2,109 (+8)

·        Special machinery – 43 (+1)


8.43 a.m. Russian forces on the morning of May 17 launched missile strikes on the village of Desna in Chernihiv Oblast, where a Ukrainian Armed Forces training center is located. At around 5 a.m., enemy aircraft fired four missiles, two of which hit the center’s building. Rescuers and law enforcement officers are now working at the scene. "We have dead and many wounded," said Vyacheslav Chaus, head of the Chernihiv Regional State Administration.


8.25 a.m. "We are fighting an army of rapists and looters," Deputy Interior Minister Kateryna Pavlichenko said in an interview with NV. Ukrainian civilians are the victims of war crimes committed by the Russian military in Ukraine. And when fleeing the war, Ukrainian civilians may find themselves becoming victims of human trafficking, Pavlichenko said.


8.05 a.m. Russian troops fired mortars at Ukrainian border guards in Sumy Oblast in the area of ​​the settlement of Bilokopytove, according to a report from Ukraine’s General Staff.


7.50 a.m. The Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that over the past 24 hours it had repulsed 11 enemy attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, destroyed enemy five tanks, one Tor anti-aircraft missile system, six artillery systems, twelve units of armored combat vehicles and one enemy vehicle.


7.17 a.m. The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of a U.S. $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. According to news agency Bloomberg, 81 senators voted in favor of the bill, 11 against. The law is expected to be passed on May 18 if all lawmakers agree not to further amend the bill. This will allow it to be signed by U.S. President Joe Biden.


6.25 a.m. The European Union will help Ukraine export grain that Russia has blocked with its military aggression in its seaports, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said. He said there was an action plan to introduce so-called green corridors for Ukraine, and that the European Union should help continue to export grain by train.


5.38 a.m. In Kherson Oblast, the invaders are introducing a system of permits to reduce the possibility of people leaving the region. There is a humanitarian catastrophe and an atmosphere of terror in the region, the legitimate Ukrainian authorities for the oblast report.


5.04 a.m. Ukrainian soldiers near Chornobaivka in Kherson Oblast destroyed a warehouse of fuels and lubricants and killed 29 invading Russian troops, the Ukrainian military said. Ukrainian forces also destroyed a Strela-10 anti-aircraft missile system, a T-72 tank, and other Russian equipment.

According to the operational command South, the fuel and lubricants warehouse was destroyed by rocket artillery fire near Chornobaivka, where the Ukrainian military has repeatedly inflicted huge losses of equipment on the Russian invaders.


3.44 a.m. The water supply has been fully restored in all settlements of Kyiv Oblast. Utility workers are now restoring gas supplies.


3.11 a.m. In Lviv, the air defense system has been active. There is no confirmed information about any Russian missile strikes in Lviv, where explosions were heard on the night of May 17, said the city’s mayor, Andriy Sadovy.


2.57 a.m. The Council of Ministers of the European Union has approved EUR 500 million in aid to Ukraine for the purchase of weapons and other defensive needs. This will be the fourth tranche of such aid.


2.42 a.m. The Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed five Russian air targets, including one Su-25 aircraft on May 16. According to the command of the Air Force of the Armed Forces, three Orlan-10 drones and one cruise missile were also shot down. In addition, the Ukrainian military said it had managed to inflict fire damage on a command post of an enemy battalion-tactical group.


1.39 a.m. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is so personally involved in the war against Ukraine that he makes operational and tactical decisions at the level of a colonel or brigadier general, according to UK newspaper the Guardian, citing Western military sources.

According to them, he is helping to determine the movement of troops in the Donbas, where the occupiers suffered a bloody defeat last week, repeatedly trying to bridge the strategic Siversky Donets river in eastern Ukraine.


0.52 a.m. Explosions are being heard in Lviv, said the city’s mayor, Andriy Sadovy. An NV correspondent reported at least seven or eight explosions.


0.27 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian military, as well as the negotiating team – the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN – there is hope that the lives of servicemen evacuated from Azovstal can be saved. Fifty-three seriously wounded defenders were taken out of Mariupol.

"… They are being helped,” Zelensky said. “I want to emphasize that Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle. I think every reasonable person will understand these words. The operation to save the defenders of Mariupol has begun."


0.11 a.m. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said that 53 seriously wounded defenders of Mariupol were taken to the hospital of occupied Novoazovsk for treatment, while another 211 while evacuated to occupied Olenivka through a humanitarian corridor. They will later return to the territory controlled by Ukraine through an exchange procedure. Measures are underway to rescue the fighters who remain on the territory of the Azovstal plant.

A statement from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook said that the commanders of the units stationed in Azovstal had received an order from the top military leadership to save the lives of personnel.

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