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Ukraine updates: Russian attack causes injuries, damage

Published May 1, 2023last updated May 1, 2023

At least 34 people were injured in Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region, while authorities said defense systems repelled 15 out of 18 missiles fired by Russia. Follow DW has the latest.

Ukrainian soldiers atop an APC give a thumbs up as they travel to frontline positions in Donetsk
Russia has again intensified air attacks on Ukraine as Kyiv readies its counter offensive Image: Libkos/AP Photo/picture alliance

Ukrainian air defence crews destroyed 15 out of 18 missiles launched by Russian forces in the early hours of Monday morning, the military said, 

Air raid sirens also sounded across the country, and authorities warned residents to take shelter.

"Around 2:30 a.m. (2330 GMT), the Russian invaders attacked Ukraine from strategic aviation planes," a post on the Telegram channel of Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in chief of Ukraine's armed forces, read. 

Kyiv's city officials wrote on the Telegram messaging app that all missiles directed at the capital were destroyed in what they said was the second attack on the city in three days.

Russia has also launched missiles at other Ukrainian regions overnight, including on Dnipropetrovsk, Mykola Lukashuk, the head of the Dnipro region council, said. Air defence crews shot down seven missiles, but 34 people sought medical help.

The eastern Ukrainian city of Pavlohrad was struck twice overnight, and an industrial enterprise, 19 apartment buildings and 25 private buildings, among others, were damaged or destroyed, he added.

Meanwhile, Russian artillery strikes killed one person and wounded three others in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, a regional official said.

"Over the past day, the enemy carried out 39 shellings, firing 163 shells from heavy artillery, Grads, UAVs and aviation. The enemy shelled the city of Kherson 8 times," said Oleksandr Prokudin, of the military administration for Kherson.

"As a result of Russian aggression, one person died and three others, including a child, were injured," he added.

The latest attempted strikes come just days after Russia launched several missiles at targets across Ukraine, killing at least 23 people.

Ukraine: Russian troops edge closer to taking Bakhmut

Here are some of the other headlines concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Monday, May 1:

White House: More than 20,000 Russians dead in Ukraine fighting since December

The White House on Monday said Russian troops have suffered mass casualties in Ukraine since December. White House National Security Advisor John Kirby said US intelligence pointed to roughly 100,000 Russian war casualties, including more than 20,000 dead.

Kirby did not offer details on how US intelligence agencies had arrived at the number nor how many casualties Ukraine may have suffered. 

The numbers mirror those read out by US General Mark Milley last November. At the time, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said Russia had suffered 100,000 casualties in the first eight months of the war.

That same number of casualties over a far shorter period represents a dramatic increase in Russian losses. 

Additionally, Kirby said half of those killed in December had been members of the Wagner Group, a private mercenary outfit run by Yevgeny Prigozhin. 

Wagner boss Prigozhin wants more ammunition for Bakhmut fight

Yevgeny Prigozhin has renewed calls for the Russian Ministry of Defense to send more ammunition to his Wagner Group mercenaries fighting for control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

On Tuesday, Prigozhin took to social media to make a public plea for materiel. On Monday, the militia boss released a video on his Telegram channel, saying, "300 tons a day is 10 cargo containers — not a lot at all... but we are being given no more than a third of that."

Progozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has frequently and publicly criticized the way Russian military leaders are handling the country's "special military operation." 

In a prior video recorded outside Bakhmut, Prigozhin noted that Wagner was founded on May 1, and adding that it would never die "at the hands of the Ukrainian army or NATO but because of our domestic bastard-bureaucrats."

Ukrainian and Russian forces have been locked in a destructive, prolonged military standoff for control of Bakhmut for months.

Russian freight train derails after hitting explosive device

A freight train derailed in the western Russian region of Bryansk bordering Ukraine after an "explosive device" detonated on the rail tracks, the local governor said. 

"An unidentified explosive device went off, as a result of which a locomotive of a freight train derailed," Bryansk governor Alexander Bogomaz said on Telegram, adding there were "no casualties."

The site of the incident, as indicated by the governor, is around 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Russia's border with Ukraine.

Russian Railways, the country's rail operator, said the incident occurred at 10:17 Moscow time (0717 GMT). It said the locomotive and seven freight wagons were derailed and the locomotive caught fire.

Separately, the governor of Russia's Leningrad region near St. Petersburg said a power line had been blown up overnight and an explosive device found near a second line.

Judo: Ukraine to boycott world championships over Russia's inclusion

Ukrainian judokas will not take part in this month's world championships in Qatar following the International Judo Federation's (IJF) decision to readmit Russians and Belarusians as neutrals, the Ukrainian Judo Federation (UJF) said.

The IJF last week announced that it would allow judoka from Russia and Belarus to participate in the May 7-14 championships, saying its decision would allow Russians and Belarusians to participate in qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month recommended that athletes from the two countries be allowed to return to international competition as neutrals.

The IOC's recommendations exclude athletes who support the war or are contracted to military or national security agencies. The IJF has said it has enlisted an independent company to perform background checks and identify any such athletes.

However, the Ukrainian federation alleged that a number of Russian judoka registered for the championships are "active servicemen."

Meanwhile, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) said Russian and Belarusian athletes who do not support "their State's actions in Ukraine" can return to events as neutrals.

Moscow building major military defenses in Ukraine, Russia — UK

Russia has built powerful defense structures along the front line, in occupied Ukrainian territory and also at points deep within Russia, the UK's Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence update. 

"Since summer 2022, Russia has constructed some of the most extensive systems of military defensive works seen anywhere in the world for many decades," the ministry said. 

"Imagery shows that Russia has made a particular effort to fortify the northern border of occupied Crimea, including with a multi-layered defensive zone near the village of Medvedivka," the ministry said.

It also said hundreds of kilometers of trenches had been dug on internationally recognized Russian territory, including in the Belgorod and Kursk regions, which border Ukraine.

London gave two possible reasons for the construction. "The defenses highlight Russian leaders' deep concern that Ukraine could achieve a major breakthrough," it said.

However, some works have likely been ordered by local commanders and civil leaders in attempts to promote the official narrative that Russia is "threatened" by Ukraine and NATO, the ministry added.

Pope hints at secret Vatican peace 'mission'

Pope Francis said the Vatican is willing to help facilitate the return of Ukrainian children who were taken to Russia during the war.

He also said the Catholic Church was involved in a mission to secure peace in Ukraine.

"I'm available to do anything," Francis told reporters while flying back from a trip to Hungary on Sunday.

"There's a mission that's not public that's underway; when it's public I'll talk about it," the pope said, without providing further details.

Francis said though that he was willing to do "all that is humanly possible" to reunite families.

Russia has been accused of war crimes for deporting children from Ukraine to Russia. Moscow has denied any wrongdoing, saying children were moved for their safety.

Zelenskyy discusses weapons package with Macron

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Sunday about new weapons and ammunition deliveries.

"It is very important that Russia receives stronger and stronger signals that the world will not forgive Russia's terror," he said in his nightly video message.

He did not provide further details on the package.

Zelenskyy and Macron discussed a new weapons package as Ukrainian forces prepare to launch a counteroffensive against Russian troops.

He added that Kyiv and its international partners must remain united to "protect our shared values" and ensure that the war is not prolonged.,

He thanked several countries, including Denmark, Slovenia, Germany and Spain, for providing howitzers and armed vehicles, along with planned deliveries of grenades.

Russia-Ukraine war: Conflict in Crimea

Kyiv said Crimea drone strike was preparation for counterattack

A Ukrainian military spokesperson said a drone attack on a Russian fuel depot in Crimea was part of preparations for its planned spring counteroffensive.

"Destruction of enemy logistics is one of the preparatory elements for the powerful actions of our defense forces, which we have been talking about for a long time," a spokesperson for the Ukrainian army's Southern Command said on television on Sunday.

"And this work is preparing for the large-scale offensive that everyone is waiting for," said spokeswoman Nataliya Gumenyuk.

As a result of the strike on Saturday, a large Russian fuel depot caught fire in the port city of Sevastopol in Crimea.

The Ukrainian government has not claimed responsibility for the attack, but the military intelligence service said similar blasts would continue.

More DW coverage on Russia's war in Ukraine

Ukraine is preparing for what could be a decisive counteroffensive to liberate territories occupied by Russia. The longer Kyiv waits, the better its chances seem to get. DW takes a look at the goals, opportunities and risks of Ukraine's long-planned counterattack.

js,dh,rs/fb,sri (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)