Live Ukraine: Ukraine says it has arrested two Russian spies for planned bomb attacks in Kyiv

Live Ukraine: Ukraine says it has arrested two Russian spies for planned bomb attacks in Kyiv
Live Ukraine: Ukraine says it has arrested two Russian spies for planned bomb attacks in Kyiv
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16:38

Ukraine: Two Russian spies arrested for planned bomb attacks in Kyiv

Ukraine says it has thwarted four Russian bomb attacks in Kyiv. The Ukrainian security service SBOe reports on Telegram that it has arrested two Russian spies who wanted to detonate bombs at hardware stores and a cafe in the capital. The reporting cannot be independently verified.

According to the security service, bombs were to be detonated on May 9, the day Russia celebrates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. “According to the plan of the Russian special services, the explosives were to detonate during peak supermarket hours in order to cause maximum damage to the civilian population,” the SBOe said.

The security service reports that the bombs were disguised as tea packets and consisted of a timer, a detonator, and plastic explosives with a flammable mixture. The Russians would like to cause large-scale fires. At the café the intention was to place explosives in a car parked nearby.

Ukraine says it is arresting Russian spies more often on suspicion of preparing such attacks. In the same message on Telegram, the SBOe wrote that it had foiled an attack in Lviv, in western Ukraine, last February. Last week, two men were arrested on suspicion of involvement in a plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Jasper Daams

13:09

Ukraine replaces commander in Kharkiv region amid Russian offensive

The Ukrainian commander in charge of part of the Kharkiv region was replaced this weekend, Ukrainian news medium RBC reported. The changing of the guard comes in the middle of a major Russian offensive in the area, with Ukraine having to admit that Russia is achieving ‘tactical successes’.

The reason for the replacement of commander Yuriy Galushkin is not known. He had only been in charge of the unit for a month. His replacement is Mychaylo Drapaty. Drapaty was involved in the defense of Mariupol in 2014, when war broke out in the Donbas. He also played a role in the liberation of Kherson in 2023, in southern Ukraine. He then took a seat on the general staff and was put in charge of training soldiers.

The Kharkiv region is currently one of the most heavily contested areas in Ukraine. In the past day, Russia has carried out at least 22 attacks in the region. There is heavy fighting, especially around Vovchansk, but the Russians may later target the city of Kharkiv itself, the second city in the country. Russia is trying to take advantage of the lack of Ukrainian ammunition with large-scale offensives. New American aid has been promised, but has not yet arrived at the front everywhere.

Joram Bolle

11:20

Due to damage caused by Russian attacks, Ukraine is today importing a record amount of electricity

Ukraine today has to import a record amount of electricity from abroad, says grid operator Ukrenergo. This is the result of extensive damage to the electricity network due to Russian attacks. In total, Ukraine today imports almost 19.5 thousand megawatt hours (MWh) from Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Moldova and Hungary. That is almost a thousand MWh more than the previous record, in March.

Normally Ukraine is a net exporter of electricity, but continued Russian attacks have severely reduced Ukrainian capacity. The fact that the Russians are occupying the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, also plays a role. Therefore, it cannot currently contribute to the Ukrainian power supply.

As a result of the attacks, parts of Ukraine are on power rationing. Industrial users can be reduced on their electricity use between 5:00 PM and 12:00 AM. According to Ukrenergo, 412 places in Ukraine are currently completely without power.

Joram Bolle

Damage from a Russian attack on a Ukrainian power plant.Image REUTERS

09:40

Russia has ‘tactical success’ in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine has to evacuate thousands of citizens

The Russian army achieves ‘tactical success’ in its attack around the city of Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region. The Ukrainian army admits this. This weekend the Russian army claimed to have captured some villages around the border. The Ukrainian commander-in-chief said at the time that he had “stopped attempts to break through our defenses.”

The offensive around Vovchansk is a potential precursor to an attack on Kharkiv, the country’s second city. Russia has been bombarding Kharkiv from a distance for months, but may want to try to force a breakthrough quickly before Ukraine receives a large, new load of Western support.

The area around Vovchansk was occupied by Russia at the beginning of the war, but then reconquered by Ukraine. Then many residents of Vovchansk returned home. Large-scale evacuations have now been initiated again. About 6,000 people have left the area in recent days.

According to Ukraine, Russia is using a large force in the attack, consisting of five battalions. Although territory has to be surrendered, the Ukrainian army says it is deploying reservists to ‘stabilize the situation’. Russian troops are attacked with drones ‘to inflict maximum losses’. Ukraine is said to have killed a hundred soldiers yesterday. That claim cannot be independently verified.

Joram Bolle

05:16

Death toll after rocket attack on Russian city of Belgorod rises

A rocket attack on an apartment complex in Belgorod, Russia, just across the border with Ukraine, killed at least 15 people and injured 20, according to Russian authorities on Sunday. Earlier, the Emergency Situations Ministry had reported four deaths, noting that more people may be buried under the rubble.

The 10-storey building was reportedly hit by part of a Ukrainian missile that was shot down by Russian anti-aircraft guns, Russian state media said. Images show how part of the building collapses immediately after a rocket hit.

Later, when the rescue services were already present, the roof of the complex also came down. The missile component that caused the damage is believed to have come from a so-called Tochka-U missile, an offensive weapon dating back to Soviet times.

According to Governor Gladkov, the Belgorod region was ‘massively shelled’ by the Ukrainian armed forces on the night from Saturday to Sunday. A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was “a targeted attack on civilians that proves the criminal character of Ukraine and its allies.”

Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov called the attack “barbaric.” Ukraine has not yet responded to the attack. (AP)

8:50 PM, Yesterday

Welcome to the live blog of Monday, May 13

This was the most important news about the war in Ukraine Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May:

A total of 1,775 people were evacuated this week from the Kharkiv region, which is under heavy fire. Governor Oleh Synyehubov said this this morning on Telegram. Russia has been trying to break through the Ukrainian defense lines near Kharkiv since yesterday.

The Russian Defense Ministry reports it has captured five villages in the Kharkiv region. The Russian army launched a new ground offensive in the Kharkiv region last week. The aim is to break through the Ukrainian defense lines. This would concern the villages of Pletenivka, Ohirtseve, Borysivka, Pylna and Striletsjna.

Read the full live blog from last weekend here.

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