May 9, 2022: Russia-Ukraine news

By Rhea Mogul, Andrew Raine, Tara John, Ben Church, Aditi Sangal, Laura Smith-Spark and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 0408 GMT (1208 HKT) May 10, 2022
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6:20 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Ukraine struck Russian air defense system on Snake Island over weekend, officials say

From CNN's Tim Lister, Oren Liebermann, and Olga Voitovych

The Ukrainian military struck at least Russian one air defense system on Snake Island over the weekend, according to three US defense officials and a Ukrainian official. 

The strike on the SA-15 short-range air defense system is in addition to strikes on a Russian helicopter and landing boat, a senior US defense official said. 

"We think that there were at least three targets hit from airstrikes on Snake island," said the official in a briefing on Monday, "but as for overarching effect, I think we're still trying to figure all that out."

A satellite view shows smoke rising over Snake Island, on Sunday, May 8.
A satellite view shows smoke rising over Snake Island, on Sunday, May 8. (Planet Labs PBC/Handout/Reuters)

A satellite image from Sunday morning showed two columns of smoke rising from the island.

Another US official said it's unclear what strategic value the strikes had while noting that the island has a tremendous amount of symbolic importance for Ukraine. Shortly after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, Snake Island was where a Ukrainian soldier defiantly said over the radio, "Russian warship, go f*** yourself." 

A Ukrainian source official said that two SA-15 systems had been hit, not one. It remains to be seen whether the air defense system was a target of opportunity or a concerted effort to go after Russian air defenses, which have limited the ability of Ukrainian's air force to fly.  

Over the weekend, both Ukraine and Russia reported more combat in the Black Sea.

A Ukrainian official said Sunday that Ukrainian forces had destroyed a helicopter and several small ships. 

The Russian Ministry of Defense Sunday gave a very different version of events. Major General Igor Konashenkov said that during Saturday night, two more Ukrainian Su-24 bombers and one Mi-24 helicopter of the Ukrainian Air Force were destroyed by Russian air defense systems over the island.

5:27 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Biden calls on Congress to pass Ukraine aid this week

From CNN's DJ Judd

US President Joe Biden said Monday he is willing to accept the separation of Ukraine aid from additional Covid-19 funding, calling on Congress to pass a Ukrainian supplemental funding bill “immediately, and get it to my desk in the next few days” and warning for the first time that existing aid will run out in “approximately ten days.”

“Previously, I had recommended that Congress take overdue action on much needed funding for COVID treatments, vaccines and tests, as part of the Ukraine Supplemental bill. However, I have been informed by Congressional leaders in both parties that such an addition would slow down action on the urgently needed Ukrainian aid — a view expressed strongly by several Congressional Republicans,” Biden wrote in a statement. “We cannot afford delay in this vital war effort. Hence, I am prepared to accept that these two measures move separately, so that the Ukrainian aid bill can get to my desk right away.” 

Earlier, CNN’s Manu Raju and Ryan Nobles reported Biden told congressional leaders to move the Ukraine aid package first without the $10 billion in Covid aid that Congress has struggled to pass for weeks, per a congressional source.

Senate Republicans had insisted on the two moving on separate tracks, and the White House doesn’t want the Ukraine package bogged down in the chamber even though Democrats had been pushing to tie the two together over fears that the US response to the pandemic could be set back.

In his statement, Biden wrote he was “pleased” that “there appears to be strong support” from a bipartisan majority in Congress to provide aid to Ukraine but warned, “as vital as it is to help Ukraine combat Russian aggression, it is equally vital to help Americans combat COVID.” 

“Without timely COVID funding, more Americans will die needlessly. We will lose our place in line for America to order new COVID treatments and vaccines for the fall, including next-generation vaccines under development, and be unable to maintain our supply of COVID tests. In the fall, if we are hit by new variants, it will be too late to get the tools needed for protection – critical treatments that will be available in Europe, but not the United States. In addition, our effort to help lower-income countries get COVID vaccines into arms will stall," the President wrote.

7:59 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Biden tells top national security officials that leaks about intelligence sharing with Ukrainians must stop

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 4.
US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 4. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden recently told his top national security officials that leaks about US intelligence sharing with Ukrainians aren't helpful and need to stop, according to an official familiar with the conversation. 

Last week, after the White House denied providing direct intelligence to Ukrainians "with the intent to kill Russian generals," Biden spoke separately with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA Director William Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

He told them that it was not helpful for information to become public about what the US was sharing with the Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion, an official said, and stressed that the leaks regarding such information must stop.

Biden's message to his top national security officials was first reported by NBC News.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday told reporters the President was "displeased" with the leaks and considered them "inaccurate."

Psaki, who declined to confirm calls between the President and his team, told reporters that Biden's view "was that it was an overstatement of our role, an inaccurate statement, and also an understatement of the Ukrainians' role and their leadership, and he does not, did not, (feel) they were constructive." 

US officials have been candid about intelligence sharing with Ukrainians but have also said there is a line in what is shared with them. In addition to sending weapons for the battlefield, officials have also provided intelligence "to help the Ukrainians defend their country," a spokesperson for the National Security Council said last week.

Administration officials have previously insisted there are clear limits on the intelligence it shares with Ukraine, including a ban on providing precision targeting intelligence for senior Russian leaders by name. Those limits are part of a White House effort to avoid crossing a line that Moscow may view as too escalatory.

But the intelligence sharing efforts have proved useful. So far, the information has contributed to successful strikes against senior Russian leaders and the Russian Navy's flagship, the Moskva, sources familiar with the intelligence sharing previously told CNN.

So far, Russia has not taken any known direct action against the United States or NATO in response to ongoing military and intelligence support.

US officials have been left to speculate why Moscow has held back, particularly when it comes to cyberattacks, which the US warned ahead of the war that Russia might use as retribution for US assistance. Russia has also not moved to strike Kyiv during the visits of a host of senior American leaders, from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

And the country has also not attempted to strike arms shipments flowing through Poland, a NATO nation. Only recently has Russia begun targeting railways inside Ukraine believed to be carrying Western arms to the fight.

In addition to sharing intelligence, the US has also provided billions in aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Last week, Biden announced a $150 million package that includes 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment and field equipment and spare parts, according to a White House official.

Biden has proposed a $33 billion new aid package for Ukraine, which he sent to Congress last month. The US has made it clear it intends to provide long-term support to Ukraine, and the proposed package last week was more than twice as much as the $13.6 billion infusion of military and humanitarian aid that Congress approved last month.

This story has been updated with additional details Monday.  

9:03 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

 Odesa under further missile attacks

From CNN's Julia Presniakova and Sanyo Fylyppov

Odesa under further missile attacks on Monday.
Odesa under further missile attacks on Monday. (Odesa City Council)

The city of Odesa, Ukraine, has come under further missile attacks Monday evening local time. 

Around 10 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), witnesses in the center of the city said they heard several large explosions which shook buildings.

Social media showed at least one large fire burning. and a witness said a large shopping center was on fire. The resident of a city more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Odesa reported hearing the blasts. 

A few hours earlier, Odesa city council reported three cruise missiles were fired from a Tu-22 bomber. Five buildings were destroyed and two people injured.

The targets were unknown but some images from Odesa suggested a mixed residential-industrial area had been hit.

Video released by the city council showed widespread devastation across a wide area. 

On Monday morning authorities four sea-launched Onyx cruise missiles were fired towards Odesa. 

The earlier attacks came as European Council President Charles Michel visited Odesa.

On Sunday, ten cruise missiles were fired at the Odesa area. Russia has used submarines, surface ships and aircraft to launch missiles at Odesa in recent days.

See the aftermath of the Odesa missile strikes:

European Council President Charles Michel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visit the site where a residential building has been damaged by a Russian missile strike, in Odesa, on Monday.
European Council President Charles Michel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visit the site where a residential building has been damaged by a Russian missile strike, in Odesa, on Monday. (Ukrainian Governmental Press Service/Handout/Reuters)

4:27 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

US ambassador: Putin didn't declare victory because "Russian propaganda machine couldn't" support it

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Sarah Fortinsky

US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said Monday that President Vladimir Putin did not declare victory in his speech “because even the Russian propaganda machine couldn’t back that one up.”

“We have seen time after time Russia’s goals in Ukraine thwarted, starting with their attempted lightning strike on Kyiv,” Sullivan said in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.

“That’s not to say that President Putin didn’t stray far from the truth in his remarks today at the Victory Day parade. He certainly did. In fact, his remarks, his remarks are just pure propaganda, misinformation, disinformation that would make George Orwell blush,” Sullivan said.

The US envoy said Putin’s comments Monday showed “at a minimum the Russian government senior leaders' willingness to say anything to justify the unjustifiable, which is their aggressive war in Ukraine that is slaughtering innocents across that besieged country, atrocities that are hard to comprehend.”

Sullivan said he couldn’t comment on Putin's health when asked on CNN, and added, "I really don't know. I've seen what we've all seen in the media: speculation. And it's just that, in my opinion."

"It's also difficult to know what President Putin is planning," he added, noting that the US “made public” Putin's plans to invade Ukraine, “but beyond that, it's difficult to speculate because his decision circle is so small."

However, Sullivan said he agreed with CIA Director Bill Burns’ view that Putin “is doubling down his special military operation in Ukraine.”

Sullivan said his interactions with his Russian counterparts has been limited since the war began, but he agrees “wholeheartedly” with US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who told CNN’s Kylie Atwood that her Russian colleagues seem "uncomfortable" in "the way they carry themselves, the demeanor."

4:27 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Biden tells Congress he wants Ukraine money to move separately from Covid-19 aid

From Manu Raju & Ryan Nobles

President Joe Biden has told congressional leaders to move the Ukraine aid package first without the $10 billion in Covid-19 aid that Congress has struggled to pass for weeks, according to a congressional source. 

Senate Republicans had insisted on the two moving on separate tracks, and the White House doesn’t want the Ukraine package bogged down in the chamber even though Democrats had been pushing to tie the two together over fears that the US response to the pandemic could be set back.

Democrats are expected to move both separately, starting in the House, and as soon as this week.

As it stands now the total package for Ukraine is now $39.8 billion with increases of $3.4 billion for food aid and $3.4 billion in additional draw down authority for military equipment above the President’s request, which initially was $33 billion total.

5:25 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

There are no plans for Biden to travel to Ukraine, despite the first lady's visit, White House says

From CNN's DJ Judd

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday there remains no plans for President Joe Biden to travel to Ukraine, even following first lady Jill Biden’s trip to the country over the weekend.

“Their travel is a little bit different, I think you all know from traveling with the President, but there's not a trip currently planned,” Psaki told reporters, adding Biden would “love to go to Ukraine, I just don’t have anything planned or anything to preview at this point.”

The first lady, Psaki told CNN’s MJ Lee, “would not have gone if we did not feel comfortable with the security arrangements,” guaranteeing her safety, and traveled to the region “because she wanted to go on Mother's Day, because she was thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that the war has to stop, that the war has been brutal, and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.” 

US First Lady Jill Biden, left, offers flowers to Ukraine's First Lady, Olena Zelenska, outside of School 6, a public school that has taken in displaced students in Uzhhorod, on Sunday, May 8.
US First Lady Jill Biden, left, offers flowers to Ukraine's First Lady, Olena Zelenska, outside of School 6, a public school that has taken in displaced students in Uzhhorod, on Sunday, May 8. (Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

First Lady Jill Biden made an unannounced trip to Uzhhorod, Ukraine Sunday, where she met with Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska and pledged her support for the nation in their fight against Russia.

“She's been back now, and she's had an opportunity to speak with the President and has conveyed — she said this publicly — directly to him what she saw on the ground, the need to support the people of Ukraine,” Psaki told Lee. “She saw the horrors and the brutality that the people she met had experienced, and I, you know, that was something she conveyed directly to him.”

4:10 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Putin's Victory Day remarks blaming NATO for war with Ukraine are "patently false and absurd," White House says

From CNN's DJ Judd

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin in his annual Victory Day address in Moscow alleging NATO was “creating threats next to our border,” are “patently false and absurd.” 

“What we saw President Putin do is give a version of revisionist history that took the form of disinformation that we have seen too commonly as the Russian playbook,” Psaki told reporters at Monday’s White House press briefing. “Now, what is fortunate is that we are all aware, reporters around the world are aware, Europeans are aware, Americans are aware, of the disinformation factory that President Putin and the Kremlin seem to be, but the suggestion that this war that was prompted by, directed by President Putin, was prompted by Western aggression or Western plans is patently false and absurd.”

In his Victory Address Monday, Putin said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was necessary as the West was "preparing for the invasion of our land." 

"NATO countries did not want to hear us," Putin said, adding, "they had very different plans and we could see that."

In a follow up, Psaki told CNN’s MJ Lee that, following Putin’s speech Monday, officials are monitoring “what we're seeing on the ground,” adding, “if we go back to mid-February, when President Putin was giving speeches, basically declaring he was going to subsume Ukraine, take over the country, the territorial integrity of the country, and go beyond that is that is exactly not what's happening today.”

“President Putin and the Russians are not marching through Kyiv, they are struggling to fight in other parts of the country, and the Ukrainians are bravely and courageously fighting every day,” she told Lee. “So, we look at what's happening on the ground, though it is important to note and to call out the revisionist history that we saw in the speech and the fact that any such statements that we saw, we've seen for months from President Putin, that the war was prompted by the West is just patently false and inaccurate, and we can't state that too often.”

4:08 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

US remains concerned Russia could annex Donetsk and Luhansk regions, State Department says

From CNN's Christian Sierra, Jennifer Hansler and Michael Conte

The United States remains concerned that Russia could annex the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine and hold a sham referendum there, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday.

“It is a Russian playbook that we have, that we have seen turn to time and again, in Crimea, in eastern Ukraine. This is what Russian authorities and proto authorities have done in the past. They have sought to annex, they have sought to conduct sham elections to give their occupation this patina of legitimacy, and our concern remains that they will attempt to do so once again in territory in eastern Ukraine,” he said at a State Department briefing.

The US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said last week that the US has “highly credible” intelligence reports that Russia will try to annex the separatist-occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk “some time in mid-May,” and that there are plans to create a similarly so-called “people’s republic” in Kherson to be annexed as well.

Price said Monday that “timeline wise, nothing has changed.”

“We're continuing to watch very closely,” he said, noting that the US made this information public so that “the world is keyed in" to what is happening.