May 10, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Andrew Raine, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 0437 GMT (1237 HKT) May 11, 2022
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12:46 p.m. ET, May 10, 2022

Ukraine says Russia is diverting troops north into Kharkiv region

From CNN's Tim Lister in Lviv

The Armed Forces of Ukraine said that the Russians have sent about 500 troops from occupied areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions north into the Kharkiv region.

They gave no explanation for the move, but CNN reported earlier Tuesday comments by local officials in the Kharkiv region that suggested some Russian troops were being sent northward to reinforce supply lines from the border.

Local authorities said there is "a mass withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Borova and Bohuslavka in the direction of Kupyansk." 

Kupyansk is an important Russian logistics hub inside Ukraine and may become vulnerable if a Ukrainian counterattack in the region is sustained.

That attack made further progress Tuesday, according to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, with four more settlements to the north and east of Kharkiv falling under Ukrainian control.

CNN has geolocated video from one of those settlements, showing the Ukrainians in control. The new gains put Ukrainian units within a few kilometers of the Russian border in several areas.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the Ukrainians said Russian forces continue to try to take the town of Rubizhne in Luhansk region, but without success. Officials said Ukrainian units had withstood several attacks in the Luhansk region.

In the Donetsk region, the General Staff said the Russians were trying to break through Ukrainian defenses north of Sloviansk, around the settlements of Oleksandrivka and Shandryholove. 

This area has seen almost constant fighting for around two weeks, but the Russians appear to have made minimal progress on the ground.

Overall, the General Staff's report suggests that Ukrainian units are under pressure but resisting on most fronts while taking territory in Kharkiv as the Russians fall back toward the Oskil river.

12:17 p.m. ET, May 10, 2022

American nonprofit says it freed US citizen detained in Ukraine from Russian forces  

From CNN’s Kylie Atwood and Jennifer Hansler

A US nonprofit involved in rescue and evacuation operations in Ukraine during the Russian war said that it has freed an American citizen and his family from Russian forces on Tuesday.

Florida-based nonprofit Project Dynamo said in a statement that on Tuesday, in the vicinity of southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region, one of its exfiltration teams "successfully rescued" Kirillo Alexandrov, a 27-year-old American citizen, and his family.

Their release comes after more than a month of negotiations, the group said.

Bryan Stern, co-founder of Project Dynamo, told CNN that Alexandrov and his Ukrainian wife and mother-in-law were taken by Russian forces more than a month ago in the Kherson region. They had been held in a building occupied by the Russians and the Russian security services would not allow them to leave, Stern said.  

The Russians had charged Alexandrov with spying, Stern told CNN. 

Russia’s defense and foreign ministries have not yet responded to CNN's request for a comment.  

Stern said he has been in regular contact with the US State Department about his efforts. 

“We are aware of these reports. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment,” a State Department spokesperson said Tuesday.   

Stern, in a press release, described the extensive operation to secure Alexandrov’s release:     

“We’ve had more than a dozen team members from Project DYNAMO spread out across Poland, Ukraine, Romania, and the U.S. developing an array of plans from airborne operations in Russia to maritime extraction options within Ukraine. Nothing was off the table and countless hours were spent navigating the murky world of international security services and diplomacy between two countries at war, all with a young American in the middle.”

Stern said that Alexandrov and his family members are healthy and were fed by the Russians while they were detained. 

12:09 p.m. ET, May 10, 2022

It will likely take over a year to replace Javelin missiles given to Ukraine, US secretary of Army says

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

US Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said the timeline for replacing US stocks of Stinger and Javelin missiles that the US has given to Ukraine to counter Russia's invasion will "vary depending on what the systems are."

To replace US stocks of Javelin missiles, Wormuth told a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing that she is not sure Raytheon, the company that makes the missiles, will be able to replace US stocks of those missiles in a "one-year period."

"On the Javelins, I think Raytheon is trying to really accelerate, whether they can come inside of a one-year period, I am not sure, I think it may take a little more time, but we are trying to work aggressively with industry in those cases," Wormuth said. 

On replacing US stocks of the Stinger missiles, Wormuth said it would "take more time," because there is no open production line for Stinger missiles right now.

"We have not had an open production line for Stinger for some time, we do still have some missiles, some Stinger missiles that we can provide, but there’s an obsolete part that we’re going to have to figure out how to work around, you know, do we design around that, or sort of bring forward a next-generation Stinger, and I think that will take more time," Wormuth said.

11:44 a.m. ET, May 10, 2022

EU and UK blame Russia for cyberattack on satellite provider as Ukraine invasion began

From CNN's Sean Lyngaas

The European Union and the United Kingdom have blamed Russia for a hack that knocked out internet service for tens of thousands of satellite modems in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe at the onset of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, the EU and UK governments said Tuesday. 

The cyberattack on a satellite network owned by US-based telecommunications firm Viasat is one of the most consequential cyber incidents of the war in Ukraine: It disrupted communications in Ukraine an hour before Russia’s full-scale invasion, and the collateral damage included knocking thousands of wind turbines offline in Germany that relied on the satellite network.

A top Ukrainian cyber official, Victor Zhora, on March 15 called the hack “a really huge loss in communications in the very beginning of the war.”

“This unacceptable cyberattack is yet another example of Russia’s continued pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace, which also formed an integral part of its illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” the EU’s executive body, the European Council, said in a statement Tuesday. 

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said that “new UK and US intelligence suggests” Russia was responsible for the hack of the Viasat network. 

The United States' response: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that in support of the EU and others, the United States “is sharing publicly its assessment that Russia launched cyber attacks in late February against commercial satellite communications networks to disrupt Ukrainian command and control during the invasion, and those actions had spillover impacts into other European countries.”

In his statement, Blinken also said the US “has assessed that Russian military cyber operators have deployed multiple families of destructive wiper malware, including WhisperGate, on Ukrainian Government and private sector networks. “

“These disruptive cyber operations began in January 2022, prior to Russia's illegal further invasion of Ukraine and have continued throughout the war,” he said.

CNN has requested comment from the Russian Embassy in Washington. 

CNN's Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.

11:41 a.m. ET, May 10, 2022

Ukraine has killed up to 10 Russian generals, head of US Defense Intelligence Agency says

From CNN's Michael Conte and Katie Bo Lillis

Ukraine has killed between “eight and ten” Russian generals during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

US officials have closely watched the climbing number of general officer deaths in the Russian military — an unusually high number for a modern military that far outstrips the number of US generals lost during 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan.

Some US officials have attributed that atypically high figure in part to the intelligence support provided by the United States, while others believe it is because Russian generals are being forced to operate far more forward in the conflict zone than would normally be expected in order to motivate their troops. 

“Does the fact that Russia is losing all these generals suggest to you that these generals are having to go forward to ensure their orders are executed?” Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton asked.

“Yes,” DIA head Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier said. 

Overall, Berrier said that Ukraine is better poised to field motivated soldiers in the conflict — even as its military is far smaller than the Russian force. 

“I think the Ukrainians have it right in terms of grit and how they face the defense of their nation,” Berrier said. “I’m not sure that Russian soldiers from the far-flung Russian military districts really understand that.”

11:31 a.m. ET, May 10, 2022

UN General Assembly elects Czech Republic to replace Russia on the Human Rights Council

From CNN's Jorge Engels

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) met on Tuesday to elect the Czech Republic to replace Russia on the Human Rights Council, with 157 votes in favor and 23 abstentions.

The Czech Republic’s term begins Tuesday and will expire on December 31, 2023. It was the only candidate announced to replace Russia. 

On April 7, the UNGA voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council with 93 votes in favor, 24 against, and 58 abstentions. 

In the draft of the April 7 resolution, the UNGA said the General Assembly would “suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

With previous reporting from CNN’s Richard Roth.

11:23 a.m. ET, May 10, 2022

Russia’s economy is "clearly in recession" and facing 20% inflation, US Treasury secretary says

From CNN’s Matt Egan

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that Western sanctions have delivered a powerful blow to Russia’s economy following the invasion of Ukraine.

“Their economy is clearly in recession,” Yellen told lawmakers during a hearing on the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s annual report to Congress, adding that there are forecasts the Russian economy will contract by 10% to 15%. 

Inflation in Russia is probably running around 20% this year, Yellen said. That would be more than double the 8.5% year-over-year jump in consumer prices in the United States in March.

“Russian firms that have been sanctioned are finding it almost impossible to gain access to goods and services that they need in global markets,” Yellen said, adding that this includes major defense firms that can’t find the computer chips and other components they need to restock their defense arsenals.

Earlier, Yellen said that “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has further increased economic uncertainty.”

The war in Ukraine has disrupted supplies of food and energy, contributing to the highest level of inflation in decades. The average price of regular gasoline has increased about 25% to record highs since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

Yellen said financial regulators will continue to monitor developments and “coordinate actions as the risks and threats evolve.”

10:59 a.m. ET, May 10, 2022

Lithuania declares Russia a perpetrator of terrorism

From CNN’s Benjamin Brown and Jennifer Hansler

The Lithuanian Parliament on Tuesday passed a resolution declaring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a "genocide" and Russia a perpetrator of terrorism.

In the resolution, the Seimas, Lithuania’s Parliament, recognized "the full-scale armed aggression — war — against Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation and its political and military leadership [...] as genocide against the Ukrainian people."

Passed unanimously, the resolution accuses Russian military forces of "deliberately and systematically targeting civilian targets," declaring Russia "a state that supports and perpetrates terrorism."

The Seimas also called for the establishment of an international tribunal to investigate alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told CNN Tuesday that the decision is a recognition of reality and “gives impetus for further legal investigations into the situation.”

In his first reaction to the unanimous passage of the resolution, Landsbergis said the designations must be followed up by investigations, such as those being carried out by the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

“We haven't seen anything like it since the Second World War, so that might give additional speed to the investigation and resources that they require, because especially ICC … they have as much money as the countries provide and as many investigators as the countries provide,” said Landsbergis, who noted Lithuania was one of the first countries to provide financial assistance to the investigators.

“We clearly have reasons to call this an act of genocide,” Landsbergis said in an interview with CNN in Washington. “Putin clearly stated that he does not believe that Ukraine has the right to exist as a country and he's trying to prove his point by killing basically entire civilian cities full of civilians.” 

Landsbergis said that the international community must not only work to strengthen mechanisms aimed at accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but perhaps look for new ones because “Russia truly changed the reality with their attack on Ukraine."

“We had trust that after the Second World War, we built the mechanism that should empower this ‘never again’ concept. Obviously the mechanisms were not sufficient. And so we really need now to start working on strengthening those mechanisms,” he told CNN. “I think that we not only need to strengthen what we built, but maybe even to look for new mechanisms and new instruments that would really allow us once again to say this was the last time.”

10:26 a.m. ET, May 10, 2022

War in Ukraine likely to become "more unpredictable," US national intelligence director says

From CNN's Katie Bo Lillis and Michael Conte

The US intelligence community believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is likely to become “more unpredictable and escalatory” in the coming months, the nation’s director of national intelligence told Congress on Tuesday. 

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines painted a grim and uncertain picture of the next phase of Putin’s two-month-old invasion, which she told the Senate Armed Services Committee will be difficult to predict in part because “Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities.” 

“At the very least, we believe the dichotomy will usher in a period of more ad hoc decision-making in Russia, both with respect to the domestic adjustments required to sustain this push, as well as the military conflict with Ukraine and the West,” she said. “And the current trend increases the likelihood that President Putin will turn to more drastic means, including imposing martial law, reorienting industrial production, or potentially escalatory military actions to free up the resources needed to achieve his objectives as the conflict drags on, or if he perceives Russia is losing in Ukraine.”

Still, Haines told lawmakers, the intelligence community does not believe Putin would turn to the use of nuclear weapons unless he felt there was an existential threat to Russia.

The intelligence community believes that Putin is preparing for a protracted conflict — and that his goals extend far beyond the eastern region of the Donbas, where his military is currently focused after being repelled from Kyiv in the early weeks of the war. 

“The next month of fighting will be significant as Russian attempts to reinvigorate their efforts,” Haines said. “But even if they are successful, we are not confident the fight in Donbas will effectively end the war.”

In the near term, Putin wants to capture the two eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, control the city of Kherson and potentially extend a land bridge around the southern rung of the country to Transnistria, a separatist region of Moldova where Russian troops are currently stationed, Haines said. 

But to reach Transnistria, the intelligence community believes that Putin would need to launch a full mobilization inside Russia, a step he has so far not taken. 

“As both Russia and Ukraine believe they can continue to make progress militarily, we do not see a viable negotiating path forward, at least in the short term,” Haines said.