May 17, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Christian Edwards, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 7:53 a.m. ET, May 23, 2023
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12:09 a.m. ET, May 17, 2023

Russia expends more munitions to overwhelm and confuse Ukrainian air defenses, US official says

From CNN's Oren Liebermann and Natasha Bertrand

Explosion of a missile is seen in the sky over the city during a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 16.
Explosion of a missile is seen in the sky over the city during a Russian missile strike in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 16. Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Russia is expending more munitions than usual in an attempt to overwhelm and confuse Ukrainian air defenses, according to a US official familiar with the matter.

Moscow's forces launched larger aerial attacks from several directions at once, the official said, targeting command and control centers in Kyiv and other high-value locations.

Russia may have begun the expanded attacks in an attempt to force Ukraine to delay its highly-anticipated counteroffensive, the official said. But Ukraine has been able to withstand the attacks, intercepting a high percentage of the incoming missiles and drones with the layered air defenses provided by Western nations.

The expanded attacks may even work to Ukraine’s advantage, the official said, as Russia dips deeper into its limited supply of precision munitions.

On Tuesday, Russia unleashed a barrage with hypersonic Kinzhal missiles launched from fighter jets, Kalibr cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea, and land-based Iskander missiles, the head of Ukraine’s military said. The attack came from the north, south and east. The attack likely damaged — but did not destroy — a Patriot system, another official told CNN, as the US assesses the extent of the damage.

Earlier this month, Ukraine used its newly-delivered Patriot missiles to intercept a hypersonic Kinzhal missile, marking the first time the US-made missile interdicted a weapon Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed was impossible to stop.

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky said Ukraine needs “a bit more time” before it begins its counteroffensive.

12:12 a.m. ET, May 17, 2023

German chancellor says a "register of damages" is needed for Ukraine from the Russian war

From CNN's Inke Kappeler in Berlin

Olaf Scholz speaks during the opening of the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik, Iceland on May 16.
Olaf Scholz speaks during the opening of the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik, Iceland on May 16.

A "register of damages" listing all the harm caused by Russia during its war in Ukraine is important for the reconstruction of the war-torn country, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said upon arrival to a Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Tuesday. 

The register was the "prerequisite" for Ukraine’s allies to work on a joint plan for the reconstruction of the country, Scholz said, adding it was of "the utmost importance" for Ukraine’s future. 

European leaders have gathered in Reykjavik for a summit of the COE, the European body governing human rights on the continent. It's only the fourth summit of the body in almost 75 years of its establishment. 

8:37 p.m. ET, May 16, 2023

US assesses potential damage of Patriot missile defense system after Russian attack near Kyiv

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Oren Liebermann

A US-made Patriot air defense system was likely damaged, but not destroyed, as the result of a Russian missile barrage in and around Kyiv early Tuesday morning local time, a US official tells CNN.

The US is still assessing to what degree the system was damaged, the official said. That will determine whether the system needs to be pulled back entirely or simply repaired on the spot by Ukrainian forces.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday in a post on Telegram that “a high-precision strike by the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system in the city of Kyiv hit a US-made Patriot anti-aircraft missile system.”

A US National Security Council spokesperson referred CNN to the Ukrainian government for comment.

Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday that they successfully intercepted all six hypersonic missiles fired by the Russians, but the Ukrainian military declined to comment on the Russians’ claim that a Patriot system was hit. “We cannot comment on this. We’ll stay out of commenting on Russian sources,” said the Ukrainian Air Force spokesman, Yurii Ihnat.

Ukraine currently has two Patriot air defense systems in country, one donated by the US and the other donated jointly by Germany and the Netherlands. It is unclear which of those systems was potentially damaged, but taking one out of commission — even for a short period — could affect Ukraine’s ability to defend Kyiv amid intensifying Russian missile attacks.

Read more here.

6:16 a.m. ET, May 17, 2023

Ukraine claims to have liberated areas north and south of Bakhmut

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Tim Lister

Within the past few days, Ukrainian forces have liberated substantial areas to the north and south of the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar has claimed.

“Our troops liberated about 20 square kilometers (more than 7 square miles) of the Bakhmut suburbs in the north and south of the city,” Maliar said on her Telegram channel.

Her claim cannot be verified and many observers think Ukrainian progress has been more modest than that.

Maliar acknowledged that Russia is also making advances in Bakhmut, bringing in paratroopers and "destroying the city with artillery."

“The enemy has an advantage in terms of numbers of people and weapons. At the same time, due to the actions of our military, it has not been able to implement its plans in the Bakhmut sector since last summer,” she added.