wagner chief pleitgen dnt vpx
Private Russian army says it will start withdrawing from Bakhmut
03:15 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • A Russian attack on a medical clinic in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro killed two people and wounded at least 31, including young children, officials say.
  • There have been more than 900 attacks on Ukraine’s health care system since Russia’s invasion began, according to the WHO. France joined Ukraine in denouncing the strikes as “war crimes.”
  • Meanwhile in Russia, two attack drones caused a blast that shook the city of Krasnodar, the governor said. The town of Graivoron in the Belgorod region was also attacked overnight, according to a regional leader. No casualties were reported.
  • A Russian reconnaissance ship was seemingly hit by an unmanned surface vessel in the Black Sea, new video shows, casting doubt on earlier claims by Moscow.
41 Posts

We’ve wrapped up our live coverage for the day. You can read more about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine here, or scroll through the updates below.

It's nighttime in Kyiv. Here are some of the major developments from the war in Ukraine today

It’s past midnight in Kyiv, and news was dominated today by the fallout from a devastating Russian strike on the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

Friday also brought reports of explosions on Russian soil and in territories it currently occupies in Ukraine, along with developments in a diplomatic row about foreign fighters.

If you’re just catching up on the day’s news, here’s what you need to know:

  • Deadly strikes in Dnipro: Russian attacks hit a hospital, veterinary clinic and other buildings in the central Ukrainian city, according to local leaders. It left at least two people dead and another 31 wounded, including two children, ages 3 and 6. Rescuers rushed victims to other medical centers while the veterinary staff saved animals from the burning building.
  • War crimes condemnation: An incensed adviser to Ukraine’s president called the attacks “clear evidence” that Russia intentionally targets civilians with strikes like the one on Dnipro. The adviser said such attacks should be considered war crimes — a sentiment echoed by the French government. There have been more than 900 attacks on Ukraine’s health care system since Russia’s full-scale invasion began, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Russia is also taking fire: Officials have reported recent attacks on Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine and explosions on its own soil, including a blast caused by two drones that damaged buildings in the city of Krasnodar. Ukraine hit Russian-occupied Mariupol with two long-range missiles this evening, according to Moscow-backed officials in the southern city.
  • Foreign fighters on trial: Five foreigners who fought for Ukraine are set to stand trial in absentia in Russia, according to state media, and the Croatian government has condemned the move. The country’s foreign ministry called the trial “ill-founded and contrary to international law.” One Croatian is among the fighters facing charges in Russia, along with three Britons and a Swede.
  • The map below shows the latest state of control in Ukraine: Russia claims it has finally seized full control of the eastern city of Bakhmut, following months of fighting. Kyiv’s military insists that it still holds pockets of resistance in the city.

Ukrainian military hit occupied Mariupol with missiles, Moscow-backed mayor claims

Video shared by the deposed Mariupol City Council shows an explosion.

Ukrainian armed forces hit Mariupol on Friday with two long-range missiles, according to the occupied city’s Russian-installed mayor, Oleg Morgun.

In a Telegram post, Morgun said emergency services were at the scene but there were no deaths, injuries or damage to the city’s infrastructure, according to preliminary reports.

Officials with the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic had earlier said explosions in the city Friday were due to a Ukrainian rocket attack, and social media videos showed images which CNN geolocated to the site of the Azovstal steel plant, the infamous site of a weeks-long siege in the early months of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

What Ukrainian officials are saying: Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the city’s Ukrainian mayor, chimed in about Friday’s blast in a series of Telegram posts.

He said Russian forces have set up checkpoints blocking a bridge near the Azovstal plant, and described a scene of confusion, with Russian emergency workers at the scene of the strike.

The Ukrainian official said Russian forces set up an ammunition depot near the plant. CNN cannot independently verify this claim.

“The hit was on the territory of Azovstal,” Andriushchenko said. “Remember we said that they were setting up a base there to avoid strikes? Well, they set it up along with the ammo depot.”

Andriushchenko went on to mock the Russian-backed officials’ handling of the strikes.

“Buses with workers are being sent to Azovstal to clear the rubble,” he said. “The official version is that they are looking for ‘workers.’ Why on earth would you need workers in the middle of the night is clear to everyone … we can conclude that everything is bad at Azovstal.”

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the strike.

New US cyber strategy uses learnings from war in Ukraine to deter adversaries

The US Defense Department has a new cyberspace strategy that draws lessons from Russia’s war on Ukraine and aims to use cyber operations to deter and “frustrate” US adversaries, according to a summary released by the Pentagon on Friday. 

The new strategy, which could define how the United States military approaches a crucial domain in cyberspace, singles out China as the “pacing challenge in the cyber domain.”

The Chinese government “has made significant investments in military cyber capabilities and empowered a number of proxy organizations to pursue malicious cyber activities against the United States,” the summary of the new Defense Department strategy says. The department sent the classified strategy to Congress this week, according to the summary. 

Russia, meanwhile, “poses an acute threat in cyberspace,” the summary says, “evidenced by its malign influence efforts against the United States and repeated cyber attacks against Ukrainian civilian critical infrastructure.” 

An example of how US military hackers look to “frustrate” their adversaries came in 2018, when Cyber Command temporarily knocked offline a Russian troll farm spouting disinformation during the 2018 election.

Some context: In the five years since the last Pentagon cyber strategy, the US military has been more public about its willingness to use offensive and defense cyber operations to defend US interests. And Cyber Command, the military unit responsible for hacking operations, has taken on a greater role in defending US critical infrastructure, including elections, from cyber threats. 

The command has also conducted an increasing number of so-called “hunt forward” missions in which officials travel to allied countries and, with permission, investigate hacking threats from Russia or other countries.

Employees save animals from burning building after Russian attack hits veterinary clinic, vet says

A veterinary clinic lies in ruins after a Russian missile attack on Dnipro, Ukraine on Friday, May 26.

Employees are in shock after digging animals out from the rubble of a veterinary clinic that was hit by a Russian rocket in the city of Dnipro Friday, according to the clinic’s owner.

Ukrainian officials say strikes on the city, which also hit a hospital and damaged surrounding buildings, killed two people and wounded at least 31 others, including two young children.

A rocket hit the vet clinic around 10:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET), causing a fire, according to clinic owner Dr. Andrii Malyshko.

“All the employees are in a state of shock,” Malyshko told Ukrainian TV. “All the animals were saved from the burning building.”

The clinic had numerous dogs and some cats, which were all transferred to clinics nearby, according to Malyshko.

Local dog owners have launched a campaign to gather donations for Malyshko and his clinic. A woman named Yulia Honcharova said her dog Leia is from the clinic. She called on pet owners who Malyshko has helped in the past to now support him.

“Together it will be easier to bear,” Honcharova said.

Explosions reported in Russian-occupied Mariupol

Explosions were reported in the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol Friday evening, according to social media video and officials on both the Ukrainian and Russian-backed sides. It is unclear exactly what caused the explosions. 

The deposed Mariupol City Council said in a post on Telegram that there were strikes at the steel plant Azovstal that is now under Russian control.

“We are waiting for some good news,” the council said in the social media post.

Meanwhile, there was shelling coming from the Ukrainian-held side Friday evening, according to the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) Joint Center for Control and Coordination.

The center said Ukraine’s military launched two long-range rockets at Mariupol from the northwest around 8:10 p.m. (1:10 p.m. ET).

Social media videos posted by unofficial accounts show a smoke plume seen above Mariupol. A local Mariupol Telegram channel posted an image of a strike on Mariupol, which CNN has geolocated to the site of the Azovstal steel plant.

Mariupol has become an important staging point for Russian forces in southern Ukraine, and Russian military convoys frequently pass through.

CNN’s Tim Lister contributed reporting to this post.

Attack on Dnipro medical center wounded 31 people, including 8 doctors, authorities say

Rescuers work at the site of a clinic heavily destroyed by a Russian missile strike in Dnipro, Ukraine, on May 26.

The number of people injured in Friday’s attack on the city of Dnipro has risen to 31 people, including eight doctors and two children, according to the head of Dnipro’s regional council, Mykola Lukashuk.

Among the injured, 16 people were taken to hospitals and the others are receiving outpatient treatment, Lukashuk said in a Telegram post. 

“Two of the injured are in serious condition, 12 people are in moderate condition, and the rest have minor injuries,” Lukashuk added. 

It was a ballistic missile that hit Dnipropetrovsk City Hospital No. 14, which was partially destroyed, Lukashuk said. The blast set the second floor on fire.

A one-story business nearby also caught fire, but firefighters extinguished the blaze, the official said. A sports complex, school, surrounding homes and cars were also damaged.

Dnipro hospital attack proves Russia deliberately targets civilians, Ukrainian presidential adviser says

Firefighters extinguish a fire in a hospital building hit by a Russian missile on May 26 in Dnipro, Ukraine.

Russia’s attack on a hospital in Dnipro city was a “deliberate strike on a civilian object,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said, adding that it proves Russia is targeting civilians.

“This is absolutely clear evidence that Russia has in principle changed the tactics of its rocket attacks. Now it is mainly strikes on civilians — deliberately on facilities such as the hospital in Dnipro, with the intention to inflict a psychological (blow) and obviously kill as many people as possible,” Podolyak said in an interview with CNN’s senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen.

The hospital attack Friday morning killed two people and wounded at least 30, including young children, local officials say.

Podolyak said similar strikes have hit residential areas and places like hospitals and schools in the last few months. Specifically in the southern Kherson and eastern Kharkiv regions, Podolyak said Russia destroys “residential areas every day with artillery, in the same way.”

“It seems to me that it’s time to stop expecting Russia to behave conventionally, as a country that follows some rules imposed by international law or some conventions. No, it wages war against the civilian population as demonstratively as possible,” Podolyak said.

The presidential adviser said attacks on Ukraine’s civilian population constitute war crimes

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said of the Dnipro attack in his daily address Friday: “It is a pure atrocity: a Russian missile, ballistics – against a hospital and a veterinary clinic. Absolutely sick creatures.” 

CNN’s Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv contributed to this report. 

EU warns against Russia's "extremely dangerous" move to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus

The European Union is condemning the agreement between Moscow and Minsk to deploy Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus, calling it “a step which will lead to further extremely dangerous escalation,” the bloc said Friday. 

“The Belarusian regime is an accomplice in Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine,” the European External Action Service said in a statement, calling on Belarus to “reverse decisions that can only contribute to heightening tensions in the region, and undermine Belarus’ sovereignty.” 

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said Thursday that the transfer of some tactical nuclear weapons from Russia to Belarus has begun, according to state news agency Belta. 

More than 900 attacks on health care in Ukraine since Russian invasion began, WHO says

There have been more than 900 attacks on health care in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization

Of the 967 total attacks, 868 of them impacted medical facilities, WHO data shows. In total, strikes on health care in Ukraine have resulted in at least 97 deaths and 126 injuries since February 25, 2022. 

Russia’s attack on a medical facility in Dnipro city on Friday is not yet included in the WHO data or death toll, given that the organization’s process for verifying attacks takes some time. The most recent attack on health care in Ukraine that is recorded by WHO occurred on May 7, 2023, and impacted a mobile clinic.

“WHO condemns all acts of violence against healthcare. These attacks not only kill and maim but also deprive people of urgently needed care, endanger healthcare providers, and undermine health systems,” WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris said in a statement to CNN. 

“Attacks on health care workers, patients, transport, supplies, and health facilities are a flagrant violation of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law and must stop now,” Harris added. “We call for an immediate cessation of all activities that endanger the lives of health care workers and patients or impede delivery of essential health services.”

Brazilian president rejects invite to Russia, but backs Ukraine peace talks

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks during a press conference in Brasilia, Brazil, on May 9.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has rejected an invitation from his counterpart Vladimir Putin to visit Russia, he said Friday. Lula said Putin invited him over the phone to visit the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. 

“I replied I cannot go to Russia right now, but I repeated Brazil’s availability to, along with India, Indonesia and China, to talk with both sides of the conflict in search for peace,” Lula tweeted.

In turn, Putin said Russia is open “to dialogue on the political and diplomatic track, which is still blocked by Kiev and its Western sponsors,” the Kremlin said in a statement Friday, adding the phone call was initiated by the Brazilian side.

The two heads of state also talked about the recent Group of Seven meeting, and about Russian-Brazilian cooperation.

The Kremlin did not mention an invitation to St. Petersburg.

On Thursday, Lula also tweeted he talked on the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the “need for peace in Ukraine.”

Some background: Lula has been trying to position himself as a possible mediating force in the conflict for months now.

The Brazilian president has proposed creating “a G20 for peace” — a group of countries strong enough to be respected at the negotiating table, but that are still considered by some as neutral in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Indonesia, India, and China would play a crucial role in his vision, but Latin American countries are also invited to join the apparent initiative. He also revealed that during his talks with Xi in April, they discussed forming a group of like-minded leaders on Ukraine.

Lula has struggled to make his proposals widely persuasive. One controversial idea that he floated would see Ukraine cede Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, in exchange for peace — a concession Kyiv has ruled out and which the White House described as “simply misguided.”

CNN’s Julia Jones contributed to this post.

Netherlands is undecided on giving F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, prime minister says

Despite leading a new coalition to train Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 fighter jet, the Dutch prime minister was guarded Friday on committing to actually sending the aircraft to Ukraine.

“The decision to deliver F-16s, that has not yet been made,” Mark Rutte told journalists during a news conference. “Again, American permission first applies for this. If you’re going to train, it’s obvious that you would seriously think about it. But it has not yet been decided.”

President Joe Biden informed G7 leaders last week that the US will support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth generation aircraft — a modern class of fighters that includes F-16s. The Biden administration has also signaled it would not block the planes’ export, sources familiar with the discussions told CNN.

The Netherlands is leading the joint training mission, together with Belgium and the United Kingdom, Rutte said. There are additional European countries who have told the Dutch government they are interested in helping, he added.

Rutte said starting the training mission was important, but the discussion on actually sending planes should happen separately. 

Rutte did acknowledge the Netherlands has a fleet of F-16s that it will no longer need, as it transitions to the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet. But when pressed by a journalist, he refused to comment on any Dutch desire to send those planes to Ukraine.

“The Netherlands really does play, I think, a role that’s important at this moment in the whole question about Ukraine and weapons deliveries,” Rutte said. “But we are not so big that we can afford to put out all kinds of releases through the media that might give other partners the feeling that, ‘Hey, we’re now being pressured through the media.’ That’s why we never say anything about it until it’s over.”

France slams Russian attack on Dnipro hospital as "war crimes"

France condemned Russia’s strikes on Ukraine, including on a Dnipro hospital Friday morning, calling them “war crimes” that “cannot go unpunished,” according to a statement from the French Foreign Ministry. 

The missile and drone attacks on Kyiv and the Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions of Ukraine “once again deliberately targeted civilian sites,” the ministry said, “in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.”

Where things stand: At least two people are dead and at least 30 people, including two children are among the injured, according to the head of the Dnipropetrovsk region military administration. Rescuers are searching for survivors in the rubble of a clinic. Officials said authorities still can’t reach three people who may have been at the facility at the time of the attack. 

CNN’s Maria Kostenko in Kyiv contributed to this post.

Number of injured in Dnipro attack rises to 30 people, authorities say

A fire fighter works at the site of a clinic which was destoryed by a Russian missile strike in Dnipro, Ukraine, on Friday.

The number of people injured in Friday’s attack on the city of Dnipro has risen to 30 people, including two children, according to the head of the Dnipropetrovsk region military administration.

The search for three people who could have been at the facility at the time of the attack is still ongoing, regional military administration head Serhii Lysak said in a Telegram post on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration confirmed that two people died in the rocket strike.

Meanwhile, Dnipro Mayor Boris Filatov told journalists that a change of shifts for doctors was ongoing when the attack occurred at the Dnipropetrovsk City Hospital No. 14 — meaning fewer people were working at the facility at the time.

A fire caused by the rocket has been extinguished, he added.

Talks with Ukraine "impossible" as long as Zelensky is in power, former Russian president says

Any conflict would end with negotiations, but as long as the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in power, no talks would be possible, Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and the deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, said Friday during a visit to Vietnam, according to state news agency TASS. 

“As long as the current regime and clown Zelensky are in power in Kiev, talks will be impossible,” Medvedev said, adding that at some point an agreement would have to be negotiated.

“Everything always ends in negotiations. This is inevitable, but as long as these people are in power, the situation for Russia will not change in terms of negotiations,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev went on to say that it is worth weighing all proposals for peace in Ukraine offered by various countries.

“As for peace plans being proposed, all of them should be considered,” Medvedev said, commenting on the peace plans proposed by China and other countries.

Some context: China’s peace plan and claim for neutrality have been undermined by Beijing’s refusal to acknowledge the nature of the conflict, as well as its diplomatic and economic support for Moscow. Its officials have repeatedly said that the “legitimate” security concerns of all countries must be taken into account and accused NATO and the US of fueling the conflict.

Russian Foreign Ministry summons US diplomats over Sullivan's comments on Crimea strikes 

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the White House press briefing on April 24.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called on senior US diplomats on Friday to express “strong protest” over US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s remarks about Ukrainian strikes on Crimea, after he said the US has not placed limitations on Kyiv to hit its territory.

The ministry called Sullivan’s remarks in an interview with CNN on Sunday “unacceptable.”

Sullivan also said that Washington will not enable Ukraine with Western systems to attack Russian territory, which includes Crimea.

A statement by the ministry said: “It was emphasized that the assurances of American officials that the United States does not encourage such attacks on Russia are hypocritical and false, given the direct material evidence of the use of weapons and equipment supplied for the needs of the AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine] by the Pentagon to prepare and carry out terrorist acts by Ukrainian militants.”

“The hostile actions of the United States, which has long been a party to the conflict, plunged Russian-American relations into a deep and dangerous crisis, fraught with unpredictable consequences,” the ministry added. 

“It is time for Washington to learn that any form of aggression against Russia will continue to meet the strongest resistance.”

Some context: Diplomatic relations between Western allies of Kyiv and the Kremlin further deteriorated after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

2 attack drones hit buildings in Krasnodar, Russian governor says

Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) damaged buildings in Krasnodar on Friday, after local media reported that an explosion was heard in the southern Russian city.

The governor of Krasnodar Veniamin Kondratiev said no major infrastructure was impacted, and said there were no casualties following the incident.

On Friday morning, videos geo-located by CNN showed what appeared to be a UAV in the sky followed by the sound of an explosion. Other social media images show smoke rising from the building, and another image shows the building damaged.

State news agency TASS reported that the city’s emergency call center was alerted to an explosion on Morskaya Street early Friday.

“Emergency services were sent to the scene. No casualties have been reported. There was damage to the building’s roof and windows, but no fire,” according to TASS.