May 27, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Joshua Berlinger, Thom Poole, Tori B. Powell and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 4:55 p.m. ET, May 27, 2023
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4:55 p.m. ET, May 27, 2023

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.

4:50 p.m. ET, May 27, 2023

Ukraine's military has carefully crafted its messaging on the counteroffensive. Here's what we know

From CNN's Olga Voitovych, Andrew Carey and Nick Paton Walsh

With just a few words and a slickly produced piece of military propaganda, the commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces ratcheted up speculation Saturday that a long-awaited counteroffensive could be imminent.

“The time has come to take back what is ours,” said the official, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhyni, sharing a clip of Ukrainian troops marching, training and apparently preparing for battle.

The video came online following weeks of speculation regarding when Ukraine would start its counteroffensive — or whether it might have already begun.

Despite its language, Zaluzhyni’s post made no explicit mention of an impending military operation, and there have been few details reported on the ground of specific build-ups of troops and weapons — though it should be noted that any such reporting would likely fall foul of Ukraine’s martial law restrictions.

Information wars: Both Russia and Ukraine have been known to engage in disinformation campaigns to confuse enemy forces.

Ukrainian officials are keeping details of the operation under wraps, including whether or not it has already begun. That is likely an attempt to confuse the Russian military.

There are also public relations factors at play. Declare the counteroffensive underway, and the clock ticks immediately for the first results. Avoid doing so, and any mounting losses Russia sustains are just considered part of normal frontline attrition.

Russia taking fire: The Ukrainian military has been spotted moving military hardware toward the front lines and carrying out attacks against Russian targets that could facilitate an offensive, including strikes on Thursday and Saturday in the Russian-occupied southern port city of Berdiansk.

The Kremlin said Saturday that, in the past 24 hours, its forces had shot down 12 Ukrainian drones flying over Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia, a trio of Ukrainian territories that are all part-occupied by Russian forces.

Also on Saturday, explosions hit the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol, and attacks on Russian soil killed one person in Belgorod, targeted a pipeline and killed a construction worker near the border, according to Russian authorities.

A senior US official confirmed to CNN earlier this month that Ukraine has begun conducting “shaping” operations, striking strategic targets to shape the battlefield in favor of Kyiv’s advancing forces. Shaping is a standard tactic used prior to major combined operations, but it can also be used simply to confuse the enemy.

Read more here.

3:43 p.m. ET, May 27, 2023

Russian shelling in Ukraine's Kharkiv region leaves at least one person dead, regional leader says

From CNN's Mariya Knight

At least one person is dead and another is injured after Russia shelled Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region Saturday, according to the region’s military administration. 

The attack took place in the village of Shipuvate, which is about 50 kilometers (around 30 miles) from the Russian border, and in the region's eastern Kupyansk district, according to the official, Oleh Syniehubov. 

A 61-year-old woman died in Shipuvate, the regional leader said. The person injured was a man who suffered shrapnel wounds and has since been hospitalized.

2:17 p.m. ET, May 27, 2023

Russian attacks across Zaporizhzhia region leave at least 1 person dead

From CNN’s Mariya Knight and Mitchell McCluskey

At least one person is dead and two others wounded after Russia attacked 16 settlements across Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region, according to the region's military administration.

The person killed was identified as a 73-year-old woman in Novodanylivka and the two wounded people were both women in Huliaipole, according to the head of Zaporizhzhia's military administration, Yurii Malashko.

Fifteen civilian structures have been destroyed across Zaporizhzhia, Malashko said on Telegram Saturday.

The regional leader claims 108 attacks were carried out in the following areas:

  • 96 artillery attacks on Huliaipole, Novodanylivka, Novoandriivka, Stepnohirsk, Kamianske and other villages
  • 6 multiple launch rocket system attacks on Huliaipilske, Bilohirsk and Temyrivka,
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle attacks on Stepove, Olhivske, Malynivka and Chervone
  • Missile attacks on the villages of Rizdvinka and Liubytske

CNN cannot independently verify battlefield developments.

2:07 p.m. ET, May 27, 2023

Austria will finance demining equipment for Ukraine, government says

From CNN's Inke Kappeler in Berlin

A sign, written in Ukrainian and Russian, warns of mines in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on January 2.
A sign, written in Ukrainian and Russian, warns of mines in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on January 2. Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images

Austria will finance land mine removal equipment worth 2 million euros (about $2.15 million) for Ukraine, the Austrian government said in a statement.

“Since the beginning of Russian aggression, civilians in Ukraine have suffered from globally outlawed landmines and explosive remnants of war. These life-threatening obstacles deny people nationwide access to essential infrastructure,” the statement reads.

The government went on to say that the dangerous land mines also complicate the use of agricultural land.

“Some 10.6 million people in Ukraine rely on demining assistance," the statement read. "With already more than 250,000 km² of Ukrainian territory, the area contaminated by landmines in Ukraine is about three times the size of Austria."

Ukrainian farmers have been forced to clear land mines by hand, risking their lives for planting season, CNN has previously reported.

4:22 p.m. ET, May 27, 2023

Explosion damages Russian oil pipeline building near border with Belarus 

From CNN's Darya Tarasova and Clare Sebastian 

An explosion in Russia's Pskov region damaged an administrative building of an oil pipeline near the border with Belarus, local governor Mikhail Vedernikov said Saturday. 

Vedernikov claimed the building in the Nevelsky District was attacked by two drones.

There were no casualties and emergency services are at the scene, Vedernikov said.

Few other details are available on the incident at this stage, but we will bring you more as we get them.

Elsewhere in Russia Saturday, Ukrainian mortar shelling killed a construction worker near the border with Ukraine.

12:55 p.m. ET, May 27, 2023

Shelling kills at least 1 person and wounds several others in Russia's Belgorod region, governor says

From CNN's Darya Tarasova

Shelling killed at least one person and wounded several others in Russia's Belgorod region Saturday, according to state news agency TASS. 

The shelling targeted the region's Shebekinsky district and hit “two large enterprises,” Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said, according to TASS. There is a fire at one facility, he added. 

Belgorod made headlines this week when a group of anti-Putin Russian nationals, who are aligned with the Ukrainian army, claimed responsibility for an attack there.

The region borders northeastern Ukraine.

11:24 a.m. ET, May 27, 2023

Russia shoots down 12 Ukrainian drones over 24 hours, defense ministry claims

From CNN's Darya Tarasova

Russia has shot down 12 Ukrainian drones over various settlements over the course of 24 hours, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The ministry's news service claims Russia's defenses shot down drones in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic, and in Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia.

Russian air defense systems also intercepted two long-range "Storm Shadow" cruise missiles and 19 rockets from HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, it says.

10:06 a.m. ET, May 27, 2023

Explosions reported in Mariupol, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Olga Voitovych

Three explosions have been reported in Mariupol, a southern Ukrainian city occupied by Russia, a Ukrainian official said Saturday.

One of the explosions was caused by Russian air defense systems in Nikolske, a settlement just northwest of the city, Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the city's Ukrainian mayor, wrote on Telegram.

Smoke can also be seen rising from the side of a railway station in the area, according to Andriushchenko.

Pro-Russian officials have in recent days accused Ukraine of striking Mariupol, a city it once fiercely defended. Andriushchenko has commented on the blasts online, but the Ukrainian military has not officially claimed responsibility for the attacks.

CNN cannot independently verify battlefield developments.