May 30, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, May 31, 2023
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10:50 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

NATO chief says there is no sign of Ukraine aid fatigue among Western countries

From CNN's James Frater and Niamh Kennedy in London

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that Western countries are not tiring on providing aid to Ukraine. 

During an event in Oslo, Norway, the NATO secretary general stressed that support for Ukraine is being "stepped up." 

"Everyone is on alert for signs of fatigue in our democracies, in NATO countries and partners, in terms of our ability to support. So far, we haven't seen it," Stoltenberg said. 

The NATO chief maintained that there is still "strong cross-party support across NATO allies both in Europe and the USA." Stoltenberg added that despite having "different voices" and opinions on the issue of support for Ukraine, there remains predominantly a "political will to stand by Ukraine." 

In a news conference last month, Stoltenberg had emphasized that NATO allies were united in supporting Ukraine and would "not be intimidated" from doing so. 

10:14 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Putin: Ukraine chose "path of intimidation" with drone attacks

From CNN's Katharina Krebs and Tim Lister

A damaged building at the site of a drone attack in Moscow, Russia, on May 30.
A damaged building at the site of a drone attack in Moscow, Russia, on May 30. Chine Nouvelle/SIPA/Shutterstock

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine for the drone attack in the Moscow region, calling it a "clear sign of terrorist activity."

"Kyiv chose the path of intimidation of Russian citizens and attacks on residential buildings," he said, adding: "We are concerned about attempts to evoke a response from Russia. It seems that is what they [Ukraine] want ... Kyiv provokes us to mirror actions. We will see what to do about this."

The Russian president said the city's air defenses worked normally.

"The Moscow air defense system worked satisfactorily. However, there is still work to be done to make it better," Putin said in brief remarks carried by Russian state media TASS.

Putin suggested that the drone attacks had been in response to recent Russian strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure.

"The Russian Armed Forces strike exclusively with long-range high-precision weapons and only at military infrastructure facilities. Of course, some portion of these strikes is aimed at the military headquarters as well as headquarters of the Ukrainian military intelligence, which was hit two to three days ago," he said.

In just the past few days, Russia has hit a medical facility in Dnipro and launched more than 50 drones at Kyiv.

Ukraine has not commented on any strike against the headquarters of its military intelligence.

10:10 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Russia threatens "most severe measures" following drone attacks 

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it can implement “the most severe measures” after drone attacks on Moscow. 

“Russia reserves the right to take the most severe measures in response to the terrorist attacks of the Kyiv regime,” the ministry said. 

“Assurances from NATO officials that the Kyiv regime will not strike deep into Russian territory turn out to be completely hypocritical,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. 

Ukraine has denied direct involvement with the attack on the Russian capital.

Russian authorities say eight drones were intercepted in the Moscow region. The Investigative Committee of Russia has opened a criminal case on the matter. 

10:10 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

8 drones attacked Moscow region, Russian defense ministry says

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

A drone attack at 92 Leninsky Prospekt, Building 1. Police and emergency services officers inspecting the wreckage of a drone near a residential building attacked by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
A drone attack at 92 Leninsky Prospekt, Building 1. Police and emergency services officers inspecting the wreckage of a drone near a residential building attacked by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Aleksandr Kazakov/Kommersant/Sipa USA/AP

The Russian Defense Ministry reported an attack Tuesday involving eight drones, with five of them shot down by air defenses and the other three suppressed by electronic warfare systems.

Some were downed in the elite Moscow suburb of Rublyovka, which is in close proximity to one of President Vladimir Putin’s official residences, Russian lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said earlier Tuesday.

The drones, which Moscow claims were Ukrainian, that attacked Moscow probed Russia's air defense vulnerabilities, said unmanned aviation expert Denis Fedutinov, who has been quoted frequently by state news agency TASS in the past.

"The aim of the raid was probably to ferret out the Moscow air defenses and reveal their vulnerabilities. Apparently, several objectives were pursued. Primarily, testing various unmanned systems in practice. Secondly, looking at the efficiency of using several drones at a time," he explained, according to TASS.

CNN is not able to independently verify those assessments. Ukraine has denied any direct involvement in the attack. 

Fedutinov alleged that aircraft-type unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) weighing up to several dozen kilograms and featuring the canard aerodynamic design were used in the drone attack on Moscow. He told TASS that the combustion engine used in such UAVs enables them to perform quite lengthy flights, including the capacity to reach Moscow from Ukrainian territory. 

"This UAV model could have been created both directly in Ukraine — the country has specialists and the workforce capable of coping with this task — and could represent an imported civilian drone bought on the open market and adapted for combat use," he said. 

10:04 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Governor of Russia's Belgorod region reports highest number of Ukrainian strikes in a day

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva and Tim Lister

The governor of Russia's Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, said there have been dozens of strikes against several areas of the region by Ukrainian mortar and artillery fire over the last 24 hours — by far the highest reported number in a single day.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said that 155 hits were recorded in the Shebekinsky district alone.

"Six mortar shells were fired at the checkpoint. 48 shells - 39 artillery and 9 mortar shells - were fired at the town of Shebekino," he said on Telegram.

A power transmission line was damaged and a gas pipeline ruptured, he added.

Gladkov said the village of Grafovka was shelled with artillery, killing one man and seriously injuring his wife. In the village of Zhuravlevka, Gladkov said 20 hits had been recorded, but there had been no casualties or damage.

In the township of Graivoron, which is near the Ukrainian border, "39 hits were recorded," Gladkov said. "Twelve mortar shells were fired at the village of Kozinka and seven at the checkpoint. There were no casualties," he added.

He said 16 houses were destroyed in the area.

Other villages were hit, Gladkov said, and a Ukrainian drone had been shot down near the village of Chapayevsky. Other drones had been shot down or failed to do any damage, he continued.

Key context: The region of Belgorod has seen a growing incidence of cross-border fire, in both directions, as well as incursions yesterday and last week from Ukraine by groups calling themselves anti-President Vladimir Putin Russian nationals. 

10:10 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Several drones were downed west of Moscow — close to one of Putin's residences, Russian lawmaker says

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Several drones were downed in the elite Moscow suburb of Rublyovka, which is in close proximity to one of President Vladimir Putin’s official residences, Russian lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said Tuesday.

Here are some of the locations where downed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Moscow region crashed, according to a list published by State Duma Deputy Khinshtein:

  • Ilyinskoye village: Located in the Krasnogorsk district, it is less than 4 kilometers (more than 2 miles) away from Putin’s state residence of Novo-Ogaryovo in the west of Moscow.
  • Razdory and Romashkovo villages: Located in the Odintsovo district, they are 7 to 8.5 kilometers (4 to 5 miles) away.
  • Timoshkino village in the Krasnogorsk district.
  • Greenfield village in the Istra district

CNN has geolocated footage from Ilyinskoye that shows a drone flying across the sky.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, "I cannot comment. The only thing [I can say] is that it was obviously an attack of the Kyiv regime."

Rublyovka is a spoken name for a prestigious and affluent neighborhood in Moscow along the Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Highway. It is known for its luxurious residential estates and mansions for the Russian elite: wealthy businessmen, politicians, and celebrities.

10:03 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Ukrainians gear up for looming counteroffensive

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio, Frederik Pleitgen and William Bonnett

Even as Ukrainian cities experience barrage after barrage of Russian missile and drone strikes, members of the Offensive Guard — which is part of an initiative by the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs to establish new assault brigades — have remained unfazed, simulating scenarios they expect to find once Kyiv finally launches its much-anticipated counteroffensive.

That day is fast approaching, if one of the top advisers to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is to be believed.

“There is already some sort of work underway to increase the intensity of the shelling of Russia’s logistics support in order to reduce their combat capabilities in the near future, to loosen up their defenses,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told CNN in an interview.

The strikes Podolyak mentions are often referred to as shaping operations – so-called because they aim to "shape" the battlefield – in this case, in Ukraine’s favor. CNN has previously reported that these began on May 12, citing a senior US military official and senior Western official.

“Everything that is happening now is a precursor to a counterattack, a necessary pre-condition,” Podolyak explained. “When the intensity of fire increases, especially on the logistics supplies, when the number of operations increases.”

Ukraine has increased the number of strikes on Russian ammunition depots, logistical nodes and rear echelon bases, such as the ones seen in Mariupol and Berdyansk in the past few days. The military’s top general, Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, released a slickly produced video over the weekend with the caption: “The time has come to take back what belongs to us.”

In his nightly address Monday, Zelensky said the timing of the counteroffensive had been set, but he did not provide further details. And despite the clear signs that a counteroffensive is coming, Podolyak also refuses to commit to specific dates.

“You can’t say about a counterattack that it will start any one day, one time when some events will start,” he said. “Already now there are intensive relatively offensive actions on the flanks of the town of Bakhmut. There is essentially no city left, but offensives are underway.”

Read more here.

10:02 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

EU considers options to use frozen Russian assets as a guarantee that Russia pays for damages

From CNN's James Frater in London

The European Union and its members are considering next steps for frozen Russian assets worth more than 24 billion euros ($25.8 billion), said European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders on Tuesday.

“We're trying to see if it's possible to seize some parts of those assets due to criminal offenses like corruption, money laundering or violation of the sanctions,” and where possible to “go to Justice and to confiscate a part of those assets,” Reynders said ahead of a meeting of EU Ministers in Brussels.

The frozen assets ensure "a real guarantee" that Russia will pay for damages caused by its aggression, he added.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Presidency of the EU is also "working towards new sanctions against Russia" ahead of the June summit of EU Leaders, said Jessika Roswall, minister for European Affairs of Sweden.

Some background: Since 2014, the European Union has progressively imposed restrictive measures on Russia over the country’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU says these measures are designed to curtail Russia's "ability to wage war.”

In the most recent figures, the EU said its restrictive measures "now apply to a total of 1,473 individuals and 207 entities,” including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as the Russian private military company Wagner along with its commanders and boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

9:40 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Kyiv mayor says air defense systems prevented greater damage

From CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, Vasco Cotovio, Will Bonnet in Kyiv and Niamh Kennedy in London

The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, stands in front of a multi-story residential building that was partially destroyed after a drone attack on May 30.
The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, stands in front of a multi-story residential building that was partially destroyed after a drone attack on May 30. Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko highlighted the importance of Ukraine’s modern air defense systems, stressing that without them, there would have been greater damage caused by Tuesday’s drone attacks on the capital.

Speaking to CNN’s Fred Pleitgen outside a damaged apartment building in Kyiv’s Holosiivskyi district on Tuesday, Klitschko said he wanted to thank Ukraine’s partners for sending “critically important” air defense systems. 

“It worked well; we shoot down almost everything,” Klitschko said, speaking just hours after Russia launched a barrage of pre-dawn drones on the city. 

Ukraine’s Air Force said earlier on Tuesday that it managed to shoot down 29 out of 31 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia. 

Klitschko stressed to CNN that if Ukraine “didn’t have modern air defense from our partners,” the situation would be “much worse” with more damaged buildings and civilian deaths.  

He addressed the recent uptick in attacks, saying that in May there have been more attacks not just on Kyiv but also in other cities throughout Ukraine. 

Klitschko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to bring a “depressing mood” to Ukraine with this latest attack, stressing that despite this, Ukrainians remain ready as ever to defend their homeland. 

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