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Attack on Ukrainian energy system, financial aid, and new Russian offensive in the Kharkiv region: Ukraine’s weekly news digest

While Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine is entering its third year, the situation is still intense, with regular updates on attacks on civilians, offensive and defensive operations, and responses from the international community.

Here is what you may have missed on the news from Ukraine from May 6 to May 13.

Photo of the week

A woman hugs a child during the evacuation from the city of Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region. May 12, 2024.
Photo: Marian Kushnir

New offensive of Russian troops in the Kharkiv region

At approximately 5 a.m. on May 10, Ukrainian defenders repelled an attempt by Russian troops to breach the defensive line on the state border near Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region. According to the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, such enemy efforts defined the new wave of Russian offensive actions in this area.

Active combat actions are currently ongoing in the Kharkiv region. As of May 13, fighting is underway for the border town of Vovchansk. The enemy deployed significant forces (approximately up to 5 battalions) to attack the city and had certain tactical success, reported the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The evacuation of civilians who live nearby is one of the main priorities for Ukraine, along with repelling the attack. In particular, since Friday, almost 6,000 residents of the Vovchansk community and nearby settlements in the Kharkiv region, which are under constant Russian shellings and airstrikes, have been evacuated.

New financial aid packages for Ukraine from Denmark and Germany

On May 7, Denmark announced a new humanitarian aid package worth €33.5 million for Ukraine. Those funds will be directed to the urgent basic needs of Ukraine’s most vulnerable population groups, informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

The warehouse with humanitarian aid provided by foreign partners to Ukraine.
Photo: Ministry of Health of Ukraine

Thus, Ukrainians from the regions most affected by the war will receive food, medicine, water, as well as temporary housing. In addition, the allocated funds will be used to finance children’s education in the areas that suffered the most from Russian military aggression.

Furthermore, Germany will provide Ukraine with a grant of €45 million. This money will be directed to the restoration of Ukrainian energy facilities damaged due to Russian missile and drone attacks. In addition, the funds will be used for energy-efficient modernization, automation, and reconstruction of substations of NPC “Ukrenergo”.

Further military assistance from the USA and the UK on its way to Ukraine

On May 10, US President Joe Biden announced an additional security assistance to Ukraine worth $400 million. Later, it became known that it would include munitions for Patriot air defense systems, missiles for NASAMS systems, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, additional HIMARS systems and ammunition for them, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, as well as other capabilities.

In total, the United States has committed security assistance to Ukraine more than $32.4 billion since 2014 and $29.8 billion since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022.

In its turn, the United Kingdom informed that its “largest ever military aid package”, announced earlier, is on its way to Ukraine. According to the British Ministry of Defence, it consists of £500 million in military funding and vital combat equipment, such as approximately four million rounds of ammunition, more than 1,600 missiles, as well as 400 vehicles, including 160 Husky vehicles.

Russian attack on Ukrainian energy system

On May 8, Russian troops attacked electricity generation and transmission facilities in the Kyiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Vinnytsia regions.

Consequences of the Russian attack on the Ukrainian energy system. May 8, 2024.
Photo: Presidential Office of Ukraine

Russian shellings affected two Ukrainian hydroelectric power stations of Ukrhydroenergo. As a result, stations were taken out of service.

Moreover, the enemy targeted three DTEK thermal power plants (TPP), Ukraine’s largest private energy company. The equipment at the stations was severely damaged. This was the fifth massive attack on the company’s energy facilities in the last month and a half: Russia also targeted the DTEK infrastructure on March 22 and 29, April 11 and 27.

Ukraine has tripled the production of military equipment

In addition to military aid from its partner states, Ukraine has boosted the domestic production of military components amidst Russia’s full-scale war – and has already had some tangible results.

“The production volume of military equipment has tripled [during 2023 – ed.] For this year, the task is no less ambitious – to increase production with the same dynamics. In some directions, ten times, in others, less, by the needs of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” noted Herman Smetanin, Director General of JSC Ukrainian Defense Industry “UkrOboronProm”, which is a strategic producer of weapons and military equipment in Ukraine.

Servicemen of the 15th Separate Artillery Reconnaissance Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
prepare a Ukrainian made Shark drone for launch.
Photo: Alina Smutko / Reuters

Smetanin also added that the Ukrainian defense industry is currently gradually turning to the production of NATO-caliber ammunition – 60-mm mortar mines. Moreover, the Ukrainian air defense has successfully used anti-aircraft defense systems developed in cooperation with the USA (known under the brand name FrankenSAM) against enemy drones. With the help of this military development, the Iranian Shahed drone was successfully shot down from a distance of 9 kilometers.

At the same time, in 2024, Ukraine has already overtaken Russia in the production of military drones similar in their characteristics to the Shahed-131 and Shahed-136, as well as in the production of other strike UAVs.

Stats of the week

  • Since February 2022, Russian troops have either damaged or destroyed 1,062 objects of cultural heritage in Ukraine.
    Source: Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine. May 6, 2024.
  • Ukraine has returned eleven more children from the temporarily occupied parts of the Kherson region. In total, 78 Ukrainian children were returned from the temporarily occupied by Russia areas of the Kherson region since the beginning of 2024.
    Source: Oleksandr Prokudin, Head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration. May 8, 2024.
  • Due to Russian missile and UAV attacks, more than 800 Ukrainian heating facilities were destroyed or damaged, and up to 8 GW of power generation was lost. As a result, Ukraine needs about $1 billion to restore the affected infrastructure.
    Source: Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine. May 8, 2024.
  • At least 129 Ukrainian civilians were killed and 574 more were injured in April 2024 due to Russian military aggression.
    Source: UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU). May 10, 2024.