Hundreds freed from Mariupol steel plant

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Of: Daniel Dillmann, Nail Akkoyun

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Russia intensifies fighting in eastern Ukraine. A major evacuation mission succeeds in Mariupol.

  • Ukraine – War News: The Russian Air Force wants to focus on the east of the country in the Ukrainian war.
  • A video shows the extent of the destruction: Drone video from Russia shows a small town in Ukraine that has been completely destroyed.
  • You can read all about the Ukrainian conflict in our current issue news ticker.

Update for Friday, May 06, 09:52: According to Ukraine, 500 civilians have been freed so far during the recent evacuation of the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol. “We managed to get 500 civilians out,” Ukrainian presidential chief Andriy Yermak said on his Telegram channel on Friday. He spoke of an “additional stage of evacuation” which should continue in the coming days and thanked the UN for its help in organizing the refugee corridors.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres previously spoke of 500 civilians who, thanks to the United Nations and the Red Cross, were able to flee the largely occupied southeastern Ukrainian city except for the steelworks. António Guterres stressed that he hoped for more refugee corridors. Up to 200 civilians and an unknown number of Ukrainian fighters are still believed to be in the steelworks. Multi-hour firewalls have been agreed for Friday and Saturday.

Moscow had promised the civilian population a free evacuation. The Kremlin demands that the Ukrainian soldiers lay down their arms and surrender. Then their life and medical treatment would be guaranteed.

Smoke rises from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol on May 5. The city is hard fought in the Ukrainian war. © Uncredited/dpa/AP

Ukraine-News: Russia bombs monastery in Donbass

+++ 10:30 p.m.: The Ukrainian General Staff reported on its Facebook page that the Russian army had unsuccessfully tried to advance in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions. The Russians would also continue to fire missiles at transport infrastructure to impede the delivery of aid and weapons.

+++ 9 p.m.: A curfew was imposed in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia ahead of May 9, commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. This should apply from Sunday evening to Tuesday morning. The city in southeastern Ukraine has become a major hub for evacuees from the port city of Mariupol. During the war, curfews of similar duration were imposed in other Ukrainian cities for fear of Russian attacks.

+++ 7 p.m.: According to his office, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about possible deliveries of longer-range weapons. These must “prevent the bombing of civilians”, he said after a phone call. The course of the war was also mentioned.

Video Ukraine: Russia continues its bombardments in the East

+++ 5:15 p.m.: Russia continues to bomb towns in eastern Ukraine. According to the Ukrainska Pravda news portal, an Orthodox Christian monastery in the small town of Svyatogorsk was also hit. Seven civilians who had taken refuge there were injured.

+++ 4:30 p.m.: Even after more than 70 days, the end of the war in Ukraine is not in sight. According to the Russian government, this is mainly due to the EU and NATO. The West is constantly supplying Ukraine with “intelligence information”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a news conference. In addition, there would be a “constant flow of arms deliveries”. These are “measures which do not contribute to a rapid conclusion of the operation”.

Ukrainian war: a video shows the extent of the destruction

+++ 4 p.m.: Since the beginning of the war with Russia, Ukraine has been a field of rubble in some places. This is underlined by a video made by a drone from the city of Popasna. The recordings were published by the American news channel CNN. The time the video was shot cannot be verified. It was first posted on a pro-Russian Telegram channel. The drone is apparently a reconnaissance drone used by the Russian military.

Ukraine News: kyiv launches counterattack in the north – heavy fighting in the east

+++ 3:30 p.m.: In the Ukrainian war, the armed forces of kyiv are apparently preparing for the next counterattack. The offensive was launched near Kharkiv, said Valeriy Zalushnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces. The area around the town of Izyum is particularly affected. In the east of the country, also around the city of Luhansk, the Russian attackers continued to resist fiercely.

Ukraine News: Russian Air Force focuses on the east of the country

First report for Thursday, May 5, 3:00 p.m.: Moscow/Donetsk – Is Russia about to change course in the war against Ukraine? According to analysts, the Russian armed forces are still unable to gain air superiority in eastern Ukraine. They told the Moscow Times online newspaper that the Russian pilots engaged in “largely risk averse” dogfights and preferred to attack ground targets with long-range missiles.

But with precision missile stocks dwindling, a lack of infantry and pressure on the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin, Moscow is expected to step up its airstrikes in the coming weeks. “Russia has been very reluctant to use tactical airstrikes in this conflict. I think we’re at a point now where they’re taking a different approach,” Dara Massicott, a senior policy researcher at America’s Rand Corporation, told The Moscow Times.

Ukraine-News: Russia suffers heavy losses

The Russian military’s record so far reads devastatingly: Although the aircraft fleet at the start of the Ukrainian war was about 15 times larger than Ukraine’s, Ukrainian aircraft still perform missions – and with success. “Air Force fighters, bombers and attack aircraft continue to perform missions in Ukrainian airspace,” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said in a statement last week. .

Ukrainian news: Russian pilots ‘not as good as we thought’

According to experts, the fact that Russia could not overwhelm the Ukrainian Air Force is due to a lack of organization and operational incompetence. “At the level of individual pilots, the Russians aren’t as good as we thought they were,” said Robert Bell, a former NATO official and professor at Georgia Tech Institute. Instead of carrying out complex aerial operations with many aircraft, as was customary during the war, Russian jets were mostly seen in maximum pairs, also flying at low altitudes and at night.

After the failed attempt to capture kyiv in April, Russian troops are now concentrating on the frontline some 480 kilometers in eastern Ukraine. Since then, Moscow’s new strategy has become particularly clear: since the move east, Russian airstrikes have increased by more than 150% to around 300 a day. Sam Cranny-Evans, a military analyst at the British think tank Royal United Services Institute, told the Moscow Times.

News on the war in Ukraine: Russia focuses on the east with airstrikes

The new course is being felt in the badly damaged port city of Mariupol and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, where recent attacks have caused massive destruction. Many amateur photos are circulating on the Internet, claiming to show Russian jets operating at low altitude over the Donbass. However, the Russian military reportedly limits such operations in Ukraine to areas close to Russian-controlled airspace.

One explanation for Russia’s reluctance could be the large amount of short-range anti-aircraft missiles that have been supplied to Ukrainian forces by Western countries since the start of the invasion. “The Russians might remember their experience in Afghanistan, where the Stinger missile took away their supremacy in the air,” James Lewis, an analyst at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told the Moscow Times.

According to intelligence blog Oryx, which tracks Russian military casualties using open sources, Ukrainian forces have destroyed at least 26 Russian fighter jets and 39 helicopters since the start of the war. But while the killing may be important to Ukrainian morale, the Russian military’s casualties probably won’t affect it much. After all, according to a report by the Naval Analysis Center, Russia has not only hundreds of combat aircraft, but also 122 SU-34 bombers and 360 attack helicopters capable of carrying anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.

Ukraine News: Is Russia speculating about a military conflict with NATO?

It is unclear why Russia is withholding much of its air force. However, some experts suspect that the fighter jets and helicopters will be kept in the event of a military escalation with NATO. However, as Russia’s precision munitions stockpiles dwindle, the Air Force will have to resort to more aggressive tactics and use unguided missiles, risking the lives of its own planes and pilots.

“The modus operandi we’re going to see is the same as in Syria, where most of the weapons were unguided,” analyst Dara Massicot predicted. The new commander of the Russian military operation in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Dvornikov, was once dubbed the ‘butcher of Syria’ for allowing such operations in civilian areas of the country during the Russian military intervention in support of the Assad regime.

Aggressive maneuvers not only risk causing more civilian deaths, but also lead to a higher attrition rate for the Russian Air Force and greater destruction on Ukrainian soil. “There will be many more cities that will look like Mariupol,” Massicot predicted. (Nope)

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