War in Ukraine: what to remember from the day of May 23

In the aftermath of a spectacular incursion into Russian territory, Moscow affirmed, on Tuesday 23 May, to have “crushed” with its air force and its artillery these fighters from Ukraine. The Kremlin has expressed its “deep concern” and called to do “more effort” to prevent these incursions, in the midst of an increase in attacks on Russian soil in recent months, which have raised questions about the strength of the defences.

Franceinfo takes stock of this new day of conflict.

Russia says it eliminated fighters infiltrating from Ukraine

Russia said on Tuesday that it had “crushed” with its air force and artillery, the group had attacked the Belgorod border region from Ukraine the day before, in the most spectacular incursion into Russian territory since the start of the conflict. On Monday, fighters who entered Russia from Ukraine attacked several localities in the Belgorod region.

On the Russian side, the toll is one dead and twelve wounded among the civilians. “Unfortunately, there were still casualties. A civilian from the village of Kozinka was killed by the Ukrainian armed forces”, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram. Kozinka is one of the localities where the group of fighters claimed responsibility for the attack.

Poland is “ready” to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16

Poland confirmed on Tuesday that it was ready to train Ukrainian pilots on American F-16 fighter jets, after the green light from the United States to do so. “We are ready to train pilots on the F-16 aircraft, but this training has not yet started”, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said after a meeting of EU defense ministers in Brussels on military support for Ukraine. A little earlier, the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell had assured that the training had started in this country.

Several other countries intend to participate in this training effort. “We got the green light from Washington for the F-16 training and we are working on a concrete timetable to start the training. It is important to do it as soon as possible”explained the Minister of Defense of the Netherlands, Kajsa Ollongren.

Zelensky went to the front in eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the front line in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region on Tuesday, the presidency said. The head of state “visited front-line positions in the Vougledar-Mariinka defense zone” where fighting with the Russian military has been going on for months, the presidency said in a statement, posting photos of Zelensky with military personnel.

Zelensky met with Ukrainian marines on the occasion of the Day of these troops marked Tuesday in Ukraine and presented state decorations to the servicemen while announcing the creation of several new brigades of these units. “Every day on the battlefield, the Marines prove they are a powerful force destroying the enemy, liberating Ukrainian lands and performing the toughest tasks in the toughest conditions. And we need more such forces”he said, quoted in the press release.

Detention of American journalist Gershkovich extended until August 30

A Russian court on Tuesday extended until August 30 the pretrial detention of US Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested in March on charges of “spying” which he rejects. This decision corresponds to what the Russian security services (FSB) demanded.

The Kremlin says Evan Gershkovich was arrested in “in the act”, without advancing any evidence, the file being classified secret. He is notably accused of having collected information on the Russian defense industry. Evan Gershkovich, his family, his employer wall street journal and the American authorities categorically reject these charges punishable by 20 years in prison.

Russia says it intercepted two US bombers over the Baltic

Russia said Tuesday it took off one of its warplanes to meet two American bombers over the Baltic Sea, which it said were approaching its border. “After the withdrawal of foreign warplanes from the border of Russia, the Russian fighter returned to its original airfield” without incident, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram.

Incidents involving Russian planes and aircraft from NATO countries have multiplied in recent years, even before the start of the conflict in Ukraine. Last week, a similar incident over the Baltic Sea involved a Russian fighter and two French and German military planes.

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